I just saw that Anthony Watts couldn't restrain himself and has posted one more instalment in his series of predictions for the Arctic that have supposedly failed to come about. I know there's no use in telling him that the IPCC projects the Arctic to become ice-free somehwere between 2080 and 2100, or that for instance Wieslaw Maslowski revised his projection for an ice-free Arctic to 2016 ± 3 years after receiving constructive criticism from his peers, because Watts will simply always prefer smear over truth. But this latest thing he just posted is interesting.
As a reaction to the overblown story of the North Pool - when a couple of weeks ago NPEO's North Pole Webcam showed a large melt pond right in front of the webcam - Watts has a couple of quotes from 2000 by Al Gore etc. about large expanses of water at or near the North Pole. His timing couldn't be better, because in the past week a very large expanse of water has been opening up, not too far from the North Pole. We saw some of that in 2010 (see North Hole blog post), but this event looks like it's going to be even bigger and widespread.
It has finally started to show up on several sea ice concentration maps:
Many commenters here and on the Forum have been keeping an eye on this ever since that persistent cyclone in May and June started churning up the ice pack in an anti-clockwise fashion. Due to this melting season's almost constant cloudiness and the back and forth shifting of ice floes, it was difficult to see what exactly was going on down there. But now that the zones of low-concentration sea ice in the interior of the ice pack are getting one last beating of warm winds (and who knows what is happening below the ice) things can't remain under cover.
The hole near the North Pole is most outspoken, but how about the North Pole itself? Are we going to see another North Hole? Here are a couple of images showing the current situation, when the many clouds allow a view of what goes on below.