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Kevin McKinney

"Steady as she goes" is the motto for 2012, isn't it? From that near-'normal' anomaly early on, decline has been remarkably swift and steady, despite the vagaries of the weather. It's very visible in Jim's graph, with its uniform, relatively short segments following the long maximum. The melt appears compressed, scanning back on its trajectory so far.

It does feel as though 'something has changed' here.


It does indeed, Kevin. Like I said last year: the weather is decisive, but only as much as the ice (thickness) will allow it to be. We saw signs of that towards the end of last year's melting season. But this is early.

I'll have more to say on the whole thing in the next ASI update, perhaps before. But first I have to compare with 2010 and 2011 when adverse weather during July (low-pressure systems taking over) brought the fast declines to a stop.

Greenland floodings, Petermann calving, and now this. Busy times at the ASI blog!


Its all getting a bit too exciting.

My new theory of the day: only Anthony Watts can save us now.

Back in March or so, when the top graph was showing the anomaly almost touching the average line, WUWT was putting up extra regular updates on Arctic Sea Ice.

Now nothing for months! And look what happens to the anomaly! Looks like a straight linear correlation.


I am wondering what color Jim is choosing for the 2 millions range in the CT SIA graph?

Kevin: "It does feel as though 'something has changed' here."

From my perspective the change includes:

1) Thinner ice
2) Increased NH heating
3) Storms, Winds or SLP's churning sea ice
4) Fram Straight - increased flow
5) Early snow melt in Arctic
6) Higher SST's in Greenland Sea
7) Snow drought last winter in the Siberian Arctic.
8) Increased SST's in the Beaufort Sea
9) Early melt release from Arctic Basin rivers
10) Increased GHG's and soot from fires, etc.

That's my list of what's different.

The one not on the list is what the methane release cycle looks like last fall/winter and this coming one.

I've run a set of the AIRS/Giovanni CH4 PPBv data from 2002-2012 in 10 day average increments at 359 Pha.

Something changed last year.

Lars Kaleschke

Have you seen the little "polynya" that emerges at about the same position as last summer? Interesting times for sea ice research...



Have you seen the little "polynya" that emerges at about the same position as last summer?

It's clearer on the 'black and white' UB SIC map. I believe we called it the Laptev Bite last year, when the polynya joined the rest of the open water in the Laptev Sea. Let's see how this develops in the coming few days.

Interesting times for sea ice research...

And for sea ice bloggers. There goes my spare time. ;-)

Seke Rob
"... following the long maximum"
... that bar having a color is a bit misleading, and in fact I've removed the color from the extent version and put the day # label right at the front of where the first step starts counting down, for those are the maximum of year points, which lasted just 1 day. See http://bit.ly/IJISMD if that looks better.

Still dubbing "how" to put a decadal mean vertical bar in that chart for each step. The "how" because it's a technical issue, the where I've already roughed out.


Another valuable addition to your graph. Very nicely done.




clearly shows we are entering the period when the anomalies grow larger. Reaching 2 million more than a month earlier seems significant when it is now expected to grow!

Dave Leaton

I apologize for not having paid attention to the weather, but to what extent have dipole conditions emerged during this melt season?

R. Gates

This early anomaly drop below 2 million sq. km. is significant for several reasons.

Back in 2007, you had all sort of people, both AGW skeptics, as well those who should know better, suggest that 2007 was simply an aberration, or a "one off" event caused by the "perfect storm" of conditions-- meaning of course that there was not a long-term dynamic going on that should have caused 2007's rather dramatic decline. Then we saw slightly higher minimums in 2008 and 2009, leading some to suggest a "recovery" was underway. Folks like Joe Bastardi were even predicting that we'd see a return to the sea ice condtions of the 1970's. What we've seen indicated in 2010, 2011, and now 2012, is that 2007 was not an aberration in the black swan sense, but in the dragon-king sense. A black swan is a simple aberration that is highly improbable, but still can occur with the right set of circumstances. A dragon-king event is a tipping-point event that indicates that some new regime has begun. 2007 indicated that the Arctic sea ice had entered a new regime, and the much lower lows were coming sooner than any of the models had shown as possible.

How could the models have been so wrong? First, models cannot really predict dragon-king events. The prediction of a regime change for a dynamic non-linear system simply can't be shown in models. Obviously one of the missing ingredients of the models is a full accounting of all ways that energy enters the Arctic and affects the total volume of sea ice. The net energy flow to the Arctic has been increasing for many years through multiple channels, some of which have strongly interacting positive feedback processes. 2007 represented a cascading series of feedbacks that brought about the extremely low years. Even thought the energy mix between 2007 and 2012 is different, the net energy flow and total enthalpy of the Arctic changed to a new regime in 2007 and has been increasing ever since. The upshot of all this is that 2012 is continued confirmation that 2007 was not a black swan, but a dragon-king. 2012 is in the direct line of inheritance from that dragon-king and the new regime that is rapidly becoming apparent in the Arctic. The years prior to 2007 were the set-up for the entrance of the dragon-king. 2007 was the dragon-king, and 2012 is proving to be of royal blood.

Note: Understanding the difference between dragon-king events and black swan events is critical on a planet possibly undergoing as rapid of changes as we might see in the next years, decades, and centuries (depending of course on what we humans do.) Spotting simple on-off extremely unlikely events versus true regime-change or tipping point events is of key importance. Suggested reading:



Looking at your excellent graph, Seke Rob, I noticed a very small error. In 1989, even though the minimum went below 7 million, there is no purple.

Thanks for the cool visualization, though...

Everett F Sargent

Must admit that I have not followed the Arctic sea ice extent/area this year as I have done in previous years (2009/2010/2011).

But having said that, and given the "weather conditions" are what exactly? Don't know, but if temperatures (air/water) are below normal (or even normal), then it stands to reason that the 1st year ice thickness distribution is rather flatter/thinner and bigger than it was in previous years.

The predominant lose mechanism has always been 1st year ice, more so these past five years.

Getting past the 1st year ice (area less than 3E6 km^2) and substantially into the MYI is where it really starts to get interesting IMHO.

So I'll only become extremely interested in this when/if we set a new date record for 3E6 km^2 (UIUC area) in any given year. Also, the daily rate will have to be "significant" at that crossing point (3E6 km^2), say 1E5 km^2/day.


Seke Rob

hmmm, now you got me [and annoying], because it even said "No Step", when obviously there was per the value right beside it. Duly corrected and revision uploaded. Ctrl-F5.


Steve Bloom

Apocalypse4Real, to that list add increased warm water flow from the Atlantic, as it's arguably the single largest factor.

R. Gates, don't forget to give Maslowski and his model some credit here.

Alberto Silva

This counter-clockwise flow of ice to the Atlantic via Fram Strait is stunning.

That drifting buoys are recording the death of the more thick and old sea ice. If this massacre continues maybe Maslowski was right about the date of the end of the "death spiral" : 2013.

In any case, unless a monster volcanic eruption triggers a short-term global cooling event, we can be almost sure that the number of years with still some significant summer sea ice are less than the numbers of fingers of a person (and likely less than the fingers of a hand.

Alberto Silva

Broken link in "less than the number of fingers of a hand":


R. Gates

Steve Bloom,

Certainly Maslowski and others deserve a great deal of credit. Though they didn't predict the dragon-king event of 2007, once it happened they did recognize it was a dragon-king and not a black-swan, and rather indicated clearly that a new regime of more steep and acclerating declines had arrived. 2012 continues right on track.

I mean, who here honestly believes that it will take until 2037 or later to see the first ice-free summer Artic? Yet that number is still used by some who should know better.

Aaron Lewis

The expert on systems behavior was Ed Deming. When I worked for Bechtel, both Motorola and IBM required that everyone working on their projects take Ed Deming's course on systems behavior.

By 2002, it was clear that the Arctic Ice System was "out of control", and would be seeking a new equilibrium within 10 years.

Your "dragon-king"/ 2007 event was perfectly visible in 2002. It was just a matter of using statistics that been developed for industrial operations use rather than for research.


Compared with this year, 2007 looks healthy:


I've been playing around with the interactive ice area on CT and it's interesting to me how most of the years since 2007 have stalled out in roughly the same place (except for 2009). It's a tighter grouping than almost any other 5-year period.

It's probably pure coincidence, but it's odd nevertheless.

Frankd 1977


The old multi-year sea ice is really moving this year. See the above link for a 30 day animation of sea ice thickness. It looks like its pouring thru the Nares Strait and into the North Atlantic off of Greenland's East coast.

Steve Bloom

No model would be able to predict a sharp outlier like 2007, R. Gates, but unless my memory fails me Maslowski had his initial results prior to the 2007 minimum. Straining memory further, I think the motivation for the work was the decline already gathering steam before 2007, and in particular the very sharp (although not quite as sharp as 2007) outlier of 2005.

Daniel Bailey

Steve, the earliest Maslowski reference I'm aware of is this one (on page 6) from May 3, 2006:

"If this trend persists for another 10 years (and it has through 2005) the Arctic Ocean could be icefree in summer!"

And agreed on 2005 being the precursor (and setting the stage) for the catastrophe that was 2007.

R. Gates


I have a high degree of respect for Maslowski, but my point isn't really about whether someone could predict an outlier like 2007 through a model, as obviously models don't predict such things. My point is the interpretation of what kind of outlier 2007 was-- a black swan or a dragon-king? True enough, that all years (not just 2005) immediately preceding 2007 were preparing for the "catastrophe" that was 2007. I would argue that these years preceding 2007 were a series of black swans leading up to the dragon-king of 2007, and these kind of precursor events are discussed in this paper on dragon-kings (http://arxiv.org/abs/0907.4290/).

If you look at the actual behavior of the sea ice anomaly beginning with 2007, you see that the "pulse" of the Arctic changed in 2007. With a quick glance at this chart you can easily see this change in the anomaly RANGE beginning in 2007:


Steve Bloom

Dragon-king of course, as Maslowski said (using somewhat different terminology). Pretty obviously, it would be impossible to get to anything like ice-free starting in 2006 without a couple such years.

R. Gates

Arron Lewis,

Indeed, it would be argued in this paper:


That such an "out of control" system is exactly the kind of foreshock that you look for prior to a dragon-king event (the years 2000-2006 were the foreshocks, and were in themselves black-swans). The dragon-king itself is really a bifurcation point of the system, but of course the exact timing of the actual dragon-king event is never exactly predictable, due to natural variability and other noise in the system. Suppose for example that a large Pinatubo-sized volcano had gone off in mid-2006. Might this have reduced the chance of 2007 dropping so low? If it had, then some other following year (once the volcanic aerosols had settled) would have been the dragon-king, as the underlying instability in the Arctic system cause by the underlying forcing (heating from both ocean and atmosphere)from greenhouse gas accumulation would not be going away.

R. Gates

Sorry for the misspelling of your name Aaron.

Steve Bloom

In 7 to 13 years, that is.


Yooper, the thing that reallys struck me about that Maslowski presentation from May 06 was that he identifies the "dragon king" year as 1997. In particular, the thickness graph on slide 6 is a cracker.

1997 fairly jumps out as an elbow when you look at the data now (say, 12 month smoothed), but to have spotted that so early was fairly remarkable IMO.


CT SIA anomaly has shot up a bit again: -1.995 million km2.


14 down, 19 to go...

The 14 CT area annual minima surpassed so far this year:
193 (5.35825): 1980 (5.50771), 1983 (5.38693), 1986 (5.38184)
194 (5.25006): 1979 (5.30673), 1987 (5.28899)
195 (5.10301): 1996 (5.23818), 1988 (5.14489), 1982 (5.13906)
198 (4.86197): 1992 (5.02678), 1985 (4.99285), 1981 (4.95649), 1997 (4.89971)
199 (4.80006): 1994 (4.8161), 1989 (4.81592)

The 19 remaining:
1984 (4.69589)
1990 (4.62893)
2001 (4.53362)
1993 (4.47295)
1991 (4.46038)
1995 (4.4103)
2004 (4.28297)
1998 (4.2624)
1999 (4.2045)
2000 (4.16877)
2003 (4.14166)
2005 (4.0918)
2002 (4.03471)
2006 (4.01692)
2009 (3.4246)
2010 (3.07213)
2008 (3.00356)
2007 (2.91944)
2011 (2.90474)

Artful Dodger

So 2007 was the Scorpion King, which means Bifurcation has yet to occur. Oh, and Paul is the Walrus. ;^)

Seke Rob

Ah yes, from the In Vogue rip department, freshened Larry's chart copy with the minimum dates dropped on: http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q210/Sekerob/Climate/CT_SIA_Annual_Minima.png The earliest instrumental minimum SIA per CT is August 31 (day 243 or 244 depending on leap year encountered). There's ways to go [19 was counted], and should minimum occur earlier, that would be a shock to us warmista's system. Think the sun will just give it's normal. The 2012 TOA YTD is 0.057 Watts / M^2 over 2003 [SORCE], which at surface translates to about 0.014 Watts, or 0.0042% of total TSI (That's a lot per FSers mathurbated calculus)


An early CT area minimum wouldn't greatly surprise me. We are highly likely to have a minimum area record so the edge has retreated northwards. At these more northerly locations the sun loses it power earlier.

OTOH there may be more warmth built up in the oceans which would be expected to delay ice regrowth. I would expect this built up warmth to dominate but perhaps there are reasons why this only dominates later than might be expected.

Could these factors tend to cause the fat arse? I have cautioned against assuming too much about the causes of the fat arse, but still thought I would mention it.

Dominik Lenné

Don't hit me if I write mere trivialities.

If I eyeball sharply the plot on http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/sea.ice.anomaly.timeseries.jpg, wich Neven gave, I can see not only stronger anomaly values and bigger variability, but also a clear seasonal pattern of the anomaly beginning with about 2007. This is interesting as the anomaly is a construction especially made to be freed from seasonal changes.

This (metastable???) change in seasonal anomaly pattern is also clearly visible in the PIOMAS volume anomaly plot as 3 downpointing spikes in late spring.

The area anomaly pattern change is surely in part due to the bigger oscillation amplitude of sea ice area, which in turn is equivalent to the shrinking of multiyear ice area.

With volume anomaly pattern it's a little bit different, as it points to an earlier onset of melting and a much stronger "melting dynamics" in spring / early summer compared to pre-2007 years.

All this might not only be a byproduct of just thinner ice but also indicate an additional change in the yearly energy flow pattern with more energy coming in during summer by radiation / air / water currents - and/or higher loss by ice blown away. I cannot judge that.

Striking is, that the onset of the yearly anomaly pattern is so clearly located in 2007. It looks as if with one at its time exceptional event (the 2007 melting) something basic has changed.

I am scratching my head to find out what this points to.

Bob Wallace

Is anyone plotting fat arse?

Say number of days between 5% > minimum on the drop and 5%> minimum on the rise.

Aaron Lewis

R. Gates,

Even a Pinatubo volcano or two or three would not put off Arctic Sea ice melt until the time frame proposed by the IPCC AR4 (2007). My point is there was a statistical hint of the problem by 1999, with a clear signal by 2002. However, AR4 only presents the happy numbers from the models.

In 1991, I was doing climate risk assessments for large scale infrastructure engineering projects, and my baselines called for loss of Arctic sea ice by 2020, with accelerated sea level rise thereafter. Then, in 1993, the IPCC came out with their more “conservative” numbers and “I got assigned to other tasks”, as the project adopted the IPCC numbers because those numbers set a lower standard of performance and thus much lower costs.

Thus, I assert that from the beginning, IPCC estimates of global warming have understated the risks and costs. This understatement of risk and cost has permeated our public policy and planning.

There I was, the crazy! The only guy that did not drink the “Happy Kool-Aid”. Everyone else was willing to think that global warming was a problem of the 22d century. My position that we would be seeing major costs of global warming in our lifetime has not made me popular.

I understand Cassandra. If she was not crazy to start with, saying things were true, and not having them believed, would have made her crazy.

Seke Rob

An FA bet concerning, as I noted last year, there's zero trend to the SIA minimum day, just that we have Aug.31 as the standing earliest... it's anybodies guess.

Steve Bloom

Just to say, "dragon-king" sounds a bit in-groupy. Maybe just go with the more traditional "tipping point" or other suitable scientific term.

That's fascinating, Aaron, Can you provide some details on your early '90s experiences.

Generally, let's not be too severe on the IPCC. The large interval between reports is responsible for some of the problem, as is the fact that it's hard to say much about something that may or may not be natural variability in action. If the physics isn't understood and the trend is not crystal-clear (which in early days it pretty much can't be), it's hard to not go with the prior established understanding.

It will be very interesting to see how the AR5 deals with the slowing Rossby waves and the implications thereof, as it's early days for understanding the physics of what's going on and things will be far from settled scientifically when the WG1 deadline comes around.


I found a ton of papers. They actually call these events "dragon-kings". King from the fact that in a power-law relationship of the riches of people, kings are sticking out like a sore thumb. Dragon-kings appear in power-law probability distributions. e.g. Extreme earthquakes are dragon-kings because there are more than the simple power-law distribution that applies to small/medium and large earthquakes would predict


Another example is the power-law distribution of city sizes in France. Paris is way out of the size/probability distribution.


Dramatic processing of MODIS 7/16 image to show ice without clouds...

The chewed up ice is rather obvious..



I notice the Canadian Archipelago appears to be turning quite blue again. Speaking of which, after being clearly behind 2011 in the NWP earlier in the season (say, a month ago), 2012 seems to be catching up quite nicely with last year.

While 2012 is still behind is some sections of the NWP, those sections are getting smaller. A few weeks back I was wondering whether the NWP would totally open this year. I can't say for sure, but its seeming increasingly likely now.

George Phillies

If you look carefully at the expanded form of DrTskoul's image


you will find that the Northeast passage is now open. Look along the coast and an occasional diversion out to sea.

Whether you can get anything with more draft than a kayak through there is another question...I do not know.

Artful Dodger

George, Rosatomflot has 4 nuclear icebreakers working the Northern Sea Route. It's as open for business as your wallet.


As a completely amateur lurker, I rarely comment, lest I make a complete fool of myself. However, I can't resist noting the apparent havoc that the recent persistent low pressure systems seemed to have wreaked on the pack, all the way from the Laptev to (what remains of) the Beaufort Sea.

Looking at today's MODIS image appears to show holes and low concentration all the way around the arc on the Pacific side. It this normal (at least for the recent past) at this time of year? And what does it portend?

Can we now expect to see a fairly rapid clearing of the E Siberian, Chukchi and Beaufort, with the lows continuing to drag ice away from Russia and towards the very warm Beaufort? Time was, lows would be bad for ice loss, though it doesn't seem that way just lately.

And if so, what then? With the outside ice lost, does the rest get whisked across to the Atlantic side with nothing left to replace it? The current glops of MYI exiting the Fram must be hurting volume a little, so I dread to think what would happen if a strong DA should take hold for any appreciable time.

Since we are at this point so early, with a seemingly vulnerable pack, it seems that this year has extra time available over 2011 to make this eventuality come about.

Are my fears likely, or am I being too alarmist, do you think?


I think you made a good still of the situation right now. I feel the same gloom. On SIA; the pack lost 482 MK compared to 2011 and some 1000 km3. Half of that volume loss is lost area. The rest is lost thickness. So what’s left, 4,8 MK2, must overall be 10 cm thinner than last year. It shows.
Assuming that 2 MK2 in MODIS tiles r03/04c03 is still unified and 1.25 m thick at this point, 2500 km3, the other 2,8 should contain about 1300 km3. That makes about half a meter of ice. When you look closely, like you did, the patternless floe areas reflect that. Some may still be over 1-2 m thick. A lot of the thin ones could be melted out within the last 7 weeks of this melt season.
How can it look like? If there’s no dipole or compacting wind, what’s left could remain very dispersed. So the remains could still be more than 15% per grid. That would save extent, although it can easily surpass 2007. Area/volume, sans précédent, la banquise sera perdu…


Dramatic processing of MODIS 7/16 image to show ice without clouds...

Wow, that's pretty cool. Thanks, Dr Tskoul!

Warzypants, you worded a lot of the questions that are whirling around in my head as well. We are soon going to find out.


Artful Dodger stated:

Rosatomflot has 4 nuclear icebreakers working the Northern Sea Route.

Yes indeed. Last year they started already at 29th of June as it had been reported by nsidc.org:

Taking advantage of the early retreat of sea ice in the Kara and Barents seas, the tanker Perserverance set sail on June 29, 2011 from Murmansk, Russia, aided by two icebreakers and completed the passage on July 14. The company plans to send six to seven more ships through the Northern Sea Route this summer.

Given the situation in the Kara/Barents seas we are entitled to assume the oil transport started even earlier this year.

Artful Dodger

Yes Kris, the first departures were even earlier this year than in 2011. Moreover, Rosatomflot plans to keep the NSR open year round by 2018.

Dave Leaton

FYI: the largest 60-day drop in the historical record (CT): -6196017.7 km2, a sixty-day average of -103266.962 km2 per day.

The eighth consecutive 60-day period over -6 million km2 (one period prior).


A quick note on the NWP melt out and later Arctic temp forecast. The IRI projects warmer than normal temps for the Canadian Arctic for August-October in its July forecast.


Aaron Lewis

All I can say, is that I lost those arguments.

The climate model that I used was very crude "engineering" model based on based on the climate model that I helped build for the Club of Rome Report.

By 1991, I was accustomed to being called, "Alarmist". However, everyone in that group was alarmist. Bechtel was taking on high risk projects that other organizations said could not be done at the price we promised to perform the work. Our group's job was to anticipate risks, price in appropriate risk premiums, and to find ways of over-coming the risks, usually by smart engineering and good management.


Right...I found why this is all happening...this faul leprechaun munching the ice away in the Basin above the Beaufort...


Haha, good one, Werther!


Steve, Why are the Rossby waves being affected? Perhaps by a deeper, thicker atmosphere or moving to a new track further north and south because of higher temperature?

Eli Rabett

The interesting thing about 1997 was the shift out of a (mostly) annual cycle with slightly colder winters and warmer summers than the baseline, as shown in the sea ice anomaly, to a steep and fairly even decline in all seasons. Then in 2007 so much of the old ice was wiped out that we got the strong annual cycle.

The freshening of the sea from the melting ice new ice must be contributing to the rapid, shallow freeze. That explains the extensive refreeze this winter.

Rob Dekker

Eli, your comment is appreciated, but I'm not sure if it stands up to scrutiny.
Much of ice that makes the extend maximum the maximum is far away from the Arctic basin. This winter, the Bering sea was the main extent extender (for lack of better wording), which is in the Pacific, in an area not affected by prio ice melt, and thus not less saltine than it would normally be.

It seems to me that the large extent during maximum (in March) may have more to do with changes in weather patterns (such as caused by the changes in the circumpolar jet stream, and it's 'holding patterns') which also have caused the anomalously warm spring in the US.

These changes in the jet stream in turn may very well have roots in changes in radiative forcing due to AGW which causes warmer winters in the Arctic and reduced difference in temperature between the Arctic and lower latitudes, as is suggested in several scientific papers recently.

Dominik Lenné

@Aaron Lewis:

You wrote to have seen already 2002 that something was "out of control". Could you give some links or clarifications concerning the statistics and methods by which you/your group achieved that? I find that very interesting (maybe others too).


CT SIA anomaly drops below -2 million km2 again.

Dave Leaton

And today's 90-day daily melt average for CT SIA is 93,607. Before 2012, it had never been above 88k. It's been 90+ for five days.

L. Hamilton

Interesting that DMI 30% extent has not been dropping as much as CT area; DMI shows two substantial increases mixed in with decreases over the past week. Slow or reversed decline in extent fits with the impression of spreading/thinning resulting in fiery colors on today's UB map.


In the Canadian Archipelago, in situ melting and ice cracking are moving forward in the north east of the CA, while the middle (first year ice with buoys 2012E and 2012F on it) and the west (old ice) of the northern CA seem to remain solid for now.

But given all the melt ponds that popped up all over the CA when heat was pumped northwards, I fear it may already have been weakened enough to melt out this year.

Are there any signs whether multi year ice in the CA will last or vanish this year?

Matthew Opitz

If we end up burning all the fossil fuels that our economic system is currently counting on being allowed to burn...we're screwed.

Maybe someone should do the following mathematical calculation: how much habitable land will we lose from sea level rise in the next century vs. how much habitable land will we gain from higher latitudes becoming warmer? Might as well get a head start on relocating New York City to Nunavut.


A big drop in Bremen map today. I made an animation of 22. and 23. days.


Ups, the previous image was shrinked. Here is the same with original size.


A bit of flash melting here and there, eh, Johannes? If not much of it flashes back there will certainly be an effect on extent and area graphs.

Artful Dodger

Paul McCartney reads the Arctic Sea Ice blog!

Paul McCartney HuffPosted: 07/23/2012 10:17 am
Come Together, to Save the Arctic

"Yeah, you've guessed it. I am the Walrus."

Thanks, Sir Paul! Drop in any time.

L. Hamilton

DMI declined by -142k today, once again below 2011 (but above 2007).

L. Hamilton

CT area anomaly 2012 through 7/22 compared with 2007 and 2011:

CT area 7/22 compared with annual minimum, 1979 to 2011:

Artful Dodger

... Clouds in my coffee.

Yup, there's often a 1 or 2 day lag between ice loss and reporting on the various charts, simply due to cloudy conditions resulting delayed observations.

It all comes out in the wash when the clouds break. The underlying rate of sea ice melt is actually much more stable than the noisiness of the sea ice plots might imply.


Nightvid Cole

Artful Dodger,

The clouds would have to be absurdly thick to interfere with passive microwave observation. Given the curves on page 18 of http://www.rand.org/pubs/reports/2007/R422.pdf , at a microwave frequency of 100 GHz (λ = 0.3 cm), the extinction constant for a water cloud is around 5 * 10^-2 km^-1, meaning that a cloud wouldn't start to become opaque unless it was ~20 km thick!

The delays are due to the need for the satellite orbital data acquisition swaths to cover the whole area, and also for data processing and transfer, not because of clouds!

Espen Olsen

CT Area: at 2.262 anomaly at -2.478

BTW a new low

L. Hamilton

The CT anomaly has a different profile this year:


The long-term path of area is starting to look more like the steep decline of volume:


Seke Rob

The latest extrapolation I have has it go to 2.18 million. Unthunkable, even a week ago.


On quick count, a good half of the prior years had at this point still some area reduction to go [about 19 of 33].


CAB area according to the CT regional graph now 1.675.700 km2. Less than the GIS.

Each day ticks 20K off the Frantsa Yosefa-Severnaya Zemlya sector. Must be a combination of melt/rafting, lowering concentration. Extent is going down there also but less strong; the ice boundary is pushed poleward.
Lower tropospheric temps freezing today over this battleground, but not enough to start ice formation and stop SIA from falling. Surface waters still a little over 0dC.
Concentration is about 35%, very thin, fragmented floes. While the process is remarkable given the time of the year, I guess it will stop soon. The only gamebreaker could be from the GFS/ECMWF pattern 15-20 september. When that comes true, extent could loose another 100K here when the 15% treshold is met.

Artful Dodger

Hi folks,

Summer 201² was a relatively cool weather year in the Arctic. Conditions were not especially suited to loss of sea ice. Multi-year sea ice blocked cooler than normal Bering sea water from entering the Central Basin for most of the season. Clouds covered the Basin for the second half of the season.

Still, the NW Passage melted in-situ for the first time ever. In the far North, sea ice melted out before the Chukchi sea. There was so much open water in the Arctic ocean it led to the largest Summer cyclone ever seen in the Central Basin, mixing warm surface water with already thin sea ice.

In sum, the ice-albedo feedback caused 201².

If warmer el Niño Pacific water combines with the Solar Maximum, then we will experience a 201³ as well.

With the extra water vapour present in the Central basin, I expect record snow cover over new sea ice. This would lead to unprecedented thin first year ice at the start of next year's melt season.

Scorchio 201³.

Jim Williams

Hi Lodger, I wish we could get water temperature verses depth cross sections like they provide for the tropics. I think you are largely correct, but I want more data on the mixing of layers in the High Arctic before agreeing completely. I think at some point the open water leads to greatly increased mixing in the top few hundred meters -- I just don't know when. We'll know well enough after the fact when the layers break down...

Jim Williams

Hi Lodger, I wish we could get water temperature verses depth cross sections like they provide for the tropics. I think you are largely correct, but I want more data on the mixing of layers in the High Arctic before agreeing completely. I think at some point the open water leads to greatly increased mixing in the top few hundred meters -- I just don't know when. We'll know well enough after the fact when the layers break down...

Artful Dodger

Hi Werther,

I estimate CAB SIA to be 1.8125 M km², +/- 0.03125 M km² estimated from data currently on this chart:




G'day lodger,
I took the CT graph in CAD and measured the distances relative to the X,Y-axis.

By now, only CAB,CAA, EGS and maybe some in BAFF should contribute to total SIA. From the graphs I don't get 2.262 Mkm2.
I take it the data should be more reliable?

Artful Dodger

Hi Werther,

The current data point is clearly still above the 1.750 km² hash mark on the Y-axis.

Are you sure you're reading the Y-axis reticle correctly?



If its true as suggested in that nature news piece above that none of the models used for the next IPCC report even allow for the possibility that the sea ice will be gone by 2030, does that mean it's time to move on from the IPCC?



Oops wrong thread

Klon Jay

It appears the ice along the north coast of Ellesmere Is. is on the move. What this means for the CAB area, I don't know.


Right... I read the CAB graph wrong (...blushing...) Thanks Lodger for your empathical guidance...


Hello Jay,
On the beautyful pic you linked the remaining part of what I call the 'mesh pattern' sheet is almost completely visible. It is about 1 Mkm2. The leads are getting torn, although snow cover has started N of the CAA (which usually covers the pattern beginning this time of the year).
Desintegration is beginning south of the Pole. And I'm afraid there's movement in the whole pack???



See my comment on the Dominoes Three thread in response to this. The pack is on the move and getting pounded.

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