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BTW, I apologize for the recent slack in blog post output. Will try to keep up and hope to post some interesting things before the melting season is done.

Lord Soth

Here is the picture of the Canadian Ship in front C.C.G.S Louis St. Laurant breaking the ice; so the Healy can do multibeam sounding of the ocean floor.


Notice how the ice practically disintegrate with the passing of the lead ship.

Here is a good way to tell melt ponds from open water.

Open water will appear dark; while melt ponds will appear turquoise as in this photo:


The melt ponds are on the slab right in front of the ship.

Steve Bloom

Looking at the overall mobile conditions as evidenced by the Fram animation, particularly the speed of the movement toward the strait, it becomes esy to imagine that if the dipole had set up this year as in 2007 there would no longer be much of a pack left. So, to state the obvious point, unless something happens to reverse the long-term decline of the thick ice, that will be that the next time we see an extensive dipole, or maybe even not so extensive.

A couple of questions:

Did 2007 have this sort of appearance to the ice movement?

The Cape Verde hurricane season is underway, and it looks to be very powerful. This should send a fair amount of storm energy toward the ice over the next couple of months. Does anyone know about the possible impact from this?

Steve Bloom

This passage from the Norwegian expedition blog post is striking:

We have registered sea temperature of eight degrees, which is surprisingly warm. And yet there is very little wildlife. We are actually a bit frightened by this loneliness, desolation, and this abandonment by life. We do not know whether this state of affairs is normal for this time of year, but I can only describe to you what we observe. We know that there is a rich animal life here when there is ice; there are lots of seals then, and the polar bears have excellent hunting. (emphasis added)

That seems amazingly warm. Does this tend to confirm Maslowski's hypothesis about warming currents developing?

Unfortunately the wildlife situation is all too consistent with projections.


Excellent article by Thomas Homer-Dixon in the NYT; I take the liberty to reproduce the section in the article which I find relevant to our previous discussion on this blog about how society would need a real "scare" to be pushed into action on CC.

Climate policy is gridlocked, and there’s virtually no chance of a breakthrough. Many factors have conspired to produce this situation. Human beings are notoriously poor at responding to problems that develop incrementally. And most of us aren’t eager to change our lifestyles by sharply reducing our energy consumption.

But social scientists have identified another major reason: Climate change has become an ideologically polarizing issue. It taps into deep personal identities and causes what Dan Kahan of Yale calls “protective cognition” — we judge things in part on whether we see ourselves as rugged individualists mastering nature or as members of interconnected societies who live in harmony with the environment. Powerful special interests like the coal and oil industries have learned how to halt movement on climate policy by exploiting the fear people feel when their identities are threatened.

Given this reality, we’ll almost certainly need some kind of devastating climate shock to get effective climate policy. That’s the key lesson of the recent financial crisis: when powerful special interests have convinced much of the public that what they’re doing isn’t dangerous, only a disaster that discredits those interests will provide an opportunity for comprehensive policy change like the Dodd-Frank financial regulations.

Kevin McKinney

Meanwhile, on the Canadian side of the Arctic, Lancashire & Oliver have holed up on one of the Tasmania Islands while rain hammers their tent. They have been struggling with the "Arctic whirlwind," whereby inconsistent, constantly shifting wind directions frustrate the sailor (or even the oarsman) and are relishing the chance to sleep dry.



Check out these videos on the blog of Ousland and Thorleifsson.


it becomes esy to imagine that if the dipole had set up this year as in 2007 there would no longer be much of a pack left.

Steve, I think that is the take-away message from this season. Despite 6 weeks adverse weather conditions and stalling of the BG it is still possible a minimum extent below 5 million square km will be reached. If 3 of those 6 weeks had resembled conditions in June or all of the summer of 2007 we'd be looking at a minimum extent below 4 million square km. If all 6 weeks had seen clear skies and the BG and TDS doing their thing at full speed...

So this year is a stalemate at best (CrySat-2 will determine this, I hope). But with all that multi-year ice on the outer rim of the Beaufort Sea (gone by now, I think) and the East Siberian Sea (not completely gone yet), and flowing through the Queen Elizabeth Islands, I believe the ice is so thin and weak that it's just a matter of time and the right conditions for new records to be set.

Artful Dodger

Kevin: Abel Tasman made it to the Arctic?


Kevin, I think Homer-Dixon's piece was excellent. As you know, the fact that the Arctic is the most easily discernible canary in the coalmine (and I'm hoping very much it won't turn out to be a black swan) is the main reason I started this blog.

Kevin McKinney

"Abel Tasman made it to the Arctic?"

No, but perhaps he had a fan in the Canadian bureaucracy? A quick search fails to elucidate. . .

But see:



My guess as to the connection with Tasmania was that Sir John Franklin was lt. governor of Tasmania prior to his last, fatal voyage.


Also in reference to our previous discussion on (Australian) politics: Geogre Monbiot's latest Guardian piece.

Jon Torrance

" But with all that multi-year ice on the outer rim of the Beaufort Sea (gone by now, I think)..."

Not that I disagree with the point you were heading towards with that, Neven, but I'll note that surely the surviving peninsula of relatively concentrated ice pointing from the north side of the Canadian archipelago into the Beaufort Sea what remains of that multi-year ice. I find it hard to believe it wouldn't have melted out by now if it hadn't been much thicker than average to begin with.


Jon, I wrote that with the Maslanik/Fowler Arctic Sea Ice Age image in mind. I had another look at it and you're right, that mass of ice in the Beaufort Sea and the part of the central ice pack blocking McClure Strait are the remnants of the green multi-year ice in the Maslanik image.

But I think that ice peninsula is a goner, whereas the stuff in the East Siberian Sea might survive until freeze-up. With all the multi-year ice being pushed through the Queen Eilzabeth Islands as well, I wonder what the ice age image will look like at the end of the season.

Kevin McKinney

". . .Sir John Franklin was lt. governor of Tasmania prior to his last, fatal voyage." Interesting connection. Thanks for that (informed) speculation!

Kevin McKinney

At the risk of sounding like the proverbial broken record--a reference to a now archaic technology, I guess--I'm impressed with how thoroughly (and in the case of the southern reaches, how quickly) the Archipelago has cleared out. Compare the basin chart on CT, for instance.

Apparently (and a s remarked above) multi-year ice is getting pushed into the channels between the northern islands; what the implications for the future of that fact are, I'm not too sure. I think the ice there tended to be pretty old, anyway; but if it's in the Archipelago it's not in the Basin.



I think George Monbiot's piece is spot on!


Kevin, I'll be updating these animations of Peary and Sverdrup channels, and the Prince Gustaf Adolf Sea and Balantyne Strait soon.

What it may mean for the future is this:

Recent research by Stephen Howell at the University of Waterloo in Canada shows that whether the Northwest Passage clears depends less on how much melt occurs, and more on whether multi-year sea ice is pushed into the channels. Counterintuitively, as the ice cover thins, ice may flow more easily into the channels, preventing the Northwest Passage from regularly opening in coming decades.


I had a look at the Uni Bremen map from today and the map from 9 August
If you compare the two maps you note that the central pack is much more concentrated than 2 weeks ago. However this compaction has not been matched by a huge reduction in SIE.While there has been a sizeable retreat of the ice cover in the Beaufort sea and a smaller decrease in the East Siberian Sea, there is no noticeable difference north of the Tamyr peninsula or the Canadian Archipelago. The Ice cover has actually advanced North of Svalbard and along the North Eastern Coast of Greenland. It looks like the recent low drops in SIE numbers reported by JAXA are matched by observations on these maps.

Artful Dodger

Phil: Compare today's image with this one from Sep 13, 2008, at the end of the melt season.

See the difference in the "compactness" from the Pole south along the 0 degree line of longitude? Moving counter-clockwise east past Svalbard, the broken pack continues all the way around back to 135 W.

In all, the unfragmented main pack is now half the size it was 2 years ago. This is why we say the pack is currently in much worse shape than it was in 2008, in spite of the similarity of IJIS extent numbers.

The risk is now rapid ice advection this Fall through Fram Strait. All of the losses after Sep14 represent direct loss of the all-important multi-year ice.


Oh my, CT sea ice area has dropped quite a bit, with 112K to be precise. Anomaly has jumped to 1.4 million square km.

L. Hamilton

And PIPS arrows are pointing towards the exit.


I think the CT number reflects a large patch in the East Siberian Sea (N of Wrangel Island) that has been losing concentration for several days. Going pretty much the same way as that large patch of "milk" in the Beaufort a week or two back.

IJIS extent changes are not as great, holding at an average of ~40,000 sq kms per day for the last week.

The line of low concentration ice that the Healy was heading towards seems to be closing up as the pack pushes in towards Greenland / Fram Strait. The cap is getting a bit more compacted, it seems, even as some of it is being lost either side of Greenland.

Jon Torrance


I don't keep them bookmarked for quick access but I'll see your Maslanik/Fowler Arctic Sea Ice Age image and raise you another one - http://www.arcus.org/files/search/sea-ice-outlook/2010/07/images/pan-arctic/figure6.png

The fact that that peninsula appears to be one of the few areas of surviving 5 years old or older ice makes me less confident than you that it's a goner this season. Though I'm sure it's doomed next season if not this one, barring some pretty extreme ice displacement over the course of the winter (not that I'm any expert on ice displacement - maybe my assumption that it will stay in the same general neighbourhood is totally off base).


Jon, as far as I'm concerned, you're the expert on peninsulas and big ice packs separating themselves from the main mama. But if that peninsula gets pushed some further into those warm waters, I really think it will be as good as gone. To be sure, we are talking about this area, right?

And what about that pink/purple island in the East Siberian Sea? Do you think that will survive?

Jon Torrance


We're definitely talking about the same ice peninsula sticking into the Beaufort Sea. A large part of which, reviewing the 30 day animation at Cryosphere Today, I'm interested to see became much less concentrated starting on August 15th and then reconcentrated on August 21st. It certainly lends some more support to the idea that the whole thing could break up or melt suddenly. And, of course, if we get a late end to the melt season, breaking up and/or melting gradually could easily do the trick.

As to the East Siberian Sea, by "pink/purple island" I take it you mean the most concentrated bit at the end of the enormous protrusion of ice into the ESS, near Wrangel Island. I'd be surprised if it melted away to nothing this season but I certainly don't know - I haven't yet ruled out the possibility of a late end to the melt season allowing a whole lot of ice to run out of thickness and prove those of us who assume 2010 is unlikely to catch back up to 2008 wrong. Though it would presumably be other ice than that area that is closest to running out of thickness. I suppose that must be the best remaining candidate for my speculative enormous ice island.

Steve Bloom

It turns out the sea ice loss is bad for the nutritional value of the associated algae (as a consequence of getting too much light). Presumably there will be unfortunate knock-on effects in the associated ecology.


JAXA reports SIE at 5,511,250 sqkm ( -40,781). 2008 with 5,305,313 seems to be out of reach by now, while 2009 with 5,627,656 is getting closer. However, 2009 had very low melts ( daily average junder 20k) until the end of the season, so unless SIE losses for the rest of this melting season fall below that level, the minimum for 2010 should be under 2009.
With the bad weather forecast for the next 10 days, it seems possible that daily average losses could drop further.


If you look at the Uni Bremen SIE graph , it looks like we've already reached the 2009 minimum or thereabout...
OTH, Roos has SIE still above 6 millions!


2010 will almost certainly come in lower than 2009 in the JAXA numbers.

There are still large areas of melt going on at the margins of the Arctic Basin.

A new bronze-place finish, since satellite data started in 1972, doesn't sound like a recovery from the Death Spiral to me. I think 2016 ± 3 years might still give a WakupCall Arctic summer melt.

The really interesting data will be the Cryosat-2 ice thickness data - I hope they are observing this summer melt, and just taking their time to shake out all aspects of the new satellite before releasing the data. It would be a shame if the data for summer 2010 were not released because they weren't done calibrating and testing the satellite.

I bet the sea ice that will be left at the end of the season is a lot thinner than PIPS 2.0 models it...


2010 has just about passed 2009 on the UofBremen site metric.

Given Jaxa is at 5.51 million km^2, I will experience a bit of schadenfreude over the next 24 hours as WUWT's "prediction" of 5.5 as the minimum extent is passed. No doubt, the 2009 mark will fall soon after. Of course, the Arctic is still in recovery mode!! :))

With 28 days or so left until the end of the melt season, there is plenty of shrinkage left.


toby @ 18:25
With 28 days or so left until the end of the melt season, there is plenty of shrinkage left.

If minimum extent is not reached until the 20th of September (or later) it must be the "Stand-In" for the "Fat Lady" in rehearsal because there is plenty of time for her to get to the Opera House.


"With 28 days or so left until the end of the melt season, there is plenty of shrinkage left."
28 days, Minimum extent in the last 4 years was always reached before 15 September, so it looks more like 20 days tops. Average daily melts in september are usually very low ( around 10-15k) with lots of upwards changes. Add to this the weather forecast for the next 10 days... I would be suprised if we see any considerable reduction in extent from now; 200- 300 k may be, but we should still be able to end up under 2009.


I agree with Phil. At the same time I'm very eager to see what those big cyclones that are forecasted are going to do to the ice pack. Should be a great learning moment, as everything has been so far.

Artful Dodger

Phil: Climatology indicates that sea ice minimum should occur on Sep 13/14. Notwithstanding, the 2007 daily minimum SIE of 4,254,531 km^2 occurred on Sep 24.

This late season continued decline in 2007 is almost certainly due to compaction by strong winds associated with the Dipole Anomaly (DA), and NOT additional melt. In fact even in 2007, the 30-day moving average for SIE did bottom out on Sep 14, which indicates that is when melting turned to freezing.

It is not widely understood that the additional compaction that occurred at the end of the 2007 melt season created ridges of thick ice, which have preserved multi-year until even now. In 2010, it is this remaindered sea ice, transported by the Beaufort Gyre, that persists in the Beaufort Sea (a.k.a. "the Peninsula of Ice").

Note that with 10 C water temps in the area of 71N 135 W (reported by Amundsen), it remains to be seen if this sea ice will survive 2010.

It's ironic that without the strong DA in 2007 and it's low but compacted SIE, all the sea ice in the entire Arctic might be gone by now. "Compaction Preserves Sea Ice -- Spreading Causes Melt".


I guess Russia is not impressed with the "the world has been cooling since 1998 - the Arctic ice is going to recover any summer now" crowd:


The 114,564-tonne tanker Baltica is the first super vessel to navigate the northern waterway. Earlier, only ships with a maximum deadweight of 14,000 tonnes ventured the route. Officials said the successful journey proved the route was safe and economically viable.

The Arctic Sea route is almost twice faster than the Suez Canal route and about 15 per cent cheaper, according to Leonid Mikhelson, head of Novotek, a Russian natural gas company which sent the Baltica on its trailblazing voyage.

“Next year we're planning to deliver more shipments of gas condensate to the markets of China and South Korea via the Arctic route,” the Novotek chief told a press conference in Moscow on Thursday. He said the new route would enable the company to build an LNG plant in gas-rich Yamal Peninsula in Russia's northeast.

The northern route from the Russian port of Murmansk to Shanghai is 10,600 km long, while the Suez Canal one is 17,700 km. Shippers will save a million dollars per tanker in fuel costs alone.

Kevin McKinney

I think that's fair to say, Anu--"But wait, there's more!"


About the time to minimum, I think that the climatology is apt to underpredict a bit on average, since the trend toward longer melt seasons is pretty clear. But weather "noise levels" mean that it's always going to be a bit of a crap shoot for any given year.

I hesitate to pronounce upon the magnitude of expected melts, too--certainly they will decline with the declining sun and lessening daylight hours. But past years show quite a bit of variability in this regard as well, and this season has already been quite unlike any other. As Neven said, it's provided many learning moments, and probably isn't finished doing so yet.

Patrice Pustavrh

With 5,477,500 km2 we are now below Goddard's prediction. And yet, there are some more melting days to come :)


Goddard is now talking about "error bars".
You can't expect the sea ice extent to be exactly 5,500,000 sq km :-)

I did get him to admit his prediction was for above 2009 - back when he thought it was a sure thing -seeing as how the temperature above 80° N was below freezing (according to DMI models), and he thought the "melt season" was therefore over.

Of course, if the final minimum is 5.2 million sq km, he (and the Dittoheads - or whatever his followers on WUWT are called) will claim that his prediction was actually 5.5 million sq km ± 0.25 million sq km
So he was only "off" by 50,000 sq km - pretty good huh ?

If the minimum is 5 million, or 4.9 million, then they will play up the whole "winds" angle.
"You can't predict those Arctic winds - my prediction was always with the caveat that bad winds invalidate the whole deal".
Because only "Skeptics" have to deal with Arctic winds.

If something really appalling happens, like a big chunk of the Arctic Basin sliding down and out the Fram Strait in September,
then We Urge Wishful Thinking will just move on to Antarctica, or the latest microtwist on the Dr. Mann hockey stick "controversy", or some Al Gore fluff piece.

Patrice Pustavrh

Well, Goddard is the person most justified of talking about error bars. And my emphasize is about word error :)


Q: Where do Anthony Watts and Steve Goddard meet for a drink after work?

A: The Error Bar

Apologies - couldn't resist it. :)))


Steve Goddard has never been identified. Wouldn't you think that Steve Goddard and Anthony Watts are the same person?


"Steve Goddard has never been identified. Wouldn't you think that Steve Goddard and Anthony Watts are the same person?"

That makes it even funnier !!!


Should be written "Steven Goddard" as its apparently not his real name, or so the rumour goes. s


So a scientific ignoramus [1] who is a serial abuser of statistics [2], and an utter hypocrit [3], got it wrong. Seriously, who cares the slightest? The site is a joke, and should be ignored; someone who I don't admire much put it: "Deny them the oxygen of publicity". The site, and his posts in particular, are nothing but bait to draw in goats to feed the trolls.

Of far more interest is the fact that *scientists* predictions are now being left behind. Remember the SEARCH ensemble forecast that came out in late July?
Tivy - 5.7 M sq km
Morison & Untersteiner - 5.6 M sq km
Kauker et al - 5.56 M sq km
McLaren et al - 5.5 M sq km

Four of the sixteen sensible forecasts (sorry Mr/Dr Wilson) have now been passed. The average of those sixteen was 4.8 +/- 0.62 M sq km (I also picked 4.8 a while back). To hit that, we would be looking at a further 680,000 sq kms. If the season finishes early, another 680,000 sq kms is a big ask with typically low daily melts. If it runs to late September, I'd say its looking pretty good. Certainly, there's still plenty of places primed to lose more ice...


[1] Venus is hot because...?
[2] Trends from cycles 'r'us!
[3] Strong comments from "warmists" are deleted, but deniers can ad hom to their hearts content...


Meantime, have a look at the north coast of Greenland. Looks like several thousand sq kms of landfast ice is breaking up.

What's up with THAT?

Kevin McKinney

Actually, WUWT *is* an "error bar. . ."


It is rude and disrespectful to refer to him as Goddard according to WUWT!


I've been an interested watcher for a while here. I've learned a lot. Great blog, wonderful input and obviously a lot of work by some very intelligent, thoughtful (and sometimes very funny) contributors
Please don't spoil it with the ad hominum attacks.


Please don't spoil it with the ad hominum attacks.

I'll second that.

I know it's tempting, but we really should make an effort to curb our frustration and dispense with the Schadenfreude and the 'ad hominem'. I'm doing this wrong all the time myself, but a) it's a waste of time, as WUWT is more of a symptom than it is a cause, (they are successful because they say what people want to hear; blame the people's mindset, not them) and b) it offers the pseudo-skeptics an escape route (you're so rude.that I've decided AGW is not true, boohoo!)

The only thing we can do is try to take our patience-politeness-pill, go over to WUWT and keep pounding the facts like R. Gates is doing (excellent style and tone) and recently Gunther Kirschbaum as well.

-2010 had 6 weeks of adverse weather when it mattered the most (2007 had an almost 40K higher daily melt rate in that period). Not 1 week, not 2 weeks, but 6 whole weeks.
-The Passages are (almost) open and two teams are trying to navigate them both in one season.
-Petermann Glacier's massive glacier tongue loss, Jakobshavn lesser ones and the recent breakdown of the Ward Hunt ice shelf.
-The transport through Nares Strait and through the Q. Elizabeth Islands
-The 'holes' in the central pack and breaking off of smaller packs in the Beaufort, Greenland and East Siberian Sea.
-Keep mentioning the existence of MODIS, Uni Bremen and CT front page sea ice concentration maps. They are nowhere to appear on WUWT's Sea Ice list.

Bring up these points - if you want, maybe it's best not to do anything at all - especially when the extent is nearing 5 million. Form a PR point of view this number is crucial. If it stays above 5 million, we have a stalemate, despite all those aforementioned points. If it goes below, pounding those points should sway some minds.

Steven Goddard is not (very) evil, he's mostly wrong. And as he has been very lucky so far with his predictions, I would wait a week longer before bringing out the champagne. And when the time comes, drink that champagne quietly, don't go on a drunken rant.


Ok, funny bit over.

Looking at the expert SEARCH predictions, and ignoring the wild outlier, the median prediction is in the range 4.9 to 5.1, which looks like it might be fairly accurate.

Neven is right, 4.95 is better PR than 5 - PR is not something I am comfortable with in science, but it may jolt people that little more.


BTW, I was away for the day. Did one of you guys crash the IJIS server? I'm not seeing an updated number.


-Petermann Glacier's massive glacier tongue loss
In today's shipping news, the good ship Lockerby has left the harbour and is setting sail for goodness knows where: http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/images/MODIS/Kennedy/201008262327.ASAR.jpg

Its free of the last narrow bit of the fjord and is now well into Nares Strait. I'm expecting a sharp turn to port any day, and its off to sunny Baffin Bay.

Toby - which SEARCH report are you looking at? The one I linked to above shows both mean and median at 4.8-4.9 (excepting the wild outlier)?

BTW - ad hominem: it doesn't mean what most people think. Its a formal logical fallacy, not just being rude about someone, but anyway.....



I used the one on Tamino's blogpost, which is titled "June Report":


Excluding the outlier, there are 15 predictions. I just looked at the one 6 to 8 as a rough guide. There may have been other predictions before or since.


Jeff Masters chips in.



BTW, I was away for the day. Did one of you guys crash the IJIS server? I'm not seeing an updated number.
-- Neven

I'm pretty sure I saw http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/plot.csv refresh, and give the updated number as exactly the same as yesterdays' number ((I had the file already open in a browser tab, and did a Reload).

So, looks like a "correction" of 0 sq. km.


@Kevin McKinney | August 27, 2010 at 05:27

Thanks, I hadn't heard about that one - hasn't actually happened yet, but looks like the route is getting more and more open, and should still be fine in a couple weeks.


Neven @27 August 17.09

WUWT is more of a symptom than it is a cause, (they are successful because they say what people want to hear; blame the people's mindset, not them)

How true! See what Thomas Homer-Dixon says about this.


Another 66,406 sq km of lost extent.

The latest value : 5,411,094 km2 (August 27, 2010)

And yes, the "correction" for today was 0.


@toby | August 27, 2010 at 21:05

Thanks Toby - that makes sense. My link was to their July report. Most of the teams who contributed to both reports revised their predictions from June down slightly (including more of the massive June melt, but also some of the lesser July melt).

There's a discussion of the differences between the two reports here: http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2010/07/search-september-sea-ice-outlook-july-report.html

Lord Soth

That 66K ice lost last night probably secured us for at least a third place finish. We are only 95K from the 2005 miniimun and we should drop below the 2009 minimun around the beginning of September.

It's a small probability, but if we get some more nights like last night, and a extended melt season, we could inch below 2008 still, but unlikly.


@ Lord Soth | August 28, 2010 at 13:41
"It's a small probability, but if we get some more nights like last night, and a extended melt season, we could inch below 2008 still, but unlikely."

However there seems to be significant melting above the Bering Strait with more open water below the >15% threshold, see compare past two weeks

Alerted by "Artful Dodger" @ July 10, 2010 at 05:57

Perhaps 'Lodger' knows something I don't.

Kevin McKinney

Lord Soth, that's pretty much my take on it, too. It would take a serious "stalling out" to miss the 2009 number, and a pretty hefty acceleration to hit 2008's.

Though the surprises have just kept on coming this year. . .

(I note, FWIW, that Archipelago temps are expected to remain comfortably above climatology (and 0 C) for most of the next week at most locations.)

Oliver and Lancashire had a better day on Thursday; I'll quote their blog post, as I found it rather charming:

26 August, 2010

Miracles do happen! well partial ones anyway. After 36hrs of freezing fog we awoke this morning to a stunning day. Bright sunshine and blue skies. This time not a breath of wind stirred the surface of a glassy sea and after a big breakfast we set out rowing through the ice flows and making relatively good progress. With the ipod blasting out some tunes and the sunglasses making their first appearance morale was suitably restored and kev chanced a bit of his eighties disco. Clearly the wind god didn't appreciate his devotees dancing because soon enough we were again being blown backwards by a combination of heavy swell and adverse winds. Swiftly heading back into the shelter of the ice we once again made encouraging progress with a bit of sail assisted rowing. Kev kept control of his morale outbreak and stayed firmly in his seat this time and the gods relented. Dispite limited progress today we both have today down as one of the most enjoyable days of the trip. Threading our way through the ice encased islands and weaving past iceflows to the sounds of the rolling stones takes some beating. Now tied up to a small rocky island about to tuck into a well deserved dinner and then get some sleep before tackling the mass of ice just ahead. Messages from home have been fantastic please keep sending as the only certainty here is that the sun won't last and our morale will need more bouying up before this adventure is over.

Approximate position:


Artful Dodger

Aug 27 revision is -10,781 for a total daily change of -77,187 and a new SIE of 5,400,313

Jack: did you see today's SST anomaly map? Remember, the surface layer in the Arctic is typically 100 to 150 meters deep, so LOTS of latent heat in the Beaufort Sea:



Hi friends!
I just finished a new article after a few days and about 2 dozen edits.
Danged illness! Ptaw!

When I get a bit more energy back I'll try to contribute to the discussions here. Meanwhile, it's nap time.

Thanks to all here who have helped to keep my blog ticking over while I've not been up to much - it is greatly appreciated.

Charles Wilson

Very interested in the High Revision to the SIE. A while back I suggested the change seemed to - - even, as they use 2-day averages, ought to: - - presage the next days' change. It didn't work.
A few weeks later Lord Soth proposed the opposite - - with rather more success. Even so, 40K melts are very high for this late.
... If you look at any of the Cloud Maps, I can't see 77K/day being sustained. Or even why it happened -->>> There is NO SUN (except over the Canadian Islands, which in fact keeps the Dipole Anomaly going -- a HIGH there & Low elsewhere = the "DA", which sends Ice out into the Atlantic with a strong Bering Strait-to Atlantic Drift (the Transpolar Drift or TDS.
Looking back at PIPS 2.0 for 2007, the mini melts around Spt 1, 2007 were from the currents stopping, which 2010 shows no signs of doing.

Could we really be melting (slowly) as late as - - INTO OCTOBER ? ? ?


Charles: an October end of the melt season is a real possibility.

We need to compare 2010 with dates much earlier than 2007. Up to about the 1990s the ice along the east coast of Greenland was still pretty extensive at the end of the melt season. Even in 2007 it was fairly extensive. This year it is nearly all gone.

The waters around the Canadian Archipelago have never been so ice free.

Greater amounts of open water store greater amounts of heat. The freeze-up can't begin in earnest until most of that heat has been dumped into space. However, the blanketing effect of the atmosphere slows that down - CO2 or no CO2.

There is a great amount of heat stored in the Arctic waters and there is a very low mass of sea ice compared even with 2007. Melting isn't going to level off just yet. We could easily see 4 more weeks of it.

Compare maps of extent 1980 and 2007:

( Nap time again. I must be getting old. ;-) )

Steve Bloom

And if Maslowski is correct, the underlying currents continue to warm.

Lord Soth

I read an article a few years back, indicating that back several hundred thousand years ago when the arctic was ice free in the summer, the first winter after the ice did not clear; the temperture in the arctic dropped around 6 degree celsius on average; and the arctic plunged into a year round sea ice state until this day.

Going in reverse; once we get to a consistent ice free arctic in the summer; wouldn/t it be expected that thge average arctic tempertures will go up 6 degree celsius; and it is possible that our first ice free arctic summer, will bring to the end the possibility of a year round ice cap; for a very long time.

I can't find this article, but if anybody remembers it, maybe they can provide a link.


Artful Dodger | August 28, 2010 at 16:23
"Jack: did you see today's SST anomaly map? Remember, the surface layer in the Arctic is typically 100 to 150 meters deep, so LOTS of latent heat in the Beaufort Sea:"


Not until just now following your link. Also, it could be having some effect in the area of the East Siberian Sea toward the New Siberian Islands. Beaufort Gyre rotated some thin over that way and it is caught up in the current of the Transpolar Drift.

If that latent heat remains for two or three more weeks (to ~ SEP-15) the open water could grow significantly and have more impact on the minimum extent. As logicman says until October is a possibility. Opera by the Fat Lady in October?
O - O - O

BTW, thanks Lodger for the head-s-up. More INTRIGUE.

Jon Torrance

Unprecedentedly, at least in my experience, IARC-JAXA, having already corrected the August 27th extent down to 5,400,313, seems to have since further corrected it down to 5,399,063 for a total daily melt of 78,437.


And another 53,125 sq km extent loss on top of that:

The latest value : 5,345,938 km2 (August 28, 2010)

The warm ocean and thin ice are starting to kick in and pull away from 2009.


One thing I look forward to reading about in the 2010 summer melt "post-mortem" is how much newfound wave action was mixing vertical layers of water at the Arctic Basin margins. I read about this in January - with this new era of sea ice melt (the last decade) uncovering lots of new open water, the winds and storms are affecting the usually still waters:

The Arctic Ocean's ice-capped depths have been quiet for millennia, thanks to winds being largely unable to ruffle the surface and stir things up."

Unlike any other ocean basin, the Arctic has a lot of very fresh, very cold water on top from melted ice, what's called the cold halocline layer. But about 100 meters below is very salty, slightly warmer water. If internal waves become powerful enough to mix these waters, then yes, the warmer surface could accelerate the melting of sea ice.

"Storms in the central Arctic with reduced ice cover can easily lead to vertical mixing levels that can erode or even remove the cold halocline layer," said Ilker Fer of the University of Bergen, Norway's Geophysical Institute. "The ice is then easily exposed to the relatively warm Atlantic water, possibly leading to a positive feedback."

The sea ice coast is surrounded by warmer, open waters (which also extends under the ice coast for some kilometers), but the melting ice creates a buffer of melt-temperature water - between -1.8° and 0° C, depending on the age (salinity) of the sea ice. It takes time for the surrounding ocean heat to diffuse into these meltwater buffers and continue the melt, but storm action (winds, waves, cyclones) might speed up the heat mixing in the next few weeks.

There's only been two other years with this much open water in the Arctic at this date - the possible "variability" of the weather in this situation, and what it can do to the remaining, thin and degraded Arctic Basin is probably not well modeled yet.

Could be some big surprises left this summer.

r w Langford

The last of the landfast ice along north east greenland is on its way out to sea. It appears that Easten Greenland will be free of landfast ice this year. Has this ever happened in the recent past?

Kevin McKinney

Speaking of vertical mixing, it occurs to me that when you've got a lot of 80% concentration ice and the Beaufort gyre reverses a couple of times, that ought to generate some pretty good "slosh," shouldn't it? I wonder how the variability of wind directions stacks up against other years? Certainly, as Anu noted--and as many of us here have remarked at one time or another this season--the condition of the ice is historically darned unusual, and would seem to lend itself to increased mixing.

Artful Dodger

Lord Soth: Temps in Europe dropped about 7°C in only 20 years during the Younger-Dryas stadial (cool period). However, this transition occurred 12.8 KA (1000 yrs Ago), rather than ~300 KA period you recall. I don't believe the Arctic Ocean was ice-free during either period.

Overpeck et. al. (2005) states "At the present rate of change, a summer ice-free Arctic Ocean within a century is a real possibility, a state not witnessed for at least a million years" Arctic System on Trajectory to New, Seasonally Ice-Free State (EOS v86, no.34). Note the change of pace since this was published 5 Arctic Summers ago!

During the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) (55.8 MA), the average annual temperature in arctic Canada and Siberia was 23 C (more here). Compare that to -14 C today, a 37 C temperature difference. We are on a trajectory to return to that state, but ominously have no indication that Arctic temps will stabilize there.

There are excellent graphs of temps over the last 1.35 MA, and a discussion of the future, in the landmark paper Global temperature change (Hansen et. al. 2006, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).


No Fat lady in sight yet. For other summer minimum along the Greenland coast I like th animation at NSIDC

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