« Arctic Recovery Crock of the Week | Main | Where is the Petermann Baby? »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Christoffer Ladstein

Thumbs UP for the music choice, Lenny been close to my heart ever since his debut, Let Love In. Those were the days...
Great analysis again, Neven!
Stay put! Stay alert!


Our Norwegian friends who are still on their Arctic circumnavigating adventure are currently making good progress. I hope they get good winds and the NWP doesn't freeze up. It's not a done deal yet.

It looks like our Norwegian friends are taking the southern route through the NWP. Anybody got any info about what they went that way? The Satellite map shows some ice still stuck between Victoria island and the mainland. I am not sure how recent the picture. The ice might be gone by now?

Kevin McKinney

(Ahem)--you'll notice "it ain't over" till the horn section plays (@ about 3:25.)

Just sayin'.


Phil, I believe they have to make a stop in Cambridge Bay for a replacement of some component (forgot what it was). Other than that I believe they have some sponsor obligations there as well.

If you want to help them out, they are hiring:

Are you ready for a real challenge? Would you like to join an exciting expedition? The “Northern Passage” seeks an additional crew member for its upcoming crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

Experienced open-sea sailors of multi-hull boats are especially welcome to apply.

We expect to depart from Pond Inlet on Baffin Island, Canada, around 23 September. The best option is if you can join us for the entire three-week voyage to Oslo! Alternatively the journey can be split into two stages, with embarking/disembarking either in Iceland or Southern Greenland. Your airfare will be covered by Northern Passage 2010 Expedition.

I would go, but I have to run this blog, you know. Ahem...


Not sure that I would be the ideal additional crew member... In fact, I am pretty sure I wouldn't be! A Virtual expedition to the arctic is probably preferable for someone used to a subtropical climate!


They have to pick up a forestay at CB, that area to Gjoa Havn potentially will be the trickiest of the remaining journey.


(Ahem)--you'll notice "it ain't over" till the horn section plays (@ about 3:25.)

Just sayin'.

So, are you suggesting we should change the expression to 'it ain't over 'til the bearded trumpet player is playing'?

Greg Wellman

(mostly for Phil)

The Google satellite view in the arctic does not reflect current conditions. Just as for anywhere in the world, the ocean bottom has been artificially added, but not really close to land. Places close to land (take a look at Puget Sound, or any other complicated coastline like Norway's) are shown as photo images, as are lakes.
So, in a possible mistake, the entire chunk of passage between Queen Victoria Island and North America has been classified as "close to land" and is shown as a photo from some time when it was choked with ice. There are no doubt plenty of places in the world where the transition from sea bottom topography to surface photo is just as strange, but only in the polar regions is there the added bonus of ignoring most sea ice while showing some non-existent ice. Check out the Weddell Sea in Antarctica.

Artful Dodger

NSIDC: Arctic sea ice reaches annual minimum extent


I've updated my AARI animation up to Sept 14. It seems to accelerate badly at the end...

(click for a full size version)


minimum extent @ 19:14 Artful Dodger

Where - when (who 1st) will there be a MAJOR Headline about the NSIDC statement,

"Assuming that we have indeed reached the seasonal minimum extent, 2010 would have the shortest melt season in the satellite record, spanning 163 days between the seasonal maximum and minimum ice extents."


Indeed, Jack, it is already being spun into 'Serreze said melt season would get longer, but it's not'.

Christoffer Ladstein

Farfetched people are not hard to come by, and they do hit the news. But these weirdos are timeconsuming, just like to much spam in the inbox. I simply don't have time for that kind of "News". Weirdos belong in the books of Carl Hiaasen, maybe we ought to tip him about an Arctic "plot", with lots of crocks...

Back to topic: This winter HAD the most negative AO "ever", for the past 200 years, thats why the rather extraordinary late onset of melting season.
And THIS season ain't over yet, watch out the next 2 days, when the entire ice left on the siberian side will be "smashed" into Franz Josef land... A brutal compaction that will be!


Greg Sept 15 @ 18.52

Thanks for answering my query. I thought it was a bit odd to have a chunk of ice sitting there and nowhere else...

L. Hamilton

NSIDC's verdict seems clear, and they should know. DMI 30% extent is the one graph that still shows a decline. Noise or signal?


Noise or signal? @ 01:41 L. Hamilton

May be some of both. IARC-JAXA shows a substantial increase on 13th - 14th and a decrease on 15th in the pack toward "Phil's Peninsula" in the area of "
and this compact" = animation @ http://www.polk-nc.com/agw/extS07up.html

Also has Christoffer Ladstein @ 22:38 compaction if the PIPS arrows greater 30Km for displacement hold on for a couple of days.

Jon Torrance

Preliminary JAXA extent for the 15th is 4,941,094. I sum my reaction up thusly - wow!

Lord Soth

We got a new preliminary minimun of 4,941,094 sq km. Now if the update is less than 11K, we will have a new minimun.

Kevin McKinney

"So, are you suggesting we should change the expression to 'it ain't over 'til the bearded trumpet player is playing'?"

Far be it from me; probably the beard is not, strictly speaking, necessary.

Getting back to the ice, though, I'd note that the NSIDC does count this call of the annual minimum as *preliminary;* see the caveat at the bottom of the page. (And in fact, as they note, a "premature" called minimum has happened before.)

Still, as I was looking at the CT basin maps tonight, and seeing upticks in most of them, and noting how the cap just seemed to look a little better consolidated than it has for a while, I was thinking maybe I should pull out the horn for a chorus or two of "Auld Lang Syne," or something nostalgic like that.


Let's leave the playground metaphore for a while. Let's leave the seesaws, the swings, the slides and the trampolines.
Let's go back to the fat lady.
She's singing alright, but who is she and what's the song she's singing?

She's Cass Elliot.
This is the song she's singing:

The latest value : 4,941,094 km2 (September 15, 2010)
Melt season not over yet ?

Kevin McKinney

. . . and then I took one more look at IJIS, and found the value of 4,941,094 km2 for Sept. 15.

Da capo al fine. . .


I'm picking a "double dip" minimum. We've had the avocado dip, but there's a little bowl of spicy salsa about to be served... ;-)



Preliminary JAXA extent for the 15th is 4,941,094. I sum my reaction up thusly - wow!

Let's wait for tomorrow's revision, shall we?.... Do not count your chickens.....


Jon Torrance

True, Phil, the large preliminary change could, I suppose, be the result of ice moving out of areas the satellites have already had the second look at and into areas they have yet to look at the second time for their two day averaging rather than compaction, but I'm still astonished that even a preliminary extent number could drop that quickly at this point in the season, regardless of whether there's a big upwards correction to come or not.


If the prelim was confirmed tomorrow, the new minum would not be significantly lower but it would pull the rug from under the feet of those who would like make some "political" mileage out of this:

"Assuming that we have indeed reached the seasonal minimum extent, 2010 would have the shortest melt season in the satellite record, spanning 163 days between the seasonal maximum and minimum ice extents."

Charles Wilson

WUWT is all agog at the NSIDC minimum where there is a "maybe" error - - the pic illustrating it is clearly the Interesting Metop Satellite used by None of the “indexes” ). http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/ml/mspps/seaiceprd.html
As you may have seen at Arctic ROOS - - the SSMI satellite went Glitzy, so NOAA just used Metop - - normally a 25% extent limited Map. Lately the the whole Central area was Mostly Holes - - Much more extensive in the Past than in the pic shown - - until the holes just suddenly filled-in on the 13th ! (though the long “arm” going out diagonally to East Siberia faded to only a tiny “island”) – - probably persuading them to announce “The” Minimum .... AS THIS MUST BE NEW ICE FORMING .

- – as of the 13th ! As of Today: the arm is back, but so are the holes !

Maybe they posted the current Map, without looking to see if it changed from last Night. (to see a map similar to Last Night click on "Metop-19").
So much Ice is close to the limitting % - - and for others, too: Topaz has both SSMI & AMSR satellites on the same page & both area & extent - - of the 4, only SSMI Area looks like a minimum (3 ticks up & 1 down) so Declaring a Minimum is goofy.

PS:"don penman" found site like NSIDC's Graph but with numerical total & 4 other years displayed: http://www.natice.noaa.gov/ims/

Guillaume Tell

Ice thickness (and volume) look better and better for keeping score, in a thinning-ice future. This assumes that Cryosat-2 provides quick and reliable information.

Of course a few more years of continuing decline would lead to general acceptance. And no one would be listning to those few people still talking 'Recovery.'

And eventually the sea ice will melt back so far, that the multi-year ice will be inconsequential. And then we can return to measurements of area and extent.

Steve Bloom

Remember, GT, that thick ice and multi-year ice aren't necessarily the same thing. In any case, within a year or two we'll all be focusing on satellite-derived volume.


The show's not over until the stage lights go out.

The north pole has just entered the 24 hour darkness of winter, but the sun is still shining over most of the Arctic. Sea temperatures in many areas are still anomalously high. Much of the ice is riddled with open water. In a triangle bounded by the pole and by McClure Strait and Fram Strait, the ice is being compacted to nearly 100%. In all other parts of the ocean the ice is of very low concentration and could easily be swept away - or into a quite small area - by suitable winds.

Last year, NSIDC reported a minimum on 17th September, but ice growth was very slow afterwards:

This year there is enough heat stored in the Arctic to delay the onset of a widespread freezeup until early October - imo.

Please remember - the fat lady doesn't even begin to sing until she has been stabbed and poisoned and has collapsed on the floor. It is only at this point that she begins to nag her husband loudly, in Italian, and with trilled RRRRs that make a pneumatic drill sound like a sweetly-played violin.



You know, I had a feeling this would happen, but if I would have said it, it wouldn't have happened. :-)

If you want to know what happens next, you check this out and ask yourself: is the fat lady there or not? You'll come to the conclusion that it's the background choir that we have to keep an eye on for now.

Artful Dodger

Weekly maps have been updated for Sep 15 at mercator-ocean.fr Here's a 5-week animation of Arctic Ocean Freezing Point / Salinity, includes 2 wks forecast (the bottom legend is Salinity in 'psu' ):

Lord Soth

The North Pole has not entered the darkness of winter.

The Sun at the pole will be half below the horizon on Sept 22.
The Sun will finally set on the Sept 24
Twilight (and I presume this covers all three levels of twilight) will last about two weeks after that.

It does not get dark until October 7th.


Astronomically speaking; It's still summer (unless you live down under). Please stop trying to rush fall.


Whether or not she is singing (and the low points of extent and/or volume have been reached for the 2010 season) I'd like to add my voice to the chorus praising Neven and others who have made this a facinating, informative, and funny blog. I've learning a great deal and have been very impressed by the careful and impressive examination of a very complex and important issue.
With that said, I would be very interesting in predictions; not so much about whether and when the next 'records' will be set or the geometry of trend lines but rather the larger, perhaps more ominous, 'what's next?'
Many thanks to all


Thanks, Voyageur! I lack the knowledge to be commenting on what happens next in the Arctic, but perhaps one day soon... Besides, there's a lot of info between the lines in these comment sections.

No comment:

Accompanying music

Artful Dodger

Too funny music score, Neven. Wasn't that filmed Wayne Campbell's basement? And where's Garth? ;^)

Christoffer Ladstein

I be damned, the PC I'm currently attached to has NO loudspeaker...

But this PIPS map make me kind of "flabbergasted! Below 4,9 tomorrow...

Artful Dodger

It's Official: a revision of +7,344 in IJIS SIE for Sep 15 makes a new 2010 minimum: 4,948,438 km^2


It's Official: AD @ 16:06

And if the "warm water" in the Chukchi Sea you've been talking about since July does not cool quickly along with PIPS displacement size and direction, who knows about tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.

The "melting" is essentially over with IMHO. But there is not a law saying "compaction" is not allowed to effect the minimum extent. ( ie: most polynyas and 'lakes' are gone )


Regarding the intrepid yachtsmen: 'Peter-I' appears to be in CB based on their tracker and 'Northern Passage' says they expect to arrive tomorrow at 9UTC. Gale force winds and big waves in the NWP apparently.



Phil, you have a lot of experience with this. Do you think they will make it or could they run into trouble (with channels and straits refreezing etc)?


The places I'd be concerned about would be between CB and Gjoa Havn because of the narrow straits and the possibility of the wind pushing the ice into there from the N.

North of GH looks clear but some westerlies could cause problems:

Similarly near Resolute it's the drift ice entering from the QE islands I'd watch out for:

After that I think they're in good shape:


Kevin McKinney

The "melting" is essentially over with IMHO. But there is not a law saying "compaction" is not allowed to effect the minimum extent. ( ie: most polynyas and 'lakes' are gone )"

That's how it looks to me on CT; even as we saw this new minimum (h/t to Lodger for the update on that!) we saw the area anomaly decrease, and several of the separate "basin" area numbers increase. (What's that CAPIE number at now, I wonder?)

Artful Dodger

Kevin: Yes, CAPIE's going up steadily:

61.72% Sep 11, 2010
62.43% Sep 12, 2010
62.45% Sep 13, 2010
63.96% Sep 14, 2010

Area is going up with new grease ice forming, and Extent is going down due to recent strong winds compacting the main pack. Like many things in the Arctic, it's difficult to interpret in real time, much easier in hindsight!

I hear Neven might have something to say on this topic shortly... ;^)

Christoffer Ladstein

"Northern Passage": Good for them, the weather for the next week doesn't look that bad, below zero yes, but hardly any rough wind to speak of, compared to what they've been through the last couple days. Still, I do believe they must virtually fly to reach Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, 'til Sept. 23.
Worst for them in the next 10 days will definitely be icedrift and darkness at night, due to their 24 h sailing routine!


Agree with you Cristoffer as I pointed out above. Peter 1 has a day up on them and don't need to do any repairs as far as I'm aware. It'll be interesting.
Those watching the ice island note there's a floe of similar size coming down the Nares (should be much thinner):


Thanks for all the info, Phil. Exciting end for the circumnavigating crews.

Yeah, I saw that big floe coming through Nares Strait. Does anyone have any idea what the position is of that part of the ice island that broke off?


Try here Neven: http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn107/Sprintstar400/Peterman.jpg


Thanks, Phil! That just gave me an idea. It all depends on timing, but maybe we should ask the Russians or Norwegians to make a picture of it! :-)

Christoffer Ladstein

These 2 boats aren't similar, the Northern Passage is a VERY light glassfiber boat coated with kevlar at the "edges", equipped with an outboard motor not able to much help when the wawes get severe. Peter 1 is a "pure" steelboat equipped with a much stronger and more effective motor, which they supposedly have been using quite a lot, if I am to believe the blogs i have come across. One of the main purposes and goals for "Northern Passage" is to use the motor only when they NEED to, for instence in icy parts (when they crossed from the Kara- to the Laptev sea). Then it gets rather obvious which boat are able to traverse nautical knots fastest...
Nevertheless, they are still at a close race, and what a finale we are to witness!

Christoffer Ladstein

That "chunk" sure doesn't look huge on that picture. What's the size of it "these days"?
As a comparison I live in a "kommune"/district of 37 km2, just a spot on the map.
I guess though this island remains to get "settled"...

The Crysat 2 satelite sure will make it a lot easier to tell the truth to the "recovery"-people, but on the other side of the coin it will remove some of the mystery of the Arctic. A mystery this blog to a certain degree is based upon?!

Steve Bloom

Yeah, I think Christoffer is right that accurate thickness/volume data will take a lot of the fun out of things. OTOH it will allow more focus on what's really happening.

BTW, once those boats are out of danger from the ice they'll be having to deal with Igor, which by the 23rd is expected to be a very large and nasty extra-tropical cyclone passing quite near the entrance to Baffin Bay. I suspect they'll have to delay a couple more days, but as long as they're past any possible ice trouble there shouldn't be any problems.

Greg Wellman

Peterman-B is really making good speed. Should definitely clear Nares before freeze-up. It will be interesting to see how far down Baffin Bay it gets before being frozen in for the winter.

Greg Wellman

I also note that the "grey slopes" of western Greenland have been covered with pristine new white snow, so the surface melt season there is over. I suspect the melt was significant though.

Christoffer Ladstein

The PIPS map for the next 24 hours must give an immense opportunity for compaction. Anybody have an idea how thick that ice is in that "best" compaction area, between the island outlet in Beaufort/E. Siberian sea towards Svalbard-F. Josefs land? Are we talking just a few centimeters in between the "oldtimers" chunks that persist melting 'til 2011? If so, these arrows on the PIPS map means BIG TROUBLE for the fragile icesheet....

Igor will be history when N.P. call upon port on B. Island, but look out for more fearsome hurricains, this post-El Niño season proves the worst Atlantic hurricaine season since the year of Katarina. Guess those volunteering for the last leg across the Atlantic in beginning of October didn't pay much attention to that. They better not be seasick!

Christoffer Ladstein

Just an article covering yesterdays news, Mr. Serreze and his collegues do elaborate their slightly premature conclusions...


Also take time to click into the coverage about shrinking glaciers in inland Norway, bringing "Viking"-tools to daylight first time in a millennia!

Christoffer Ladstein

Personally I think we, the human race will not be able to pull the brakes until we've actually passed the broken bridge, but that kind of "thrill" is also worth living out, sickly as that sounds... But, we on this blog must be considered among the lucky ones, able to travel to hell on 1. class.
Here is though an article engulfing the fate of animal in the Arctic, which will take place in a few years. http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/09/14/arctic.wildlife.extinction.threat/index.html

So, saying Hurray! for the new Ice Records, is kind of natural, but the nature in general share another wiew.


Check this out for compaction potential



Christoffer Ladstein


...But as long as we have such "believers" hanging around, we probably don't have to worry much for any kind of recovery in the closest future.

Did you BTW hear the good news about the Recovery of the Ozonelayer, supposed to be back and kicking in year 2060! If it was just as easy to control the Greenhouse Effect...


Thanks for the links, Christoffer.

Phil, I really have the feeling that there hasn't been as much compaction this year as was possible. This feeling is based on the persistent holes that now seem to freeze up rather than compact, and on the CAPIE graph.

In many respects this melting season was a pseudo-skeptic's wet dream (multi-year ice barriers on the edges of the Pacific side of the Arctic, clouds during peak insolation, Beaufort Gyre and Transpolar Drift Stream stalling/reversing, significant spreading out of ice), but still 2010 comes in as a close third, both Passages are wide open, Petermann and Jakobshavn lose big chunks of ice, etc.


Christoffer @ 23.47

Personally I think we, the human race will not be able to pull the brakes until we've actually passed the broken bridge,
I totally agree with you, although I am not thrilled by it; I am depressed by it. I have two young children who will probably be around by the end of this century and I wonder what type of world they will be living in ?

BTW, the " climate denying" wave reported by the Guardian is not unique to the US,; we have the same mob down here in Australia and they came very close to winning the election. We also have a big coal mining and gas industry, and a very vocal Murdoch media who tells us every day that climate change action will destroy jobs! The big dirty word is carbon TAX.

Kevin McKinney

Well, the "wishful thinking" so prevalent in certain political circles is depressing. I don't waver in my belief that these folks will be looking extremely foolish indeed one day (well, they already do to many, of course, but I mean to nearly everyone.) But every year--hell, every month--that passes with no really effective mitigation chills me. It may not be as bad as we fear--but, as Ray Ladbury frequently points out on other fora, "unbounded risk is [nobody's] friend."

A world where survival is so precarious that there is no for remembering Wagner *or* Lenny Kravitz is not something I want to see.

Kevin McKinney

read "no TIME for remembering. . ."

Timothy Chase

Christoffer and Phil263,

I doubt that we will put the breaks on soon enough as well. While I strongly doubt that it will mean the extinction of the human species, I feel like the more prescient individuals probably felt knowing that they might very well be seeing the last days of the Roman Empire.

But in this case it would be Modern Civilization. Frequent and severe droughts, the destablization of our climate system, the decline in ocean productivity largely as the result of increased acidity due to carbon dioxide, agriculture subject to the ravages of severe droughts and flooding. Famine. The loss of fertile topsoil due to severe droughts and floods that greatly increase in frequency.

The loss of drinkable water given water tables that are often already nearly depleted around major cities, but then with salt water leaking in and even toxic algae. The loss of glacier runoff. The increased evaporation of water along drying out riverbeds of rivers that are already drying up due to too great a demand being placed on them.

People in poorer countries in increasing frequency settling for whatever water they can find and the spread of disease even to the more well-off nations. Both during times of severe drought and flooding. We had eradicated tuberculosis in the First World but left the Third World to its own devices.

Now tuberculosis is coming back to the First World, resistant to just about anything we can throw at it. The richer countries may be able to avoid having to rely upon contaminated water. But will they be able to avoid the plagues that first burn elsewhere first, out of control?

Major cities having to be moved grindingly decade after decade as the sea level rises century after century. Major cities have to be near the coasts. That is where a great deal of our population is -- but what happens when the coasts keep moving inland? Particularly when so much of humanity is concentrated along the coasts?

But sea level is hardly the only thing that will force large scale migration. More recently a study suggested that if temperatures rise high enough large parts of the world may be rendered uninhabitable during the summers due to the combination of heat and humidity that will make it impossible for the human body to sufficiently cool off.

And it is likely this sort of thing won't be particularly predictable, either. Like the more intense storms that strike cities already rendered vulnerable by the rise in sea level, there will likely be more intense heat waves that occur more frequently, occasionally sweeping through against the backdrop of a more gradual rise in temperature.

Desperation and the radical ideologies that desperate people reach for. Wars and constant strife over resources. Under BAU we will probably begin to see much of this in the latter half of this century. But things will likely get considerably worse, not for your children but for future generations. That is, if we don't do something to stop it.


Boom, a loss of 55,625 square km.

Timothy Chase

Neven, sorry about the length of that last comment. A bit longer than I thought. I will copy the text so I don't lose the work but feel free to delete. Seriously. Rather off-topic, anyway. And maybe a bit too depressing.

Kevin McKinney

Timothy, you aren't making an already depressing discussion any cheerier, are you?

In any case, what's happening today is another extent decrease--to 4,892,813 km2. Didn't you say, Christoffer, that we were going below 4.9? Well, if this holds up under revision, take a bow!

(BTW, IJIS tonight shows a pattern I've seen a time or two, whereby the new extent number is posted first to the CVS data file, and only later to the graph page. Last time I checked, the graph didn't yet have the update.)


No problem, Timothy. I'm with you. Let's move towards that sustainable society. Whether we make it or not, we're all dust in the wind anyhow. So in the end nothing matters that much. I say this to cheer you up actually. :-)


Kevin, if PIPS ice displacement forecast for tomorrow resembles that of today we can expect another drop in extent, but it might very well be the last one. Weather forecast is not looking good for more compaction.



Excellent comment. IMO this is not off-topic. I think this broad picture actually provides the backdrop for our concern about the diminishing arctic ice.

On this topic, I strongly recommend reading "Climate Wars" by Gwyne Dyer which was reviewed by Kevin some time ago.

Sorry Kevin, I cannot find the link to your comment !


Bryan Walker's review of Climate Wars is here.

Greg Wellman

The IJIS area graph is also dipping again, so it isn't *just* compaction (or the area measure is imperfect enough that it includes some of the extent that can be compacted). Of course there's also rafting which is a non-melt way to reduce area too. But my bet is on area readings being a little high for such fractured ice that compaction drops area as well as extent.

Have to see if NSIDC and CT reflect the same shrinkage as IJIS in a day or two, given different averaging period and other methodological differences.

It's like the fat lady hit the first few bars and then the director waved her off.

Guillaume Tell

I've already expressed my long term pessimism.

Short term I want just enough global warming to break the 2008 sea ice minimum, and to make 2010 the hottest year. So people might pay attention.

If not, maybe they'll notice the next El Nino.

Christoffer Ladstein

Kevin said:
"Timothy, you aren't making an already depressing discussion any cheerier, are you?"

Haha, the most funny understatement of the day! I laugh all the way to...the North Pole!

Artful Dodger

Jack Taylor said: "And if the "warm water" in the Chukchi Sea you've been talking about since July does not cool quickly..."

Hi Jack. It's been quite a challenge this year to obtain Pacific Water inflow data. Although the U.S. operates a buoy array under the Bering Strait, the data does not appear to be publicly available...

However, with the resource of weekly salinity maps, we have a decent proxy for Pacific Water inflow. It is not the rate of cooling in the Chukchi that is critical; it is the total amount of warm salt water delivered from the Pacific that matters for onset of freeze-up and end of winter ice thickness.

The 2007 El Nino was of comparable strength, but ended about 3 months earlier than in 2010. It is just in the past 2-3 weeks that Salinity maps show an appreciable influx of warm salty Pacific water. So what forces govern the flow of water North through the Bering Strait?

First, there is a slight pressure head between the two Oceans, due in part to the rotation of the Earth and differences in density (the thermo-haline gradient). Second is surface wind in the Bering and Chukchi seas. The past two weeks have seen consistent Low pressure on the Asian side, and High pressure on the American side, creating a large area wind field moving water North.

Here is an animation of Eastern Pacific SST's, weekly from July 15 to Sep 16, 2010. Hopefully this demonstrates the ongoing Kelvin wave (movement of heat through water) toward the Bering Sea. We shall see what happens with the waning El Nino heat soon enough!


Kevin McKinney

Timothy, thanks for mentioning my review--it's here. (I'll have to look at Brian Walker's take on it in a few minutes.)

Christoffer, I'm glad you enjoyed my comment to Timothy; I'm Canadian, understatement is what we do!

Neven, on "sustainable society," agreed and amen. By the way, on the "language wars," I've tended to insist on the term "mainstream science" in discussion with deniers; I'm wondering if we should likewise claim the term "realist" in contradistinction to "alarmist?" (Remembering that the anti-Communist faction during the Russian revolution incautiously accepted the term "Menshevik," meaning (I'm told) "minority party." They weren't in the minority--initially!)

Lodger, thanks for another insightful comment (and animation.) Appreciated.


About books and guessing what will happen : I found "6 degrees" by Mark Lynas very interesting - he's just compiling studies about ancient times, when global temperatures were 1, 2, 3... 6 degrees higher. It's rather frigthening; reading chapters about +5 and +6 degrees was a difficult experience (my father gave up at +4).

Unfortunately I can't see any reason or mechanism for business not to run as usual, so... I'm not really optimistic either about the fate of our "civilization".

And I'm quite confident that things will happen faster than forecast - according to IPCC 2007, our beloved Arctic Ice wasn't supposed to disappear before 2100. Most models are probably rather too optimistic, and don't take enough account of retroactions and non-linear mechanisms.

So, "Enjoy life while we can".

Lord Soth

Final numbers are in for IJIS and the extent is 4,890,938.

Thats quite the drop for the middle of September, Although I suspect that the major component of the lost was compaction.

L. Hamilton

That big NE Greenland area of shorefast sea ice that looked so solid earlier this season (it was left behind when the "Corsica sized piece" separated) is in full breakup mode now, much apparently heading out to sea.

That will probably raise the extent figures, but it also seems the last chapter in NSIDC's May observation:
"At the same time, changing wind patterns have caused older, thicker ice to move south along Greenland’s east coast, where it will likely melt during the summer."

Christoffer Ladstein

Those final IJIS numbers came in late, but truly good! I asked for much and were given more, more than I deserve! Agree with you Neven, there i hardly room for more melt now, at least north for 80 degree. Comparing weather in Gjoa Haven to Resolute, further north, give an almost 10 C difference! And we're not talking that huge distance...

But as long as "the force" (read: PIPS-arrows) are on our side, we run a "terrible/terrific" risk of smashing below the 2008 numbers in the end of this weekend.
Some parameters have put us below 2008 already, right?!

Nice depth and width of contribution lately, guys! I suppose even (!) Neven don't mind us incorporating issues closely connectet to our main focus. Anyway, I have to check out these books, are they easily available?

A last puzzle: There ain't many Girls contributing to this blog, don't they care that much?


PIPS is still showing relatively big arrows, so it's not that far out to expect another 30K-40K drop reported tomorrow:

After that I expect we'll see 2 more days (max) of smaller losses and then it's finished. ECMWF is forecasting lows to really take over the stage after Sunday. So I don't think IJIS extent will go below that of 2008. I'd call it a virtual tie.


From our Norwegian friends who have just arrived in Cambridge Bay:

We should therefore be well prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. We should have sufficient time before the passage freezes – but just barely.

Artful Dodger

Larry: Landfast Ice in NE Greenland has undergone multiple loss and regrowth cycles in the last few years. I think the NSIDC's concerns are more directed to the oldest thickest Sea Ice in the Arctic along the coast of the Canadian Archipelago and Northern Greenland.

Have a look at this terra image of the North Cape of Greenland from Sep 16:


Notice the extensive fractures exhibit almost no rounded edges? This is an indication that the breakup occurred very recently (sea ice floes become more rounded with repeated collisions with neighbouring floes). Compare the increase in sea ice fractures with this terra image from Sep 11

The Danish Centre for Ocean and Ice offers a well organized time series with thumbnail images for this area, Kap Morris Jessup. Since some are ASAR images, we will continue to get images like the following even after MODIS sunset: (about Sep 30)

I think you can see the concern here: if the right wind were to blow now and for an extended period, we'd loose all this ice. It doesn't need to melt in the Arctic, it need only make the turn at the NE corner of Greenland and BOOM, "Ice-Free Arctic" as all replacement first year Sea Ice melts rapidly each year.


I for one will be watching Kap Morris Jessup closely this Fall.


I bet we'll see some boat or kayak circumnavigating Greenland in the next years. Who'd have bet one cent on "Northern Passage" project in 2005, just five years ago, or on Lewis Pugh swim in North Pole in 2007?

There's already a "Vendée Arctique" project by the Vendée Globe team (http://www.vendee.fr/articles/detail.aspx?article=2099). It has not started yet, but might go for good in the future.

Kevin McKinney

Keep us posted, Lodger, if not here then perhaps on another space.

(Neven, maybe you could compromise on continuing the blog by doing what Tamino sometimes does: rather than dropping things completely, perhaps you could rely mainly on "Open Threads?" We're getting a lot of great content here from commenters already; it might be a model for you to get your life back while not letting the whole project drop. You'd still have to moderate some, of course, and you'd still have the opportunity to throw out an actual post or two if the mood strikes, but I'd think it would be considerably less time-intensive.

(This really has been a terrific blog spot--I feel proud to have been an early "follower.")


Kevin, I've been thinking about it a lot lately and it will probably go like you say: put the blog in semi-hibernation mode with perhaps some monthly updates and open threads, and then perhaps continue where we left off next year. There are some other details I have to decide, but I'll have a blog post up on this next week or so.

Kevin McKinney

fred, your link didn't go to the specific article, and I had no luck locating it via search. Can you still find it to re-link?

BTW, and for everybody else, the Vendée is a region of central coastal France:


(It's possible but not certain that some of my forebears came from there. . . (there was an unproven genealogical connection in Montreal, IIRC.))


I fixed Fred's link.

Timothy Chase

Kevin McKinney wrote, "... the Vendée is a region of central coastal France... It's possible but not certain that some of my forebears came from there. . ."

Personally, I strongly suspect my forebears came from white smoker geothermal sea vents, lived in mineral compartments and consisted of ribonucleic acid of little more than 50 nucleotides in length -- but that's just me.

Artful Dodger

SST map from Sep 16 shows warmer water beginning to separate the Beaufort Ice tongue from the main pack. Could it be the start of the Beaufort Ice Island?


Here's another shot of the Peterman island about to enter Baffin Bay.


Christoffer Ladstein

Summer in the north means winter in the south, and vice versa, so instead of switching into hibernation mode, why not try to learn some more about the South Pole, the Western part must be most interesting to focus upon? The prognosis for the future will lead to more water evaporating from the seas, which in the Northern part of Europe (like Scandinavia), for instence, most probably will bring 20-30% more precipitation. In effect this alone could make the maritime glaciers in the Western part of Norway stay alive, if the summertemperatures does not exceed normal levels. This happened just 2 decades ago, making the Briksdalsbre surge forward more than 3-400 meter, which in the last decade have receded again to historic minimums, leaving an excellent geologic footprint! Se attached link if you want to dig in further details.

So lets make this blog stay afloat, or lead us to dry land somewhere else...

Kevin: How is your bowing rehearsals going? BTW i knew you at least had to be Canadian, to keep your level of culture, though I must say your fancy for Wagner is hard to swallow. Maybe the reason might be the book 'Mila 18' by Leon Uris, where the always Wagner playing Germans were waltzing over the Polish jews, while the Polish only had Chopin to defend themselves with...

Christoffer Ladstein

Swimming the North Pole....brrrr...Must be a kind of fobia for these...
...that make a man want to do something so immensly "meaningless"!

Ever since paying this outlet of the greatest glacier in Norway, Jostedalsbreen, a visit (by bike!), summer of 1995, I've been spellbound by them, so here's some photos; words to describe them are not needed...

Sorry Neven, I couldn't help myself! Think Global, Act Local!

Daniel Bailey

Re: Christoffer Ladstein

Thank you for all of your valuable contributions to this blog. I've enjoyed learning from them all. Your reference to the maritime glaciers of Western Norway caught my eye, as we had just had a similar discussion earlier today over at Skeptical Science. If you're interested, the relevant comment is here; sources used were Glaciologist Maury Pelto's Website and a paper he referenced here.

Thanks again for your insights you've shared here.

The Yooper

Christoffer Ladstein

Daniel: Thank you very much for your kind attitude! I appreciate that, and will prowl into that site when time comes by. Actually I where lucky to have Atle Nesje (the Norwegian Glacier-"guru") as a tutor/professor, when I attended Geography at the University of Bergen. We went to several glacier trips together, and I used to "harrass" him for his great appetite at dinner :-).

Still, a lot of the contributors on this blog are showing a tremendous capacity, and to them I feel a "novice"!

Christoffer Ladstein

Lodger/Neven: A closer look upon the "Final Countdown" for year 2005, based upon the Ice Displacement Archive, will clarify clearly why the minimum was as late as the 23. Sep. You are better with the graphical part, so run a sample covering the 10 days prior to the 23. Sep. 2005. Then we are better suited to conclude a possible "Fat Lady"-day!


Christoffer Sept 17 @ 17.35

A last puzzle: There ain't many Girls contributing to this blog, don't they care that much?

I mentioned this to my wife and her reply was " You are all like little boys playing with your toys !!!"
Female psychology definitely works in a different way!


"A last puzzle: There ain't many Girls contributing to this blog, don't they care that much?"

One definitely caring here downunder, just lurking & LEARNING!
But as a textile artist (with some background in science) aiming to translate something of these things you all explain so lucidly for me, into my art. This is how I work, read widely, then endeavour to somehow pare things back down to an essence. So far my work has been Antarctic inspired but now "The Attic is on fire" seems like a good working title for a new body of Arctic work!
Thankyou Neven & you all for the superb quality & civil nature of your discussion.

Christoffer Ladstein

Phil: My wife just proclaim "at least you're not addicted to football", so i guess that's a way of looking on the bright side of life!
Clare: Impressive and "cool" art that is! Unique in my eyes at least. How we envy your experience on the Antarctic ice! Are you able to phrase your impressions down there?

Guillaume Tell

Dr. Wieslaw Maslowski of the Naval Postgraduate School has one of the earliest predictions for an (80%) ice free Arctic: 2016 +/-3yrs.

"Heat content accumulating in the sub-surface (Western Arctic) ocean since mid-1990's may explain over 60% of total ice thickness change."

Do we assume he has access to subsurface temperature data, from nuclear submarines? And do we weight his prediction accordingly?

Andrew Xnn

From Wieslaw Maslowski's presentation, he estimates that Arctic Sea Ice volume in the Fall of 2007 was about 9000 km3 and that about 1200 km3 has been lost every year for the past few years (since 1995). So, 9000/1200 = 7.5 years. 2007+7.5= 2014 or so.

One problem with this calc, is that ice is of course being produced every winter and the amount of ice produced in the winter probably isn't going to decrease to zero any time soon. So, there will continue to be a large area of thin sea ice every winter that will need to melt back and the wind will push this up into thicker chunks and into narrow bays where it probably wont' melt.

In other words, it won't exactly be an ice free summer. However, the area of ice at the end of the summer will be largely confined to coastal regions where the wind has blow it.

Anyhow, not sure how 2014 became 2016 other than the fact that there is of course a whole lot of uncertainty about all of this.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)