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Lord Soth

With seasonal lag in the arctic being about three weeks after summer solistice, tempertures will start to head back down from their climate highs (in theory).

At some points, heavy cloud cover provides an insulation to keep the heat in.

I'm not sure where in the time scale, the advantage switches to clouds. I was thinking around the time that the DMI North of 80 Climate graph hits freezing.

Any ideas ?

It would also be interesting to see the AO graph for the summer of 2007. Did anybody keep one?


Haven't got a detailed graph of AO but monthly average numbers were:
2007 1 2.033800
2007 2 -1.306900
2007 3 1.182100
2007 4 0.544270
2007 5 0.893670
2007 6 -0.554960
2007 7 -0.396520
2007 8 -0.033738
2007 9 0.178920
2007 10 0.383480
2007 11 -0.518660
2007 12 0.821130
They could be graphed if you wanted.

For comparison this years numbers are
2011 1 -1.683100
2011 2 1.575400
2011 3 1.424100
2011 4 2.274800
2011 5 -0.035093
2011 6 -0.857750

Lord Soth

Here is an interesting paper by Wang on the interaction of the AO and DA, to create conditions for extreme sea ice loss.


We can tell this year visually that we have a postive DA, but im not sure if anybody keeps a daily or weekly index of the DA like they do with the AO.


It's a little intimidating for this lurker who is struggling to wade through the math and the science. So, first of all, thanks to all of you whose posts are engaging, enlightening and (often) funny.
And now a query. For centuries, the idea that skirting the permanent summer pack via the narrow and navigationally difficult NW Passage was the hoped for maritime 'short-cut' between Asia and Europe. Given the pattern of rapid reduction in extent and the deeper water offshore, does not the NE Passge (i.e. north of Russia) to the icefree port of Murmansk seems a more likely route for significant traffic? I realize both were 'open' the last couple of summers but 'open' for small vessels isn't the same as a feasible route for significant maritime traffic. Thanks in advance.

Nick Barnes

Voyageur: the "Northern Sea Route" is the usual name for what you call the "NE Passge". It was used extensively for shipping, in convoys escorted by ice-breakers, in the Soviet era. It has been used for commercial shipping in the last two years, and probably will be again in 2011.

In terms of usability, without ice-breaker support, it looks about the same as the deep-water route of the North-West Passage.

Nick Barnes

See http://www.rzd-partner.com/news/2011/07/05/367327.html for instance.


Nick, appreciate both comments and was aware of the soviet convoys (actually saw one leave Murmansk back in the 80s) ... but I take it that you think the deep-water NW Passage route will be as "ice free" or not as the NSR with the retreat of the cap; i.e. that the ice will not linger longer in the Cdn archipelago


Hi all,

Just to note that the CT global sea ice anomaly is now over 2 million, which is a rare event.

I have the impression that the current weather pattern, with the extreme high nearly over the Pole, is absolutely hammering the main pack, without this showing up so much on the area and extent figures yet.

Melt in 2011 seems to be ahead of both 2010 and 2007; and in both of these previous maga-melting years, the "low-hanging fruit" in the Hudson Bay had already pretty much vanished by now. So I put 2011 even further ahead.


Daniel Bailey/

Webcam #1 is running fine. Sometimes you must go to their archive to get the latest image. It's just the quick-link on the home page that are not up to date.
Latest Cam#1


...or press F5 while on the page where the thumbnails are.

Peter Ellis

No, webcam #1 isn't a happy bunny. It should be uploading photos every 8 hours, but it's skipped at least half of it's "slots" over the last couple of days. Could be any number of things: problem with the satellite uplink, battery issues etc.

If you look at the last couple you'll see that #1 is also beginning to fall backwards just like #2.


I believe we just had the first revision downwards. Just 313 square km, but still.


You're in denial Peter. And I don't want to check if the pictures are there or not, because I know everything is fine.


Just to note that the CT global sea ice anomaly is now over 2 million, which is a rare event.

I have the impression that the current weather pattern, with the extreme high nearly over the Pole, is absolutely hammering the main pack, without this showing up so much on the area and extent figures yet.

Indeed, idunno. PIPS is showing a nice clockwise churning of the ice pack, but the arrows aren't huge or anything. So while insolation is hammering away, winds perhaps aren't that mega.

The global SIA anomaly is mainly caused by a huge anomaly in the Antarctic SIA. But if Arctic SIA has a couple of big century breaks in a row...

L. Hamilton

Small milestones department, northern sea ice extent now appears to be lowest for this date over the satellite record.


Hi Neven,

In the first Terra satellite images of 8 July, there seems to be a big break-up of the ice North of Ellesmere island, a little too close to the Ward Hunt Ice shelf for comfort?

It looks to me to be a little to the North, but that's a guess, and I thought somebody here would know...

Artful Dodger

Ice Watchers: Here are some points affecting the near-future prospects for IJIS SIE:

  • In 2007 the rate of decline in IJIS SIE hit bottom on July 9/10 (as ranked by the 30-day running average) with both days tied at -104,708 km^2 / day
  • the 7-day moving avg for -SIE today is lower (greater loss rate) than the next 7 days in 2007
  • DMI.dk SIE (which uses a 30% SI concentration cutoff) reached a record low 6.00 million km^2 today
  • IJIS reports 8.37 m at a 15% cutoff meaning there is about 2.37 m km^2 of Sea Ice extent in the range of 15% to 30% concentration
  • further, DMI.dk SIE extent fell approx 180,000 km^2 yesterday, indicating a rapid change for SIE at the 15% threshold in days to come.
  • the AO index is now at -2.0 (month-to-date avg is 1.5), both of which are below the July 2007 average of 0.4
  • AO index is a proxy for Solar insolation, with lower AO values indicating more SW radiation reaching the SI surface.
In summary, I expect record loss of IJIS SIE in the short term. I will update this prognosis when Baffin and Hudson Bay have gone to zero SIE.

Game on!

Artful Dodger

I should add that the early break out of land fast ice off Barrow,AK may indicate anomalously warm Sea temperatures, since the early break out was not predicted by estimates based on Solar Insolation and grounded pressure ridges.

Note that Heat flux through the Bering Strait was a major factor in the record low SIE measured in September 2007.

Peter Ellis

I'd be wary of interpreting the Barrow data as indicating elevated sea temperature. My understanding is that the whole point is that the grounded pressure ridges isolate the landfast ice from the sea circulation and thus eliminate this as a factor.

Barrow had very early melt pond formation this year - which to me implicates factors above/within the ice rather than below it. Whether that's air temperature, solar radiation or other factors such as dirt/sediment in the ice, who knows?

Nick Barnes

idunno: the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf is at the far east end of that lead. It's a long rectangle, parallel to the coast, a darker colour than the sea-ice.

Artful Dodger

Jul 08, 2011 prelim SIE:
8,217,031 km^2

Daily change in SIE:


Another 149,844 sq km extent loss on IARC-JAXA for 7/8/11.

2011 is deciding to taunt 2007, and go for the championship belt.


I imagine most of you will have seen this post "Arctic sea ice in record retreat" on
and 'Arctic Death Spiral' on Joe Romm's Climate Progress with a plug for your blog, Neven? as "a must for cryo-junkies"! That's us!

This is for Lodger, http://make-everything-ok.com/

and The (Petermann) ice Island off Labrador:
with a link to neat video from some fishermen of part?of it.

I cant contribute much constructive here but greatly enjoy all you write & mostly manage to follow the science, & even the maths too sometimes!

I have been delighted to make a donation to the Tip Jar, feels like the best value 'movie ticket' I've ever bought, in a front row seat & enjoying the very best company & conversation.
Thanks to Articio for the Healy webcam video, feels like realtime up there on the bridge! & easier than clicking my way through their jpg files.

Apologies & OT now I know, Neven:
I just try to make 'art stuff' = textiles, inspired by my concerns about all of this. And I want them to be underpinned by accurate science.
Two of my pieces are currently showing in the Celebration exhibition here in Kentucky USA,
"Warning & Warning 2 = warning flags with an artist's statement alongside about loss of sea ice in the arctic & antarctica.
They can be seen in side view in the last image:
This didn't seem like the best venue for a work about climate change but then I found at the time it opened the Ohio R (meets the Mississippi just downstream) was in high flood one block away behind their flood protection barriers. Not sure if viewers would have 'joined the dots' tho?!

Clare, in winter in NZ

Rob Dekker

As pointed out by Andrew, it looks like ice leaving through Fram straight is higher than normal.
And as pointed out by Lodger, Hudson bay is approaching 15% concentration, and will thus fall off the edge for IJIS, meaning that the next few days we will see more century breaks.
On top of that, the Kara sea has been warming relentless over the past couple of weeks of clear skies, knocking out ice North of Siberia at record pace (open ocean now approaching 85deg.
Meanwhile, the central basin has been hammered with alternate rain (melting top snow) and brutal clear skies, resulting in melting ponds the size of small lakes witnessed by the NOAA North Pole cameras.
We are at record minimum extent and ice melt shows only signs of accelleration as Nature does her brutal high-summer Actic

And now the Chukchi sea (my favorite), left behind in extent reduction by heavy cloud cover over the past few weeks, is clearing. More Arctic solar heat absorbed by the dark ocean, which will have no mercy with the already bad (witnessed by Healy webcam) ice in the area. If that high pressure zone maintains for a week or so, I predict extreme ice annihilation around the Chukchi sea and deep into the Arctic Basin as a result.

Guys, what an amazing, historic melting season ! Exciting and humbling and scary at the same time.


The dmi 30% graph is really in freefall now


Likewise camera 1


This year is aiming to be special

Nick Barnes

For IJIS extent, 2011 is 2 days ahead of 2007 today. 2007 lost insane amounts of ice in July, so I'm expecting this lead to disappear in the next couple of weeks.


Nick: Why do believe that? The path 2011 has taken is more or less under the 2007 figures all way, and then add the heavy volume loss in the meantime. My own estimates of extend/area (based on mainly Modis)the real figures are even lower than most sources indicate. But of course something could change, but the potential of less sea ice in 2011 than 2007 is very possible.



Webcam1 hai, hai...


Only hours left, webcam # 1 is going down the drain very soon: http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/npole/2011/images/noaa1-2011-0709-101118.jpg



Do anyone have information on how far apart the 2 Northpole webcams are? It must be some distance since the weather sometimes looks very different from one to the other?


Lord Soth

The current positions of the webcam plus weather can be found at the NPEO website.


Webcam 1 is associated with the IABP PAWS Buoy

Webacam 2 is associated with the POPS-12 Buoy

The chart is updated every few weeks, but the position and temperture is provided several times a day.


I always think it's interesting the internal temps of these cameras, 6.5c even up to 13c recently. Doesn't match the air temperature from the bouys but gives me a sense of the effect of the sun on a plastic box therefore the heating energy of the sun up there at the moment. Not very scientific but interesting and compares to -17c in April.


Phil there is internal heating to keep the cameras working which has been discussed here a couple of times.

Nick Barnes

Espen: it's just my hunch. The central pack seems more solid to me than in 2010 or 2007. The 'frappuccino' look has not yet set in. My gut feeling is that the central arctic is just not going to melt out in that way this year. Maybe the ice is thicker? We'll see.
(by the way, was I the first person to call it 'frappuccino'?)

Wayne Kernochan

@Rob Dekker - a belated thanks for the explanation :) - w


Thanks Lord Soth, for pointing out the position of the NOAA webcams. I’ve been looking for that, because the lead showing on 2 is on the brink of being visible on MODIS. That is, given clear weather. And it isn’t.
Since day 183 I couldn’t renew a count on my study area north of Greenland. But webcam 2 is only a tantalising 185 km north of my area's limit.
From the sparse MODIS info, I get a hunch the area is getting compacted up to north Greenland.
If that’s what Nick Barnes takes as a sit for the central pack, he’s right FTTB. But the compaction isn’t yet closing the lead near webcam 2. And Nick, your ‘frappé’ sure was there, day 183 (last time well visible).
But as usual, action shifts in the Arctic. Ostrov Wrangelya is now allmost ‘freefloating'. Hot weather being forecast for the East Siberian Coast (24 dC in Tiksi), soon all fast ice there will be gone. Within a week, the central pack will have no attachment left to Canada, Alaska nor Siberia.

The central pack seems more solid to me than in 2010 or 2007.

I'm not sure about 2007, but last year the ice pack had spread out a lot. If things stay like they are now, I don't think we'll be seeing many holes around the North Pole either. But I'm sure/hope Werther will analyze this thoroughly when the time is there.

Patrice Pustavrh

@Nick: I agree on central pack being intact, and I can agree with you here. Nevertheless, and it is actually my question: could it be due to relatively still weather. Last year, we've seen a lot of cyclonic activity, which broke ice up, this year, winds may not be so strong and therefore, no fragmentation occurred yet ? Or, ice has rebuild a little bit and PIOMAS and TOPAZ models are underestimating volume for the time being ?
But either way. Maybe 2007 was really specific and we have some more years to watch ice disappearing (until 2030). But, even if this is true, the melt is in my point of view extremely rapid. Hey, whole Arctic ice gone within much less than a century - this is like a millisecond in a human life, comparing to ordinary climate change periods (figuratively, not exactly, if someone can give us a real value, it would be nice to know).

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