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Clive Mitchell

Sorry for repeating myself but as this is a complex system with tipping points, I suspect that looking for a change in trend in a rolling average is a reasonable approach. For example, a five-year rolling average of the volume minima from 1984 (starting 1979) to 2013 reveals an apparent instability up to 1988, then a linear trend to 2005 followed by a sharper linear trend to the present extrapolating to zero at around 2019. It is a two-minute job to plot this.

Unfortunately, I do not have the wherewithal to determine closeness of fit, nor to upload the chart.

If you have a spare few minutes, your comments would be most welcome.


Does anybody know what's happening over at NSIDC Sea ice Extent, there seems to be a thawing trend..... How unusual is that in November?

Jim Hunt

Check out Charctic Lars. Even the smoothed data shows a reversal, and I can't see that any other year doing that on a quick inspection. There's been lots of data problems recently, but the reverse seems to be real:


I've been speculating about that on Twitter Lars, with one @NJSnowFan. He reckons it's all down to "solar activity". I felt compelled to disagree!

@NJSnowFan - Or maybe it's just the summer #SeaIce divergence finally becoming evident in the standard metrics? http://t.co/hVxRgMJKmM

— Jim Hunt (@jim_hunt) November 10, 2013

AO is very positive:

Due to big low pressure system over the Beaufort/Chukchi:

Probably causing Kara (and Barentsz) not to play along:

How unusual this is I'm not sure...

Jenny E. Ross

NSIDC has a note on the ASI News & Analysis page that might explain the apparent down-turn in extent:

"Daily images: Missing data

Partial satellite data may have been received, causing data to be missing from the daily map image (gray areas, left image), resulting in errors in the graph (right)."


All I can think about is how I would've milked this one if I were like Marc Morano, Anthony Watts or David Rose:

Arctic sea ice crashes to last year's record low!!!!



CT SIA has dropped 300K in 4 days:

Pretty amazing, though unimportant in the grand scheme of things.



Ciepłe masy powietrza wdarły się do Arktyki. Teraz lód ponownie przyrasta.


Errm, what could cause that? Satellite re-calibration, calibration error, website error, major compaction event?


The downturn on the NSIDC Charctic Interactive Sea Ice Graph is an error, I think. But there's a downturn on all graphs (see ASIG), so that's real, I think.

The cause as I stated above, has to do with the highly positive Arctic Oscillation, which BTW has become a tad more positive:

Catastrophic sea ice decline in Arctic!!!



If this year's bump up in PIOMAS volume could be called a 'dead cat bounce,' I suppose this small apparent drop in area should be called a 'dead cat dip'? (Or dead catnip??)

Gerhard Trausner

A re-calibration was necessary.
NASA had even included ice in the Baltic Sea and the Japanese South Island.

Gerhard Trausner


If you look at the ice-minimum seen from 1991 - 1997, you can see a very clear 2-year rhythm.


I think that at the end of 2013 PIOMAS come down to the level of 2012

Hubert Bułgajewski

Currently, the ice grows again. Interesting, but the blog Arctic News wrote that the cause of the loss (6-9 November) was the increase in the concentration of methane. Can this be true?

That this blog

John Christensen

DMI typically has the latest data and is showing freeze again, so that SIE is now higher than four days ago:


The decline in Kara and Chuckhchi was remarkable, but not unreasonable given wind directions from the low. Not sure much melting was going on, but guess we will see with the next PIOMAS update. If this was mostly compacting we should see thickness going up nicely since it is the thin ice being compacted, if it did not just melt.

John Christensen

I am more interested in the strong low near Iceland. Positive AO and NAO should normally prevent it from moving much further north, but if it did, it could have a ball in the Barentz in a couple of days..

Jim Hunt

Charctic looks more sensible again now.

A slight reverse on November 8th still remains

Wayne Kernochan

@Neven, all: Once again, I have posted something of relevance to Arctic sea ice, in this case a horrified assessment of James Hansen's latest scientific draft publication, at waynekernochanblog.blogspot.com. Once again, I'm not sure where to note this, so I'll note it here. Once again, I would really appreciate this group's comments and thoughts. Thanks again all, in advance.


Sorry if this is off topic, but it's all connected, right? Please watch this brief piece on the devastation in the Philippines:




Whilst NJSnowfan is incorrect that it's _all_ solar, you have to look at the figures. In the last month solar flux increased by 60 - 90% and sunspots increased as much as 200%.

Whilst this will not cause a one month blip (solar is a slow forcing over time), I paraphrase Hansen et al. It is not whether or not a 60% increase in solar flux does impact weather and climate on Earth, it is "How can it not".

The questions is not whether it impacted a one, two or three month trend; it almost certainly did not. It is more a case of what contributory effect did it have to other things which were already going on?

Case in point, AO as pointed out by Neven, Methane as already said and also sequestered heat which was trapped with rapid ice onset.

Solar flux and sunspot activity is still below 2012 but is higher than most of 2011.

However to put it in context, it is certainly much higher than all years from 2004 to 2010.

I continue to watch. I'm looking for a 2006 re-run. If we get it, then I will look to 2014 with keen anticipation. Whatever happens it's unlikely to be boring. Even if it is all bad news and more drastic melting.


@NeilT - with respect I will disagree;

That "60-90% increase in flux amounts to less than 1/2 W per meter squared, and represents a change about 1/20th of one percent in total insolation. The effect will be lost in the noise.


Aren't the "the suns activity is causing the sudden melt" people shooting themselves in the foot here?

Because if it's the suns activity that is causing the melt, than an inactive sun must lead to more ice, right? But the sun has been at a an extreme long and deep minimum between 2005 and 2011. So for sure one wouldn't expect the 7 lowest Sea Ice Extents in the past 30+ years in exactly this period.

Colorado Bob

The Alaska statewide average temperature during October was 8.8°F above the 1971-2000 average marking its warmest October on record in the 95-year period of record. The previous record warm October occurred in 1925, when the temperature was 7.7°F above average. Locally, the Fairbanks average October temperature of 36.1°F was 11.9°F above normal. In addition to the above-average temperatures, many low elevation locations received much-below-average snowfall.



Since when did the sun start shining in the (polar) night?

Watkin M

Isn't the simplest explanation for the increasingly dramatic pause in SIE simply that the jet stream has reverted to "normal" over the north Atlantic? For the first time since (I think) 2007 the NAO has been solidly positive through the autumn. Here in the UK that means its been gloriously warm (15C), wet and very windy. Just like the good old days.

Seems to me that this atmospheric pattern should be pushing a lot of warm air and warm water into the Barentz Sea. It might also result in extreme compaction of older ice to the north which is still very "slushy". Northerly winds to the immediate east of Greenland will also cause increased export of ice through the Fram Strait, reducing ice cover in the CAB.

A higher solar flux may be part of the reason the jet stream has normalised (I seem to recall that sunspot intensity is correlated with the NAO), but the fact that ice extent in the summer of 2013 increased significantly on prior years may also be relevant. After all, a number of people have proposed the counter argument - that reduced ice extent from 2007 onwards was the cause of the persistently negative NAO we saw between 2008 to 212 - and which produced cold winters in western Europe.

One last depressing thought. A positive NAO in autumn / winter seems to inhibit ice formation - at least in the most vulnerable sectors - the Barentz, Kara Seas and Baffin Bay. If we do get a more normal winter season as far as the atmosphere is concerned, it may be about to reveal the extent of the damage done to the structure of the ice sheet over the past few years. Perhaps the next phase of Artic warming will not be about summer ice loss, but about a reduced refreeze in winter?



I was very careful to say that the sun was not a cause but a contributor. The sun is just about the _only_ heat budget the planet has. If you only have one heat input, any change to it is significant in one way or another. It is the significance compared to the heat retention of CO2 which is the issue. CO2 is worth many, many w/sqm. However that does not mean solar variance has no impact. It may be lost in the noise but it is there and contributing.


The solar cycle is not at minimum, it's at maximum right now. Granted it's about half cycle23 maximum, but not low. The end of cycle23 came at the end of 2007. It was pretty much a normaly (if very strong and high), cycle till the end of 2007. Then it fell off a cliff. The longest period of 0 sunspots for 100 years. At the beginning of 2010 the new cycle sputtered into life and started growing.

So you can see they have a reason to believe the sun worshipers. 2008/9 are a significant positive anomaly in an otherwise rapidly diminishing trend. When the cycle kicks off again, one year after the cycle peak to date, we see a devastating destruction of the Arctic ice in 2012.

You know it's not just about the sun. I know it's not just about the sun. But try telling them that!!


Hi Neilt, I wasn't saying anything about the current solar activity level. I was pointing at 2005-2011 and saying that IF the suns activity was directly influencing polar melt you wouldn't expect lows (records!) during that era:


Anyways, I personally think that what we see this year is polar weather, not climate, in al it's bizarre appearances.

(Re read my post, I did say "has been", I meant "was". That's what you get from not being native in English :-) )


I don't know if Wipneus reads this, but I would love to see the sea ice volume graph with a logistic fit, to compare with the other fits. A few stubborn regions have to hold out before it turns fully ice-free...right?

Actually, I can think of one reason that might not necessarily be the case: I remember that at summer, the pole actually gets a bit more insolation than lower latitudes! (Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page3.php ) I'm still curious, though...


Pine Island Glacier 12 Nov 2013...

What a lot of people have been waiting to see is now happening. MODIS shows the 300 km2 calving event in full swing now.

Don't know if this is old news, but nevertheless I found it worthwhile... I've been wondering if action could be shifting to Antarctica...


Indeed, saw this image on the ASIF:

Colorado Bob

Werther -

Given that June thru September was a series of back to back record breaking months for warmth at the South Pole. And the data that came in Sept. reporting that the Pine Island was melting from below at the rate of 2.4 inches (6 centimeters) per day. And a berg 720 square kilometres calved in July. I'm in the same boat with you.

Colorado Bob

Werther -
I find new heat records at the bottom of the Earth in the dark, for the entire winter to be a very bad sign. This pattern began back in March with wild swings in temps.

Hubert Bułgajewski

I run a blog at home in Poland, though I'm not a scientist. This topic interests me.


He began to multiply again. The melting enough to reach the ice became the fifth - the lowest on record. It is possible that in a few days will be the fourth.

I also believe that 2013 may be only one year of growth. And for the year will again decline.

Colorado Bob

Hubert Bułgajewski -
" though I'm not a scientist. This topic interests me. "

I'm an old jackass from Texas , and I feel the same way.



I did read the post, but I also know that 2005 - 2008 were normal, not low. It was 2008 to 2010 which was exceptionally low.

I think we're saying the same thing, I'm just saying that there is an impact, no matter how small and also that those who watch the sun believe they have a reason for believing that solar impact is greater than it actually is.


I recall the first large "shock" event with PIG. The we were told "Well it's a 10 year event, nothing to worry about really".

I'll take a look, I usually look a few times each season. I've been waiting for the breakup down the sides of the Glacier to finally start breaking off the main glacier itself.

Not before time. I'm wondering how the Wilkins is doing at the moment. It seems to come in waves down there.


Pine Island Glacier releasing iceberg as of 11/11/13, open water in the two year old rift.


PIG: this was visible on MODIS yesterday.

 photo PIGday31612112013verysmall_zps55e5e8e3.jpg

The calving ice-island is breaking loose by rotating around it’s SE corner. I would have expected this to happen anytime coming summer. The process probably is less affected by the seasonal cycle than by what’s going on in ice-/ocean dynamics?

Colorado, I took this comparison from the daily cl Composites/ESRL in October:

 photo Airtemp1000Mbanoapr-sep2013minus07-12Antarctica_zps1b00a4ae.jpg

The Amundsen Sea was quite cold (air temp 1000Mb) while most of the continent was 2-3 dC warmer than ’07-’12. Against the Climo it was even more pronounced; +8dC near the Pole, -4 in the A.Sea. It had something to do with anomalous Geopotential Height (very low on the W side of Drake Passage).

OTOH, the SST/Skin surface temp was 2-4 dC anomalously high straight on the Antarctic Coast. Speculating on that, I’d suggest strong offshore winds could have
1. Spread tin sea ice to anomalously high extent
2. Made room for upwelling warmer Pacificic intermediate water:

 photo WatercirculationAntarctica_zpsf3bce891.jpg


Arctic News has a good post on the recent mid-refreeze melt phenomenon, which they link to very high recent methane readings, natch...


Currently, there is some very cold weather adjacent to Hudson Bay and to Baffin Bay, the two areas where ice is due to form rapidly; so I expect the headline SIA and SIE numbers to start shooting up again soon.

I Ballantinegray1

Whilst we are expecting the cold to continue with the general 'refreeze' patterns I've been wondering at the 'spurt' of 2m ice into Fram over the past weeks?

It looks like a lot more ice could be destined to go the same way as this weekend's forecast storm leaves some pretty tight isobars between Greenland and Svalbard.

The 'thin ice' over the pole looks like it could be aiding in this process by both being fragmented by the swells the storm drives and then compressed by thicker ice to the rear as the 'drift' gets a push from the winds aiming at Fram.

Could we see some of our 'gains' from this summer actually eroded away by an active Fram season this winter?

When we had thick ice the speed of transport was a lot slower than we see today so any return to the kind of synoptics that were common through the 80's could be even more devastating to the ice there this time around?

Maybe something to be mindful of come the Dec/Jan Piomas figures?


Off-topic,but perhaps of general interest, a new paper from Cowtan and Ray indicates that...heck...

"A new study by British and Canadian researchers shows that the global temperature rise of the past 15 years has been greatly underestimated. The reason is the data gaps in the weather station network, especially in the Arctic. If you fill these data gaps using satellite measurements, the warming trend is more than doubled in the widely used HadCRUT4 data, and the much-discussed “warming pause” has virtually disappeared."

Like he says, here...


Chris Reynolds


Earlier this year I looked at NCEP/NCAR and GISS LOTI, GISS shows less Arctic warming than NCEP/NCAR.
I concluded that GISS was giving a low end report of warming because it largely neglects the warming over the Arctic Ocean due to sea ice loss.


Idunno, That paper is going to be generating a lot of attention in the next 48 hours, I''m still in shock right now.

John Christensen

What is special about the Arctic, is that the 1-3m ice cover makes the whole difference: With ice, it is cold, and the warmer water is separated from the athmosphere, without ice, it is considerably warmer due to heat update from sun radiation (except in winter months).

I am surprised that the researchers are surprised to find temperatures are going up faster than over the continents in the Arctic given the significant decline in ice cover..

How well is the Atlantic Ocean represented with weather stations - or the Pacific Ocean? Could there be more gaps to consider?

The globe is clearly warming, but I have always found the weather station approach antiquated.

John Christensen

And it may be me not understanding the data, as the article states:

The trend of 0.12 °C is at first surprising, because one would have perhaps expected that the trend after gap filling has a value close to the GISS data, i.e. 0.08 °C per decade. Cowtan and Way also investigated that difference. It is due to the fact that NASA has not yet implemented an improvement of sea surface temperature data which was introduced last year in the HadCRUT data (that was the transition from the HadSST2 the HadSST3 data – the details can be found e.g. here and here). The authors explain this in more detail in their extensive background material. Applying the correction of ocean temperatures to the NASA data, their trend becomes 0.10 °C per decade, very close to the new optimal reconstruction.

Does this mean that HadCRUT is a composite measurement of land-based weather station data and SST measurements by satellite? And then this article adds the estimation of near-surface Arctic temperatures (including e.g. Antarctica and Sahara as well)?
I will listen and learn if others can assist here.

Craig Dillon

Weather is chaotic. The big ice loss of 2007 is mirrored by the ice gain of 2013 -- up to a point. The trend is still definitely for loss. The NSIDC method of using "ice extent" is mistaken. Using a metric created after the loss of the Titanic which is meant to be a navigational aid to ships crossing the Atlantic, does not seem correct for understanding Arctic Ice conditions for climate study.

I believe we are still on course for an ice free Arctic summer within the next 7 years. It is unimportant whether it is 2016 or 2020 or even 2025.

What is important to watch is the Winter maximum. When that reaches zero, then the Arctic ocean temps rise quickly. As the Arctic ocean temp rises, the ocean conveyor begins to shut down. As it shuts down, the ocean starts becoming anoxic. As it becomes anoxic, we get nearer to re-creating paleo conditions associated with extinction events.

I was recently told by Prof. Wadhams that the strength of the conveyor has already diminished a bit.

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