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bill kapra

Thanks Sam,

This looks to be the weather that HYCOM was expecting. My question remains, what happens to fragmented ice spit east at 80 degrees? Bottom melting could chew at it but I wonder if we might see an unusual event this year with fragmented floes surviving until the winter thin ice catches up. Obviously, this happens in isolated cases around the islands and in the straits but it could be widespread in the CAB if a big storm breaks up this large patch of 1m-thick ice.

September may turn out to actually be more interesting to all of us than the dramatic events of August.

bill kapra

Black Dragon and conversation partners,

I'm not a frequent poster here so am likely overstepping my bounds but here goes...

Would you please consider moving your more philosophical and political dialogue elsewhere?

As you surely know, this is sort of a nerdy colloquium focused on rather mundane matters that fascinate many of us. Yes, they have significant, global connections. And, yes, many of us are passionate about them. But this blog, thanks to Neven, has been largely focused on the particulars with the bigger picture kept as background and context for close attention to detail.

Please pardon this 'shush'... imagine me as one theater patron trying as quietly as possible to ask you to pipe down.

Thanks in advance,

Bill

Artful Dodger

The PIOMAS average thickness vs time Chart is a nice new feature, but does not talk about the spatial distribution of ice thickness.

In particular, I think there is some developing news from CryoSat2 results in the Lincoln sea...

Aboc Zed

@BlackDragon, AmbiValent and R.Gates

i got here by accident because a commentator at another blog posted once here as well - i am interested in science and i like how you guys think

i suggest to you a look at material at www.condition.org, particularly the idea of "deliberative capability as machine-that-goes-by-itself" and the eventual sub-speciation of h sapiens into homo cogitans

so my answer to earlier equation of

homo sapiens + climate change (and the whole bunch of other things because of our ignorant stumbling into the future) = homo cogitans

special thanks to owner of this blog for quality material that attracts quality people

hooray!

Timothy Chase

Artful Dodger wrote:

In particular, I think there is some developing news from CryoSat2 results in the Lincoln sea...
All I have found so far regarding CryoSat2 within the past day:
Laxon says, "Sometimes the radar bounces off the surface of the ice, sometimes it bounces off the water between the ice flows. And by looking at that difference in elevation we can measure roughly that one-tenth of the ice that is sticking up above the water... If we haven't reached an ice minimum already, we're very close to approaching one."

Finally, One Positive Impact of Global Warming (video from an interview with Laxon included)
Published Fri, Aug 31st, 2012
http://www.wallstreetdaily.com/2012/08/31/video-finally-one-positive-impact-of-global-warming/

On a side note, I believe the headlining editor meant "development in" rather than "impact of."

BlackDragon

bill kapra:

Philosophy yes, but politics I personally haven't spoken a word of. I pretty much despise politics and am glad not to see much trace here.

That said I don't think you are overstepping your bounds at all given the special value of this site. I know I have been waaaay too bouncy in my seat, and I promise to pipe down. No problem.

Aboc Zed, that is a wild site. They could use a web designer, bad. Thanks for the tip though as it does look interesting.

Timothy Chase
Would you please consider moving your more philosophical and political dialogue elsewhere?
My apologies.

I was a philosophy major back in college, but I will do what I can to stay on topic. I am interested in the science, too.

Artful Dodger

Hi Timothy,

This interview with Dr. Seymour Laxon was broadcast on BBC4 "Today" on Mon, Aug 13, 2012:

Arctic ice: Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling

(audio file included)

I think our friend Chris Reynolds will also have something out on this topic fairly shortly. ;^)

Artful Dodger

There's an Aug 31, 2012 video interview with Dr. Laxon here:

http://www.wallstreetdaily.com/2012/08/31/video-finally-one-positive-impact-of-global-warming/

LRC

Would you please consider moving your more philosophical and political dialogue elsewhere?
I guess I can be included in that group also. I am a very eclectic individual and have a tendency to chat about any topic at any time. I will try hard to restrain myself although I do know my nature does make it difficult.
As to what happens to the fragmented floes, wouldn't that depend upon if a current shoots it through a gap into open water, chopped up small enough that potential latent heat could melt it. Other then that wouldn't it at like a node that thin ice builds upon then connects to other floes. Now in that case would they present a much weaker structure in the summer that could easily attacked by heat?

Timothy Chase

Artful Dodger wrote:

I think our friend Chris Reynolds will also have something out on this topic [CryoSat-2] fairly shortly.
I see Chris Reynolds has been keeping an eye on CryoSat-2:
So what is the agreement between the two systems? I've calculated the PIOMAS average for the whole of October and November of 2004 and 2011, although the ICESat data window is smaller than this, the Cryosat period is unknown, so it seemed like the most conservative way to compare....

PIOMAS and Cryosat, an indication.
Saturday, 25 August 2012
http://dosbat.blogspot.com/2012/08/piomas-and-cryosat-indication.html

I also see that we share an interest in the Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder, upper right hand corner. That is the source of my avatar.

LRC

Question: I have been looking at the IMS page (note: sea ice is a hair from falling) and I noticed that although both say 3-day avg. total ice seems to be a week behind. Is that because the info needed to build total ice chart is harder to comeby and therefore using data a week out?

LRC

Sorry is the question has been answered elsewhere.

Neven

Everything can be discussed here, but please, do it in the appropriate thread. Consequences, philosophy and even politics can be discussed in the 'Why Arctic sea ice shouldn't leave anyone cold' thread. There are threads for PIOMAS, CT SIA, NSIDC SIA, IJIS SIA, etc.

And I'd like to ask LRC to properly close his html tags with a slash: /. For instance /i with the tag marks on either side. I don't mind fixing, but I'm seeing it late because I only check comments once a day.

Steve Bloom

Lincoln Sea development, Lodger?

Artful Dodger

Hi Steve,

I don't have a source handy, but i think Dr Seymour Laxon said somewhere that initial results from CryoSat2 are showing 1+ m sea ice thickness where models are showing 3+ m thereabouts. Eagerly awaiting an announcement from UCL's Center for Polar Observation and Modeling (CPOM).

Chris has expressed that he's somewhat restricted in the information he's allowed to release, and I of course have no inside knowledge. But it should be very interesting, whatever it is ;^)

Kris

Neven insisted on:

but please, do it in the appropriate thread.

Right indeed.

But In my opinion you are a bit underestimating the situatian.

I mean, how has to know a simple human being, whether new to the site or not, how has he or she to know there are subjects special reserved to PIOMAS, CT SIA, NSIDC SIA, IJIS SIA ecc.. ecc...?

There is simply no way, no way at all. And on top of that there are far to many of ecc... too.

Bottom line, there is no oversight disponible and thus it's far to complicated. Even for people used to navigate on websites.

For example, "August Open Thread", it's crystal clear that's something reserved for the latest hot or not so hot news in August. Easy, clear and simple. Nobody could miss the scope.
However, now there has been created a mass of different threads solely for August alone. It's not doable, imho not doable at all.

"Er is geen kat die nog haar jongen terug kan vinden in dit kluwen". Which freely could be translated into " A cat even couldn't spot her own pups in a scrummage like that".

And as a consequense, people just bump in at random into the latest reply no matter what is the subject.

As minimum minimorum there should be a basic site oversight.

Colorado Bob

RE ; The polar cyclone , ..............

The Red Dog Mine area picked up nearly 9 inches of rain between August 13-19, he said. That's half the rain the area normally gets for an entire year. Last Wednesday, the mine got 3 inches of rain in a single day.

"It is not unusual to get heavy rains there in August," he said. "It is unusual to have nearly half of your annual precipitation in a week."

Other spots in the region recorded between 4-6 inches of rain over the week, Plumb said.

Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2012/08/20/2594837/torrential-rains-cause-numerous.html#storylink=cpy

Artful Dodger

Hi Neven,

CT global SIA is up in the Spring, when Antarctic sea ice shrinks to the size of a Chicken McNugget.

Cheers,
Lodger

Glenn Tamblyn

Here is another domino, if anyone has been keeping records:

Most Northerly Polynya ever.

That hole north of the Laptev looks to be centered at around 86N and it ain't going away.

L. Hamilton

D above mentions recent heavy rains at the Red Dog Mine in NW Alaska. One consequence of those rains has been more trouble for the village of Kivalina downriver, already famous for being on the "front line" of climate change. The Chukchi Sea has been icing up later in the fall, causing rapid shoreline erosion. Now Kivalina faces a fresh-water problem as well: flooding cut off their water supply.

Kotzebue's Arctic Sounder (named for Kotzebue Sound) has the story:
http://www.thearcticsounder.com/article/1235flood_plagues_region

Espen Olsen

Just wondering, when will this happen?

Because of the critical situation of the Arctic Sea Ice, there is now issued a ban on use of ice breakers in the last remaining areas of sea ice in the Arctic Sea. This ban, will hopefully delay further deterioration of the already fragile Sea Ice.

Superman

Bill Kapra,

"As you surely know, this is sort of a nerdy colloquium focused on rather mundane matters that fascinate many of us. Yes, they have significant, global connections. And, yes, many of us are passionate about them. But this blog, thanks to Neven, has been largely focused on the particulars with the bigger picture kept as background and context for close attention to detail."

Your statement assumes an accepted mission and charter for the site that I have not seen posted. I publish in, and review for, a number of technical journals. Each journal has a mission statement/charter posted on its Web site. Typically, people unfamiliar with the journal will both read the mission statement and sample the published articles before submitting a manuscript for publication.

Maybe I missed it, but I haven't seen a mission statement posted for this site. Therefore, it seems that anything reasonably connected with Arctic ice is fair game.

Now, many of the posters seem to have a morbid fascination with hourly snapshots of ice area/extent/volume metrics. That's fine, but if that's your view of the operational scope of this site, I believe it would be a waste of an enormous amount of unique talent. As I pointed out in a previous post, Arctic ice melting devoid of context is about as interesting as my documenting the grass growth on my lawn. What makes the ice temporal trajectory interesting is its meaning in the larger context. And, it is this larger context that has to first be understood and second be communicated to the larger community.

We have a problem with the etiology of climate change today. Perhaps the most sensitive indicator of climate change is what is happening in the Arctic now. However, from what I can see, except for the indiginous populations (and this blog), there appears to be little interest in the extinction of Arctic ice unfolding before our eyes. Most people I know view it as an opportunity to explore and exploit the region either for tourism or resource extraction. Additionally, most people I know have more immediately-related concerns about climate change: drought, higher food prices, more extreme temperatures and storms, etc.

So, there is a gap between what is happening in the Arctic and its impact on the people who can effect change if they are motivated: the public. If this site is to have value above and beyond entertaining the limited circle of readers, it needs to present the context of the Arctic happenings in such a way that the link between the ice disappearance and these more immediate signs of climate change become apparent.

Bottom Line - numbers are interesting, but the more that they can be related to general climate change mechanisms, the more potential impact they can have on the public.


Espen Olsen

I understand what you saying, sometimes this blog reminds me of an Arctic Sea Ice Sport Forum, but when it comes to consequences I dont have a clue where to start or end for that matter!

Jim Williams

Superman, this is a quote from Nevens' Climate disclamer: "I believe everything starts with respecting limits, which doesn't automatically mean restricting freedom. Freedom is not about being able to do whatever you like, however much consumer culture is trying to make us believe the opposite."

It would help if some attempt is made to respect limits here. I think I'd rather see those limit grow organically than see them handed down on high, but I strongly agree with those asking that the philosophy be taken out of the Current Events threads.

I'm what might be called a Primitive Buddhist myself, and have with great difficulty bitten my tongue and stayed out of the latest discussion. I'd be happy to make snide remarks about Great Self myself ... elsewhere.

Asking people to move a discussion occasionally seems to me the way to go.

Espen Olsen

North East Greenland Jøkelbugt,

The remaining of shore fast ice, is now splintered into 6 - 7 pieces:

http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/imagery/single.cgi?image=crefl2_143.A2012246084500-2012246085000.250m.jpg

Superman

Jim Williams,

"It would help if some attempt is made to respect limits here. I think I'd rather see those limit grow organically than see them handed down on high, but I strongly agree with those asking that the philosophy be taken out of the Current Events threads."

I don't disagree with your comment about 'philosophy'. In my post, I don't mention 'philosophy', I mention 'context'. In particular, I have in mind the larger technical/physical/environmental context in which the ice numbers are imbedded. There are other Web sites that focus more on philosophy, and those would be more appropriate for a discussion of climate change philosophy.

Now, I want to repeat a point I made in a previous post, which received no responses. It appeared to me that the presence of significant open water was a turning point in the future of Arctic ice melting. The presence of open water opened Pandora's box, in that many mechanisms that contributed to the positive feedback loop came into play. It was almost as though Nature decided to 'pull out all the stops' in eliminating the ice.

In terms of context, what is the bigger picture here? Is this Nature's Hamiltonian for how the different climate change observables (drought, extreme temperatures and weather events, wildfires, etc) will evolve? Will Nature pull out all the stops in greatly heightening the influence and severity of each one of these observables? If so, it means that the past will be an extremely conservative predictor of the future, and the projections we see reported for future climate change greatly underestimate the real climate change effects.

Neven

"Er is geen kat die nog haar jongen terug kan vinden in dit kluwen". Which freely could be translated into " A cat even couldn't spot her own pups in a scrummage like that".

Absolutely, Kris. The blog has doubled in traffic and comments compared to 2011. I'm going to do something about this as soon as I'm back. I have some ideas.

Stuart Preen

An observation and a question for those who may know the answer.

Observation. It looks to me like the North Pole camera (2) is showing a big lead in the background. All the ponds seem to have frozen over and some snow has fallen, but there is a big expanse of water.

Is this the flow that the cameras are on getting close to the pack edge?

Also The cameras have drifted around 7 degrees from when they were set up. The Iceland, Svalbard,Nova Zelmnya edge of the pack has only slightly retreated from the start of summer, while the Canada, Alaska edge has simply gone. Is this an indication that much of that Canada, Alaska side drifts off towards Iceland with the leading edge melting during the summer? Is the gulf stream melting the front edge the bigger driver in ice loss, or is it more down to melting on the Canada, Alaska side?

Apocalypse4Real

Espen,

"Because of the critical situation of the Arctic Sea Ice, there is now issued a ban on use of ice breakers in the last remaining areas of sea ice in the Arctic Sea."

Do you have a public source for this info?

AmbiValent

A4R:
I think Espen was not announcing that, but was wondering how soon it would be announced.

Artful Dodger

I think people absorb too many memes on denier blogs without applying critical thinking (or basic debunking skills):

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/faq/#icebreakers

Cheers,
Lodger

Redin

Artfull, the next QaA is kind of obsolete:


Do hurricanes in the Atlantic break up Arctic sea ice?

NSIDC is not aware of any evidence that hurricanes in the Atlantic, or elsewhere on the planet, play a role in Arctic sea ice decline.

Created: June 2008

Mdoliner43

Does anyone know how what looks to me to be large arctic sea temperature anomalies compare with other recent years?

http://ghrsst-pp.metoffice.com/pages/latest_analysis/sst_monitor/ostia/anom_plot.html?i=17&j=1

Fairfax Climate Watch

re: webcam2

Stuart, I second that observation about the open water.

Also, the areas that were ponds before look like they have the same surface texture as the other surface areas of sea ice - this makes me unsure that those ponds have frozen over (instead of having drained or evaporated).

Artful Dodger

Redlin, are you suggesting Icebreaker traffic has increased by orders of magnitude since 2008? Because that's what has happened with Arctic Summer cyclones.

Redin

Artful, the large summer cyclone could easily be called a hurricane by the general population and the middle of the arctic is a significant "elsewhere".

I Ballantinegray1

Looking out into FI in the forecasting models if often silly but esp. once we get big 'Canes trawling the Atlantic. As such the teleconnections of these hard to predict beasties must throw some influence into the Arctic?

If we theorize that the flap of a butterflies wing in japan can have influence on the formation of a 'cane in the Caribbean then what influence a Cat4 on the weather patterns in the Arctic? Should Leslie stall off Bermuda long enough for the H.P. to block her from visiting the UK with her remnants then why not Baffin and into the Basin as a potent L.P.? (that said the current remnant L.P. does look bound for blighty but still doesn't dip as low as the GAC12....just watch the swell in NW Scotland/W.Cornwall as she breezes in and wonder about those slumping permafrost coastlines back in Aug!)

Took a wander onto MODIS today. Quite stunned by the amount of 'Milky Swirls' within the basin. I'm quite used to seeing them off the plume of ice flowing down Greenland's NE coast, as the ice melts out (almost fractal like in nature?), but I have never seen so much around the inside of the Basin?

The past few days of Healy images are just as depressing. Apart from the snowfall they got, which brightens up the ice, the amount of near submerged floes they are running through worries me.

Chris Reynolds

Ernst K and Tamino over at Open Mind have noticed the importance of the volume loss of 2010.
http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/arctic-sea-ice-turning-points/

I've been on the verge of posting what I've found out about the 2010 volume loss and Tamino's post has spurred me into action. So here's 2 posts:

Why the 2010 volume loss was important.
http://dosbat.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/why-2010-piomas-volume-loss-was.html

What caused the volume loss in 2010.
http://dosbat.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/what-caused-volume-loss-in-2010.html

Hopefully now that someone with the reputation of Tamino has seen this people will start taking notice of the 2010 volume loss event.

Robert Milson

I would like to follow up my previous post about long term evolution of arctic ice cover with a couple of literature citations. I hope this is on-topic for the current thread. The recent evolution of PIOMAS data is very suggestive of a transition to ice-free summers in the arctic, but, arguably, my post is better suited to a thread devoted to long term arctic ice scenarios. I will happily follow any organizational guidelines from the site coordinators.

With apologies for the longish preamble, here are a couple of recent papers that caught my eye:

1. Recovery mechanisms of Arctic summer sea ice, Tietsche, et al (2011)

https://horst.esam.northwestern.edu/w_climate/images/9/95/Tietsche_GRL_2011.pdf

2. Bifurcations leading to summer Arctic sea ice loss, Abbot, et al (2011)

http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~abbot/PAPERS/abbot-et-al-11b.pdf

Quoting from the 1st paper:

" In our perturbation experiments, we observe how different feedbacks in the Arctic compete to enhance or dampen a strong negative anomaly in sea ice, equivalent to a strong positive anomaly in oceanic heat content. In summer, the oceanic heat anomaly is enhanced by the ice–albedo feedback, but in winter the excess oceanic heat is lost to the atmosphere due to a lack of insulating sea‐ice cover. This leads to an anomalously warm atmosphere, which in turn causes increased heat loss by longwave radiation at the top of the atmosphere and decreased heat gain by atmospheric advection from lower latitudes. A lasting impact of the ice–albedo feedback is not possible because the large‐scale heat
fluxes quickly adapt to release the excess oceanic heat from the Arctic."

From the 2nd paper

"These results indicate that
many GCMs do not show strong signs of bifurcation behavior as summer sea ice is lost, although some appear to.
This is consistent with our results that a bifurcation in summer sea ice loss would depend on model parameters and, if it exists, would be associated with a relatively small jump in the state of the system and relatively small hysteresis."

So what's going on here? The PIOMAS evolution, the record-breaking changes during this year's melt season all seem to suggest a rapid transition to a new regime. However the current models do not seem to validate this kind of phenomenon. Are we misinterpreting the data or will the models have to be adjusted?

Al Rodger

Mdoliner43,
The NOAA Optimum Interpolation Sea Surface Temperature Analysis allow plotting of ave SSTs defined by longitude-latitude back to 1971 & also allow the data generated to be downloaded. One complication with the Bering Straits area is the 180W merdian which can split an area you want to analyse in two.

Seke Rob

Re Robert Milson | September 02, 2012 at 17:23

On the Tietsche paper, see this thread of last year http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2011/02/open-thread-6.html with a post by Artful Dodger | February 15, 2011 at 12:09 http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2011/02/open-thread-6.html?cid=6a0133f03a1e37970b014e5f3b8471970c#comment-6a0133f03a1e37970b014e5f3b8471970c not much standing of that paper. Concur... fairy-tails. As was recently observed, water leaving the Arctic is now 1.5C warmer and it's source is determined as not of influx from e.g. the GOM current... so much for a poof to space of excess heat.

FrankD

"If this site is to have value above and beyond entertaining the limited circle of readers..."

Superman, you've been here less than four weeks, so I guess you probably haven't had a chance to read every thread going back more than two years. Can I politely suggest that you take some time to browse them. They might surprise you - your four weeks you have not necessarily representative of the history of this place - environmental context has been discussed frequently, and this site has demonstrated its value in simply keeping its eyes on the ice.

You see, I don't think its too much to claim that this blog has been something of a PARC for Sea Ice "aetiology"*, and has seeded those ideas through the blogosphere, and even into the minds of real-live scientists. The relatively simple but visually powerful graphs that have been developed by the "nerdy collegium" (love it!) are picked up by other blogs discussing context, make it into the main-stream media, and even parliamentary enquiries, it seems. That is not merely "entertaining the limited circle". I think you will find that a lot of metrics, memes, commonplace understanding about both aetiology and context - things that you probably first saw on other blogs or in the papers - were born on this ward. The influence of this blog transcends mere traffic stats.

Rather than describe them at length, I suggest you read some history here. Perhaps July to December 2010 would be the densest concentration of good material for a start.

* trad. - actually I think the cause of both Sea Ice and its decline are pretty well understood at this point. Perhaps "pathology" would be more apt?

Chris Reynolds

Robert Milson,

Livina and Lenton, 2012, A recent bifurcation in Arctic sea-ice cover.
http://www.the-cryosphere-discuss.net/6/2621/2012/tcd-6-2621-2012.pdf

The authors find that 2007 was a bifurcation. They accept that geography could play a role:

...our detection of a recent bifurcation in sea-ice cover could be (at least partly) a geographic property of the shrinkage of summer-autumn ice cover away from the continents facilitating larger fluctuations...

Well that might be seen in the behaviour of CT area anomalies.http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8284/7874765920_345d7983d3_o.jpg
When the ice edge enters the Arctic basin anomalies crash. But I think that's due to thinner ice post 2010 and anomalous weather (ocean heat flux) in 2007.

"For a low-order dynamical system approaching a bifurcation where its current state becomes unstable, and it transitions to some other state, one can expect to see it become more sluggish in its response to small perturbations (Scheffer et al., 2009)."

Haven't most of us been wondering why the ice keeps ploughing forward regardless of the weather - "sluggish in its response to small perturbation"

"The detected ongoing destabilization of the summer-autumn sea-ice cover suggests that a further bifurcation may be approaching. Either the new low ice cover state is a transient feature and the system may revert to the normal ice cover state. Or there could be a further abrupt decrease in summer-autumn ice cover"

What? like the crash of 2010 and the ensuing change to the seasonal cycle?

There may be more than one bifurcation where we're going.

Chris Reynolds

Doh! I dropped a blockquote!

Chris Reynolds

Seke Rob,

Don't be so dismissive of Tietsche, there are several papers showing model deficiencies that can explain the lack of realism in the models.

The proof that the Tietsche effect is at work is the anomalous late season open water and autumn temperature anomalies - that implieas a lot of heat lost.

It's just that it's not powerful enough to stop the process of volume loss.

Twemoran

FrankD

Wonderful post, but I like Nevens suggestion to keep philosophy/politics on the "shouldn't leave anyone cold" thread.

With that in mind does anyone know when PIOMAS will be posting the last of the August figures?

Terry

Seke Rob

Exactly... not powerful enough. Whilst, no one as yet has argued against the open ocean being a good radiator of large amounts of the heat that builds up during the melt season. If though this goes combined with stronger cloud building, part of the outward radiation comes back. Again, the increased OHC is an indicator there's no miracle natural escape clause for what's set in motion.

Apocalypse4Real

Godiva2 ice thickness and concentration data is up.

https://sites.google.com/site/apocalypse4realseaice2012/home/sea-ice-concentration-and-thickness-comparison

Chris Reynolds

Seke Rob,

But it's not 'fairy tales'. It adds to our understanding of what is going on. IMO that is valuable.

Apocalypse4Real

Ambivalent:

You gave me a chuckle at my mis-reading. I should not comment before my cup of coffee.

A4R

Seke Rob

Re Chris Reynolds | September 02, 2012 at 18:16

Granted, a too strong qualification.

Lewis Cleverdon

Neven - while the site is fascinating in the scope of the ice dynamics it covers, I rarely post here as I still aspire to a novice understanding of what is going on.

You mentioned up thread that you have ideas for advancing the site's clarity when you get back - so this is probably the point to put in a plea for a thread structure like the excellent TOD approach - With the number of posters rising, coherent discussion declines given the difficulty of tracking responses (to comment 17 by comment 153....) - a clear visual sub-thread system would resolve this 'problem of success'.

On a broader issue, it seems to me that Arctic Sea Ice is the pivot of several direct drivers of global climate destabilization - including the advance of the northward migration of rainfall and sapping of the Jet Stream, the acceleration of albedo loss and of outgassing by permafrost and methane hydrates, etc - and of umpteen indirect drivers from these effects, including outgassing from soil and forest desiccation.

From this perspective I'm hoping you might give more space (posts) to the effects and implications of sea ice loss, as it is only through that integration with remote events that decision makers and the public have any sense of its critical importance.

A third point is that Semiletov's paper was due in May, but I've heard nothing of it. Did I miss it or is there some 'hold-up' going on ? Seeing it's 12 month's since the hasty research trip found unprecedented methane plumes, the delay seems at the least, odd.

Wishing you a good holiday,
regards,
Lewis

Twemoran

Lewis

I believe S&S are doing a presentation at the AGU conference, possibly some answers then.

The "Why Arctic ice" thread is reserved for more general discussions I believe.

Terry

Jim Williams

Chris Reynolds, I found your blog entries very interesting, but I'm not sure exactly what you said. Let't see if this statement fits: We ran out of sea ice reserves in May 2010.

A fair amount of what you said seemed to describe the event which took out the last of the reserves.

Am I close to understanding what you said? (I'm quite interested in the change in the daily thickness graph three years ago, so I'm rather interested in what you are trying to say.)

Superman

Lewis,

"From this perspective I'm hoping you might give more space (posts) to the effects and implications of sea ice loss, as it is only through that integration with remote events that decision makers and the public have any sense of its critical importance."

Bingo!!

BlackDragon

Lewis said: "On a broader issue, it seems to me that Arctic Sea Ice is the pivot of several direct drivers of global climate destabilization [snip]

From this perspective I'm hoping you might give more space (posts) to the effects and implications of sea ice loss, as it is only through that integration with remote events that decision makers and the public have any sense of its critical importance."

I'd like to second this. Very strongly.

Thinking of all possible ocean-continent configurations we could have found ourselves on, and all possible numbers for axial tilt and resulting seasonal variation, what we actually have is probably pretty far out there on whatever Gaussian curve might measure the billion or so earth-like planets in our galaxy - as far as being a configuration that would give one pole an inordinate influence on global climate. And especially on the NH where most of us live.

The possible connections are staggering, as we are beginning to appreciate, and emphasizing this more here would give greater direction to the larger influence this site can have (which I agree is far larger than web traffic stats could indicate).

Superman

FrankD,

"They might surprise you - your four weeks you have not necessarily representative of the history of this place - environmental context has been discussed frequently, and this site has demonstrated its value in simply keeping its eyes on the ice.....
Rather than describe them at length, I suggest you read some history here. Perhaps July to December 2010 would be the densest concentration of good material for a start."

Your statement reflects a difference in our world views. 'Context' is like 'exercise; they can't be done sporadically if maximum growth is desired. A burst of exercise done two years ago and little now wouldn't do anyone very much good. Same as 'context'.

Were there no new insights gained in the last couple of years? Was there no better understanding of the emergence of enhanced melting mechanisms and the interactions among those mechanisms that lead to this year's increased melting, and that may accelerate future melting drastically? Shouldn't each blog page be peppered with such discussions? Lewis has it exactly right in his comments above: "it is only through that integration with remote events that decision makers and the public have any sense of its critical importance."


"You see, I don't think its too much to claim that this blog has been something of a PARC for Sea Ice "aetiology"*, and has seeded those ideas through the blogosphere, and even into the minds of real-live scientists. The relatively simple but visually powerful graphs that have been developed by the "nerdy collegium" (love it!) are picked up by other blogs discussing context, make it into the main-stream media, and even parliamentary enquiries, it seems. That is not merely "entertaining the limited circle". I think you will find that a lot of metrics, memes, commonplace understanding about both aetiology and context - things that you probably first saw on other blogs or in the papers - were born on this ward. The influence of this blog transcends mere traffic stats."


I have no doubt this is an important blog. How important? That requires an independent objective assessment of its impacts, which like most real-world events is not a simple task.

Peter Ellis

Increased heat loss during autumn and winter is a good explanation for why it's much harder to lose the winter ice cover than the summer ice cover. Even if extra heat gets absorbed by the water, it will subsequently be re-radiated during the re-freeze, ice will eventually form and then thicken to the normal ~1.5-2m expected for first year ice. This makes sense and should be comparatively non-controversial.

It also makes perfect sense (per Tietsche et al) that the increased heat-loss will allow some recovery of summer ice following random perturbations - e.g. "black swan" weather effects beyond those driven by climate change, or indeed their own thought experiment of arbitrarily removing all the summer ice one year.

As a mechanism for allowing recovery from a forced perturbation recovering the summer ice cover it's nonsensical. Warm water will radiate heat faster than cold water, right up to the point that it becomes cold water. After that, it'll follow the same freeze-up kinetics as any other bloody year. It's akin to claiming your tea will freeze over quicker than the pond in the garden, because it's losing heat quicker.

The long and the short lesson of the current models is that ice levels are specified by climate, not by weather - which in turn means that you can't simply write off '07 and '12 as weather effects (extended dipole in '07, GAC in '12).

Weather effects do force things down a little beyond the overall climatic trend, which is why there was a small recovery from '07 to '09. As to whether there's a similar small recovery from '12 to (say) '14, that depends on whether you think the GAC had a huge net effect on the ice, or whether it just took out a bunch of ice that was doomed to melt anyway. Looking at the melt curve graphs "blind", I honestly don't think the GAC really stands out as more than a blip, so I'm not expecting much if any recovery next year.

NeilT

@FrankD

I've not been here long but I have been in the climate blog scene for a very long time, although I tend to get stuck on one blog or another and miss out on "newer" blogs like this until I find a link.

You are very right about the influence well written and supported blogs have. When you see your own words reflected by the Obama administration, it shows you how much visibility these words have and the impact they are having with Governments.

Sadly, in my case, it was not a positive point they reflected, but my position on why the proposed approach was not going to work in a political world. If that makes sense to you.

These blogs matter and the mix of physical observations, theorising, history of change and political ramifications of the whole situation are very powerful when brought together.

Espen Olsen

North East Greenland,

Another calving event, of many this season, at Tobias Gletscher (Glacier, and the massive of shore fast ice island in the Jøkelbugt area is now divided into 6-7 pieces, the separation of the Zachariae tongue is continuing, so very soon we can declare all of North East Greenland fast ice free zone :

http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/imagery/single.cgi?image=crefl1_143.A2012246145500-2012246150000.250m.jpg

r w Langford

Superman
Couldn't have said it better. I have no doubt Neven will find a way to preserve the science and give an opportunity for wider discussion in a separate venue. We will have the best of both worlds. I am looking forward to discussions on the biological and philosophical understanding derived from the ice science so well investigated on this blog.

NeilT

@superman

In my experience, the public are not interested in "the larger picture". They're interested whether the world is going to cave in on them in the next 5 years or not.

The represents a very big problem because standard scientific approaches cannot work with this attitude. So a focus on numbers is an important part of the picture. Because, like it or not, there is science and there is business and business currently finds it "profitable" to deny science. The people are pawns.

As I posted recently on realclimate, there is a very simple model for people to accept change. It's the Kübler-Ross model (and it's variants grief==change)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCbler-Ross_model

If you look at the model and then align it with what is happening today, you may find that sites like wattsupwiththat are more understandable.

1. Denail
2. Anger

So to resolve this issue we cannot keep on focusing on pure science or observation. The response is not rational and rational arguments will not make the grade, which is why I throw their basic inconsistencies at them rather than facts and figures.

My favourite example of "science over logic" is the example of the scientist who boldly sated that, because of mobile phone texting, the human race would develop longer thumbs in 5,000 years. This makes perfect scientific sense in a very vertical way.

However.

Classical scientific linear thinking. Let me give you my alternative. Because modern science will embed human machine interfaces into the brain in the next 200 years, the human race will develop wider and more padded asses to comfort us when we spend 3/4 of our lives sitting still and "communicating".....

What we need to do is find the balance between pure statistics and informational posts which contain enough science, enough fact, enough surmise and enough political awareness; to get the message across to a world which sees no reason to change.

The human race has been extremely flexible over the last 130,000 years, to meet the challenges of the planet. However, if you dig enough into differing scientific and historical articles, the belief is that modern humans reached 1M about 120,000 years ago and then declined to 1,000 in the last ice age, before rebounding and infesting the planet.

What I see is that the more complicated we make society and the way we run society, the less robust and able to resist shocks it becomes.

Therefore we must motivate a society which is now robustly resisting change. You do not do that with science and statistics. You do it with evidence and influence. One of the major challenges is the denialsists and this focus on numbers is a huge stick to beat the denialists with.

From what I've seen, this site is a very good forum for that.

BlackDragon

I think the possible answer has unfolded in the last several comments here, and as Neven already touched on above.

It would be straightforward to keep the data and observation-only discussions focused on the blog posts that revolve around the various ASI-specific science: PIOMAS and all the others.

If Neven decides to expand with more of the "larger-connection" posts that talk about (in a sciencey way of course) all the larger connections, that would be the place for more wide-ranging discussions.

Seems natural enough. The thing for me is that both sides of the argument here have extremely valid points. Neither should be lost, and it would be an ideal way to accommodate all the great clear thinking that goes on here, both micro and macro.

L. Hamilton

Taking a break from the serious satellite photos: minor calving along SE Greenland coast, seen from my window seat on a flight from Reykjavik to Nuuk last week.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v224/Chiloe/2012_07_summer/IMG_5400b.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v224/Chiloe/2012_07_summer/IMG_5388b.jpg

Sam

As I mentioned the other day. When the arctic becomes a giant slushy, with shattered bergs everywhere and swirls of ice flow across great stretches, how do you ever begin to assess what it means to have 15% or 30% or any other measure of ice cover?

More than that, is that a meaningful thing to measure any more? Are the definitions rapidly breaking down?

Swirlies gallore
http://lance-modis.eosdis.nasa.gov/imagery/subsets/?subset=Arctic_r02c03.2012246.terra.500m

Shattered ice everywhere
http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/imagery/single.cgi?image=crefl1_143.A2012246081500-2012246082000.500m.jpg

And now we have several seemingly minor cyclonic systems around the pole and what begins to look like a central system forming over the north pole itself. There appear to be five or six cyclonic systems in a ring around a forming system over the pole, with yet more in a second ring out from there. Might these form interacting systems like gears in a machine? Is this a feature forming that may become stable in this or future years. What then?

http://lance-modis.eosdis.nasa.gov/imagery/subsets/?mosaic=Arctic

Fortunately (or not) this melt season is nearly at an end. Then too we have another new feature that seems to be growing. In October, going back to 2007 and somewhat earlier, we have a large and growing anomaly from the long term history. The ice is recovering more slowly in October than it used to. This isn't just an artifact of the depth of the melt. It is extending the melt season into the fall. Is this perhaps due to the heating of the arctic ocean when the albedo is low in the summer? That seems likely and obvious and something we should have expected. What else have we overlooked that we should have expected and that we haven't put voice too?

Chris Reynolds

Jim,

What I'm saying can be bullet pointed.

*2010 was a volume loss that matched 2007.

*Like 2007, the loss of 2010 was weather driven.

*The volume loss in 2010 was all from ice of over 2m thick. So yes the store of thick old ice can be said to be so denuded it's for practical purposes gone.

*This removal of old ice seems to be the reason why the seasonal cycle of calculated ice thickness has changed. Neven calls this the PICT index (IIRC).

That's basically it in a nutshell.

Because the old ice is now practically gone, by 2011 the process was complete, we saw records in 2011 and 2010. The root of these records lies in early melt starting in June. For example the August storm had only a passing role in this year's crash - the CT area anomalies show that. The low concentration this year is also a result of the low thickness.

Therefore (and I've not yet blogged on this) next year will see CT area of below 3M km^2. There is a good chance that the coming years will see large year-on-year crashes in volume until, as Peter Wadhams asserts, we see a sea ice free Arctic well before 2020.

My conservative position is now that we will see a sea ice free Arctic by 2020. I would not be surprised if it happens within years.

Twemoran

Larry

The photos are breathtaking - any idea which glaciers?

Terry

BTW - When is Google Earth going to provide Street View for the Greenland coast.

Chris Reynolds

Seke Rob,

Then I think we're in pretty close agreement. :)

Peter Ellis

Over on Tamino's log someone posted a link to a thickness graph directly taken from PIOMAS:
http://psc.apl.washington.edu/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/schweiger/ice_volume/Bpiomas_plot_daily_heff.2sst.png

I don't know if this is a new graph, or just something that's been overlooked before. Interestingly, it doesn't show the same shape changes as the PICT graph (or at least not to the same degree).

I think it would be best to use this new graph for thickness discussion - after all, the only reason for calculating PICT is to try and reverse-engineer the thickness from the PIOMAS model, and there's no need to do that if we can get it directly.

As for why there's such a difference in shape behaviour over time: that's way beyond my pay grade.

Superman

NeilT,

"In my experience, the public are not interested in "the larger picture". They're interested whether the world is going to cave in on them in the next 5 years or not."

Agreed. I'm in my mid-70s, and until relatively recently thought that I and those in my age demographic would avoid the climate change bullet. Now, after considering what is happening in the Arctic, I'm not so sure. We obviously won't see the worst of it; that will be our 'gift' to future generations. But, we will experience more impacts than we ever thought possible even a few short years ago. Events may transpire much faster than anyone is projecting. That's why I have stressed understanding and accounting for as many of these positive feedback mechanisms and their interactions as possible whenever possible, and understanding how they can be extrapolated to ascertain whether they reflect nature's general principles for effecting climate change. The Arctic gives us a unique laboratory for extracting these mechanisms, and we should do whatever is in our power to optimize the output from these experiments. Yes, the numbers are a necessary condition for eliciting these mechanisms, but they are not sufficient. Posters should be encouraged to place these observations in a larger context at every opportunity.

Chris Reynolds

Peter,

That graphic is from the Polar Science Centre page on PIOMAS.
http://psc.apl.washington.edu/wordpress/research/projects/arctic-sea-ice-volume-anomaly/

It is new to that page as of the last (early) data release.

There is a good reason to continue to monitor calculated thickness (PICT). While the PIOMAS thickness graphic shows a drop in thickness, calculated thickness shows a change in seasonal cycle that occurs after a major event without precedent in the PIOMAS model. Calculated thickness was never really about thickness per se, as I've repeatedly stressed it is a seperate index defined as - PIOMAS Volume / CT Area.

However it is telling us something important. Therefore it is of use.

Why there is this difference is interesting. Chris Randles suggested a reason, but I was too busy to give it my full attention at the time, and can't find it now. I'm pondering why the two are different but in the end suspect we may never be able say more than - they're different metrics defined in different ways, therefore they have differences.

crandles

>"I don't know if this is a new graph, or just something that's been overlooked before."

Well it is in the post you are commenting on. I discussed some variations with PICT in 12th comment (page 1) which presumably boils down to a different PIOMAS area to CT area despite the area assimiliation.

Redin

NeilT, it is usefull to collect statistics and interpret with science. I have seen a fair part of the inside of parlamentarian system in Sweden and scientifically based arguments carry great weight. It has given slow u-turns in energy and economics, discreet proposals can be outright killed by purely scientific arguments and basing ones political arguments on science is highly respected.

Adaptation to climate change and avoiding climate change is not dominating politics but the practical stuff being done per year is in the billions and very hard political change is being done such as a complete change in nuclear power policy and getting more of the middle class to like dense city living and collective traffic.

Its not all roses but please continue collecting statistics and try out ideas with high spirits. If its not used in the USA it might get used somewhere else and understanding more of the world is beutiful in itself!

Jim Williams

Chris Reynolds: "Therefore (and I've not yet blogged on this) next year will see CT area of below 3M km^2. There is a good chance that the coming years will see large year-on-year crashes in volume until, as Peter Wadhams asserts, we see a sea ice free Arctic well before 2020.

My conservative position is now that we will see a sea ice free Arctic by 2020. I would not be surprised if it happens within years."

Makes sense, though I think you are being far too conservative. It seems to me that the ice itself is more of an epiphenomenon. The only significant thing the ice is doing is preventing the temperature at the pole from bolting upwards because it has to melt first. Before 2010 there was a reserve of ice; which is now effectively gone. Certainly there is the insolation, and the surrounding land, but the biggest contributors to Arctic Heat are the surrounding oceans. With little cold reserve left, I think the ice will very quickly clear out in the Summer, and as soon as the ocean is ice free early in the melt season foggy ice free Winters will soon follow. If by ice free by 2020 you mean ice free in Winter then I'd agree -- though I doubt it will be so long.

Chris Reynolds

Jim,

I seriously disagree about no ice in winter by 2020, we might see a surprising widening of the summer ice free window, but not that fast.

You talk of a reserve of ice. Bear in mind that the ice still gets very thick in winter, up to 3m thick. Just look at this graphic:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8175/7911627764_a8d8dcb492_o.jpg
The volume of ice between 2 and 3m thick is almost as much as that below 2m in March. That amount of thickening from the lows in summer tell us something: It still gets damned cold in winter.

Chris Reynolds

Jim,

I should add: The research that shows a tipping point on the transition to a perennially ice free arctic shows volume reductions in winter coincident with the bifurcation. This facilitates the opening of the summer ice free window and massive increases in energy gain in the ice/ocean system.

If we get to summer ice free and see massive volume drops in winter you'll have my attention, if not my immediate agreement.

Seke Rob

Did not see one yet, and roughed out an annual integrated PIOMAS/CT Ice Thickness plot... another squeeze job [a term also used in the FF production world].

http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q210/Sekerob/Climate/ArcticSIA-PIOMASThickness.png

Think to have read somewhere recently why that early dip occurred 81-82, but cannot remember at this time. Certainly the data for PIOMAS does not show any gaps and the original chart of PIOMAS shows same starting mid 1980, bottoming in 1982 and then go back to the base anomaly line by mid 1983.

Jim Williams

Chris, I'm just thinking about the increase in temperature of the water flowing north through Fram Strait (and elsewhere), the general pole-ward movement of the Western Boundary Currents, and the big pool of warm water forming in the north-west Atlantic right now.

I know the air gets cold, but I don't think the air compares to the ocean.

In your graph that 3 and above is looking rather skimpy lately, and the 2-3 isn't all that robust. I think there isn't any sort of equilibrium in the current situation, and the oceans are going to quickly overwhelm the air as soon as they no longer have to melt old ice; which is going to be soon.

(The data on actual heat flow via currents is at best very skimpy.)

Djprice537

"If Neven decides to expand with more of the "larger-connection" posts that talk about (in a sciencey way of course) all the larger connections, that would be the place for more wide-ranging discussions."

I like this idea. I have been visiting this site for several months. I do not feel competent to comment although I have recently asked a few questions. I have been annoyed with posts that drift from from the nerdy stuff. It gets in my way. I do, however have insights, less science based, that I would be willing to share on threads that were appropriate.

I could then rant about the growing discussions by recently converted denialists that we still need not worry because global warming is an engineering problem and has an engineering solution.

crandles

>"2-3 isn't all that robust. I think there isn't any sort of equilibrium"

Look again. 2-3m has practically disappeared at minimum, but at maximum it still appears robust to me so far.

I think the equilibrium has moved but there is still an equilibrium. If there was really thin ice in winter, a lot of heat would be lost to atmosphere and space allowing the ice to thicken.

Jim Williams

Chris Reynolds: "If we get to summer ice free and see massive volume drops in winter you'll have my attention, if not my immediate agreement."

We shall see, though I'm betting we'll have one year of "massive volume drop" before having effectively no Winter ice.

There is some possibility of having that "massive volume drop" this winter, preceding any ice free Summer. The ice area maps seem to hint that the underside of the ice is not having an easy time right now -- and the Atlantic Basin looks very interesting.

Djprice537

Is there a connection between the North Atlantic temperature anomalies and the prevalent less than 1 meter thick ice in the arctic basin adjacent to it?

Al Rodger

After scratching my head a while as to why PIOMAS thicknesses on their new graph looked entirely different to my version of PIOMAS/CT (and even checking I hadn't fouled up on my spreadsheet coz the difference is massive) it occurred to me to go back to the legend below the thumbnail graph on their main page. Maybe this was median thickness or something and not the arithmatic mean. Coz it's always good to read the title & covering notes.
"Average Arctic sea ice thickness over the ice-covered regions from PIOMAS for a selection of years. The average thickness is calculated for the PIOMAS domain by only including locations where ice is thicker than 0.15 m"
And it's better if such important stuff is read first.

AmbiValent

Jim Williams:
I thought this graph by Jim Pettit shows that the year-to-year loss of ice volume is caused much less by the melt seasons getting stronger (maximum-following minimum) than by refreeze seasons becoming weaker (maximum-previous minimum). Does that count?

AmbiValent

http://iwantsomeproof.com/extimg/sia_10.png

(forgot to include the graph, sorry)

Jim Williams

Crandles, where is the equilibrium in http://psc.apl.washington.edu/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/schweiger/ice_volume/BPIOMASIceVolumeAnomalyCurrentV2.png?%3C?php%20echo%20time%28%29%20? ?

If anything it shows a "massive volume drop" two years ago followed by continuing decay. The number of points is too small to say, but it looks like the max is declining lately about linearly and the min is trying for an exponential. The question is what happens after that min hits 0, and I say it won't be long before the max is 0 too.

As for that heat loss. I've been looking at http://synoptic.envsci.rutgers.edu/site/sat/sat.php?sat=nhem&url=../imgs/wv2_nhem_anim.gif a lot lately, and H2O is the major greenhouse gas.

Bob Wallace

Superman (and a few others) - how many times do you have to be asked to take your general topic comments to the general discussion "Why Arctic ..." thread?

This page is about PIOMAS volume.

Your comments are interesting and I'd like to read them, but they are adding noise to the system when posted in the incorrect location.

(And, yes, I can get uppity with you. I'm almost as old as you are. ;o)

--

Future development. My preference is that Neven be spread no thinner. This is an incredible site which might be diminished via dilution.

Perhaps there needs to be a parallel site operated by someone else and some mods with the ability to move comments to more appropriate threads when necessary.

crandles

>"We shall see, though I'm betting we'll have one year of "massive volume drop" before having effectively no Winter ice."

How much and on what exactly are you willing to bet?

I think you will have many takers, including me. Shorter bets are more interesting than longer ones. So what year for ice area less than 0.5M km^2 on 31 Dec at what odds?

Jim Williams

AmbiValent: "I thought this graph by Jim Pettit shows that the year-to-year loss of ice volume is caused much less by the melt seasons getting stronger (maximum-following minimum) than by refreeze seasons becoming weaker (maximum-previous minimum). Does that count?"

I'd tend to agree with that. I think what is going on under the ice is far more important than what is going on above the ice -- though both play a role.

Bob Wallace

Does anyone know if there is any data that compares the relative amounts of ice lost to top melt vs. bottom melt vs. edge melt?

Peter Ellis

I doubt it's that - ice thinner than that won't show up by passive microwave and won't be included in the CT area either.

I suspect it's more simply that a grid cell containing 0.15m thick ice on average (and thus scored as 0.15m on the PIOMAS graph) will in reality not be at 100% concentration, and so you'll get a different result when dividing through by (higher resolution) CT figure that splits it out into (say) 33% concentration of 0.45m ice.

An interesting exercise would be to reverse engineer things and work out PIOMAS area / CT area - although that would likely only be meaningful in the summer due to the different hemispheric coverage.

Bob Wallace

Jim - Here's a simple line graph of PIOMAS annual maximum, melt, and minimum.

http://i619.photobucket.com/albums/tt275/Bob_Wall/PIOMASVolAnnMaxMelt19792012.png?t=1346620994

It shows that maximum volume has been on pretty a much constant decline since the late 1980s. (Perhaps since 1979 or earlier, we just don't have the data.)

Melt started a noticeable climb in the mid 2000s. We're already over an 80% melt of the 2012 ice this season.

When the blue and red lines touch the wait is over. And my eyes see that point coming really soon.

(The 2012 data points are not final. They are based on the late August data release.)

Djprice537

Bob Wallace

"When the blue and red lines touch the wait is over. And my eyes see that point coming really soon."

Looking at the chart.....the annual melt, while it has increased, the increase has been relatively small compared to the drop in the annual maximum. Does this suggest that the annual freeze has dropped significantly and is a major contributor to the reduced annual maximum?

Bob Wallace

Well, when I look at the chart we were at roughly 32k km3 around 1980 and now we've dropped to 24k km3 or a bit less in the last few years. That's a 25% drop in maximum volume over the range. Melted volume has risen about half that amount, so yes, it looks like diminshed refreezing has been the largest factor.

But, to me, the impressive/alarming thing is that the total amount of melt has recently taken off and this year is going to be more than 82% of starting volume. We're closing in on the end point from both directions and the closing rate seems to be accelerating.

Jim Williams

Bob Wallace: "When the blue and red lines touch the wait is over. And my eyes see that point coming really soon."

The question is what happens after they touch. I say relatively little of the excess heat (which will no longer be going to melting the ice in Summer) will be lost to the atmosphere, and that a very significant portion will go to preventing the water from freezing. That ice free summers will be shortly followed by ice free winters.

Bob Wallace

Anyone who is concerned about volume/thickness - I'd highly recommend that you got to Apocalypse4Real's excellent page and open June 1 and latest images in separate tabs, then flip back and forth.

https://sites.google.com/site/apocalypse4realseaice2012/home/sea-ice-concentration-and-thickness-comparison

The really thick ice is history. The moderately thick ice is hurting. Short years until the spring opens with ice that is "thin enough" for a complete meltout.

(Perhaps when Neven gets back he could give us a video based on those thickness images.)

Bob Wallace

Jim, that's possible. Others think that the Arctic will quickly loose heat to the atmosphere.

Based on the way we continue to get drops in annual maximum melt as end of the year extent/area continues to drop, I'd not bet on rapid heat loss working too strongly.

If open water = quicker heat loss then it would seem that it isn't enough to reverse the annual losses now observed. The colder, open water may shed a lot of heat until it skims over, but that heat seems to be hanging around in the system.

dabize

Funny you should mention that - I posted just such a comparison as a Photoshop file on the AmWx SIE thread.

http://www.americanwx.com/bb/index.php/topic/156-arctic-sea-ice-extent/page__st__7210

I think the key is the fact that even if there is a lot of refreeze due to the efficient radiation of heat from open water in the winter, the resulting ice will be thin, briny and will have to wait longer each year to start forming, since more and more heat will have to be radiated for the re-freeze to start in earnest.

So yes, very soon a year will come when the melt reaches high enough latitude early enough in the season to catch enough of the really strong insolation to melt it all.......

Jim Williams

Bob Wallace, we shall see. They have their models which have not performed well, and I have the sense that there is nothing resembling a meta-stable state in the data.

For now I'll only assert that my guess is just as good as theirs; which I'm certain will rankle some.

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