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Artful Dodger

Thanks, Neven. Two observations jump to mind while watching this 2-week animation.

1. A large pulse of compact, multi-year ice has moved away from it's landfast position on the Greenland side of the Northern entrance to Fram Strait. By eye, this represents perhaps 5% of all the fastice pressed against the Canadian Archipelago / Greenland, a huge loss of the oldest sea ice in the Arctic.

2. Very soon, an area of low concentration sea ice will be carried across the North Pole 'data hole'. So, we may indeed have open water at the North Pole this year, and not just leads but genuine multi-square-kilometer areas of open sea. MODIS, Come On!

Kevin McKinney

Thanks for this view, guys. Very interesting indeed.

One does indeed see "ice being transported southwards past the islands of the Canadian Archipelago," but it rather appears to be melting in considerable amounts once it gets among the islands--though for how much longer is certainly open to question.

(Regarding which, it's worth noting that of the reporting stations in the Northern Archipelago--Alert, Eureka, Resolute, Grise Fiord and Arctic Bay were the ones I looked at--only the northernmost (Alert) has seen, or is expected to see within the week, any real excursion into freezing air temps. To cherry-pick a bit, it's interesting that Resolute topped out yesterday at 11.7C, compared to the climatological max of 2C.)

I'm wondering a bit about Oliver and Lancashire, by the way--they haven't updated their blog since 8/22, when they were sitting out the rain on one of the Tasmania Islands on the west coast of the Boothia Peninsula. Judging by the weather conditions in Taloyoak, they should have had some better travel weather--in addition to the rain, they'd report wind from 15 to 20 knots--so maybe they've been busy making up the miles.

Guillaume Tell

The Alfred Wegener Institute's TIFAX (Thick Ice Feeding Arctic Export) August 20th news release discusses EM-Bird flights that will measure the thickness of the multi-year ice above Greenland...that is being exported through Fram Strait.

The salt concentration in the Arctic Ocean has been kept up in the past with outgoing exported multi-year sea ice (low salinity, due to salt rejection) countering incoming (freshwater) precipitation and river flow.

This can't be maintained in the future if there is less multi-year ice, in thickness as well as in extent.

Steve Bloom

Thanks again for all your hard work, Neven.

Lodger [do you *still* have that code? :)], this is nitpicky, but a lot of that outbound ice is heading in directions other than south (to begin with).

I have to say that the apparent amount of movement in the last day or so of the animation is impressive. At that rate it looks like ice could cross from the Taymyr to Fram Strait in maybe two weeks. If something like that kicks in and persists, will it make any difference whether re-freezing has begun? At whjat point moving into the winter does the ice acquire the structural integrity to resist something like that?

Good point, Bill. AIUI the maintenance of a cold freshwater "lens" (i.e. a thin layer at the surface) is key to maintaining the ice cap, so if the ice goes away long enough for mixing to start and the lens to disappear, how hard of a time will the ice have reforming? I suspect it will, but much later in the year, and perhaps with an earlier melt if the lens can't re-form sufficiently.

Speaking of the Arctic dipole anomaly, notwithstanding claims to the contrary (including from the NOAA "Climate CSI" team), I want to mention something about the Arctic dipole anomaly, which is that its atmospheric pattern looks to be consistent with the recent blocking event over Russia. See this comment by Stu Ostro (read the whole thread for context), and note the first linked graphic. Well, it's hard to prove anything based on so few data points, but IMHO the connection is clear.

BTW, in case it hasn't been mentioned here before, all of this stuff is a consequence of the thermal expansion of the atmosphere (primarily the tropics, which then push everything lese poleward). Climate zones, storm tracks, the jets -- everything is on the move. Rather than wondering what will change, it might be better to ask what won't. (Background article.)


Steve, I edited that WaPo link. Am going to read the article now.

At whjat point moving into the winter does the ice acquire the structural integrity to resist something like that?

I believe ice transport through Fram Strait continues also during winter.

Peter Ellis

Any chance the animation meister could take a look at Ward Hunt ice shelf? Sounds like a big chunk of it's fallen off.


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