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R. Gates

Top form as usual for your updates. One very interesting thing that I think is quite worth watching is the sea ice extent in the Arctic Basin itself. This is the core ice pack remaining in the Arctic, and when we begin to arrive at the time of an ice-free or virtually ice-free Arctic we will see this core region plunge in extent rapidly late in the season. This is probably not the year for that, but we have seen an interesting sharp drop in the Arctic Basin extent the last week, which would be signs what we'd expect in whatever summer it will be that we approach that final summer ice-free state...

Here's how it should look:

First, all the more southerly basins melt early, then we see divergence in the Arctic Basin itself as its lower concentration begins to spread out, and then it drops rapidly in August and early September to close in on an ice-free condition.

This is not the summer for that, but IMO it's trends are telling us what to look out for when it happens.

It will be an interesting race between 2011 and 2007 for lowest extent, and I certainly don't count 2011 out yet, but the more interesting metric is area, and more interesting still is volume. I will be most interested to see where the volume estimates come in for the September low. We will once more see the lowest sea ice volume in the Arctic for many thousands of years.


I just looked at temperatures reported from weather stations in different regions of the Canadian Archipelago, and finally looked at the data from Alert (northern coast of Ellesmere): 16°C = 61°F. Even with a high on Greenland, wouldn't the air usually cool down on the way there?

Paul Klemencic

This next week is going to tell the tale. If the weather cooperates, and we get the significant melt of the low latitude ice in the Beaufort, and especially the East Siberian (almost 400k higher in extent than 2007, accounting for most of the difference between the years 2011 and 2007), then the ice in 2011 is set up to reach a new record minimum.

Then if we get an Arctic "Big Flush" event, because the ice buttress against Svernaya Zemlya is lost, and the ice moves into the Fram at huge rates, then the Arctic Basin will set a new extent low, with less than 15% ice penetrating above the 85N latitude. However, all the ice dumped in the Greenland Sea (accounting for about 130k of the current extent difference between 2007 and 2011) could keep the 2011 setting a record low minimum extent.

Please note that all the extent difference between 2007 and 2011 is explained by the different ice extents in the East Siberian (delta = 400k) and the Greenland seas (delta = 130k). These are the seas where ice pack goes to die... This is not a good sign of ice pack health.

If we miss setting a record low minimum extent, it will be because we didn't melt off the East Siberian sea, and because the export of ice through the Fram Strait kept the Greenland sea ice extent high.

Chris Biscan

I was just banned from the climate forum on Americanwx boards because I reported the trolls to much.

Jaxa was -84km2 tonight.

This brings the average extent loss to 65Km2 roughly on Jaxa for the month.

Chris Biscan

A poster on Americanwx before I was banned from the climate forum reported that Cryosat is off by 2.2 meters across the board with it's thickess.

Just based on the melt so far this year. If Cryosat2 was right at a min 26,000km3 would have melted out...

roughly all of the sea ice during the 2006 max.

this does not include the NW passage area.


Steve Bloom

Chris, re that last, what was the source for that error estimate?

Bob Wallace

Is there a specific entity which declares the Northwest Passage open? And,if so, what are the criteria and dates of records?

Searching around the web I found dates in various places for 3 out of the 4 years, all in the low August 20s.

Looking at the Bremen map the smaller southern route looks open now. The main channel has been turning 'blacker'/50% or less concentration every day.


Bob Wallace

Anyone pointed out that we have a Category 1 typhoon west of southern Japan and projected to be hitting the Bering Sea as a tropical storm around Wednesday?

Typhon Merbok. Good tracking maps on Weather Underground.


Chris Reynolds

Chris Biscan,

I'm highly sceptical of the first Crysat release - if it's correct a whole lot of other data is wrong, or the ice has gained substantial thickness since 2007 - neither seem feasible to me.

However being out by 2.2m is rather more than I'd expected. It suggests very thin ice in the spring!

I second Steve Bloom - do you have a source / further info?

Good post, thanks.


ECMWF is now forecasting something that looks like a Dipole, but it's supposed to happen in 9 days from now, so instead of forecast I think the more appropriate term would be 'farcast'. But just to let you know.

-84K IJIS isn't bad, but more is needed to get back into the (extent) race.


Either DMI has a problem, or the Arctic does:


Ub has plummeted again and the 00z models day iceice gone gone the next two weeks


I think DMI *had* a problem - it stayed up when other graphs went down. And now ice was pushed together, or below the 30% cutoff, and you get a big drop.

Peter Ellis

The DMI graph is based on the OSISAF ice products (using the SSM/I satellite, same as NSIDC).


You can see the missing data swath on the latest image


You're probably right. If they really use zero instead of the previous day's data, they DO have a problem.


University of Bremen seems to be showing Parry Channel opening up.


crandles, I have updated the NWP animation. The contrast between day 203 and day 218 is amazing.

Chris Biscan


Look around these pages for the info on cryosat2

it is pretty startling.

Chris Biscan

The 12z GFS not only sets up good wind conditions by day 3 at the latest.

by day 6 it blow torches the arctic basin with a huge area of 5-10C 850s.

The Euro agrees but breaks it down more quickly.

Either way this is going to smash the ice pack and send ice out the fram straight...which is surrounded by 6-10C SSTS...

with the other side having record warmth being pushed over the arctic off the main land of Russia...

temps above 30C will streams into the ice....and over SSTS that are 6-10C.

So instead of the incredibly warm 2m temps meeting ice up to the coast and the 2m temps being dispersed quickly.

the cold SSTS with the winds back well into mainland Russia.


Even if the extent doesn't make it below 2007.

The ice pack if it wasn't on 'THIN' ice would not allow this warm of SSTs/2m temps.

Piomas is looking good right now compared to Cryosat.

the entire NW passage area that was apparently filled with 3-5 meter ice in March/April has almost melted out and will melt out by September..all of it.

16 day old Buoy data from the NP and around it had 1-1.7 meter thick ice there then.

yeah...game over.

Cryosat2 had 3.5-4.5 meter thick ice there in Jan/Feb...which means by end of March it would be 4+ meter in most places.

No chance the entire arctic melted out that much ice.

VOLUME is the reason models melt the arctic out so fast.

Volume is the game changer.

Chris Biscan


Will you update the entire Canadian Archipelago animation?

the NW passage one is the proof of a tipping point.

you can see the ice go from super steady thick ice to a super fast melt out at a certain point.

Chris Biscan


If you get time....you should make an animation of the last 7 days of ice flow around the Severnaya Zemlya Islands.

You can see the winds backing around the HP and LP and the flow into the Fram Straight has taken off again...this area is pumping ice fast out the straight.

the forecast is for this to speed up and get moving about as fast as it can the next 7 days.

Matthew Opitz

The thing that strikes me about this summer is that the arctic air temperatures have not been particularly high. Most of the anomalously high temperatures have, oddly enough, been concentrated in the antarctic over the last few months, at least according to this analysis product that I've been religiously monitoring:
Just imagine if that anomaly had been in the arctic this summer! If the sea ice can fall apart this badly from temperatures just a little bit above normal, imagine when a summer when the global anomaly gets concentrated in the arctic!


Hey, that americanwx forum is pretty good! Some of these guys should come and comment over here. :-)

Matthew Opitz

I should also add, another bullet we dodged this summer that kept it from being a worst-case scenario was an anomalously warm May around Hudson Bay that kept this relatively low-latitude area of sea ice from melting out early and exposing that water to the June sun.

For a while in mid-May, the long-range forecasts were hinting at 25C temps along the shores of Hudson Bay around the end of May/beginning of June. But instead what happens was a slight cold spell that kept the Hudson Bay ice around longer, keeping most of Hudson Bay from soaking up the intense June sun.

If Hudson Bay had melted out earlier this spring, I wager that the entire Canadian Archipelago would already be toast by now. Even so, that ice is on its last legs. I likewise thing it will all melt in-situ before Sept. 1st.

Rob Dekker

Pointing out reality to those who don't want to see is useless. The responses you get there are very typical of responses you get on many other anti-science blogs.

Try to develop a style that makes you happy talking to such guys. Don't write anything they can get you on, and when stating facts, always be able to back them up with hard links, don't overstretch you statements, and don't take anything personal. And by all means, keep on pointing out flaws in their reasoning.
Have fun !

Patrice Pustavrh

@Matthew: It is not so surprisingly that summer temps in Arctic are around long year average. There is still plenty of ice there and all the heat is used for that. What do matter are autumn/winter/spring temps, where higher temps prevent or just decrease ice formation and in spring, the melt is a little bit earlier.
Of course, this is not quite true for some southern parts, such as north Siberian cost. Temps there may have rise since there is no ice left for some prolonged period. However, temps will still closely follow the SST in that area.
OTOH, when substantial amount of ice will be lost late in the summer for the first time, we shall see some increases in temps even north of 80 deg N. It is quite possible that we will see some temp increase in late august/september when that area will be ice free.


Will you update the entire Canadian Archipelago animation?

As soon as MODIS gives me a clear image, Chris! But what I can tell from peeking through the clouds is that transport is about to start, if it hasn't already.

If you get time....you should make an animation of the last 7 days of ice flow around the Severnaya Zemlya Islands.

I would if it wasn't so horribly cloudy over there. Or are you suggesting I should use Uni Bremen sea ice concentration maps? I made an animation of the Laptev Sea last week (Severnaya Zemlya is also visible), but thought it wasn't so interesting. If I have time I'll have a look tomorrow to see the current situation.


Yes sir.

The last 3 days the reeceding has taken off.

The 12z euro shows 30-40 knot surface winds pushing the ice towards Canada, Greenland, and the Fram Straight.


The ice extent and area are gonna tank. The beaufory, nw passage, and the arctic basin on the Canadian and Siberian sides will melt out a ton while they blowtorch under a 1030hp with 3-10c 850s over much of the ice pack. The Eastern ice pack will shrink at an increibble rate.

He ice is being pushed into 6-10c 850s. That is incredible.

The ice is 1-2 meters tops across the entire arctic except a small part. If that. The sat images IMO show soft ice or snow on top. Let's hope we don't see the entire ice pack shatter like the remaining Ice in the arpechelo when the 990 Slp and 1030 HP create 30-40 Kt winds.

Seke Rob

Previously I've posted some charts showing when Sea Ice Extent fell first time below 10, 9, 8 and 7 million. This Chart pulls this all together and adds also first date when the 11 million square km was passed. Far right a column shows the minimum reached, standing out, still, 2007, to think that the ice thickness then were considerable greater than in 2011, most amazing to get from 10 to 9 million extent in 8 days. Then, 2011 needed 8 days to get from 9M to 8M.

Plan to add the 12 million hurdle, and the few that scaled the 5 million, overarching, that the significant declines start earlier and earlier.

Oh, and the 7M to 6M is projected to happen on August 9 or 10... that took a while.

Paul Van Egmond

Mr. Seke,

Had to look twice at your graph to fully comprehend it. But once I did, I found it very enlightening. May I pose a few suggestions, though?

- perhaps make the year bars start at the day after that year's highest extent, so the graph will also give us an idea as to how early melting season started.

- 2004 shows a blue bar going towards 6M. Shouldn't that be orange, as the 6M mark is not actually reached that year.

All in all an outstanding graph, thanks!

Chris Biscan

61.5km2 loss on jaxa.

area still right on 2007 for the lowest.

another large area of ice has pooled by the Beaufort that is super low concentration..

I would expect between 60-100K loss days the rest of the week.

Chris Biscan

Masie dropped 125K

Piotr Djaków

Oh my...

Rob Dekker

Piotr, Neven,
DMI has trouble.
Their SST product has been off line since July 19, and now their 30% extent graph is going haywire.

Not sure if it's the OSISAF ice products hickup that Peter Ellis suggested, or that maybe it's simply vacation time in Denmark, and there is noone left to monitor the systems.

But either way, I would not put a dime on DMI's numbers right now.


Checked the OSI SAF concentration maps 5/8 and 6/8 yesterday using CAD.
The missing swath on the 6/8 representation north of Ellesmere is about 750K compared to 5/8. The 30% extent area lost some 75K. Together they seem to fit the loss on the DMI 30% extent graph. So it isn’t DMI showing an astounding loss, missed by other sources.


Last week I posted on rapid loss in Idunno’s ‘ slush puppy’ region. Since, four days have passed, 340K extent down. Not going as fast as I had assumed (1,2MK less by mid august), but there’s good chance for record loss in this phase .
NWP south route: still dangerous to pass between King William Island and Victoria (Victoria Sound). This year though, Borge Ousland wouldn’t have to watch his stem all night during last year’s difficult passages. He crossed the region before mid september. There won’t be much left by then this year…


Rob, I'm well aware there's a fluke on the DMI graph. Might have fallen for it last year though. :-)

BTW, I'm under the impression that CT area data isn't available. Anyone else experiencing the same problem?

He crossed the region before mid september. There won’t be much left by then this year…

Unless we get major transport of MYI through the CA. But the NWP is definitely clearing all the way.

Chris Biscan

UB still drops...not as big as the last 4 days..clearly there was some divergence in the Buefort/arctic basin. There is an area at min of 500km2 of very very low concentration that will melt out the next 3-5 days during the torch in that area.

I predict a couple slower days of 50-70K on jaxa then some massive 100K days while that take place and the HP sets up.

Andrew Xnn

Significant positive temperature anomalies near the North West passage; includes both Banks and Victoria Islands and to a lesser extent along some of the Southern Queen Elizabeth islands:

Russell McKane

Ice transport into the East Siberian sea has been significant in the last few days this has caused a wide area of scattering increasing extent. Looking at Polar view - http://www.seaice.dk/test.N/ -envisat.n.GMMmos there is a lot of insitu melting taking place and this will only help to remve a lot of the ice that has been in the Beaufort gyre and ca explain why the Beaufort sea ice has taken a dive at the same time.
See Paul Klemencic above
Please note that all the extent difference between 2007 and 2011 is explained by the different ice extents in the East Siberian (delta = 400k) and the Greenland seas (delta = 130k). These are the seas where ice pack goes to die... This is not a good sign of ice pack health.

Rapid melt is on the menu and is coming out of the Kitchen in this area.

Seke Rob

Paul, Sir, adopted your suggestion and indeed 2003's blue bar needs to be orange, since technically 6M was not reached (rounded it was).

As for when melt started, I'll define that as net melt, as there can be freezing and thawing simultaneously in the Arctic, or anywhere else :D

Also discovered a leap year ** issue and with that adjustment no more ex aequo with 2011... 2007 became the sole record setter on loosing 1M in 8 days.

Expanded Million Step Chart appearing soon... it's a squeeze job, to also get the max SIE table in and lead lines, so it's easy to see when the hurdles are taken. Might go overboard later, integrating that GSFC dataset going back to 1972, to replace the NSIDC, currently used to splice JAXA onto.

** Numbers have to be right, else the denyloose of the 8th decimal department would find another straw to reason it's all wrong ;>)


Again, very nice graph, Seke Rob. You're building up a nice collection. :-)

Paul Van Egmond

I concur. Very smart graphing, great job!

Seke Rob

Thanks for the encouragement... where this came from there are several hundred... one-offs and loads of trackers. Most time is wasted to integrate data sets, and making sure the dates don't get mangled... like those that start off in Unix world... 1.1.1970 at 00:00 is day zero.

For the moment, can't make head nor tails of MASIE and how their data correlates to other sources. For the moment This regional SIE chart needs a bit more work... the colors of the areas are not coming through, so think to enter the numbers in the background image so the layman can connect the curves to the areas without having to pain the brain. Knew from 1953 pictures that the Yellow Sea could be heavily frozen, but it's not shown on the CT borrowed background, so will crayon that in a little.



I've updated the Fram Strait animation. There's some serious transport going on there.

Paul Klemencic

If I recall, we have reached the date when the melt ponds shown on the Arctic cams should have frozen over. Yet the one melt cam that hasn't "melted down" to a supine state, still shows some melt ponds. With Highs in place and warm air on the move, the ponds could last a while longer. So yet one more indicator shows the heating of the Arctic.

On a more important note, the Fram has plenty of room to take the ice traffic beginning to queue up. I still am thinking the buttress at Severnaya Zemlya will be broken in about one week, and if the ice movement maps are correct, and the current ice movement direction is correct, we are going to see some serious Arctic Basin ice loss.

Chris Biscan

the 12z euro and gfs both crush the arctic this week.

holy smokes, by Wednesday the euro sets up shop.

this is going to be bad.

Either Climo will win out or the weather pattern will win out like it did in Late July.

given the incredible amount of low concentration ice...

we are about to see historic extent drops BETWEEN THE 10TH AND 20TH.

we could see 700K-900K loss during this period.

Chris Biscan

Paul, the melt ponds on the arctic and the greenland ice sheet are everywhere and HUGE.



'I still am thinking the buttress at Severnaya Zemlya will be broken in about one week,'

The 9th is a spring tide and may initiate some action.


the 12z euro and gfs both crush the arctic this week.

holy smokes, by Wednesday the euro sets up shop.

Chris, what exactly is the 'Euro'? I'm looking at ECMWF mainly on Wetterzentrale. I have to say the forecasts are changing quite wildly today, but right now I see a very big, very strong high over the Beaufort Sea, complemented by big lows over Svalbard. If that comes about, I agree it should have a marked effect.


Other question: Am I the only one who can't see the CT website, graphs and data files?


@Seke Rob
In your map, you use the CT map instead of MASIE map and the regions of Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea and East Siberian Sea are very different in the two maps

Chris Biscan


cracks, melt ponds if you look closely on here.

where the thickest ice is being pushed out of the arctic...this will just aid in a quicker drop of ice.

yes Sir Nevin, the Euro is the ECMWF....most of us use Euro has easier slang.

the OP Euro flipped yesterday at 12z and 00z last night.
the GFS, GFS ensembles, and EURO ensembles never flipped.
the UKmet and GEM(Canadian) all are in agreement with a strong DA+.

now the 12z EURO is back on board.

this is the arctics worse nightmare at this point.

It reaches a 1035+HP and a Sub 990 SLP in perfect position for 30+ KT winds not only breaking the ice up...but moving it along..the SLP will also push warm SSTs off the NW coast of Russia:

1. Look at the UB map today..incedible compaction/melt taking place..we will see some major extent drops the next 5 days because of this.

Jaxa might not drop over 100K tonight but will tomorrow. UB will plummet tongiht.

2. The ice is already shattered all along the W, NW, N, NE, and E areas from the Beaufort all the way to the Savarlard Islands. this will be aided by winds blowing very warm SSTs, and 2m temps into the ice pack...also compacting the ice, while ice on the other end gets shunted into the fram straight at an increasing rate until the SLP weakens and moves back towards Russia mainland.

3. http://lance-modis.eosdis.nasa.gov/imagery/subsets/?subset=Arctic_r04c02.2011220.terra

this will melt out completely...by Sept 1st there will be nearly no ice left except for the area right on the edge of the Arctic Basin where there is thicker ice.

4. Speaking of that thicker ice:


It is cracked as well. Ice isn't supposed to be able to crack into little chunks like that if it's above 3 meters. Well...we already know Cryosat2 was way off.

5. This is not good..and couldn't be worse at a worse time. If we finish the next 2 weeks or into September with a positive DA given current conditions we will see a record melt in August and extremely dangerously low Volume.


@Seke Rob
“Expanded Million Step Chart” nice graph, but why you don’t add “<5M Day” and delete “MinDay” ?


Chris, thanks for that extensive update on the current meteorological situation. That is really stimulating.

I agree extent decrease might go down (very) hard if the weather forecasts come about, but given the position of that high-pressure and low-pressure area, could you still technically call that an Arctic Dipole Anomaly? I believed the high had to be over CA/Greenland, and the low between Kara and Laptev?

ECMWF has that big high over Beaufort and the big low over Svalbard (more or less).

Seke Rob

re: Paolo | August 08, 2011 at 22:52

Thanks for pointing me to the MASIE map. Yes, noted that some areas in the CT map were quite different such as Beaufort, quite undersized. Mind you, the idea was to point the noses in the right direction.

re: Paolo | August 08, 2011 at 23:08

The suggested <5M section is in plan, but it will only, including the expected 2011 drop below 5M, be for 4 years, so far. The <5M Day would indicate the 1st day the extent goes below i.e. the right end of the bar segments, the Min.day bar far end point over the lowest day of the year.

Thanks for your input

Re: Neven | August 08, 2011 at 22:19

Not had issue with getting to the CT site today, just pulled some daliy maps for the ref. library on me server. The data file for SIA I've fetched as normal at 17:00 CET... Arctic anom up, Antarctic is continuing and rising further above the mean.


That's weird, I haven't been able to access the area data files for two days now.


@Seke Rob
OK, but why you don’t use a black edge at the end of the segment to mark “min day” and use the right color for the segment? The graph will be clearer.

Artful Dodger

Okay then, here are the last 3 records for Arctic SIA:

2011.5918  -1.7413322   3.9400120   5.6813440
2011.5945 -1.7719973 3.8636630 5.6356602
2011.5973 -1.8037461 3.7817550 5.5855012

This makes Aug 06, 2011 CAPIE = 60.69%


Artful Dodger

Further to Aug 6, 2011 CT Sea Ice Area was 140,667 km^2 (below) the same date in 2007.

2007 did not reach this SIA for an additional 3 days (Aug 9, 2007). So by this measure 2011 is 3 days ahead of 2007.

Patrice Pustavrh

Neven, I quite sure that Chris is talking about two weather forecasting models:
American Global Forecasting System (GFS) and
European Centre for Mid range weather forecasting (ECMWF).
Both model do basicaly the same job.
On www.wetterzentrale.de you have both GFS and ECMWF forecasts. GFS for arctic is available here:

and ECMWF (I know you know this, but for others) here:

For both models, you have 850 hPa temps (this is roughly temps in free atmosphere 1500 m above the sea).
For GFS you have also 2 m tems and precipitation prediction, but in turn, charts are there are only for 180 hours (although GFS runs for 384 hours).
There are also available ensemble mean forecasts for GFS:

Seke Rob

Posted by: Paolo | August 08, 2011 at 23:56

The [orange] min.day bar for example looking at 2010 indicates it took 33 days from <6M point to minimum. Once the 6M to 5M bar has been added for 2010 (24), 2008 (17), and 2007(17), the orange 2010 will show 9 days, for that was the time from the first <5M point to minimum (was only 50kkmsq). The current latest version has <14M and <13M added. <15M and a few <16M might get inserted later. Depends how that works.

Hope this clarifies where I'm going with this... think you'll see when it's complete.


Chris Biscan

if you guys sign up at Americanwx.com

you will have access to all of the major models and ensembles laid out perfectly for what we are doing here.

I also want to note what I wrote above is based on the current situation and the current 10 day forecast..heavily weighted on the Euro and GFS as well as there ensemble means.

I also take in account the Ukmet and GEM for backup.

over the last couple years the EURO has been the best model with the GFS right behind. The Ukmet has its moments and the GEM is a few percentage points behind.

Global models:
Ukmet(short term global model out of the UK like the EURO)

the NAM is a North American Model very useful for forecasts under 48 hours in the United States.

the RUC is the Rapid Update Cycle very usefull for daily short term conditions and picking up on small scale precip events like lake effect snow, storms, and precip with upper level dynamics in winter.

they also have higher resolution versions of the GFS, NAM, RUC...these are all short term models very good for the United States and to a lesser extent Oh Canada.

Just for the arctic the Euro, GFS, and there ensembles should be used for 90 percent of the forecast and the UKmet and GEM for 10 percent backup.

as of now all of these model say conditions for ice melt/compaction/flowing out of the fram straight is a 8-9 of 10.

To add to this is the record warm 2m temps on Russia and Canada as well as the record warm ssts.

going to be a ride.



not good


Thanks for those numbers, Lodger. I hope I get to see them again soon.

Thanks for all that great info, Chris Biscan!


Hi all
The melt season is up for it’s last coup. The weather predicted for the next 6 days looks perfect. Maybe not for flushing MYI through Fram Strait. But for finishing the job on the ‘slush puppy’. And detaching the up to now always present arm of the pack to Severnaya Zemlya.
Though Area and Volume are bound to become records, the last coup is 2011’s chance to pick up to 2007 on extent. Finishing off 0,9 MK up to mid august would be unparalleled in our historic time for mid august.
After that, weather and built-in heat will decide whether 2011 takes the lead on extent.
Will it happen? It seems hard to expect a continuous series of ‘century breaks’ through the second week of august. Still, it’s well prepared through june-july and the volume is very low.
On MODIS you can already make out what’s to be left: a 3,2MK pack against the CA and Greenland. Close to what Russell McKane showed in his prediction.
Like a worn out boxer, hoping to stand till the bell tolls... for september cooling to save the pack for some spare time.

Artful Dodger

On Aug 7, 2011 air temperature reached 24.4 C at Ulukhaktok Airport (Amundsen Channel of the NWP). I don't have a particular point... I just enjoy saying 'Ulukhaktok' ;^)

Chris Biscan

another thing is that the blow torch might not melt out the main pack but any melting will allow for more compaction overall

Paul Klemencic

Blink comparison of ice extent map from August 7 to August 8:

Beaufort: yesterday the gap around the 75N parallel filled in with spreading ice. Today it opened up again, and ice extent receded all along the edge. Big loss of extent in the Beaufort. Some of the extent loss was due to compacting ice floes.

Chukchi: Edge of pack facing the Chukchi receded as ice compacted - sizable loss of extent.

East Siberian: Only the edge facing the quadrangle north of the New Siberian islands shows some spreading today, unlike yesterday. The ice on the edge fell to 60% or less concentration through most of the quadrangle. The remainder of the ice pack edge in the East Siberian receded. Result: sizable loss of extent in the New Siberian, where the extent has held up in recent days.

Laptev: Edge of the pack next to the Laptev receded somewhat today, but the pack compacted a bit in the 105-120E quadrangle which was showing dropping concentrations over the last 5 days. I am following this weak area, because this is where the pack could really start slipping past Severnaya Zemlya. Still the edge in this region lost extent.

Kara: the last arm of ice sticking down into the Kara, shrunk quite a bit today, and on either side of it, the central Arctic Basin pack receded. All in all, impressive movement, but not a lot of edge involved. Kara is definitely going to melt out completely this year. The ice in the central pack and around Franz Josef Land did compress somewhat, and rotated significantly toward the East (in the direction of the Fram Strait).

Olga Strait: the pack edge moved toward the Fram quickly and receded only slightly, but above Svalbard, ice headed for the Fram was melting out below 15% almost as fast as it moved in.

Greenland Sea: the only place where the extent held steady or gained, as ice moved into the sea.

The IJIS preliminary came out with only a 74k loss in extent... I would have guessed a century day, but the averaging likely kicked in because yesterday's loss was really low.

This pack is set up for historic August losses if the weather pans out as expected. At this point, 2007 extent is ahead of 2011 only because of low concentration extent in the New Siberian (delta = 390k) and Greenland Sea(delta =120k). There is even 120k delta in the Chukchi, according to NSIDC charts, that will likely melt in 2011 to close the gap with 2007.

I am actually thinking we have a better than 50/50 chance of breaking the 2007 low extent, even though we need record extent losses late in the season. This melt year is really interesting; but unfortunately this activity is a bit like watching your own destruction unfolding.

Chris Biscan

75K loss tonight on Jaxa.

an average of 63K for the month so far.


It seems to me that Neven is right: in the short term, sea ice rarely behaves as we expect it to based on the data that we have. And this is, obviously, because there is so much that we do not know about what is going on in the Arctic.

There are 23 more days in August, so a lot may happen. But I think a record is unlikely at this stage of the game.

Chris Biscan


Near the NP towards the fram straight.

check out how horrible the ice there.

Buoy data suggest most of that is .75-1.25 meters thick.



Chris, you’re sure making your point. Keep in mind that that sector wasn't healthy day 220 2010, too. You can easily blink through LANCE. See how structure-less and low compaction that sector was then? Especially on the SE(dir. Chukchi) side.
IMO 2011 is continuing the worse state obvious during late august 2010, with the difference that, again, some 800 m³ of volume is going down.
Let’s see what mid august brings. No need to convince Neven and his followers. Neven’s doing a great job, while still holding balance in the blog’s attitude. Wish the Arctic could…

Chris Biscan


UB plummeted again.


There are 23 more days in August, so a lot may happen. But I think a record is unlikely at this stage of the game.

I think an IJIS extent record is unlikely too, because 450K is a lot. However...

Things have been preconditioned, transition time is over, that high (big and strong) is now slowly going to move towards Beaufort and stay there for a couple of days at least.

So I'll say this: If 2011 manages to get within 150K of 2007 by August 20th, the race is on again.

Neven’s doing a great job, while still holding balance in the blog’s attitude

Thanks, Werther. The blog is exactly how I hoped it would be.

Chris Biscan


You have done a great job...everyone is very polite here.

Even if we disagree.

I wish we had numbers on UB since it has 2007 and 2011 neck and neck.

I just spent ten minutes staring at the UB concentration map and looked over the 00z gfs and euro.

There is 1.5km2 at min that is going to melt out around the periphery.

the next 5 days at least will see massive transport out the fram straight into 6-10C water..


Chris Biscan



Paul Klemencic

In the Daily Graph section of this site, check out the ARC Ice Speed and Drift map forecast. The ice pack east of the Greenwich meridian should start flying along with most of it moving over 25 km/hr. If this forecast pans out, there will be some serious shearing action on the side of the pack that most likely could see open water encroach above the 80N, and even 85N latitude.

Could there even be a chance we see open water at the North Pole? i doubt it, because ice will likely move in as fast as it is displaced. But I still think we have a really good shot to see open water all the way to 85N on this side. The odds of this happening increased with the current forecasts.

Paul Klemencic

The ice extent estimated in the East Siberian Sea on the NSIDC site shows that in 2007, almost 200k extent was lost between August 5th and 7th, bring the extent there to less than 200k.

This year, the extent shown for the East Siberian hovers around 780k.
Difference = 580k, which accounts for all of the difference between 2007 and 2011 currently at 454k.

The slush puppy seas are still hanging around... How much longer can they hold up extent? As the 2007 sudden drop shows, dramatic changes in ice extent can happen rapidly at these low latitudes in August.

Seke Rob

Re: Paul Klemencic | August 09, 2011 at 17:03

25km hour is too incredible to be credible. Have they put sails on the ice, as this is faster than the speed of a Marathon runner? Makes me think of last years discussion on particular tides that occur there and the likeness to events in the Severn... was/is that the mechanics to think off? The googlematic spat out this piece on sea speeds near Spitsbergen aka Svalbard: http://oceancurrents.rsmas.miami.edu/atlantic/spitsbergen.html where tops are noted that equate to 4.4km / hour.

There was a pop-up from Dosbat: http://dosbat.blogspot.com/2011/08/sea-ice-drift-speeds-in-arctic.html but doesnot give actual speed unless I missed and


mentions drift of 4-5 miles a day on the fringes.

Sorry, but I was born a doubting Tom... lit.refs will strike me in awe. :D


I believe Paul meant 25 cm/s, which would be 900 m/h? Hmmm, that sounds too slow.

Jon Torrance

A question for sea ice experts generally - can any of you explain why the ice floes in the picture illustrating http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/08/09/291467/as-melting-artic-sea-ice-opens-up-oil-and-gas-resources-secretary-salazar-backs-offshore-drilling/ are so angular, in contrast to the more rounded, irregular shapes of ice floes we're accustomed to seeing in the Healy webcam. Is it because these have been broken up by wave or some other mechanical action rather than melting or is there some other explanation?


I think Paul was referring to the PIPS3 map, which just says "30" and, I believe, represents 30km/day. I am basing this on the fact that the old PIPS2 map used to have arrows labeled "30km".


Seke Rob

Posted by: Neven | August 09, 2011 at 17:39

Yes, that's probably a more realistic number. My abacus broke... the links speak of 25-35cm/s which is not 4.4km hour, but 0.9-1.3 km per hour.

Paul Klemencic

Yes, you all are correct... my bad x 2. First mistake, I assumed this map used the same metric as the PIPS map. Second mistake, I typed in 25 km/ hr instead of 25 km / day.

Based on the scale on this map, the actual velocity shown is less than a km per day...

I wish the PIPS maps were up.


I wish the PIPS maps were up.

They won't be up for a while to come, maybe not ever. I contacted someone from the NRL who said they were having some trouble with PIPS again, but of course it doesn't have priority anymore.

I'm trying to get used to the ACNFS drift maps now. They're pretty good. I mistakenly assumed the model was run once a week for the entire week (like the Russians from ANRII do), but they run it every day with a few days in hindcast and a few in forecast.

I believe they capture ice displacement quite accurately (which would only be natural), but I haven't watched closely yet.

30 km/day still doesn't sound like much, given the expanse of the Arctic ocean, but every bit helps. :-)

Paul Klemencic

The scale on the ARC map seems to imply they use a scale of 0 to 95, which appears to be a percentage of a base velocity of 20 cm/sec. (Golly, could they make this any more confusing?)

Well 20 cm/sec equals 17.28 km per day. So... a reading of 25 would be 25% of that, which is 4.32 km per day. A reading of 35 would be 6.05 km per day.

These velocities aren't really that fast compared to ice movement speeds discussed elsewhere. I apologize wasting the time of the board learning about this display page.


Well, you're not wasting my time. It never occurred to me to ask myself how fast ice can move.

Patrice Pustavrh

Well, the situation this year is interesting, but could it be, that the ice will break SIA minimum record, but not SIE record ?

Kevin McKinney

It seems quite likely at the moment, doesn't it, Patrice? We've had some time now of SIA record lows (for the date) that aren't SIE lows, and it would seem that there's no principle that says a priori that this situation can't prevail at the minimum.

(I would think, though, that absent a lot of SI movement at minimum, the area would pretty reliably start climbing out of minimum *before* extent does. (Speculation alert!) Given the variability of compaction our homegrown CAPIE metric demonstrates, it's pretty clear that SIE and SIA aren't extremely tightly coupled; they need not even bottom out at exactly the same time.)

Patrice Pustavrh

Well Kevin, about your speculation alert. This happened in 2007. Actually, I've noticed that 2007 SIA minimum was not so "spectacular" at all, comparing to 2008 and 2010 of course and of course, great differences in extent. I've also noticed that SIA decline stopped pretty soon in 2007 (somewhere after august 22nd), and much lower CAPIE value can mean quite decent melt if conditions are favorable. But, it still remains to be seen and in last few years, we can observe variability of extent (and other measures of ice) at it "best".

Patrice Pustavrh

Grrr. But my posts really suck :(
When I mentioned low CAPIE index, it should be read rather low CAPIE index at the moment.
And of course: The lowest value in CT SIA for 2007 is just above 2.91 mio km2, and the lowest values for 2008 and 2010 were below 3.1 mio km2.
And in 2007, there was only a small decrease in SIA since august 24th (less than 0.1 mio km2).
However, I don't want to use CT SIA as the only indicator of SIA (IJIS and Arctic Roos may decrease errors in using different sensors and signal processing alghoritms). But it can be safely to say, that SIA is not much above the level in 2007.
And finally, could it be, that in the following years, SIA will become more accurate measure (given the troubles in SIA measurement) of amount of ice than SIE, because error in estimating amount of ice due to natural variability of extentwill be greater than error due to problems with melt water ponds ?

Wayne Kernochan

Random thoughts re Cryosphere SIA: It appears that for the last 11 days, it has been declining by an average of 73K/day. At this rate (assuming we're up to the 8th), it would pass 2009 on the 12th, 2010 on the 17th,2008 on the 18th, and 2007 on the 20th, more or less.

I think that last year SIA achieved minimum about the end of the first week in September. Assuming that's true, then it would have to average less than half its present rate from now on in order to avoid breaking the record.

Peter Ellis

I believe they capture ice displacement quite accurately

I'm afraid I don't. Compare the following two maps, for example:

The first shows ice north of the New Siberian Islands moving at ~10-15 cm/s, the latter shows it moving more than twice as fast at >20 cm/s.

In the Beaufort, the first map has it moving NE at 15-20 cm/s, the second has it moving NW at 5-10 cm/s.

Now, even this wouldn't matter if we were talking mid to long-range forecasting, but both the above pictures are hindcasts, from one and two days after the fact respectively. That means the model isn't even consistent when describing what's already happened!

I think it's useful for getting a very general overview of ice movement, but no more than that (and no more than you'd already extrapolate from the sea level pressure / wind direction forecasts).

Mind you, I strongly suspect we'd have seen the same if we had multiple days' worth of runs from PIPS 2.0 to compare, so there's no point lamenting the demise of the older system. I think it's just a salutary reminder of just how variable weather is compared to climate, and how little information we have on what's actually going on up North from day to day.

Andrew Xnn

Only if we count chickens before they hatch.

Wayne Kernochan

Since Antarctic temps are mentioned again, I can't resist. I have been trying to figure out an anomaly (to me) in recent Antarctic SIE/SIA data. Both last year and this, both area and extent have suddenly accelerated to above average at this time of year. A delayed freeze, caused either by higher land temps near the Peninsula (the ones further south remain well below zero and therefore shouldn't affect freeze date) or steady movement of the circumpolar underwater warm-water current south -- or both -- would explain the delayed SIA jump towards average, but it would not explain the increase above average.

The only thing I could think of offhand sounds bizarre to me, but I thought I'd throw it out. I note the effect of the tsunami on calving icebergs from the Ross Sea iceshelf. Could it be that the current is now calving Ross-Sea icebergs at an increasing rate? This would not show up on area until the height of freezing season, since before then the counter-effect of delayed freeze-up would be greater. And, of course, with the initial stages of year-round warming, extent would actually increase relative to area.

Anyone have a better explanation?

Kevin McKinney


See M.C. Cawber, "Toward The Pre-exclusionary Quantification of Gallus Domesticus: A Theoretical Framework."

(Unsure of the year, but it's from the "Journal of Irreproducible Results", I think.)


USS Healy has entered port Seward, Anchorage, Alaska at around 18:00 today. Welcome back sailors! Congratulations on an already successful mission.

Peter Ellis

Healy's arrived in Seward almost two weeks ago, and left the Arctic a few days before that. A couple of days ago she set out again - maybe she's heading back for the next mission?

Chris Biscan

Pending how Jaxa has there two day average and how they compile there date compared to UB.

I would expect a 100K loss or more tonight.

UB will plummet again.

Take a look at UB yesterday then again today.

At least 150K on there map dropped. maybe 200K pending the area not shown that will be filled in later.

Jaxa has to drop a ton.

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