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OK, now can we declare a new global sea ice maximum record low? It's well past the average maximum time and the Arctic results suggest tomorrow will see another dip ... - w

I think it's safe to call it, Wayne. Thanks to you and thanks to Larry for the graph.


There seem to be 5 images in the PIG sequence rather than just days 287 297 and 307. I am just wondering about the time delay between 1st and 2nd image when the front edge seems to move a lot more than other changes. Is that due to a longer time delay or is that a time period when the crack has opened up? Does some ice slump over to more of an angle, making it at a lower elevation, making crack more visible?


That's definitely due to a longer delay, Chris. Frank sent me 7 images in total. I just picked out the ones that made for the visually most appealing animation.


Hi all,

Initial reports about the impromptu expedition to investigate the ESAS methane leak have started to leak...



I'll let the Yooper report on this. I don't have the stomach for it.


Hmmm, maybe I'm a bit dim, but this Newsvine news story links to a 3 year old Independent article.


Hi Neven,

Agreed on both points.

I think that we may now here something from Professor Semiltov (sp?), who led this expedition, in the near future.

Climate Changes

Hola Neven. Wether the article is Independent or not is irrelevant. We know it is happening and that it will accelerate. What we do not know is how fast and when we will officially pass the point of no return. I believe we have already passed it, but that is just me.

There were reports of methane columns rising from the sea bed around Svalbard captured on sonar images from fishing and other boats. This area has been badly affected by the warming and, as you know, the ice is far north from where it should have been this time of year, say 30 years ago. The sea temperature has risen and so it is allowing the release of methane. It was predicted, so even though it isn't surprising it is very worrying indeed.


It's definitely worrying. So worrying in fact that I'm afraid to write about it.

But I prefer to await the (real) results of this latest mission, and whether we see any (big) changes on the methane concentration graphs.


BTW, where can I find a recent graph of global methane concentrations? I'd like to see how this graph from a 2009 World Climate Propaganda article is doing.



or maybe



If you cut off the second link after the MLO you should be able to choose different stations like svalbard.

Al Rodger

The second link @crandles above gives you up-to-date in-situ data or a longer run (from 1983) flask sample data, but you have to set the search.
I have grafted the data together on one of my graphs which is linked here:-


Thanks a lot for those, Chris. And thanks to you too, Al. I should have remembered to check your climate graphs page.

Still worrying, but I'm not running naked around the house screaming about how the Kraken is coming to get me.


Yeah, my house is quite cold too. I'm definitely going for the fully-clothed option. More reasons for screaming though @


But I agree its better to wait until the experts on the expedition make some sort of official report



that might even be:



Look at the buoy shooting through Nares Strait:

Any idea what it could mean? I would think Nares had frozen up by now.



looks frozen to me.

Looking at numbers, have both 730040 and 737050 been picked up by the same icebreaker / submarine? (Helicopter would be moving too slowly I presume.) Or can one buoy have more than one number?

Wayne Kernochan

I believe that what is happening is that two enthusiasts are holding an iceberg race in honor of the Titanic. The buoys are to mark their relative positions. First one to strike a ship wins.

Sorry, I couldn't resist :)

michael sweet

There are two separate bouys in the upper Nares strait. They tend to circle around the top area. One has gotten past there and is starting to move faster. If you check the Canada ice charts you will see that the ice is still mobile in that area. Last year it didn't freeze up until much later in the year. (I think it was Feburary). If you watch the bouys page on the sea ice graphs there are three other bouys that are near the entrance of Nares. They have not been moving out much lately, but who knows?

Artful Dodger

The best way to watch Nares strait sea ice advection on hourly to daily scales is from the DMI.dk site for passive radar images. This time of year, visible wavelength instruments like MODIS aren't useful. Here's the current collection of imagery for the Kennedy channel:


crandles: There seem to be 5 images in the PIG sequence rather than just days 287 297 and 307.

The images I sent to Neven were the best ones that I could find to illustrate the formation, and Neven picked the best of the best ("Sir!")

The five images in the sequence are:
Day 068 (9 Mar) (end of last melt, no crack)
Day 283 (10 Oct)
Day 287 (14 Oct)
Day 297 (24 Oct)
Day 307 (3 Nov)

The two dropped images were poorer quality images but were the last available from before the crack appeared (Day 266 and Day 271). Although its difficult to see it on this resolution, the crack first appears on Day 283 (the second image here). If you look at 250 m resolution, it is evident: http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/imagery/subsets/?subset=Antarctica_r03c02.2011283.terra.250m

Unfortunately the 12 days prior were clouded over and it is impossible to be definite as to when it formed, but its coincidence with the earthquake I mentioned is tempting (though not necessary).

From its first appearance, it spanned half the width of the glacier, and now (35 days later) is 75-80% of the way across. I don't know what's underneath it, but I believe it's a free floating tongue, so it should break away completely in due course.

Still plenty to watch at the north end, but I'll post updates as needs.

Al Rodger

The David Attenborough FROZEN PLANET programme currently showing on BBC TV will is being offered for sale around the world with the option of being minus the last episode as that episode's content which deals with climate change is not something that some newtorks feel they want to show, according to the Torygraph link here -

Pete Dunkelberg

Rodger, thanks for the methane graph. It's a very good collection of data + presentation to have. A detail though:

"Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas...."

It's so easy to forget water vapor and clouds and NOx but we shouldn't.


"Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas...."

those dots are quite important when they say "involved with man-made climate change"

I suppose you can argue that water vapour is involved without it being more important as a forcing agent than methane. So technically it could be wrong but I think most people would take the sentence to mean methane is the second most important human caused forcing agent.


When the full sentence is given it is even clearer that it is talking about the strength of the forcing agents.

"Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas involved with man-made climate change with some 25% the force of CO2."

Al Rodger

Thanks Pete Dunkelberg for the comment. The annotation on the graphs do go through a fair few iterations but keeping them both succinct & clear always seems a challenge. I'm thinking "...gas driving man-mand climate..." might give better clarity. As crandles said the meaning is there, but less words and/or more clarity is always good.

(By the way Pete, you are likely the Pete Dunkelberg I'm being accused of falsely attributing words to at RealClimate. A good job you spotting that Ira Glickstein comment on what I called "a months-old obsolete post." Perhaps more of a crime, I noticed we two both managed to call Ira "Ida".)

Chris Reynolds

Al Rodger,

"The David Attenborough FROZEN PLANET programme currently showing on BBC TV will is being offered for sale around the world with the option of being minus the last episode as that episode's content which deals with climate change is not something that some newtorks feel they want to show,"


USELESS!USELESS! Stupid Golgafrinchams!!!

Anyway, thanks for posting Al.

PS It's a great series. I'm expecting episode 7 to be excellent.

Bob Wallace

A bit off the ice topic, but related...

The Lawrence Livermore NL has analyzed satellite measurements of the temperature of the lower troposphere. Based on the climatic noise in the data they state -

"Looking at a single, noisy 10-year period is cherry picking, and does not provide reliable information about the presence or absence of human effects on climate"

"They find that tropospheric temperature records must be at least 17 years long to discriminate between internal climate noise and the signal of human-caused changes in the chemical composition of the atmosphere."


I'm having trouble remembering my 40+ year old statistics courses, but doesn't that suggest that the best way to plot temperature change over time would be to use 17 year sliding averages?


Is it just me or should there have been some mention of potential extreme weather in the Arctic in the Summary for Policy Makers of the IPCC's latest Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX). Or did I overlook it?

I wonder if it will be mentioned in the final report coming out next February.


Northern Hemisphere snowcover is 2% above climatology:


Al Rodger

A study by Dominic Hodgson of British Antarctic Survey concluding that today's polar ice is retreating at both poles unlike any time in the last 12,000 yerars. Link below to post at Carbon Brief blog.
(Actual article hidden behind a pay-wall at PNAS. The blog does link to a PNAS abstract but that is Antoniades et al 2011 studying sediments at the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf.)


It's 'warm' up North:


Right-click to view image.

Al Rodger

And another one, this time (seemingly put with a little more force) in Nature - Kinnard et al 2011 "Reconstructed changes in Arctic sea ice over the past 1,450 years."

Over at SkS thay are calling it 'the Arctic's hockey stick' but surely they mean the "Ice Hockey Sitck".
Abstract & figures here:-

Andrew Xnn

From the paper in Nature:

"Enhanced advection of warm Atlantic water to the Arctic seems to be the main factor driving the decline of sea ice extent on multidecadal timescales, and may result from nonlinear feedbacks between sea ice and the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation."

And here is a recent temperature map of the arctic which indeed shows advection of warm air from the Atlantic. There must be a large storm just north of Greenland.


Yes, here we see it:


Still no snow in large parts of Scandinavia (and in Austria either which is upsetting many ski resorts). According to this news article (in Dutch sorry). Apparently it snowed for the first time this year on November 17th in the Finnish village of Sodankylä - which is pretty close to the Arctic circle - which was the latest date in 100 years. Last Thursday night it was 0 degrees C in Kiruna (Sweden).

So it was colder where I live - South of the Alps - than in Kiruna. Doesn't mean a thing, but interesting nonetheless.


The UK has had a very very mild autumn.

Funnily enough we had some snowmaggedon predictions for October and November in the tabloids, that has not worked for them.

Andrew Xnn

While far from perfect, Google Chrome translates Dutch into English. So, I got to read about the animals changing to white weeks before the snow arrived.

With respect to snow storms, it is the month of December that has displayed the strongest positive trend. In the US, we did got a storm in late October and another in early November. That's unusual, but probably not enough by itself to push the NH into a positive trend. On the other hand, I understand that Canada has had a snowy November. So, while we have had a mild fall, I expect that December and January will be snowy, especially once a Greenland block develops.

Andrew Xnn

Here is a snap shot for NH snow cover:

Russia appears completely covered with Canada nearly so. So, that stage is set for winter to arrive.


I think this youtube is available outside the UK


Dorlomin, this is just a taste of the spectacular stuff in that Frozen Planet episode. They also show something that's more or less the reverse.

Supercooled water at the sea floor (because of the pressure) gets disturbed and sends an icicle upwards. Most visually striking is the fact that the icicle is not fully formed at its tip, so some bits of ice float away - with their deceased passengers attached.

So the bottom of the sea ice is scattered with frozen sea critters, waiting for the summer thaw to provide nutrients for a new generation of bacteria and other things. Seriously spectacular.


Anybody notice the +AO? May be the highest in some time.


Twemoran, I think they are acutely aware of that in Norway and Denmark since a massive depression just passed.


That AO is hugely positive. I think it might have had an effect on Barents and Kara sea ice area because they are both showing a drop.


There is something very odd with the AO projection graphics at the moment though - shows big reduction having occured rather than increase and median projection line goes outside 1SD band.


Cairn energy drilled a dry one up in the Arctic

Artful Dodger

New Paper:

Kinnard et.al (2011) "Reconstructed changes in Arctic sea ice over the past 1,450 years".

Buckets of Excel data in the "Supplementary information" section.

Artful Dodger


Slough of Matlab codes, too!

I Ballantinegray1

I came across this;

"Something strange
Posted on September 14, 2011 by rusfedmin
Commercial shipping through the Northeast Passage over the last couple weeks has reported the seas bubbling as if they were boiling. Their observations have been reported to the science ministry who have sent scientists to investigate."

from here;


This certainly does not sound good if confirmed? Anyone seen any corroborating reports?


Thanks for the link to a possible interesting blog on Arctic transport, Ballantinegray1. Yes, we still await the results from that team of scientists dispatched to investigate bubbling methane.

There's a new Open Thread for December. Check out the link to an interesting interview.

Timothy Chase

The bit from the Arctic Transport blog is the only thing I have seen and unfortunately they don't mention their source. Or even who they are in their about page.

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