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Klon Jay

Latest images, it looks as though a bomb has gone off on the north coast of Greenland, with large fractures connected to Ellesmere.

L. Hamilton

At least some of the indexes are still heading down, setting new records as they go. Add to that list Uni Bremen, whose website properly cautions against comparing this year's not-well-calibrated numbers with those from previous years -- but their within-year comparisons should be valid. And those have set new low points points (far below previous years, we have plenty of other evidence for that) on 3 of the past 5 days, including the most recent.

Chris Biscan



Brian Johnson

@Chris Biscan
You realize, that map shows "sea surface temperature," not ice, as opposed to what the link you provide claims?

Chris Biscan



Kevin McKinney

Why does Bastardi have to be so gratuitously fatuous?

Artful Dodger

Hi Kevin,

"A lie can make it half-way 'round the world before the truth can get it's boots on".
-- Mark Twain

And the Merry-anthony cabal know that. It's their only remaining card.

Just keep hammerin' 'em!


Chris Biscan

the euro ends it all:


Seke Rob

Re Klon Jay | September 14, 2012 at 00:21

When looking at the Lincoln Terra image of the 12th, it strikes me as the open highway transport through to Kennedy/Kane/Nares acts as much as a drop away of the buttress that kept the ice together.


Up the Ellesmere coast with the grand sea ice cracks, me thinketh, there might also be export into the CAA there, that take more of the support away "to keep it together". Not looked on other adjacent images, but see open water in the left top of your r03c03 picture.

Today in news, the Japanese have decided to close down all nuke plants by 2020-2030, but defenitely at the 40th anniversary of any reactor and go "renewable" for 30-40%. "Renewable" long as wind/solar/tidal is fine by me. When it is pertaining to growing corn/sugarcane on formerly food producing land, or forest acreage... no thank you.


From one day to the other an important downtick at IARC-JAXA :

SIE at 3.569.688 km2 on 13th september 2012

Roman Polach

Have you seen this?


"Is there even less Arctic sea ice than the satellites show? Only 350 miles from the north pole, possibly 50% of the sea is covered in ice, yet data says there is ice cover at this latitude"



It is an interesting article - sobering. I am waiting for the next installment.

Klon and Seke Rob: See my post on the "Record Dominoes 3," CT SIA thread. There are strong winds over the Arctic now and forecast for several days given the strong high over the Laptev and deep low over the Norwegian Sea.

Seke Rob

Yes thanks, just saw it, A4R.

Richard Stamper

Another sign of times? The Cryosphere Today long plot of NH ice area anomalies (http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/sea.ice.anomaly.timeseries.jpg) is apparently a trimmed-down version of a larger plot on which is also plotted the ice area. The top of the y-axis on the anomaly plot is 3m km^2; if you look closely in 2007 and 2011 the total area line in red just intrudes, but this year the red line has just kept on going down ...

Richard Stamper

Let's try that link again:


Seke Rob

He's rescaled to just show the anomaly bit [Do not watch that chart]. If you look at this chart http://bit.ly/CTAR02 you see a horizontal condensation of that long ribbon, informative though it may be to see the detail on the long one. Have not recently calculated how much the deviation is from normal, but it's well outside 3 STDEVP

Day 43 of consecutive over 2 Million negative anomaly, actually now averaging -2.31 Million. This level of anomaly is likely to continue into October if not beyond.

Seke Rob

To add, the > -2 million km square anomaly lasted in 2007 for 35 days from Sep.25 to October 29 to have a reference when we're now having about a 0.75M greater anomaly.

Jim Williams

What is the (probably short) history of the Navy's HYCOM/CICE nowcasts?

I went looking at the SSS plots for this date in 2011 and 2010 (there are none earlier). The difference between 2011 and 2010 is striking. So striking that I'm pretty sure I'm looking at model changes rather than data.

On a related note, anyone know any good historical data on Salinity in the Arctic?

Espen Olsen

The "icegate" seems to be open now in Kennedy Channel:


Jim Williams

I've been trying to absorb this slightly out-of-date graphic; which I think has something to say about the Laptev bite:


I'm actually trying to find out more about destratification. This seems to hint at that, but not all that clearly.

Susan Anderson

late thanks for responses re northern Shell drill halt - agreed


Some interesting views on the evolution of hadley cells to a new 4 cell system, methane and possible extinction events relating to the arctic. Last added to on the 9th sept 2012
Enno Z My thinking is very similar. Once the ice has gone it's unlikely to come back, short of an extinction event level volcanic upheaval.
I don't share the conventional view that the arctic was frozen over for tens of millenia, something kept eastern siberia warm enough for the flora the mammoths ate and a warm arctic ocean is the most logical assumption. It also provides a source for the prodigious amount of snow that fell on N.America+ Europe. There's a book, largely ignored or disparaged, called 'arctic home in the vedas,[Tilak 1903] where the author discusses the 60 days of total darkness implicit in the religious ceremonials in the earliest texts and still in practice among the 'aryans' of northern india and iran, and the several hours long chants[starting at first lightening] to welcome the dawn which don't fit with the rapid dawn experienced in either iran or india, but would fit if you lived within the arctic circle. So in my minority opinion eastern siberia was in a climate that resembled permanent spring, how long ago i can't guess[ it should be apparent from the carbon 13 ratio of released methane] but i suspect that the methane releases we're seeing are from the forests that were drowned as sea level rose,[ probably similar in size to the existing siberian forests] and that most of the decomposition is in the future since it has been inhibited by the low temperatures experienced for the last few millenia and may well have been flash frozen initially.[not that i know the first thing about anaerobic bacterial action] See link above for worst case scenario of methane release.
Back to the point of the insulating layer of water, this also applies in antarctica, where in my view the growing extent of ice cover is just as concerning as ice loss in the north, being caused by the spreading out of fresh water, from the melting basal grounded ice, to the periphery, where it refreezes fairly readily. Eventually leading to catastrophic losses of land ice over very short periods, weeks and months not years.

Enno Zinngrebe

Hi Jim

i found a book for you.

you may like it for the introduction with the fine figures 1.1 and 1.3. And it has a summary (after four highly tech papers) that seems worth studying.

"Adding the computed release of brines fromfreezing sea ice to the average winter density stratification and neglecting any horizontal advection of dense water, salt rejection would convectively erode the halocline down to a depth of 20 m. ... (this) can be considered as an upper bound estimate of the destratification potential,
which further supports our hypothesis that even during strong polynya events ice production is not high enough to erode the halocline ... (This is) indirect evidence that the mechanisms responsible for vertical mixing in the (Laptev Sea) are predominantly wind- and tidally driven, rather than convective. This has far-reaching consequences for both
the vertical and lateral distribution of nutrients, sediments, pollutants and heat."

And in the outlook:

"Understanding how the stratification of shallow shelf water and the ice production and salt rejection in polynyas might change in a warming climate is one of the major challenges of current polar research. On the one hand, it is likely, that the stability of the halocline will be strengthened by an increase in the Siberian river discharge (...). Rising Arctic surface temperatures (...) will probably weaken ice production and increase summer sea icemelt, further promoting the stability of the halocline. On the other hand, the observed positive trend in summer cyclonicity over the Eurasian Arctic (...) might destabilize the water column (change the water-column structure). Likewise, a decrease in ice production could be compensated by an increase in polynya activity during the freeze-up period and in early spring (...) caused by an increase in the frequency and strength of cyclones penetrating into the Eurasian Arctic (...)."

These lines attach themselves in my mind to that current Cryosphere-discuss-net paper that someone linked to above, where it was noted that the summer sea ice extent (in the Laptev Sea) anticorrelates well with the annual wind driven ice export from the laptev in the preceding winter, and where it was noted (before this summer!) that the ice export out of the Laptev in the winter 11-12 has been off-the charts strong and the spring ice cover there has been extremely thin in consequence - citing 0.4 meters. That is exactly what that phd thesis book calculates as what polynya ice should reach.

So, seeing as it seems that the larger marginal part of the Artic ocean turns into one giant annular polynya that makes ice all winter as it is being continually denuded by wind, this phd thesis seems to say that´s fine, even this much ice production could not be expected to destroy the upper layer stratification. (Is that right?)

So, OK, I hope you see how this links to your question. At least I hope it does.

Jim Williams

Hi Enno, it will take some digesting. It's not exactly answering the question I was interested in, but it is providing some interesting issues.

I was wondering more about the effect of less ice on the stability of the "fresh water lens." It seems to me that less ice to melt leaves less fresh water to protect the ice from the warm Atlantic layer.

r w Langford

DMI temperatures North of 80 deg still in a land of their own. http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php
Another uptick today. No winter this year I guess.

Jim Williams

r w Langford, at least it's wiggling a bit more....even if the last was an uptick.

Rob Dekker

Interesting : Shell abandons drilling due to a drifting ice pack:


"The ice pack measures about 30 miles by 12 miles" and "In one point, we estimate the thickest part of the ice to be about 25 meters".

That's quite a chunk of ice to find anywhere in the Arctic at any time, but 25 meter thick pac k in the wide open water North of Barrow, in September, that's rare.

Seems to me that this cannot be sea ice.

May this be one of the broken-of ice shelves from the Canadian Archipelago ?



According to Shell:

"we employ the best ice-tracking technology in the world"

A shame that they don't see fit to share this groundbreaking technology with governmental or educational/research facilities.

There was an anomalous iceberg that grounded somewhere in the area earlier in the year that contained a lot of gravel and was speculated to be part of the Ayles ice shelf IIRC.



Based on observers of the ice fields in the Arctic suspect it could also be very bad ice. Size would preclude the idea of ramming it to find out if it breaks up though. If it is bad ice it may survive the winter but will melt out fast next year no matter what weather is like.

Timothy Chase

Terry quotes Shell:

we employ the best ice-tracking technology in the world
... then remarks
A shame that they don't see fit to share this groundbreaking technology with governmental or educational/research facilities.
Heck, with all their resources and so much money riding on this, you would think they would find a way not just to track the ice but actually get rid of it.

Timothy Chase

Sorry, that was in bad taste. Given the role they are playing in what is happening, I will have to agree with Greenpeace, that their attempt to profit from the melt in this way is obscene.

Roman Polach

This is a well-written article:
"Vanishing Arctic ice is the planet's white flag of surrender"


Chris Reynolds

Rob Decker,

It may be calving from a glacier but NASA Icebridge shows spots of ice of similar thickness bordering the CAA.


A few quotes from Stroeve and Tolberg in Vidal's Guardian piece for Sept 14:

Nick Tolberg, Cambridge - works with Wadhams:

"This is staggering. It's disturbing, scary that we have physically changed the face of the planet. We have about 4m sq km of sea ice. If that goes in the summer months that's about the same as adding 20 years of CO2 at current [human-caused] rates into the atmosphere. That's how vital the arctic sea ice is.

"In the 1970s we had 8m sq km of sea ice. That has been halved. We need it in the summer. It has never decreased like this before".

Julienne Stroeve, NSIDC:

"The 2007 record was set when you had weather conditions which were perfect for melting. This year we didn't have those. It was mixed. So this suggests the ice has got to a point where it's so thin it doesn't matter what the weather is, it's going to melt in the summer. This could become the new normal,"

"This year is significant. At the moment the [ice extent] is below what the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report will show in 2014. We are on the extreme edge of the models, suggesting that ice loss is happening much faster than the models suggested,"

"There is evidence of stronger and more intense north Atlantic storms and extreme weather, says Stroeve. "We are thinking we are entering a new climate state. Until we get the next push and reach a new equilibrium."


Seke Rob

Stroeve's "equilibrium" might work out to be as a pipedream is my feeling. That what is the current phase being chaotic weather on the NH during the crop growing season. How to feed 7 billion when already 1 billion are in a semi state of permanent "no 2 meals a day"? At any rate, what would that "next push" constitute... Sahel in the Northern Territories? It's time the scientists start mailing the leaders of state directly, without these political filters in-between, and pound some fists on table.


We are beginning to get news of methane release at the Laptev Sea surface. It appears to be a repeat of last year:

Methane emissions discovered in Arctic Ocean
Sep 15, 2012 13:34 Moscow Time

Russian scientists have discovered spots in the Arctic Ocean where mass emissions of methane can be observed.

According to the press-service of the expedition aboard The Viktor Buinitsky research vessel, the diameter of some of the ‘methane fields’ found in the northern part of the Laptev Sea exceeds 1 kilometre.

The new discoveries will help to understand the mechanism of global warming on Earth, experts believe. In their opinion, emissions of methane could have catastrophic consequences for the climate of our planet.


Protege Cuajimalpa

I want to thank everybody for the several answers to my questions about how we measure methane.
Continuing with this subject, Neven brought to our attention ten record dominoes, all of them related to sea ice extent, area and volume. From my point of view, we should add other records in other subjects, at least two:
1. NOAA in their July report affirms: “The Northern Hemisphere land surface temperature for July 2012 was the all-time warmest July on record, at 1.19°C (2.14°F) above average.”
There is another page on Internet that talks about the same subject, but for the USA:
2. On August 21, Neven wrote on this blog “The untold drama of Northern snow cover”, that refers to a new record establish in June, of Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover Anomaly, that was also explain at July’s NSIDC Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis.
Regarding the NH snow cover anomaly, it is important to highlight that it is not a random record. We had the last five records at the last five years, and 2012 is the year with less snow cover of all of them.
If someone doesn’t like just the NOAA’s statement about the NH land surface temperature for July 2012 was the all-time warmest July on record, there are several signs that show the intense heat that we have. To mention some of them:
a) The melting record in Greenland highlighted by NASA and the high pressures that notice Chirs Reynolds.
b) The drought that we have in central Mexico, that I would say that it is extension of the one suffer at USA.
c) The fires in Siberian forests.
d) The melt of the 1.8 meters thick ice (thicker than usual), a few kilometers offshore near Barrow and with a temperature at daytime high of 19 degrees Celsius (66 degrees Fahrenheit), that observe Dr. Chris Polashenski of the Cold Regions Research Lab (CRREL), as explain at July’s NSIDC Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis.
With all this heat happening at 2012, this year should be important to measure the release of methane from the thawing permafrost, but I feel that we are not measuring the methane coming from the permafrost properly.
I wait for the AIRS results on October or November, as Chirs Reynolds recommended.


Noticed some yellow very near the pole on AMSR2 map.Would this be a temporary lead opening up, or showing signs of the ice rot near the pole?

Bob Wallace

"Vanishing Arctic ice is the planet's white flag of surrender"

Or it could be the planet pulling down the peace flag and getting ready to give us back some of what we've been giving it.

Steve Bloom

Seke Rob, a climate that reached "equilibrium" can have all sorts of nasty extremes. I think you're confusing this with "equable." Julienne has her head screwed on straight.


OT. Got a solution to our overheating earth problem. Remember years ago reading a SF book about a guy who built a screen in space that blocked off 100% of the sun from reaching the earth. Can not remember name of book or author nor what the guy was demanding. Although the earth did cool down a lot in the end the heroes took down the screen and saved the day.

R. Gates

Seke Rob said:

"Stroeve's "equilibrium" might work out to be as a pipedream is my feeling."


No equilibrium is possible so long as greenhouse gases continue to increase and temps will continue to rise and tipping points continue to be exceeded as long as humans continue to dump more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. What natural negative feedbacks will create a condition whereby humans will stop increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere? There certainly are some, but they'd be extremely uncomfortable for human civilization to experience.

So, back to equilibrium and sea ice. Remember that what we are seeing happen in the Arctic today is the result of greenhouse gases at levels lower than we have today acting over many decades. Once we get the ice free Arctic condition, even more warmth is added to the planet's energy balance plus, we will see other results of the greenhouse gases that continue to accumulate from human activity. Bottom line-- an ice free Arctic happening over such a short span of time means only an acceleration toward more rapid climate changes-- not a step toward equilibrium.


I've been thinking about Chris Reynolds 'greenland high' idea, which i'm sure i read an article on in the new scientist in the late 90's, in conjunction with the emergence of a 4 hadley cell system. Both ideas have merit, working together they could warn us of extreme snowfalls at 45degN, so the great lakes in N America, and the pyrenees/alps in Europe.
Once the ice goes i think we'll get a temperate arctic in very short order [3-5 years]. This will be great for siberia/alaska but elsewhere with no great global differentials, to drive movement, air temperatures will climb/soar.
The chaos being akin to russia between the revolutions, the new 'equilibrium' akin to the 'settled' state after the october revolution. As experienced by the peasants.
In 95 and 98 i tried to raise some interest in building some huge vats at sea, in section like an H with very long legs,[clustered like in a honeycomb] in the upper part would sit a floating vertical axis wind turbine, in the lower a series of suspended 'domes' filled with co2. Inside the domes lights specifically designed to promote algal growth, the feedstock being all the waste we produce, any methane produced would be burnt producing elecricity and the waste co2 pumped back down. The concept adapts itself to tidal barrages/canals and wave power even to port/airport construction.


Bremen map,

It looks like a refreezing is taking place, except from the Siberian Quarter.

Seke Rob

Re Steve Bloom | September 16, 2012 at 05:25

Let me clarify: If communicating to the public, [not to her peers in the climate/weather field] then "equilibrium" will invariably be misunderstood [climate you expect, weather you get], regardless of her head being screwed on correctly. The "next push" then [in my interpretation] going to that "equable" for where we live... Sahel state for all I can expect for my zone at 37-45N. The southern tip of Italy [the foot in the boot] is already turning into a Sahara extension, agricultural mono practices helping. Of course, is there anyone who thinks there will be any such state in the next 5-10 decades in any one region? R.Gates above wrote "No equilibrium is possible so long as...". Absolutely... no expected weather ranges that go with a climate zone that will allow the farming community to pick the right crops to grow with reliable outcome.

Whilst here's a supposed "intend" statement from the Guardian http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNH4DJo3CTQSA91bKKU84DywgcTSvQ&url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/sep/14/arctic-sea-ice-smallest-extent">http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/sep/14/arctic-sea-ice-smallest-extent">http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNH4DJo3CTQSA91bKKU84DywgcTSvQ&url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/sep/14/arctic-sea-ice-smallest-extent :

Ed Davey, the UK climate and energy secretary, said: "These findings highlight the urgency for the international community to act. We understand that Arctic sea-ice decline has accelerated over recent years as global warming continues to increase Arctic temperatures at a faster rate than the global average.

"This Government is working hard to tackle climate change and we are working closely with our international partners not to exceed 2 degrees above pre industrial levels. I am calling for the EU to increase its emission target from 20% to 30% and will be taking an active lead at the UNFCCC Climate change talks in Doha later this year, where I will push for further progress towards a new global deal on climate change and for more mitigation action now. The fact is that we cannot afford to wait".


30% from what? Kyoto? Words, no substance!

Al Rodger

I will attempt to provide the Guardian link with greater successful than Seke Rob. My main grouse about the story is that it is squirrelled away on the Environment page of the website - which presumably means it is less important to Guardian readers that the rise in the profits of Wonga.Com.
(It being off-topic so bracketed, the 30% (instead of 20%) represents an additional 1.2% cut in annual global CO2 emissions by 2020. I would add that, while global emissions deals are probably a dead duck at the moment, to ignore them would be wrong. Go and kick some ass, Ed! And given his position in a coalition riven with skepticism, I find his words encouraging.)


A short note on refreeze and equilibrium...
Completing the review I placed under the Record IJIS-thread.
The day 259/260 MODIS tiles under my CAD gave me some opportunity to check on the ice boundary and the state of what's left of the more or less congruous rest of the ice sheet.
Yes, there is some positive effect of below zero temps. Cracks north of the CAA are filling in again. At the same time, the whole thing is pushed from the Atlantic into the Bering side.
In the process, extent is losing (compaction), while area gets an uptick.
I still see the 'mesh-pattern'getting slashed further. Loss of structure has now advanced to about 170 km from the Pole in the Laptev sector. North of Ellesmere, pressure leads sign a tendency to rip 200K away from the main 'safe area'.
Meanwhile, MWI north of 80 dG stays well above the normal.
So far on 'refreeze'.
Equilibrium... Stroeve might have had Lodgers' bifurcation to a completely sea ice free Arctic in mind? After all, while models overshoot the 'summer-ice free-state' with many decennia, the bifurcation might equally be much, much sooner too...


Sorry, MWI - DMI of course. Should have prepared this in Word first...

L. Hamilton

Not only is DMI temp/80 staying warm, DMI extent/30 is edging down. Yet another new minimum this morning.

. list edate total delta in -10/l

| edate totaldmi delta |
2713. | 06sep2012 2.5681 -49.7 |
2714. | 07sep2012 2.5694 1.3 |
2715. | 08sep2012 2.5658 -3.6 |
2716. | 09sep2012 2.5763 10.5 |
2717. | 10sep2012 2.5449 -31.4 |
2718. | 11sep2012 2.5164 -28.5 |
2719. | 12sep2012 2.5359 19.5 |
2720. | 13sep2012 2.516 -19.9 |
2721. | 14sep2012 2.5315 15.5 |
2722. | 15sep2012 2.4916 -39.9 |


(graph through 9/15)

Bill Fothergill

"Vanishing Arctic ice is the planet's white flag of surrender"

At the risk of providing unnecessary ammunition to any lurking ostriches, Damian Carrington's blog article in the Gruniad (sarc) may well contain a seriously duff visual metaphor.

I am happy to be corrected if my geriatric grey matter is playing tricks again, but I believe that the famous Apollo 8 Earthrise photograph to which DC refers was taken on Christmas Eve - and hence not comparable with Sept 2012. (Or even with Aug 2012 and, quite possibly, Oct 2012)

Even worse, the Wikipedia link given by DC states that the Earthrise image shows Antarctica, rather than the Arctic as implied in the text of the article.

Whilst I totally agree with the sentiment of the Guardian article, who needs bloopers like that!!!!

bill the frog


Espen stated:

It looks like a refreezing is taking place


On the contrary, according to IARC-JAXA there was an impressive downtick of 3.541719-3.475.781=65938 km² from 14th to 15th of September.

Minus over half a century, on the 15th of September. Horrifying it is.

Comunque, as along as UNI-Bremen is fiddling around with SSMIS their product will be loaded with a certain amount of uncertainty.



Please read what I wrote!

Timothy Chase

Kris (September 16, 2012 at 16:45), Espen (September 16, 2012 at 10:03),

It is also worth noting the JAXA figures that Kris cites are a measure of extent. Looking at Cryosphere Today's Sea Ice Area, days 255-257 are 2.2398, 2.23401, 2.26485 m km^2. Although it looks a little bumpy, it appears to have more or less leveled out.

Looking at Werther's September 16, 2012 at 13:57, he states:

Cracks north of the CAA are filling in again. At the same time, the whole thing is pushed from the Atlantic into the Bering side. In the process, extent is losing (compaction), while area gets an uptick.
Area is going up, but with compaction, extent is going down.

Timothy Chase

CORRECTION: A little early to say that area is going up (and no one has actually said that except myself in that last sentence), but "uptick" (per Werther) it would appear to be.


@ Werther,

Earlier we were dicussing if the warm Arctic and water vapor would lead into a WACC situation this fall.

Included in this conversation has been whether additional strong lows would develop, and how Rossby waves may develop and have an impact.

Here is some intitial forecast infortmation that these effects may powerfully interact in Sept-Oct.

First, there is a strong low, 972 mb SLP (Cat 2 hurricane) near/over Alaska generating heavy rain, wind - gusts as high as 91 mph/145 kmh and waves of 6-13 ft/2-5 m.

For a graphic for today's low, see: http://pafc.arh.noaa.gov/tvwx.php?img=tomorrow

Monday, this low reforms in the Beaufort as a 970-980 mb (Cat. 1 hurricance SLP) storm. See: http://pafc.arh.noaa.gov/tvwx.php?img=nextday

Also see:


For the Barrow forecast see: http://pafg.arh.noaa.gov/marinefcst.php?zone=PKZ235

The impact seems to be as the high pressure winds drive ice across the pole and towards Alaska and the Bering over the next two days, this storm creates wave action that tears up the ice and prevents refreeze.

This low is forecasted to drift in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas through Wedensday and slowly weaken. See the OSU Polarmet modeling:


The result - in conjunction with developing ElNino features of the PNA going positive is that a strong Rossby wave develops over central North America - driving colder high pressure into the mid and eastern US. It results in negative Arctic oscillation.

The spaghetti model shows this forecasted motion. For the complete forecast picture for North America see:



On the forecasted PNA see:


On the positive PNA impacts on Rossby waves and relationship to El Nino, see:

"The positive phase of the PNA pattern is associated with above-average temperatures over western Canada and the extreme western United States, and below-average temperatures across the south-central and southeastern U.S. The PNA tends to have little impact on surface temperature variability over North America during summer. The associated precipitation anomalies include above-average totals in the Gulf of Alaska extending into the Pacific Northwestern United States, and below-average totals over the upper Midwestern United States.

Although the PNA pattern is a natural internal mode of climate variability, it is also strongly influenced by the El Niño/ Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon. The positive phase of the PNA pattern tends to be associated with Pacific warm episodes (El Niño), and the negative phase tends to be associated with Pacific cold episodes (La Niña)."


Seke Rob

With the rounds completed for the day [thanks Larry for the Danish data], there are 4 records to be noted, all on the extent metric and DMI the most noted one I think dropping below 2.5 Million km^2 at 30% concentration. That is 18.4% below the 2007 record.

Nightvid Cole


Melt ponds and liquid water drops on camera on SEPTEMBER 16TH ?????????????

*pinches self hard and closes eyes to check if awake or dreaming*


Nightvid Cole,

Remember this camera is now very close to open (ice free) water within 50 kms.

Nightvid Cole

Hmmm, amazing how far it has travelled this year. I am under the impression that in previous years, the melt ponds got frozen and snowed over in early September at the latest. Is this because they didn't drift as far? Why such large drift this year?


Hi Nightvid Cole,

Its position is now:
09/16/0300Z 81.692°N 1.301°E temp 0.8°C


The impact that the storm rolling up East Greenland to Svalbard shows up quite nicely on the Godiva maps A4R provides:


While the storm looks formidable, it doesn't look exceptional, thus the notch being cut into the icepack North of Svalbard seems to speak more of the weakness and malleability of the ice.

Jim Williams

I found this paper interesting, and was wondering if anyone knows of any work updating it?

Warming of the West Spitsbergen Current and sea ice north of Svalbard: http://www.iopan.gda.pl/oceanologia/512walcz.pdf

Chris Biscan


More losses coming latest AMSR2 image in concert with modis showing large compaction



More compaction and shredding of the pack is coming. The 971 mb SLP over Alaska moves into the Beaufort and Chucki for the next four days - making 3-4 meter seas and winds of 15-40 knots.

This will interact with the pack that is being pushed toward Alaska by the strong high over the Laptev.



We have potential for more lows ahead throught the 20th.



Environment Canada is showing 30 knot breezes and 26' waves (6m waves riding 2m swells 2 days out.

May do something to whatever stratification is left.



Thanks twemoran, I had not looked at their forecast. The sea swell are even more than what I saw earlier today on the NOAA maritime forecast for Barrow, AK.

According to ESRL-PSD, here is what the surface temp anomalies looked like over the Arctic as of the 14th.


Seke Rob

One line news flash: Shell not to recommence drilling in 2012. Also see sidebar right top for a WSJ entry. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443816804578001590806692164.html


Seke Rob typed:

WSJ entry.

Rob and Shell-watchers,

You must be aware simple human beings aren't entitled to read the whole story unless they are willing to subscribe to WSJ.

To sum up. Shell claims it's "containment dome" is defective.

A "containment dome" is the dome shaped device used to shutt off a drill hole if something would go wrong.

And humble me is happy to see it's point has been confirmed now - the talk about a giant floe hindering operations just was a ly to cover the defective state of one of their appliances.

Ar Vb

Looks like refreezing when I look to:





If someone has interesting links or thoughts about the whole Shell-game, please contact me. I'm going to do a post on this when I get back.

Seke Rob

MASIE has crossed the million lower than same day last year [daily data only from Oct.2010 avail.] Doubtlessly though an all time record. See http://bit.ly/MASIEA

12-Sep-2012 2012256 3456695,22
13-Sep-2012 2012257 3487628,40
14-Sep-2012 2012258 3529012,32
15-Sep-2012 2012259 3452809,48
16-Sep-2012 2012260 3398785,21

Peter Ellis

Ar Vb: The model is predicting a re-freeze. Note that the last four days of the animation are the values for the 19th/20th/21st/22nd (labelled at top of the image), but the model run actually dates from the 18th (labelled on the map itself).

So, the model is predicting very rapid re-freeze over the next four days. It's wrong: wait and see.


A very unrelated subject,

Burma aka Myanmar released the last political prisoners, sorry but another one of my strange interests! And at least some good news!

Jim Williams

Ar (and Peter) the Nowcast has been begging for a freeze for days now. I'm sure Peter is right.

Ar Vb

@Peter Ellis
Thanks, you are right, Now I see that it's only a prediction.

"It's wrong: wait and see"

Yes, i also tend to believe that it's wrong, GFS shows a deep low on 9/22 above Severnaya Zemlya, I guess the winds will prevent a re-freeze at the Laptev sea then.


Julienne Stroeve is having a swell time north of 82, and after finding a large floe they watched it buckle and split in gut wrenching conditions.

"After dinner, a large swell began to penetrate the ice. By 8 p.m. we could tell the floe we were moored to was flexing and it was only a matter of time before the floe would break. Sure enough around 9 p.m. the floe broke."

Latest update to her blog is up at:





Why should she see (Stroeve) a difference to what we observe?

Seke Rob

Good read this log installment. Next time, maybe they will put radio or radar beacon on their expensive swell measurement buoy. The "supervises" subtext to the hand drill scene is priceless.



I'd commented a week ago that it seemed as though "nothing but clouds was holding the pack together".
If the sensors are seeing thick fog and recording it as ice, I may have been far more prescient that I imagined. Even a broken watch is right twice a day.

If all that is required to change compaction is a fog bank moving about, it might account for some of the rapid shifts we've been seeing. I'd assume that anything under a heavy fog would also have big problems radiating heat away, which might apply to the north of 80 temps - or could they actually be recording temperatures from the top of the fog?




I guess the problem is so many watch (the amateurs like you and me) what is happening, and we can report before peer review, and the system is not used to that, and the information the professionals come up with is obsolete?


Bad timing?

China wants confrontation with Japan, maybe it is just a simple spin? This event can undo anything up North!


Ar Vb, Peter,
According to ECMWF the southern influx on the Atlantic side might stop as soon as that low has passed Severnaya Zemlya. Depending on that, extent may stop falling and a first accumulation of cold may start the release of excess heat from the top ocean layer(in the Kara/Laptev sector).

The tone in Stroeve''s blog-entry doesn''t reflect lots of enthusiasm. Maybe I''m wrong, but the 'Sunrise' is in a turbulent sector, 190-280 km north of Svalbard.
They're 320 km from what I see as compact 'mesh pattern',in the loose floe belt. The description fits right with MODIS; first a sweep of thick debris, then very loose floes with lots of open water.
The drilling on thick floes gives the impression that these are representative. They're probably not. Most floes are small and thin.

Rob Dekker

September 17 and no major freezing yet.
The Arctic seems reluctant to enter winter, as DMI 80 N temps refuse is now 6-7 C above normal (and still increasing).

Two US Army buoys around the Laptev bite (That area with the hole at 87 N), air temps are barely below freezing, and bottom melting has slowed down, but has not stopped yet.

Meanwhile, on the south side, in Fram Strait : OBUOY6 smells the ocean. It's moving faster towards open water, and a stiff southerly wind keeps the temps over the ice above freezing. Melting ponds opened up again :

And NSIDC daily ice extent over the past couple of days confirms that the Arctic is still not refreezing :

2012, 09, 13, 3.45096,
2012, 09, 14, 3.41878,
2012, 09, 15, 3.39324,
2012, 09, 16, 3.36855,

It just goes on and on, doesn't it...?


and for webcam watchers, surf's up at Barrow (again). Also there seems to be a lot of standing water, and they seem to be building additional sea defences...



A further report on methane release in the Laptev:

Methane emissions in Arctic cause climate change catastrophic effect, expert says

Yulia Monakhova Sep 17, 2012 18:17 Moscow Time

"Over 200 areas of mass emission of methane can be observed in the Arctic Ocean discovered recently by the Russian expedition onboard Viktor Buinitsky research vessel. As the Arctic regions containing methane get wormer more of this greenhouse gas is released into atmosphere meaning higher temperatures. Scientists worry that this increased warming will result in methane being released more rapidly making it into a snowball effect which will rapidly increase the global climate change."


Frankd 1977


Not only is NSIDC SIE still decreasing, but the anomaly hit a milestone recently. On 9/15 & 9/16 the anomaly was larger than extent.

9/15/2012: 3.39324, -3.42178

9/16/2012: 3.36855, -3.40948

CT SIA reached this particular milestone on 9/1 and has maintained it for 2 weeks now.

I think we are in for anomalies of -2.6 million km2 for SIA and maybe -3.5 or even -3.6 million km2 for SIE by the end of September.
Anyone have thoughts on this matter?


Rob Dekker the remark:

September 17 and no major freezing yet.

Yes indeed.

One more fact to take into account:

At Station Nord (Greenland) temperature remains since the last week of Augustus high above average.

Do navigate to Nord aws.

You'll see today the minimum temperature is 16 °C (!) above average. And the maximum temperature 10 °C above average.

Pazzesco! Una temperatura pazzesca!

Now click on "previous day", and "previous day" ec.. ecc.. in order to travel back to August. And you'll get the picture:

It's clear, it's crystal clear there can't be any refreeze in this conditions.

Perhaps some of you have been mislead by the increase of floes in the Greenland sea.
Be aware this increase is due not to refreezing but to the mere fact bottom melting still is going on. With as a result more floes as ever before are pushed through the Fram Strait.

Floes which tend of course to melt less faster as it was till the first week of September ...


'I think we are in for anomalies of -2.6 million km2 for SIA and maybe -3.5 or even -3.6 million km2 for SIE by the end of September. Anyone have thoughts on this matter?'

well - that there's less than half the ice area and extent that there used to be. just don't mention the volume

... presumably you meant intelligent thoughts then?


The Arctic gets pounded by three SLP's in the ranges of 981-984 mb on Friday, Sept 21. One reforms in the Beaufort, one over southern Greenland and the third will be east of Svalbard.

All three will have central pressures equivalent to category one hurricanes.



One more thing.

The Beaufort storm of 21 Sept. is expected to draw warm humid air across Alaska and the Yukon, with temps on the Beaufort shore expected as high as 20 C!!


A4R - one quick note - you can't compare the Arctic low pressure systems with hurricanes through their central pressures, as they have different formation mechanisms, different environments, different moisture/energy supplies. A 980mb extratropical low where I come from (Scotland) would barely be worth talking about, and winds would certainly be much much lower than in a hurricane (gales if you are lucky). That said, it's a fair chance they won't help ice formation if they drag in some warmer air and curn up the sea a bit.

Ice is clearly forming in the fjords of north Greenland (MODIS), so surely, surely, the melt season is going to come to an end soon! How long can all that warm open water resist the cold?


Hi skywatcher,

I lived in Florida for 20 years, thus that frame of reference for SLP's - you guessed well.

Also, I lived in Durham, UK for 6 years, so am familiar with the North Atlantic storms/gales.

The Beaufort Sea (970-980 mb) storm had winds as high as 70 mph and gusts as high as 90 mph crossing Alaska. The maritime forecast currently is for some areas to experience 50 knot winds and 20+ foot seas.

Warm areas stil hold, and others will begin to experience refreezing. We are almost to the end of the season, but the three storms creat quite a bit of church this week.

The Arctic Sunrise reported today that they are expecting to experience 30 ft seas from the Svalbard storm.

Enjoy Scotland for us - my wife and I miss "across the pond"


Hi A4R, yep, it will be interesting to see what damage the winds and seas do with these storms. One thing I'd add to my last comment is that context is key for winds in extratropical lows - winds in a storm that is proximal to a strong area of high pressure will be much higher than winds in a storm proximal to a very weak area of high pressure or near other areas of low pressure, due to the greater pressure gradient in the former case. I guess that is quite different from tropical lows, which tend to form in a relatively uniform surface pressure field, and so surface presure in a tropical storm is much more closely related to wind strength. Quite apart from everything else of course!

Seke Rob

Whatever conspiracies read into the news of Shell, the sidebar has a public readable update http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/09/17/shell-thwarted-in-plans-to-drill-for-arctic-oil-this-year/ which informs that they're just pushing on to drill the top-holes (6 was the original intend), to stay well above the expected production zones, so next year they can much quicker push on and test, when their spill barge is good and ready.

The company said that it would instead begin drilling a number of “top holes,” the initial phase of drilling, in the Chukchi Sea to get a jump start on the 2013 season. Shell will also begin exploratory drilling in the Beaufort Sea.
Being on site, with a billions costing endeavor, they chose to make the most of their already sunk money [not that I like it, but it's the reality of economics].

(Drilling top holes still can hit shallow gas/hydrate deposits, they missed to see on the seismic analysis, so they still need seabed BOP's). The dome story is interesting, in that this might be a modified/enhanced form of the one made for the BP Deep Horizon that failed to perform... here at shallower depth, which Chukchi is, you'd need even heavier anchored equipment (short water column). Saw one being constructed near a drilling service port shortly after the DH disaster... huge).


Preliminary minimum for 2012???

Area (CT) : 2.234 million Sep 13
Extent (IJIS): 3,489,063 sqkm (Sep 16).

Seke Rob

That would be the standing for the moment, phil263, with MASIE/NSIDC/DMI dailies outstanding for the 16th and/or 17th. CT did have a drop from 15th to 16th i.e. that one is not seemingly done:

2012.6959 -2.4779313 2.2620590 4.7399902
2012.6986 -2.5008738 2.2397964 4.7406702
2012.7014 -2.5154748 2.2340095 4.7494841
2012.7041 -2.4942927 2.2648528 4.7591457
2012.7069 -2.4905059 2.2799201 4.7704258
2012.7096 -2.5455823 2.2444446 4.7900267

Seke Rob

Looks btw as a new 2012 anomalous 1 day low at -2.54M km^2

2012.7096 -2.5455823 2.2444446 4.7900267


-Incredible as it is to believe, 2012 CT SIA is now more than a million km2 lower than it was on the same day (XXXX.7096) last year. (2.244 M to 3.272 M).

-The current area anomaly of -2.546m km2 is the largest yet this year, the ninth largest ever, and the biggest since Oct. 24, 2007. (All eight of the largest negative anomalies took place in October of that year; it obviously remains to be seen whether the same will happen in 2012.)

-The negative anomaly has been at or greater than 2 million km2 for a total of 103 days since 1979. 49 of those occurrences (47.6%) have been this year, including that last 47 consecutive days.

-My own little non-amazing-but-still-interesting fact: CT SIA has been at or below half of the daily average a total of 14 times since 1979. All 14 of those have been in the past 15 days.


It all seems straightforward enough to me - in a rather dismal way. I'm pretty ignorant of all but the very basics, but here goes:

The "fat assed minimum (to use Terry's term)", the delayed re-freeze, and all that fog all seem consistent with the fact that much more solar heating occurred this summer (due to low SIA) than ever before.

This heat is getting dumped into the atmosphere now, generating fog as it hits the cooling atmosphere at polar sunset. The fog is impeding the efficiency of further radiation, exacerbating the delay somewhat. The storms have chimed in with increased mixing of warmer water to the surface, exacerbating the delay further.

All this suggests that there will be a continued delay in the onset of serious re-freeze, but once the dumping of excess ocean heat comes to an end, the re-freeze will kick in at a high rate due to the large area of open water available.

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