The reports of my return are greatly exaggerated. I'm still at my holiday address, on the wretched 56K modem. As I'm going to be realy offline now for 2-3 days to visit my 97 year old grandfather and his 400 litre wine cask, I thought an open thread would be a good idea.
Can we start speculating about the minimum yet? I know trend lines are still dropping, and after this crazy melting season, I don't feel able or willing to make any pronouncement on when it will stop. In 2010 and 2011 the weather forecast maps helped me to announce the minimum a few days in advance, but those maps aren't any help to me this year. All I'm seeing for the coming five days is a persistent high over the Siberian coast and a huge low developing near Iceland, reaching all the way to Scandinavia and the UK. Normally this would mean slowdown for ice decline or even minimum, but this melting season isn't normal.
From one M to another M: Methane. R. Gates posted some graphs of the latest CH4 readings in Barrow, like this one of readings since 2000:Those little red dots on the right are pretty far out. Here's a close-up for recent months:
Now, these outliers could be due to some measurement mistake (happens frequently). In fact, it's the most probable explanation. But after a record melting season, both in the Arctic Ocean and on the Greenland Ice Sheet, this would be yet another stunner. If I've understood correctly, it will take a while for these readings to be corrected or confirmed.
More on methane: Additional to his sea ice thickness web page, Apocalypse4Real has started a methane web page, where he compares IASI data to AIRS/Giovanni methane data. Read his comments below for further explanations.