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David Gould

They have in the main overcorrected for predicting too low last time, I suspect. Eight of them 5.1 or higher? I do not think that that is too credible. For that to occur, this year would have to mirror 2006 almost exactly over the next 2 1/2 months. The state of the ice seems much worse than 2006. I think the median prediction of 5.1 is about .4 or .5 too high. Ignoring Wilson, I would go with the bottom seven as a more reasonable spread of values, and I would not ignore the possibility of something lower than those. But, having said that, sea ice looks to be difficult to predict ...

David Gould

And it is from the May data, I think, so it has not taken into account any of the June activity. Still, I would have predicted around 4.5 or so a month ago ... Not sure about heuristic - some statistical stuff, though.

They have in the main overcorrected for predicting too low last time, I suspect.

Indeed, it looks like a case of 'once bitten, twice shy'. I think Goddard will have a new WUWT Sea Ice News out today, touting this prediction. :-)


The next one he does do, Goddard will likely be making a big fuss about weather. He will be begining to get a touch nervous now and be trying to put in all the caveats he forgot about in May.

Oh and on that note Science of Doom has made his usual style of smack down on Goddards Venusian fantisy

Unfortunately Mr Goddard has not responded yet.


Who is Wilson? They seem pretty bleak?

David Gould

Well, with PIOMAS plunging, if it is a reasonable representation then things look very bleak indeed. It is at negative 10.7 already. If it approaches 14.4 in September, that is zero volume. It seems to be dropping at about .3 a week. So, it is not out of the question for it to get pretty close to 14.4 - assuming the trend holds ...

And volume is not extent, of course.

And it's weather.

PIPS is better, too, and they show an ice age ... if you're wearing the right glasses, at any rate.

They deliberately crashed the satellite. And it hit the ice, which is why there is a big hole over Russia.

And it's not melting, anyway. It's shear. I suppose global warming causes more shears now? Those darn icebreakers probably carry lots of shears for all the pruning of inconvenient data up there. Nothing to do with global warming.

We also need to remember that the earth is actually just a model.

Patrick Lockerby

"We also need to remember that the earth is actually just a model."

And flat. Don't forget 'flat'. Once you remember to factor in flatness to a polar projection you get a lot more ice per pixel. ;-)

My projection for September was 3.8, is now 3.5 million sq. km. Looks like I'm out on the same limb as Wilson. :-)

David Gould

Well, I am a long way out on a limb, given that I am predicting that sea ice will drop to the level that Wilson is predicting on or before September 2014. The PIOMAS data looks good for that prediction. And bad ...

Lord Soth

To give them the benefit of doubt, these reports may have been released today, but the research behind them is probably serveral months old; before things started to get interesting. They do not reflect the current state of the Arctic. They have probably been sitting on somebodies desk for review, or approval for release for the past month.

The way things are going in the Arctic, old information gets stale very quickly.

I expect the July Report to be much less conservative, as it will begin to include information that has been happening in the past few weeks.


You can enter your prediction here here, just for fun.

William Connolley, the Master of the Wikipedia Universe, has accepted to bet with me for EUR 20.

ON TOPIC: In that thread over at Stoat Robert Grumbine echoes what you just said, Lord Soth:

ARCUS is just being slow this year, original deadline was end of May, but it got extended to June 12th. I'm hoping they get the summaries out soon.


Cryosphere today is currently giving the anomaly at -1.461 or an increase of 60 000km^2 in the anomaly since yesterday. So if this figure holds through the day it suggests there algorithms are still seeing increases in rate of melt.

See what the others say.


Is there a historical list, per year, of start date and duration when the north east and north west pass opened?
If not, then wouldn't this dataset be a useful additional matrix, especially for explaining cause and effect to the public/media, who generally dont have a good understanding or interest in finding out about ice extent, ice area, max-min extents.

eg Passage table example
year N-E passage opened N-E passage duration
------ --------------------------- ------------------------------
2010 Jul-20 30
2009 Jul-30 20
2008 Did Not Open 0

year N-W passage opened N-W passage duration
------ --------------------------- ------------------------------
2010 Jul-20 30
2009 Jul-30 20
2008 Did Not Open 0


Who is Wilson? They seem pretty bleak?

Posted by: dorlomin | June 22, 2010 at 10:09

Wilson (No organization provided); 1.0 Million Square Kilometers; Statistical and Heuristic

Here's his full prediction:

He's just some guy that posts on WUWT, e.g.:
Search for "Charles Wilson"

He makes some interesting points, but tends to write like a National Enquirer staff member.


Welcome, Poseidon. Such a historical list sure would come in handy. I haven't found it yet, although I have to admit I haven't looked that hard. In a quick search I found that the St Roch sailed through the direct route of the Northwest Passage somewhere in the 40's, but haven't found anything else. I know that in 2007 and 2008 some sailing yachts passed the NWP as well, but I can't remember their names or their exact route.

Anu, that guy posting on WUWT can't be the same person who is allowed to make a prediction for the SEARCH Sea Ice Outlook reports, can he? That'd be weird.


I just read the Wilson report and from the style I can see that he probably is the guy who wrote those comments on WUWT. Who is this guy? Can anyone just send his report to SEARCH?


Is the PIOMAS volume anomaly graph available as data? I went to their data page, but it was much more detail - like concentration and thickness data per grid cell of their model. I just want the final graph result, as numbers, because it beats eyeballing it.

And yes, I can assure that at this point in time, any fool can submit a prediction. I figured they'd clump the non-experts into one bin or something like that, but apparently not. (Hint, the W in my name does not stand for Wilson.) I've just come up with a better statistical method for my next attempt, which is why I'm looking for the PIOMAS data. Even just eyballing it gave a credible result. It's a linear regression between (Sept avg PIOMAS + late spring/early summer PIOMAS anomaly) and (Sept NSIDC avg extent). The result for this year is a Sept avg extent of 4.2 - a hair lower than 2007, which I'm inclined to think is too pessimistic, but hey, it beats my previous approach.



Last year I read these predictions in some detail, and one of them was an undergraduate from a University in Germany (I think it was Germany, maybe Austria...). He did a simple polynomial curve fit to previous September minimums, and his prediction was the closest of the bunch - I think it was part of his Senior Thesis.

These "predictions" are equivalent to people betting on who will win the NBA Finals - some people betting might actually be basketball "experts" (coaches, players, refs), but their day job is not about making predictions. Even Arctic experts making 4-month predictions know it is just in good fun; these predictions are not really part of their "science" day jobs.

But rest assured, the "anti-Alarmist" crowd will treat each and every one as a "Prediction made by Science", and more proof that scientists don't know what's happening in the Arctic ("only one of them was close...")
Even the Wilson prediction will be treated as "Science that was Wrong" come October.

Even the Wilson prediction will be treated as "Science that was Wrong" come October.

Unless his prediction turns out to be right. Then we give him the Nobel Peace Prize. ;-)


Anu - you deserve all sorts of karma points for your patient attempts to discuss reality at WUWT ...

Patrick Lockerby

Neven: I mentioned the St. Roch in one of my articles:
St. Roch is rightly famous as the first ship to completely circumnavigate North America; the second sailing vessel to complete a voyage through the Northwest Passage; the first ship to complete the Northwest Passage in the direction west to east, 1940-1942; first to complete the voyage in one season, 1944.

Amundsen took 3 years in the Gjoa. The first commercial ship sailed through the North West Passage November 28 2008.

For passage opening dates, go to NSIDC and enter a year in the box.
That will give you a page of links to articles, e.g. /2008/ :
"The Northwest Passage that Roald Amundsen navigated with great difficulty starting in 1903 is opening for the second year in a row ..."


Kevin McKinney

Just missed a "century break," unless the morning revision is downward.


Neven | June 23, 2010 at 01:32

Yeah, if he's closest, he definitely deserves at least a case of his favorite beer from somebody :-)


@ Kevin, yesterday 2nd place, today probably highest reported melt, one more day tomorrow and I'll have fun writing a new SIE update.

@ Anu, we'll have to wait and see a few more weeks, but then we might have to start chipping in for a keg or two. If we ever find out who the guy actually is. Maybe those polar scientists created him for fun.


dhogaza | June 23, 2010 at 02:07

It does take a lot of patience, yes - thanks for noticing.

At least they have interesting thread topics every few days. The signal to noise ratio in the Comments is pretty low, with a lot of knee-jerk anti-Gore, anti-Science (you know, the "fake" science, the kind that actually thinks increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is having an effect on the climate, but even if it is, it's a good effect, anyway...), even anti-Hansen two-line comments (among the more informed Doubters). But I have learned things there, and you are allowed to make subtle insults, and some less subtle, which is nice when the mood strikes (their moderators are not too bad).

Some people are actually polite and informed - R. Gates and Phil come to mind, and there are a few others. These commenters are usually attacked viciously, of course. Some people there are actual "skeptics", who will probably be persuaded as the data continues to come in this decade, but many of these are holding out for something like a mulit-decadal ocean oscillation which we just happened to be in a trough when scientists started observing in earnest (in the 1970's or 1980's), and soon the oscillation will be seen as global temperatures start to go down and Arctic summer ice recovers. Oh, and the ocean will cool. Many see the Arctic sea ice minimums of 2008 and 2009 as the beginning of this new cycle (with 2007 a minimum in the cycle, or just weird weather). It remains to be seen if new data will convince these "skeptics", or if they will just change their rationale to suit the new data.

Of course, some people there would still be convinced Global Warming is all some elitist scam to get more of their tax money, even if the Arctic was ice free this summer and the next and the next and the next, and global temperature anomaly records are set every year this decade ... These are convinced that the Arctic was ice free sometime in the past (MWP, Roman warming period, Minoan warming period, maybe pre-historical, maybe 70,000 years ago, 240,000, whatever, maybe 7.3 million years ago) - proving that this is nothing, big deal, a few polar bears will die. These I call the "idiots", although you can't actually say that about other Denier commenters on WUWT (although you are allowed to call scientists like Dr. Hansen and Dr. Mann and Dr. Jones "morons" all you want). Theoretically you should be allowed to call Dr. Spencer a moron, as he is an actual scientist, but I was trying to be polite in my first 6 months there and not push the envelope much (plus Dr. Spencer is a guest Thread Writer sometimes, so perhaps there is a special rule for him).

This blog is nice, since Neven talks about interesting Arctic issues, and you don't have to wade through 200 snarky comments to see something worthwhile.


Great discussions Neven, for an avid polar watcher like myself.

On the Historic NE NW Passage opening list, and to remove impartiality, using the AMSR-E bremen graphs would be ideal in identifying opening and closing dates for each route, and opening duration. Under the assumption that 30% or less sea ice is navigation.
I reviewed cryosphere historic comparison maps, but the detail just isn't there to identify accurately the passage openings/closings.

So maybe i'll start tracking opening details and graphs this year. I'll post when i believe the opening occurs for confirmation, and i'll keep high res copies of maps bremen maps to confirm - all hooked into a simple site. (by the why like your new mosaic site - nice idea). I recommend adding the daily plots graph to your mosaic daily melt plots, its very easy to eyeball how many days ahead the melt is to prior years.

As like yourself and most visiting this blog, we enjoy evaluating each of the graphs, watching the artic sessional effect ebb and wane, its seems like a useful matrix to capture and should be possible. any comments on this endeavour?


I followed an arctic expedition last year online and they used the Canadian ice charts attempting to navigate the Northwest Passage. I am not sure they provide historical records online and you will have to learn the codes...



@ Poseidon, your graph is excellent. I've put it in the 'graph mosaic'.

@ Anu,

This blog is nice, since Neven talks about interesting Arctic issues, and you don't have to wade through 200 snarky comments to see something worthwhile.

I think we're safe here as long as the ice keeps melting as it does. ;-)


SEARCH began after 2007, when many polar scientists gathered and analyzed why nobody hadn't forecast this disaster. So it's the third year. I suscribed to they maillist two or three months ago to get some updates, and they sent the draft outlook about 1 week ago. Anyone can participate this year - last year it was more "serious", with big teams; it seems that they're open to get some fresh ideas and methods this year. You still can suscribe to the mailling-list here http://www.arcus.org/search/seaiceoutlook/list.php

However, it don't remember having seen some retro-analysis - is any of the methods used in these outlooks able to predict 2007 record melt when being applied to 2000 to 2006 years?


Thanks for that, fredt34. I've subscribed to the mailing list (I am already using an online program to follow changes in the SEARCH homepage).

I've asked people over at SEARCH who this Charles Wilson might be, but no answer yet.

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