« NSIDC calls maximum extent | Main | NSIDC Arctic sea ice news April 2012 »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Nightvid Cole

Does anyone know how much longer it will be before we have a replacement for our dearly missed AMSR-E instrument?


People, please help, do enlighten me:

What on Earth is an Ocean Eddy ???


Nigtvid Cole asked:

replacement for our dearly missed AMSR-E instrument?

We do have already a replacement, haven't we?


Neven wrote :

I'll be gone for a couple of days

Do have some nice holidays.


Kris see: Mesoscale Ocean Eddies

Usually formed downstream of islands, isles, and other obstructions. Can be as small as a few centimeters and as big as a tens of kilometers or more.


I haven't seen Neven show this up on the sidebar of links, it is mainly about the arctic. The Richard Box interview starts 22 minutes in.

Someone (in Ontario?)a while back mentioned having 'the winter that wasn't'. Well I could substitute 'summer' for their 'winter' in that post & we don't usually have to mow the lawn for several months at this time of year either. This year it is lush & green from all the rain, needs cutting every week. And it's been so cccccool.
Clare, in slippers in New Zealand

Account Deleted

The warmest March

Barentsburg (Svalbard)) -4.8° (+7.4°) (last record 1976 -6.6°)
Islands of Franz Josef -13.2° (+9.8°) (last record 2007 -16.0°)
Vize island 2007 -13.0° (+11.9°) (last record 2011 -16.5°)

At Vize island fourth consecutive record-warm month, on the islands of Franz Josef second.


Is the Arctic ice area going to cross the mean?


DrTskoul answered:

Kris see

Thank you!


>"Does anyone know how much longer it will be before we have a replacement for our dearly missed AMSR-E instrument?"

Launch day now set at 18th May.

However I suspect a long calibration period. Dr Spencer talked of wanting 1 year overlap for AMSR2 with AMSR.

Chris Biscan

We are going to see some massive melt days coming up as that Pacific Ice melts out.


Chris b stated:

We are going to see some massive melt days

Are we?

I wonder how that can be with temperatures between -16 °C and -30 °C in the Bering Sea.

Temperature is positive now at James Bay, but that doesn't look much like the Pacific, does it?

R. Gates

Chris B,

I think you are probably right. After about Tuesday we're going to see some warming West to Southwest winds moving into the Bering. The ice there is relatively thin as the area added somewhere around 150,000 sq. km. in March alone, and so this is new thin ice. Much like 2010, it should melt more rapidly when the winds shift and the real melt begins.

Account Deleted

The longer the SIA graph plateaus, the steep the decline will be when the melt season really starts to kick in. From the Arctic-roos graph, 2010 SIA started to drop off fairly rapidly after the first week of April and had reached 2007 levels by mid June.


Are the PDO and the AMOC interacting to bring about the anomalous weather in both the NH and SH this year? Clare, I would be more than happy to send our early summer to you. Temp today was 29.5. Tomorrow's high is forecast for 32. I am already tired of mowing grass.


The AMSR-E replacement is scheduled to launch 18 May on the GCOM-W1 satellite.


The reason for this late maximum seems to be a less packed ice edge. Wind moves the floes easily South and due to low temperatures leads are filled with fresh and thin ice the satellites count as 100% ice coverage. On top this effect is supported by fractured ice at high latitudes shifting the edge even more South.


So while this year may yield a maximum area record, the ice which makes the difference to other years is actually to thin to allow skating.

Nightvid Cole

Chris B.:

We are going to see some massive melt days


Are we?

I wonder how that can be with temperatures between -16 °C and -30 °C in the Bering Sea.

If we take Nome, Alaska to roughly represent the Bering Strait/Sea region, we can see from

http://wx.hamweather.com/?pands=Nome, AK

that temperatures will moderate in the coming days, but still be below freezing and there will be many days of snow. So long as there is a good snow cover on top of the ice, it's not going to melt much (unless some anomalously warm water attacks it from below...)

Nightvid Cole

In the above comment, copy and paste the link including the ", AK" part, otherwise it won't work...


Nightvid Cole wrote:

In the above comment...

Or take it from here


The 'dramtic' recovery in Arctic sea ice seems to be getting a lot of traction at the moment. I've just done a brief scatter diagram for myself of maxima and subsequent minima over the last 8 years, which shows almost no correlation. Does anyone know of a more comprehensive scatter diagram online anywhere that I can point people to?


Don't know of such a scatter diagram - but you could create one using GSFC and JAXA/IJIS. GSFC at


IJIS linked on graphs page


It was the IJIS data I used for the last 8 years, it's more the having it available online side of things I was looking for.

However if I do try and do some real work for myself could anyone more statistically savy than me (i.e. most of you, I suspect) enlighten me about any issues with finding correlation in detrended values? Even without removing the trend there is no correlation between maxima and minima in the last 8 years. Presumably for longer periods the trend in the data would dominate though, so removing the trend would make sense, wouldn't it?


OK, I've done some almost certainly horrible, amateurish and entirely invalid detrending of the maxima and minima from 1972 and created scatter diagrams in Excel to show any correlation.

Removing a linear trend I get an R squared value of 0.1365, removing a quadratic trend I get R squared of 0.011. (Without any detrending I get R squared as 0.6519.) Do these values seem reasonable and do they show anything interesting?

Seems to me there is very little correlation between the size of a maximum and the subsequent minimum. Did everyone already know that?

Kevin McKinney

Heraclitus, I am one of the *less*-statistically adept folks here, so I won't try to answer that question.

However, the posting online question is not tough: there are quite a few places where you can post content for free. I use "Photobucket" for that purpose, and it works fine for me. (Just Google it.)

Chris Reynolds


Here's the full series of CT area maximas and minimas from 1979 to 2011, max vs min scatter plot.

Removing the trend will remove the correlation apparent in that plot. That's because most of the trend is due to the overall trend of sea-ice loss.

So the apparent correlation really gives little more information about the upcoming season than does a linear trend (note I used linear trend in that scatter plot). Once detrended the correlation between max and min is negligible. Which can be taken as stating that prediction from the max area or extent is pretty useless.

I think most people know that there is very little correlation between max and following min. Perhaps I'm wrong.

What I find more interesting is the question of whether detailed observation of the sea-ice at this stage can tell us anything about the coming season. On this issue I'm a sceptic - I'm not convinced that even something as significant as the current thin ice in Bering will lead to a resultant 'hole' in the sea-ice in that region. Movement of the ice throughout the next six months will (IMO) spread the impact of that, so the impact of the low sea-ice in Bering may actually end up having the greatest impact in the Pacific sector, as the transpolar drift shifts ice into the Bering 'hole'. That doesn't mean to say I expect a massive loss due to that hole - although it is conceivable.

I should stress that even though I'm very sceptical of predictions of the season at this stage, that doesn't stop me reading the comments of those who attempt it. It's interesting and can give me 'food for thought'.

Andrew Xnn

The 90 day surface temp anomaly map shows below normal temps over most of the Bering and portions of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. However, these areas almost always melt out. So, ice formation this winter over the rest of the Arctic was likely below normal; especially the Barents and Kara seas.


Kevin, thanks for pointing to photobucket - well I say thanks... but it's not your fault that any of this online sharing stuff loses all utility under my fingertips. Fortunately my dodgy connection gave me an excuse to stop trying to make sense of it, I may try again later. As an aside, can anyone tell me the easiest way to save an
Excel graph as an image on the new Excel?

Chris, I certainly agree with you that Once detrended the correlation between max and min is negligible but I was quite surprised at how little correlation there was beyond the trend.

Chris Biscan

Nome Alaska is nearly 65N, the Bering Sea Ice extends out to 57N. Which is starting to get some substantial solar power.

The SOO is also low latitude and is getting into the solar power as well.

Almost all of the anomalies in Sea Ice extent are in areas that are lower latitude and will melt out completely by Early June.

The main arctic ice suffered huge MYI ice losses and is already showing large cracks, Pollyannas, and huge leads opening up.

Kalle GZ

I expect big decreases (Such as today) to happen within the next week or so as that thin ice in the Kara and Barents Sea melts out and the ice in the New Found Land area gets beaten up by warm air.

Im almost certain that the area will not cross the mean.

Andrew Xnn

Best way I know to create images is to use Paint.net.

For Excel stuff, just paste it and then resize to 420 pixels wide. Then post it to a blog
and use the img src="....." line of html (include < before and > after).


Chris Biscan wrote

Almost all of the anomalies in Sea Ice extent are in areas that are lower latitude and will melt out completely by Early June.

As it does every year, even at the end of May already. Nothing special about that.

Chris Biscan wrote too.

nd is already showing large cracks, Pollyannas, and huge leads opening up.

As it does every year in early Spring. Nothing special about that either.

And the entire Bering Sea region still remains as cold, no colder than in a deepfreeze. That is special.

Special too is the situation in Baffin Bay. Temperatures are up there, very up. At the Western coast of Greenland till as North as Thule temperatures are just under or just above freezing point, and yesterday Nuuk even had a record max: +7 °C. That is special, very special.

A special situation too in James Bay and the entire Western coast of the Hudson Bay where the temperatures hover around freezing point too.

And it could very well be the ice in the Hudson Bay is going to melt away sooner than it ever did. And if so, it would be special, very special.

So, if you really are desperate for special things, you know where to look.


Does anyone know what happened to TOPAZ?

There isn't any data more recent than 2/10/2012.

Last time this happened to me, they'd changed format.....

Pete Williamson


My understanding is that it's very difficult to predict Sept minimum this early in the season. There are many dynamical processes that contribute to ice loss that can't be predicted so far in advance.

If you're interested in prediction and have an afternoon to waste reading up on it then this site might be good. They've been involved in minima prediction for a few years and get input from many research groups.



Thanks for all the advice. I've got this far so might as well see if I can share what I've done....


>"Nome Alaska is nearly 65N, the Bering Sea Ice extends out to 57N. Which is starting to get some substantial solar power.

The SOO is also low latitude and is getting into the solar power as well.

Almost all of the anomalies in Sea Ice extent are in areas that are lower latitude and will melt out completely by Early June."

Baffin is also low latituse and above normal extent.

Such area may well melt out completely by early June, but this does not mean the area has caught up - Bering can have knock-on effects on Chukchi. The high extent is reflecting more solar radiation than usual so the Arctic is losing out on heat it usually gets. Far from catching up, the area anomalies should be expected to get larger unless the ice is thinner than usual that would allow a catch up.

I think the ice is thinner than usual (PIOMAS volume slightly lower than last year) but would suspect that is mainly in cental Arctic with Bering having been cold this winter.

While catch up is not impossible, I think we should remember that we have been and continue to losing out on the normal heat budget due to extra area compared to recent years.

In Barentz the anomaly is clearer with both area and thickness well below normal. It is therefore clearer that this anomaly should grow due to albedo feedback. I am less clear whether the anomaly would be expected to move westward with the tranpolar drift or whether ice moves into region shifting anomaly eastward. Perhaps it should be expected to spreads a bit in all directions? Weather could well decide it.

The extra heat being gained in Barentz is less than heat being lost in low latitude regions. But does the more central location matter more than peripheral area? I doubt Okhotsk and Hudson matter as much as Barentz. Bering and Baffin probably matter more than Okhotsk and Hudson due to wave action on other connected areas but the length of borders are relatively small at least at some ice levels.

Lots of reasons for not being very sure how the season will develop but it should be interesting.


Nightvid Cole - "So long as there is a good snow cover on top of the ice, it's not going to melt much (unless some anomalously warm water attacks it from below...)"

Looking at OSTIA SST anomalies it looks as though much of the North Pacific is currently 0.5 - 1 K below average, so there doesn't seem to be much immediate prospect of anomalous melt due to high SSTs.

If the melt in the Bering sea is delayed, then you might expect this to have a knock-on impact on other areas of the Arctic ocean, which will be buffered by the sea-ice in the Bering Sea for longer than otherwise. However, if you look at a season like 2010 - which also had fairly high amounts of sea-ice at this point - that doesn't seem to happen.

Daniel Bailey

@ Heraclitus

You may want to visit this paper, in case you missed it:

Influence of Initial Conditions and Climate Forcing on Predicting Arctic Sea Ice
E. Blanchard-Wrigglesworth, C. M. Bitz and M. M. Holland
Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L18503, doi:10.1029/2011GL048807

We demonstrate initial-value predictability of pan-Arctic sea ice area is continuous for 1-2 years, after which predictability is intermittent in the 2-4 year range. Predictability of area at these longer lead times is associated with strong area-thickness coupling in the summer season. Initial-value predictability of pan-Arctic sea ice volume is significant continuously for 3-4 years, after which time predictability from secular trends dominates.

Thus we conclude predictability of Arctic sea ice beyond 3 years is dominated by climate forcing rather than initial conditions. Additionally, we find that forecast of summer conditions are equally good from the previous September or January initial conditions.


Summer ice melt may be rapid in the next couple of months, as NSIDC’s Walt Meier has observed,

"Although Arctic sea ice has continued to grow later in the season, the ice has been thin—only about 10 to 30 centimeters (4 to 12 inches) thick at most, Meier explains. “So it will all melt away very quickly. I don’t expect the late-season growth spurt to have a big effect on sea ice extent next summer."


Chris Reynolds


Regards Baffin.

This seems to be a regular occurrence. I watch the Jetstream plots from CRWS:
The kink in the jetstream isn't as neat as I've seen it, but it is very similar to the feature that delivers warm air to that region on what may be an increasing basis.

Jennifer Francis in her recent paper (Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes) didn't include spring as the results weren't statistically significant. However there are peaks in this zone during other seasons, and the Francis paper supports the interpretation that this regular kink in the jetstream has only recently become regular, and may be due to Arctic warming.

Kalle GZ

NSIDC monthly average numbers for extent are in. Here are the results:

Arctic extent: 15.2km (500,000km below the average) I estimate it is the 10th lowest on data, but I could be wrong

Antarctic extent: 5.0km (700,000km above the average) 5th highest on data

Anyone has numbers for area?



area 12.98 6th lowest
I make 15.21 9th lowest for extent (only just)


Chris Reynolds wrote:

ink in the jetstream has only recently become regular


Whether the jetstream is the cause or consequence is another matter of course.

My point is since two years the Hudson Bay is collecting warmth during two more months. The bay becomes ice free a month earlier, and freezes solid more than a month later, even two months as in January 2011

(between Baffin Island and Greenland). Normally, these areas freeze over by late November, but this year Hudson Bay did not completely freeze over until mid-January.

There was a late long freeze in March and begin April 2011 in and around Hudson Bay, and dispite this fact Hudson Bay again was a month earlier free of ice end of May 2011. And froze solid only at the end of december 2011. Hudson strait remained even virtually ice free till mid January 2012.
Thus again more than 2 months free of ice compared to any year previous to 2010.

With only 2 years in a row we can't speak yet of a pattern of course. Nonetheless, and after having had a look just 5 minutes ago at the temperatures there I'm convinced this year it will happen again.

Chris Biscan

I think the Bering slowing things down is a not going to happen. Of course if the Bering has no ice then it would be a different story. But Ice has to be 1-1.5M thick to deter Solar Radiation completely.


the ice depicted here in the Bering is very thin and very fresh.


That modeled thickness is typically way off for 2M+ ice. So it's not perfectly reliable. But, even with as expansive as it is. It's not going to last very long with 57-65N sun hitting it the next month. On top of that, the Water, there are many studies showing the flow, exp at the surface from the Pacific into the Arctic is meager.

The flow we all need to be concerned about is the one from the Barents, Kara, and Laptev into the Basin/East Siberian Sea.

The best way to roast the arctic ice in terms of scope and range is the shallow Russian Sea's once they melt out and then get pushed into the basin.


That is another product confirming it and also showing some majorly thin ice on the Russian side.

Even more unsettling is the DPA is already rearing it's ugly face:


You can see it on the GFS and Euro.

The recent decline in Spring Snow Cover is underway.

In North America that is a no brainer:


Eurasia had a positive anomaly in March, but that has been rapidly declining as well. A torch is underway: that will eventually spread over a large area of the snow cover on the Eurasian side.


The Feedbacks or Arctic Amplification has taken hold. I guarantee we see all of it this summer, regardless of pattern

Chris Biscan


We are going to be seeing a whole lot of this coming up all summer.


Monster ice backing up/melt in the Baffin Bay today.

there will be at least 3 days of very warm 850 mb temps pushing right into the ice, also some down-sloping off of Greenland.

By tomorrow the SOO takes a beating from the warmest temps in months and a 960mb low forms with winds that will Crush those low concentrations of ice together. After that it reforms East towards the Bering and spins up warm air and water there for 3 days.

I think the next 7 days will feature a substantial drop in SIA and SIE. -300,000K on CT this week.

By day 7-9 the GFS Torches Central Eurasia.

Rob Dekker

Hi guys,
It's good to be back.
I noticed the speculations about the ice thickness in the Bering, where extent is well above average (some 350k km^2 actually). The following may be interesting in that regard :

To get a first (back-of-the-envelope) idea on how thick ice is in some area that was open water previously, I often use this super-simple-model :

H = SQRT( 2 * C * T * t )

This formula is based on physics of ice growth, using the following parameters to determine H (ice thickness in meters) :
t is time (in sec) since ice formed
T is the temperature of the air since ice formed
C is a constant : lamba/(D*L) with D density of ice [kg/m^3]. L the heat of fusion of ice [J/kg] and lambda the conductivity of the ice/snow pack.
Lambda is 2.0 for clear ice, but with snow on top, a more reasonable value is around 0.8 [W/m^2/K], which matches well with ice growth measurements.
This leads to a value of C=2.7*10^-9.

With this super-simple model applied to the Bering :
then the 200 km^2 of "above average" ice in the Bering since January (with T=20 C) should now be about 92 cm thick.
The extra 150 km^2 that was added to the "above average" line in the past month or so should be 52 cm.
Which leads to a total of some 350 Gton EXTRA ice (above average).

A slightly more accurate "simple-model" is presented here :
which is a GREAT read for anyone interested in the physics of ice growth.

Also note the impacts of ocean heat flux in the last pages of this presentation, and be amazed on how little ocean heat is needed to inhibit ice growth in winter.

Which seems to happen on the other side of the Arctic, in the Barents sea. It is almost as if father winter took 350 Gton ice and cold from the North Atlantic and dropped it in the North Pacific..


Rob Dekker wrote:

It is almost as if father winter took 350 Gton ice and cold from the North Atlantic and dropped it in the North Pacific.

Indeed, it looks like that.

Normally the Bering Strait becomes ice free in the last week of May, but as it stands now we can presume it will take a couple of weeks more.

Nevertheless I'm afraid that won't compensate for the foreseeable huge ice loss at the Atlantic side and behind the "great four Islands". (behind = from the European point of view)

Wayne Kernochan

Some initial thoughts on the prospect of a global SIA new record minimum (something we were watching for last year). Looking at the Antarctic side, consistent temps below normal as it trended toward minimum appear to have slowed its decrease, unlike in 2011. As it increases again, despite anomalously warm temps, Antarctic SIA continues to run about 0.5 mkm2 above last year. In other words, if we are to set a new record, Arctic SIA in July/August or October would have to run 0.5 mkm2 below 2011. That doesn't seem likely ... but we'll see.

Nightvid Cole

R. Dekker,

I don't think we will delay the Bering Strait melting by more than a few days, because the timing is controlled largely by how much sun, wind, and warm weather they get in the 3 weeks or so prior to the melt.

Chris Reynolds

Chris Biscan,

Thanks for the link to Mercator - very useful.

Have you used that site to check both ocean temperature anomaly and salinity? Atlantic influx into the Arctic is saltier than the Arctic ocean so sinks to 100-200m deep as it crosses the ledge of the Arctic abyss. This is different to influx through the Bering Strait which is less salty and tends to stay close to the surface.

I see no evidence of an Arctic Dipole anomaly, are you sure you're seeing it? What is the axis of the meridional flow you're seeing? Where are the centres of the opposing hi and lo pressure systems?

Rob Dekker, thanks for that.

I'll look at NCEP/NCAR and see if I can throw more light on the graph you linked to.

Chris Reynolds

Chris Biscan,

Scrub my reply to you re the Arctic Dipole (AD).

Actually I now think I can see what you mean, I didn't look far enough ahead when postig above.

Using '500hPa Bodenruck' (surface pressure) and '2m temperatur'.

A current interplay between a low over Barents and a high off the ESAS is causing a meridional flow that is leading to an influx of warmer air raising 2m temperatures in the cetral Arctic. However to be clear, this is not the AD.

It is in the GFS forecast that an AD type configuration begins to emerge.

By 48hrs the low over Barents and the low over Kamchatka begin to pinch off the ridge of high crossing the ESAS over the Lena River area. By 72 hours the cut off is complete and there is an AD configuration, with the Siberian coast covered by low pressure, the Central Arctic and the Arctic Archipelago are high pressure. To be precise this is a +ve index AD configuration which has a role in drawing both air masses and ocean water in through the Bering Strait. The most pronounced flow is around 108 hours.

In terms of temperature the influx of warm air becomes apparent at around 120 hours and persists all the way to 180 hours. It's clear as a pinch of warm air.

I don't know enough to say if this is an unusually early appearance of the AD. In my most recent post I go over some observations about models and discuss the events of 2007 n light of the models. I think this AD has happened too early to be reinforced an maintained by warmth from open water as happened in 2007.


Regarding Mercator sea ice thickness, something dramatic happens between 12 Jan 2011 and 19th Jan 2011 so don't consider thicknesses before and after then to be fair comparisons.

Not really sure about the fairness of comparison with a year ago either:



k eotw

prepare for the collapse it begins

Chris Biscan

Jaxa shows another big retreat day in the Baffin and huge one in the SOO, not surprising with the deep SLP there.

Also ice retreating in the Kara and more opening of water between floes in the Kara as well without new thin ice being able to form.



Chris Biscan



Woah, gonna be a huge spike downwards the next two days on SIA. That won't show up until two days from now on CT. Tomorrow's number will a decent drop, but that day will be -150,000K at least, the Baffin Bay has had some huge retreats as well.

Most of this ice is so new and fresh it's probably getting smashed together and melted, mostly smashed together at this point at some amazing speeds, especially in the SOO.

Looking at the GFS the next few days will see that continue in the SOO, the Baffin Bay getting torched with 3-5C SSTs being pushed into the ice pack. The Fram will be exporting more MYI with torching 5C+ 850mb temps reaching SE greenland, so ice melt will be good their, as well as snow melt in SE Greenland.

By day 4 the Bering really get's the hose, while the Baffin and SOO gets colder air returning and neutral winds.

Fast to rise, fast to fall.

Still going with -600K to -700K SIA anomaly within 6 days


On 24 march I supposed the largest april downfall in extent since the beginning of the satellite era. It looks like the MODIS pics illustrate that possibility. Like Chris Biscan writes, and Wayne Davidson also mentions on his blog, the pack looks pretty cracked-up in a lot of regions. Compare Chris’ MODIS selection to ’11 and ’10 and see that the ice condition contradicts any sense of relief temporary high SIE might give.

Chris Biscan


Chris Biscan


Shaka when the walls fell.

Hopefully L. Hamiliton can give us incite on that, I bet it's close to a -250,000K one day drop.

L. Hamilton

-280k on DMI update 4/4/2012. I'd wait a few days to see if that sticks, though.


Where is the incite as opposed to the insight? ;o)


Hi all,

Piomas has updated.

Not sure who's in charge, but I don't expect that Neven will be very happy to get back and find that 300k of ice area has been mislaid in just 4 days. Looks like carelessness.


I'm back and unhappy that the 300K drop didn't happen a couple of days earlier. ;-)

PIOMAS has updated, NSIDC has updated, where is TOPAZ, where are the UB SIC maps, CT SIA regional maps now have a lovely graph showing the trend since 1979 (more on that tomorrow in a separate post). All of that in just 4 days of holiday. The ice stops for no one.

Welcome to newcomers (like Kalle GZ) and welcome back to oldcomers (like Rob Dekker). Thanks to Jim Pettit for that nice max date graph on the CT SIA max thread. And thanks to Arcticio for a thought provoking remark about thin ice being able to be blow further south with leads freezing over.

That's about it. Glad to be back.


PIOMAS seems to be tracking last year pretty closely, with extent down, this has to indicate thinner ice.



For those desperate in need for something special and/or a new record here is one:


Albeit it doesn't look like the record some were dreaming of. :-)


My updated PIOMAS graphs.

Monthly data:

Daily data:

As noted, the ice volume is tracking 2011 closely. It is also closely tracking the "prediction" based on exponential trends, extrapolated to 2012:


Modis has "improved" its website. Anyone got a quicklink to the daily arctic images?


Link on daily graphs page still seems to work for me



Wipneus, thanks for the graphs. As usual, I've used one of them for the latest PIOMAS update (together with a little average thickness graph I created myself).

Kalle GZ

DMI is showing a small increase for today.

Also, did anyone but me realized that while DMI and CT are showing record-breaking decreases for the last couple of days, NSIDC is still only showing small decreses? I wonder why that is happening.


NSIDC uses a 5 day average while DMI presumably uses 1 or 2 resulting in a much noisier signal. DMI seems to report ahead of CT and may well also be ahead of NSIDC by a day or two as well as the 2 day delay to get a 5 day average.

We should see the drop on NSIDC beginning soon but it will be phased in by the 5 day average.


Kalle, the NSIDC graph shows a 5-day average, so it lags a bit.

michael sweet

The Kimmirut web cam shows a temperature of +0.4C. How long will it take to start the ice melting?


Terry wrote
"PIOMAS seems to be tracking last year pretty closely, with extent down, this has to indicate thinner ice."

You obviously meant extent is up on last year but I am sure everyone followed.

If you want numbers, 13.399 vs 13.095 or 2.3% more extent.
PIOMAS 31 Mar 21.67 vs 21.636 or 0.16% more volume.
Average thickness 1.617m this year versus 1.652 last year or 2.1% thinner.

Alternately, you can view it as same volume of ice to melt but less energy with which to do so because of more reflected sunlight.

Having said that I hope I am not bound to be shown to be wrong. If the water is warmer, that lost reflected sunlight might not matter.


IIRC cameras have internal heating to keep them working. Don't just accept camera temperatures - they may spike upwards and after a long wait might be more reasonable.


Thanks crandles - greater extent was what I meant to refer to.
I'm trying to make sense of the new PICT chart, and find some explanation for the last two years. Is this new pattern to be expected for the future? Did we unknowingly cross some kind of frozen Rubicon, and if so what did it consist of, and is there the possibility of return?


michael sweet

Cameras have heaters but the temperature indicated at Kimmirut comes from a Davis Vantage Pro weather station. It is now at 1.4C. Their web site indicated that is the warmest April temperature they have measured (only about 5 years of records). Does anyone know how to search Environment Canada to see what their records show?


Sorry Michael, had forgotten that one was OK.


weather in Kimmirut.


Michael Fliss

The Hudson Strait near Kimmirut (very top of LANCE-MODIS image) appears to be fairly free of ice.


Bob Wallace

Looking at the top figure on this page it certainly looks to me as if a lot of second and third year ice is set up to be swept through the Fram.


There's that patch of open water along the Svalbard where last year there was a fast ice plug.

And there are lots of interspersed patches of first year ice which could melt out early and allow more rapid movement.

Such a pretty graph. Anyone know if there's some way to see other months/years?


One at


(As already found by Neven on the arctic news thread.)

Also March 2007 & 8 - 5 year

and here is a great animation:

There are some more only split into 1,1-2,2+






Thanks for those, crandles!

The UB SIC maps archive was down for a couple of days, but the 2012 Novaya Zemlya Animation is up-to-date again.

Things seem to be opening up again next to Kara Strait. At the same time there has been a lot of ice increase between and south of Svalbard and Franz Josef Land. I don't actually know how much is due to ice transport caused by a big high over the central Arctic, and how much is simply thin ice growth.

If it weren't for things opening up in the western Kara Sea (and more to to the east of Novaya Zemlya as well, but let's see how that develops), things would look more normal than a couple of weeks ago. Still not really normal, but more normal.

The animation is a bit long now, but it's still interesting to see the whole development in the last 4 weeks. I'll compress it when I update again.


Hi Neven,
If one studies r03c04 and counts 10-20 stress-leads varying between 5 and 20 km wide, given northern winds it isn’t hard to guess why the ‘dyke’ north of Svalbard was broken last week.
These leads line right up to the North Pole. Davidson showed the corresponding AVHRR pic on his Eh2r blogroll. I agree there’s a strange ‘normality’ in a lot of parameters, but there’s a sense of ‘malheur’...


Since 5 days already at Ostrov Kotel'Nyj (New Siberian Islands) maximum temperture rises to just above -15 °C, remarkable high for early April. The same for the entire Laptev Sea between the new Siberian Islands and Severnaya Zemlya (North Land).
That's why we can see already an important bunch of polynia in the Laptev Sea, more as a a month earlier as "normal".

Same history for the entire Hudson Bay (from North to South) and surroundings. Moreover, at present, in the middle of of the night there, in the entire region temperatures between +2 °C and -5 °C. Amazing it is and it now really looks like the melt season has already started there.


By the way,


I meant to ask:

By the way, people, what's your experience with Typepad's new system of "security"? To me the letters are barable leggible and I have always to try at least three four times before my text gets accepted.

Horrible, and extremely counter productive!

Arctic Nev


Arctic Nev

Kris, I have no idea how this works because I comment as blog owner. I just posted a comment under my alias, but there was no security or captcha or anything. Why is that?

BTW, when I can't read the captcha letters I just refresh them (there's usually a small refresh sign, an arrow going in a circle, somewhere) until I see something legible.

Unfortunately I can't seem to do anything about this. Except for "allow commenters to sign in if they choose" instead of the option I have now: "require all commenters to sign in". Would that help?


I also find the security system a pain. often have to refresh 3-4 times to get words that are legible. but if you need it to keep out spam and Trolls then so be it.


weather in Churchill.


Neven, you wrote the Novaya Zemlya animation is up to date, bit could it be you put the old animation in again?


Woops, it looks like I didn't actually update it, just wrote a long story beneath it. It should be there now. Thanks, AV.


Kris, Philiponfire, I did set 'Comment authentication' to 'allow commenters to sign in if they choose', and then opted for 'Require an email address' instead of 'Require readers to enter a randomly generated verification code'. Let me know if this helps.

L. Hamilton

Regarding the sign-in method, I hope we can keep on without the "anonymous" option that works out poorly at Eli's.

Back to the ice, DMI shows a record fast descent (avg -70k/day) for the first week of April, consistent with predictions on this thread.


Trying a comment with my standard alias.

Preview seems to work, so here goes . . .


Neven wrote:

Let me know if this helps.

OK, Immediately after this message.


I by myself wrote:

OK, Immediately after this message

I wasn't asked for the "two words" trick, as happens every now and then.

Or will it be each time like that from now on?

Chris Reynolds


I had a look at NCEP/NCAR regards the Autumn 2010 Hudson Bay late freeze. The period 14 - 22 December seems significant in terms of the late freeze as there was a recession of Hudson Bay's sea ice over this period. 2009 and 2010 both had a warm anomaly over that period although 2010 was more centred of Hudson bay itself. The pressure fields for both 2009 and 2010 showed a high pressure anomaly over Greenland. However possibly sigificantly in 2010 the zonal flow showed a significant easterly wind off the Atlantic - this may have had a role in the warming which may have had a role in the late freeze and mid december recession. To sum up - inconclusive, I can't see anything really special that uniquely provides a convincing explanation for the late freeze. Sorry.

Chris Biscan


Boy, didn't take long to see that huge "recovery" get crushed. 500K down in a week.

A peak at the GFS shows a semi displaced Dipole Anomaly. This will help the Bering melt ice and compact, as well as keep shuttling MYI out the Fram something fierce.



Or will it be each time like that from now on?

Let me know if captcha returns. We'll see how this goes. I'm reverting if there's too much spam etc.


Chris Reynolds wrote:

I can't see anything really special that uniquely provides a convincing explanation for the late freeze.

Nevertheless we can presume "other than the early melt previous to late freeze..."

To repeat myself again, as Hudson Bay remains for 2 more months open sea it stores 2 more months of heat. Resulting in yet later a freeze and yet later a melt.

But as I already told too, with only two years in a row we can't speak about a pattern (yet).

The comments to this entry are closed.