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Hi Neven,

I've replied to the comment at my blog, but to save you going there - yes feel free to comment on / link to / reproduce as you need to.

You directed me to a new Maslanik paper "Distribution and trends in Arctic sea ice age through spring 2011." No I'd not seen it. Before I consider buying a copy - can't get hold of one for free - do you have a copy you could send me?

If so, my email is chris886222 at btinternet.com

I won't steal your thunder but will await your posting with interest.

Chris R.


As noted by Andrew the ice extent in the Greenland Sea is increasing at alarming rates.

Now approaching 600,000 sq/kilometers according

Almost all of this is headed south, or melting away before our eyes.

Seke Rob

Wayne, not going to get on the volcano impressions you have but Milankovic has long moved beyond being an hypothesis. It's a proven fact, these 3 movements within, taking 23ky, 41ky, 100ky. Read up at: http://www.homepage.montana.edu/~geol445/hyperglac/time1/milankov.htm The movement of temperature and CO2 to go with that is also very well understood, never topping about 300 ppmv during the interglacials.

Ethan O'Connor

Re: Annual Averages -- the moving median with a window of n*period is extremely useful for detecting secular trends in periodic, slightly noisy data. I whipped this up from the IJIS AMSR-E Extent time series:

IJIS AMSR-E Extent Moving Median

The last plotted date is from January, since the window can't extend past the current date :)


Hi all,

With the latest CT area update figure, one thing is now certain. 2011 will not have the HIGHEST minimum in the satellite record. It has now fallen below the annual minimum of 1980.

I have recently become intrigued by the possibility that the ice between Ellesmere Island and the Queen Elizabeth Islands appears to be breaking up very fast; and the high temperature in that area suggest that we may see the ice between the QE Islands also disintegrate, opening up several alternatives to the Nares Strait for the export of ice from the High Arctic.

It seems highly likely that the NE Passage will be open for completely ice-free navigation in the next few days. It is extremely rare for this to occur before mid-August. It has never happened in July before.

Finally, Neven, a small complaint: when I open a blog called "Arctic Sea Ice", I expect to see some ice, dammit. Increasingly, these pages are full of pictures of puddles. Shortly, you may need to rename it "Arctic Sea Water", or there may be complications under some sort of sales description legislation.


Idunno, I have programmed the blogging software to automatically change names as soon as we pass the tipping point.


Hi Neven,
This might be a dumb question - but if I look at all the regional graphs for the low of Sept 2010, I can only add up to about 2.8M km2 area. This seems well below the minimum. Is there an area, hiding with a lot of ice area, that is not covered by these graphs?
Best Wishes
and thanks for destroying my productivity at this time of year when I keep checking your blog! :)


Hi Neven,

Sorry there's been nothing from me on SSTs recently; 2 reasons:

I was relying mainly on the DMI maps, and their North Atlantic map got stuck on 15 June.

The main really odd feature that I can see on the global maps is the extreme and extremely high anomaly in the North Pacific; and I know even less about the Pacific than I do about the Atlantic. I'd be very interested in anybody else's thoughts...

Hi Phil,

Is it possible that the different area minima happen at slightly different dates?

Ethan O'Connor

I should add that the extent graph above very closely follows the inverse of the 12-month moving median of the UAH North Polar Region temperature anomaly for the same period, but with an additional downward trend in the extent data...

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Hi Neven,

I meant that the North Pacific anomaly is "extremely high and extremely stable" - it seems to have lurked around there for a couple of months now.


I'm happy to hear that all my work is keeping others from theirs, Phil!

It's a good question. The 2010 CT minimum sea ice area was 3.072 square km. Giving everything my eyeball has, I add up 2.925 from all the CT regional maps. I wouldn't know where the remaining 150K hid.

Ethan O'Connor

And, as for why mid 2010 beats out 2007 in the one-year median extent plot despite a higher max and a higher min:

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2010 spent a lot more time hanging out between 6x10e6 and 1x10e7 than 2007 did.


>"I meant that the North Pacific anomaly is "extremely high and extremely stable" - it seems to have lurked around there for a couple of months now."

Are you talking about horseshoe shapes around ENSO regions? Not that I know anything much to add but I believe those horseshoe shapes around ENSO regions are associated with ENSO patterns.

Wayne Kernochan

@seke rob: My apologies for being unclear as usual. I was referring to the M. cycle being a hypothesis for the sole initial cause of the large swing in both CO2 and temperature during the PETM.

I have excluded other suggested causes mentioned in the Wikipedia article on PETM (comets, peat) as pretty clearly not a major factor. The Wikipedia article does not appear to distinguish between the carbon emissions underwater from one plate diving under another and those from above-ground volcanoes: I believe that Hansen indicates that undersea carbon emissions are much greater. Therefore, I think that Wikipedia in suggesting that volcanism is no more likely than "orbital forcing" may be underestimating the potential of undersea volcanism to emit carbon in relatively short periods of time -- and the unusually rapid India plate movement plus the eruption under the India plate would suggest such an unusual undersea volcanism.

k eotw

I am actually thinking I hope 2011 doesn't win by too much or it'll make it harder for 2012 and 2013 to beat it.


Hi Crandles,

No, I don't think so, I mean the rugby/American football shaped blotch which is currently directly South of the Bering Strait, on about the same line of longitude as Vancouver, at a guess.

I believe that this is far too high up the Pacific to me a classic El Nino.

Curiously, there was also an odd looking anomaly around here, or maybe a bit further North, in 2007. But that was notably a strong cold anomaly.

I am unable to advance any reason that either may be connected to the state of the Arctic Sea Ice, but feel it is possible that either one may be significant.

Certainly, the current Pacific anomaly in this region is one of the most obvious features on the global SST map, and it is not that far away from the Arctic.

k eotw

There is an out of cycle NSIDC update


Thanks, k eotw!

Rob Dekker

We use MODIS and IJIS and NSIDC and NOAA web cams a lot, but there is a spectrum of other instruments in the Arctic right now recording all kind of info.

For example, the there is an Ocean Flux meter co-located with the NOAA1 camera (near the pole), which measures under-ice temperatures and energy flux :


Here you see that not much heat was supplied by under-ice currents to the North Pole area (obviously because it is far from the ice edge), but this recently changed : there is now a ocean-to-ice energy flux of some 45 W/m^2 present (and rising).

This should cause bottom-melt of that area of some 1 cm/day. Not a lot (yet), but nice to keep an eye on and isn't this a pretty cool measurement ?


That's pretty cool indeed, Rob! Keep us up-to-date.

Other thing: look at the low-pressure areas taking over:


'Other thing: look at the low-pressure areas taking over:'

Perhaps the Fox Basin low will finally shake things up there.

Kevin McKinney

Another big decline, with IJIS hitting 7,155,156 km2 at the prelim--not quite a century this time. Looks like we'll get below 7m in a couple of days.

Rob Dekker

With clouds moving in, and the subject of this thread being "fumbling in the dark" this may be the right time to ask for some enlightenment :

All through this melting season I've been wondering about the rate of melting and how this is affected by cloud cover and by ice cover. All this is to quantify the albedo effect as dependent on local weather conditions.

I reasoned, that if ice is far away from water, that heat flux through the atmosphere and ocean currents would be marginal. After all, air and water would have cooled down after the long trip.
So the energy balance at that spot would be determined by the radiation radiation budget only.

The local radiation budget consists of the balance of the SW (sunlight) radiation and balance of IR radiation.

Without clouds, the SW balance is rather easy to calculate (TOA radiation minus 23% atmospheric absoption times the 1-albedo factor (0.1 for water, 0.4 for melting ponds, 0.6 for wet snow and 0.8 for dry snow).

The local IR balance would also be easy to calculate under clear sky, using MODTRAN, especially if the university of Chicago would bring back up their on-line MODTRAN version again (if seems to be off-line for a while now).

But under cloudy conditions, the radiation balance is much harder to calculate.

So I've been looking for some actual measurement data to fill in the matrix :

W/m^2 IRdown IRup SWdown SWup


So here is my question :
Did anyone find a research paper or other in-situ measurements that can fill this matrix with some actual data ?



The local IR balance would also be easy to calculate unThe local IR balance would also be easy to calculate under clear sky, using MODTRAN, especially if the university of Chicago would bring back up their on-line MODTRAN version again (if seems to be off-line for a while now).der clear sky, using MODTRAN, especially if the university of Chicago would bring back up their on-line MODTRAN version again (if seems to be off-line for a while now).

I have used it in the last couple of days and is online atm:


more tools at:


Greg Wellman

Don't forget that even hundreds of miles into solid pack ice, warm water may be only 50-100 feet away ... straight down. The heat flux into the Arctic from the Atlantic is prodigious, but it mostly doesn't mix with the surface because the Arctic surface is less saline and less dense. Even without mixing, there is still radiative heat transfer from the depths to the surface though. I don't think that much matters how far you are from the edge of the pack.

Artful Dodger

Rob: have a look at the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis Project for the data you seek:



Now we are only 2.890.000 km2 from the record in 2007, that is in other numbers 50.701 km2 on the average from now to September 15 2011.


Rob Dekker

Wipneus, Greg, Lodger, Thanks !
You guys gave me a lot to work with.
It's too late now, but I'll try to post some of my findings later.
Meanwhile, any more empirical, data points would still be appreciated.

Also, Wipneus : the uchicago MODTRAN version you link to does not seem to have 'Arctic summer/winter' settings (any more). Do you know what happened ?

Alan Wallcraft

ACNFS provides a 5-day forecast. Its archive pages provide daily snapshots from each day's run for 3 days behind and 5 days ahead. ACNFS is using NOGAPS atmospheric forcing, so at best its forecast skill depends on NOGAPS.

The arrows on the ice drift plot are following streamlines. The speed is color contoured, and the arrow lengths are also dependent on speed.

Kevin McKinney

Apologies for a bring-down (not to mention blatant blog-whoring, as Br'er Rabbett calls it), but--

The recent Schellnhuber 'noose' incident was the last straw for me; collating a number of Deltoid's posts with some other incidents in which (shall we say) the use of reason to settle 'debate' has been in abeyance, I wrote an article calling it like I see it. Don't know if it was the 'right' thing to do--but I felt compelled. Judge for yourself:


Comments, reactions and additional information welcome.

Kevin McKinney

Rob Dekker--

The paper linked below is also instructive WRT your question. (I've posted this link before, and IIRC it originally came from our friend the Lodger.)

The bit I'm thinking of states that though Arctic clouds have a SW forcing of -50 W/m2 due to attenuation of solar SW, also have an IR forcing of 65-85 W/m2, and therefore have a net warming effect on the sea ice. Note, though, that that's for the very end of the melting season; things are pretty sure to be different in mid-July. Still, that positive forcing needs to be taken into account when thinking about Arctic cloud.

Kevin McKinney

Well, I did say "linked below," didn't I? Guess this comment counts as "below". . .




the uchicago MODTRAN version you link to does not seem to have 'Arctic summer/winter' settings (any more). Do you know what happened ?

I can't remember if there ever were such these settings. Sorry.


BTW, IJIS really pissed me off today! They went and re-re-revised July 16th and 17th, effectively killing century break 15. :-(


From what I can read/see from today's Modis images July 21st 2011, although very cloudy, the North East passage is open!

Regards Espen


Something dramatic happened, deep in front of webcam # 2, it looks like the whole background behind the meltpond/fracture sunk, a big difference from the previous picture. Remarks appreciated. http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/latest/noaa2.jpg

Regards Espen

Greg Wellman

North East Passage ... depends on your definition of "open". Looks like the contiguous ice has pulled a fraction back from the shore, but there's a lot of rubble in there. But the melt rate in the area has been tremendous, and the wind is offshore, so it may be truly open in a few days. Shallow though, not a deep water channel.

Artful Dodger

CT Shock'n'Effen AWE:

CT Sea Ice Area dropped 199K on July 19, 2011

Year.frac AreaM DailyDec
2011.5480 5.083 -199,187

So Winds are driving Sea Ice divergence, and the ICE MELT is accelerating.

Artful Dodger

2011 Sea ice area is now -9,260 km^2 (below) 2007 SIA for the same date.


Cheers, Lodger. SIA difference with 2007 will probably get bigger tomorrow as 2007 had a couple of bad SIA decrease days in a row.

This big drop in SIA is also doing wonders for CAPIE. I currently have 71.5% for 2011 versus 69.2% for 2007. The difference has halved in 2 days.

I'm pretty certain 2011 minimum extent will be below that of 2010. Once CAPIE, SIA and the DMI 30% extent graph also show 2011 to be exceptional, we can really start talking record territory.

For this we have to wait and see how the coming week plays out. I think we'll see a slowdown, but with a vengeance.


Forgot to mention: Global SIA anomaly has plummeted, because of rapid SIA increase in the Antarctic.

Artful Dodger

GSIA doesn't include July 19, 2011 data yet.

You'll get -103k back from the NH anomaly when it's included...

But just to remind folks it's Land Ice that is being lost in Antarctica, where it's a completely different ballgame than the loss of Arctic Sea Ice.


Greg: I dont think there is any definition of open water, and in that area in particular because it is very shallow very far out, one of the main reasons for shipping companies not believing in that route at all. But it is open to small vessels, from what I can see.

Kevin McKinney


I'm not sure what 'that route' is meant to refer to, but if it's the NEP generally, I'd have to gently disagree:


15 requests for permission/support, at least one of which was planned a year ago (before specific weather details could have been known), Russian *and* non-Russian ships, one of which was a 100,000-tonner, significant economic advantage despite the need to use ice-ready ships and ice-breaker support. . .


There's a post up for the almost open Northern Sea Route.



I am just referring to a small shipping company here next door called Maersk Line, who last week said the route is not viable for years to come, there is simply no back up/support along the route and the icebreaker"service" is simply too expensive and bureaucratic, and commercially not feasible, there are some very few ships sailing the route but they are all with Russian interests, maybe not the ships but the cargo. And 15 requests is nothing.


A 2007 sense of change holds me entangled on MODIS CT and Uni Bremen’s graphs again. As I was in France then, four years ago, weather is as bad again. It’s AGW, stupid… and as European leaders run around, trying to save their precious political Euro-device, most of us are missing what’s really at stake. FWIW, stop everybody look what’s going down… Fox Basin FI, Melville Sound breaking up, East Sib Coast now free of fast ice for 100 km. The central pack only holding on to some islands. What’s the difference to 2007?
300 MK plus extent on the Beaufort, Chukchi and ESib Sea side. The not so positive side: 200 MK less around Svalbard-Franza Yosefa-Novaya Zemlya, 200 MK less around Novaya Zemlya,Laptev Sea and 100 MK less around the entrance to Mc Clure Strait and last but not least, 2000 km3 less volume, whatever Cryosat or MYI calculations using 15 % on a grid level tries to make digestive for scientific interpretation anyway. On a planetary scale, things are heading for new anomalies, making FI people in the horn of Africa suffer. Who’s next? Somebody with influence noticing?


Sorry, the second Novaya Zemlya should read Zemlya novaya Sibirskya, whatever... my russian was never trained ( not to speak about my sense for good old red port).

Artful Dodger

CT Sea Ice Area is down -152,691 km^2 for Jul 20, 2011 (day 201).

2011 SIA is -129,162 km^2 below the same day in 2007.

CAPIE (compactness) is down to 69.65%

Artful Dodger

Our friend Patrick Lockerby has posted his Arctic Ice July 2011 - Update:


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