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Andrew Borst

Blinking thru the images of the flow of ice in the Nares Strait and looking back at 2009, I wonder if one was to measure the flow of ice in km/day and took the highest flow rates and matched to century breaks there would be a high correlation.

2009 July 5th ice arch final days:


ESA has a big event in Bergen right now, they were to present the first Cryosat results. Cant search from my phone right now but from http://www.congrex.nl/10a04/ I hope you can find nice things.


The Cryosphere Today graphic is just plain scary. I got back from a week long holiday away form it all to look at their representation of the state of the ice and felt a touch sick.

Goddard is basing everything on the fact that Hudson Bay melted so quickly and is now almost ice free ignoring other regions that are showing significant decline from the average and drops in concentration.

Peter Ellis

Cryosphere Today is still showing data from the 26th, God alone knows what it looks like now.

Peter Ellis

Further note: IJIS data as displayed is a 2-day average. Given that the previous couple of updates were hovering around the century mark, this suggests that the individual daily value for yesterday was around 180,000 km^2 and that we're therefore in for another doozy tomorrow.


Steve Goddard says that satellite imagery is showing no ice loss in the arctic basin and thus the decline shown on the graph must be wrong. Looking at the maps at cryosphere today, I think that he is wrong. But I am not the best with this sort of stuff. What do others think?

Steve Bloom

Neven, did you blog about Ballantyne et al. yet?

Also, I happened to see this today:

"According to Breck Bowden, a scientist from the University of Vermont who studies permafrost here at Toolik, the latest modeling shows that approximately half of the permafrost in the Arctic will thaw in the next 50 years. That's significant not just for the Arctic ecosystems, but potentially for the entire planet. Scientists estimate that there's one to two times as much carbon frozen in the Arctic soils as there is currently circulating in the atmosphere, said Bowden." (emphasis added)

This was news to me. I've emailed Bowden for a pointer, but does that result ring a bell with anyone?

Steve Bloom

Any idea where to see Arctic sea ice thickness in anything like real time? I'm really curious as to the status of the thick ice relative to the concentration.

Also, Neven, I was going to email Julienne Stroeve and ask her to say something about the current record (AFAICT) ice mobility, but since you're the one with the blog perhaps you'd like to. Let me know.

Steve Bloom

ER, I think the loss would have to be (more) huge to be visually obvious to a non-expert. Bear in mind that concentration accounts for open water even in relatively small leads. Goddard is just a serial fabulist.

Kevin McKinney

I concur with Steve, ER. Cryosphere Today imagery has been much more reliable so far than Mr. Goddard has.

And though there is something off with the comparison to past years, as Neven has noted in a previous post, I've been looking at CT images for several years, and they haven't looked like this year. That might be an argument for "something wrong," if everybody else--including even Goddard, apparently--didn't agree that the extent really is dropping in a truly exceptional fashion. Hudson Bay really is just about clear. It is possible to choose to believe that there was something magical which caused its ice to disappear so quickly, but which will not affect other bodies of water.

Me, I think it's darn warm in the Canadian Arctic, and was so throughout much of the winter (relative to the norms, of course)--and that what we're seeing now is mostly a reflection of that fact. The ice didn't thicken as much as usual, extents remained relatively low until that spectacular late-season spike, and now the persistent warmth is having its predictable way.

I haven't quantified this, of course. I'm no scientist and may well be wrong. But it seems a more reasonable guess than anything I've read on, or heard about, on WUWT.

The corollary would be that weather like this:


. . . will have its due effect on the interior ice of the Canadian Archipelago, which already looks pretty Swiss cheese-like, especially compared to previous years.

(You'll note that the forecast minimum doesn't drop below the normal maximum value once til the very end of the forecast period, and then by a paltry degree.)

Kevin McKinney

Steve, I seem to recall that there was an important study on carbon sequestration in Arctic soils maybe a year or eighteen months ago, which would underlie the quote you made. They did find that the Arctic soils held quite large reserves, IIRC. . .

Neven, thanks for the U. Col. link. It's very sobering to think that the 400 ppm threshold will be reached sometime in 2014, in all likelihood.


JAXA has reported 6/29 SIE decline of 81,000 sq km. Since the comparable 2007 was 120,000 sq km, the 2010 - 2007 delta has reduced ever so slightly to 0.66 million sq km.

The race is still on.

My latest charts are here

Kelly O'Day



The 2010 - 2007 SIE delta is actually -0.644 million sq km.


Steve Bloom

The Bremen maps look way different too, and if further validation is needed it can be found in the record loss of snow cover.

Re the permafrost, it wasn't the quantity I found notable but the near-term melt. This is quite important because this probably-large amount of carbon hasn't been included in the GCM runs done for the IPCC. It sounds as if there should be implications for the ice-albedo feedback as well.


Cryosphere today is up for the 28th. It looks, well it looks like it is possible we may witness the formal end of a 3 million year old ice age in the coming 2 months. The dissapearance of a permenant sea ice cap in the nothern hemisphere.

Unless there is some error with the data, this may be it.

Account Deleted

No sure about the formal end of the arctic sea ice cap - if we followed the 2007 melt we would come out a bit below 4 million km^2.
The AARI site is predicting less export of ice into the greenland sea - so that might slow things a bit.

Kevin McKinney

Yeah, the ball always hangs on the lip longer than you would think. I doubt we'll go ice-free this year.

Still, this is another striking image for an extraordinary season. Unfortunately, I don't think that it will remain so extraordinary as the decade progresses. And the chances of dorlomin's statement coming true will go up and up.


Cryosphere Today image for the 29th now up.

It has not suddenly gotten any better, put it that way.


Let's not get carried away. Yes, we may be watching history happen. But those bright areas on the Cryosphere image can and do disappear when the wind changes.

Gas Glo

I am wondering if higher temperatures are resulting in much larger melt ponds and satelites are seeing this as water.


shows green and some blue north of Elsmere Island meaning 70% and 60% cover. MODIS does not seem to back up such concentrations unless there are lots of leads too small to be visible on the 250m resolution. However I am no expert and would welcome explanations.

Should 10% less extent be more noticable on MODIS? There are obviously some area where well ahead and some area where 2010 is behind 2009 - after netting them off it seems like we have less ice extent this year but it does seem like a full 10% to me.



Let's face it: Goddard will probably be right on this one, given that he has not stated exactly what he means and made his comment right after a 140,000 drop. Even if the period averages 130,000 (unlikely) the slope will still have decreased. Meaningless, though.

Gas Glo,

I think that there is a lot of mobile ice, which is why the concentration numbers change so much from day to day. It is quite possible, though, that large melt ponds are being detected as open water. However, I think that others have already pointed out that large melt ponds still show the ice as being in a very bad way - if there are large melt ponds, the ice beneath is very vulnerable to melting.


Most of the sea ice in front of the Petermann Glacier has recently broken up:http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/subsets/?subset=Arctic_r03c03.2010181.terra


GoddardWatch 1/7/10: Looks like two people (one a working glaciologist) chose to provided Goddard with some solid information on his post about GRACE measurements of Antarctic ice mass, with predictably hilarious results. Start with this comment, in which Goddard reveals his credentials:

I have a geology degree and worked many years as a geologist. I have studied glaciers for many years. I also have an engineering degree and have a good solid understanding of material behaviour.

If ice thinned at the terminus of a glacier, it would be hundreds or thousands of years before that would have any effect on other parts of the glacier 700 km away – particularly at the very cold temperatures found at higher elevations of East Antarctica.

It appears he confuses the time it might take ice to flow with the propagation time of a loss at the coast... The thread below (and above) this comment is Goddard at his aggressively ignorant finest.


JAXA is showing a stalling in the ice melt, with a surprisingly low figure of 46,875 as the provisional melt for the day. Goddard has been proven right on this one, it seems.

Kevin McKinney

"Proven right?" I'll take a little more convincing than this. I think there will be lots of big declines yet--and I don't think we'll have to wait long.

Though, as pointed out above somewhere, the criteria for "decline" were never laid out, so it may not be possible to say for sure that Mr. Goddard was definitely wrong. But I had assumed that "decline" meant something a little longer term than merely a couple of days with lower melt totals--something like a trend of slow decline sustained over at least a week or two, and probably longer.

Kevin McKinney

Oh, and happy Canada Day!



I am assuming that Mr Goddard will claim this as what he meant, and I am prepared to let him have this one. I certainly did not expect a slowing down in the melt, and something under 50,000 is pretty slow for this time of year in the last few years (2005 was much lower, though).

I agree that there will be lots of big declines this season - we will get very close to the record, if not go below it. And there may be a few shocks ahead, in that it might be much worse than we thought. (I love saying that, as the self-professed sceptics hate it ... ;))

Steve Bloom

ER, you're paying too much attention to Goddard. Guessing that the rate of change in concentration is inconstant isn't much of a guess. IOW you should have expected a slowing down in change in concentration (again, day to day these changes are more mobility than melt), just as you should now expect it to speed up again.


Steve Bloom,

Perhaps. I do not think that he is right about the ice, though. It is just that he has guessed correctly about a few days of melt. There is no real harm in acknowledging that guess, even if it was just a lucky one.

Your point about concentration is a good one.


Wearing my psuedo-expert hat my guess is that Cryosphere Today will outstrip Jaxa and other measures of sea ice extent as the area appears to be dropping a lot more than the extent. That is to say there are big areas where there is either melt water on the ice or areas of open sea water that lie within the extent. Perhaps after a week or so the extent decline will start hitting these areas that have seen reducing area for a while and accelerate again.

/psuedo-expert hat

Account Deleted

Some high temperatures (close to 20 degree C) in the Laptev sea region (Uni Cologne meteorology website) - not sure what the longer forecast is - but is this going to be the next Hudson Bay?

Steve Bloom

Link for that Uni Cologne site? TIA.


I don't know if this is the one (I don't check meteorological websites because I don't get the terminology etc and don't have the time to learn), but here's an overview for the Arctic, Steve.

Click on 'Current Weather Maps' left hand upper corner, and then 'Arctic'.

Account Deleted


Neven has posted the right link. It now shows slightly cooler conditions - but still 10 degrees C for that region.

I like that weather map as it is the easiest to distinguish the various isotherms.

Steve Bloom

Bookmarked, and thanks!

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