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Lord Soth


I like it. Sounds like a new disaster movie. Much better than the overuse shock and awe.

The next two weeks will be critical, to pre-condition the ice for a new minimun come this fall, and it looks like we are going to get clear skies; so a repeat of 2007 looks likely under the current weather pattern.


Thanks Neven, comprehensive outlook. I'd like to add another aspect: In the last days concentration declined too and is now close to 2007. The MODIS mosaic shows a fractured ice pack with little lakes (>250m⌀) of open ocean.


So beside surface melting the ocean will heat up forcing edge melting given a clear sky is predicted. All this happens below the 15% extent radar. I expect area century breaks and an unimposing extent.


Indeed, Arcticio. I have been noticing these small holes too lately. I can't remember seeing those last year, but maybe I wasn't paying enough attention back then.

michael sweet

Can you put a link to those Google Arctic Mosaics (like Atcticio has) on the Arctic Graphs Page?

How come the U. Bremen change per month for 2011 and 2010 are so different when they ran neck and neck for area most of the month?


You're right, michael. I should've done this straight away. And what to think of this Circumpolar Map? Excellent stuff!


There were small holes last year too, I checked that while working on the study area north of Greenland. And the same goes FI throughout the northern Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.
As I wrote june 23, this year gives an impression of settling dispersal between broad, persisting leads of rubble. That would open up easily and randomly everywhere, wouldn’t it? It shows extent isn’t the issue anymore as for accounting what’s really going on now.
Extent IMHO misses the point, as is overcontemplating weather issues like AO, Beaufort Gyre or any other ‘good old getting to grips with’ climatic nomenklatura.
Neven, Werther is in bad need for some soothing words of consolation here. The days of good sports, like in snooker, may soon show an ugly side.
Most places, the arctic ice is in the process of fracturing. South Laptev is worse than 2010, the fast ice between there and Chukchi is also breaking up. As goes for North slope Alaska. The remaining floes and rubble can spread out easily, hiding the ‘real estate’ while extent counting. Cryosat won’t easily fix a grip on that rubble too.
Back to some eyeballing; wasn’t that a small calving event on Sermeq Kujalleq, day 180? Those clouds, confined to the Fjord’s limits, going out into Disko Bay? And most open water in the Fjord being filled up next day? The south front may have lost 3 km², and it’s warm enough, lately.


Hmmm..... Neven, I think you'd better check your numbers. I started out thinking you must have had a typo (2261K which should be 261K for the 2007 difference).

But I can't get any of the numbers to work out, so I figure I must not be comparing the correct dates (though 2007 needs fixing, too).




Oops, Bill, you're right, that was a typo. Thanks, fixed now.

If my eyes do not deceive me a drop of -152K has been preliminarily reported. How's that for timing, eh? ;-)

Neven, Werther is in bad need for some soothing words of consolation here. The days of good sports, like in snooker, may soon show an ugly side.

Werther, I don't know how to console you. What is going to happen, is going to happen. It has to happen. Perhaps we're lucky and things will be controllable. Perhaps weather patterns are going to go nuts, and let's not even start about about methane clathrates etc (I am still in denial about this, and I could need some help from the skeptics, but they hardly ever mention it).

If you have a garden, build a greenhouse and improve your gardening skills. That's a good thing to do, no matter what happens.

Artful Dodger

Hi Neven. I think we need to refine the phrase mega-melt. Since 'mega' is the common SI prefix for 1 million, it follows that a mega-melt would be one in which the Arctic loses 1 million km^2 of sea ice in a month.

By using the 30 day moving average for SIE daily decrease, we see that anytime that value is < -33,333 km^2 per day, then that 30-day period was a mega-melt month. Indeed, April 15 to August 30 is the interval of mega-melt in recent years.

Therefore, I propose the term mega-month, where June 2011 would have a value of -2 mega-months, July 2007 would be rated at -3 mega-months, etc...

By this definition, 2007 SIE was below 3 mega-months for the period July 6 to July 15.

Date . . . . . . 30DMA
Jul 05, 2007 -99,914
Jul 06, 2007 -100,378
Jul 07, 2007 -101,689
Jul 08, 2007 -102,923
Jul 09, 2007 -104,708
Jul 10, 2007 -104,708
Jul 11, 2007 -104,647
Jul 12, 2007 -104,153
Jul 13, 2007 -103,735
Jul 14, 2007 -102,757
Jul 15, 2007 -100,549
Jul 16, 2007 -98,609

Cheers! :^)


Lodger, I'm using the prefix mega- in a linguistic sense. It comes from the Greek μέγας, meaning great.

A big melt. July is (in principle) the mega-mega-month. :-P


The high developing over the Canadian Archipelago is pushing back the low over Alaska:


McClure Strait appears fractured past Melville Island.
Could the NWP be opening soon?


Twemoran, I have just posted the first NWP animation.

When compared to last year things are going much slower. In McClure Strait things are pretty similar, but more to the East the ice in 2010 by this time had fractured all the way past Resolute. It has not changed that much this year so far, but when it starts breaking, things will go fast. Last year was exceptional when it comes to the NWP opening up.

Some clear satellite images would be nice though.


2007 had the biggest extent decrease reported in the IJIS data set for today's date (201,875 square km). I wonder how 2011 is going to take that blow...

Wayne Kernochan

I thought it might be of interest to share some back-of-envelope calculations based on daily figures for area, volume, and "average thickness" (depth, or volume divided by area) of arctic sea ice that Gas Glo very kindly shared with me.

It occurred to me that one way to guesstimate time to zero "average ice amount" was to identify the time of minimum area for each year and the thickness of the ice at that point. This would represent, in a time of increasing melt, the "core" ice that would need to be melted in order to achieve zero "average ice amount".

Here's what I get:

Year Thickness % '79 Area % '79 tXa % '79
1979 3.18 100% 5.3 100% 100%
2006 2.24 70% 4.02 78% 53.1%
2010 1.45 46% 3.08 58% 26.6%

In other words:

- Since '79, at minimum area, almost 3/4 of the ice needed to achieve "zero average ice" has melted. Using a linear projection, the latest we would expect "melt-out" would be 2022.
- More than 1/3 of that has occurred in the last 4 years. Using a linear projection from 2006 (yes, I know I cherry-picked that year), we would expect "melt-out" in 2014.
- Note that more of this comes from thickness reduction than from area reduction. Or, to put it another way, 56% of the melting of the "core" has come from melting the top and bottom, and 44% from melting the sides.

Note that "zero ice amount" doesn't mean zero ice; but it does, at this point, mean (assuming a normal distribution of ice thickness) 50% of the 20% of the '79 maximum ice area remaining at minimum, or 10% of the '79 maximum area, will be left. So, given the typical concentration at minimum, Maslowski's 15% ice extent projection in 2014-5 doesn't look too bad.

I will be interested to see if the volume and area figures for the 2011 time of minimum area follow the recent trend. If so ...


But Wayne, keep in mind that with current technology volume/thickness estimates must be taken with a grain of salt. Or perhaps a milliliter of salt water.


Right, after Neven's words of consolation, let's get back to 'business as usual'. This visualises what I thought captured by MODIS day 179-181. I like these overlays, easy to check differences later on.


I'm sorry the stuff never seems to fit the bandwidth. Forgot to explain; it's Jakobshavn Isbrae, schematised through CAD using MODIS.


Wow, Werther. How do you see stuff like that? Amazing...


2007 had the biggest extent decrease reported in the IJIS data set for today's date (201,875 square km). I wonder how 2011 is going to take that blow...

Well, if my Excel is correct we had a drop of 149,375 sqkm in SIE for July 2nd (IJIS after correction). So it seems 2011 took that blow pretty well!

Lord Soth

Here are the top 10 Mega Melts since IJIS records began in 2002.

M D Y sq km
July 3 2007 201875
July 5 2006 191094
July 22 2009 168437
July 2 2007 162031
July 5 2005 161719
July 2 2011 149375
July 4 2009 148750
June 5 2009 145469
Aug 6 2008 145000
July 5 2009 144219

Yesterdays Mega Melt ranked #6

Seven of the top 10 occured in the first week of July.

So I am declaring the first week of July as Mega Melt Week.

Well, if my Excel is correct we had a drop of 149,375 sqkm in SIE for July 2nd (IJIS after correction). So it seems 2011 took that blow pretty well!

The record melt of 202K was reported for July 3rd, Phil! We'll know in an hour or so what 2011 has to say in reply. ;-)


A drop of 177,188 square km (before revision). Not bad. Not bad at all.

If the revision isn't too big, this would be number 3 of all-time daily extent decreases.


Neven,seems you were right about your weather predictions. Looks like the heaviest SI losses were around Baffin Island and in the Beaufort Sea. Hudson Bay is about "done".


Indeed, Phil. And I think it will last a couple of days longer. After that it's anybody's game. In fact, the AO 7-day forecast is already showing a bend upwards.

One other thing: the Antarctic SIA anomaly is very negative. If this stays that way for a couple of days and Arctic SIA mirrors the drop in IJIS SIE (which I think it will), global SIA anomaly will come near the 2006 record. Right now it's 1.85 million square km, and I believe the record was around 2.5 million square km. There's a bit of a lag in these numbers.

Interesting times in the cryosphere...


BTW, Phil, your comment was the blog's number 5555. Congratulations. Lodger will soon send you his Arctic umbrella. Make that Adelady, she's closer (less CO2). ;-)

Artful Dodger

Hands off the STASH, boyz! Its pretty clear if 2011 sets a record low we're all gonna need umbrellas ;^)

Werther: outstanding work. May I suggest that rather than saving your graphics as JPEG files (which create artifacts and are lossy), you use either GIF or PNG?

Be aware GIF file formats supports max. 256 colors (8-bit resolution), which would be fine for your image above.

PNG format supports 24-bits of color depth or 16.7 million colors, same as JPEG for photo-realistic images like MODIS. It's better for smaller cropped images, since it uses lossless compression.

Next time, Raster to Vector Conversion!!

Have a great week everybody, and Happy 4th of July!


My umbrella? My umbrella?!!??

I save most CO2 by keeping it right where it belongs.

(Phil is most certainly younger than me. He can wait for his chance. I just hope he doesn't have to wait quite so long before he wins something nice.)


No worries Adelady. I am happy to wait a little longer for the umbrella. I've a job interview on Thursday. Let's hope 5555 brings me good luck ( Fingers crossed x)


FYI for all ice nerds

Lord Soth

With the update, we have 168,125 sq km, so that puts us in 4th place for today and 7th place for yesterday.

Any bets on three top 10 melts in a row?

Janne Tuukkanen

Didn't we except warmer water to keep safe distance from the ice above? It seems there's new process in effect:


Also wondering about Canadian Archipelago and Northern Greenland. They were excepted to be the last strongholds of sea ice decennia to come. But could surface currents become altered, so we would get summertime coastal open water flow from Bering to Nares and Fram?

Janne Tuukkanen

Eek, it's against The Gyre! Amateurish idea! :-(

Gas Glo

I think we have had a mega melt week as in 1,000,000 km^2 CT area reduction.

2011.4822 -1.2551445 7.7860675 9.0412121
2011.5013 -1.5253255 6.7199564 8.2452822

This is the second non overlaping time this year. 2010 had 5 all overlapping and 2007 had 2 overlapping weeks. There has only been those 9 nine since 2003.

Rob Dekker

Happy 4th of July for us here in the US !
IJIS reports 8,659,219 for the 4th, which is some 86k melt for the day. Not a record, but 2011 is still below 2007, and only slightly above the leader 2010, which is starting to slow down significantly in the coming weeks (due to bad weather kicking in in 2010).

These 3 years 2007, 2010 and 2011 are playing tag with the record low extent ever since the start of the melting season.

What an exciting melting season !

k eotw

I would say 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2006. The last one being notable because of how much higher the eventual minimum turned out.


Yes, it has been very exciting so far. :-)

2010 was having two days of reasonable decrease (80-90K) after today, but then went downhill very fast, so 2011 should overtake it within 3-5 days.

In the meantime 2007 had 5 days of 80-90K daily decreases coming up, before striking with another series of 4 consecutive century breaks. Let's see if 2011 can keep up with that.

2006 wasn't doing bad either in July, but completely fell apart in August.


A drop of 'just' 75K reported for yesterday. Is that high too big or too far out to the right?


Could be pulling ice from west end of NWP and pushing ice through Nares and Fram, with a little help from the lows.

Noticed the buoy in the Lincoln Sea is headed back toward Nares.

Found a thing with arrows,


but it's stuck at 6/29. I want my PIPS!!


Appearantly, the Barrow break-out occurred on the 3rd. About one week ahead of their insolation-based estimate:




TOPAZ tends to update once a week. It'll probably update on Wednesday.

I miss those every day updates from PIPS, too.


Nares will be receiving the ice with open arms.


Wow, Bill, you're even faster than my software program checking that web page every 10 minutes! Thanks a lot!

Post is up.

Rob Dekker

The USCGC Healy has been on Neven's sea ice page for a while, and just became very interesting :
She has just 'hit' ice a few days ago on it's travel through the Bering/Chukchi sea. Images (of the melting zone of the western side of the Arctic Basin) are amazing. Loose chucks of half-melted sea ice and melting ponds in the bigger pieces.
I wonder how deep into the 'pack' the ice looks like that.
Images are updated on an hourly basis.


Rob, I wrote some blog posts last year about Healy to compare its position - projected on a Uni Bremen sea ice concentration map - with the images from the Aloftconn webcam.

USCGC Healy has entered


USCGC Healy is nearing 80N

I'll do one of these this year too, but right now the Healy is approximately here:


Thanks Bill

I pasted the wrong URL, the one stuck on 6/29 is:

Rob Dekker

Thanks Neven !

Cool that you project the location of the ship on the sea ice concentration map. How do you do such magic things ?

Incidentally, same thing about the Modis pictures. How can one project a lon/lan location (or grid) over Modis or Uni Bremen sea ice concentration map ?

Interesting though that Uni Bremen reports close to 100 % sea ice concentration, while the ship's pictures suggest it is closer to 60-70 % and with ice in horrible shape...

By the way, what does the USCGSC Healy do, apart from taking good pictures and collecting weather data ?


Just a bit of Photoshop magic, Rob. ;-)

The Uni Bremen sea ice concentration map already has a grid. Having a grid on LANCE-MODIS images would be great too to see where Healy is exactly. Unfortunately that part of the Arctic is very cloudy right now, but I'll have a look when I do a post on this.

But seeing that ice is amazing. That's how it looked last year at the end of August, albeit at 78N.

I believe last year Healy was making maps of the sea floor (for oil exploration and increase in shipping they are expecting in those waters). This year I don't know. Lodger is the expert in this area.

BTW, I'm seeing people on the ice on the latest Healy webcam image. So it isn't that thin yet, eh?

Rob Dekker

You are right. It won't be that thin. In Holland, we would ice skate on 4 or 5 cm ice but of course, anyone getting on snow-covered rough sea ice would be nuts unless it would be at least 10x thicker than that :o) I suspect there is at least 50-75 cm actual ice left over on average.

My guess is what we are looking at are melting ponds from molted snow cover, that have melted into the ice down to sea level (and thus start connecting with open ocean) at many spots. That's really bad for albedo, and in general will greatly facilitate rapid melting once the clouds clear.

It's also an indication that snow cover appeared to have thick over the winter (which also seems to have fooled Cryosat's first ice thickness reconstruction map).

As for Healy's current project : it's not for oil. There is a Stanforc-lead team of some 48 international scientists and technicians on board for ICESCAPE 2011 :


Here is the planned path :

Project seems to include lots of ice profile analyses, as well as sampling of ocean and melt water. Ice profile analysis with a partionally submerged surface (as is shown in the pictures) whould give a very good picture for ice thickness/roughness and accurate inference of ice volume in the area.

Lord Soth

Meanwhile at the North Pole (or close to it), things are getting dicy for web cam #2.


That lead is growing by the day; you can barely see the far shore.

The far marker is getting very close to the ice edge. Hopefully there is no instrumentation associated with it.

Ponds are growing, and it could be my imagination, but that ice looks thinner.

Good thing they planted 2 web cams. I'm not sure if cam #2 is going to survive the summer.

Lord Soth

Once again this year, there will be a joint project between Canada and the USA in the high arctic.


The Louis S. St-Laurent is currently parked outside my window, in the Bedford Basin.

Lord Soth

That link was to last years program, sorry, and now I can't find the info on the 2011 program.

George Phillies

The new PIOMAS ice volume anomaly estimate is up http://psc.apl.washington.edu/wordpress/research/projects/arctic-sea-ice-volume-anomaly/

Their graph shows a precipitous increase over the last month in the anomaly -- the lack of expected ice volume. If the drop this year, the increase of the anomaly, is the same as last year, meaning a drop of about 4000 cubic kilometers from when the sharp drop starts, the anomaly this year would at the bottom be ca. -11,000 cubic kilometers relative to long term averages.

Long-time average ice volume in September is only 12300 cubic kilometers.

Now, it could be that we are seeing volume loss early, and by September the acute volume loss anomaly will fade, but if it did not ice volume would be rather small, a couple of thousand cubic kilometers rather than the historical norm of 12300 cubic kilometers.

Perhaps someone can find a Polarstern or Healey report on the ice conditions they are encountering.

Artful Dodger

Bad news for 2010 fans: over the next 10 days, the average SIE decrease is just -42,500 km^2 per day... SEE YA! (wouldn't wanna be ya).


Here's the ICESCAPE blog.


Lord Soth 6 july on NP webcam 2 july 5 17:00 UTC
You’re right, big change over there. Eight hours later the high pressured ridge, always 9/10 to the right about 3 m high and some 200m from the camera has shifted to the middle and further out.
I can’t remember having seen such ‘dramatic’ mobility over there through the webcam before. The lead must be a 100m wide now.


Neven, that ICESCAPE blog is an interesting read about life on board, some of the science going on a bit of history. Nice short snippets that keep interest and attention going. Would love to be on that trip!

Rob Dekker

Lodger wrote :
Bad news for 2010 fans: over the next 10 days, the average SIE decrease is just -42,500 km^2 per day... SEE YA!

I don't know about 2010 fans, but more than a month ago I challenged the 371 voters on WUWT who thought that 2011 minimum would be above 5 million km^2. No takers for that bet offer, even after waiting more than a month :


The new target seems to be the 2007 minimum. For that, InTrade has been up and down, but currently holds the odds at 40% that the 2007 record will be broken :


It sure is an interesting melting season...

Rob Dekker

George The new PIOMAS ice volume anomaly estimate is up

Thanks for that info !
It seems that the calculated 2011 ice volume is some 600 km^3 smaller this year than it was last year at the same time.

That suggests that average ice thickness across the Arctic is only some 1.39 meter right now (never been so thin this time AFAIK). And that is not unreasonable, looking at the state of the ice from various sources, including pictures from the USCGC Healy and the stunning developments at the North Pole (thanks Lord Soth!).

If the volume difference with last year (600 km^3) is sustained, then there will be less than 4,000 km^3 left over in September.

Incidentally, the PIOMAS version 2 graphs dilligently posted (by Wipneus?) :
seem to have been blocked by imageshack.

All that's left over are the version 1 graphs from FrankD:
but these are obviously not updated any more after the PIOMAS upgrade.

Does anyone know what happened there ?


Rob, there is a new PIOMAS post up. Wipneus supplied us with 2 new graphs.


Rob Dekker: Incidentally, the PIOMAS version 2 graphs dilligently posted (by Wipneus?) :
seem to have been blocked by imageshack.

Rob, I deleted the previous graph after posting a new one. I announced that in the previous PIOMAS thread:

michael sweet

In the Healy photos is the blue ice old ice and the grey ice first year ice (I see the same colors in the MODIS images)?

Rob Dekker

Thanks Wipneus/Neven ! This shows that I'm not paying enough attention to all the great stuff going on here at Neven's.

Lord Soth

The century melts are back, with 102,968 sq km from IJIS.

I didn't think it was going to survive the correction, but the correction was only 2K.

Small corrections is ussally a sign of further melt, so there is a good chance of another century melt again tonight.


Thanks for the info, LS. Another century break. Check.

Small corrections is ussally a sign of further melt, so there is a good chance of another century melt again tonight.

It's possible that PIPS agrees:

Lord Soth

Would you walk on this ice.


This is now looking really precarious, for the web cam, and with those big PIPs arrows at the north pole, there is going to be alot of pressure on this ice.

The melt pond expansion in the past 12 hours is really amazing also.

Wayne Kernochan

@Rob Dekker: I wouldn't hang too much on the fact that ice thickness is at a record low for this time of year. My model is of "step functions" of average thickness, one for each year of "ice age", with slightly negatively skewed normal distributions around each "mode". So the average ice thickness for first-year ice would be X (average ice thickness at minimum for first-year ice) plus i (excess of thickness over minimum at this time of year), peaking at about year 3 (after that, the ice begins flushing out of the system). A very crude estimate would then be (X + 2X + 3X + 2X + X)/5 + i for average thickness, if there were equal amounts of 1-5 year ice, or 1.8 times the average thickness of first-year ice at next year's minimum. However, last year created record percentages of zero and 1-year ice. Again at a very rough guess, that would mean that thickness should decrease by 10-15% from last year at most points between here and minimum melt, even if we were not actually going to wind up with less area.

I guess what I'm saying is that because the melt last year wiped out some multi-year ice, we were bound to have a decrease in volume this year. If, however, the thickness gets below 1.25 before minimum area is reached (it was at 1.45 at minimum last year, iirc from Gas Glo's figures), we can be sure that additional year-to-year top and bottom melting of each year's ice is occurring and that we are still in our "death spiral".

On another topic: as per Neven's remarks about a possible record global sea ice anomaly, I have continued to watch Antarctic conditions. Recently, it appeared that there was a strong positive anomaly in sea surface temperature in the "crook in the elbow" in the eastern Peninsula as well as off the Ross Sea. This I took to be a sign that sea ice was forming (actually, concentrating) and therefore the sea was giving up heat. However, there is no very much sign of this in the area figures -- in fact, the anomaly continues to climb, and the NSIDC concentration picture still looks like pea soup. The area increase still has over 2 months to run, and 2000 km2 (?) of increase to go, so there's still time to turn this around, but there's a lot more chance for a record global sea ice area anomaly in July or September than I would have imagined.

By the way, global sea ice area seems to have a double dip maximum, in June and October (the higher one), so we may have already set a record low for the first (lower) maximum; it's pretty close, anyway.

It is also noteworthy that the extreme positive anomaly in Antarctic land temps has returned -- I would guesstimate that over the last month it was around 5-10 degrees Celsius on average, but now it's more like 10-15 degrees Celsius. In fact, just west of the Ross Sea (?) as well as on the Peninsula, it appears that there are spots where it's 40 degrees F above normal. Yes, that's still well below freezing, but according to a long-range forecast of climate anomalies by end of century, mean yearly anomalies in the Antarctic are supposed to be much less than in the Arctic. It's as if the Antarctic land was acting like 2100 already.

L. Hamilton

Just noticed the NSIDC June figures, are these old news yet?
extent = 11.01
area(adj) = 8.45
100*area(adj)/extent = 76.7%

That's the 2nd-lowest June extent and roughly tied for 2nd-lowest June area, both after 2010. Concentration was lower only in 2010 and 2007.


and now the NSIDC 6 July arctic sea ice news is out:


Greg Wellman

The IJIS area plot is now in "virgin territory" (meaning outside the range of all previously plotted years - on the downside in this case of course). The IJIS extent looks like it has a good shot at the same condition in a couple of days.


The small meltpond lower left seems to be moving off screen and the left hand side horizon is getting lower. Is our camera falling over?




The NWP is catching up and disintegrating from all sides.

What is interesting too is that the big high over the Arctic Basin is pulling the ice away from the Canadian Archipelago. Maybe, just maybe, if things stay like this for a couple of days more, we can watch the ice disintegrate in the CA channels. Although that'd be extremely early, compared to last year.

Greg Wellman

Well, some of the ice in the CA channels is already disintegrating. So far just around Cornwallis Island and some bits north of Devon Island, but as I think you've noticed, the ice at the northern ends of both channels east and west of Ellef Ringnes Island is looking pretty weak. It does seem unlikely that the main channels of the archipelago would open before the Perry Channel does though.

Greg Wellman

As a followup to my comment about ice extent possibly reaching a new low for dates in the near future, I note that Hudson's Bay and Baffin Bay currently have about 200k each, but appear to be deeply into their end-games, with low concentrations and cut off from other ice. If you figure they'll both be at zero in 10 days, then they'll contribute 40k per day on average for that time. So a little melting or compaction from the Siberian side, and we'll see a couple of 100k days.

I think you've noticed, the ice at the northern ends of both channels east and west of Ellef Ringnes Island is looking pretty weak.

I did notice indeed just after I wrote that last comment, though I had to revise my geographical knowledge of that particular area. Luckily, Arctic.io now has this great circumpolar map.


Could Baffin Bay SIA go back up a bit when ice from Nares Strait reaches it? It's jammed a bit in Kane Basin right now, but ice transport is underway.

r w Langford

Looking at a closeup of the arctic ice pack almost anywhere, looks like loose Swiss Cheese. It is also unbelievable how much of it is cloud free and receiving twenty four hours of the strongest rays of the year. This is bound to have a huge impact on this thin ice during the rest of the summer no matter what else happens to the weather. Add to this the melting from below and it is a recipe for huge ice loss.

Greg Wellman
this great circumpolar map
Ok, that's very cool. Hmm, what I had as Perry Channel (the main section of the NWP) is called Parry Channel there. Ah, that map is correct - either I misread another map, or the other map had a misspelling. It's named for William Edward Parry. Somewhat confusingly, one of those smaller passages near Ellef Ringnes is called Peary Channel. Googling Peary Channel however, one learns that the explorer of that name claimed a channel in Greenland that turned out to not exist - it would have separated Peary Land from the rest of Greenland. (Heh, enough sea level rise and he might be eventually correct.)

Hi all,

Well, with 6 July bringing us PIPS, PIOMAS, an NSDIC update, how to follow this...?

On the North Pole webcams page, it looks like camera 1 has missed an update, and may have capsized.

Camera 2 also looks fairly likely to follow suit, a victim of Santa's latest home improvement project - a swimming pool.

When I first started looking at the Healy webcams images, I thought I was seeing the ice that the ship was meeting. I'm now of the opinion that the camera shot shows the ship's wake. Does anybody know?

At any rate, it seems that the presence of a bleeding great naval icebreaker is having some effect on the ice, so the images from it may be a bit misleading. Schroediger's cat scenario thingy?

Rob Dekker

idunno, I noticed the same (about Healy). The camera seems to be mounted on the stern and not on the bow as we assumed. That also explains the sort of 'channel' seen in the ice from the picture I posted two days ago
That's where the ship went through and I agree that this was somewhat misleading. Either way, the ice still looks horrible. Maybe only the constant overcast is saving it for now from total annihilation.

Rob Dekker

Regarding the images from the North Pole (for as long as the cameras are still working) are truely stunning. Especially NOAA 2.

When you look at the images from NOAA 2 over the past few weeks, a pattern starts to emerge : A day or two of rain melts the snow, greatly expanding the melting ponds. Then a day or two of clear sky when the sun hammers away on the darker water. Result : melting ponds are forming lakes on the lower 'elevations' (the thinnest ice areas). Best seen with NOAA 2 :

If this (rain melts snow) happens all over the Arctic Basin, then the albedo will rapidly decline, and further enhance melting (as it probably already did)

Also, I wonder when the melting pond (lake) will connect with the open ocean in the background, which will be the next step in the melt.. Amazing.. And it's only early July...

michael sweet

The camera on the Healy is mounted on the front. Frequently the ship is stopped and the ice stays the same during that time. Occasionally the ship backs up and then there is a big area of broken ice ahead in the picture. In thick ice icebreakers often back up, but here I think it is for another reason.


I have been following the debate on Nevens blog for some time now, and since my friend Patricks blog is more or less inactive, I thought it was time to enter this space.
What puzzled me for some time is the different measurements of datas coming from different sources regarding sea ice area/extent and what I see on the Modis images, and it does not fit. Because what I see on Modis is very much what The Cryosphere Today shows : http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=07&fd=04&fy=2011&sm=07&sd=04&sy=2010
And that is the area/extent on for ex. July 4 th compared to last year is much smaller than seen from other sources, why is that?
Regards Espen


Rob, Lord Soth
We’re all on top of what’s happening now. While you wrote your comment, I took some measures, assuming the picture frame of the webcam is always the same. It’s toppling over steadily last two days, backwards (the horizon is going down) and to the right, a degree during the day.
On the matter of colours visible on the Healy pics (and MODIS): melt ponds shine blue, open water deep grey. So, on Rob’s question lately, how far north the colour pattern around Healy might go, I’d say almost 1000 km (MODIS day 181/2).
Greg Wellman spoke about ‘ virgin territory’, others repeat the term ‘ death spiral’. It looks like we’re all aware of possible extreme results this year.
As for me, I often read comments, like in the NSIDC reports, that the outcome will depend on the weather. True, of course, but ‘worse than ever before’ will happen anyway this year. Volume, area, extent combined will be record bad, even if the Arctic clouds over.
Given wild weather late 2009 and ’10, what can come out of this coming autumn?


Welcome Espen
I noticed the same, doing comparisons during june. It must be the resolution (i.e. the counting of % on de grid) that leads to a representation that doesn’t seem to fit. The one true basis IMHO is MODIS. And there you see that cracking up in the Archipelago FI was further in ’10 than in ’11. So I can imagine area during ’10 being slightly lower for a long time in numbers.
We all look for comparison, most of all to 2007, the year that seemed to set a benchmark. But as I tried to show in a pic last sep/oct, 2010 was worse. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend extent as THE indicator, allthough it’s exciting .


Hi, Espen. I think the differences have to do with satellite sensors and the way data is processed. I agree with Werther that MODIS is a very important source of info.


Yes the Modis Images are the only real data to rely on, because I frankly dont trust much of the other data sources. But what I can read from Modis is we can expect a real meltdown this season and very likely under the 2007 figures.

Lord Soth

Anybody noticed that the horizon on the North Pole webcam has gone fisheye (concave instead of flat)

Here is a picture from the Third


Draw a line across the horizon, and its close to a straight line.

Here is one from today


The horizone becomes concave shape.

Look at the support in the top right, it has mot moved, so it mush be attached to the camera.

The only thing I can figure what is happening is that the camera lens is an extreme fish eye, and the camera is tipping back, and a small lowering of the horizon is causing a fish eye distortion, since the horizon is no longer centered in the picture.

Hopefully it does not fall over; before it sinks.

Notice that the far left foreground marker is no longer vertical. It may be floating in the pond soon.



It is a wave! Just joking!



I think you are right, it looks like it will soon be tilting or sinking.

Healy is now very close to Russian Jurisdiction from what I can see, so they better be careful, it is already melting so we dont need a conflict, ice wise the ice at 73.3 is very think probably not more than 30 - 50 cm.


Compiled 5 days of Healy webcam into video (1.2MB):


First contact at 0:17.

Lord Soth

We only need a 56K melt tonight, to put 2011 in the lead again. Today is when 2010 began to fade.

Soon the contest will only be between 2007 and 2011.

Greg Wellman

This may be the Arctic Sea Ice blog, not the Greenland is Melting blog ... but check this out: One year ago tomorrow: http://lance-modis.eosdis.nasa.gov/imagery/subsets/?subset=Arctic_r02c02.2010189.terra.250m
verses today

Flip back and forth, looking at the extent of snow melt and melt pond formation on the western slope.

2010 supposedly set records for negative mass balance. I'd expect those records to fall.


Hi Greg, did you use my overlay (see 3rd july) on Jakobshavn Isbrae? I did, apparently synchronical with your session. And yes, The snowline has crept up day 183 – 188 some 13 km to the east. We have to see whether that’s unusual though. But its relatively warm over there.


Lord Soth,
Every 550 km² loss in extent equates about 1 km³ loss in volume. But that 1 km³ is lost anyway, even when ‘weather’ prohibits extent loss. Thus, 125 km³, on average, melts out each day, whether extent corresponds or not. Even on a low extent melt day, this goes on...
It’s the climate, ‘stupid’... sure wish a gifted person could make a difference on this frontier (in making this first priority).
B. Fraser’s and Frank D’s work on volume graphs illustrate that volume is THE constant discriminant since 2006, considering the state of Arctic Sea Ice.
For the first attempt by the Cryosat-team, I go with Rob 6/07 (‘snow cover may have fooled their numbers’) and it’s a ‘hell of a job’ representing rubble.
Avoiding lots of reasoning, a speedy conclusion is that it’s the heat balance, especially in the Arctic ocean, that’s of paramount importance. I often read Lodger’s, Rob’s and others’ cunning knowledge on the sun’s irradiance on open sea and the energy thus absorbed. That’s the part of facts and equations.
The part of feel is that the threshold in heat balance has been passed in 2006 or something, and the Arctic is in freefall...
Even if extent isn’t ‘tabloid-fähig’ (like when it’s less than 2007), the accumulated heat may disrupt northern hemisphere weather patterns next autumn, much more than during autumn ’09 and ’10.

Greg Wellman

Werther, your line-drawing of Jakobshavn Isbrae and surroundings is very cool, but I don't quite see how to use it as an actual overlay (unless it's a PNG, transparent everywhere except the lines, and I import everything into GIMP). For a daily comparison, something like that might be necessary. For the year-over-year comparison this year to last, the difference stands out just "blinking" between two tabs in my browser.


Looks like century break nr 8 was reported for July 7th.

Greg Wellman

BTW, pre-revision we have another IJIS century (a bit over 117, so it has a decent chance of surviving the revision). Also depending on the revision, it looks like we're in the "virgin territory" I mentioned - lowest extent for July 7 in the IJIS records, and most likely the lowest extent for this date in the last 5000 years. (There's evidence for a period of less sea ice during the Holocene optimum - does anyone know if that is considered proven?)

Daniel Bailey

FYI: North Pole Webcam #1 is stuck on Thursday July 7th, 10:06:39 UTC.

Webcam #2 is still updating normally and the current image reads at Friday July 8th at 01:16:14 UTC.

Instead of updating in near-unison, we now have a protracted time gap. Any bets as to whether this is transmission-related, equipment related (like last year) or if Webcam #1 went swimming with da fishies?


+/- !000 km or 550 nautical miles of sea ice is left,and both the NW and NE passages will be open.


Rob Dekker

For Wayne (Kernochan) : Sorry for the late response.

I understand your point that the ice thickness is not directly correlated with the ice extent. Specifically, using a 'simple model' such as the one that you suggest, smaller ice thickness may just indicate that multi-year ice is getting thinner, but overall extent may remain the same. I think that's true, and I think that explains why the decline in extent is not matched by the decline in sea ice volume (such as reported by PIOMAS and TOPAZ).

In short, as you point out, extent can stay the same, while average ice thickness decreases, if just multi-year thinning causes the decline in volume.

That's true, uptil the point that there is very little multi-year ice left over, or it's getting so thin that you can't distinguish it much from single-year ice. At that point, most ice is single-year, and extent will become very sensitive to weather variability.

Even though we seem to be at 1.39 meters average right now, I don't think we reached the point of total wipe-out yet (after all, there was still almost 5 million km^2 of ice left over last year, which is now multi-year ice). But as that 'minimum' ice thins (decreases in volume) each year, there is less and less a buffer to compensate for next year's summer variability.

So volume decrease (as reported by PIOMAS and TOPAZ) is very important, mostly for next year's sensitivity to weather variability.

Consequently, with ice this thin, extent can very rapidly decline on a 'hot' summer. As Dr. Maslowski pronounced, it may "just melt away quite suddenly" one summer in the near future...

Andrew Xnn

Sea Ice area for the Greenland Sea has been trending upward for the last few weeks and is currently slightly above it's long term average. This suggests (at least to myself) that sea ice export must be above average as well AND above last years levels.

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