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As the melt advances, more careful examination of satellite pics is becoming rewarding (apart from the chance to see faces in the ice!)

IIRC, last year Neven and a couple of others were very attentive to the breakup of fast ice on the northeast coast of Greenland.

That being the case, you may find a comparison of the ice conditions for May 1st for 2010 and 2011 interesting:

There's a bit of cloud obscuring the 2011 image, but its clear enough to see the breakup along that stretch is considerably more advanced.

I'm warming up the metaphorical popcorn...


Things certainly seem to be getting underway on the Eurasian side. Having watched the ice for a few years now I know that the early season can be decepetive but still this year is possibly likely to challange 07.


Excellent! Thanks for this article. It helped me get focused enough to finish my own article - just published. I've provided a link to this article under 'further reading'.

I forgot to say in my article that the Nares ice bridge is currently eroding and will almost certainly break up by May 09. That's the Greenwich meridian version of May 09.

In passing: at the North pole where all meridians meet, all time zones are valid at once. Anyone want to buy a Schrodinger chronometer? There's a nice box to keep it in and I'll throw in the cat for no extra charge. :-)

Gas Glo

CT area of 11.708 is lowest for this time of year (.3287=1 May) beating the previous record low from 2007 of 11.768.

>"I have replaced the RSSfeed widget in the right side bar with something that fits better in the overall design. Most of the interesting news items are shown there."

Hmm, something is not working here then. On right hand side, I see a tip jar then a "Arctic Sea Ice News" heading only then the survey. Prior to reports of judder, I did see a scrolling news section but assumed that went in attempts to fix the judder. I am using IE8 on Win7 64bit. Any ideas what I might need to do to see the news items?


@Gas Glo

Interesting. I am also running IE 8 under Win7 64bit.

I was about to write that I was seeing the headlines, but when I checked, they weren't there.

However, jumping back and forth between various posts, I have observed that they do show up, but only intermittently, and with no pattern that I have been able to identify.


It doesn't show up for me in IE8 either. It shows up in FF on my desktop, but not on my laptop.

I was happy when Rob Dekker's problems with this blog went away, because I don't have an idea how I can change things. TypePad doesn't allow much fiddling.

I'll go and ask TypePad support about this thing this week.


Cryosphere today anomoly is below 1 million square kilometers today.

Lord Soth

Some more bad news on the political front for climate change.

A conservative majority was elected in the Canadian election, and they are climate change denialists. The only good thing to come out of this is that the Green party has won its first seat in Canada.

Don't expect any good news out of Canada on Climate Change in the next four to five years.

It's scarry, that by the end of this Government term in office, the Arctic ocean could be virtually ice free during the summer.


Lord Soth, it will get much worse before it gets better.

I might be mistaken, but it looks like IJIS reported a century break, 112K in fact. We'll see if it can withstand the revision (which has consistently been +20-30K so far).

But Christoffer gets half a point either way. :-)


Yup, a revision of +28K. But 2011 is in second position now, IJIS extent-wise.

Kevin McKinney

Conservative *majority?* Crap!

The politics back home just haven't been the same since I left.

Got to be a coincidence, of course. . . but LS is right, there likely won't be much good news on the climate change front in Canada over the next term. It'll be interesting to see whether, emboldened by majority status, the Conservatives get a bit more honest about their obstructionism.

(Sadly, the Liberals were no better in practical terms when they were in. It seems that 'mitigation if necessary, but not necessarily mitigation' is the Canadian way--and the 'if necessary' bit seems always to be problematic.)

Christoffer Ladstein

Well, well, Lord Soth, regardless who's in charge in the parliament, the fact remain what's been
NOT said...

But Christoffer gets half a point either way. :-)

True, Neven, one point (or a half...) after sudden death (hinting to a not "very" interesting ICE-match tomorrow...), is after all better than no points!

Norway experienced the hottest April since 1901, and this I find reason to "blame" upon the very positive

But as "normally" for the past years the most extreme anomaly temperatures took place in the

But...just as the NAO turned negative, the summer changed back into a traditional harsh spring, with great risk of frost at nights and devestating damages upon plants and crops that woke up too early...
As I write these words, the temperature has dropped to 2 C, poor nature I say, and poor all those customers of mine that bought all those summerplants last week!

Kevin McKinney

"SaskPower, meanwhile, is working on deals to sell its captured carbon to oil drillers, which can use it to extract oil from the ground, a spokesman for the utility said."

Which additional oil is not figured into the alleged GHG emissions, I bet.

It's true that most of the Canadian provinces are taking some meaningful steps (many belong to the Western States initiative which will soon be phasing in a cap and trade plan.) And it's true that most Canadians see climate change as real, problematic, and human-caused.

But we'd still be much better off with strong Federal leadership on climate change--well, assuming that they were leading in the right direction. . .


Lotta concentration at around 80% for this time of the year.
Ive been foxed by the CT image before but still, that looks....... interesting

Artful Dodger

North America has an integrated Energy infrastructure, both in the electric grid and liquid fuels. It is no surprise that Canadian policy follows the lead of U.S. policy wrt Climate Change. The official policy of Canada with respect to GHG legislation is to mirror emissions limits enacted in the U.S.

Any Government elected in Canada, regardless of Party doctrine, is forced by business circumstances to follow the U.S. lead. The tail doesn't wag the dog.

The bigger news in the Canadian election is the rise of the socially-oriented New Democratic Party (NDP) as the Official Opposition, the decimation of the Liberals (previously the only National alternative), and the collapse of the separatist Bloc Québécois (BQ) which lost Official Party Status.

Canadian Action on Climate Change awaits change in U.S. policy.


the effect of a low pressure area on cracked sea ice seen very clearly at:
and the neighboring photo, a lead many miles wide opens north of Canada (guessing the lighter color on the right side of the lead is just fog)

Lord Soth

Well the Petermann ice islands are together again off the Labrador Coast.

Just look for the two pill shaped objects with hatch marks around 61W and 59N.


I believe I can see them in the NOAA Modis image for May 2 also, but frankly, I find it difficult to tell ice islands from ice flows, in these images.

In about two months we are going to have; between Petermann IIA and IIB, 150 sq km of ice island in the mid atlantic shipping lanes.

Im not sure how long the ice islands could survive in the gulf stream.

Is ice bergs off Great Britians coast possible?

Lord Soth

Here is the MODIS image, with the Pettermann ice islands.


I think one is half way down, about two inches in from right, all by it self. The other I am less certain

Lord Soth

Correction, thats two inches in from my left for the MODIS image.


Another thing of interest is the spread of ice free waters through Bering Strait. Today it goes up north a hundred KM´s, 50 KM wide.
The CT archive shows that feature two weeks later in 2007. Again a mark that conditions aren´t well for the sea ice.


I´ve been comparing the general weather pattern (ENSO, AO, NAO) for the last four years. It isn’t hard to see the resemblance to 2008. Yet the amplitude in the waves has become much larger. It is a chaotic system in perturbation, going literally anywhere unexpected. How true, Neven, when you remark ‘there is always something to learn, never a dull moment’.
Wayne Davidson makes a call for rapid sea ice melt at season’s start. Then later on the ice may be saved by cloud seeds growing into a covering blanket over the Arctic. But remember the ice volume is low. And in the last three years it has shrunk considerably compared to the situation in 2008.

Kevin McKinney

Lodger, you're so right about the emergence of the NDP as a big story--IIRC they got about 30% of the vote, which is unprecedented--as is their dominance in Quebec. (Time was, they couldn't have purchased a seat there--well, of course in those days the Liberals WERE buying them there, but you know what I mean.)

But I disagree with you somewhat about Canadian policy. Yes, there is considerable integration in North American energy markets. Yet there would be nothing to stop the Feds from enacting an energy tax, or coming up with meaningful emissions caps, or quite a number of other possible initiatives. No, "the tail can't wag the dog." But it can wag itself, if it wants to--so to speak.


Another thing of interest is the spread of ice free waters through Bering Strait. Today it goes up north a hundred KM´s, 50 KM wide.

Werther, I'm planning on writing about this today (also about the hole off Franz Josef Land).

Artful Dodger

Kevin, the is something keeping the Cdn Govt from enacting Climate Change legislation: the Canadian Senate.

Kevin McKinney

Yes, and now Commons as well.

Account Deleted

It seems that the warm temps in the Hudson Bay area are making an impact. The Hudson Bay Sea Ice extent http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.13.html has started to nose-dive.

Matthew Opitz

And it looks like next week the Hudson Bay area is going to be having some scorching hot temperatures, according to the GFS.


Usually it takes until July before Hudson Bay totally melts out, but I don't see how it can last the month of May at this pace.

This is the north end of Hudson Bay:


There's no way that sort of ice survives more than a week or two of 70-degree temps in the region.


It looks as if Siberia and Canada have been trading places. Indeed, Hudson and Baffin are going down hard, while on the other side things have stalled.


On the situation day 130. Extent is trailing along very close to the 2006 data. It is lower in the Bering, Okhotsk, Kara and Labrador Seas and in the Hudson Bay area. But it is still higher in the Barentz Sea.
The lead-pattern in the central pack looks impressive, like Rikkitiwake expresses for the region north of Alaska. But 2009 and 2010 showed impressive cracks, too. The pattern is different this year, but not necessarily worse. Still, it is worrying to see an open polynia form 70 km north of Cape Morris Jessup, around 90 km2. Wayne Davidson First reported the severe tension leads out there in february. Some systems run over 400 km long, 600 to 12000 m wide. And though they’re filled with all kinds of debris, nilas and grey ice, they give an eerie impression of the mess that might show up later in the melt season.


Hi Neven,

Thought you would like to note the US Gov Press release on the Arctic Council meeting.

This also contains a link to the a major new report:


For less "spun" approach, the bbc programme referenced by Derek Moran on "TOPAZ - a short interview" also contains links to the relevent wikileaks files.

It is, IMO, very encouraging that the US is showing every sign of waking up and taking the whole of the Arctic environment very seriously. Sending the Secretary of State is a very positive move.

After years of policy being dictated by "Birdbrain" (h/t Allen Ginsberg), it's good to see that policy seems now to fall into the remit of a bird with a brain; well, apart from marrying Bill, and trying to outsmart Obama a couple of years back, but still...

Still no official inquiry into the impending Santa Claus homelessness crisis, I note, though the Vatican has just published something or other which will possibly make it slightly more difficult for denialist candidates to woo the Latino vote.

Am I off-topic again yet?


Thanks, idunno. I had a look at that report just yesterday and then watched their nice Youtube video on the Greenland ice sheet.

Am I off-topic again yet?

Just a tad. ;-)

Any news on SSTs?


Hi Neven,

My news on SSTs is probably on-topic here, on a thread that is all about events in April.

In other words, I haven't really caught up, after not keeping my eye on the ball for at least ten days.

But sometimes it helps to take a break, and it makes small incremental changes more obvious, so I'll venture this:

Curious. The anomalously high SSTs in the Labrador Sea appear to have nearly disappeared. There is still a patch of red on that side of the Atlantic, but it's further South.

Curiouser. There is now a very hot spot just to the North of Iceland, and the waters surrounding the British Isles, and in the Bay of Biscay are very warm.

Curiousest. The Surface air temperatures over the Arctic have fallen below the average for the time of year for the first time all year.

I find this last especially odd, as I have always assumed that SST influences SAT, and SSTs in general appear quite high. Could this low air temperature be a consequence of disappearing Arctic ozone?

So, in summary, I haven't got a clue what's going on. At least some things stay the same.

Congratulations, and thanks, by the way, for attempting to untangle the various ice thickness models in the threads above. I will try to put up some comments later on the relevent sections.

(Incidentally, this computer no longer plays sound, so I can only watch silent movies, cannot appreciate swipa's Youtube video, and might well have difficulty keeping up with the rest of you, let alone contributing much for a bit.)


Hi Neven,

In answer to my own question above(about ozone), I suspect that wayne davidson has already suggested that this is the case @


... and on 2 or 3 posts on Real Climate's May Open thread. I strongly suspect that you and several others here will be able to follow what he does say better than I can, so I will not try to paraphrase him, beyond this ridiculous oversimplification:

Disappearing Arctic ozone = cooler Arctic SAT.

It's much more complicated than that. Wayne Davidson clearly understands several aspects of this that I don't, even after reading his explanation...

Artful Dodger

idunno: you may wish to continue reading into this topic. The general chain-of-causality is:

  • ↑ GHGs trap ↑ heat at surface
  • ↓ heat reaches the Statosphere
  • → Strato. temps ↓
  • ↓ temp → ↓ ozone to form
  • → Ozone hole ↑ over the Arctic.
Simple, wot? ;^)


Lodger, you lost me. :-)

idunno, thanks for your view on SSTs. One thing I noticed is that the water at the entrance of Bering Strait seems to be warming up a bit according to today's DMI SST anomaly map.

I don't find it so curious that SATs are anomalously low, but what impresses me is that despite this, and despite the fact that the CAPIE index is low (pointing towards sea ice divergence, as R. Gates mentioned somewhere else BTW), the SIE is very constant in its downward trend. I wonder what a switch in weather conditions might bring.

Artful Dodger

Neven, GHGs are causing a hole in the Arctic Ozone layer:

Artful Dodger

Here is a May 9, 2011 article:

Close Call: Ozone Hole Nearly Opens Over Arctic.

When temperatures in the Stratosphere (the second layer of Earth's atmosphere) are above -78 C, chlorine and bromine stay in a form that doesn't react with ozone. Below this threshold the chemistry makes a dramatic change, and halogens are transformed into compounds that rapidly destroy ozone.

Most years, the Stratosphere in the Arctic is too warm for ozone depletion to take place. This year, temperatures were cold enough to destroy more than 40 percent of Arctic ozone. The ozone layer over the U.K. hit its low point on March 29.

Why did the Stratosphere cool so much this year in the Arctic? Increasing GHG's form an ever more effective blanket, trapping Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR). So then, less heat from leads in the sea ice can escape to reach the Stratosphere, which cools as a result.

This situation will get steadily worse in the future as GHG concentrations (especially Methane), continue to increase in the Arctic. The absorption spectrum of Methane will be the topic of another comment.

Kevin McKinney

There's a nice discussion of how CO2 cools the stratosphere (as well as how ozone warms it) here:


Kevin McKinney

Also of interest for detailed GE basics:



I note that Petermann Ice Island-A has left the building....

On May 11th, it drifted down the coast of Labrador out of range of the MODIS Arctic mosaic pix. It can be seen on May 10th, exiting stage right*, here: http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/subsets/?subset=Arctic_r02c01.2011130.terra.1km

The buoy on it is still broadcasting: http://sailwx.info/shiptrack/shipposition.phtml?call=47557

and the raw Realtime MODIS pix still show it: http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/2011134/

Here is a cropped image of its position from the morning of May 14th: http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/7577/petermannmodisterra2011.png

As expected, still going strong. It has outlasted normal floes because of its thickness, and will be one of the few icebergs this year to reach the Atlantic shipping lanes, if it doesn't run aground.

* Theatre convention has stage directions from the actors' p.o.v., not the audience's. Stage right = audience's left.

Lord Soth

The Canadian Ice Service is now tracking Petermann A and Petermann B (the larger of the two) daily on its ice graphs.


Look for the hatched pill shaped object on the chart.

Petermann A is at 58N 62W
Petermann B is at 56N 59W

A week agot both ice islands were within 50 km of each other, but it appears that Petermann A was grounding on the Saglek Bank, and was slowed, but it did not breakup.

If the Ice Islands, get much closer to the Labrador Coast, they are in increased danger of grounding, and could break up.

Petermann B stands a very good chance to survive its chance down the Labrador Coast and into the shipping lanes.

Petermann A fate will depend more on wind conditions to get it farther offshore

Lord Soth

The ice islands are 60 feet above the surface. Using the rule for icebergs, those ice islands should be drawing 540 feet of draft. Since the ice island is more like a big pan of ice instead of an iceberg, I suspect this number is on the high side.


LOrd Soth,

I agree with your comments about the PII-A. The tracking bouy shows very little movement over the last day or two, so it probably is aground on a bank.

But are you sure about PII-B? The latest realtime MODIS pic:

doesn't show it.

At the location of the more southerly pill in the CIS map you linked to, there does appear to be an iceberg (somewhat obscured by cloud), but it is way too small to be PII-B.

Lord Soth

I saw PII-B about 10 days ago, and it was still intact. I wonder if has broken up, or has moved under the cloud. Im thinking the latter, or else the CIS would show multiple ice islands.

The Canadian Ice Service updates its records in the late afternoon. PII-B is travelling in open water so it should really stand out, under clear skies.

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