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is quite clear today. No doubt about the ice edge location - 367band shows white over Kara at top of pic is cloud not ice.

Can't yet see area near north of NZ that
has as 10-30cm ice connecting NZ to mainland but other maps have as clear or nearly clear of ice.


Nice attention for this weather station, Kris.
I think it’s the one I mentioned in October as ‘Polargmo i Krekelj’ according to the daily reports at wetteronline.de. Thought I’d like to find this elusive site. Actually, it is on Hayes Island / Ostrov Kheysa, Frantsa Yosefa, and it’s official name is Polar GMO IM.E.T. Krenkel. One of these strange places that get to our imagination through the sad story of climate change.
The station is to be found at 80°37'N 58°03'E on GE and actually looks like this in summer:

Ostrov Kheysa


Crandles, hi,
On ground of scientific literature, you’re probably right. Through the Arctic Ocean an ‘Atlantic water layer’ is identified, between 200 – 600 meters deep. It’s warmer and/but more saline than the fresher top layer.
From what I’ve tried to learn, I bottled up my words on the brine. For the sake of a nice text, I probably mutilated a scientific representation (I'm more Goethian than Newtonian...).
I guess the brine is diving, driving a deep, anti-clockwise gyre through the Eurasian and Canadian Basins. Another part continues in the ‘Atlantic layer’. The fresh part mixes up with Siberian and Mackenzie river outflow.
Wouldn’t be surprised that that sum could have created the fresh water bulge that was detected lately in the heart of Beaufort Gyre.
The thing that’s going through my mind all of last season, concerning the very extensive cracking of the central pack (look at AVHRR on DMI Ocean!), is the influence of eddies carrying the Atlantic layer right up under the pack.

Mike, out of these ‘gyres’ I doubt there’s significant passage through at the Bering Strait. There is a coastal upper current along the Chukchi Coast. But it is very far from this winters’ Atlantic pulse.


A weather station at an attitude of 411 m really doesn't comply to our purpose.

Fortunately there is another weather station at Nova Zembla at 16 m altitude. According the the Dutch Wiki it should be the oldest weather station in Russia and even the second oldest in the World, but there must be serious doubts about the latter.
(Werther, Wipneus ?)


Anyway, the place is Malye Karmakoely (Cyrillic to Dutch) or Malye Karmakuly (Cyrillic to English).


At this moment temperature there is -9 °C, which fits into the picture we are getting from the Bremen and satellite maps.

So, we better forget about that station of 411 m altitude.

Incidentally, an to whom it may concern, Nova Zembla (Novaya Zemlya in Cyrillic to English) means as much as "New Land", in the sense of "New territory".


Another perhaps more stable webpage to the same weather station:



Hi Kris,

You are reading the wiki page correctly, if that is what you are asking.

Malye Karmakuly was the subject of some climate-auditing some years ago. Steve in search of faked polar amplification.


Hi Neven et al,

Walt Meier from NSIDC comments on this post in this article:



I have responded there, idunno, but my comment hasn't showed up yet.


Can't understand why Meier would compare what we are watching to a polynya. This event is driven much more by high temperatures than by high winds.

Left my 2 cents, but seems to take a while for comments to post.


Hope I am not being to rude in disagreeing with way Meier coments are presented and on the topic of him being too cautious.

Attemtpted to post:

To be 100% sure "unprecedented" is fully justified, you may feel you need to check 13 weeks from 1 Jan to 31 Mar for each of the years 1979 to 2011 (or maybe 1972 to 2011). That is some 429+ checks to be done not 4 as suggested by by Bob. (Where does 4 come from???) Everyone involved may have better things to do than make those 429+ checks. Consequently if you ask Meier it seems perfectly likely he cannot immediately provide confirmation that it is unprecedented and you get a reply like " “I can’t say it’s unprecedented, but it’s certainly not something that we see regularly”. Note even Neven only wrote "I think it’s safe to say that this is unprecedented". I see Meier's reply as supporting the idea that it is highly likely to be unprecedented.

Therefore, I think it is clear that "That’s not the case, though, according to sea ice expert Walt Meier" is badly and misleadingly wrong.

If several people think it isn't unprecedented then maybe they will each do some of the 429 checks. I wouldn't hold your breath while you wait for their simple proof that it isn't unprecedented. Their proof is simple just post a relevant date when it has occurred before.

I agree Meier is being cautious as to whether "unprecedented" is fully justified and also in "not attributing a weather phenomena that falls this far from the statistical norm to climate change". However rather than 'fearing' he is too cautious, I think this is appropriate and the correct position for a scientist to take until the evidence is available and that is going to take some considerable time for a new phenonena. A good example of scientists being careful and not jumping to conclusion which might be somewhat dodgy.

Of course, when the evidence is in, they should report (as they do in IPCC reports) things like that global warming is happening and is highly likely to be caused by greenhouse gases.

Jumping to conclusions before evidence is in would undermine scientists careful reports and should not be done. So it is good to scientist are being appropriately cautious.

(Some silly errors in attempted post over there like missing an important "not" in second last sentence.)

Bob Wallace

My read of Nevin's statement is that it is unprecedented for that area of the Arctic to be free of ice at this time of year in the span of 1979 to the present year.

Andrew posted nine thumbnails (from Nevin) and then he and Meier pretty much dismissed Nevin's claim without checking the data.

I suggested that they might want to check the missing five (not four - check 1979 then repeat for the next four) years.


Yes, I should have queried 5 not 4.

But 5 covers 1979 to 1983 inclusive and the 9 pics cover 2004 to 2012 inclusive. So I am still confused as to why you don't also need to check the 20 years 1984 to 2003 inclusive?

(How many checks per year is a somewhat open question.)

Bob Wallace

Math failure on my part.

I somehow can't understand how we got from the '60s to now so quickly...


I just spent 10 minutes using CT icemap comparison to look at 13th February for every year from 1980 on. there was no data for 1987, 2005 and 2011 for that date. The only map that bears any resemblance to this year is 1984. But with an overall larger area in 1984 of course.


Barentsz is shooting up, Kara is still going down. But the Arctic Basin (the area northeast of Svalbard is closing up) and the Greenland Sea are also going up.

CT SIA has been shooting up (as expected). If this goes on for a week or more, there will not be a new record.

My impression of ECMWF right now is that there will be some strong westerly winds around Novaya Zemlya, due to a big low north of it, and a less strong high over central Siberia, all the way to the coast. This is probably going to keep pushing the ice back, but this time with colder winds (all the isobars are running over Europe and western Russia, and do not come directly from the North Atlantic, like two weeks ago).

Will we see more of those big CT SIA daily increases (two days in a row of 100+K), or will the increase start to slow down? Let's see.


Freezing has taken a pitstop now: -5 °C at Svalbard. Not quite an hotspell but still far above the -12 °C avarage, as well as at Franz Josef land (-7 °C) and sea level Nova Zembla (- 6 °C).

At the New Found Land coasts a lot of heat polynia and/or latent polynia have been formed apparently.

Bering Sea seems to be in status quo mode too.

OTOH, there is a surprisingly rather big gain of sea ice in the Sea of Okhotsk.

Jim Pettit

As Neven noted, CT SIA has shot up pretty well the last few days. In fact, the nearly 416K km2 gained is the greatest four-day gain since the first week of January.

Comparison-wise, we're 404,862 km2 behind the 2007 peak (on 2/27 of that year), but just 232,084 km2 behind last year's 3/9 peak. Seems odd to think that we won't see a quarter million km2 added in the next three weeks when we've added almost double that amount in just the past five days.

But even without a new record--which doesn't seem at all likely at the moment--the new Barentsz ice forming is obviously only going to have a few weeks to grow in earnest, so I imagine we'll see several huge decreases in area once the sun starts shining up there...


Looking at the ECMWF forecast maps I think we can definitely rule out a new record, if only for the fact that 2012 is now trailing 2006 and 2011 (with 2005 just behind). That low between Greenland and west Siberia is going to expand over northern Siberia as well.

At the same time it looks like Europe might be getting a very early spring.


In what subsequent weeks will Barentsz ice grow 'in earnest'?

There is some water below -1.5C but not much and there is a lot of water above that. Yes I expect growth for next 3 days or so but that is only half a week. For the next half week, the weather looks like there will be winds from warmer areas to South/South West.

In 2002 the area minimum was as early as day .1453 just one week after the latest arctic area data for .126. That is unusually early and average of last 10 years is nearly 2 weeks later than that.

Ok, so there is potential for 2.5 weeks of growth or possibly a little more time than that. However, what about the "in earnest"? The two weeks prior to the maximum are usually pretty up and down affairs rather than 'growth in earnest'. In addition to which, more solar radiation will be absorbed than usual in the Southern Barentsz.


If we don't pass the minimum in next 3 or 4 days then IMHO the record still has a chance. Any subsequent growth in Barentsz & Kara could potentially be offset by greater falls in other Southern areas like Bering, Newfoundland, Okhotsz where ice is above average and insolation is starting to grow. That does depend a lot on the weather and the chance probably isn't very high; maybe only in the region of 10 - 20%.

Andrew Xnn

I also went thru 30 years of Cyrosphere images for February.

Noticed some small polyna's in 1995 and 2004.
In 1993 there was one near Frnaz Josef land.

In 1984, an area of open water appeared near the south of Novaya Zemlya for about 2 weeks. However, it was significantly smaller than what is currently present and didn't last as long.

While the area has closed somewhat, it appears to be far from closing up completely.

Clearly, ice conditions have changed and a south wind is now capable of compressing the ice unlike anytime in the past.


Neven wrote:

That low between Greenland and west Siberia is going to expand over northern Siberia as well.

Meanwhile, the "pitstop" turned out to be rather a maintenance stop. As I am typing now, the temperature at Svalbard has risen to 0,8 °C. That is an appalling 12,8 °C above the average max, and even 5,8 °C above the previsions. At Franz Josef Land -9 °C, at Malye Karmakuly (Nova Zembla sea level) -4,8 °C.

Looking at the ecmwf maps (Europe) to me it looks more like the new little "hotspell" will continue till 23 Feb.

Talking about Europe, in mt region in 2011 Summer began at 3 March exactly and continued till 4 of July. Yes, there was no "primavera" really. Autumn fruit was already ripe in half of June! Then we had a very bad and cold rest of July and a rather bad and cold August. In early September started a long and warm and sunny Autumn, which continued till the 3th week of January 2012. We had roses and daisies and other flowers blooming here till that 3th week!
The dure cold spell lasted only for then days. And now temperature is far above average again, so it well could be the avarage temperatures for February will be close to normal.
Bottom line, albeit very dure we only have had 10 days of real winter this winter.

To conclude, 2011 was registered at Ukkel (Brussels) as the warmest year ever: 11,6 °C medium average.
A record due to 4 months of summer wheather and nearly 5 months of warm an Autumn.
The previous record was held by 2007: 11,5 °C medium average.


Posted by: Kris | February 17, 2012 at 12:41
"OTOH, there is a surprisingly rather big gain of sea ice in the Sea of Okhotsk."
- - - - - - - - ! - - - - - - - - - -
Kris, This is something that I find amazing, perhaps aggravating, we discuss Arctic Ice but seem to use Northern Hemisphere 'ice-extent-area' then because Okhotsk is outside the Arctic Circle AND NOT contiguous to the Arctic Ocean nor 'Bays' - 'Seas' which are contiguous.

No Doubt Okhotsk Ice (water temperature) contributes to weather.

But, in the early stages of the Arctic Melt Season and due to the lower latitude of Okhotsk, which NSIDC-MASIE now lists as 1,142,474 sqkm when this melts out does it contribute to a very fast decrease in Ice Extent causing a lot of "oohs-aahs" about the loss of over a million square kilometers??

Saving the month-by-month MASIE data for a comparison later in the melt season.


>"Saving the month-by-month MASIE data"

If you can fill in any data I have missed please let me know. If there is any date you haven't got, feel free to grap it:



I was wondering whether to ask if regional graphs page could have an extra row for Okhotsz. (St Lawrence could fill a gap but that still leaves one gap leaving page not as tidy.)

(A minor point would be adding links back to daily graphs and maps from regional & long term graphs pages.)


I was wondering whether to ask if regional graphs page could have an extra row for Okhotsz.

Yes, that bothers me too! ;-)

I never put it in there because most of the time it isn't important. I'll put an extra row in there (and remove it later).

(A minor point would be adding links back to daily graphs and maps from regional & long term graphs pages.)

You can get back by clicking 'Arctic sea ice graphs' at the top of the page. But I'll make an extra button next time I'm updating the design etc.


Okhotsk is on the page now.


Oops how did I miss that link, it was big enough.

Thanks Neven. :-)


crandles | February 18, 2012 at 12:17

"If you can fill in any data I have missed please let me know. If there is any date you haven't got, feel free to grap it:

Thanks and you made my day with more saved data than I have.


Hi all,

This map:


...seems relevent, and suggests that the problem might not be confined to the Barentsz and Kara seas alone, with a large heat anomaly also including the Laptev, East Siberian, and 3/4 of the Arctic Basin.

Chuchki and Beaufort seas abnormally cold.


Thanks for that map, Idunno. It will come in handy when covering the past freezing season.


But anomalies can be the new norm. So if you compare to 2011:

we see "East Siberian, and 3/4 of the Arctic Basin" were also in hottest coloured region last year.

Though there is a difference between highest temperature anomaly of 12.9 vs 6.7 and that 12.9 might be in Laptev Sea or nearer Svalbard this year.

In addition to Kara and Barentsz, Greenland Sea has been warmer than Jan 2011.


GISS temp anomalies...
Thanks Idunno... the GISS data can indeed be accessed nice in these graphs. It took me half an hour to check this season, since the ‘Kara Bulge’ started to appear, against the same period 2010-2011.
The overall mean anomaly difference for the Kara Sea is +4.14 dC. That’s consistent with all SST and LTT data from Longyearbyen, Malye Karmakuly and so on.

For December 2010, FI, it’s clear all remaining warmth was released from the Kara Sea during the last November weeks. It’s tentative to couple the AO-negative shift during that month to this timing. It produced the cold snap in Europe that winter.
I would place ‘final’ heat release this season around mid January. That happened simultaneous with a stratospheric warming event and the AO-flip. The venom was in the tail of this configuration. The jet stream and LT winds could flow into the Arctic without obstacles. That prevented the cooled upper layer to freeze. I guess more than half of the thin FYI on the fringes of the region melted through upchurning of warmer waters, even in winters’ darkness, the rest was compressed.

All of this makes me wonder how much actual heat is released this winter through the Arctic seas on the Atlantic side. It must be enormous. The impact is much stronger than during similar late releases in the Hudson Bay, FI.

In this context, it is obvious to expect an early arrival of spring conditions over a large part of the Arctic. Melt season may be four weeks ahead all through spring.


Werther wrote:

Melt season may be four weeks ahead all through spring.

Most likely indeed.

While I am typing at Svalbard the temperature is -2,5 °C and -3,7 °C at Malye Karmakuly.

Found meanwhile two other weather stations of interest:

At Nova Zembla, Mys Zelania. Mys Zelania is the northwestern tip of Nova Zembla and hence the northeasternmost point of Europe. It also geografically separates the Barents Sea from the Kara Sea. At present the temperature there is -3,4 °C.


Found another weather station at Franz Josef Land:


Temperature now there is -3,6 °C.

Bottom line, during the coldest houres of the day the temperature in the Barents Sea stays above -4 °C.
Moreover, between noon and 16:00 temperature had risen there to about -2 °C.

This year is a leap year, so the sun will come at it's 15 degrees position around the 9th of March.
Only 18 days to go. So, there seems to be no way the Barents Sea could freeze again to it's "normal" extension.
And mayby the Kara Sea could still gain a thin layer of ice, but that would be melted away then in no time from the 9th of March on.


If you are looking for weather station data at the Kara or Barents sea, try ogimet: http://www.ogimet.com/gsynop.phtml.en

Display the map (http://www.ogimet.com/cgi-bin/gsynop?lang=en&zona=artico&base=bluem&proy=orto&ano=2012&mes=02&day=21&hora=12&vte=Te&Send=send), and browse.


- 20353: Mys Zelanija (Russia)
Latitude: 76-57N Longitude: 068-33E Altitude: 8 m. http://www.ogimet.com/cgi-bin/gsynres?lang=en&ind=20353&ano=2012&mes=2&day=21&hora=12&min=0&ndays=30

- 20744: Malye Karmakuly (Russia)
Latitude: 72-22N Longitude: 052-42E Altitude: 16 m. http://www.ogimet.com/cgi-bin/gsynres?lang=en&ind=20744&ano=2012&mes=2&day=21&hora=12&min=0&ndays=30

- 20667: Im. M. V. Popova (Russia)
Latitude: 73-20N Longitude: 070-03E Altitude: 6 m. http://www.ogimet.com/cgi-bin/gsynres?lang=en&ind=20667&ano=2012&mes=2&day=21&hora=12&min=0&ndays=30

... Etc.



Thanks for some great sites!


"IceFloeDevil", muchos gracias!

While browsing through the map I'd learned something new to me: apparently one island of the Svalbard archipel is in posession of the Russian federation.

Barencburg is the name. Maybe I'm wrong, but to me it looks like a former settlement of whalers.



Thank you!
Kris, about the status of Barentsburg, from Wikipedia: "Although Svalbard is under Norwegian sovereignty, the unique Spitsbergen Treaty of 1920 allows citizens of signatory countries equal rights to exploit natural resources. Currently, Russia is the only country to maintain such a presence. Russia maintains a consulate in Barentsburg,[1] the northernmost diplomatic mission of any kind in the world. Still Barentsburg has a Norwegian mail address and Norwegian phone numbers."

William Crump

The Kara Sea does not contribute much ice to the Arctic Basin by way of outflow and neither does the Barents Sea. Lack of ice in these regions should not have much of an impact on the area/extent of ice that will remain in the Arctic Basin in September of 2012. The Kara sea and the Barents sea combined will have less than 100,000 km2 of ice at the beginning of August of 2012, just as they did in 2011. These regions are not significant compared to the Arctic Basin which had approximately 2.5 million km2 of ice at the September minimum in 2011

The Laptev Sea ice levels would appear to be a better indicator of future Arctic Basin ice conditions than the Kara Sea as the Laptev Sea contributes more sea ice than the Barents Sea, Kara Sea, East Siberian Sea and Chukchi Sea combined to the Arctic.

Based on the information from Cryosphere today, the seas surrounding the Arctic Basin from the Beaufort Sea to the Laptev sea have been at their maximum levels since the beginning of December.

A data set for ice thickness in the Arctic Basin and regions that will transport ice into the Arctic Basin would appear to be a more meaningful indicator of future sea ice levels at the minimum than the Kara and Barents seas.

Bob Wallace

A bunch of open water, early in the melt season, won't have much effect on adjacent Central Arctic ice?

All that Sun-warmed water and wave action. Plus the ability of Central ice to be dispersed wider when winds blow chunks toward Europe.

The protection for the Central Arctic is scheduled for early departure, best I can tell. I would think it's not how much ice is left in the Kara/Barents by August. It would seem more about how soon in the melt season the ice leaves.


William Crump wrote

The Kara Sea does not contribute much ice to the Arctic Basin by way of outflow and neither does the Barents Sea.

I'm sorry, but that is to bold a statement. On planet Earth anything is connected to anything, whether we like it or not.
For instance, last year one of the causes of the floodings in Bangladesh was vaporaterd water that came from the Carabian area. Vaporated water brought from the Carabian to Bangladesh on the wings of a quirky jetstream.
The exceptional melt season in 2007 was noticably enhanced by rains coming from the Sea Of Ochotsk over the newe Siberian Island right to the North Pole. As you can read here in these columns in one of my earlier posts.

Whether the actual situation will be one of great influence is hard to say at present.
Nevertheless it could well be the extra open waters will trigger a lot more rainfall. If there would be more rainfall, there could be an extensive melt as a result.

We'll have to wait and see.

But meanwhile we can be sure about one thing: everything is connected to everything.


I myself wrote:

Vaporated water brought from the Carabian to Bangladesh on the wings of a quirky jetstream.

Or to be more explicit:

Vaporated water and humidity brought from the Carabian over Northern Europe to Bangladesh on the wings of a quirky jetstream.






nice ! quite a clear picture. the ice does not look very impressive does it?

Kevin McKinney
The Kara Sea does not contribute much ice to the Arctic Basin by way of outflow and neither does the Barents Sea. Lack of ice in these regions should not have much of an impact on the area/extent of ice that will remain in the Arctic Basin in September of 2012. --will crump

My thoughts: "What Bob and Kris said!" The Basin is influenced by conditions upon its margins, and in multiple ways.

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