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Artful Dodger

We have met the future, it is already here...


Wrangel island is gone too in the last frame.


'Fraid so, Dodger,

A lot less of that Dickensian winter weather.



I'll send Neven a replacement image...

I was thinking that the ESS-chukchi area looked a bit bare!


Oh my gosh, it's so hot, even the islands are melting!

[Sorry. This is all so depressing, I can't take it. I need some levity in here somewhere.]


Yes, I'm afraid Wrangel Island met with a green channel accident - typically fatal for islands.

Note that it is not alone - some of the ES Islands met with a blue channel accident.

I have prepared a new reality in which those things did not happen.................


Image is fixed and sent.

If you are in a hurry to see it, i just posted a higher density jpg on the AMWx ASI thread


Thomas T

As a sailor I can't help noting that the first circumnavigation of Greenland by sailboat will likely happen within the next few years, if not next year. And then first sailboat to reach the north pole... Achievements borne out of a world out of balance.


Hi all,

I know many of you will have been waiting for some reaction from WUWT.

Here 'tiz:



Thomas - you ever see that photo of a catamaran sailing along the coast of Devon Island in Lancaster Sound a few years ago? I wish I had the link, but I imagine there are a number of equivalent photos kicking around the Web.

If they didn't tell you where it was in the caption, you'd never know it was of the NWP.....it looked more like Baja California.

I agree......Greenland's Joshua Slocum event cannot be too far in the future, although I suspect that even an ice free Nares Strait will offer its share of challenges!


I'd expect one would be able to reach the north pole before circumnavigating Greenland and I wouldn't want to be on either boat, but yes it is getting closer.

Thomas T

Nope, I haven't seen the catamaran photo, although I have "arm chair google earth" sailed to Devon Island many times.

The newly open areas of Greenland coast won't have soundings and charts. Another problem would be getting raked by low pressure systems, by having to stay so late in the season, and their frequency appears to be out of balance too. Hopefully the major goal of such expeditions would be to raise awareness of the arctic tragedy.


Seems to me that one might be able to cross the Arctic Ocean at its widest point by sailing directly from Banks Island to Cape Chelyuskin
by next year or the year following.

in a way, that would be even more amazing than reaching the Pole or sailing around Greenland..............

Andrew Sipocz

OK, I read the WUWT entry on sea ice. I've not read the recent paper on paleo shorelines that indicated the extent of ice during the Holocene Optimum. Can someone fill me in on the extent of the ice cap during this warmest period of the Holocene? I thought that there was still quite a bit of ice, but in a different configuration than that likely seen today due to a different pattern of maximum insolation, etc.


Animation is fixed.

We also need to remember that this is a False Composite Image, not a photograph that perfectly represents reality. It's not perfect, but it gives us an indication of changes. It's a way to peek through the clouds, nothing more, nothing less, just one aspect of the big picture.

David Sanger

Re sailing: there's some interesting commentary on Northwest Passage voyages en route at http://northwestpassage2012.blogspot.com/

John Christensen


Try this article on effects of the warm period 5-8K years ago on ice extent (specifically Norwegian glacier volume):


As you see from this, all major Norwegian glaciers disappeared completely for at least 1000 years at different points during that.

While it is interesting to note that this would have had to be independent of any actions caused by man, this was also relatively close to the end of the cold period, so precipitation patterns could have been vastly different.

However, the geologist himself concluded from his findings that it was slightly warmer then compared to the present Norwegian climate..

John Christensen

The question to ask:

- Was it really that much warmer than today, combined with extreme arid conditions, or did some extreme event cause the climate balance to break?

If the climate passed a tipping point, this is all we need to know, as we may be getting awfully close to seeing that again - but this time with ourselves as part of the cause.

Chris Reynolds


Arctic ice was probably much lower than now 8000 to 5000 years ago. There may even have been virtually ice free periods. However during that period July 65degN insolation was around 7% higher than today. ~440W/m^2 now, 470 W/m^2 then - massive difference! (Jakobsson et al, 2010, "New insights on Arctic Quaternary climate variability from palaeo-records and numerical modelling.").

So as usual Watts is just giving part of the story. The longer these jerks continue their games the more difficult things will get for them. They're digging a hole - I say leave 'em to it.



it was warmer in summertime on NH during holocene optimum due to increased summer insolation (related to earths orbit) - not neseccerily warmer all year.

In geological terms, before present normally means before 1950, if not otherwise stated.

According to Hansen (2006 and 2012), global mean temperature passed holocene optimum about year 2000. Holocene optimum was probably only a few tens of a degree warmer than mid past century.

Chris Reynolds


From my understanding the mid holocene situation may tell us that there is no tipping point from perennial to seasonal. The modelling efforts using simple models to examine behaviour support this, but some show tipping point behaviour in the following transition - to year round sea ice free. But again - there's no evidence this happened in the mid holocene. In that respect now is different to the mid holocene - low sea ice then was driven by summer insolation, which doesn't play a role in winter IR emission and consequent cooling. Whereas CO2 works year round affecting winter and summer. Abbot & Tzipperman found alarmingly low levels of CO2 and heat transport facilitating a year round sea ice free state.

Either way: We should know what the score is by 2100. All we need is to be patient, and long lived. ;)


Hi all,

Elsewhere on the web, there has been a lot of coverage earlier this week, but almost entirely confined to churnalistic parroting a particularly feeble (IMNSHO) Reuters piece.

Reuters have now put out a second piece which is here.


And the Guardian's John Vidal has actually done some journalism:


The comments thread of this last is particularly lively.

Seke Rob

Acquainting with the 3 movements of Milankovic is I think a must to understand the basics of these states such as the Holocene Optimum. A very simple introduction: http://geography.about.com/od/learnabouttheearth/a/milankovitch.htm with each Eccentricity, Obliquity and Precession, the shortest of the 3 impact insolation on both of the continents. (No this is not from a Tim Ball, geography class)


There has been a few thoughts on this blog on how the denialist industry will spin this record low - and now we know for sure. The spin is that this is normal - it has happend before - as opposed to "it will recover soon".

New dogma apperently.

Fun stuff really. Appart from hiding of the fact that summer insolation was greater under optimum than now. What are they trying to tell (sell) - that summer insolation is the same now, as of 6000 years ago.

Really, how stupid can it get.


That is one meme they have been spreading for a while now, Oslo, but this is going to evolve (already is) into: 'If it didn't lead to runaway changes then, how could it do so now?'

And of course they'll keep repeating some stripped of context quote from one scientist or other who said something along the lines of: 'At this rate (2007 stunner) the Arctic could become ice-free in 2012, 2013, 2015, whatever'.

All very irresponsible things to do, as disappearing sea ice has consequences for the rest of the world, apart from it being climate change in action, to be followed almost real-time on your computer screen.

Chris Alemany

On the note of 'this has happened before' indeed it has. I use this handy writing I received in a response from the NSIDC back in 2007. I had asked when the last time it was that the north pole was ice free.


(ybp=years before present, CE="Current Era" Gregorian calendar years)

260,000,000-20,000,000 ybp: no sea ice
20,000,000-2,500,000 ybp: possibly some sea ice
2,500,000-130,000 ybp: sea ice during glacial periods, possibly ice-free during interglacials
130,000-100,000 ybp: possibly ice-free during last interglacial
100,000-10,000 ybp: last glacial period, ice-covered year round
10,000-7000 ybp: peak of current interglacial, possibly some ice-free (at least seasonally) years
7,000 ybp - 900 CE: cooling trend, likely sea ice throughout
900 CE - 1300 CE: medieval warm period, possibly some ice-free periods, but unlikely
1300 CE - present: definite year-round ice cover

David Sanger

plus their ideas that "NSIDC : Satellite Measurements Of Ice Are Consistently Wrong" (today on Steven Goddard's blog) !!

And Tuesday's "Arctic Ice At 137% Of The 2007 Minimum" (sic)

What is so different about the NIC charts that gives such different results (if they indeed do)?


@oldleatherneck & neven:

Additional to people thinking AGW will only impact in the future is people thinking that the impact will be a single step change. I think this is partly due to the wording of some AGW projections e.g. the sea level change projections: "sea level will be x metres higher in 100 years time". This immediately makes you think that some time between now and then sea levels will rise x metres almost overnight in a single step. Although a hardship all people living in affected areas will have to do is move to higher ground and rebuild cities & infrastructure at the higher point and that will be it. Must admit I got to thinking this way for a while. Of course the killer is that the changes will be either continuous change or worse with erratic bursts of increase and then periods of no increase. In this scenario how do you plan and build new ports, oil terminals, sea defences etc.? There must be some way to build all these with robustness to SLR change built in - I suspect this makes them much, much more expensive. This is one area where Bjorn Lomberg et al. miss most of the implications and therefore miss most of the costs (both human and economic)

Jeffrey Davis

re: runaway effects

No runaway effects?

Exhibit A of the source of my nightmares is the graph of CO2/temperature changes over the last 400,000 years. The one where temps rise 14 degrees in a geologic instant.

And the climate doesn't need to runaway to kill us all. We are 7,000,000,000 people with around 10,000,000,000 weapons. We don't need to starve or drown to be dead. We just need to be in the way.


Glacier watching on MODIS this afternoon I spied yet another large chunk that just calved off of the Steensby Glacier (if I'm reading my maps right). Not as big as the Petermann Ice Island 2012 -- maybe a fifth of that -- but still... One more big block of ice floating away, one that was there in every pic I look at from last year and two years ago (clear view on 2010217).



Just noticed the same event - and rushed over to announce same.

Wonder if it might be possible to start a thread devoted to glacial calving and losses of fast ice or ice shelves.

Suggesting additional work for others is what I excel at ;>)


Doug Bostrom

anthropocene: In this scenario how do you plan and build new ports, oil terminals, sea defences etc.? There must be some way to build all these with robustness to SLR change built in - I suspect this makes them much, much more expensive.

You need ample foresight and the freedom and resources to use it. See SkS piece on London for an example of what a robust civil service armed with facts is supposed to do and is able to accomplish when the political climate allows this to happen.


Sometimes I think that what is needed now is a forum where we can divide things up and have separate threads for matters pertaining to sea ice, glaciers, meteorology, etc. With traffic to the blog increasing inversely proportional to ice melt, comment threads can get a bit messy and it's difficult to find things people said about certain subjects.

Maybe I'll try and do this after the melting season. It's too bad TypePad doesn't have any functionality for that.

Artful Dodger

The latest IJIS value: 4,189,375 km2
(August 24, 2012)

Peter Ellis

Bah! Beaten to it in a different thread.

Artful Dodger

Yes, that's a -143,906 km^2 drop over yesterday's preliminary SIE.


I think JAXA is switching to the AMSR-E 2 satellite.

Look at http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/cgi-bin/seaice-monitor.cgi

(select Aug 23 if needed)

Artful Dodger

Hmm, not sure Wipneus. They're still showing that big North hole associated with WindSat. AMSR2 flies on GCOM-1 as part of the A-train, so it's orbital inclination should take it much closer to the poles, just like Aqua which houses AMSR-E.


That is what I see: a much smaller hole.

Only on Aug 23. Need to refresh?


BTW in the top left corner is a logo: GCOM-W1

k eotw

That's the 2007 record downed then. Preliminarily.

Artful Dodger

Hi Wipneus,

Here is the overlay from Aug 23, 2012.
Here is the overlay from Aug 23, 2007.

To my eye, the 'North hole' is visibly smaller in 2007 (viewed with a different browser, never b4 used ;^)


Here is mine:


August 24 became available as well.


I saw it too, with firefox, when normally using chrome...

And on top it says AMSR2 instead of Windsat...

Chrome, just refreshed to AMSR2 too for 23 too. 22nd is still windsat. I guess they try to get ahead of events!! Wild ride this summer.


One can clearly see the resolution difference!!




Exercise for the crowd. Go to

and overlay Aug 22nd with Aug 23rd. There is a big open water hole right inside Windsat's NP hole.

Chris Biscan




GCOM-W1/Main Specifications of AMSR2 Scan and rate Conical scan at 40 rpm
Antenna Offset parabola with 2.0m dia.
Swath width 1450km
Incidence angle Nominal 55 degrees
Digitization 12bits
Dynamic range 2.7-340K
Polarization Vertical and horizontal
AMSR2 Channel Set Center Freq. Band width Pol. Beam width Ground res. Sampling
GHz MHz degree km km
6.925/7.3 350 V/H 1.8 35 x 62 10
10.65 100 1.2 24 x 42
18.7 200 0.65 14 x 22
23.8 400 0.75 15 x 26
36.5 1000 0.35 7 x 12
89.0 3000 0.15 3 x 5 5


Exercise 2. Keep pressing overlay/hidden to remove and reveal the overlay. Fascinating!!!

Espen Olsen

I think the result is very similar to results seen from Bremen!

Chris Biscan

I can't wait to see Bremen role out their Boss ASI charts.

I also can't wait for Jaxa to tell us if they went to 6.25km grids already or still 12.6km grids.


The graphs have gone loco!! Only the CT area 2012 line has a similar curvature compared to previous years. SIE lines have been showing some wild inflections.

Artful Dodger

Thanks for the screenshot, Wipneus. I'm still directed to this old WindSat URL from the Arctic Sea Ice Monito:


But by tweaking that URL with the filename you posted gives the AMSR2:


Hopefully, the Sea Ice Monitor catch up soon... I love those blink animations!



Here is an anamation of 22th and 23th days. 22th was using WindSat and 23th new AMSR2.


The difference in resolution is remarkable.


Does it help if you directly connect to the same IP address that I do?

Artful Dodger

Hi Wipneus,

No, that's the same server I've been using:

nslookup www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu
Non-authoritative answer:
Name:    www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu

But good news, I see the updates now. IARC must use a caching front-end to their web server...

It's remarkable how all this technology (CryoSat2, AMSR2) and Events have converged over the Arctic in 2012.

Off to Dresden now to review my Codec...


Artful Dodger

The exponential fit prediction for PIOMAS volume is 3,000 km^3 on Sep 12, 2012. Let's just say SIA remains at 2.8 so doing the math, avg sea ice thickness would be just 1.07 meters. That seems to agree well with current observations by Oden at the NP and by CryoSat2. Will be interesting to see PIOMAS numbers during the first week of October.


Record dominoes 6: IJIS sea ice extent

Artful Dodger

The MODIS composite image for Aug 21-27 is available from Environment Canada:



Dear Dodger (or Lodger, or Apples and Pears):

I know it is......I sent Neven the processed image Thursday, but I guess he's partying too hard. Seriously......he has a 56k connection where he is. Now that's VACATION!

If you want one, just ask..........Wrangel Island survived the carnage this time, but I am less sanguine about the ice itself, which is succumbing to actual, rather than virtual melting this time.

All the clear weather since the big storm made my image processing both better and less necessary.

Artful Dodger

Hi dabize. Indeed, each week we descend the stairs of sea ice loss with these MODIS composite images.

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