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Rob Dekker

Werther, said

It is a pity that the fading light won't allow us to watch how long it takes until it's white, thicker ice.

I agree. Indeed it looks like thin transparent ice (Nilas) is forming in the open ocean areas of the Laptev bite, and AMSR2 is registering that as 80% ice cover, but before that ice gets thick enough there probably won't be enough light left over to see it turn white on Modis as well.

In a sense that realization is kind of humbling : we seem to have entered a time when light in the Arctic disappears faster than the ice grows.

Rob Dekker

I suspect that this sounds weird, but I'm really excited about the data from the two new ITP buoys around the Laptev bite.
Yesterday I reported that warm, salty water is eddying up out there, which would make re-freeze difficult.

For reference, here is the ITP57 data again :

Now I realize that possibly there is something even more exciting going on there with that high salinity, -0.5 C water at the surface.

The current (day 268) location of ITP57 is 81.76 N 133.03 E. If I plot that on the AMSR2 map from Bremen :
then it seems that ITP57 is right on the ice edge, and it fact may have melted out of the ice in the past few days.

If that is indeed correct, then there is still ice melt going on in that area, and the open ocean shows a completely different temperature/salinity vertical profile than water right under the ice, a profile that is affected to more than 200 meter depth.

And if it is not correct, then there is some sort of eddying going on that brings very salty/warm water from the halocline below, which would be equally interesting.

To know the difference, it would be very good to know where (how far from the ice edge) this ITP57 was installed.
The first day that I could find in ITP57's record is day 249 (I think that was Sept 5), when it was at 81.87 N / 130.87 E.

So, does anyone have a AMSR2 or SSMI map from Sept 5 ?
And how far ITP57 was from the ice edge at that time ?


Morning Rob,

This is nice to investigate. Read Polarstern weekly report 4, 3 sep. As I take it, the profiler was installed by their crew about 35 km SW of where it is now, on an ice floe. Without time to better check this, I think it is on the remaining compact lobe pointing to the New Sib Islands. That lobe is cracking up during the last days, as MODIS shows.
Hope one of our friends can shed some more light on the graphs/data. It seems right on track to give great info on the refreeze process.


Well, now that I'm on-line...
Some of my latest observations (without pretence to mean anything consistent...yet):
- compared to '11/'10 snow cover is late: Banks, continental Nunavut, Taymir, Laptev shores. Only Chukchi coasts are 'normal'
-around 3 october ECMWF/GFS point to interesting pattern change again (general flow W-E turning E-W again)
- Rossby waves seem quite steadfast again, one trough after another positions real bad for the British Isles
- humidity seems to get soaked north, promoted through FI long-lasting Nadine and even adding up into the Arctic

Afin...for now, it's just weather?

Alan Clark

"- Rossby waves seem quite steadfast again, one trough after another positions real bad for the British Isles"

You can say that again! Some places have had their wettest September day on record.


Jim Williams

Right now it's just weather Werther. After we sum it up it will be climate.

All sorts of weirdness going on the the North Atlantic lately. In 2014 I bet we'll be reading some very interesting studies.

Rob Dekker, any idea if those ITPs still work if not on the ice? They seem to be mounted on sleds....so maybe.


In ‘Abstracts of the Joint Leopoldina-DFG SPP1257 Symposium „Sea Level“
20 September 2012, GFZ Potsdam, Building H’ I found some very interesting remarks on the sea level rise effect of this year’s remarkable Greenland melt:

“New data indicate a significant increase of the mass loss from glaciers, and
especially from both ice sheets, such that the melt water contribution to sea level rise currently
surmounts the ocean warming effect.” (Prof. Lemke – AWI)

I’ve regularly wormed through the internet on various search-parameters like ‘Jason-2’ an so on.
Untill today I haven’t found anything more than NASA/JPL graphs up to June 2012. The last data-point was higher than the former peak late 2010, indicating the trend has picked up again after two years of La Nina-conditions.

Still nothing yet on the period of rapid melt July-August. Although it is easy to understand why individual melt events were completely levelled out by ‘natural noise’ in the past, we are getting close to the moment such an event will appear.
I’m very, very interested in the Jason, Grace and Goce results for the second part of this year.
Please help digging them up?


So, does anyone have a AMSR2 or SSMI map from Sept 5 ?

There you go, Rob:

Uni Bremen Sep. 5 SIC map


Crandles, go to my website and see for yourself about El-Nino predictions, there you will find a highly experimental method of judging El-Nino coming or going from your back yard (if you have the sunset horizon). www.eh2r.com

Chris, good stuff about Fram Strait. Its becoming obvious to me that I have underestimated the sea current lately. It has a larger effect despite strong winds. Sea ice displacement is more complicated than I thought.

Frank Dantuono

I found this interesting:


The Wall Street Journal articles are far more damaging because they are still considered a reputable source.


On Fram Strait MYI transport and loss…

Chris and Wayne have commented above on the original post by Lodger on the buoy 711760 track.
I’ve been looking into this too. First, the trajectory for July-August is impressive, near 600 km . But the last 10 days were marginal. Most other buoys closer to the pole had a very different track. These were clearly curved back by strong south-north motion during the last weeks of August and the first of September.

So I wondered why this buoy, close to the north coast of Greenland, would have differed?
Checking on NCEP/NCAR reanalysis, I found no explicit atmospheric drive for the trajectory. Greenland had high SLP during the period. But the large low pressure zone over the North Atlantic effectively blocked the wind drive out of Fram Strait.

A possible driver for the buoy’s behaviour could be the Arctic Ocean Boundary Current. Now that the remaining ice sheet has lost consistency, this current could well play a role in the export of remaining MYI via Fram. I imagine the concentric break-up pattern north of the CAA during the last two weeks could be a visible effect too.

Until recently, the Transpolar Drift and the Beaufort Gyre were considered the main players on the field of sea currents. Y. Aksenov et al have published on the AOBC current: JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 116, 2011.
I have a hunch that this current is playing a different role now. It passes all the now yearly summer-ice-free marginal seas. It could bolster the rapid spread of Atlantic heat and changes in the halocline.

Jim Williams

Paywalled. :(


Ghoti Of Lod

It looks like you can request a copy from the author at



Jim, Ghoti, thanks for picking this up. I've filed a request.

Artful Dodger

For now, you can read the Google cache of the paper in HTML text format (no figures :^)



It appears quite strange Werther, the movement of ice at any given point results from the sum of vectors, wind, sea current, tides, momentum, ice friction with wind and currents and a few more, it is complex when so many factors play a role as it does during summer season. The open water next to the ice pack makes it even more complicated. But the buoy in question pointed out by Lodger defies the usual wind aberrations gyration track. The transpolar drift should also go out of whack by winds constantly hitting huge areas of open water, apparently not so much. I would say that something may be happening to the lower current as well. Aksenov and Al appear quite correct though. However wind influences appear to have lessen with respect to steering the ice, perhaps because the ice is flatter on the surface and rougher below.

Artful Dodger

Werther wrote:

"I’m very, very interested in the Jason, Grace and Goce results for the second part of this year. Please help digging them up."

The Alfred Wegner Institute (AWI) Climate Dynamics group should have the specific answers you seek (or at least know the data release schedule :^)

From their website:

The aim of the project FIGO (“Fingerprints of Ice melting in geodetic GRACE and Ocean models”) is to quantify the different contributions to the present-day sea level rise.

There are 3 contacts listed on the webpage.

Guten Appetit!


This is the question that I'm about to pose to any scientific organisation active on this scene:
On behalf of discussion on Neven’s Arctic Sea Ice blog I would like to ask you the following question.
It seems of much importance to know whether the recent melt water pulse from the Greenland Icesheet would be noticeable above the trendnoise in the global sea level change. Could you confirm this or comment on the most recent Grace and Jason-2 data?
I can understand that for any definitive presentation of the new data time is needed. That’s why I wouldn’t mention any specific source of a confirmation of the above nor further specifics or estimates.
Also, it is clear any extrapolation into the future can not be made on the basis of one outlier. The main interest in this year’s extraordinary events lies in the physical possibility to actually be able to discern this in the measurements.

Maybe there won't be another reply than a polite refusal to comment.

Any suggestions how to improve this?

Rob Dekker

About the Laptev Bite and the controversial ITP readings that it may still be melting out there, I did not have much time, so apologies for the late update.

Jim Williams asked :

Rob Dekker, any idea if those ITPs still work if not on the ice?

Yes, they do. These ITPs have an 800 meter long wire with a weight at the bottom and a large float (the buoy itself) at the top, which keeps the equipment above the surface, regardless of the presence or absense of ice.

Here is an overview from the Woods Institute (a scientific non-profit org, without whom there probably would be no ITPs in the Arctic) of how an ITP works :

Now, regarding ITP57, and its profile which turned anomalously warm/salty all the way to the surface profile over the past week, I previously suggested "eddying" and possibly that the buoy "melted out of the ice", since the surface water reached almost 0 C according to this plot, which suggests that the buoy is floating in open water.

Still, the AMSR2 and SSMI plots from Sept 5 (thanks Neven!) all the way to today suggest that this buoy remained frozen in ice.

Now it turns out that the anomaly explained much simpler : The Temperature/Salinity profile plot (the jpg file above) is not correct. The original data for each profile run itself does NOT show the anomalous warm/salty profile.
For example, that latest run shows -1.69 C water under the ice, with 31.5 psu salinity.
Which is consistent with a frozen surface.

Other ITPs may also have incorrect T/S plots. ITP64 and ITP65 both seems off, and ITP58 is removed altogether, which suggests that the good people at Woods have figured out that there is something wrong with their web-plot software.

Sorry for the premature excitement..:o|

Rob Dekker

Interesting question about the 2012 Greenland melt-pulse, and if that is detectable in the Jason-2 data.
I like your suggesting to get more information on this from a credible source, but I think this part defuses the message :

That’s why I wouldn’t mention any specific source of a confirmation of the above nor further specifics or estimates.

Here, suppose you receive a statement from a scientist ("we don't know", or "yes, we see the signal" or "no, can't see that now") then what are you going to do with that statement ?

Instead, I was wondering how much we can figure out ourselves. Is the 2012 Greenland melt-pulse detectable above the trend line ?

For that, I did another one of my back-of-the-envelope calculations :
For starters, I assume that all extra Greenland mass loss this year came from melting (and not calving). I think that assumption is reasonable.

Since Dr. Box noted that Greenland's albedo overall reduced by an anomalous 3 % or so over the summer, we can calculate how much extra energy was absorbed by Greenland's ice sheet. The worst-case scenario of melt is then that ALL that heat made it to meltwater that ran off the sheet. Here goes : average (annual) Greenland insolation is 150 W/m^2 (which is of cause all concentrated during melting season). 150 W/m^2 * 0.03 means that an annual average of 4.5 W/m^2 was absorbed this season.
Translate this to ice melt, and you find an upper bound of 43 cm melt over the entire ice sheet.

43 cm melt over the entire 1.7 M km^2 ice sheet should cause some 730 Gton extra melt, and remember that is an upper bound, so we KNOW is an overestimate of ice loss.

730 Gton loss from Greenland will cause approximately 2mm SLR.
Jason-2 has a resolution of about 3-4 mm on short-term basis, so it will be hard to find this signal in Jason-2 data.

GRACE data suggests that Greenland is loosing some 200 Gton/year. So, I think we would have noticed a 4x extra melt in other ways before we would find it in Jason-2 data.
That's what I think.


Hi all,

I've been away, and missed all of the fun again. Though I looked in and lurked a bit. But I don't remember anybody mentioning that the UK Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee has written its report on the Arctic:


I'm surprised to find that, IMHO, it's quite good.

Quite a fair and balanced summary of the debate between one group, proponents of AGW, as the septics like to phrase it, and the other opposing group, proponents of CAGW. Essentially, Slingo versus Wadhams.

And nothing at all from the septic lunatic fringe.

I commend the paper to the House.

Jim Williams

idunno, just the Summary is enough to send thrills down my spine. I'm sure this will eventually bubble out into the news.


Tripped over this. http://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/2012/09/uk-met-office-keeps-downplaying-significance-of-events-in-the-arctic.html
Haven't read the links yet but what was shown is scary for me in that scientists payed to study a subject ignore evidence and possibilities because they have already made up their minds what the outcome is supposed to be.
Mind you in Canada we just fire them all and embrace the fact the ice is gone because that means more oil. HMMM I do not think that month long storms are accounted for nor what in the world they are to do when there will be a major oil spill. Oh right no trouble. The oil spill never happened (see tar sands in Alberta as to how to ignore the facts) and business as usual.


LRC - % Wipneus

Gee, that graph looks familiar


Egil H Strand

One thing that puzzles me regarding the graphs on CT:
The area has been below 2007 for all of September so far, but the anomaly has never dropped below minimum for 2007 - how can this be? Maybe I do not use my head correctly on this but...someone has answer to this?
I appologise if this has been covered earlier in comments...

Peter Ellis

In high-melt years, although the minimum area/extent happens in September, the minimum anomaly happens in October.

The delay in re-freezing means that area/extent stays low at a time when the historical average is increasing rapidly, meaning that the anomaly continues to drop even after the actual area/extent minimum.

Chris Biscan

I haven't been paying close attention at the models, but we might see another period where gains slow back down to the 25-45K per day range for 4-5 days based on tonight's models.

Cold air continues to build but is not widespread and get's bottle-necked over the icepack and towards the Laptev sector. Which will take a bit to cool down even with -15C 850s before ice can explode in growth there.

Large blocking HP's let a lot of cold build south while two areas of heat build into the arctic.

On top of that winds turn towards a compacting regime on both sides excluding the Laptev the 3-4 day. Which leads to the bottleneck.

2007 gains 721,000km2 or so on jaxa the next 10 days.

I honestly can't say how this will go, this is much harder to predict than melting patterns, but giving my best educated guess not prediction, more like guess because of how long chances of being right are, if these models currently prove to be 75% correct or better on what they show for ice forming conditions the next 10 days.

I'd guess that 2012 could gain 300-500K by October 9th.

This would put 2012 around 4.33 to 4.53 mil or 700-900K below 2007 for last on Jaxa.

well see


Peter - just so.

Unless they cool remarkably quickly, the Kara, Laptev and East Siberian will be late freezing over and will push downwards from their current anomalies. My (fairly conservative, I think) estimate of the change in the anomalies over the next three weeks is around -300K, -200K and -200K, contributing a handy -700K to the current anomaly of -2.5 million.

I would be a shiny penny on the anomaly reaching -3 million, even while absolute area doubles from the current 2.7 million.


Of course, "...bet a shiny penny..."



Talking about some of the consequences - one that I never thought of at least:


As for the El Nino - La Nina cycle, is it expected this cycle to stay stable (and unchanged from the past) with all the changes we are seeing right now?

Kevin McKinney

Excellent summary, Neven. This bit:

"As the melting season ends, it feels as if things are only beginning. The age of consequences."

...really spoke for me.


Chris Biscan wondered:

I'd guess that 2012 could gain 300-500K by October 9th

We have to wonder indeed. According to the Danish met temperatures above the icecap are well below zero, but on the contrary above open water still no real freeze temperatures at all.

So my guess is that unlike 2007 there won't be a quick recovery.


Chris Becan, unlike last years refreeze the open water is vaster. I wrote a piece during 2011 refreeze entitled "New ice needs parents" , now a bit down on my main web page. Essentially, for a faster refreeze ice forms quicker when there is some around. A gap of ice is preferable then no ice at all. Such was the case for 2011 refreeze which went really fast. The slower 2012 recover is much like 2007 as seen on CT :http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.arctic.png

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