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I think back to few posts ago when folks discussed whether they "hoped" for a new record or not. While I expected 2013 to come close to matching 2012, I hoped for a recovery of sorts, or at least some sort of slow down. For two reasons:

1. Losing the ice early rather than later will not be good for us.
2. Having an oddball year that we cant make sense of immediately is a great scientific opportunity.

back to lurking. this is a wonderful place to learn.

2. Having an oddball year that we cant make sense of immediately is a great scientific opportunity.

Indeed, based on previous melting seasons I had concluded that ice dynamics have superseded weather conditions as the dominant factor. But this melting season could well reverse that conclusion.

It's still too early to tell though.

Ned Ward

Neven, I always look forward to these updates, and learn a lot from them -- you cover so many different points, it brings me up to speed on stuff I just wouldn't have time to keep track of otherwise. Thanks for doing this!


Sorry, for writing so much, and sorry for not making a video again. I'm just too tired and it's too warm here. Back to work. :-)

John Christensen

Great entry again thank you Neven!

From your conclusions I would give #2 a lot of weight and it seems more needs to be understood about the transition from freezing to early melting season, and how this sets the stage for the summer melting. For one, I was very optimistic early on this year (I guess I tend to be somewhat optimistic), since it seemed a lot of the volume build was within the central basin this year, whereas 2012 saw significant volume build-up in exterior seas like Bering, Baffin, and Okhotsk, which mean nothing once summer arrives.

However, we are probably also seeing #1: Freezing of melt-ponds combined with snowfall from the cyclone, which easily could fool the sensors, as the development e.g. from 7/26 to 8/2 on CT looks incredible in terms of increase in ice concentration in the CAB:


This is demonstrated in the increase of your CAPIE index, which I agree is the best piece of news for the ice at this time of the season; keeping the pack together and minimizing the mixing with heather top water layers.

John Christensen

And where does this bring us regarding naming of cyclones? What about Jacques Cousteau and other heroes of the natural world?? ;-)

Jdean Dingler

Well, heat is fungible, you can have it here or you can have it there....

Chaos theory tells us that as you add energy to a complex system, it becomes increasingly difficult to predict.

Of late it looks like we're getting patterns of isolated cold and hot spots that are dancing around each other, rather than mixing and producing intense storms. It's as if the Arctic is beginning to settle into a temporary stable state.

Previously we had intense cold rotating around the Northern hemisphere while the Arctic remained warm, now the situation has reversed. Will it reverse again? Do we have a chance of freak blizzard in mid-August,while the Arctic clears and warms in one last attempt of seeing summer before the winter creeps in?

This reminds me of thermodynamic experiments were a fluid is evenly heated, and the fluid begins to form heat dissipative cells. Each cell locked in a position and the fluid rotating within a confined space. In the Earth's weather system, such things can't last long. And the longer we have a standing weather pattern the more intensity we'll see when the pattern breaks through it's bounds...

We live in interesting times. I await anxiously the opportunity to see what happens next.


And where does this bring us regarding naming of cyclones?

I've got a nice set of criteria, but no good list of names. Me and R. Gates and Kevin McKinney have been asking around a bit, but we're all too busy to get things done.

I might cobble up a list of Inuit words (and pray that no one will be offended!), because them cyclones just keep coming!

David Appell

2. Having an oddball year that we cant make sense of immediately is a great scientific opportunity.

Yes. But between sea ice and the 15-yr pause in surface warming, we can expect even more "global warming is over" from the denier-types.


After analyse of the ASIG maps and statistics a flash melt is possible during&after the new artic storm. The numbers of Cryosphere Today don't tell everything, they are just a stone in a tumbling wall. That the melting has come to a complete standstill is wishful thingking.


In the past few years, atmospheric river-like streams of water vapor penetrated the Arctic almost constantly, bring heat energy with them. They moved from southwest to northeast.

More recently, this has utterly changed to a pattern of west-to-east movement, somewhat bypassing the Arctic.

You can observe this pretty today:



phew finally some good news!!! this is welcome news lets hope that artic ice continues this trend


Actually, if the Hadley, Ferrel and polar cells are in the process of merging, I'm not sure the news is good.

Doug Lofland

Nice post Neven,

I am not convinced that the various satellites are not reporting what is actually happening, and I am sure that there are some scientists chomping at the bit right now to ground truth some of this data, if they could figure out how to get there.

Anyplace that MODIS will allow a peak through the clouds, I always see broken ices floes, not the solid sheets and pressure ridges of the past. Sometimes water can be seen between the ice, other places it is all white. All these breaks are a result of all the cyclones and the dynamics a more wave active arctic versus the frozen past.

I think three things are happening. 1. Broken ice will spread so the extent will increase. 2. When there is open water with very cold air above it, a thick layer of dense fog will form, even on a clear day, and that might be tricking the microwave. 3. If there is wind and the right conditions, this open water will cause lake effect snow, so the existing ice will become more reflective, but also appear to become thicker, further playing tricks on the microwaves.

I only mention this as I lived for a winter in the early '70s on Lake Superior, back in the day when it routinely froze in the winter. I had a small boat, and was so fascinated by the ice floes, I would go out into it, and observed some very interesting conditions.

There could just be some very large scale errors going on right now.


Here's what that new cyclone looks like on an ECMWF chart product I find a lot easier to "read"; if my linking works, it should be here. It's deep, and hovering over the pole by Thursday, and stays there or thereabouts while filling slowly. I'd expect a substantial amount of ice being pushed south between Greenland and Svalbard, and a lot of warm air from Siberia whisked north.

My gut feel is that sometime soon we're going to see all the measures resume a steep drop - possibly not to record territory - but the ice is so different it's impossible to tell.

Another factor that may (or may not) be in play is the huge amount of smoke swirling around from fires in Siberia (on the Arctic Mosaic, look to the south of the Kara Sea). Must be a Stygian gloom for the population down there.

And last, but not least: Tenney has a point, but I'm not sure there's any sort of reorganisation going on. It looks more like the Hadley cell is doing fine, but that to the north the atmosphere is becoming disorganised, with no clear patterns being established. But I'm no kind of expert on that...

Kevin McKinney

"And where does this bring us regarding naming of cyclones? What about Jacques Cousteau and other heroes of the natural world?? ;-)"

Yes, as Neven already wrote, I've been working on this a bit, as I have time. My hope is to compile a multilingual list to propose, but we'll see. The Inuit names idea seems to be problematic on a couple of fronts.

Kevin McKinney

By the way, a big part of my current 'busy-ness' comes from a gig playing in a production of 'Les Mis'--playing that very same flugelhorn you see in my avatar, part of the time.

Which I mention only because it just occurred to me that there's a song parody here just awaiting someone's talents: who better than an observer of the sea ice--especially a true aficionado of the satellite imagery, such as, say, A-team--to sing a lyric beginning:

"Look down! Look down!"


Excellent and realistic review of the current melting situation.
Having an oddball year that we cant make sense of immediately is a great scientific opportunity.

I wholeheartedly agree with you, surprise is what makes science and research fun. Nature is throwing us one from left field and we will have to rethink our conclusions and our predictions... Great!

James Lovejoy

What's really confusing me is that it looks like the conditions are setting up for melting.
DMI sea surface anomalies have the ice surrounded by warmer to very much warmer water.
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/short_range/NAEFS/poeabn_h264.00.global.gif shows the shows the 8 to 14 day forecast for the artic again much higher than average temperature.

And with all that, the melt has stalled?
Again, I'm confused.
I guess the artic does that.

Allen W. McDonnell

I must admit I have been very surprised the last four days, I though the storm would raise things up for maybe four or five days and then extent and area would both crash. So far they have both been bobbing around without much change from day 204 to 214 they have bounced around between 4.795 4.877 SIA. I thought we would be hitting 3.900 by now when I was looking at the imagery two weeks ago. Neven I have to hand it too you, your call was much better than mine.

Dan P.

Kevin: if you need doggerel, I can provide. If it makes you feel better, I'm already stuck singing it.

Look down, look down,
From high up in the sky
Look down, look down,
And watch the sea ice die.

[ice floe #1]
The sun is strong
it's hot as hell below

[sea ice]
Look down, look down,
There's not ten years to go.

[ice floe #2]
The heads of state
They'll know what they must do!

[sea ice]
Look down, look down,
They've all forgotten you

[ice floe #3]
When I break free, you won't see me
South to Fram!

[sea ice]
Look down, look down,
Through roiling sea and wave,
Look down, look down,
You're melting in your grave.

[Arctic Oil Driller Javert]
Now bring me tile r04c04
The summer's up
And your parole's begun
You know what that means

[ice floe Valjean]
Yes - it means I'll freeze

No! It means you get
one winter of reprieve
you are a dangerous floe.

I blocked one rig
A polar bear was near death
And we were melting

You'll melt again!
Five years and we'll be back
No feedbacks left in store

[sea ice]
Look down, look down …etc.



What a great start to the week!

Climate Changes


Yeah, the change of the cell's behaviour is becoming more visually acute.

I posted this last year:

" Now, we are more likely to see atmospheric rivers of moisture running from the Caribbean to Greenland. Or, atmospheric rivers flowing from the tropical Pacific to the Bearing Sea."

I have noticed this already happening. I check regularly the global flow and for the last 4-5 winters water vapour from the Equator has shifted from a fairly regular North East direction to truer North sending wave after wave of warm tropical moisture.
I believe this is down to the Jet Stream getting weaker and it is more obvious over the Autumn/Winter months (till re-freeze is achieved I suppose). A daily check here:
can help follow the flow and spot those pesky JT loops that are becomming more common bringing Cold snaps, rain, etc.

Posted by: Climate Changes | December 11, 2012 at 12:32


The forecast for the coming 5-6 days is absolutely insane. If this doesn't bring the standstill to a standstill, I don't know what will.

I don't have time for this!!!

Pete Williamson

"This melting season is completely draining me, making me feel like I don't know anything."

I've spent most of the 20+ years of my medical research career feeling exactly the same way. It's called science. I think it's because you spend most of your time with your nose in what you don't know and take for granted what you do.

Allen W. McDonnell

I find myself wondering what a nice warm rain thunderstorm like those that have recently pounded the eastern USA would do to all that thin ice in the Arctic. Even rain that feels cold to a human would add a lot of thermal energy directly to the ice and to the water it is floating in, and being fresh water it would stay on top for a while before it mixes into the sea water.

Pete Williamson

It seems like it's mainly the pacific side of the arctic that is giving the strange results.

From this paper


I came across this quote

"Pacific waters carry significant amounts of heat into the Arctic—although highly variable from year to year, the heat flux (relative to the freezing temperature of seawater) is enough to melt 1–2 million km2 of 1 m thick ice (Woodgate et al., 2010). Certainly, the pathways of Pacific Water into the Arctic are clearly reflected in the structure of the sea ice edge, implying that Pacific Water heat acts as a trigger for the onset of western Arctic sea ice melt, especially in 2007 when the Bering Strait oceanic heat flux was over twice that in 2001."

Beyond the weather there is the possibility that an underlying process, like the variable heat flux from the pacific ocean, is at the heart of this (I mean generally the perceived resilience of the sea ice this year). Unfortunately I don't see any data beyond 2010/2011 to back-up this speculation though.

Lynn Shwadchuck

Neven, you spoiled lazies like me with those videos, but I know how a heat wave makes sitting next to a hot computer suck.

This uptick – might it not just be the back of a bump? There are a bunch of bumps in the CT 2005=2013 chart. Look at each bump and think how confused we felt before it turned downward.

Anyway, that's my purely artistic, non-scientific explanation of the standstill. Think of the car at the top of a roller coaster hill.


The excellent series of annotated maps posted by BornFromTheVoid over on the forum raises the question of whether this storm will cause a large area of sea ice to detach, as did GAC-2012. Inferring from wind direction over the next few days together with Coriolis apparent force, a notable candidate is the swathe of relatively thick ice N and E of Severnaya Zemiya. With the current storm less intense and widespread than last year's, and the ice less primed for detachment, I would not expect this area to cut loose in the few days following the cyclone.


Should we consider calling this storm Arctic Cyclone "HADES". What's happening in the Arctic regions this year is certainly Hellish: multiple cyclones, raging wildfires, spewing methane seeps and a broken Jet Stream to name just a few of this year's anomalies. That coupled with how many of the brightest minds, here and elsewhere, seem to be asking more questions than providing answers.



allow me to suggest PAC-C "Cyclops" Aug13 as an appropriate name in line with previous suggestions for PAC-A "Avatar" and PAC-B "Bush".

More on the Cyclops can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclops

Cheers P

Lord Soth

Neven, the melt ponds did not freeze over, they drained.

A good example is the North Pole Web Cam.


and a few days latter:


Looks like the water dropped a good two feet or more, by comparing the buoy shaped structure.

In the past few days, wet snow has probably covered the drained ponds, making the situation worse.

I believe an early melt is critical in getting a new record, and clear skies are critical during June.

Right now, I say we will be lucky to break 5 million in extent. However we are in era where extent and area does not matter.

It's ice volume that counts, and this is in a very unhealthy state.

This years weather related recovery, will be wiped out, if we get a normal arctic summer.

Pete Williamson

Lord Soth it looks like your right.

Before the melt pond 2 black sections were poking out of the ice on the measuring stick in the foreground.


Afterwards it's 4 black sections.


The website says each black and white section is 10cms, so in the course of 2 weeks about 40cms of ice melted and then drained away.

Pete Williamson

There is a good explanation of the melt ponds here



Was it 40 cm of ice, or snow? Or a combination?


You can watch the melt pond drain in the webcam archives on July 28


This certainly has been a unique arctic summer. Several things:

1) The ice shelf on the northeast coast of Greenland is now horribly fractured and gives every appearance of being on the verge of complete breakup.


2) The cloudy conditions in the arctic seem to be a key factor in the delayed melt. On the other hand, this has set up hot conditions in Alaska that are resulting in overheated streams and large fish kills.




3) The ice conditions are absolutely horrid across most of the basin.


I still am of the mind that the indices we rely on to tell us what is happening are breaking down. Using indices like x% cover indicating ice free or y% indicating ice cover is now a problem as much of the basin is in the mix in between those conditions, rather than just the fringe. One way to think about this is that the uncertainty bands are rising dramatically on the indices.

4) I expected that as with any normal year that the ice movement would have thrown at least one of the polar web cam stations into the open ocean by now. The deep pond formation was perhaps a bit of vindication, but not much. The ice is holding together better than most of us envisioned for this season. It is perplexing. At least one station may yet go for a swim before the end of August, but I am doubtful now.

5) As we watch the jet stream, strange things are happening there too. The polar and continental jets are now readily merging and separating in a complex dance with each feeding the other. In some ways it looks more like a single braided jet than two separate jets.

And that makes me wonder if what we are seeing is the emphemeral mid zone between having a three cell (Hadley, Ferrell, Polar) system and a one cell system (Hadley alone). Are we now seeing upwelling of the atmosphere over the central arctic? Has the polar cell essentially dissolved leaving us with a two cell system and a braided jet stream boundary? Does anyone know what data would definitively answer that question for us? Is there an index someplace we can watch to see what might be happening?


Gerhard Trausner

Hallo Leute !
Ich bin aus Österreich.Lese schon lange und
mit großer Interesse eure Beiträge.
Ich denke, die "salinity" des arktischen Wassers wird in Zukunft eine große Rolle spielen. Die Häufung von Zyclonen werden das oberflächliche Süßwasser besser mit dem Salzwasser vermischen, wodurch vielleicht auch Einfluss genommen wird auf den Beginn der nächsten Gefriersaison.
Aber selbst bei relativ großer SIA Mitte
September gibt es kein aufatmen, da ein
schnelleres zufrieren im October das Wasser eher isoliert, und man dünneres FYI erwarten kann für 2014.Auch die Karasee gefror später in diesem Winter und hatte denoch dickeres Eis, da sich das Wasser bis in größere Tiefen abkühlen konnte.
Hätte gerne eure Meinung gehört.
Grüsse aus dem Salzkammergut


Hallo Gerhard,

Willkommen und danke für deinen Beitrag! Ich fürchte aber dass die meiste Leute hier kein Deutsch verstehen können (ich nur zufällig weil ich schon einige Jahre jetzt in AT wohne).

Ich denke, die "salinity" des arktischen Wassers wird in Zukunft eine große Rolle spielen. Die Häufung von Zyclonen werden das oberflächliche Süßwasser besser mit dem Salzwasser vermischen, wodurch vielleicht auch Einfluss genommen wird auf den Beginn der nächsten Gefriersaison.

Das ist eine ganz interessante Idee. Mir interessiert momentan auch ob wir mehr Zyklone erwarten können, und wenn ja, ob das dann vielleicht einen deutlichen Zeichen des geänderten Klimas ist, und wenn ja, wird das auf längeren Frist eine negative oder positive Rückkupplung?

Aber selbst bei relativ großer SIA Mitte September gibt es kein aufatmen, da ein schnelleres zufrieren im October das Wasser eher isoliert, und man dünneres FYI erwarten kann für 2014.

Jawohl, das ist sehr wohl möglich, und müssen wir abwarten. Die Volumdaten von PIOMAS sind eine ganz gute Anweisung, auch weil jetzt unterstützt von CryoSat und SMOS.

Gerhard Trausner

Hallo Neven !

Habe hier eine interessante Dissertation von der UNI-Hamburg über den Einfluss von Zyklone in der Arktis.



Hallo Gerhard,

Entschuldigen mir bitte. Ich kann Deutsch lesen besser als ich es schreiben.

Ich stimme zu. Hinzu kommt, dass die zunehmende Vermischung durch den Verlust der Oberfläche Eis als eine Barriere für Wellenbildung, die helfen, fahren die Mischung sollte.

For those who don't read German. Gerhard is of the mind that the cyclones are of particular importance due to the mixing of the fresh melt waters with deeper saline waters.


Gerhard Trausner

Danke Sam !
Oha ,.....diese Dissertation gibt es auch in English.

Arctic sea-ice is a barrier between ocean and atmosphere and as such, plays an important role in the climate system. In winter, a closed ice cover reduces the sensible and latent heat fluxes between ocean and atmosphere to a great extent. In summer, the sea ice reflects the most part of the incoming shortwave radiation. Strong winds, as they occure in cyclones, lead to sea-ice drift and influence the fraction of ocean surface which is covered by sea ice. This study investigates the impact of cyclones on sea ice, with a focus an the sea-ice concentration in the central Arctic. The impact of cyclones is analyzed on the basis of observations of the field campaigns DAMOCLES 2007 and DAMOCLES 2008, on the basis of satellite measurements (AMSR-E ice concentrations) and furthermore on the basis of simulations with a coupled sea-ice-ocean model. For the simulations the dynamic-thermodynamic model NAOSIM (North Atlantic Arctic Ocean Sea Ice Model) is forced with 6-hourly ECMWF-analyses (European Centre for Medium- Range Weather Forecasts). The comparison of simulated ice drift and concentration with observations made clear that the choosen model configuration is appropriate for the performed studies. Sensitivity studies were performed with a wind field that represents a cyclone passing through the Arctic. The experiments show, that the ice concentration is reduced in general under the influence of a cyclone. The reduction is the stronger, (1) the slower the cyclone, (2) the higher the pressure difference between core and surrounding, (3) the smaller the deviation angle between 10 m-wind and geostrophic wind, and (4) the higher the initial ice concentration is. Between reduction of ice concentration and initial ice thickness no correlation has been found. The comparison of simulated ice drift with data of drift buoys reveals, that the model overestimates the drift speed in general whereas extreme events like storms are unterestimated. A systematic deviation in simulated and observed drift direction is found. Furthermore it is shown, in which region the agreement between simulated and messuared ice drift is high and in which regions it is low. In Winter, the model simulates realistic ice concentrations and realistic ice extent. In summer, the ice concentration is too low and the ice extent is too large. A new approach has been made in this study: for a statistical analyses of the impact of a large number of real cyclones on simulated sea ice, 6-hourly positions of cyclones on the basis of the ECMWF sea level pressure field are used. It is investigated how the ice drift, ice concentration and the windfactor are changing at the cyclone’s positions. These investigations include the intensity of the cyclones, the initial ice conditions, the seasonal variability and regional distribution. In summer there is an important climatologic impact of cyclone due to the reduced albedo of a reduced ice cover. Thus, the absorption of solar radiation is increased until the next freezing period. In summer, an increase of cyclone activity accelerates the reduction of the arctic ice concentration.



Although in probability never to be adequately detailed before the ice is totally gone, I feel a more valid look at is is not so much volume but mass and crystalline structure.
30+ years ago it was not an issue as the ice was dense enough that the ice did not fracture and the ice volume/mass was very predictable. Now we have a 2 problems. 1)the crystalline structure is such that it shatters very easily. 2) the density is so much lower that it is lowering the mass by significant amounts, but can not be predicted as the density is highly variable. Not only that, in some places (proven when trying to get ice cores) have significant pockets hidden were there is no ice whatsoever.

Crozet Dutchie

Not directly related to the sea ice situation, but interesting to note the abnormal heat on the peri-arctic land and its dire effects on the ecosystems:

Tor Bejnar

I had no problem having to use Google Translate (seems better than Bing, at least from French to English) to understand Gerhard's first posts. It reminds me of some challenges posed by non-English speakers who care passionately about Arctic ice whom we hear from occasionally. I even figured out some words that didn't translate (Neven's "Volumdaten PIOMAS" = PIOMAS volume data). The use of abbreviations not defined in a post or in a recently preceding post, however, make it really tough for newbies and others.

(And when an abbreviation is used that appears technical but isn't included in the "Glossary … for newbies and others" on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum nor referenced/defined earlier in the thread, I wonder if the author knows they are writing gibberish, including use of texting shorthand.) Sorry about getting on my soap box.


Top of roller coaster was reached yesterday, time to ride down!
German study with respect to cyclones will be proven right, at least visually, don't know if some understand that the ice is in bad bad shape.


As temps surrounding the AO seem to be very important I heard about a place in the far north somewhere on the coast in Nunavut which hit 30C Kugluktuk (south coast Beaufort Sea). In an effort of trying to find it used Wounderground Map and came across what must be a malfunctioning station as Pelly Island, NWT is recording -1C with no wind surrounded by stations with at least some wind and mid to upper teens C.
Temp their to drop into the teens tonite.



I missed one of the most important items in your post, and it just struck me. The NCEP meteorology temperature anomaly for Saturday Aug 3rd is showing positive 17-20 degree C anomalies over Antarctica. Say what?

Then I remembered, NASA in mid July reported its data for June showing anomalies of up to 7.4 C. Wow.


It seems old mama earth gave us a head fake. We've been looking north when we should've been looking south too.



In case anyone missed it, check out the 15 second video on the shifting temperature anomalies on the NASA page I linked above. It is terrifying.


Gerhard Trausner

Good morning, everyone!
I now try to write in english.
A question I ask myself again and again.
"How does behave the waters of the North Atlantic stream when it comes close to the ice edge and the water temperature drops to 4 ° C. For the same Salinity as the water in the area, it would sink to the Ground. So far, until it encounters a higher salinity water.
When I look at the SST maps, of course, I often notice a rapid transition from
4 ° C to 1-2 °.
Now I do not know how strong the influence of these
Type the descent of water on the speed of the North Atlantic Current is.
Also, I do not know if it is indeed a decrease of 4 ° C water to a large extent are.
Are there any more studies?

Gerhard Trausner


In the Antarctic temperature anomalies Change
often very quickly. An anomaly from 20 ° c to
be quickly available when a surface
is ice-free, although they the last 30 years with ice
was covered. But I also notice on the Antarctic mainland high anomaly. For a temperature of -48 ° C in Vostok or at the South Pole is relatively warm for this time of year.
That's why it interests me, whether it is a
large decrease of 4 ° C water is because of this a lot warmer in Antarctica than water comes back up again, as the heavy salt water
falls to the ground during the freezing process.

Gerhard Trausner


Habe diese Nacht nach gedacht. (konnte schlecht schlafen) , ob ein vermehrtes auftreten von Zyclonen eine positive oder negative Rückkopplung erzeugen wird .
So spielte ich ein Scenario durch, das sich über einen längeren Zeitraum erstreckt.

Die Zyclone verteilten das Eis auf eine große Fläche , haben das Eis sozusagen " an die Wand geworfen" , darum auch die in die Irre führende Aufzeichnung der SIA von NSIDC.
Sollte das Wasser in diesem Sommer bis in größere Tiefe kälter sein als letzten Sommer ,
wird die basale Schmelze dieses Jahr nicht mehr so viel Einfluß nehmen. Wohl aber bleibt das Eis
relativ dünn . Wenn die Gefriersaison beginnt , werden die verbreiteten Eisschollen die Bildung von hohen Wellen verhindern , wie Sam schon gesagt hat . Das Pfannkuchen-Eis kann sich schneller an das bestehende Eis binden und so die Eisbildung beschleunigen . Sollte das Wasser jetzt isoliert sein, stelle ich mir die Frage: "Wie stark hat die später einsetzende Gefrier-Saison 2012 das Wasser gekühlt ?" Kann es sich in einer Saison wieder erwärmen , oder braucht es ein weiteres Jahr ?
Also, 2014 haben wir dadurch dünneres Eis und isoliertes Wasser zu Beginn der Schmelzsaison.
Und es beginnen wieder die Zyclone zu wüten .
Was wird passieren, wenn das Wasser unter dem zerbrochenem Eis wärmer ist als 2013 ? Und das Eis ein bisschen dünner ?
Ich bin der Meinung , es wird sehr wohl eine positive Rückkopplung sein. Aber wir werden es nicht in einem einzigen Jahr erkennen können


No quiero ser irrespetuoso, pero yo pienso que sería una buena idea volver a la lengua de Shakespeare

Gerhard Trausner

Tienes razon , pero por lo demás no me importa!
Podemos hablar en guaraní.
" heta sche maabo gaawube ,sche warea , sche kaneo , byhare sche marakaja !

Gerhard Trausner

OK ..... back to Shakespeare!

Is the ice disappear?
"to be ... or not to be ..... that is the question!"

If the Greenland ice sheet is melting?
"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark ......!"

Chris Dickson

Let's hope the Earth isn't of a mind with Hamlet:

"O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!"

Ned Ward

[...] we see
The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
Far in the fresh lap of the crimson rose,
And on old Hiems' thin and icy crown
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set: the spring, the summer,
The childing autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which [...]

Ned Ward

... and of course, from the same play:

That is, hot ice and wondrous strange snow

Physicist Retired

From NewScientist:

"Arctic ice grows darker and less reflective"

"For the first time, a detailed analysis of 30 years of satellite data for the Arctic Ocean has quantified how much the albedo, or reflectivity, of Arctic ice is diminishing. Aku Riihela of the Finnish Meteorological Institute told New Scientist he estimates that darker ice means the Arctic Ocean's albedo at the end of the summer is of the order of 15 per cent weaker today than it was 30 years ago.

...The authors of the new paper have not yet calculated the effect of their findings on those predictions. But they can only hasten the day when the Arctic is ice-free in summer."


Ron Mignery

Some German terms would add some color to the discussion. I especially like Schmelzsaison and Pfannkuchen-Eis.


Always useful to watch the NSIDC data.

SIE fell by 0.5M km^2 in the first 4 days of August.

It's not over yet and the fringes continue to break down and melt.

Whether the NW passage deep water channel will open this year will be an interesting point to watch.

I'm not changing my estimate for September until the melt stops for two weeks solidly or even recovers significantly.

Also the Bremen AMSR2 images are showing significant open water inside the CAB.

Time will tell...

Paul Klemencic

The storm starts today, and the forecast has changed somewhat, and it doesn't look good for the ice. Although the size and breadth is nowhere near the GAC of 2012, the forecast shows the storm lasting for 5-6 days, weakening, then continuing right to the end of the forecast period (very unreliable more than five days out).

This storm is going to tell the tale of the 2013 melt period in terms of SIE, SIA, and sea ice volume. I think it will tear the CAB ice pack apart to a degree we have never observed before. If the storm moves gradually up to and centers over the NP, we will get a substantial amount of open sea (with less than 15% concentration) at the North Pole for the first time in observed history.

We may see some of the forecasters who predicted open water at the NP this decade, vindicated this year.

Paul Klemencic

k eotw: The maps you linked to shows how ice concentrations climb a bit during the last week of July and the first week of August, as the melt ponds either drain or refreeze. This happens every year, and shows up as a leveling/increase of SIA, and even a slight leveling periods in the SIE graphs around the 1st of August.

Also the images you linked show the edges of the pack didn't recede much in the last several weeks, probably due to cooler seawater around the edges (less insolation during the spring/summer this year compared to previous years), and not as much ice pack movement shifting ice over the lower latitude waters. The condition of the ice pack at the lower latitudes did degrade to some degree this year, as the ice spread out some, but this just helped keep the edge of the pack fairly stationary.

Paul Klemencic

To be clear, I think the CAB ice pack can be shredded and dispersed near the NP this year, by this storm, because the pack is already splintered right up to the NP (as shown in the Arctic Mosaic tiles r04c04 with the NP at the lower left corner, and r03c04 with the NP at the upper left corner). If the storm center moves northward from the 150E-180E direction and ends up over the NP, the storm will first push the ice floes in the pack toward the Fram or Svalbard, then push ice out away from the NP in all directions when the LP center sits over the NP. This could result in open seas near the NP.

At the same time, even though this storm moves the ice around, the storm is much weaker and windfield smaller than the GAC of 2012. I don't think it will knock out SIE like the million sq km one week loss in 2012. The flash melt will be much smaller, and so I still expect the September SIE will be in the 4.8 million range.

The interesting stories this year, are the repetitive and persistent storms in the Arctic, and the fractured (and perhaps dispersed) ice pack right up to the NP.


The interesting stories this year, are the repetitive and persistent storms in the Arctic, and the fractured (and perhaps dispersed) ice pack right up to the NP.

That's exactly right.

Martin Gisser

What I also find extremely intersting is the complex system / Gaian perspective. We seem to witness a critical transition. And there isn't even any biology involved: No need for elaborate ecosystem fieldwork - just watch and doubt the sensor and model data.

Robert S

Just want to second LRC's suggestion that mass/crystalline structure is probably the variable we aren't capturing. Having grown up in a location with mass spring ice break-up, I've seen first hand how long ice can sit there with no apparent external change, apart from albedo change, while in fact undergoing massive internal changes in crystalline structure... and then disappear in days as physical stress results in sudden crystalline separation and order of magnitude surface area increases leading to much more rapid heat transfer and phase change.

Be interesting to see if some elements of the ice go through that process with this next storm.

Allen McDonnell

Like Robert said above, I have seen that very thing happen on Lake Erie many times when I was younger. The last few years it hasn't frozen hard enough to cover the whole surface so the ice degrades from the open edge. In the years past it woul look fine one day and crack into ice flows.

Gerhard Trausner

.This is a very interesting situation indeed.
The ice cream is warm. In recent months, the temperature almost never came below 0 °.
This reminds me of the past. We had no fridge, but we had a basement
with soil. In February, we have stored large blocks of ice in the basement that have cooled the basement in the summer. It took a long time to melt. But in August, which suddenly went very quickly.


If you look at the "North Pole Webcam", I don't think it's all that much of a mystery what happened to cause the sea ice area numbers to pause. At the end of July, for once this year, there was a high pressure over the Arctic, which allowed lots of sunlight. This was followed by a brief burst of very warm, humid air drawn in from lower latitudes as the storm started to spin up, while most of the ice sheet was still in sunlight. The result was massive melting and massive amounts of melt ponds. These quickly froze over again as the storm caused cloudiness, and the warm muggy air was replaced by downwelling cooler and drier air. The ice area, which was initially normal for the amount of sea ice. Due to the melt pond changes, it understated and then overstated the true amount of sea ice. The actual melt was slow after the storm spun up as well, as it placed so that it was drawing in little warm air from surrounding land, it created clouds, and the sun angle is no longer very high.

As for the effects of this particular storm, GFS has it blowing a lot of very warm and humid air over the Beaufort and the CAA. I expect it to melt quite a lot in those areas, but leave pretty much everything else untouched, including the other very thin, slushy ice in the Pacific sector, since it's adding almost no heat there. This leaves the overall sea ice area minimum area looking like it will be slightly higher than 2010, but close to it. Maybe it will open the other CAA passages, but probably it will fall just short.

It's counterintuitive, but the more snow gets dumped on the remaining sea ice, the better insulated it will be from the cold, and the thinner it will be next year. There was a similar effect with the Siberian permafrost this year. It mostly had a relatively warm winter despite the cold weather because it was under so much snow.

A-Team already posted an animation of running ice being pushed rapidly through the Parry channel by the storm. Under normal conditions, more than half of the fresh water leaving the Arctic Ocean exits through the CAA channels, and it must be much greater than that now. There's at least a chance that this storm will break up the fast ice in the other channels, and result in running ice flowing quickly thorough all of the major passages. The more fresh water is pushed out, the lower the sea level in the Arctic Ocean will be, and the more warm water will flow in from the Atlantic and Pacific.

Pete Williamson

Blaine just to correct some points you made.

"The result was massive melting and massive amounts of melt ponds."
Melt pond coverage was 20-50% and this is normal for the position of the webcams.

"These quickly froze over again "
This is not true the melt ponds were sitting above sa level and drained into the ocean.

It's all outlined in the link below

The media reports of lakes at the North Pole was somewhat sensational.

But I agree with the rest of your point the ever changing nature of the sea ice must make remote sensing a challenging endeavor.


Who thinks the Northern passage will open this year?

Who thinks the NW passage (Northern & southern routes) will open?
There's some hard core ice blocking the N passage near Severnaya Zemlya that doesn't look like it's going anywher. On the other hand, ice in the northen channel in the CA seems to have thinned up dramatically in the last few weeks!


"2. Having an oddball year that we cant make sense of immediately is a great scientific opportunity."

A great description of 2012.


That's right -- if it's persistently cloudy and the satellite is observing the ice at wavelengths that cannot effectively penetrate those particular types of clouds, then any and all secondary products derived from that imagery (such as area, extent, volume, melt pond, ice edge, drift, and thickness) cannot help but be erroneous.

That's worth repeating so we don't have to go over this again: if the satellite is observing the ice at wavelengths that cannot effectively penetrate the cloud, every secondary product based on those wavelengths will be misled because the satellite did not actually provide it with any information about the sea ice patch under the cloud.

No algorithm, no matter how clever, can make something out of nothing. However these tools operate in unattended pipeline mode, so that doesn't keep them from trying -- the day's product will be produced and put out on the server regardless.

We currently have access to Arctic sea ice observed at 17 different wavelengths (3 visible, 6 infrared, 8 microwave) and 2 polarizations. The optical properties of clouds -- and cloud combinations -- vary annually, seasonally and daily.

We basically have no information on the range of summer Arctic cloud types, their natural variability, persistent seasonal patterns or multi-year trends and so play catch-up at the end of melt season clearing.

Everyone is comfortable interpreting familiar wavelengths such as Modis visible and can see when the satellite is getting down to the ice itself. However visible and IR wavelengths have the very worst summer cloud-penetrating capabilities and it's been a cloudy summer.

At less familiar wavelengths, how do we distinguish actual satellite visualization of sea ice from overlying cloud artifacts? Here the intrinsic resolution of the satellite sensor may be fairly low, with passive emission at long wavelengths unable to resolve specific features in the ice such as cracks and individual floes.

Because weather systems move through very rapidly compared to the slow drift of massive ice, short animation sequences unmask the clouds. When a given cloud type maintains a distinctive shape over several days, its adsorption, emission and solar reflectance spectra can be reconstructed from sampling it at the 17 wavelengths, with that outcome potentially useful in partly correcting ice products.

However that is not happening with many of the secondary products because you can still see the clouds racing across the product. And you have to wonder about the ones where they aren't, especially in regions that have been impenetrable for weeks on end.

Right now, I would say the most informative satellite products out there are the 6 Ghz descending horizontal polarization for anticipating end state of melt season and the 89 Ghz polarization ratio (August 2013 vs 2012 below).

 photo 09Aug13Seaway_zps76ab9457.png

 photo 06HAUG10_zpsbedecbe5.png

 photo 89ghz13vs12_zps271620ee.jpg

 photo 89ghzAug1312CompB_zps358bb754.gif

William Hughes-Games

This is probably simplistic but aren't we seeing a negative feed back amongst all the positive ones we have been focusing on. Thinner ice and a lot of cracking at the beginning of the melt season led to increased heat and water vapour entering the atmosphere (and of course, cooling the water/ice). This causes rising air and low pressure systems with clouds which shades the ice. Storms, when the ice is fairly wide spread can't have the effect on the sea as they do later in the season when they can create large waves and ice scattering. A storm a the height of the winter, for instance, hardly causes waves at all.
Gaia is fighting back and while the over all trend will undoubtedly continue, we could see more of these odd years. At some point the ice at the end of the freezing season will be so thin that early storms will shatter it.

This is probably simplistic but aren't we seeing a negative feed back amongst all the positive ones we have been focusing on.

This certainly is a possibility. Like I wrote in a piece that has just been published today on the Guardian website (see latest blog post): "There even could be some unforeseen negative feedback kicking in and (finally) slowing things down, but that's not something I would bet the farm on."

A couple of weeks of melting (or not) left, and we can draw some preliminary conclusions that will be tested in the coming years.

Doug Lofland

Looking at the AMSR2 from 8.15, it looks like some significant open ocean very close to the pole. While this year is not shattering records, open ocean forming at the pole would be historic. I have always wondered how a liquid surface would behave at the center of rotation of the planet. Could a whirlpool type feature, or strong gyre form? Its worth watching with that in mind.

John Christensen

Espen wrote (regarding the apparent stability of fractured ice between Beaufort and the CAB):

"Yes there seems to be the same physics as when a leg is fractured, the result typically a reinforced bone."

This would be the same logic as for welding, but does that hold for ice? The new ice that grew during the SSW/cracking event, grew very fast, so must have held a lot of brine, which had been washed out of surronding MYI in prior melting seasons. I read somewhere, however, that under strong cold new ice can grow thicker than old ice, since the brine fills any gap in the new ice and conducts cold better from the air to the bottom side of the ice. But this sounds like speculation..

As melting has progressed over the summer, has it been possible to establish whether the cracks from this winter have been where the ice pack has opened first, or if whe 'welding' of the ice may have had an effect?


Looking at the latest UniBreen map, two things strike me:
1. There is a largeish hole well within 85N, North of Franz Joseph land. This is a first time I 've seen "free" water so far North. I bet that will refreeze pretty quickly so late in the season.

2.I notice what looks like a refreezing fringearound the whole ice pack. Or is it melting fringe?

Also, the SIE graph from UniBremen shows a flattening of the curve, unlike JAXA and DMI. I thought JAXA and UniBremen both got their data from AMSR-2. Am I missing anything?

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