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2006 11 Goddard N 9.84 8.07
2007 11 Goddard N 10.05 8.00
2008 11 Goddard N 10.62 8.73
2009 11 Goddard N 10.27 8.05
2010 11 Goddard N 9.88 8.11
2011 11 NRTSI-G N 10.01 8.12

5th lowest November area and 3rd lowest November extent

2nd November update is out
A rapid freeze-up ....


D'oh its December :oops


Oops indeed. :) Just one month late....


It never hurts to read those reports twice. :-)


AO now apparently over +5!

(The forecasts are again looking like they show a false fall.)

Anyone know how long ago AO was last over +5?

The following link (if it works) seems to indicate it is available online with no fees but I can't work out how to actually get the data.

Andrew Borst

Daily AOs since 1950. Last time exceeded 5 was 1993. Looking at local weather, I don't see any significant effects from a strongly positive AO. I wouldn't expect any big snowfalls right now but that is about it. Maybe somebody can find an actual paper.

Andrew Borst

Here is the link to daily AOs > ftp://ftp.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/cwlinks/norm.daily.ao.index.b500101.current.ascii

Chris Reynolds

Awwwww CUTE!!!

Regarding paleoclimatic studies (that interview is on my reading list)...

Abbot & Tzipperman in 2007 published "Sea ice, high-latitude convection, and equable climates."
In that they examined the possibility of a role for Arctic clouds in maintaining a mild Arctic climate in the late Cretaceous and early Paleogene. To be frank - it's a paper that's worried me since I read it.

Now in "Bifurcations leading to summer Arctic sea ice loss." Abbot, Silber, and Pierrehumbert (yes - he of RC fame) pursue this idea.
They find that while previous research has shown that bifurcation (tipping point) behaviour isn't supported in terms of the transition from perennial sea-ice (like now) to seasonally sea-ice free states, with cloud forcing, bifurcations may be possible in the transition from seasonally ice free to annually ice free state.

I'm busy with BBCs Frozen Planet at present, otherwise I'd blog on this now. So Neven, if you want to beat me to it...

Regarding Kinnard et al's finding of current low ice being exceptional in the context of the last 1400 years - have the denialists gone quiet on this? I see Climate Audit have a meandering post mentioning it, otherwise it's SkS, Tamino and me as the top hits on Google blog search, with a few denialist blogs parroting McIntyre.

Are the jerks stumped?


I'm busy with BBCs Frozen Planet at present, otherwise I'd blog on this now. So Neven, if you want to beat me to it...

I'm also busy with Frozen Planet. ;-)
And working on something else, feeling guilty for so shamelessly hibernating, whilst having promised I wouldn't.

WRT that +5 AO: is this caused by that big low-pressure area? Doesn't the high-pressure area on the Pacific side dampen things a bit? I don't know, maybe there's some error there.


Thanks, Andrew Borst, for that data file.

I had a look at the NOAA ESRL daily composites page and here's how the period Jan 8-22 1993 looked (right-click to view image svp, I don't feel like cropping and uploading):



December update is in!

Chris Biscan

the small amount of MYI left is taking an absolute pounding so far this fall and right now is getting killed. Holy smokes...some of the ice is moving like a bullet out of the Fram.

Artful Dodger

Red October for real: Maps suggest Soviet subs cruised Canadian Arctic

Sections of Cold-War-era nautical charts obtained by The Canadian Press suggest that Russian mariners have for decades possessed detailed and accurate knowledge of crucial internal waterways such as the Northwest Passage.

Those charts, which may offer the first documentary proof of the widely held belief that Soviet nuclear submarines routinely patrolled the Canadian Arctic during the Cold War, are still in use by Russian vessels. In some places, they are preferred to current Canadian charts.


Looking through these links

It seems like there is a lot of variability in Chukchi and Bering Seas so hard to pin this years state on the storm.

Area around Novaya Zemlya does seem to be exceptionally low on ice cover. This is probably no surprise given early melt out this year. Does it still have time to recover this winter or will we now always get fairly low extent in that area?


PIOMAS is updated!


PIOMAS figures:
30 Nov 11 10.756
30 Nov 10 10.769
Practically same as last year.

Nov 11 average 9.033
Nov 10 average 9.322

There has been a rapid catch up from 0.71 less at 31 Oct.


I have updated my PIOMAS graphs.

Daily artcic sea ice volume:

(the gap between 2010 and 2011 has closed)

Monthly average volume with exponential trends:


Hi all,

For anyone in the uk, the bbc's "frozen planet" series broadcasts the controversial "on thin ice" episode tonight.

Expect a big week in Antarctica coverage - Amundsen reached the South Pole on 14 Dec 1911.


For anyone in the uk, the bbc's "frozen planet" series broadcasts the controversial "on thin ice" episode tonight.

No protests from the US ambassador? ;-)


"To say we were not disappointed would be a breath-taking understatement. What greeted us was the most extraordinary sight I believe I will ever see. The break-up had continued and the Wilkins was now in a state of full collapse – hundreds upon hundreds of icebergs – many over a mile long, were stretching to the horizon.

It was an incredibly beautiful scene but I was left with the same uneasy feeling I had when stroking the polar bear. On a personal level this film has given me the experiences of a lifetime but the reality of some of the beautiful things I've seen is, if you'll pardon the pun, chilling."


Sounds pretty amazing.

Artful Dodger

Hi folks,

Some of the regular readers at Nevin's blog may have already seen a discussion of the photo Nevin uses as his Profile Picture.

Since it's getting toward the Holidays, let me provide this small gift in the form of an illustration of a popular denier meme, genre: “Climate’s changed before"...

Specifically, is a meme that there was no sea ice at the North Pole in 1959. In support, a picture circulated the denial-sphere of the USS Skate, which was the first Nuclear submarine to surface at the North Pole, on March 17, 1959. Denier’s like Tim Ball and mu Watts claim that this picture, which shows Skate surfaced free of sea ice proves their case:


There are just three problems with this meme. First, on March 17th, it is still dark at the North Pole. The polar night is 6 months long right at the geographic pole. The Sun doesn’t breech the horizon there until the vernal (Spring) equinox, which was March 21, 1959 at 03:55a Eastern Standard Time. Yet, the picture clearly shows Skate bathed in diffuse daylight on a cloudy day. Ergo, this picture was not take at the North Pole on March 17, 1959. Ha!

Second, March is the time of the greatest thickness and extent of sea ice during the annual cycle. For there to be no sea ice at the North Pole in March, it would mean that there was zero sea ice year round that year, a fanatastik and bold-faced lie. HaHa!

Third, KLM airlines began test flights of a trans-polar route in 1959 with their brand spanking new Boeing 707s. They overflew the Geographic North Pole in March 1959, and guess what, it was covered with sea ice! HaHaHa!

BTW, a photographer from National Geographic was aboard the USS Skate during her March 1959 cruise, and published pictures of the actual surfacing event in the Magazine later that year. Our friend Patrick "logicman" Lockerby has posted those pictures on his blog (see Nevin's links).

The remarkable thing about this meme is not it’s boldness, it is it’s durability. I first pointed out the above problems when the picture surfaced in July 2008. Then, it was a popular denialist rebuttal to the record low Summer sea ice minimum of 2007 (it doesn't matter if a meme is false, because it exists in only in the minds of those who peddle it).

I see now that the caption on the main Wikipedia article using the photo has at last been updated to read “USS Skate – Skate (SSN-578), (Date and Location uncertain).” But the photo page itself still says “USS Skate at North Pole”.

Conclusion: never underestimate the tenacity of Denial. It’s strong stuff. When the Arctic sea ice pack finally does melt out, likely sometime between 2016 and 2020, look for this meme to go into full court press. "Climate's changed before! Nothing to see here! These aren't the Droids you're looking for! Move along!"

P.S. Do any Dutch readers of C.P. have contacts inside KLM Airlines? Perhaps we could contact the Company’s Archivist to find the flight logs from the Polar flights in March 1959?

Thanks, and Cheers!

Al Rodger

The final Attenborough "Frozen Planet" episode 7 showed last night in UK (unseen by me) & the Discovery Channel is being quoted as saying "Discovery Channel's documentary series 'Frozen Planet' will premiere March 18, and will encompass seven episodes including a program on climate change hosted by David Attenborough.
"On that seventh episode, the famed British naturalist will investigate what rising temperatures will mean for the planet and life on it."



I just watched the last one and it is not exactly controversial. we might even see open water at the north pole by 2020.


Artful Dodger:

KLM airlines began test flights of a trans-polar route in 1959 with their brand spanking new Boeing 707s. They overflew the Geographic North Pole in March 1959

My information is that the first flight was 1 Nov 1958. The plane was a Douglas DC7C "seven seas", AFAIK the Boeing 707 was never part of the KLM fleet.
The route (Amsterdam-Anchorage) stays a few degrees away from the pole, see here:
The continuous red line is the KLM route.

I flew on the trans-polar route sometime in the early part of 1959, still have a certificate of that somewhere. I cannot remember much from it (being 4 or 5 years old at the time), but my parents tell me the flight was mostly in the black, they don't remember seeing anything of the ice.
I would be supprized that there would be any valuable observations from the KLM air flights.



Isostatic rebound apparently already underway in Greenland.


Neven wrote
"WRT that +5 AO: is this caused by that big low-pressure area? Doesn't the high-pressure area on the Pacific side dampen things a bit? I don't know, maybe there's some error there."

Good call, it now seems AO didn't go over +4.

Artful Dodger

Taak, Wipneus. Well spotted on the KLM DC-7C. I've actually flown in one of those birds, rigged as a freighter for Buffalo Airways out of Yellowknife.

I do remember reading a Pilot Report about a jet overflight of the North Pole in 1959. It could possibly have been a route reconnaissance flight conducted by SAS for their Douglas DC-8 jet service from Copenhagen to Tokyo, which commenced in 1960. Only 16 hrs in a DC-8 vs 27 hrs in a DC-7C, woohoo!

I'm traveling at the moment, but I'll see if I can dig out more on the PIREP I'm thinking about... The entire SAS/Swissair/KLM/UTA alliance probably shared this route info, so there could be lot's of documents floating around on this topic.

Here's just a little bit more for now...


"SAS began jet operations in 1959 when it became the first airline to introduce the French Sud Aviation Caravelle into service. The following year, the airline introduced the DC-8 on routes to New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo."



AD: interesting history. Actually I flew end of January or beginning of February 1959. Not much to be seen from the plane.

Al Rodger

Over on RealClimate Hank Roberts (hats off to Hank) gave a link to a map he'd spotted at NASA Earth Obsercvatory Image of the Day - "2011 Greenland Melt Season" mapping anomalies of 'length of melt season'.
Being me, I searched for pervious years' maps and found 3 of the previous four. (Sadly the anomaly base changes each year & the scaling varies, but a basic comparison is possible after a fashion.)



Not found.




Some more info on arctic aviation, SAS started commercial flying Copenhagen - Los Angeles in 1954, and it is considered the first Airline to do so!

Yvan Dutil

The scariest story I have read recently:


Bob Wallace

I was just coming to post the same story. Let me copy over a few paragraphs...

Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane – a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide – have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region.

The scale and volume of the methane release has astonished the head of the Russian research team who has been surveying the seabed of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for nearly 20 years.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Igor Semiletov, of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that he has never before witnessed the scale and force of the methane being released from beneath the Arctic seabed.

"Earlier we found torch-like structures like this but they were only tens of metres in diameter. This is the first time that we've found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures, more than 1,000 metres in diameter. It's amazing," Dr Semiletov said. "I was most impressed by the sheer scale and high density of the plumes. Over a relatively small area we found more than 100, but over a wider area there should be thousands of them."

Yvan's link....


I think I might be going to church for the first time in my life this week. And on the way go into the mosque, synagogue and faculty of economics as well.

I hope so much that this isn't happening as fast as it seems. I'll be hanging around WUWT this week, because I need a heavy dose of denial badly. I'm sure they will cover this.


Scary to read about methane then look at the DMI graph. Im sure that the graph is about to be corrected, but two shocks in rapid succession. Ill need a sit down.



Hi Neven,

WUWT has a highly recommended article on the AMO going negative in November 2011.

Its only one month, but if Atlantic MultiDecadal Oscillation (Sorry) were to go into a strong negative, this would, according to my feeble understanding, perhaps have a major effect on the rate of Arctic Sea Ice loss, and might also help stabilise the Siberian shelf methane.

Hope this helps...


Thanks, idunno, it helped a bit. But I really need a WUWT article explaining that all of this is much ado about nothing. I need Anthony Watts to use all his hypnotic powers to ease my mind. ;-)

I've put up a post for discussion:

Arctic methane: Russian researchers report

Artful Dodger

"Dr Semiletov released his findings for the first time last week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco."

Artful Dodger

Arctic circumnavigator Borge Ousland and team have skied to the South Pole, just in time for the 100 anniversary of another Norwegian's arrival!



DMI extent is acting all weird!

Rob Dekker

I noticed that you got 'bore-holed' for your comment at 'klimazwiebel'


Do you still have a copy of what you posted and do you want to re-post your comment here ? I'm curious as to what your take is on Rahmstorf vs Meischer.

Kevin McKinney

"DMI extent is acting all weird!"

Yes--a downward spike, recovered, it appears as of this morning.



Do you still have a copy of what you posted and do you want to re-post your comment here ? I'm curious as to what your take is on Rahmstorf vs Meischer.

Rob, my post was deleted because I said Leake and North were liars/disinformers (unfortunately I didn't save the comment, or else I would have forwarded it to you). It's Von Storch's blog, so fair enough. I said I didn't know how else to characterize people like Leake/North/CFACT, but that I would refrain from labelling them thus on Klimazwiebel.

My take on the Meichsner thing is this: she let herself be led astray by the North->Leake narrative during the period of Gate-mania. I base this on other climate articles written by her that follow the exact storylines provided by Leake/North.

In that sense she did blatantly copy from them, and I think it was a bit nitpciky from the judge to take the word 'copy' so literally. She didn't do enough research. This stands as a pole above water, like we say in Dutch.

Rahmstorf jumped on it and was very aggressive, maybe a bit too much. The judge reprimanded him for that. Sure, why not?

The sad thing IMO is that this is celebrated by skeptics as some victory for the right of free speech, but the real story of course is the uncritical parroting of disinformation by journalists.

Meichsner has stated that she will no longer write stories about climate. Either she really feels so insulted that she is disgusted by the whole enterprise of writing about climate. Or perhaps she knows in her heart of hearts that she delivered shoddy work and let herself be fooled by liars/disinformers Leake and North, and thus helping to turn the mountain-molehill-tactic into a success.


I was just comparing the Uni Bremen map for December 15 with the map for the same date last year. I note that ice cover is much more extensive this year in Hudson bay and the Bering Strait. On the other hand, the freeze up East of Novaya Semlya is not as complete this year. Also in 2011, the ice concentration in the Arctic basin appears to be generally higher.
I also note that sea ice has formed in 2011 on the southern coast of Norway. This is somewhat surprising !
I was just wondering if some of these differences were due to the change from AMSRE to SSMIS. It is hard to compare SIE between 2011 as we don't have JAXA any more, but according to CT SIA is almost the same for both years ( 10.38 million sqkm in 2011 against 10.37 million in 2010).


Arctic Sea Ice 2011 2010, Comparison high/low concentration
I couldn't resist posting some of the work I've been doing on a comparison between minimum extent 2010 and 2011.
It took me a while. And there's still some analysing editing to do.
1. It resembles what I did last year on 2007-2010
2. I refitted the CT images on scale against MODIS (never mind the scientific degree of non-reproducability...making it painstaking and maybe useless)
3. It sure gave me some things to consider:
it looks like the high concentration 2010 was really bad after all. Though extent was lower in 2011, 2010 may have been worse on that part. Mind that I took that impression from MODIS. For the low concentration, both years showed the same quality (shattered...).
Second: Extent loss was concentrated on the Barentz/Kara side this year.
Third: I didn't expect 0909 to be the minimum this year. So I missed the detailed CT graph for that day. Did anybody save a copy? I'd like to dive into the different high/low concentration thing emerging between CT and MODIS.

Artful Dodger

"Say goodbye to Ontario’s polar bears." Ian Stirling, biologist and adjunct University of Alberta professor



Werther, thanks for your work. If you can send me that CAD image (somehow I can't get the bigger version on Photobucket), I'll use it for a blog post.

And thanks for that link, Lodger.

Bob Wallace

Jeff Masters has a piece up on Weather Underground about the Arctic sea ice melt and extreme weather further south.


Folks might find comment #43 interesting. Some information about a team out on the ice taking thickness measurements.


Thanks, Bob. That was a very interesting read, as usual.


Hi Neven,

Every time I open the Daily Graphs page, the US Navy asks me for a username and password...

Occasionally this seems to make my feeble-minded internet browser crash. Is there any way to fix the glitch without, hopefully, either losing the PIPS maps, or starting a fight with the US Navy?


I doubt it means much, but PDO for Nov appears to be most negative since 1961.


Hi Neven,

I don't know if you managed to find comfort in the church, the synagogue or the mosque, so just to wish you the generic "Happy Holidays". Thanks for running such a great blog over the last year.

Not sure if you'd have found much to cheer you up over on WUWT recently, but the most recent post from one of Anthony's "political climate" bloggers contains what I think is probably the best news I've read on the Arctic this year!


... and click on the current top story, "The BBC's myth-makers..."



Thanks, idunno, happy holidays to you too. As hollow and commercialized they may be, it's the only worthwhile tradition we have left. :-)

I had seen the wonderful work by Mr Booker already. It led me to Richard North's blog where I spotted problems with the first three arguments regarding the use of the Northern Sea Route in the past. I tried to register to the forum and ask a few questions, but somehow that didn't work. It's amazing that journalist like Jonathan Leake and the German Meichsner let themselves be fooled by this continuous flow of gibberish.


Hi Neven,

Well, Booker is the longest serving journo on the UK's largest circulation non-tabloid daily.

He has also just written a major report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation on "bias" in the BBC's reporting of AGW.

I think his work here really suggest a very novel approach to how to deal with sea ice retreat; either...

Imagine it away. Ignore all the facts and observations, and make up some of your own, which suit you better. So much cheaper than geo-engineering.


Turn the graphs upside down.

Finally, disable comments.


Where does that "the extent of polar sea ice was last year 1.6 million square kilometres greater than its average over the last 30 years" come from?

Only way I can see to get there is cherry picking the peak point on
ie antarctica only and cherry pick the peak point. Obviously does want to be a myth-maker.

Timothy Hanes

Hi all, first time post, I'm a big lurker and have been reading this for a year or so. Thank you all for your work, the comments have taught me as much as Neven's posts.

What on Earth are the legal reasons comments were disabled on Booker's little Denialist Haiku?


Hi Timothy,

That's because he goes on in the second part to discuss a case of family law involving a child.

@crandles; your guess is as good as mine, but as Booker writes major reports for denialist thinktanks like GWPF, it clearly can't be because he is either an eejit who cannot read a graph or a plain liar.

Perhaps he meant to write, not "last year", but "last week". I've noticed that Steven Goddard occasionally has a problem with the concept that Arctic ice expands in winter. Who knows?


Concerning the CAD comparison 2010/2011: I’ve done some analysing on the question I stated last week. High concentration ice: what is the nature of the discrepancy between Cryosphere Today 90% and the MODIS-representation?
Last year I took the 90% boundary as a good proxy for the remaining app. 1.0 m thick ice. It measured some 3.5 million km².
While I fitted it all to MODIS, I started to doubt what that large, purple CT high concentration sheet seemed to represent.
A more or less coherent CT pack at minimum 2010 was, on MODIS, actually smaller then Greenland and run through by hundreds of meters wide leads!
In numbers: 1,4 million km², against 3,5 million km² for the seemingly vast purple swath on CT in 2010.
I grazed through the difference, 2,1 million km² Arctic Ocean confined to what is in fact the “Central Arctic Basin” of about 4,4 million km². Besides, there was hardly any high concentration ice in the marginal seas! When you could sift the shattered floes through an imaginary sieve with a 1000 km² grid, there would just remain a minority (that's for Idunno's slush).
I mean, most of what on CT appears as a coherent pack was a mess in 2010.
What about 2011?
This year CT, while I could only save the rough +30% graphic, showed 3,1 million km² at first. Later, I saw I used the dark red shade, which represented the +75% concentration area. On the rough CT graphic, I regraphed 2011 +90% concentration to be app. 2,0 million km². Which is much smaller compared to CT 2010.

Fitting this on MODIS, I found 2,3 million km² to be more or less coherent pack. On first sight: “recovery!!!...haha”. BUT... it was a lot harder to find good MODIS pictures around the minimum. And I remember well there was fresh snow reported during these days (not in 2010). Third, I think I attributed too much high concentration in the direction of the New Siberian Islands.

My forthgoing, humble, insight: both years show a comparable, fragile state of Arctic sea ice. With 2011 worse in sense of extent.

As long as this broken up mess is ‘shaken not stirred’ in app. -1,5 degrees waters, it won’t completely break down. When this thin, cold layer is warmed, during an ominous period of sunny summer weather and the right winds/currents, it ‘ll be over.

Now one can argue whether MODIS can provide a good proxy for thickness. To me, it’s clear that FI the ‘Polarstern’ measurements, which were taken well within the 1,5-2 million km² ‘coherent pack’ , fit with app. 2000 km³ in volume. For the slushy rest, I’d guess no more than 2,7 million km² x 0,4 m.
Together that would add to a little above 3000 km³. I will be surprised if the modelled 4000 km³ were affirmed.

Are you still with me? Wish you all nice Christmas with your friends and loved ones!

Wayne Kernochan

Just in case, many many thanks to all on this blog, equally for their insights and their patience with my ill-formed thoughts. And, of course, additional thanks to Neven for never losing sight of the important stuff.

One minor note @Chris Biscan: your last graph did indeed resolve my doubts. Belated thx.

For all, here is a part of an old Flanders and Swann song to serenade deniers with:

Peekaboo, I can't see you, everything must be grand.
Pookabee, you can't see me, as long as I've got me head in the sand.
Peekaboo, it may be true, there's something in what you said.
But we've got enough troubles in everyday life; I just bury me --

From a fallout shelter a mile away, I watched that dreadful scene,
As a single feather came floating down where my ostrich friend had been.
Because he would not hear the news that I had left unsaid,
That here in a nuclear testing ground is no place to bury your head. Oh ...

Peekaboo, etc. ...

Happy holidays, all!

Timothy Hanes

idunno, have you seen the thread where Steve Goddard doesn't understand that he doesn't understand what a triple point is?


Hi Timothy,

Yikes! Nor did I. (Wikipedia has now helped though.)

Incidentally the North Pole apparently was tipped furthest away from the Sun at 05.30 GMT today.


Hope all you guys have a good chrissie. And more than a day or two's break.

I realise that our traditions are different from yours. I'm off out to buy the sun-ripened apricots, cherries and grapes for the Xmas table. 35C tomorrow, 30 expected for the day.

(But we'll still have turkey with bread sauce and fifty kinds of roasted veg before my mum pours far-too-much brandy over the pudding before threatening the ceiling when it's lit. And it's not us oldies who stick to this despite the Oz summer. It's the 30-40 year old generation that insists on the we've-always-done-it-this-way approach.)

If I use my Arctic umbrella it'll be to keep the sun off, not the rain.

Ta ra!


Merry Christmas to you adelady and to everyone on the forum. Not so hot down here in Tassie ( 25 C), but we do have the cherries (lots of them this year !!!).
We also have a mild repeat of La Nina in Australia this summer, hopefully not as bad as last year.
It's been a small step in the right direction for climate change policy down here with the carbon tax legislation passed in November by parliament. A very small step, but every step counts.

All the best to you in 2012 and I am looking forward to reading your posts during the next melting season!

Andrew Xnn

One of the warmer November's and now December is on track to be among the warmest too. However, a cold front came thru and although the grass is still showing we are looking at a White Christmas:


As a counterpoint, I still have grass on the back yard thanks to La Niña. Even my pine tree has survived. From the Central Highlands, Victoria, Oz. A mild 30°C today. A Merry Christmas to all. Listening to Miles Davis to stay cool.


Merry Christmas everyone.


Merry Christmas to all from sunny Austria (8 degrees C today). There's finally been some snow in the west and north after an extremely long dry period (with skiing resorts managers pulling out all their hair). Here in the southeast it has rained twice in two months. Crazy stuff. I have to water my compost heap!


BBC News Our world
The vanishing Antarctica

Richard Wilson meets the scientists who are investigating changes in the Antarctic ice.


7 days left - but might be UK viewers only.

Tor Bejnar

CT global sea ice area anomaly has been below 0 for well over a year - longer than the '06-07 stretch - and it may well stay below 0 this last week of December. If it does, this will be the first calendar year with this statistic. (My prediction of a late Sept. Arctic sea ice extent minimum sure didn't pan out. Maybe this one won't either!)

Happy Boxing Day to many of you. (To some, it's just 12/26.) And thanks to the authors of the many interesting contributions to this blog.


Thanks for the detail, Tor. It's a nice thing to report next week. That CT global sea ice area anomaly graph has been a treasure trove the past few months.

Kevin McKinney

I hope all had a merry Christmas, and I'll jump in with early wishes for a good New Year as well!

Just regained access to the Internet, as we've been busy moving back into our house, which was clobbered by a large oak tree April 5. . . !

Here in the Atlanta area we've had a much warmer December than we have for a couple of years. On the 17th or 18th we actually had a daily high around 70 F--quite toasty for this time of year. Also lots and lots of rain, which is good for the reservoirs, which had become quite depleted once again this summer.

Interesting to note the apparent correlation of our winter weather with the AO--coincidentally or otherwise.

Tor, for us it's 'de-Boxing day'--as well as 12/26. (We have about 750 of them in our house, just calling out to be emptied.) But in my native Canada it's Boxing Day, so I know just what you mean.

Andrew Xnn

Over the last month North of 80, temperatures have varied widely from the mean, spending significant periods of time above it. This appears to have become the new norm for Arctic Winters:

Also, I've noticed that over the last month at or so, there has been a consistent zonal flow to the jet stream. This generally translates to mild winters in the US, but apparently, does not mean much north of 80.

r w Langford

Hi all. Have not read all the post so hope this is not old info. The report in the Toronto Globe and Mail discusses the large ozone hole that has appeared over the arctic. It is caused by very low, high altitude temperatures and winds. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/europe/record-arctic-ozone-hole-raises-fears-of-worse-to-come/article2188525/comments/ Hope this is of interest to you and good health to all in 2012

Timothy Chase

r w Langford wrote:

The report in the Toronto Globe and Mail discusses the large ozone hole that has appeared over the arctic. It is caused by very low, high altitude temperatures and winds.

Hi Bob,

I remember reading the bit about lower temperatures being required. CFCs become activated on ice crystals only at lower temperatures, and as they destroy ozone and ozone normally warms the lower stratosphere this results in positive feedback. Similarly, higher levels of CO2 result in cooler stratospheric temperatures, although they tend to act most at a higher altitude.

Romm went into detail on some of this a couple of months ago here:


... and I have a bit more to say here:


But a walk away point is that a the cooling of the upper stratosphere with increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide is likely to result in a cooler lower mid and lower stratosphere, and thus greater ozone destruction. Furthermore, the ozone hole, which in the northern hemisphere tends to meander, including further south than Seattle results in dangerously high UV levels at that latitude.

One other point worth noting. Warming of the troposphere along with cooling of the upper stratosphere is one of the finger prints of global warming due to an enhanced greenhouse effect. This is one of the characteristic differences between it and global warming due to higher solar radiance. And in this case we can see the practical consequences of this difference -- which may lead to higher levels of cataracts and skin cancer.


South pole apparently hit a record high


Stuart Preen

Not quite a record for the UK as well, but the news is highly indicative.

"All bar one of the top 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1997 and all the UK's top seven warmest years happened in the past decade."


Sadly the comments in response have included far to high a number of people who either don't care or refuse to believe it is a problem.


NSIDC monthly area and extent:
2006 12 Goddard N 12.27 10.10
2007 12 Goddard N 12.39 10.11
2008 12 Goddard N 12.52 10.64
2009 12 Goddard N 12.51 10.25
2010 12 Goddard N 12.02 10.08
2011 12 NRTSI-G N 12.38 10.21

3rd lowest extent, 4th lowest area though there may well be a few statistical ties. there.


PIOMAS did update, but it does look very wrong.

All 2011 data is now lower than the previous release, starting with a jump at day 1:

2010 364 14.266
2010 365 14.361
2011 1 11.199
2011 2 11.397


With the peak volume at 20.404 vs 23.402 in 2010, I wonder if that is an experiment designed to be 3k km^3 less at the peak to see what the model projects for the future?

It starts 1 Jan 3160km^3 lower at start of year and is lower by 3002km^3 at the maximum and the minimum is 3465 km^3 versus 4428 km^3 which is less than 1000km^3 lower.

I find that rather surprising. Albedo feedback is thought to be strongest feedback during melt season so would be expected to increase the difference between peak and minimum wouldn't it?

So the question seems to be, is it good news that seasonal ice free seems much harder to reach than we thought, or is this evidence that we cannot trust future projections by PIOMAS or simply incorrect data that we cannot trust for any purpose?

I think I will email to point out problem and ask if this is some future projection.


Or I would if I could get an email through. I tried to send the following but it rejected email from me whether I sent to axel@apl.washington.edu or PSCAdmin@apl.washington.edu

Perhaps someone could try for me and post here so that he doesn't get many copies. Feel free to improve the email.

Dr Schweiger,

I see data has been uploaded for December but it looks wrong with a
big step at Jan 1 2011:

2010 364 14.266
2010 365 14.361
2011 1 11.199
2011 2 11.397

With the peak volume at 20.404 vs 23.402 in 2010, I wonder if this
data is from some future projection experiment designed to be 3k km^3
less at the peak to see what the model projects for the future?

It starts 1 Jan 3160km^3 lower at start of year and is lower by
3002km^3 at the maximum and the minimum is 3465 km^3 versus 4428 km^3
which is less than 1000km^3 lower.

I find that rather surprising. I believe that albedo feedback is
thought to be strongest feedback during melt season so would it be
expected to increase the difference between peak and minimum wouldn't

As I don't know whether it is from some experiment or any of the
details of the experiment it is perhaps rather presumtious to
speculate. Nevertheless I cannot help wondering if it is good news
that seasonal ice free seems much harder to reach than I feared, or if
it might indicate evidence that we cannot trust future projections by

I am hoping it isn't a suggestion that 3k km^3 lower estimates of ice
volume are more likely to be correct and thought it advisable to email
so that if the data is an incorrect set, the error can be corrected.

Thank you and happy new year
Chris Randles


I sent an short email to PSCAdmin (at) apl.washington.edu this morning (after posting here).
Got an automatic message back that my message was awaiting moderation, it seems to be a mailing list. Wait if someone responds.


I've forwarded your question as well, Chris.


Thanks Neven.


The updates have been removed, last month is November 2011.

Someone is working on it.

A Facebook User

Chris and others

Thanks for pointing out this error. There was an issue with the initialization of the model for the run for Dec. Since we rerun for the whole year the year to year transition was affected. Previous posts are unaffected. I should have caught this problem. We will have an update in a few hours. Sorry about the e-mail attempts. I didn't receive anything directly and the admin list is monitored intermittently.

Thanks again for keeping a eye out for problems! Particularly those that are easily corrected ;)

Happy New Year to all.


Hi all,

NSIDC December report is out.


Good job, Wipneus and Chris! Highlight of the year so far!

January 2012 Open Thread is open for business.


If the problem was with initialization of 2011, I wonder if the gap between 2010 and 2011 during melt season reduced because of 2011 observational constaints on PIOMAS bringing it closer to 2011 actual volume. If so, there is no reason to suppose there is any problem with future projections by PIOMAS.

The only thing is I wasn't sure if the only corrections made are when there is no ice and PIOMAS has some ice thickness, the PIOMAS thickness is then set to 0. It would be more symmetric if there were also corrections the other way i.e. when PIOMAS has no ice but observations show there is ice. In this situation, the problem is what thickness should be set in PIOMAS? Maybe it is just kept at at least 1cm until observations show it has melted? There may well be some more details somewhere?

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