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Kevin McKinney

5,001,406 km2 for the 12th. Is that Valhalla burning? (Wagner, Brunnhilda. . . never mind.)

Kevin McKinney

OK, Brünnhilde.

Christoffer Ladstein

Kevin: We are not in a melodramatic mood today, are we...
IF this was it for this season, well that`s fine by me, still the fact is there, the total VOLUME of ice left is by far the lowest "ever", in modern times, which must mean 2011 OR 2012 might be years of great interest: Are we close to a tipping point, entering a more quadratic decline, leaving behind the more "safe & steady" decline regularly reported by several agencies?
Anyway, 2010 had a LATE winter maximum SIE extent on the upper part of the scale, and nevertheless plummeted very soon below the level of 2007, for a time, in the end slowing down not being able to push 2007 from the throne. These factors combined tell us that the ice is getting thinner, less multiyearice (volume!) is left, opening up for fast meltdown.
So i believe we need a La Niña and a STRONG vulcanic eruption on a scale seen on Mount Pinatubo in 1991/92 (cooling the world down a degree for a couple years), combined, to make a recovery of the Arctic ice!


Looks like that's about it for this year ( Sorry Jon, but I think this time it really is!) and I would like to say Good Bye before everybody moves on. Like Christoffer, I think the ice loss in 2010 was pretty significant coonsidering the late melt onset and the adverse weather conditions in July. It shows that with more "favourable" weather conditions, the ice loss could be really serious. I have enjoyed this site, even though it has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride from July onwards. I came here knowing almost nothing about the arctic, I still do not know very much but I have learnt a lot. Neven should be congratulated for putting together this fantastic amount of information and making" it accessible to the non-initiated like myself. I also appreciated the "relaxed" conversation style and the courtesy. This is really something that distinguishes this site from a lot of others! I also wish to thank everyone on the blog: Lodger, Kevin, FrankD, Jon Torrance, Anu. Patrick "Logicman" and all the others for their valuable contributions and their patience with my ignorance and my "impatience".
I would like to be in touch again in April next year. In the meantime, Northerners keep warm this winter, while I will be braving another Queensland summer !
Neven , please feel free to contact me at my email address if you can access it.


Christoffer Ladstein

So i believe we need a La Niña and a
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Does la Nina actualy affect the Arctic? Its essentialy about the Walker Circulation in the equatorial Pacific. If it does its impact may be changes in the polar jet or the polar circulation cell. It may not play out simply as a straight cooling...... anyone know?

Kevin McKinney

More properly musikdrama than melodrama, Christoffer, I suppose!

Thank you in turn, Phil--but you may have a bit more time to enjoy this blog yet, I'm guessing. I do think this is the Valkyrie's turn in the spotlight, but she's apt to go on a bit. . . and I think we'll feel a need to natter on about it a bit longer still, which I suspect our good host will be willing to indulge some. Either way, I'd like to offer Neven my thanks and congratulations on a most successful blog!


Hmmmm, possibly...I can see situations where an increase in the ice in the 15-30% range would point to imminent melting. But I can also think of scenarios where it would say the opposite. So I think it might be a multi-dimensional thing.

Still, I'll give it a whirl. I can never find the link to the daily data on CT - can you repost the link? I've got my interpolated IJIS area data, so by subtracting one from the other, I can look at the ebb and flow of the "danger zone" and see if it correlates with actual losses.

One question though - what counts as "melt"? Loss of CT area, loss of IJIS area, something else? I see potential problems with autocorrelation (or autoanticorrelation - is that even a word?). I guess we'll see - off hand, I'd expect that if ice entering the "danger zone" is an indicator of *future* melt then the solution would be to use losses from lower (IJIS) area, and looking at what offset (in days) produces the best correlation...? Does that sound right?

Anyway, post the CT link and we'll see what we see.

Gas Glo


I think the link you wanted is


Thanks Gas Glo, thats it. I'll mess around and post in a day or two.

I've just realise my post would have made more sense if I'd referred to the post I was replying to, which was Artful Dodger's on the previous page (I didn't notice we'd moved on to page 2....)

Artful Dodger

Phil263: Sorry, but to paraphrase Mark Twain, Reports of the death of the melt are greatly exaggerated.

The CT Area number is in for Sep 11. Sea Ice Area (30% concentration threshold) went DOWN -13,237 sq.km the day after a prospective minimum SIE on Sep 10. Also on Sep 11 IJIS extent went up, so CAPIE (our measure of 'compactness') has gone down from 62.40% to 61.72%. This means the Ice is Spreading, NOT freezing (less Area and more Extent).

So where is all the this SPREADING action, you may ask? Well, I've prepared a little animation for your enjoyment:

Here are a few quick observations:

  • This animation compares the Ice Edge on Sep 10 to Sep 12
  • it was created with Irfanview and MS Paint using Edge Detect and Histogram functions
  • the red cross IS NOT the Geographic pole, it just divides this chart for analysis and discussion
  • 36.1% of the change in SIE occurred in Quadrant 3 (lower left, Beaufort Sea region)
  • the Main Pack ice edge is still extremely mobile on inter-day time scales, which is why we see such large Revisions in IJIS SIE
  • SST's and Salinity charts are now the best way to discern between Spread and Freeze.
Much more to come of course, but I'm getting severe Scope Creep here... Enjoy and ask your Questions! (shout out to FrankD, I'll get back to your points, Mate).


Man, you guys are going fast. I can hardly keep up.

1) I've updated the latest Race to Fram Strait animation, with some more footage from Lodger, who is keeping a very sharp eye on the currently most interesting things to watch: Fram and the Western Arctic. Check it out, first blog post on the front page.

2) I'll be willing declare this melting season over when something counterintuitive happens - something not everybody may know here, but I remember from last year: When the DMI 80N graph starts shooting up we have a definitive confirmation that the water is freezing up big time. This is counterintuitive (love that word, by the way, just like 'circumnavigation'), but is caused by the water releasing its heat to the air so that it can freeze up. So, air temps shoot up when the waters freeze.

This hasn't happened yet according to DMI 80N.

3) Cryosphere Today sea ice area has dropped some more (13K) and is close to sharpening the minimum area number. Anomaly is now at
-1.663 million square km.

4) I'm keeping the blog alive at least until the end of this month. I will announce it with a blog post of its own. I'm still thinking about what to do afterwards. Either I do monthly updates during winter (don't look forward to it, feel a bit spent at the moment after the steep learning curve), or I upgrade to a paid TypePad version that allows me to add other writers who can do winter analysis (if they feel like it), or I just keep the whole thing in cybersleep and see if next year there is time to do another stint. Anyway, I'll let you know. In the meantime, expect another SIE update or two, and hopefully one last cool animation.

5) Darned PIPS! Where are those ice displacement maps now that we need 'em! First AARI, now PIPS...

Artful Dodger

Kevin, I know you'll appreciate this clip (I've been to the Soo, Eh):


"keeping the blog alive at least until the end of this month"
Neven - September 13, 2010 at 14:54

Regardless of when you slow down or stop for this year, a "TIP of the HAT" and many thanks for making it available. It has been very informative and a great learning experience. Also, the other posters deserve a round of applause for keeping it "civil."

I Need some Help before folks start hibernating:
Back during the first week of August I started saving IJIS extent data of the preliminary numbers and some how missed 2nd September, anyone who may have it help fill in the blanks for me, example:
09,01,2010,5329688 pre + uptick of 0313 *
09,01,2010,5332344 Rev = + 2656 melt = -2969

09,02,2010,nnnnnnn pre nnnnn
09,02,2010,5304219 Rev = - - - - - - melt = 28125

09,03,2010,5249688 pre = 54531
09,03,2010,5245625 Rev = - 4063 melt = 58594

The file is available, http://www.polk-nc.com/agw/IJIS-csv-201009.txt
if anyone is interested.

Enjoyed it folks ! ! !

Artful Dodger

Jack: The IJIS preliminary SIE for Sep 2 was 5,301,406 sq.km.

I've got numbers back to June 28 if you want them.

Cheers, mate.

Gas Glo

I have prelim data of 5,301,406 for 2 sep before revision to 5,304,219

Gas Glo

If you want to add 1 Aug I have 6,820,469 before the revision to 6819531.

You have far less gaps than me and the only other data I can add is that 27 Aug had an intermediate update of 5400313.


Looks like my angry shout helped. PIPS is back and look at how awful the forecast for tomorrow looks:

Yesterday's forecast (for today) wasn't much better:

It's the SST and compaction versus the air temperatures now, but if them winds don't change, that gospel choir will be a-singing louder and louder.

Artful Dodger

Speaking of 'angry shouts helping', did anyone else notice that the last NSIDC Arctic Sea Ice update didn't contain any Antarctic Sea Ice ;^)

See, the Scientists lurk on this blog... and even occasionally fix things because of your comments!


PIPS is up again with most of the arrows gone into reverse or disappeared. No exit at Fram Strait.

I guess that's bad for compactification?

Jon Torrance


I'd say there's a good chance it will turn out to have been the minimum for JAXA extent on the 10th. Even if there was a forecast for the next ten days that looked ideal for compaction, forecasts can change quickly. Of course, that means it's equally true that the forecasts could now turn on a dime to favour compaction. Regardless, for the all of us who can't infallibly predict the future, it's too soon to say the show's over until next year.

Kevin McKinney

Jon's & Lodger's posts are why I favor the metaphor that she's singing--but not yet done singing.

Thanks for the chuckle, Lodger--and a tip o' the hat for picking up (or so I suppose) on my email addy's hint. Born & bred, mate! (Though now living far away--sometimes I get this nostalgic twinge when Daniel "the Yooper" posts, even if he's from the American side of the line.)


Thanks for the "prelim" numbers - Artful Dodger and Gas Glo

AD, hold on those numbers back to June 28, but I believe August 1st onward is enough for me to graph a trend of when in the future melt ends/minimum extent for my purposes.

One thing I think is notable is when the first "melt" uptick occurs then decreases for a few days the second uptick seems to be IJIS minimum. More for me to examine, have not done all years.

Kevin McKinney

I guess I should have said that that wasn't the clip I was initially thinking of. . .

Artful Dodger

Here is a Chart of weekly Salinity: (Aug 18 + 2 weeks Forecast)
Salinity Aug18-Sep21
Salinity Legend (psu)

  • Colour gradient shows Salinity
  • Light green is cutoff for surface water with < 30 psu Salt content
  • Water of different Salinity does not mix readily
  • Notice how Pacific water is penetrating the Chukchi Sea
  • look for regions of < 30 psu to freeze earlier than saltier water

Greg Wellman

Interesting salinity map. I guess the low salinity areas along the Russian coast and in the Canadian Beaufort are caused by the discharge of major rivers.


Sure, Lodger, I noticed that the ugly "meanwhile in the antarctic" was missing. +1 for us!

Neven, I'll say Goodbye later. I'd suggest not hibernating the blog before the final NSIDC analysis, as they'll probably provide interesting figures and pictures about volume, old/first year ice, drift... All these things preconditionning the ice for winter and next summer. SEARCH usually provide an end of season statement, too.


Interesting article on the impacts on the ground - Walrus migrating to land for first time in large numbers http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/sep/13/walrus-haul-out-alaska.
and thanks Neven

Daniel Bailey

Re: Kevin McKinney

"Though now living far away--sometimes I get this nostalgic twinge when Daniel "the Yooper" posts, even if he's from the American side of the line."

I may be from da American side, but I have relatives (through my wife, of the Ottawa River Valley Irish community) from da Soo (Canada side), as well as in Sudbury, North Bay, Calgary and Toronto.

And it's been a pleasure reading all of the comments and learning from everyone's contributions and insights. Thanks as well to our gracious host, Neven!

If anyone thinks this year's melt has been interesting, than wait until NEXT year!

Well, as dey say at deer camp, "Time for a 'Nar."

The Yooper

Kevin McKinney

"The pride of the American side," indeed. Thanks for that, Daniel.

I'll never forget emerging from the fo'c'sle of CCGS La Verendrye at about 2 AM to see the most beautiful starry night imaginable, somewhere in the midst of the Keewenaw Waterway--nor awaking about 6 AM, seriously hung over, to serve the crew breakfast somewhere in the midst of the big Lake, with six or eight feet of swell running!

But I'm way off topic, aren't I?

Next year's melt--yeah, that could be interesting. Temps may not be quite as high, but man, it's hard to imagine the ice will be in good shape at all, at all.

Timothy Chase

I am going to be interested in the PIOMAS sea ice volume and anomaly. What happened this year, how closely we are keeping to the quadratic trajectory we seem to have been following so far, why the anomaly dropped so dramatically then gained so much back so quickly? Was that real? How are we doing for multiyear ice? Given how thin the ice is nowadays does this mean less stratification protecting the ice from the warmer salty water below? Will the ice take long to recover this year like last? Anyway, the curiosity of someone who hasn't really had anything to contribute and has therefore remained silent -- but who has taken a sincere interest in the discussion. Thank you, everyone.

Greg Wellman

The rollercoaster appears taking another dip down again. Won't know for sure until after the revision.

Artful Dodger

Greg @ 20:32 The Arctic Institute of North America published an interesting paper titled "Streamflow in the Mackenzie Basin, Canada".

"The Mackenzie River drains an area of 1.8 million km2, about one-fifth of the total land area of Canada. The Mackenzie is the largest North American river that brings freshwater to the Arctic Ocean. The freshwater layer maintains a thermohaline gradient that prevents the extrusion of the denser, saline sea water, thus preserving the integrity of the polar ice pack.

At the nearshore zone, however, ice breakup is advanced by the massive river discharge in the spring (Searcy et al., 1996). Thus, knowledge of the quantity and the seasonality of freshwater flow of the Mackenzie River not only is important to the environment and development within the basin, but has implications for the littoral zone and the broader oceanic and atmospheric circulations.

Christoffer Ladstein

Dorlomin: This article at least incorporate the significance of the El Niño upon the more northern parts of the globe, www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11152077 . Whether the La Niña will cause that much havoc remains to be disputed. They don`t even know how strong this "cooling" period will last. However they see signs of changes in the whole location and buildup of the La Nina/El Niño system.


Artful Dodger

CT Area data is out for Sep 12, 2010. SIA increased by 47,318 km^2 which also increased CAPIE ('compactness' ratio) from 61.72% on Sep 11 to 62.43% on Sep 12.

Charles Wilson

Artful Dodger:
30% (SSMI) is done only by DMI http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php
...You have measure the Graph but My Screen gets a nice 25 Pixels per Million.
- - 15% Extent Data @ JAXA is AMSR-E, a different satelite from SSMI, and gives a Lower total. http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/plot.csv
- - Area Data is available for Both Sats:
AMSR @ http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/timeseries.anom.1979-2008
SSMI @ Nansen http://www.nersc.no/main/index2.php (bottom of page)
... Nansen's link goes to many Graphs: AMSR=Bremen, SSMI=Norsex/ROOS Area & extent, "forecasts" lead to Topex = AMSR & SSMI on same chart (names reversed)
... Hamburg (AMSR) rarely updates but has both Area & 15% Extent DATA: ftp://ftp-projects.zmaw.de/seaice/AMSR-E_ASI_IceConc/area-extent/
... NSIDC is an AMSR, but a 5-day average.

Phil 263: a smaller Melt after revision means MORE Loss next day. Since 27 Aug, by 11 to 4 ... credit to Lord Soth for spotting that the Counter-intuitive result worked more Often. Ugh. I know: it Shouldn't work. But it does.

Re: the day-ahead sites: Bremen leveled & DMI dropped. Pips had 3 days of ~0 Drift.

Jon Torrance


"... NSIDC is an AMSR, but a 5-day average."

http://nsidc.org/data/docs/noaa/g02135_seaice_index/ says the NSIDC Sea Ice Index is based on SSM/I data.

Christoffer Ladstein

Neven: How do you fancy the latest PIPS arrows?

Here's a LOT of compaction potential, and if that is not enough, there's a huge opportunity of multiyearice to be cracked loose from the Canadian Archipelago towards warmer waters closer to the coast of Alaska?!
For how long time is this going to last...

Christoffer Ladstein

Neven said yesterday:
I'll be willing declare this melting season over when something counterintuitive happens - something not everybody may know here, but I remember from last year: When the DMI 80N graph starts shooting up we have a definitive confirmation that the water is freezing up big time. This is counterintuitive (love that word, by the way, just like 'circumnavigation'), but is caused by the water releasing its heat to the air so that it can freeze up. So, air temps shoot up when the waters freeze.

I was NOT aware of that fact, but come to think of it, it makes sense.

Neven, now "the heat is up", according to DMI...


Hi Neven, thanks for the interesting blog, and thanks to Kevin for pointing out your blog to me. There still seem to be some action in the SIE yet, but it's almost over. I'm amazed by the fissures in the sea-ice visible in MODIS. I wonder what the long term effect of all this will be, and it looks like we might all find out sooner rather than later.


'Kay, well I've compared CT Area and IJIS Area. Results for 1 Apr to 30 Sep are here:

1. http://img84.imageshack.us/img84/8017/dangerzonedelta.png
This is simply subtracting the daily CT area from the IJIS area. That shows the actual area of the "Danger Zone" - ice between 15% and 30% concentration.

2. http://img836.imageshack.us/img836/5247/dangerzonepercent.png
Shows the area of the Danger Zone as a percentage of the IJIS area.

For the consideration of the brains trust.

A few disclaimers:
* This is pretty quick and dirty and I may have offset a day here or there. My interpolated area figures aren't fantastically accurate anyway and have a bit of fudge in them (mmmm, fudge...). The purpose was to canvass the data and see if anything obvious jumps out for closer investigation.
* I haven't had much of a chance to pore over this, but I'm posting it now because I'm hitting the road for a few days and don't know when I'll next be Chez Neven - not too long, but I didn't want to promise it and leave you all on tenterhooks...;-)
* It does seem at first glance like the percentage chart is a better fit to the annual data, but I haven't yet looked for consistent offsets - spikes in these charts followed sometime later by dips in the extent or area figures. I'll have a look at lining these up next week some time if no-one gets there first.

"I'm keeping the blog alive at least until the end of this month"
Err, yay! I guess...It's like hearing your drug dealer isn't leaving town until the end of the month. But where am I going to get my fix come October?


But where am I going to get my fix come October?

You are going to go Arctic Turkey, my friend. Or you might OD on CryoSat-2 data. :-B

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