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Doug Bostrom

"Several denialist blogs are now beginning to insist that an ice free Arctic is no problem, as it happened in the past."

I don't think those folks are thinking it through quite all the way.

As long as there's a fair swathe of ice extent lingering through summer in the Arctic, things down south are going to remain more or less smoothly functioning in the accustomed manner. That is to say, sea ice extent matters to weather more than volume; as long as there's even a crust of ice covering enough of the Arctic ocean the atmosphere's not going to know or care what's happening to volume. As the crust diminishes into insignificance, -then- we'll see what portends for our future.

For my part I think we'll see a several-year "step function" in weather behavior farther south that'll be very obvious in retrospect, looking at the years spanning the decline from "functional" to "useless" ice covering the Arctic ocean.


Doh try again
2012 21.906

Artful Dodger

Jeffrey Davis said on August 24, 2012 at 16:56

"the NSIDC graph on its front page to me looks 5 standard deviations from the mean"

Hi, Jeffrey. The shaded area in the NSIDC SIE chart is +/- 2 Std Dev from the mean. And note that the plot is a 5-day average.

So NSIDC SIE for Aug 21 was about 6.5 standard deviations below the mean. Numerical daily data is available for anyone more curious.


When Sphaerica posted the calving event yesterday on the Peeking Through the Clouds 5
page, I suggested to Neven that it night be an idea to do a separate thread for Glaciers, Ice Shelves & Fast Ice. Neven has recognized the problem and will be looking for a fix after the melt season.



Reading your suggestion that ‘the atmosphere's not going to know or care what's happening to volume’, I get to feel a little uncomfortable.
The reason is I’ve included the image of ice as a sort of ‘bank account’ in my thinking. Like any km3 melted releasing the involved forcing energy to ‘do other things’.
It’s a ‘feel’ thing… I can’t stave it in a scientific way.


Loss assessment 04022012
You mean this part, Anu?
I've been expecting this to fade since last february.


Hi all,

The latest DMI weather chart


has a thingy in the Bering Strait. Is everybody who understands much about weather okay with this?



"Although this does not help what is happening just remember history remembers 2 types of people: the ones who were right and vilified for it, and the ones who did the vilifying.
Manning and Hansen fit into category one. and if remembered at all Watts and Goddard in camp 2."

Mann and Hansen would fit into category one, but the only way Watts and Goddard would be remembered would be like Tokyo Rose in WWII. Category two would be Inhofe and Barton, but I'm not convinced they believe what they say. They represent major fossil fuel producing states, and if they were to speak the truth, their days in Congress would be ended. More political theater than anything else.

Bob Wallace

Thanks, Wipneus and Al.

I had to create two charts due to the limited facility of Google Docs. But I think they'll get the message across.

Here's the PIOMAS Max/Min for 1979 to 2011...


Here's the PIOMAS volume melt for 1979 to 2011...


I suspect just about anyone can see that we've got less to work with as the years go on and that we are melting away as much or even more each year.


When the ice goes, energy increases due to albedo change and the energy that will be adding sensible heat to the ocean as opposed to latent heat to the ice will change the world.

Dr. Box has calculated that the albedo change this July in Greenland added as much energy as the US used in all of 2011. The Arctic Ocean is much larger and the albedo change much larger.

The amount of energy that melts a given amount of ice at 0C to water at 0C will raise that same amount of water to 80C.

When we run out of ice to melt and add the additional energy from albedo change to the sensible heat we've got real problems.



Idunno, maybe it's me and I didn't notice in previous melting seasons, but on the weather forecasts I keep seeing lows seeing birth in Asia and then swirl over China and Kamchatka towards the Arctic to fizzle out somewhere near Bering Strait, just like GAC-2012. Except that it didn't fizzle out and swirled on towards the central Arctic.

BTW, I liked the Gerson Therapy analogy, because coincidentally I'm reading a book about it.

But let's keep our eyes on the ice. ;-)


@Werther | August 25, 2012 at 00:48

Yes, the hatched portion in the Arctic Basin certainly seems to overlay the area I mentioned, but perhaps not quite far enough north in one location. And the entire hatched area in your map is larger than the area of < 1 meter thickness - it seems to include some 1.3 to 1.6 meter ice, if I'm reading your map correctly.

Good call, for February - I'm just looking at the thinnest ice left, but maybe the model I'm looking at is way off, so the 160,000 sq. km. section I mentioned might be even smaller than the "thin ice left". We'll know soon enough.

Again - why isn't at least ONE Cryosat-2 scientist getting some maps out there to curious bloggers ? Are they afraid they'll make one minor mistake in one map and the "skeptics" will whine and complain about a big hoax for five years ?


They're busy with a paper, Anu. But CryoSat-2 largely confirms PIOMAS. I thought about blogging about that, but I'll wait until the paper comes out.


@GeoffBeacon | August 24, 2012 at 19:33
Let's hope Peter's fears about methane don't come to pass.

I can well imagine what those fears are.
I've been hearing about the 'clathrate gun' hypothesis for years, and the Permian–Triassic (P–Tr) extinction event (informally known as the Great Dying) which might have been an example.

If humanity isn't ready to fight CO2 caused AGW, they are totally unprepared to even think about getting ready to fight a runaway methane event.

Yeah, let's hope Professor Peter Wadham's fears about methane don't come to pass...

Aaron Lewis

It is the duty of every scientist to tell the whole truth. It is the duty of every citizen to help their country survive and prosper.

Tell me why "Scientific Reticence" trumps those values.

Engineering is how great civilizations are built. Telling a planner or policy maker what will work, and what must fail is not politics, it is engineering. Without engineering, civilizations die, and there is no science and there are no citizens.

Think about the Manhattan Project. We have a greater enemy. Science needs to do its duty as it did at Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Hanford, Fernald, Rocky Flats . . . None of it was pleasant, but science did it's duty and went to war.

Doug Bostrom

Werther: ...I’ve included the image of ice as a sort of ‘bank account’ in my thinking. Like any km3 melted releasing the involved forcing energy to ‘do other things’.

I think I see what you mean. I can't express my opinion on this in a scientific way either other than the crudest sort of napkin calculations but I'm considering the surface properties of ice as they're capable of influencing the overlying atmosphere (air/ice, radiative, etc.), which would seem to vary in influence as a function of relatively contiguous surface area of ice. An influence that is independent of volume, 2D if you will as the ice "appears" quite normal until the last few centimeters melt away or it has broken up so as to present much more ice than water to the sky.

Thinking about the energy budget and particularly the open ended time horizon I suspect as far as weather goes that the effects of enthalpy of the ice itself will be transient, ephemeral.

But speaking of thin crusts, I myself am a mile wide and an inch deep. Don't pay much heed... :-)

Doug Bostrom

Me: ...much more ice than water to the sky.

I intended the opposite.

Ghoti Of Lod

Every time clathrate methane gets mentioned I think of two things - the images of methane bubbling through the ice that were presented last year and of industrial use of bubbling systems used to de-stratify liquid in large industrial tanks.

This leads to a question I wonder if anyone has looked at or not. Would the biggest impact of methane bubbling up from the sea floor actually be the mixing of warm salty bottom water with cold fresh upper water and not the addition of GHG? Anything that mixes warm with cold layers of the sea would clearly have a large immediate effect on ice melt.


Terry, That thought scares me, too! What type of atmospheric/oceanic equilibrium mechanisms will we experience when that day arrives? After the ocean is warmed at depth what happens next? Changes in ocean currents, long-lasting storms of a magnitude greater than GAC-12? A Polar Jet that is all but eliminated in summer resulting in total stagnation of NH weather systems? Greenland effects from pouring down rain followed by sensible heat intrusions up the many fiords? Will Greenland make it through this century with ice still intact?

Eric Hacker

Bob Wallace,

Those are nice charts, but I think the one chart you may want to show is the net loss or gain each year. That will show the consistent losses and aslo show a growing loss trend I think.

Fairfax Climate Watch

Anyone have information on that massive super-blue plankton bloom (visible in the satellite images)? I.D.ing that bloom(I don't think too many species produce that color..?) could give some idea of the nutrient, temperature, stratification, and possibly other conditions there.

Any thoughts?

Bob Wallace

I'm not following you Eric. Isn't the top of the first graph, annual maximum, showing net gain/loss from the previous year?

The growing melt trend is shown, I think, in the second chart - annual volume melt. It shows that back around 1980 we melted away about 16,000 km3 each year and during the last couple of years we melted away about 18,000.

What I find interesting in this graph is we're not melting away the same percentage of ice but we're starting with less and melting a higher percentage of what we started with.

I graphed up the percentage melt each year here...


We've gone from over a decade of roughly 50% melting to a last two years roughly 80% melt.

Do you see some better way to show that we're starting with less and melting a higher percentage of the annual start? I'm trying to fashion a picture that is instantly clear to those who aren't good graph readers.


Aaron: It is the duty of every scientist to tell the whole truth. It is the duty of every citizen to help their country survive and prosper.
Unfortunately history tells a different story. Everyone knows about the Copernican Universe model. What so many do not know is that he 1st proposed a universe similar to the truth. He got pull in by church authorities and told that if he did not change things to prove the earth was at the centre of everything he would be excommunicated. Unfortunately we only now remember what he ended up doing. Galileo ran into a similar problem except they added the inquisition torture element, he got around his recantation by making sure his students all knew the truth.
Today we are much nobler. We blacklist and block all founding to scientist who disagree with the big powers.
To is up to us to play the role of Galileo's students and make sure the world hear about the truth.
The majority do not want to take the time to understand what scientist try to tell them, they are very happy to go with the flow and agree with the powers that be.

Ghoti Of Lod

M Owens:

These blooms were discussed last year on the Icy Seas blog.



M.Owens: http://www.whoi.edu/redtide/page.do?pid=15776&tid=523&cid=27946
will give you some answers. Basically you need to take a look at it to know what species is causing it. The worrisome thing about it is that it is mighty thick and big looking.

John Mason

Friday corrected: 4209219 from 4189375

This morning: 4087031

<4 million by tomorrow or Monday looks almost certain now.


idunno if that low http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/weather/arcticweather_imagecontainer.php heads towards the N.S.I. it'll smash the ice enclosing the laptev bite. If it heads east to 75N 150W my guess is a hole will open north of ellesmere expand towards the pole and if it persists could split the ice pack, undoing all the consolidation the recent high did. If the anomoly south east of fram then drops into the red http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/weather/arcticweather_imagecontainer.php we'll be in new territory. Lets hope it fizzles out.

Seke Rob

Gob-smacking ... the extent step chart might need another segment color, but the 4M is locked in we'll all need no crystal ball for to know, either in 10 or 11 days... a ~100K daily average at this stage over at JAXA :( : http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q210/Sekerob/Climate/ArcticSIEDaysMillionStepMelts.png

Can't wait to see AMSR2 to close that hole Windsat has [presumed to be filled with ice > 15%... but in overlay saw substantial real holes in there. That will put another nail into the "Ain't Trues" coffin :|].

P.S. Seeing now on other forums that Photobucket refreshing is fried for sure. It get's as bad as flip-flopping images up to a week old. Using tinyurl in between makes the situation even worse [can't find image responses].


4 million by tomorrow or Monday looks almost certain now.

Yes, I'll have to adjust my Y-axis again.

So, with the prelim out of the way we have this:

2005: 5.315 million square km
2006: 5.781 million square km
2007: 4.255 million square km
2008: 4.715 million square km
2009: 5.250 million square km
2010: 4.814 million square km
2011: 4.527 million square km
2012: 4.209 million square km (and running)

It's official.

Rob Dekker

The USS Healy in the Chukchi sea encountered a large number of vessels :
These must be Shell's vessels operating under last year's approved test-drilling under lease sale 193, right ?

Note the temperature out there : 50 F.
With a storm front moving in, and such temperatures, any ice patches remaining in the Chukchi (some visible on earlier picture) will quickly disappear.

Espen Olsen


She is in Barrow now.


John M wrote:

is a hole will open north of ellesmere expand towards

Me thinks you guys are becoming a bit obsessive about "holes" - just kidding.

It well could be about 500.000 km² are to melt away at the borders of the ice shelf, but an important polynia North of Ellesmere Island, no that won't happen this year.

Incidentally, look at the difference between

-24 august IjIS-Jaxa
-24 August Uni-Bremen .

There is quite a difference, especially regarding the ice in front of Severnaja Zemlja (Noordland).

It's the difference between AMSR2 and SSMIS of course. But still a difference to important to turn the blind eye on.

Patrice Monroe Pustavrh

After revision for 24th, the record still holds. New provisional is at 4.09, so it may take just couple of day to reach bellow 4 mio. And I guess that average NSIDC extent may fall bellow 5 mio km2. Currently, it is 5.14 mio km2, and if I repeat last value of 4.19 mio for the rest of august, it is at 4.89 mio km2.


I can barely keep up with the blog these days.

Every thing is happening so fast!

Artful Dodger

Hi Patrice,

NSIDC daily SIE on Aug 23, 2012 was 4.19043

The data file is here


That's just the thing I'm writing about for the latest ASI update, dorlomin.


CT area:

2012.6411 -2.3264599 2.7505391 5.0769987
2012.6438 -2.4064679 2.6525486 5.0590162


Who ordered that??

Seke Rob

Heed thé with the NSIDC "final" files. From start to about mid 1987 the data is spaced as 1 record for every 2 days, which makes reproducing the climatology [base line 1979-2000] and computations of std deviations a little rocky.

Request to Neven: Can you please put into the Dominoes #7 a short index/summary at bottom with links to the previous 6, and date they fell.



>"Heed thé with the NSIDC "final" files. From start to about mid 1987 the data is spaced as 1 record for every 2 days, which makes reproducing the climatology [base line 1979-2000] and computations of std deviations a little rocky."

A 34 by 365 format can be useful. Though I have filled in averages which is probably a no-no for std dev calculations.


You can probably get without the filled in average values with an if(cell=average(cellbefore,cellafter),"",cell) type formula.

Artful Dodger

NEW CT RECORD at August 25, 2012 at 13:26


Steensby Glacier post is up, thanks given to this great blog and its participants.


Seke Rob | August 25, 2012 at 11:22
"Gob-smacking ... the extent step chart might need another segment color,"
As a pending warning may I suggest you reserve solid black for 2M down to 1M.

I do appreciate you sharing these Million Step Days.

Seke Rob

Read that Tonino [Little Toni] was hanging on to the absent straw by talking of global... well, it ain't looking good:


Year to beat that late in the year are 2010 and 2011.

As for MASIE/IMS corner, we need to keep hammering on the "commercial/military" purpose of them charts... can't have non-arctic rated ships/cruisers run into ice-floes at 15 knots i.e. the "safety first" design / function.

John Mason

Artful Dodger,

"NSIDC daily SIE on Aug 23, 2012 was 4.19043

The data file is here"

I'm having no joy at all in getting that CSV file to load - anyone else or is it a browser issue? Using Firefox and Chrome and neither would load it.

Seke Rob

Re: JackTaylor | August 25, 2012 at 13:35

Is that black reserve to be chiseled with white drooping or blood dripping step numbers? Can do... but hope it's not in the time before our grand-kids grow up.


CT-SIA for the Arctic continuing on a > 3Σ Std.Dev computed over the full duration.

Artful Dodger

Hi John,

Check your downloads folder. Your browser may be set to automatically save .csv files rather than display them inside the browser.

Else, do you have an ftp client? Or are you comfortable with the command line? These files are hosted on an ftp site, not a web site.

Good luck!


Try a right click 'Save as' or use excel to open the web address? (Or perhaps already opened in excel if .csv set to be an excel type file.)

John Mason

I tried the right-click and got an error-message. I can view the JAXA-IJIS extent CSV data just fine. Perhaps the site's getting too much traffic?

Wayne Kernochan

@Neven - speaking of yet more records, I note that Antarctic SIA has suddenly decided to move back to the norm - Given the possibility that Arctic SIA will move down another 300k km2, we may be staring at a record global SIA anomaly within the next week - w



Hi all,
Not the right thread, but with all traffic this GIS 'state of the union' post would be out of sight? Jason Box has the graph up in a new post on Meltfactor.
Looks like it isn't over for thatcorner too.

BTW I just don't like the graph lines on CT, UB ASO. That's a bit understated... Most of the melting should have passed through July, giving the graph a nice curve like the other years. Bottoming out at record level, yes.
But not with this unprecedented freefall through August. The icesheet is at the brink of collapse.

Artful Dodger

Hi Werther,

The shoulders are drooping, but there is a core that will remain throughout this Summer. The Central Basin is still over 2.1 M with maybe, what, another 600 K in play?

2013, now THAT's a whole 'nuther story!

- Solar Maximum
- El Nino
- thin ice
- early snow pack retreat
- massive self-reinforcing cyclones

If events converge, next year will be it for Arctic Sea ice.

Bob Wallace wrote: Do you see some better way to show that we're starting with less [volume] and melting a higher percentage of the annual start? I'm trying to fashion a picture that is instantly clear to those who aren't good graph readers.

There's this graph I cobbled together based on a similar version I created for area. It has lines representing the yearly volume maximum (decreasing) and the yearly volume melt (increasing), with vertical bars in between the two showing the ice left at minimum. I threw in a couple of trendlines; those trendlines are quickly converging as the vertical bars get smaller, and it's very obvious that they'll touch within just a few years--and when they do, there's no more ice.


(Note that since PIOMAS data is only available through June, neither the 2012 melt line nor remaining ice bars are where they'll be when this bizarro and disturbing season is over.)



In my thinking the 'collapse' is the result of a process starting around fall '10, strengthening fall last year, continuing through last winter, revealing now. In that process next winter isn't a stall, it will just go on. Late refreeze, constantly checked through bottom melt and incoming low's.
This 'process' is going on on top of the multidecadal trend and the conditions shaped through '07.
Main driver: GHG's and two years of warmth storage in the oceans (while tropospheric warming seemed to express a temporary stalling in the warming).

Seke Rob

Can't remember to have seen the word in print, but suspect it's Vrille... free [nauseam causing] spiraling fall of a plane.

@crandles, thanks for the NSIDC file. The downside part of your data setup is that a continues timeseries plot then fails [one day R should handle that for me]. Nearly finished cleaning up, the 6 Std.Dev, charted for the series, but jacketee jack when in less steep rise and decline phases, which will get smoothed as last years are completed/checked. ((Rc1+Rc3)/2+Rc3) is working fine for me and your file values indicate you've done same, albeit I've color coded all infilled entries which in Excel can then be filtered out [for the what did I do?]. The SIE plot then looks like the one done for CT-SIA: http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q210/Sekerob/Climate/NSIDCArcticSIEDev.1979-present.png

Not looked for todays NSIDC update, but suspect them to be declared domino 7 or 8 in a few hours.


With that near-century loss in CT SIA, 2012 has--so far--beaten last year's record by more than a quarter of a million square kilometers (252,191 km2, to be exact). It's interesting to note that last year only edged out the 2007 record by a mere 15,000 km2.

Yet another SIA record was broken with the new drop: for the first time ever, more than 11,000,000 km2 of ice has disappeared--greater than the area of Canada and Mexico combined. (80.65% of this year's ice area has disappeared, also a record, and the first time more than 4/5ths of the ice has gone away.) http://iwantsomeproof.com/extimg/sia_9.png

The current SIA anomaly is the 23rd consecutive one greater than -2 million km2, and the 25th this year. It's also the 14th largest ever, and the biggest since 14 October 2007.

I think it's safe to say the Arctic ice has entered a twilight zone...


NSIDC: 4.08920 10^6 km2

Seke Rob

A Wipneus scooped... "fatto" we'd say. It's a fact now. New NSIDC record by 71.5K

2012, 08, 23, 4.19043
2012, 08, 24, 4.08920

Artful Dodger

Hi Werther,

I guess that's possible, but I don't see the heat storage yet.


What you describe will happen, it's really just an issue of timing. The most informed predictions so far remain 2016, +/- 3 years.

I think, if we do loose all the Summer ice in 2013, there'll be a chance of recover in 2014 & 15, analogous to the way 2007 was followed by slight recovery in '08 & '09.

If however the first ice free Arctic Summer comes later, say 2019, then I think the chances of any recovery years to follow are reduced. The rising heat content of the ocean is unstoppable.

R. Gates

The Arctc Basin area had a huge drop on CT, crashing below 2.25 million sq. km. if this holds up, my assumption from a few weeks ago that 2.0 was a solid floor for the Arctic basin this year is also melted away. I never honestly thought we could see an ice-free Arctic before 2020, but now 2013 isn't even off the table. To witness the unfolding of such amazing, albeit most unsettling rapid changes to our planet leaves one a bit in shock.

Fairfax Climate Watch

Coccolithophores. Thanks LRC and Ghoti.

Al Rodger

It would be good if we could sing goodbye to these century breaks. In the words of the great (non-)Scottish engineer "She cannae take any more Jim!"


The latest NSIDC graph is out : 2007 has disappeared, 2012 appears twice !

Seke Rob

This one: http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_stddev_timeseries.png

Get on your bare knees and sing in chorus "Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KG7Bs_BCC5w

Patrice Monroe Pustavrh

And if I saw it correctly, Arctic-Roos sea ice extent has also reached record low.


Epson Olsen

Thanks for the suggestion about pausing animation for last frame for a few seconds.

I've updated to most recent value and added the pause.

Thanks again. Kelly O'Day

animation link


I saved it for history (and resized for the blog), just in case they decide to correct it later !

NSIDC record


In 2007, NSIDC (or was it Cryosphere ?) had to add new gradations on the scale because the curve was to hit the floor. I hope we'll see them adding the "0 to 2" gradation as late as possible.


@fredt34 I saw that NSIDC graph too. Wonder how long it'll take them to notice/change it. When ice extent hit a record low it probably blew Excel's mind, and that's why we got 2012 2x.

L. Hamilton

NSIDC 1-day extent minimum through 8/24/2012:

. table year, content(min extent)

Year | min(extent)
1978 | 10.1959
1979 | 6.89236
1980 | 7.52476
1981 | 6.88784
1982 | 7.15423
1983 | 7.19145
1984 | 6.39916
1985 | 6.4799
1986 | 7.12351
1987 | 6.89159
1988 | 7.04905
1989 | 6.88931
1990 | 6.0191
1991 | 6.26027
1992 | 7.16324
1993 | 6.15699
1994 | 6.92645
1995 | 5.98945
1996 | 7.15283
1997 | 6.61353
1998 | 6.29922
1999 | 5.68009
2000 | 5.9442
2001 | 6.56774
2002 | 5.62456
2003 | 5.97198
2004 | 5.77608
2005 | 5.31832
2006 | 5.74877
2007 | 4.1607
2008 | 4.55469
2009 | 5.05488
2010 | 4.59918
2011 | 4.30207
2012 | 4.0892

L. Hamilton

Note: disregard 1978 in the minimums table above; NSIDC time series did not start until late October that first year.


Mark_Steven1 wrote:

When ice extent hit a record low

As already has been stated, some of you guys are longing to obviously for a record.

Remember, a "record" isn't bad news but very bad news!

Now, about NSIDC, the graphic you are referring too is an avarage of 5 days in a row. Thus, whem the record will be hit (and alas it will be), you won't be able to notice it at the NSIDC graph. For NSIDC gives an average.

For the spot-on-the-day figure you'll have to revert to IJIRC=JAXI

Jim Williams

There's a disturbing lack of curvature to most of the extent graphs lately (derivative near 0). If we don't see them bottoming out in the next few days then I think all of us will be rethinking expectations for the end of this melt.


>"blew excel's mind"

I thought it performed exactly what was asked i.e. display current year and year with the record low.

Seke Rob

Re: L. Hamilton | August 25, 2012 at 17:05

In graphical format including how much 2012 is ahead a same DOY : http://bit.ly/NSARMn [not for Bob Wallace external audience ;-]


Record dominoes 8: NSIDC daily sea ice extent

Patrice Monroe Pustavrh

Which is actually wrong, as it should be display current year and lowest year before current.


RE: Doug Bostrom | August 25, 2012 at 00:22 & 02:23
+ Werther | August 25, 2012 at 00:41

Doug wrote...

"As long as there's a fair swathe of ice extent lingering through summer in the Arctic, things down south are going to remain more or less smoothly functioning in the accustomed manner. That is to say, sea ice extent matters to weather more than volume; as long as there's even a crust of ice covering enough of the Arctic ocean the atmosphere's not going to know or care what's happening to volume."

While not entirely incorrect, with all due respect, this perspective could not be closer. First, ice is, by its very nature, translucent proportionately to its thickness. Indeed, very thin ice is generally as transparent as glass. In other words, thin ice allows more "light" (electro-magnetic energy) to pass through rather than be reflected. Perhaps more simply stated, thick ice reflects more light than thin ice. Ergo, thickness, like "dirtiness," is a significant factor regarding albedo.

Maybe more importantly, the Arctic ice is shrinking (in 3 dimensions) primarily, though not exclusively, due to warming sea temps. A good deal of that heat (thermal energy) is transferred to the Arctic via the Pacific and Atlantic oceans' increasing heat absorbtion. The rate of thermal energy increase in the latter 2 [huge] bodies of water probably influence climate and weather patterns as significantly, if not more so, than Arctic ice extent or thickness.

Therefore, the weather patterns "we" knew from the 1950's to the 1990's no longer exist and are not about to "find" any kind of equillibrium for many decades if not centuries. In fact, if we dare imagine the present US drought even just "persisting" into summer 2013, the Mayan "prophecy" may have only "missed it by that much!" ;-)

RE: Artful Dodger | August 25, 2012 at 16:03

"The rising heat content of the ocean is unstoppable."

Certainly and unequivocal on any time-scale to which humans can relate.


I believe data by NSIDC is daily data so one can pin point the day. The graph is a 5 day average, the data is daily.

Seke Rob

To add, that JAXA is a 2 day data-pass average, and if there's a section missing, it's infilled with the day before, until all grid blocks have information. Which represents the "moment in time" closest value... it's not important [to me], long as each does it consistently.


Jim: I expect the lack of curvature is because ice is escaping via the Strait, not from melt.

Colin: Bit of a dead herring there. Any appreciable thickness of natural ice especially with a snow covering is white. Thin translucent ice will break because of wave action.


Steensby Glacier had such a melange of ice even back 50 years ago that it was certainly prone to some breakup.

Patrice Monroe Pustavrh

JAXA has reported about the record value:

Seke Rob

Patrice, it's good to see they're integrating their hi-res AMSR2 data into their report. Anyone read on the km^2 area of the centre black dot. Looks smaller than of AMSR-E.

Artful Dodger

The latest value : 4,000,625 km2 (August 27, 2012)
A new record minimum of the Arctic sea ice extent was set on 24, August, 2012

"I have encountered the number three an inordinate number of times"
-- Mr. Data, Cause and Effect
Seke Rob

JAXA, soon retro switching to AMSR2 [will they redo the data?], is a nose hair length away for hurtling into < 4M territory:

date Final-- Prelim
25th 4138125 4087031
26th 4096563 4043438
27th xxxxxxx 4000625

The latest days pace suggests 2-3 days before the final confirmation.


IJIS below 4 (prelim)



A very small prelim?

Peter Ellis

SMALL? It's ~120 k loss from yesterday, which is utterly unheard of for the time of year!

Peter Ellis

Oh hang on, I see they revised the 27th up to 4066719. Sticking to the prelim figures (since today's is still prelim), then we have about 60k loss today, still above average for time of year.

Seke Rob

That was a 66K Aug.27 upward Prelim adjustment, making the final decline for the 27th "just" 30K. Prelim-Prelim 4.0006M to 3.9475M from the 27th to the 28th is -53K, suggesting it wont be happening in a final for the 28th either. We could be 2-3 days still away from going officially / final below 4M with these numbers.

The IARC/JAXA chart page has a fat red subheader to highlight their record:

A new record minimum of the Arctic sea ice extent was set on 24, August, 2012

Artful Dodger

If 2012 IJIS SIE recapitulates 2007, we are headed to 3.55 M km^2 ...

Except that 2012 has to this point shown no signs of simply pacing 2007.

This is not your father's Arctic. (insert Null hypothesis here ;^)

Kevin McKinney

And IJIS is now below 4 million, provisionally yet pretty decisively.

Kevin McKinney

BTW, Lodger, thanks for the 'not your father's Arctic' tag. I've taken to using it--sometimes with the addition "And actually, it's not yours either--not if you are over 30!"

Artful Dodger

HAH! Who's over 30, Kevin? ;^)

2012 is the 34th year of the Satellite era. So if you were born after Oct 1978, we've been depleting your 'ice capital' your entire life.

Looking for suitable Mayan reference, wait one...

Artful Dodger

Here you go: "Arctic Henge" ( Not really Mayan, but maybe taken from Jan Mayen ;^)

Artful Dodger

The latest value : 3,863,906 km2 (August 29, 2012)



> 08,28,3996406 (from 3947500)
> 08,29,3863906

Seke Rob

My rocking chair fell backwards, through the sway limiter:


Final 4M step, 12 days for IARC/JAXA

Roman Polach

So, if i see correctly, that means 132 500 km drop? That´s unbelievable..

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