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Lars Kaleschke

Great summary again, Neven!

By the way, we have a new reference to cite for the AMSR2 sea ice concentration data:

Beitsch, A.; Kaleschke, L.; Kern, S. Investigating High-Resolution AMSR2 Sea Ice Concentrations during the February 2013 Fracture Event in the Beaufort Sea. Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 3841-3856.

Available for free at http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/6/5/3841

Jim Hunt

Thanks for yet another comprehensive update Neven. I'm not a betting man, but if I were I'd plump for somewhere between 2012 and 2013 at this juncture also.

Having followed proceedings closely last year I am however particularly intrigued by a little side wager. What would you say the odds are on being able to jetski to the North Pole at some point in September?

One reason I ask is that this is how things looked last year at the end of August:

As you point out, the melt in the Laptev Sea is setting records this year, and currently there isn't a whole lot of ice (comparatively speaking!) between there and the North Pole.


I suspect the missing ingredient in this analysis is the volume of ice less than a metre thick in 2014 compared to 2012. There was 600Km3 more of this thin ice in 2012 than in 2014, most of it the range 0.5 - 0.9m. This is the ice thickness that is currently melting out and it was a primary factor in the rapid decline in early June seen in 2012.
From 1.5 to 2.1 metres of thickness, the range that melts out from mid July to the end of the season, there is more than 4000 Km3 more ice to melt out than this year. By the end of July this should see the extent below 2012 and plummeting compared to 2012. The final figure may not be a record but I predict that only a very poor melt season in August will prevent it.


The above should read "From 1.5 to 2.1 metres of thickness, the range that melts out from mid July to the end of the season, there is more than 4000 Km3 more ice to melt out this year than in 2012".


Neven, the colder temps are from the usual cloud cover during spring time, they matter of course, but not as much as you may think, since Arctic Basin ice has been already melting for quite some time. Melt Ponds like during spring of 2008, were numerous and early, but didn't repeat 2007 despite thinner ice from preceding year record melt. What happened in 2008 before the melt ponds was vast clear Arctic air (eventually creating them) giving a lot thicker ice in place for the ponds to start from. So I think DavidR as explained sort of the reverse scenario of 2008. No melt ponds are an indication of lack of sun and heat, but inertia of accretion or lack thereof, despite the soon to be gone below 0 C air makes my prediction hold, less than 2012, because compaction matters more later, the shores must clear of ice though, if so compaction will do just fine in July till mid August, there is a normal gyre current , which left alone without the constant presence of a steady stubborn cyclone will compact things just fine . As Jim pointed out, the Pole had a great "compaction less" melt last year, the ice conditions near there are likely as bad as ever from previous minima with very little clear air over winter long night. This kind of ice will compress like an accordion given very little contrarian winds. Or Expand like a concertina fooling contrarians as usual to believe in the sure to be upcoming ice age.


There is another factor at play, open leads, I suspect there is a lot of small sea water patches out there, this likely muddles sea surface temperature acquisition, so the lack of compacting winds may be irrelevant given natural gyre current and numerous dark leads.

Steve Bloom

Jim, enough open water to the NP for a jet ski to manage? Maybe. Successfully? Not so much.


I predict almost a 0% chance of catching 2012. Looking at the two years side by side, the differences are stunning already by this point.

Jim Hunt

@Steve - Mind you I do know some guys who know how to handle a jetski properly:


Feel free to skip to 7:20 if the mellow midwinter vibe or the sound of my voice bores you!

@Henry - Are you aware of this recent report from very near the North Pole?


"Much of the effort today focused on surveying the floe for the best buoy locations. Most of the [Barneo] camp area is only 1.4m thick."

L. Hamilton

"Sea Ice Prediction has Easy and Difficult Years" is a sequel to our SEARCH SIO meta-analysis that came out in Geophysical Research Letters earlier this year. The sequel (an article for Witness the Arctic) looks at outcomes from two well-informed office pools that tried to predict September ice extent.


To quote myself:

If so, we can expect sea ice area numbers (and CAPIE) to start dropping big time.

CT SIA recorded two very large drops in the past two days. The anomaly has dropped below -1 million km2 for the first time this melting season.

As a consequence, 2014 is now 5th lowest on the CAPIE graph (2005-2014 period).

But let's see if the cliff continues...

Lynn Shwadchuck

Looks like there was such a cliff around this time in 2010.


But let's see if the cliff continues...

On the forum Wipneus says tomorrow CT SIA will go up by 15K km2, and the day after that a drop of around 80K km2.

But a cliff needs century breaks...


A 2 day drop of 65k will put us way behind the other years with big cliffs. This is prime time for huge losses in typical big melt years.


Henry the 1st :), to quote DavidR: "There was 600Km3 more of this thin ice in 2012 than in 2014"

You can't see the 600Km3

The big drops were expected, and should be even larger in time.


Wayne, 600Km3 of ice at an average 75cm thick equates to 800,000 Km2 of extent. Pretty close to the variation we have now between 2012 and 2014. I any see anything yet to change my view on the high probability of a significantly lower new record.


@wayne and DavidR:

I would be more confident of "catching up" if there was good precedent for it. But there hasn't been. You would expect losses from late June onward to increase over time as ice has thinned, but I believe Chris Reynolds showed that they did not. Therefore, being well behind on area is going to matter.


@Henry et al;

There's no precedent for anything that has happened in the arctic for the last 10 years.

This is completely unknown territory.

Conditions are volatile enough they could change on the twist of a breeze; in my estimation, that's what happened in 2012.



This doesn't mean we cannot make educated predictions with the information we have. If the thinning of the ice and loss of volume over the past decade makes a sudden melt late in the season much more likely, then wouldn't we see it in the records as a a trend? We don't. It seems the largest effect of the thinner ice is seen early in the summer and not late. At least when it comes to area.

2012 was already in last place by a mile for area at this point.

I'm all for learning new clues, but just saying "its unprecedented" isn't good enough for me. Maybe its my error.

I haven't seen a good reason why area can't be trusted as a good predictor by late June.

Hans Gunnstaddar

"What would you say the odds are on being able to jetski to the North Pole at some point in September?"

From some of the exhibits on the graphs link, I'd say there is a high chance, Jim. It looks very slushy in the CAB and something I've been looking at recently too.

As a secondary note, my prediction posted in late April of this melt season's minimum being about the same as 2011, i.e. close to the midpoint between 2012 & 2013 still seems like a good one.

Jim Hunt

The first in a series of 2014 melting season animations. This one is JAXA RGB for June so far:

One interesting thing to note (and also visible on the ASCAT animation) is that the "arm" of multi-year ice extending from the CAA towards the New Siberian Islands seems to disappear before ones eyes over recent days.


Jim, It is really cold by Spitzbergen, this time measured by Upper Air sondes, but your nice animation shows the coasts almost being toasted with open water. Ice shores cleared with water is key, but beware of satellite temperatures, at least at this time of the year: http://eh2r.blogspot.ca/2014/06/hrpt-skin-temperature-muddle.html


@Henry1 I am not arguing that it will happen, but JAW has a point. When it comes to climatology they talk in terms of tipping points as an example a full glass that has a little more water added to it. Up until it is full the water never spills and therefore you can say from historical precedence water never spills. but if you add to much then not only does the extra volume of water spill more then that spills. I believe you can say the same for the ASI. At X temperatures the ice has always do Y. Well if X adds just a little more stress on the ice and it gets to the point where the ice gets too much stress then the trends you saw in the past no longer would apply because that stress level had never been reached before.
The question then becomes when will that stress point be reached. Are we there now, who knows, but I do think it will happen much sooner then latter.


Some interesting observations of note:

1. A large lead opened in the shorefast ice north of Siberia today, signaling the breakup of this feature. Although this will contribute to the daily reduction in SIA in the Laptev region, for a period of time SIE will increase or hold steady due to currents that will drift lower concentration ice over the polynya which currently exists there.

2. The North Atlantic drift in the area which meets the ice edge is a very dynamic region of the thermohaline circulation. For years it the north leg of this major current has been butt-up against Novaya Zemlya, creating that lobe of SIF waters to the northeast of the island. This extension of the current seems to have made a westward shift over the winter toward Franz Josef Land.

3. I'm no expert in this field but it appears the Jakobshavn glacier source region has retreated deeper into the GIS. I created this GIF showing the difference between 2009 and 2014.


You can see in this April PIOMAS image that there is a massive spike of ice between 1.6 and 2.2m thick representing over 5 M Km2 of extent.
Over the past couple of years that spike has been seen in thicker ice that was less likely to melt out.
There is nearly 3 million Km2 more sea ice at that range than in 2012, and even in 2013 the ice melted out to 1.95 m thickness. The same melt this year would melt nearly 2 M Km2 of that extra extent. A little more and we are below the record.


Well talk about no luck, there were very few operational buoys in June 2012. Only three, one 2011D was North of Ellesmere and recorded above 0 C surface air temperatures at about the same time current operational buoys do (which happened a few days ago).


2011J near central Arctic Basin in 2012 (the warmest):


2011M Just North of Axel Heiberg:


Now look at current 2014 Buoy surface temperature data:

Just North of very cold Greenland (near the cold temperature North Pole):


2014C Beaufort :

(above 0 briefly early May and a few days ago)

2014B Beaufort:
(above 0 briefly early May and a few days ago)

2013l Beaufort (strangely cooler than the others)


2013F Beaufort (above 0 briefly early May and a few days ago)


2012G close to same position of 2011M (similar temperatures too)


Only one Buoy in June 2012 showed a stronger warming than all the others. Otherwise 2014 surface temperatures so far are quite similar to 2012 during the same period. Take note for your prognosis. Considering satellite temperatures when sea water starts to show may be less precise.

Jim Hunt

Wayne - There's a variety of alternative representations of the Ice Mass Balance buoy data over at:


That includes temperature profiles for the entire floe, not just the air above the ice (and snow still!). You will note that Summer 2012 isn't covered yet. My job for this week by the look of it!

2013I stopped reporting quite some time ago, and I'm not quite sure why it's still visible on the main page. The overall message from the buoys is that the ice didn't thicken as much over the winter of 2013/14 as it did the previous year.


Many thanks Jim - cool stuff, especially the temperature profile:


Snow acts like an intermediate interface an appendage to ice, note the air temperature top of snow is nearly equal as air at maxima as hypothesized, also there is a colder layer of ice at centre of column, not as cold as I would of thought but the ice is relatively thin. Air temperature at top of snow is nearly equal to snow at maximum temps. It is pretty much like I understood from my refraction observations. Except of course snow must be the interface layer to air rather than ice when there is some. Given that specific heat capacity of snow is roughly the same as ice it is quite exciting to see snow apparently cool as fast as air. But need to study more like this!

On the work end of things, it would be extremely valuable to have Buoy graphs showing as much data as possible compared to previous years. Especially surface air. So please keep on trucking!

Hans Gunnstaddar

Ok, slightly off topic, but this goes to a hot topic Colorado Bob was posting about a few weeks back and it is about climate change, because what is killing off the starfish and over twenty other species is disease from being stressed in part or all due to warming waters.


Scientists zero in on what’s causing starfish die-offs

“It’s the largest mortality event for marine diseases we’ve seen,” Harvell said. “It affects over 20 species on our coast and it’s been causing catastrophic mortality.”

Scientists have been working for months to find out what’s causing the massive die-off and now Harvell and others have evidence that an infectious disease caused by a bacteria or virus may be at the root of the problem. The disease, they say, could be compounded by warming waters, which put the sea stars under stress, making them more vulnerable to the pathogen.


Many thanks Jim, its quite exciting, I read data far more precise than ever, however there is not enough, my curiosity monster needs more. Particularly a full buoy day at 15 minutes interval with air, snow and ice temperature profile. A simple requirement but, it is more complicated than that requiring many more datas spanning for days. For instance, the day before in Barrow temperatures was above 0 C. This complicates things further.

Mean time work wise, graphs profiling Buoy surface air temperatures spanning a few years at about the same location certainly same time is a step in the right direction. Well done!


Every time moisture is injected deep into the Arctic Ocean, GFS seems to generate a low pressure system which is both deeper and longer-lived than predicted. For the past month, usually the 7-day forecast has been predicting better melting weather and a lower NAO index than has actually arrived. The bias being noted, the difference isn't huge and the model is still demonstarting significant skill.

May had poor weather for melting, and the smallish PIOMAS volume loss reflected this. The weather has been moderately good for melting so far in June, despite it not matching the forecast for better. I think the area figures are understating both the slowdown in melting in May and the increase in June so far. We had storms causing a bit of compression in May, but very little in June. We're losing ice volume rapidly now, but we're thinning without losing much area and still catching up from not losing much ice in May.

Check out this from Jim's link (west Beaufort fairly far from land and the ice edge), or 5.7C in the cold thick ice pool north of Greeland, far from any open water.

The forecast has gone from good for melting to extremely good for melting, and it will be quite good even with the GFS bias and random uncertainty. GFS is currently predicitng extreme Arctic Ocean high pressure, with extreme weather progression slowdown. Check out the North Hemisphere precipitable water on the UMaine realanyzer. The PNA ridge doesn't budge, while a high pressure system retrogrades from Hudson Bay to the US high plains, while the same high pressure spins off England all week, the same low spins off Portugal all week, and low pressure continually reforms off Norway and in the Labrador Sea.

Ice upstream of the pole in the Laptev Sea is at a record low, and I think there's a >50% chance that the pole will melt out this year. We're well behind 2012 still, but I with all the thin ice and good melting weather locked in so far, I think there's a good ice area will see a late drop this year to something reasonably close to 2012.


Every time moisture is injected deep into the Arctic Ocean, GFS seems to generate a low pressure system which is both deeper and longer-lived than predicted. For the past month, usually the 7-day forecast has been predicting better melting weather and a lower NAO index than has actually arrived. The bias being noted, the difference isn't huge and the model is still demonstarting significant skill.

May had poor weather for melting, and the smallish PIOMAS volume loss reflected this. The weather has been moderately good for melting so far in June, despite it not matching the forecast for better. I think the area figures are understating both the slowdown in melting in May and the increase in June so far. We had storms causing a bit of compression in May, but very little in June. We're losing ice volume rapidly now, but we're thinning without losing much area and still catching up from not losing much ice in May.

Check out this from Jim's link (west Beaufort fairly far from land and the ice edge), or 5.7C in the cold thick ice pool north of Greeland, far from any open water.

The forecast has gone from good for melting to extremely good for melting, and it will be quite good even with the GFS bias and random uncertainty. GFS is currently predicitng extreme Arctic Ocean high pressure, with extreme weather progression slowdown. Check out the North Hemisphere precipitable water on the UMaine realanyzer. The PNA ridge doesn't budge, while a high pressure system retrogrades from Hudson Bay to the US high plains, while the same high pressure spins off England all week, the same low spins off Portugal all week, and low pressure continually reforms off Norway and in the Labrador Sea.

Ice upstream of the pole in the Laptev Sea is at a record low, and I think there's a >50% chance that the pole will melt out this year. We're well behind 2012 still, but I with all the thin ice and good melting weather locked in so far, I think there's a good ice area will see a late drop this year to something reasonably close to 2012.



I don't see how June has been good for melting so far. It's been colder than even last June. Maybe it's finally changing now but I'm wondering if it is too little to late.


Henry 1, I expected colder for the CA Archipelago and Beaufort adjoining. This is because of the remnant regional colder air but essentially by the thicker ice. This in turn created more persistent high pressures over the sector. Anticyclones at this time of the year promote melting. I don't see why you say the temperatures are significantly colder as per my buoy analysis above. The biggest difference with area between 2012 and 14 is with Kara sea, which is a bit slower in melting this year (its been cooler there as well), but it will all go. Comparing 2007-12 and 14 makes me believe we are still in for a great melt.


Jim Hunt

Wayne - The current batch of IMB buoys report air temperature and pressure hourly, and the thermistor readings every 4 hours. I'll ask CRREL if that might be improved upon in future, but I wouldn't hold your breath for a positive response!

I've started on summer 2012 with a buoy you didn't mention:


It looks like the thermistors became drowned in sea water in the middle of June! This conversation persuaded me to upgrade the scripts to transfer daily max/min air temperature to Google Maps. I'll roll that out across the other buoys in due course.

Do you have any other bright ideas for displaying the existing data?

Henry - See the pictures over at:


We're ahead of 2012 in some ways! Pause for thought?

Chris Reynolds


You remember right. In CT Area considering losses from Date to minimum the trend is negligible from 20 June to min.

Here are the slopes at ten day intervals.

01-May 0.30
11-May 0.33
21-May 0.28
31-May 0.25
10-Jun 0.19
20-Jun 0.02
30-Jun 0.02
10-Jul 0.03
20-Jul 0.00
30-Jul 0.03
09-Aug -0.01
19-Aug -0.03
29-Aug -0.03
08-Sep -0.02

Before 20 June losses are increasing as one goes from 1979 to 2013, after 20 June losses decrease (slightly). Around 20 June is a 'sweet spot' where the slope is small (actually -0.00175Mkm^2/yr). i.e. no trend in late summer losses.

For the post 2007 period however there is a spread between the greatest and least deviations from average late summer loss. Average late summer loss is 5.311M km^2, the range is 0.506M km^2.

The range between the highest and lowest minimae after 2007 is 1.32M km^2, so the above mentioned range of 0.506M km^2 is about 40% of the range of summer minimae in CT Area.

Bill Fothergill

Somewhat OT, but since temperature has been mentioned a few times on this thread...

NASA's latest LOTI (Land Ocean Temperature Index) figures have just appeared. http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v3/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

Globally, it has just recorded the highest May anomaly on record - by 0.06 degrees C. NH and SH were 3rd and equal 2nd respectively.

For the March-April-May quarter, the Global anomaly was 2nd highest, with NH and SH respectively occupying 2nd and 4th equal positions.

NOAA have also recently updated their Nino 3.4 index.

Whilst still in negative territory, the latest rolling 3 month figure (MAM) has taken a 3 tenths of a degree lurch towards showing a positive anomaly. Possibly a bit early, but this might be the harbinger for the el Nino predicted (~75% confidence) to occur latter this year.

(NB For an el Nino event to be declared, the index needs to stay at or above +0.5 degrees for at least 5 of these rolling 3-month periods.)

Given that the LOTI figures for Jan - May are already well up on last year, if an el Nino does start to fully develop before about Sept/Oct, it is hard to see how 2014 can fail to eclipse 2010 as the hottest year (globally) in the LOTI record.

I doubt if this will have any effect on Arctic sea ice this melt season, but there could be a price to pay in 2015.


Jim , that is big proprietary data, hope to see much more soon. I deduced possible events from optical refraction, would be good to see what one high resolution day looks like. Great thing of interest is snow which has similar heat capacity properties to ice. Namely an extension of sea ice top.

2014b 2013l 2011j superimposed graph would be the most intelligent thing about sea ice at this time.

Jim Hunt

Wayne - OK, I'll see if I can come up with something meaningful along those lines. In the meantime IMB buoy 2014B is looking decidedly "melt pondish" today:

Click the image for a closer look.


Jim, From your last graph right above, we can notice the rapid cooling which can only be from sea ice. Are all these times synchronized? Time 0 what time UTC? June 1 looks weird.

Jim Hunt

Wayne - The temperature profiles are all from 00:00 on the date in question, as per the downloaded data file. The comments on the 2013I page suggest all times are UTC, but I'm not 100% certain about that.


Jim, it could have been the weather. Ie very windy or arrival of warm air from cyclone. Surface temperature warming will overwhelm what is coldest in the ice in no time, it shows the rate of warming of ice without measuring ice temperatures. Because the ice is warming and these curves show by how much and how fast...

Well done!

Now would like to announce here that my hypothesis on optical refraction observations and bottom ice melting has been confirmed, by what else? A buoy:


I never seen this kind of data before, so I am pleased that the hypothesis works. Time to celebrate, will take you to your favourite pub next time in England Jim!


Sorry for the double-post.


Re: Cold or warm years: See here, figure 4, for some information about actual vs. buoy-reported temperatures. The actual air temperature varies very little except close to shore or the ice edge. Sunlight is absorbed by ice or snow or by water touching ice without the heat ever being in the air as a warm air temperature. Even 2012 shows as a below-average temperature summer on DMI 80+N temperatures, due mostly to reduced measurement error and not reality.

The reported temperature is correlated wtih sunlight and melt, but the lack of a large temperature difference means that heat advection is low, and from May-July clear skies provide better weather for melting far from shore than advected heat, which results in cloudiness.

The exceptions for ice extent minimum would be north of the CAA, where even in 2012 the ice edge was still close to shore, and August and September, when the sun is low anyhow.

The melting weather as such is actually even better now than than in 2012 at this time, but due to lesser albedo-dropping preconditioning weather, the melting rate while strong is still trailing.

Re: Open water at the pole: The amount of ice on the eastern side of the Arctic Ocean at that start of the melting seasons of 2013 and 2014 has just been so low that it would require a worse than normal melting season to not have open water at the pole. Even 2013 saw days of about 50% floes / 50% water.

Re: Approaching 2012 ice levels: This would require excellent melting weather from here on out, but good or bad melting weather has been persistent in recent years in summer, so I don't really see it as out of the question yet. Also, after seeing in 2012 and 2013 the amount of ice flowing through some of the CAA channels normally closed by fast ice, I'm convinced that for once HYCOM has a better grasp of the ice thickness difference between years than PIOMAS, which after all isn't particuarly tuned to get fast ice breakup correct.

Re: GFS forecast: The forecast has suddenly flipped to near average sunlight, although with very large heat advection into the CAA and northwards. I suppose we'll just have to wait to see what actually happens.


Does anyone expect that there will be a record high Antarctic sea ice area this year?


@Vsaluki Antarctica extent is used as a distraction of the real melt there. Extent for the most part melts off every year. The real melt are the glaciers, and those are thinning and getting smaller every year. It may look like a very small % of the total, but the speed of losses are increasing at an exponential rate. That is the troubling part.


@LRC, looking at the Southern Hemisphere chart for sea ice area since 1979, it looks like the low for each year is moving the same way as the high. In other words, the sea ice is not melting back as far each year. It also looks like for most of the past couple of months the extent for any day was a record extent for that day. Since area is something we can measure with relatively little error or need for adjustment, I consider it an important indicator.

I also believe that there must be at least some correlation between ice area and ice thickness. For example, if you have a one square mile sheet of ice that is one foot thick and another that is two feet thick, then if you have a foot of ice melt the first will disappear and the second will remain. Real ice will vary in thickness, but the bottom line is that when the melt starts thin ice will reduce surface area faster than thick ice. So I believe that the fact that Antarctic sea ice has less melt back each year is either an indicator that the water is colder or that the ice is thicker or both. And of course the growing maximum sea ice area in the Antarctic indicates that either the water or air temp or both are colder.


Definitely extremes going on at both poles.


Looking at EOSDIS and 2014b buoy data reveals thick ice about to vanish near Alaska:

06/20/2014 12:00"," 74.6570"," -160.1087","GPS","
surface air: -1.67"," SLP 1025.91","
snow thickness: 0.05 perhaps 50 cm","
ice thickness: 158 cm
top snow temperature -0.44". 10 cm level temperature: -0.56"," 20 cm: -0.58"," 30 cm: -0.88"," 40 cm: -0.56"," 50 cm: -0.02 (water?)"," 60 cm: -0.00"," 70 cm: -0.17"," 80 cm: -0.44"," 90 cm -0.69"," 100 cm: -1.06"," 100 cm: -1.23"," 110 cm: -1.38"," 120 cm: -1.46"," 130 cm: -1.44"," 140 cm -1.50"," 150 cm -1.51"," 160 cm: -1.57"," 170 cm -1.57", 180 cm" -1.57"," 190 cm -1.51"," 200 cm -1.55"," 210 cm -1.63"," 220 cm -1.44"," 230 cm -1.44"," 240 cm -1.46"," 250 cm -1.53"," 260 cm -1.51"," 270 cm -1.44"," 270 cm -1.50"," 280 cm -1.57"

Its fresh ice all right and needs 0 C to melt……..
It is so much easier to study when its colder! I've added a few more examples which make the state of ice written above look like Relativity! http://eh2r.blogspot.ca/2014/06/from-optical-based-hypothesis-to-reality.html

Jim Hunt

Vsaluki - "The simplistic interpretation that it must be cooling around Antarctica is decidedly not the case"


then scroll to the bottom.


Bill F asked me to post this for him, as he can't log in for the moment:

Whilst I fully agree with the response from LRC stating that Antarctic sea ice is frequently used as a red herring, it doesn't actually answer the question that was asked. So here's an attempt to do so.

Sea ice growth in the Antarctic, whilst indisputably expanding of late, has demonstrated seriously erratic (as opposed to erotic) behaviour for many years. If we look at the NSIDC area data, and let a value of 1 equate to the largest area recorded, then the annual average figures from 2000 onwards read...
9, 19, 33, 6, 7, 18, 24, 10, 2, 4, 5, 21, 3, 1

Not exactly monotonic growth, but the 5 highest have all been in the last 6 years!

It is extremely likely that this month will see a record high for June; that will mean that in the 24 month period from July 2012 to June 2014, all bar 3 will be amongst the 5 highest recorded for the given month. All 12 months will have clocked up either a largest or second largest average during that period.

I don't know if your question relates to (a) annual average area, or to (b) the month having the annual max - which will be in September.
My guess for each would be (a) very probably, and (b) quite possibly.

The reason I choose to hedge my bets on (b) is because last year comfortably had the largest annual average in the NSIDC dataset, but the September average was still only 4th. Whether it does will depend on the weather.

Cheers BIll F

I disagree with the 'erotic' thing. I think Antarctic sea ice is pretty sexy too. I wish I had more time to start an Antarctic Sea Ice Blog and get to the bottom of this. There are some very interesting theories that try to explain the increase, some of which are tied to AGW.


Following the reading of the ‘melt season’-thread at the Forum, I’d like to make a short post here. An attempt to summarize. On the metrics SIA/SIE I was wrong last year. But even then, Sep ’13, I didn’t feel like my ‘credibility’ was torn. It doesn’t really matter to me anyway.

The (partly masochistic) joy is in witnessing the ride, whatever it may bring.

Anyway, I still think that the trend since 2006 is always down, with steps (especially ’10 and ’12). There’s no metric on ice quality. So my standpoint about last year cannot be made hard.

Although I voted for an SIE/SIA minimum between ’13 and ’12, based on quality the sea ice could go almost anywhere. Busy interpreting the differences in CAD, on a regional basis, my first impression on the whole state is that the safe ‘mesh-pattern’ MYI swath against the CA is now just over 1.1 Mkm2. Down again. The rest is awfully volatile.

In comparison to 2012, hold in the mind that the structural losses were immense. Both winters after that had bad ‘winter-power’(13-14 the worst), not much was ‘repaired’ through these freeze periods. Last summer, although anomalously cold, didn’t ‘repair’ anything, it was just a delay.

So June 2014 the status quo is pretty much where it was left September 2012 from a quality standpoint. With three months of summer to go. In an ever toastier environment….

Jim Hunt

Wayne - It looks as though the entire floe beneath 2014B is now warmer than the water underneath it. Current ice thickness is 158cm, and bottom melt should now speed up. However I don't think it's going to melt away to nothing in a few days!

Click the image for a closer look.

The Marginal Ice Zone Program has more ice mass balance buoys in the Beaufort Sea, but unfortunately their data page still says "Public data will be available soon"



Werther -

Good summation. I agree with you pretty much on all points. I will amplify and support your points a bit further.

First, your and everyone else's failing to get either 2012 or 2013 right - both were surprises - highlights the newly established futility of making definitive short-term predictions regarding exactly where the ice will be in September or April. The transition in the state of the ice over the last few years - my seminal point here is 2007 - speak to that. Your "mesh pack" disappearing in 2012 and the massive reduction in volume leave the ice in a much more volatile state. Less buffering now means that what would in the past be transitory events in weather are rapidly amplified. The steady increase in sensible heat at high latitudes is the direct cause of that, not transitory states of weather.

The ice changes are a symptom, not a cause, though as a short term phenomena, it does provide feedback which brakes the worst of the freefall to an ice-free arctic. There is no question that at junctures in the past, the arctic has seen torching like we see now in 2014, and retarded melt like 2013. What is different is the capacity of the system as a whole to absorb and buffer those inputs. The total energy balance of the system is far more precarious. Pre-1980, weather events such as we are seeing now playing out this season were statistical curiosities, rather than catastrophes.

So, hysteresis applies. Because of the reduced capacity of the system to absorb shocks as a whole, inputs identical to what we have seen in the past now produce (what in the past would be...) disproportionate changes in the behavior of the system.

In this as an illustration, consider 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 SIA minimums with 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983 at a gross level. (hopefully the table lays out correctly)

Year over Year
Minimum Difference %Change

1980 5507712 200986 3.65%
1981 4956492 -551220 11.12%
1982 5139060 182568 3.55%
1983 5386929 247869 4.60%

2010 3072130 -352468 11.47%
2011 2904740 -167390 5.76%
2012 2234010 -670730 30.02%
2013 3554397 1320387 37.15%

This illustrates the massive increase in volatility of the system as a whole. Given similar conditions of ice, variations in energy input into the system in the past would result in very modest changes in SIA. Now, the effect of those variations in input are massive.

So, I think this supports these points...

-> Our ability to skillfully predict short term behavior has declined proportionate to the reduction of buffers in the system.

-> Reduction in that buffering similarly reduces the utility of past indicators of behavior. For example, a hot early melt season does not necessarily correlate to a new minimum (2013).

-> "Weather" rather than "Climate" now dominates short term behavior of the system.

More than ever, the 2014 minimum is now wholly dependent not on May melt ponds, June cold, February warmth, etc., but rather on the next 6-8 weeks of weather.


Neven, check out CT GFS animations. It will be toast for the coasts!

Sea ice temperature columns over Beaufort sea are the in thing for me. Pre-collapse conditions suggest the coldest near middle layer must be at lesser temperatures than air and sea, for ice to survive.
The sun is simply forcing heat towards centre, when Temperature of coldest ice layer = sea , may be precursor to something interesting.

George Phillies

Once again, having been wrong several times before, I shall propose that I see a chunk of ice breaking off from the Nares ice bridge and heading equatorward, visible in the 6/21 images at DMI as a white triangle.

Once again I expect that I will not be convincing in my report.


I agree @George

I think a big melt is on the cards. Lots of warm air, currents are right to impact outlying ice, around the entire Arctic. The highs and lows are feeding in relatively warm air ( at all levels by the looks of things ). The next week will be important. The push ( wind/currents) ATM is dividing the remaining ice into two halves. Both halves are being eroded on the coasts and I do believe soon from within the pack.


I agree @ Kate, on top of that eliminate Kara sea ice area, which will be gone in a little while, sea ice area will be on par with 2012.

North of Alaska action reveals imminent collapses:

buoy 2013f, using buoy temperatures, has only about 120 cm of 167 effective ice, the rest at bottom is soft, corrupt, at same temperature as sea water. The degree of purity of water in this ice is important. Top has plenty of water not seen well with webcam:


this may be precursor to melt ponds, or melt ponds are in effect already there without being capable of visual perception. This means visual melt ponds are in some cases observed earlier because of lack of snow depth, and actual existence of ponds go undetected under thicker snow. I do remember having a snow mile swallowed by such under top of snow ponds many years ago.

buoy 2014b, has 50 cm of barely solid ice out of 160 cm. Lots of pond water there as well. THis one is highly likely going to float on sea water soon.

buoy 2014c, 130 out of 190 cm of more solid ice, with certainly stealth melt pond water on top.

All 3 buoys are relatively close to each other. As we can see on satellite close ups, sea ice surface appears to vary, and so does its ice physical properties.


Those predicting a melting season similar to 2013 or those who predicted the fiction of pending new ice age, may see their prediction leaving the realm of reality as fast as sea ice is retreating off North Alaska shores at break neck speeds ... now. A little GIF surprises and is telling. http://eh2r.blogspot.ca


I've been thinking for a very long time that there is an important metric we do not have, unfortunately, and that is the average temperature of the ice.

For one thing, it simply cannot be as low as it was, say, 30 years ago. Can we say that 3-meter-thick multiyear ice in 2014 has the same average temperature as it would have in say, 1980? I just don't believe so.

Reports, even back in 2010, from sea captains in the Arctic, were that the ice was rotten, slushy, and their boats sliced through it like butter.

George Phillies

6/22 evening Nares is now hiding under cloud. However, the IJIS SIE is showing a marked steepening in the last couple of days.

Hans Gunnstaddar

Hey, how about this; the MSM (posted on Google) has finally caught up to high amplitude jet stream waves influencing extreme weather.


"The impacts of large and slow moving atmospheric waves are different in different places. In some places amplified waves increase the chance of unusually hot conditions, and in others the risk of cold, wet or dry conditions," Doctor James Screen, a Mathematics Research Fellow at the University of Exeter and lead author of the study, said in the news release.

The study suggests that larger waves can trigger droughts in regions of central North America, Europe, central Asia, and western Asia that have been exposed to extended precipitation. It also shows that western North America and central Asia are more prone to heat waves while Eastern North America is more likely to experience a cold snap.


@Tenny The bouys actually do take readings from the to the water. Not sure of the frequency or how far back the archives go. Jim Hunt would know the best.
They also do that periodically in the Antarctica. https://nsidc.org/data/thermap/


See http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2705. Something happened to that no warming happening. 3rd month in a row of tying or beating record temps.

George Phillies

The 6/23 AQUA setting on the Kane block at http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/kane.uk.php
appears to show a very substantial number of blocks of ice that have broken free and are moving equatorward at the Nares Ice Bridge.

Hans Gunnstaddar

I look at the sea ice concentration and ice extent graphs looking for small day to day changes. In particular sea ice concentration and ice extent. Since yesterday Sea ice concentration shows a large strip near the Beaufort coast that just opened up in the past 24 hours, with ice extent simultaneously indicating a drop.


Everyone's acting like 2013 was destined for weak melt from the get-go, but on day 205 (according to CT), it intersected with 2007's record. On that same day, 2008, 2009, and 2010 were all above 2013, and it had kissed the 2011 line a few days earlier, on day 199.

Really, the only line for that week that was substantially below 2013 was 2012.

It could have easily kept dropping, but also on day 205 it stalled out and didn't start moving again until day 214.

In essence, 9 days of melt were totally lost and even though it dropped into a nice curve at the bottom, it just couldn't make up the difference in the waning sun.

Had it not stalled out, I am completely confident that it would have been in the same company as all the years since 2007 but two.

Jim Hunt

Tenney - I have collected lots of information on the temperatures within Arctic sea ice over at:


Here's one example, showing amongst other things that bottom melt began (at one location at least) in the Central Arctic Basin a little while ago:

Click the image for a closer look.

The overview at the link above shows how almost 3 meters of Beaufort Sea ice melted away in a few weeks in 2007, starting right around now.

Bill Fothergill


I'm being dim. What's the x-axis on the above chart?


bill the thicko

Remko Kampen

Hi Bill, follow the link - x-axis is explained below the chart in there:

"The x-axis of the graph shows the thermistor number. Number 1 on the left is in the air above the sea ice, to start with at least. The last one on the right (28 in this case) is in the water below the ice. In the absence of further information the ones in between are open to interpretation, but they are nominally 10 cm apart."

The dots correspond to specific sensors of which apparently some thirty are located vertically spaced at 10 cm per buoy.

Bill Fothergill

@ Rlkittiwake

Good point; one, I think, that requires looking at a bit of psychology.

Four years or so ago, we had a bunch of gullible tits crowing about the "25% recovery" between 2007 - 2009, so the turn around over the next three years would have been a bit hard to swallow for those of the ostrich persuasion. (I was trying to see how many avian puns I could squeeze into that sentence, but gave up a six.)

When one takes a keen interest in science, and in the concomitant data which separates it from navel gazing, it can be difficult to avoid falling into the trap of anthropomorphism. Even although virtually anyone contributing to this blog knows that the ongoing loss of Arctic sea ice is another nail in the coffin, it's only human to get tied up in the "excitement".

After 2010, 2011 and 2012, I confess to a bizarre sense of disappointment about the way things played out "up north" last year, and I suspect I am not alone in that feeling.

Incidentally, the CT figures were, if anything, even more outlandish that you suggest. Day 204 last year had a value of 4.857 million sq kms, but 10 days later, it had actually risen by 20,000 sq kms! The preceding 25 days had seen a 3 million sq km drop (120k per day) and the following 10 days clocked up a drop of around 700k sq kms.

However, one doesn't see such an extreme example in the NSIDC, JAXA, DMI or Nansen datasets.


A little OT. A friend of mine passed on to me this seriously dangerous weather site. http://weathertemperature.com/weatherforecast/?q=Barrow,Alaska,United%20States%20Of%20America#24June Gives you almost ever bit of info your boss really you rather not take the time to know about.

Jim Hunt

Bill - Hopefully that graph makes some sense now?

Remko - The reason I say "open to interpretation" is that last year we kept a close eye on a few ice mass balance buoys over on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum, including the one sat in the middle of the infamous "Lake at the North Pole". It seems as though the top sounder can report a melt pond as "snow", whilst the bottom sounder can report a recently drained melt pond as "ice":


Remko Kampen

Right, Jim, I realized those complexities from the text and decided not to expand on that for my short explanation to Bill.

Arctic sea must be the murkiest place to measure anything on the planet :)
Last year's surprise has me actually withholding participation on any minimum extent poll this year. I'll remain waiting for the wipe-out, which will apparently also be a big surprise when it happens; me I can only hope it doesn't happen before next year (I've postulated the wipe-out in 2004 at +12 to +15 years, never saw reason to revise this estimate).

Bill Fothergill

Remko, Jim,

Thanks guys. I had followed the wrong link by clicking on the graph, rather than using the link embedded in the text. Told you I was being dim!

It was pretty obvious that the the x-axis related somehow to depth. What I couldn't fathom (tee-hee) was the scale and the technique.


Yes Jim,

The freezing point of sea ice at 4-5 g/Kg is about -.1 to -.2 C that would be for top of ice column. I don't have salinity in first year sea ice column graph, but if we make it linear, sea ice melts at -1.8 c at bottom, and lets say it increases by .1 C/10 cm, at 10 cm from bottom it should be -1.7 C which is .3 C below where some readings are right now:


where top of ice should have melted by about 40 cm, bottom … difficult to interpret.


More ice breaking away at the south ice limit in Nares Strait, but also a crack further north across the strait at Franklin island visible in the Aqua image today (2014-06-26): http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/kennedy.uk.php

John Christensen

Just noting that SH positive anomaly SIA on CT has passed 2M km^2 for the first time since record keeping began in 1979, and Global SIA right now is the highest since 1996 as a consequence of this.

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