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Wade Smith

I am looking at the Global Sea Ice Area Graphic, which is probably the most reliable data set for monitoring Global Warming, and it looks like we are going to verify last year's ridiculous curve.

If this happens, it is a strong indicator that a bifurcation has happened in the Southern Hemisphere; The rate of forcing will begin to melt Antarctic Sea ice in earnest.

A few years ago, I was wondering how long it would take before forcing in the Southern Hemisphere caught up with the Northern Hemisphere, since the CO2 concentration and Methane Concentration of the Southern Hemisphere lags behind the northern by several years worth of Keeling Curve development.

Well, it looks like I have my answer, and the limit has apparently happened about 5 years earlier than I thought it might.

This is the first time in 8 years that I've actually under-estimated some aspect of Global Warming.

It's insane that we saw a 2.5 million km change in the second maximum area in a single year, to the point that the inflection points of the curve's 30 year mean don't even represent the behavior data any more.

Wade Smith

So NASA's GRACE experiment finds that the East Antarctic landmass is actually gaining ice, offsetting sea level rise by about 0.5mm per year, for now. This is apparently being caused by increased convection coming from the Southern Ocean near Australia. NASA Scientists predicted that this would continue for a few decades, but will eventually reverse, which will be bad news indeed over the longer, generational time scales. Besides all this, considering how rapidly Sea Ice area was depleted last year, this will eventually begin to play into Positive Albedo feedbacks to melt continental ice even faster; That prediction was made before this event happened, so it has not be refined by said data.

This means there is a half-millimeter per year worth of sea level rise unaccounted for, which is not coming from Glaciers or ice caps. Since the deep ocean is definitely not warming fast enough for this to be caused by thermal expansion, I can only hypothesis that this is coming from the mechanical displacement of water due to a geologic force, most likely sub-oceanic volcanism in the Pacific. Anyway, without invoking cosmic events, I'm out of ideas, because I don't know of anything else besides Geology which could explain that big of a change. We'd probably need another 10 years worth of data to confirm this or rule it out.


NASA's GRACE mission shows net declining of Antarctic land ice.

Wade Smith


I read an article a while back on physdotorg, which was published by NASA, which said the West Antarctic was experiencing net loss, but because of gains in the East it was actually net positive.

It would seem that Antarctica should be warming at about the same rate as Greenland, but because concentration of CO2 and Methane takes 5 to 10 years to mix all the way down to Antarctica from the Northern Hemisphere, the warming actually lags behind by 5 to 10 years.

In any case, my own attempt to calculate the rate of melt acceleration of Greenland suggests Greenland will contribute around 10.5 Inches to global mean sea level rise by the end of the century. I expect Antarctica to do about the same, since over the long term greenhouse effects should impact both poles about the same, though albedo effects and Urban Heat Island effects are obviously not the same.

This puts my projection for global mean seal level rise between 25 and 30 inches for 2100, because you still have to account for mountain glacier retreat in places like Patagonia, Alaska, the Himalayas, and so forth.

Since this is slightly above the latest IPCC report, I take it the IPCC is getting closer to the truth these days.

AH Crap.

While searching for that other article, I found a more recent one on the same news site, which contradicts it...maybe they made some sort of mistake?

Wade Smith

"The melting rate from West Antarctica, however, grew by 18 billion tons per year every year, Harig and Simons found. Accelerations in ice loss are measured in tons per year, per year, or tons per year squared."

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2015-04-gravity-antarctic-ice-sheet-increasingly.html#jCp

Ah, yes, this is about the same as the net average acceleration of Greenland. However, they didn't say exactly how much of this is offset by the east.

So, this is easily predictable and is in line with my prediction of roughly 10.5in per century per pole contribution to sea level rise....for the next century. In the century after that it actually rises even faster.

Wade Smith

This year, there is a slight cold pocket in the North Atlantic which had not been as large in recent years.

In recent years, there has been a heat build-up off the coast of New England and Newfoundland, which gets mixed back in with the Gulf Stream and carried up to Greenland and Iceland. This warm pocket is weaker than it was in recent years too.

Any ideas what is causing this discrepancy?




Hello Neven,

OT. But can you please refresh my memory of the subject of my sea ice bet with William Connelly from some years back?


You should be able to find it on the Stoat's blog, D.

Wade Smith

Northern Hemisphere Ice Extent continues to duplicate previous record low curve. This could be an indicator that the "mean" is now over-taking that previous record low year.

Global Sea Ice Area continues to run well below the previous record low, with almost every day being easily below the previous record. While I don't expect last years "slow recovery" to become the normal right away, I do expect this year's curve to end up bisecting the curves between the two previous record lows. It's unlikely that the "mean" experienced that much acceleration in a single year.

I believe the next 5 years will be "transitional", where we'll see more net melting of Antarctic Sea Ice Area, and then the years after that will establish a down trend.

Since this has turned into a Neutral ENSO year, I am interested to see how many Tropical Cyclones we end up with in the Atlantic, and how many of them influence Greenland and the rest of the Arctic this year. An average Neutral year produces 18 named storms, but we are already on pace to have more like 22 named storms this season.


-FishOutofWater aka George here

Wade, the winds have tightened back up around Antarctica following the El Niño so don't count on surface melting like the last 2 years. Melting from below, by intermediate water, will continue.

Note that the lack of an ice arch in the Nares straight led to continued production of new ice there. This process leads to upwelling of relatively warm water along the west coast of Greenland and an increase in salinity.

The result is warm salty water wells up under the Glaciers on the west coast of Greenland, destabilizing them. This situation also will tend to increase the flow of warm salty Atlantic water from the south up the west coast of Greenland.

Expect an interesting year for west Greenland's glaciers.


Sir, im interesting with north pole, Arctic rezime and also ur blog. i wonder if u or anyone can give me yall opinion bout arctic rezime, and the legality of Arctic Council in Arctic Ocean. Thanks.



Read all about the Arctic Council here:


or here


Daniel Bailey

"So NASA's GRACE experiment finds that the East Antarctic landmass is actually gaining ice"

NASA's actual position on land-based ice sheet mass losses:

"Data from NASA's GRACE satellites show that the land ice sheets in both Antarctica (upper chart) and Greenland (lower) have been losing mass since 2002. Both ice sheets have seen an acceleration of ice mass loss since 2009. (Source: GRACE satellite data [through 2016])

So NASA GRACE data says that Antarctica has been losing 125.0 ± 39 Gigatonnes per year, overall.


GRACE Antarctica data

GRACE Greenland data

GRACE homepage

Zwally's data comes from just 2 locations in Antarctica, and not the entire continent (unlike GRACE). Zwally's data also ends in 2008 (also unlike GRACE).

Further, Zwally comes up short, as losses on West Antarctica exceed gains in East Antarctica (gains in East Antarctica are 3 times smaller than found by Zwally's research).

2017 news release on Antarctic ice sheet mass losses

Martin-Español et al 2017 - Constraining the mass balance of East Antarctica

Daniel Bailey

I see that Wade has the habit of simply making things up (as noted on the PIOMAS July thread and on this thread).

That is unfortunate.

Susan Anderson

Slightly OT, but perhaps better than putting it with the PIOMAS posts. Startling: "There’s a Wildfire Burning in West Greenland Right Now" (vicinity of Kangerlussuaq)

Bill Fothergill


That "Modis active wildfire pixel counter" graph was a tad on the worrying side. This year was more than double the previous highest, and about 6-7 times higher than the 2002-2016 mean value.

Wonder if there is any significant clathrate contribution?

Daniel Bailey
"Wonder if there is any significant clathrate contribution?

Why would there be? Clathrates are found well below the ocean floor, shielded from the ocean by layers of sediment. Further, emissions from such have not appreciably increased in any published study areas, nor have any such emissions reached the surface in the form of methane.

The fire area is located on land, and is happening in a manner in accordance with known causal agents. One need not invoke the spectre of the Clathrate Gun at every shadow. :)

Bill Fothergill

For quite a few years, it has been my understanding that clathrates are contained within permafrost as well as in the ocean. As a starting point, might I suggest that you have a quick look at...




In the second of those links, there is a section which reads...

"In their Correspondence in the September 2013 Nature Geoscience journal, Vonk and Gustafsson cautioned that the most probable mechanism to strengthen global warming is large-scale thawing of Arctic permafrost which will release methane clathrate into the atmosphere.[47] While performing research in July in plumes in the East Siberian Arctic Ocean, Gustafsson and Vonk were surprised by the high concentration of methane.[48]

Perhaps you could also please indicate where I suggested that clathrates acted as a causal agent in these wildfires. My query related as to whether or not there had been any destabilisation of the permafrost carbon deposits as a consequence of the wildfires.

Daniel Bailey

Apologies, to Neven, for continuing to drive this discussion further off-topic. Feel free to moderate this, at your fiat.

From your link, Bob:

"Methane clathrates are common constituents of the shallow marine geosphere and they occur in deep sedimentary structures and form outcrops on the ocean floor"

While methane is indeed locked into land-based (terrestrial) permafrost lattices, when one says "clathrate" it is assumed one means marine deposits.

Your quote from Vonk and Gustafsson 2013 is actually basically just a letter-to-the-Editor. Here's a full copy, not just a Wiki quote. In their 2013 LTE, they cite older sources and the AR4 (IPCC 4th Assessment Report). They are referring to carbon releases from thawing permafrost specifically. Indeed, they do not even use the term clathrate (though they do use the general term hydrate once). Shocker, Wiki got it wrong.

Land-based permafrost is indeed melting, reducing in both area and volume. However, the vast majority of carbon emissions from those land-based melting permafrost areas are in the form of carbon dioxide, not methane.

There is an extensive amount of published research on the subject of GHG emissions from warming land-based permafrost and the possible releases from seabed methane clathrates in the Arctic. Let's look at land-based warming permafrost GHG emissions first:

Per Gao et al 2013 - Permafrost degradation and methane: low risk of biogeochemical climate-warming feedback

"Climate change and permafrost thaw have been suggested to increase high latitude methane emissions that could potentially represent a strong feedback to the climate system. Using an integrated earth-system model framework, we examine the degradation of near-surface permafrost, temporal dynamics of inundation (lakes and wetlands) induced by hydro-climatic change, subsequent methane emission, and potential climate feedback.

We find that increases in atmospheric CH4 and its radiative forcing, which result from the thawed, inundated emission sources, are small, particularly when weighed against human emissions. The additional warming, across the range of climate policy and uncertainties in the climate-system response, would be no greater than 0.1° C by 2100.

Further, for this temperature feedback to be doubled (to approximately 0.2° C) by 2100, at least a 25-fold increase in the methane emission that results from the estimated permafrost degradation would be required.

Overall, this biogeochemical global climate-warming feedback is relatively small whether or not humans choose to constrain global emissions."

And, as the Gao et al paper I linked to notes, CH4 from permafrost will drive an expected temperature increase by 2100 of about 0.1 C. Schaefer et al 2014 now calculates a total temperature rise contribution from ALL permafrost carbon stocks (CO2 AND CH4) by 2100 of about 0.29 ± 0.21 (0.08-0.5 C).

Schaefer et al 2014 - The impact of the permafrost carbon feedback on global climate

Per Schuur et al 2015, an abrupt permafrost climate feedback is unlikely, according to the experts, but the bad news is that the already difficult task of keeping warming under 2°C becomes much harder once we face up to the consequences of Arctic permafrost feedbacks.

Per Sweeney et al 2016 - No significant increase in long-term CH4 emissions on North Slope of Alaska despite significant increase in air temperature

"Data show no sign of methane boost from thawing permafrost"


"Decades of atmospheric measurements from a site in northern Alaska show that rapidly rising temperatures there have not significantly increased methane emissions from the neighboring permafrost-covered landscape"

Now let's examine the primary literature on Arctic seabed clathrate emissions:

Dmitrenko et al 2011 - Recent changes in shelf hydrography in the Siberian Arctic: Potential for subsea permafrost instability

"the observed increase in temperature does not lead to a destabilization of methane-bearing subsea permafrost or to an increase in methane emission. The CH4 supersaturation, recently reported from the eastern Siberian shelf, is believed to be the result of the degradation of subsea permafrost that is due to the long-lasting warming initiated by permafrost submergence about 8000 years ago rather than from those triggered by recent Arctic climate changes"


"A significant degradation of subsea permafrost is expected to be detectable at the beginning of the next millennium. Until that time, the simulated permafrost table shows a deepening down to ~70 m below the seafloor that is considered to be important for the stability of the subsea permafrost and the permafrost-related gas hydrate stability zone"

Berndt et al 2014 - Temporal Constraints on Hydrate-Controlled Methane Seepage off Svalbard

"Strong emissions of methane have recently been observed from shallow sediments in Arctic seas...such emissions have been present for at least 3000 years, the result of normal seasonal fluctuations of bottom waters"

James et al 2016 - Effects of climate change on methane emissions from seafloor sediments in the Arctic Ocean_A review

"We find that, at present, fluxes of dissolved methane are significantly moderated by anaerobic and aerobic oxidation of methane"


"Our review reveals that increased observations around especially the anaerobic and aerobic oxidation of methane, bubble transport, and the effects of ice cover, are required to fully understand the linkages and feedback pathways between climate warming and release of methane from marine sediments"


"a recent study [the earlier mentioned paper by Dmitrenko et al in 2011] suggests that degradation of subsea permafrost is primarily related to warming initiated by permafrost submergence about 8000 yr ago, rather than recent Arctic warming"

Per Myhre et al 2016 - Extensive release of methane from Arctic seabed west of Svalbard during summer 2014 does not influence the atmosphere

"Methane gas released from the Arctic seabed during the summer months leads to an increased methane concentration in the ocean. But surprisingly, very little of the climate gas rising up through the sea reaches the atmosphere.

As of today, three independent models employing the marine and atmospheric measurements show that the methane emissions from the sea bed in the area did not significantly affect the atmosphere."

Ruppel and Kessler 2017 - The interaction of climate change and methane hydrates

"The breakdown of methane hydrates due to warming climate is unlikely to lead to massive amounts of methane being released to the atmosphere"


"not only are the annual emissions of methane to the ocean from degrading gas hydrates far smaller than greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere from human activities, but most of the methane released by gas hydrates never reaches the atmosphere"

To sum, the vast majority of warming land-based permafrost GHG emissions are in the form of carbon dioxide, due to natural factors that help break down any methane releases into various components plus carbon dioxide (methane is much less stable than carbon dioxide).

Similarly, the vast majority of gases expelled from degrading seabed methane clathrates are oxidized in the water column and do not reach the surface. Further, much of what we do measure in the form of existing releases are traced to the much longer warming present earlier in the Holocene. And that these same clathrates survived earlier interglacials, wherein global temperatures exceeded those of today...for millennia. So they are actually pretty stable.

As to sources of the recent rise in atmospheric fraction of methane, it seems to be sourced primarily from the tropics and mid-latitudes, mostly from natural sources and a small but non-zero contribution from fugitive emissions from fracking and agriculture.


Lastly, the biggest contribution to the ongoing rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane comes from human activities, primarily in the form of the burning of fossil fuels. Which is something that we humans can control...and change, with a transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. If we do that, we can forestall much of the contributions from natural sources that otherwise might occur.

Susan Anderson

Oh dear, I didn't mean to open up the Pandora's box of "clathrates". I don't mean to belittle the problem of methane and permafrost, but I'm not expert enough to do anything but realize that it's a red flag to a group of people with whom I largely agree and of whom I am fond. imvho some people go off the reservation about these problems given half a chance, though Bill F explains his position quite rationally. From what I've been able to absorb, I think other problems are bad enough and more reliable as to evidence and sense of proportion, than the "bomb" stuff.* I also don't mean to suggest that there isn't a bit of truth amongst all the hot air on the subject.

I was simply thinking others might be interested about those fires, and came back because EarthObservatory has an item today. (I know that's what the forum is for, but it's time consuming to get involved so I chose this for a relative driveby post about what was happening (I was actually looking at fires in Zambia and Namibia which are not being covered at all, and that is even more off topic.))

Here's the link: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=90709&src=nha

In an unusual event, satellites have detected a sizable wildfire burning in Greenland. The fire is in western Greenland, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) northeast of Sisimiut. Most of Greenland is covered by ice, but dwarf willows, shrubs, grasses, mosses, and other vegetation do live in some coastal areas.
While it is not unprecedented for satellites to observe fire activity in Greenland, a preliminary analysis ... suggests that MODIS has detected far more fire activity in Greenland in 2017 than it did during any other year since the sensor began collecting data in 2000. The fire appears to be burning through peat ...

It is not clear what triggered the fire. Sisimiut, the second largest town in Greenland, has a population of 5,500 people.

*There are times when I think we desire something with the glitter of catastrophe to dress up the all too grim reality of mounting disaster. Just sayin'

Susan Anderson

FWIW, Those fires are on the far southwest of Greenland, and Petermann is on the far northwest. Almost as far as one bit of Greenland can get from another. I'm curious how that Petermann crack has fared.

And thanks to Daniel Bailey for all the hard work. I will copy the whole conversation for myself in case this conversation, which I agree is far from the subject, is removed.

Bill Fothergill


Can you please point out where I talked about subsea clathrates?

To the best of my (admittedly limited) knowledge, the term "clathrates" is used to describe a form of "cage compound" in which some other compound can be trapped.

In the context of global warming, the term usually refers to methane clathrates, in which methane is trapped within a water ice structure. Under the sea, this requires considerable pressure to remain viable, but, in permafrost, the low temperature is all that is needed to retain its structural integrity.

You seem to be engaged in some kind of crusade against the Arctic Methane Emergency Group, of which I am not a proponent.

Let's just summarise shall we? In response to Susan's comment, I wondered aloud if the temperatures involved in the wildfires may have caused some clathrate destabilisation in the surrounding permafrost area.

By way of response, you appear to have tried to take the piss, by intimating that clathrates only occur in sub sea regions.

When I pointed out that clathrates can and do occur in permafrost, you have simply gone on a rant.

It would therefore appear that if anyone dares to use the word "clathrate", you treat this as some form of red rag to a bull.

Further discussion would therefore appear to be a total waste of time.

PS Feel free to have the last word.

Daniel Bailey

Hey, you brought up the subject of clathrate, you cited Wiki (which had it wrong).

I merely pointed you to the actual peer-reviewed literature on the topic and summarized it for easy digestion.

The rest of your statement reflects very poorly upon you.

If you're not interested in learning about the science as it pertains to the Arctic, then why are you here?

james cobban

Daniel, I'm surprised at your vitriol. I've been visiting this site daily for more than five years now, and I've never found that anything Bill (not Bob) Fothergill has written has reflected poorly on him. To the contrary, I think he embodies the best of this community, both in his demeanor and in the quality of his comments. To suggest that Bill is uninterested in learning about Arctic science is absurd - he is surely one of the best informed of us all. But it is obvious that you too have much to contribute, so I hope that we can all carry on like the gentle folk that we are on this blog.

Daniel Bailey
"I'm surprised at your vitriol"

I'm not the one using vitriol. Unless you mistake science papers and credible evidence for vitriol.

I suggest re-reading the exchange, for clarity.


James Cobban: Bill Fothergill is one of my 2 favorite commenters here, along with Chris Reynolds.

Jim Hunt

Daniel - I strongly suggest that you recalibrate your tone. I've shared a few jars with Bill (not Bob) over the years and I can assure you that he is a fine fellow. He is a highly esteemed and highly amusing guest author at "Snow White's" blog.

FYI here is a picture I took of him pretending to be a climate model grid cell during a lecture at the University of Exeter:

Sorry Bill!


And Bob's your uncle. ;-)

Daniel Bailey
"I strongly suggest that you recalibrate your tone"

Re-reading this thread, my tone wasn't the egregious one. I have made no remarks about anyone's character, unlike comments directed pointedly at me. Yet no-one takes those to task.

Not what I remembered it to be, this venue, back in the genteel days of Artful Dodger, Logicman and I.

Susan Anderson

As the original provocation, I am appalled that you guys are duking it out, and beg you to read what I wrote.

It seems the word clathrates brings out the worst in people on all "sides". It's like the Berniebusters. It's more important to be angry than to get along, to be right than to consider the other person might be doing their best.

I like both Bill Fothergill and Daniel Bailey, but I have to admit that the use they made of my post makes me not want to come back. Please reconsider.

Jim Hunt

Susan - Exactly so.

Daniel - Since you continue to adopt that tone please take this as fair warning that Snow White and her Prince Charming enjoy nothing better than taking the piss out of people in public (TTPooPiP for short)!


Everyone, cool down, please.

I haven't read the whole exchange, because I usually tune out once it gets too long (there's a lot of text coming my way from the ASIF). I just look at the names involved. In this case, I see Susan, Dan, Bill and Jim, and go: okay, all reasonable, nice people, no problems there, even though it's about the dreaded methane clathrates.

I'll go and re-read, as I love juicy Internet fights, but I'm sure most of it is a misunderstanding. Like Susan says, we're all on the same side here.

Daniel Bailey
"Since you continue to adopt that tone"

What tone, exactly? An even-keeled, fair-balance approach to using the primary literature? Or the tone that Mr. Fothergill used, which I abstained from using? Or the smiley emoticon I used in my first reply to Mr Fothergill (in fairness, my html is a little rusty, so I didn't see that I used a smiley instead of my intended more-humerous winky until after I had submitted the comment...meh ;) )?

At every opportunity, I took the higher road. Responses to me, other than Susan's, did not. A better subject matter for discussion is, why is that?

Again, I didn't bring up clathrates (Mr Fothergill did). I didn't bring up AMEG (Mr Fothergill did). I didn't bring up tonal issues (but pretty much everyone else did). I did react to Mr Fothergill's own words "take the piss", interpeting it as an expression of derision towards me (looking up the term just now, it would seem that I interpreted it correctly), but again took the higher road.

Or am I being castigated for what I didn't say? I said nothing about AMEG or it's proponents. I said nothing about Doomers and their acolytes. I even said nothing about deniers or proponents of misinformation in my responses to Mr Fothergill.

"he embodies the best of this community, both in his demeanor and in the quality of his comments"

That is a rather damning indictment of this community, then, based upon the exchange above. My comments were pitched to content, not tone. My comments used the finest sources available in the primary literature, not a Wiki page. And what some term a "rant" is just me being thorough, as a communicator.

Jim Hunt

Here's a suggestion for you Daniel.

Why don't you start by apologising for calling Mr. Fothergill "Bob"?

Then perhaps you might like to read my article on why facts are not enough?


Daniel Bailey
"Why don't you start by apologising for calling Mr. Fothergill "Bob"?"

Gladly. I had no idea I did that.

My deepest apologies, Mr Fothergill, for an inadvertent mistake on your first name on my part.

Jim Hunt

Excellent Daniel. Some progress at last! It does of course remain to be seen whether Bill is satisfied with that.

Moving on, how about retracting your "rather damning indictment of this community" too?

Daniel Bailey
"Moving on, how about retracting your "rather damning indictment of this community" too?"

As the aggrieved party, that would be inappropriate, and unwarranted as yet.


Okay, so I've read everything, and this is a clear 'starts with a misunderstanding and then gets out of hand' situation. Bill wrote an ambiguously worded sentence: "Wonder if there is any significant clathrate contribution?"

He later elucidated that he meant whether the fires would disturb the methane stuff in the permafrost, rather than the methane stuff contributing to the fires.

By then it was already about the dreaded word 'clathrate'. And then the word 'piss' was thrown about as well. It's clear that these two terms don't mix well. ;-)

Anyway, it's much ado about nothing. We can let it go, or we can fight some more, never to return again to this corner of the Internet. In the end it doesn't matter all that much, except that I love you all, of course. :-)

Susan Anderson

Thanks Neven.

Maybe I can draw your fire (I can take it, don't worry) by pointing out that it looks to me like y'all would rather shoot at each other than respond to me. Sometimes we have to swallow our righteousness and move on. There was much that was interesting and useful in this exchange, until the anger turned it into a circular firing squad.

I know it's easier to attack people who actually listen, but believe me, as someone living in the land of Trump, blaming each other may be easy but it is wrong.

Jim Hunt

Exactly so Susan. Once again.

In actual fact Alice F., Snow White and I can take it too. Maybe we should all get together and form a red team?

Jim Hunt

At the risk of inflaming matters further:


Fires are rare on an island where 80% of the land is covered by ice up to 3km thick in places.

However, satellites have observed smoke and flames north-east of a town called Sisimiut since 31 July.

Experts believe at least two fires are burning in peat that may have dried out as temperatures have risen.


Err Guys! while you have all been bickering you seem to have missed the fact that Petermann lost a fairly big chunk of ice back on 26/27th July.Picture a day or so ago in the images thread.

Jim Hunt

Actually the best place to look for such things is the Petermann Gletscher thread over on the ASIF:


There you can see a whole sequence of images of:

The little piece (about 6 km2) at the front of Petermann Glacier that I have been watching [that] has broken off.


Hi all.

Daniel - it's nice to be remembered, thanks.

At grave risk of re-railing the interesting off-topic stuff, I'm with Jim Hunt:
"Actually the best place to look for such things is the Petermann Gletscher thread over on the ASIF:


Although very busy with legal and other non-cryosphere stuff I still study satellite images and ponder over the dynamics of ice in motion. I even post here and on the forum once in a blue moon.

btw: cryosphere - good name. What I read about what is happening to the Arctic and the ecosphere makes me want to cry. :-(

In conclusion: everyone here has something valid to say. I am a great believer in synergy, which means that I value all opinions because it helps to circumscribe a topic. For example: clathrates. For all we know there could be some skulking away out of sight under the floor of the fjord.

hth :-)


Nearly forgot: the fires in Greenland.

Warmer seasons make plants grow faster and dry out faster, at least, that is what I observe locally. (Kent, UK)

It is notable that the bigger fire appears to be burning around a lake. Started accidentally by a hunter or fisherman, perhaps.

Susan Anderson

I occasionally view a rather long youtube on extreme weather that comes out every few days, and at the end it had a zoom from Greenland to the fire. I thought it useful to know that the fire is very small. Not insignificant, but it has currently burned 5000 acres. It is, as noted, also off topic for this article. There are, once again off topic for Neven's Sea Ice blog, an unusual number of out of control fires globally. Siberia is a mess, for example:

Some of the same people who are eager to find clathrates everywhere (true or not, to be honest I don't know how valid the claims are, just tend to trust the best scientists) are also eager to claim "Greenland is burning" rather than a rather small section of Greenland (southwest) is having an unusual fire event, but Greenland is *not* burning.

Jim Hunt

For those particularly interested in wildfires there is an entire section of the Arctic Sea Ice Forum devoted to them:


The current "unusual fire event [in] Greenland (southwest)" does get a mention.

For the benefit of irregular readers, almost any Cryospheric topic you might wish to discuss will already have been covered over on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum.

Failing that feel free to start a new thread over there. Neven's monthly PIOMAS articles here on the ASIB can be considered as limited "open threads", but otherwise please endeavour to stay "on topic" in here.

John Christensen

Related to warm sea water undermining west Greenland glaciers, though different from the situation at Petermans Glacier:

If you play the sequence of the Greenland accumulated surface mass balance (SMB) from Sept. 1, 2016 to now, you will notice how the area feeding the Jacobshavn Glacier develops a negative anomaly already in Sept. '16 and how this negative balance has grown in the past year:


By now, the entire area feeding into the glacier valley has a significant negative mass balance, while Greenland overall has received a significant surplus of precipitation in the past year.
Even the front hills left and right of the Jacobshavn Glacier glacier front have a positive anomaly..

It seems clear that this area is impacted not so much by air temperature or precipitation deficit, but by increased glacier speed, which again most likely is caused by (warm) sea water still reaching further underneath the glacier.

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