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OldLeatherneck

Looking ahead for the 2013 melt season, we know several facts with certitude:

1. There will be less multi-year ice than ever before.
2. GHGs (CO2 & CH4) will be higher, at least marginally, than this year.
3. 2012 will be the peak of the 11 year solar cycle.

What I will be interested to see in the next 6-8 weeks is when the absolute minimums for all three standards are acheived, as well as what the minimums are. Secondly, I want to see the slope of the recovery during October and early Novemeber. In terms of the IJIS Extent, I've noticed in previous record years (07, 08 & 11) that the extent gained nearly 4M Sq. Km in just about a month. If the recovery this year has a delayed start, has a more gradual slope resulting in the March maximum being anomalously low in extent, area and volume it doesn't bode well for 2012.

If the 2013 melt season starts with more open water absorbing solar energy as well as having thinner ice to melt, we could witness the final "knock-down" if not the bout ending "knock-out". Weather will always play a dominant role, but if we have more open water that is warmer, will we not see the potential for more and early summer cyclones???

Apocalypse4Real

veritascatch wrote:

"Semiletov went on a new expedition 3 days ago (from Murmansk, Northern Sea Route.
"According to the head of the expedition, Igor Semiletov, the focus will again be methane emissions in the Arctic seas, particularly in the Laptev Sea."

And one more news:

An international expedition of Russian, Japanese and South Korean scientists on research vessel Academician Lavrentiev went from Vladivostok on August 7 to explore new deposits of gas hydrates.

The expedition discovered gas hydrate deposits on the slope of the Kuril Basin in the southern part of the Okhotsk Sea.
On the same slope they discovered a powerful stream of bubbles of methane. It rises to the surface from a depth of 2.2 thousand meters, the first known stream rising from such a depth.

Large concentrations of gas hydrates were also discovered in the Sea of Japan on the west slope of Sakhalin in the Tatar Strait, with at least 43 plumes of methane bubbles rising from the sea-bed."

Veritas, this was very significant and I really appreciate your sharing this. I have been looking for news of the Russian expeditions in the western media, using my usual approach, and had found none.

If you would continue to add anything reported in Russian media or elsewhere on these expeditions, it would be appreciated.

A4R

Apocalypse4Real

Chris,

Thanks for the links to the data. I plan to look them over after work this evening.

A4R

OldLeatherneck
Quoting veritascatch: "The expedition discovered gas hydrate deposits on the slope of the Kuril Basin in the southern part of the Okhotsk Sea. On the same slope they discovered a powerful stream of bubbles of methane. It rises to the surface from a depth of 2.2 thousand meters, the first known stream rising from such a depth".

While I was watching the updates of events during the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico several years ago, on TheOilDrum site, there was a lot of discussion about the potential release of methane from the hydrates. I got the impression from the consensus of opinions that when released at extreme depths, methane is abosrobed in the water column.

If methane plumes are rising to the surface from a depth of 2,200 meters, I'm assuming that it must be a massive release in order for some of it to reach surface. Is that a correct assumption??

Secondly, is this site a known source of methane seepage from the ocean floor? Or, is this something new we have to start worrying about??

Ghoti Of Lod

With respect to the speed of freeze up what is considered ice cover? Is a thin skin of surface ice sufficient to be included in ice covered area? I ask because of the images taken by the Healy today around 80 to 81 N show a mix of sometimes open water, sometimes chunks of ice, and sometimes areas of what look to me to be a thin skin of ice. Look at this and the photos before and after.

http://goo.gl/quNGw

I'm not sure if that ice is even thick enough to affect heat transfer out of the water but it might insulate slightly.

Apocalypse4Real

Old Leatherneck,

I am not aware of surface breaking plumes from that depth, the CH4 should be absorbed into the water. I am aware of similar studies from NZ and off Svalbard which found plumes in the water from as far down as 600 m, but nothing venting like this.

This is not an area that I was aware of with plumes previously venting to the surface.

That is why I have spent an hour on RT, Voice of Russia, and Google News looking for confirmation of this report, the sailing of the expeditions, and any findings. This is not like last year when there was reporting. This year there is no news of the expeditions - period!

I would appreciate others with further language skills searching as well.

R. Gates

Robertscribbler and others,

I also received an email from NOAA today related to a similar question I had about potential sources of the anomalously high readings. Here was the response:

"The samples that are highly elevated in CH4 are not from a wind
direction that is in our background air sector at Barrow, so they
are likely contaminated by CH4 emissions from local anthropogenic
sources, not natural sources related to melting sea ice or permafrost.

Ed Dlugokencky"

_____

This sounds potentially quite reasonable, but two things I'd like to know:

1) What direction was the wind from on the days the samples were taken?

2) What was the C13 to C12 ratio of the methane samples?

Finally, this graphic, taken from a presentation given last year by Yurganov tells a very interesting story about the growth of methane, which he so notes, took a turn upward begining in 2007:

[IMG]http://i50.tinypic.com/vqsgb4.jpg[/IMG]

We all know what happened in 2007, and this low sea ice/methane spike is of course not lost of Yurganov, where he writes:

"Since 2007 methane started a new growth. Is the coincidence in time with the abrupt decrease of polar ice fortunate? Arctic warming connected with ice shrinking could influence both emission from the sea bottom and permafrost. NH swamps also could be impacted."

Furthermore, 2007 also marked a year in which the ratio of C13 to C12 took a downward turn. Exactly what would be expected from increased methane release from melting permafrost and clathrate melt.

Apocalypse4Real

Jim,

While I am curious as well, Ed is a straight shooter. Since he wrote the reply, I'd take his word for it.

A4R

r w Langford

DMI temperature above 80deg N are still off in a world of their own. Even an uptick today. Water freezing?
http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/plots/meanTarchive/meanT_2012.png

Apocalypse4Real

Here's one presentation I'd love to attend

Geologic methane seepage through the cryosphere cap

Katey Walter Anthony
IARC/INE

Abstract:

Glaciers, ice sheets, and permafrost form a 'cryosphere cap' that traps methane formed in the subsurface, restricting its flow to the Earth's surface and atmosphere. Despite model predictions that glacier melt and degradation of permafrost open conduits for methane's escape, there has been a paucity of field evidence for 'subcap' methane seepage to the atmosphere as a direct result of cryosphere disintegration in the terrestrial Arctic. Here, we document for the first time the release of sub-cryosphere methane to lakes, rivers, shallow marine fjords and the atmosphere from abundant gas seeps concentrated along boundaries of receding glaciers and permafrost thaw in Alaska and Greenland. Through aerial and ground surveys of 6,700 lakes and fjords in Alaska we mapped >150,000 gas seeps identified as bubbling-induced open holes in seasonal ice. Using gas flow rates, stable isotopes, and radiocarbon dating, we distinguished recent ecological methane from subcap, geologic methane. Subcap seeps had anomalously high bubbling rates, 14C-depletion, and stable isotope values matching microbial sources associated with sedimentary deposits and coal beds as well as thermogenic methane accumulations in Alaska. Across Alaska, we found a relationship between methane stable isotopes, radiocarbon age, and distance to faults. Faults appear to allow the escape of deeper, more 14C-depleted methane to the atmosphere, whereas seeps away from faults entrained 14C-enriched methane formed in shallower sediments from microbial decomposition of younger organic matter. Additionally, we observed younger subcap methane seeps in lakes of Greenland's Sondrestrom Fjord that were associated with ice-sheet retreat since the LIA. These correlations suggest that in a warming climate, continued disintegration of glaciers, permafrost, and parts of the polar ice sheets will weaken subsurface seals and further open conduits, allowing a transient expulsion of methane currently trapped by the cryosphere cap.

Location: 501 Akasofu Building
Time: 1:30pm to 2:30pm
Website: http://www.iarc.uaf.edu/events/iarc-seminar-series/2012-2013

Apocalypse4Real

Here is another presentation that links sea ice dispersion and low pressure systems to ice melt.

August 28th
Detecting summer-time ice reduction in the Arctic Ocean using multiple buoy systems
Guest Speaker: Yusuke Kawaguchi, JAMSTEC
1:30 PM - 2:30 PM, 401 Akasofu Building

We’re working on the problem of the summer ice retreat in the Arctic Ocean. This seminar will focus on an analysis of this decline using combined data of multi-kind buoys (POPS & ITP for sea water, multiple GPS drifters for ice movement, and ICE-T for ice thickness) that were deployed near the North Pole in April. The case of summer 2010, when a satellite detected unusually low ice concentration in the Eurasian Basin will be presented. We found that the regions were occupied by very young ice floes that migrated from the Laptev Sea following the Trans Polar Drift Stream current. The concentration of ice floes was effected by an extensive low pressure system covering the central and eastern Arctic Ocean persistently in mid-August. We also discuss the role of a shallow, seasonal mixed layer in the low, producing the anomalous ice reduction. The shallow, seasonal mixed layer led to rapid ice movement because of the conservation of momentum from the ice within the thin layer, with feedback to the ice. The layer allowed the ice to diverge increasingly in response to the low pressure system, resulting in a higher amount of solar energy input at the resultant open water, and eventually causing further ice melt.

http://www.iarc.uaf.edu/events/iarc-seminar-series/2012-2013

Susan Anderson

FWIW:

Shell Halts Arctic Drilling Right After It Began (Broder)

A day after it began drilling its first well in the Arctic Ocean, Shell has been forced to temporarily abandon the work because of sea ice moving into the area....

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/shell-halts-arctic-drilling-right-after-it-began/

R. Gates

Susan,

Call me cynical, but I'd like to see a map of exactly where this drilling is taking place. I can't see how there would be any sea ice within many hundreds of miles from where they are drilling. With this project already costing more than projected and behind schedule, they have to give account to their shareholders. Convenient to blame it on sea ice "moving into the area" during hte lowest sea ice extent on record.

Anyway...call me cynical.

R. Gates

A4R,

This part of the lecture overview is especially interesting:

"These correlations suggest that in a warming climate, continued disintegration of glaciers, permafrost, and parts of the polar ice sheets will weaken subsurface seals and further open conduits, allowing a transient expulsion of methane currently trapped by the cryosphere cap."

____

Do ya think?

Anyway, it would be a great lecture to go to. Maybe we can get a powerpoint or pdf of it after the fact...

Dan P.

r w Langford: DMI temperature above 80deg N are still off in a world of their own. Even an uptick today. Water freezing?

I am not sure if you mean the uptick itself might be an indication of the freezing (so I may not be responding to you particularly), but I've definitely seen comments to that effect before and I have to admit I don't get it. If sea water and air above are exchanging heat well, they should be at the same temperature. If the water is in the process of freezing, that just means that the temperature is fixed at the freezing point until the surface is fully frozen.

I recognize there are bulk motions of air, radiative cooling, etc. going on, so there is not always a perfect local equilibrium, but I can't come up with a scenario where a blip upwards in temperature is a signal for freezing, rather than just evidence of some warmer air incursion. Is there something I'm missing? Shouldn't our signal for freeze-up be just a prolonged period with temperatures stuck just at freezing over the open water? That should result in the failure for temperatures (averaged over both ice & water above 80°) to drop as quickly as expected climatologically, which is indeed the main effect we're seeing.

R. Gates

Related to permafrost melt, methane, and the upcoming lecture by Professor Katey Walter Anthony, we see in this video that she likes to play with fire and so has a rather fun way to get rid of at least a little of the methane:

http://www.fknnewz.com/view/2221/hunting-for-methane-with-katey-walter-anthony/

Wipneus

Talking my self:

Team from Hamburg university is now sure about the NSIDC September minimum : 3.5 +/- 0.0 Mm2


ftp://ftp-projects.zmaw.de/seaice/prediction/2012/estimate.png

Today absolute certainty is gone: 3.6 +/- 0.1 Mm2

Kris

Susan wrote:

Shell has been forced to temporarily abandon

Shell says it has been forced, which isn't exactly the same.

And the reason Shell has publiced makes it all the more doubtfull.

The company said it had based its decision on satellite images, radar and on-site reconnaissance.

As everybody should know, to ly is "standard procedure", thus usual business for multinationals, especially the companies like Shell.

What could be the reason to ly? It's in the same article. Shell should stop drilling at 24th September, and the company just is trying to postpone the deadline.


Shell has asked for an extension because its projections show a later ice season this year.

Bottom line, by sacrificing one day Shell tries to gain multiple days.

crandles

Dan,

Freezing releases a lot of latent heat. Where does that heat go?

Having said that, I am still surprised it is noticable on a graph that averages temperature over a large area with lots of places where the situation turns to freezing at different times. Perhaps that graph only has a few temperature measurment locations?

Artful Dodger

Hi Bob, Dan,

No need to speculate on the cause of the latest DMI 80N uptick, just look at their temperature chart: (also on Neven's ASI Graphs page)

http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/weather/temp_latest.big.png

As you can see, there is an intrusion of warmer air over the open water in the Laptev bite.
______

Hi, Shell-watchers :^)

Don't worry about Shell spilling in 2012. Their containment barge is still in Seattle. They have not received permission to drill the deep well yet. The work they are doing right now is to bury the blow-out preventer in the seabed.

http://www.adn.com/2012/09/08/2617150/shell-on-verge-of-beginning-arctic.html

"Under a drilling permit granted Aug. 30 by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Shell can only drill to about 1,400 feet until its oil containment barge, the Arctic Challenger, is fully inspected and in the area. It will have to stop about three-fourths of a mile short of oil-rich zones.

...

"That foundational or top hole work is as far as Shell can go until its oil spill containment barge is complete."

So don't watch the Shell PR, watch the barge!

Cheers,
Lodger

Seke Rob

A little fun with the Dr. Roy's temp data updated through August 2012, in forms you wont see him present or his ado-rants [eliminating his base line spiel]:

Plot with a 38 month rolling average, to simulate ENSO [we've just come out of 2 stronger La Ninâs] http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q210/Sekerob/Climate/UAH%20Temps%201979-2010.png

And on the token of "there's been no warming since" meme, a decadal average (this is a new one):

http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q210/Sekerob/Climate/UAHMSU%20Decadal.png

"Just" from -.165C anomaly to +.250C Anomaly. or 0.415C in 3 decades. Is that not close to 0.14C per decade we see noted in places?

Guess if it's not the wind, it must be those missing volcanoes [hmmm, but then what 7 billion of the HSS species put out in aerosols etc some such as taking shape in big ABC's (Atmospheric Brown Clouds http://www.unep.org/pdf/ABCSummaryFinal.pdf ... we mention global dimming), more then offsets that lack, or?].

Seke Rob

Too quickly entered, a short snip:

It is virtually certain that India and China are dimmer (at the surface) today by at least 6 per cent, compared with the pre-industrial values. Absorbed solar radiation at the surface in China and India are lower today by 15 W m-2 or more, compared with the pre-industrial values.
Apocalypse4Real

Alot of heat exchange between the Arctic and mid latitiudes that may have impact on any major ice refreezing. There are several strong SLP's including remnants of Leslie that impact the Arctic this week.

The Polarmet forecasting has "Leslie" as an extratropical storm hitting Iceland as a 964 mb storm (border line Cat 3), while another 979 mb low remains over SW Greenland on Thursday, 091312 @ 1200.

http://polarmet.osu.edu/nwp/animation.php?model=arctic_wrf&run=00&var=plot001

Glenn Tamblyn

Has anyone been comparing the CT and Uni Bremen Extent Maps recently?

CT is showing a huge polynya above the Laptex, with lots of 30-40% ice around it. And still expanding. And 60% ice almost to the pole above the Kara.

Uni Bremen is showing a much smaller polynya and nothing of note near the pole

??

Who is right?

Michael Tabony

Rob,

Thanks for contacting ESRL and getting this corrected. The high readings did occur on two separate occasions but I see they are all now marked as outliers.

I wonder if the days these outlier methane readings were taken coincided with days they were serving particularly powerful beans at Barrow's Pepe's North of the Border Mexican restaurant, "a developed area where methane readings would have been higher".

I'll continue to monitor the situation for wind (or menu) changes.

NeilT

A4R,

Go to google translate and put in the terms you want. Then translate them to russian. Copy them.

Go to google.ru and search. Use the Advanced search (it's in the same place) to refine by date and then translate the searched page. Sort it by date.

In this way you will get the Russian news in a format you can work with. Translations are not bad and it will help with your search.

Seke Rob

CT is Area, Uni Bremen is extent would be my immediate suspicion of apple orange comparison.

NeilT

I managed to find this pretty quickly. Interesting as to why there is likely to be no news in the scientific circles as yet....

"9/3/12 In the Okhotsk and Japan Seas discovery of large deposits of gas hydrates . Scientists from the international expedition discovered two new deposits of gas hydrates in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan, and found the highest in the world of underwater stream of bubbles of methane, told the expedition leader, head of the department of Geology and Geophysics of the Pacific Oceanological Institute, Far Eastern Branch (POI), RAS, Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences Anatoly Obzhirov. international expedition on research vessel "Academician Lavrentiev" went from Vladivostok to Sakhalin on August 7 to explore and identify new deposits of gas hydrates. first time such studies were also conducted in the Sea of Japan. in the expedition - scientists, FEB RAS, eight Japanese and two South Korean specialist. Scientists suggest that the accumulation of gas hydrates here can talk about close gas deposits. A more detailed study of this area will be one of the objectives of such an international expedition that is already scheduled for 2013. "The whole province of gas hydrates found in Tatar Strait 43 are found immediately release methane. Prior to that, in these areas the search for oil and gas were just offshore. Our discovery - a possible indicator of oil and gas deposits on the side of the strait. Next year, we plan to examine in detail and this area, "- said Obzhirov. Studies holds deposits of gas hydrates Oceanological Institute for several years. Moreover, scientists often find new areas with abnormally high concentrations of methane and gas hydrates. Gas hydrates - crystalline compounds formed under certain conditions of temperature and pressure of water and gas. Gas Hydrates resemble compacted snow and can burn. Due to its structure unit volume of gas hydrate can contain up to 160-180 in net gas, it easily breaks down into water and gas at higher temperatures. In 1960 Soviet scientists discovered the first gas hydrate deposits in the north of the USSR. Since then gas hydrates are considered as a potential source of fuel. Source: Geonews • • •"

http://www.murmanchanin.ru/

Kris

Glacier-watchers,

Rain is falling now on the Ilulissat glacier, and on top of that temperare is high above average. This glacier really is in a bad shape.

Meanwhile, the snow cover om Ny-Ålesund has vanished away. Or "la rentrée" of King Winter is postponed again...

Sphaerica.wordpress.com

I recently posted the following comment on Skeptical Science:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1615&p=2#85009

Basically, I've noticed two things:

1) Extent has stopped dropping for various compensating reasons, but the ice continues to melt at a rapid pace in the area between the North Pole and Severnaya Zemlya.

2) Combined with the Nasa recognition that the freshwater flow of the Canadian currents have changed (http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/earth20120104.html)

Can this mean that the warm saltwater current from the Barents Sea is pushing further towards the pole (rather than dipping under the freshwater and icepack, neither of which is there anymore), which in turn causes the continued fast-melt... and would be a mechanism that would tunnel into the main icepack off of Greenland over the years?

Does anyone understand this stuff well enough to comment knowledgeably?

Sphaerica.wordpress.com

Addendum to my last comment.

Note that the Lomonosov Ridge is just about where that "hole" is in the Laptev Sea. A layman's guess would be that some of the warm water from the Barents Sea which has been forced under the surface hits that ridge and is deflected upwards, causing the hole in the ice.

Seke Rob

That has been the [concensus like] understanding on this blog... the Laptev Bite as it has been coined.

Seke Rob

Request to share: Missing factoids for this little attempt to collect all the present records, the previous one and a date.

It's WIPpy... of course we're talking the minimums.

Thx (for what ever you might have)

Sphaerica.wordpress.com

Thanks.

And is it also possible that more of the current is also staying near the surface, so it melts the edges that way?

This is interesting. It would suggest that as melt progresses this year and in future years, we will see the warm current follow the Lomonosov Ridge (but near the surface) and so split the ice pack in two before melting it completely away.

It could even start to hit the coast of Greenland and melt the ice along the coast before it melts completely elsewhere. I wonder too how this affects those studies that made assumptions about driftwood found (and carbon dated) on the coast of Greenland.

The possible dynamic is intriguing.

Twemoran

Sphaerica


"I wonder too how this affects those studies that made assumptions about driftwood found (and carbon dated) on the coast of Greenland."


I don't see the connection - As I understand it most of the wood is known to be from the Tiksi area and to have been rafted over on ice.
How would this be changed - or is there another factor I'm missing?

Terry

Sphaerica.wordpress.com

Terry,

Perhaps my thinking on it is muddled. I was unsure if something along these lines happened in the past -- a warm current dividing the pack but without necessarily melting it in the Beaufort Sea), if an "open water path" down the middle of the ice pack could give the impression of less ice in the studies (by cutting the transport of the wood from Tiksi to Greenland via ice) while not actually reducing the extent to as great a degree as has been inferred.

Apocalypse4Real

NeilT,

Thanks for the search idea, and I will do more later today.

Also the sea ice thickness and concentration kmz's and imagery are delayed - for some reason Google would not allow me to load more images this morning.

dorlomin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pix2gaX9320&feature=g-all-u

Interview with Greenman and Mauri

NeilT

I was just informed by #3 son that Uni Bremen AMSR2 images are now out. They are pretty stunning and crystal clear. It becomes very clear just how much ice went down the Fram strait in the last storm. Canadian Archipelago is also 3/4 ice free. Both passages are now open and the melt continues.

http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr2/

Robertscribbler.wordpress.com

R. Gates, Michael and others,

Well, I was as curious and concerned as any here. Glad the call helped clarify things.

I would still be concerned about a larger methane pulse this year as R. Gates mentioned. We have been seeing a larger signal recently, haven't we? The graph R. Gates posted is certainly something to keep in mind.

I also stumbled upon this:

http://vimeo.com/40750379

It's a graphic illustration of satellite data on Arctic methane readings compiled by the University of Maryland. You can see a pretty large pulse of methane in the graphics sequence. So I'm thinking there may be more given the high melt and Arctic heat content this year.

It's something I've been blogging about since last year's East Siberian Arctic Shelf observations. These, despite numerous assurances, sent a bit of shiver up my spine.

I was glad to get the clarification from ESRL, though. Hoping it helped here. Best to all!

--R

Jim Williams

The DMI Arctic Temperatures is quickly becoming the most interesting graph out there: http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

When will the water cool enough that the weather has any real effect upon average temp? (That is, when will the graph start bouncing up and down?)

Kevin McKinney

Dr. Weaver of the University of Victoria and colleagues have done some work around sea ice melt and methane:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/09/11/science-uvic-permafrost-carbon.html

Not very cheery, I'm afraid.

peter prewett

This web site has some interesting information

http://www.ecoshock.info/2012/09/arctic-melt-down-scientists-speak-out.html

Dan P.

crandles: Freezing releases a lot of latent heat. Where does that heat go?

If the latent heat goes into raising the temperature of the air above freezing, that should temporarily halt the freezing of the ice. That's what I mean by thinking about the air in equilibrium with the water surface. To the extent it is, the latent heat only gets released as fast as the air above can itself shed the heat to remain at freezing.

There's no momentum to freezing or anything - it's just happening to the extent that heat can flow upwards. If you ignore radiation, that only happens while the air above is at or below freezing temperature.

If you include radiation, the ice can freeze while the air just above it is above freezing, since water/ice are much better blackbody radiators to the cold sky than air is back to the ground. But this dynamic is there before the ice freezes as well (and it's more powerful, since water is a better radiator than ice), so again I don't see how freezing would actually raise the air temperature. The same story holds if you think about heat loss via evaporation/sublimation as a way to freeze while the air is above freezing.

David Vun Kannon

Saw this chart in Bob Tisdale's latest over on WUWT:
http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/12-arc.png

Notice the large increase in SST volatility since 2007. Nobody thought it worth mentioning over there.

Peter Ellis

Remember that there's air movement as well.

Say that one chunk of the region above 80N is frozen over, and the air is -5 C, but another part is still open water and so the air above it is held at -1.5 C (freezing point of salt water). As the air eddies, the warmer air gets carried downwind from the open water, bringing in colder air which is in turn warmed up by the open water surface.

Depending on the wind direction and speed, that could easily cause temporary upward blips in the regional average temperature.

crandles

Dan, you seem to be thinking about 'equilibrium situations' and not the change between different 'equilibriums'.

Doesn't there have to be a change in the vertical temperature profile from when excess heat in the water above freezing point is being lost and there is no supply of heat from latent energy release to the situation where water is freezing and latent heat is being released?

Peter Ellis

Doesn't there have to be a change in the vertical temperature profile from when excess heat in the water above freezing point is being lost and there is no supply of heat from latent energy release to the situation where water is freezing and latent heat is being released?

No? In both cases the water has more energy than the atmosphere and is releasing it to the atmosphere. The air molecules don't care what the source of that energy is - whether it's water molecules above freezing point giving up energy and becoming colder, or whether it's water molecules at freezing giving up energy and changing state.

skywatcher

Sphaerica, while I certainly can't comment "knowledgeably" about your idea, it will definitely be something worth watching over the next year or two. There's a high chance that it will fairly quickly become obvious if the Laptev Bite will be a repeated feature that grows towards the Pole in succeeding years.

NeilT, they are certainly nice images. What's intriguing to me is the appearance of several patches of low concentration ice on the north side of the Canadian Archipelago. Along with the substantial melt-out in the NWP and within the CAA, it's almost as if the melt is eating into the ice up against the north side of the CAA. A disclaimer is that these low concentration patches may be entirely wind-created, and may have appeared in previous years (I haven't checked), but regardless of their origin, they are not going to help the quality and thickness of the ice in what is supposedly one of the last 'havens' for ice in the Arctic.

Apocalypse4Real

The Arctic Sea Ice blog, and Neven, are included in today's Huffington Post blog by Nathan Currier on the Arctic melt:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-currier/arctic-crisis_b_1859710.html

Michael Tabony

Thanks to everyone for the posts about Arctic methane. I learned a lot today.

I'm still pretty convinced ESRL measured a methane anomaly, a rather large one and when it generated interest and speculation, they quickly "outliered" it till they could get a better explanation for it. If it hadn't occurred two weeks in a row, if there hadn't been a large storm to mix the ocean, and if it hadn't occurred at the end of a long melt and period of Arctic warming, I wouldn't have speculated on it a bit. But everything was in place and it seems to have happened. I'm not going to argue either way.

At this point, I just hope they continue to report CH4 data. I for one have no idea why tropospheric methane isn't measured and reported from every outpost around the Arctic. Though the disappearance of the Arctic sea ice presents a great danger to the planet, the appearance of additional methane in the atmosphere is much more dangerous. The former is like blindly wandering across a country road that handles about 100 cars a day. The latter is like blindly wandering across I-95 in northern VA.

I truly hope the next flask readings reported, August 2012's last ones, are back down about 1900 ppb and all my speculation is just that.

LRC

If you combine the newest AMSR-2 pic and the resent ice movement chart, is there any potential for that arm of ice pointing to Russia get moved out of there and melt farther or is it too cold and too large to move any?

Apocalypse4Real

I can't post images on either my sea ice or the methane sites at the moment.

So much for Google Sites as the ideal approach.

I will let you know when I get the data updated.

A4R

Apocalypse4Real

Got it resolved - switching to Chrome.

The sea ice thickness and concentration for 091012 is up.

NeilT

From what I can see CT peaked on Sept 7th and has been climbing since....

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/arctic.sea.ice.interactive.html

Am I missing something?

Dan P.

Peter Ellis: As the air eddies, the warmer air gets carried downwind from the open water, bringing in colder air which is in turn warmed up by the open water surface.

Ahah, that's actually a nice example of how you actually could get a quick increase of temperatures due to latent heat. The increase in average temps comes not from warming temperatures above freezing but by allowing faster freezing as the water has new air available to dump latent heat into.

The kind of air currents I was thinking about were warm air coming in from the south, which would increase temperatures but which would actually represent a slowing of freezing!

Peter Ellis

The kind of air currents I was thinking about were warm air coming in from the south, which would increase temperatures but which would actually represent a slowing of freezing!

Exactly: depends on the ultimate source of the heat. If it's coming from open water just outside the area you're looking at, then it's exactly the same process going on, just with a slightly wider area of interest.

I'm thinking here of (relatively) warm air coming up from the Laptev sea. If that's being replaced by even warmer air from even further south, then yes, it's a net warming in the Arctic. If it's a localised eddy, and there's colder Polar air circulating down into one side of the Laptev as the warmer air moves north from the other side, then it's allowing latent heat to dump faster and promoting the re-freeze.

Werther

Anomalous fall?

Could it be that first hemispheric weather consequences caused by very low sea ice extent and corresponding high SST’s are already showing?

After comparing several daily composites on NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis (28/8-9/9) I have the impression that the Polar vortex is centered over the west-Greenland/Kane Basin region, which is pretty unusual.
Anomalies are low over Alaska, the CAA and the East Greenland Sea. They’re high, once more this year, over the Kara region (the ‘ Kara Bulge’).

On surface level, pressure anomaly is low over an exceptionally large area of North America and the North Atlantic. High, again, over the Kara region.

This config is tearing air masses out of the north Atlantic , via Scandinavia, into the Arctic. Together with sea evaporation it fills the Arctic with clouds.
No wonder temps over 80 dG North remain high. Only 1991 shows a comparable graph. That year had, of course, not nearly the ice anomaly we see now. But there was strong southerly influx from Siberia.

The current config is quite unique, though I admit I could be a bit premature here.
While every Atlantic storm is curved north-east, guided by throughs over the eastern USA, lots of energy is redistributed north…

Werther

Photobucket
Illustrative....
This is what the ECMWF model shows for 2209. See the vortex on 500 hPa 9mid-troposphere)?
And the bulge in the Kara region, centered over Frantsa Yosefa Islands? And consider the 850 hPa temperature: cold accumulation is hard to see.

Kris

Uptick?

According to IARC-JAXA yesterday an uptick of about 15.000 km².

However, 3.591.250 km2 is exactly the same as it was on Sunday, so we might wonder if it is all right in Japan...

Seke Rob

Aside from the occasional [algorithmic dictated] funny number coincidences I occasionally comment on about JAXA, my records for Sunday, the 9th show a prelim of 3593750 and a final of 3695313, which is what shows in the present downloadable file.

Chris Biscan

http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/cgi-bin/seaice-monitor.cgi?lang=e


look around Iceland on the 10th, that echo was probably showing up causing the last couple days to mess up.


the graphs clearly show the ice is not recovering, winds have pushed ice in the Fram which being devoured by the heat monster and the pacific side but healy images show the ice is not forming outside the main pack and is barely moving and not to 80N

Kris

Seke rob wrote,

funny number coincidences

Yesterday at IARC-JAXA the SIE was set at about 3.576.000 km².

SIE on the 10th September as announced on the 11th September ...

So, would it be an "uptick" now or not?

Chris Biscan

Kris.

I don't believe that is correct there hasn't been a prelim in 3 days.

they didn't post a prelim after the 8th final was posted.

Now we have been getting once a day finals for the 9th, 10th, and 11th now.

Apocalypse4Real

Updated Sea Ice Concentration and Thickness for 10-09-12 including kmzs:

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

One thing to note is the Laptev Bite seems deepening in the concentration imagery. The concentration seems to be increasing elsewhere even as the Fram flow remains strong.

Also, the methane maps for 1-10 Sept are posted.

https://sites.google.com/site/apocalypse4realmethane2012/home/2012-vs-2011-airs-ch4-359-hpa

Note: The IASI basis is changing from 970-600 mb to 600 mb only.

Dave Leaton

From the Dep't of Ice-o-terica: 2012 CT SIA now has 102 days that each have the record minimum for their respective dates (74 (and counting) of these are consecutive). 2007 is now at 100. If the minimum has been hit at 2,293,761.3, then the average daily melt for the 2012 melt season is 70,461.4, almost 10k above the previous record of 60,698.8 in 2003.

Djprice537

Werther

The current config is quite unique....

Interesting info. But is it really unique? Didn't the pole region north of the Atlantic freeze slower and reach a lower maximum extent last season? Could this have been the result of a similiar pattern?

I notice colder air temperatures over the open water north of Alaska. Could this be air that has cooled over the remaining sea ice and pushed by warmer air flooding in from the northern Atlantic? If this pattern persists into the late Fall, I think the fingers of ice extending towards the Laptev Sea could very well be doomed. There is substantial change (according to CT) still occurring there.

Could this also be a partial explanation for the dramatic melt north of Russia that has been a persistent pattern over the last few years?

Djprice537

A4R

One thing to note is the Laptev Bite seems deepening in the concentration imagery.

These thickness images look a little scary when I consider Werther's suggestions about the Polar vortex. Has sea ice thickness always been thinner over the Amunsen Basin?

Kevin McKinney

I've published yet another article on the new ASI records, dealing with context and probable consequences. Not much of the information will actually be new to regulars here--a lot of the same ground Neven and I covered in our collaborative piece is trod once again--but the tone and emphasis may be helpful or interesting for some to read or cite. And I certainly found some pretty pictures!

http://doc-snow.hubpages.com/hub/Sea-Ice-Loss-2012-What-Do-The-Records-Mean

Sphaerica.wordpress.com

Apocalypse,

Those thickness charts are very concerning to me when combined with my Barents Sea current-Lomonosov Ridge theory. It sure looks like the ice is thin along the ridge, then along Greenland where the current would turn.

Maybe this is always the case, as that current must dip under the ice no matter what (are past years' images available)?

But it makes me think even more that we could very suddenly see the ice melt "from beneath" along that line... and it looks like such melting is continuing this year. That would be very frightening, to think of the ice continuing to melt from underneath in autumn even as it rather inconsequentially freezes (thin) and extent increases around the fringes.

Frankd 1977

MODIS composite for 9/4 to 9/11

http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/prods/MODISCOM-F/20120910000000_MODISCOM-F_0006643754.jpg

Even the ice north of 85N looks terrible.
Now look at all the fissures in the thick multi year ice north of Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago.

http://lance-modis.eosdis.nasa.gov/imagery/subsets/?subset=Arctic_r03c03.2012255.terra
http://lance-modis.eosdis.nasa.gov/imagery/subsets/?subset=Arctic_r04c03.2012255.terra

And this is supposed to be the tough ice that anchors the CAB to Greenland and the C Archipelago. Is the overall ice cover so thin that sheering forces from currents are dislodging the CAB!?

Anyway, many of the previous posts are questioning whether minimums have been reached yet. I don't think we can call the melt season over yet. NSIDC SIE and CT SIA have both had upticks. Both had increases of over 80K on 9/7 but are going down again, sending SIE down to over 700K past the 2007 minimum record.
I have not observed the October/November refreezes in the past, because I found it dull. I certainly plan to do so this year, because it will be anything but dull!

Steve C

Jim Williams wrote:
"I'd like to have a better handle on how mixed the water became this year too, as I think this is what will determine how much ice there is to melt next Spring."

Indeed. I think we've seen some striking geophysical processes at play which together may suggest quite anemic ice formation this winter, (particularly thickness, more than extent).

I understand there are only a few buoys which measure the temp+salinity stratification of the arctic waters. But we saw one of these showing mixing near the GAC-2012 storm down to 200 meters, where a lot of the warmest waters reside. We're seeing a lot of other storm systems which are surely contributing to further destratifcation around the arctic.

I think destratification of the delicate thermohaline layers may be the single biggest driver of further ice loss in coming seasons. There's a LOT of heat in those 200 meters of water combined, and when de-stratified, all of it becomes promptly available to convect upwards to the surface ice. A whole winter of enhanced convection will play havoc with the underside of the ice.

With all the extra water vapor in the air, we can expect more snowfall in the fall and winter. An insulating layer of snow on top of the ice will only enhance the effect of under-ice warmth.

In addition, water vapor is itself a greenhouse gas. And while clouds can promote cooling in the arctic summer, clouds only act as an atmospheric blanket when there is no sunlight.

Fast melting of thin ice in the spring will then give the albedo-feedback effect a head start in the spring.

Twemoran

Kevin

Yet another must read!

The graphics interspersed with photos add a lot.

Terry

Seke Rob

The records summary sheet is progressing nicely, most gaps filled and some interesting differential in the percent decline relation of extent and area [Arctic ROOS].

NSIDC monthlies will update early October which is when Intrade is making payment on some bets [except to Stevie G.]. Whilst the August area monthly was already lower than the record of 2007, extent had not. Curious what that final percent decline will look like. If taking the 5 day trailing average series Sept.1-Sept.11, we see 3578084 km square. If that is plugged into the sheet above, we get a 17.8% decline from the 2007 record... and it's hell out in the Arctic freezer.

P.S. The NSIDC Sept.1 to 11 daily average is 3526816, about 52K lower than the trailing average average. The August and July average/average matches the official published monthly of 4.98 and 7.96 Million respectively i.e. close enough to project a month end number before they publish their September overview.

Chris Reynolds

Thanks Robert.

Jim Williams

Steve C, at least it should now get easier to put out buoys and get hard data.

Espen

Jim,

Where on ice will you install those buoys?

Jim Williams

Espen: "Jim,

Where on ice will you install those buoys?"

I guess we'll need to borrow some from the Bermuda Triangle.

Espen

Or from the some of the beach bars!

Chris Reynolds

Dan P,

Open water and water covered by thin ice loses a lot of heat to the atmosphere once the sun has set. The autumn temperature anomalies show this clearly. NCEP/NCAR (and other systems) show the autumn warming is from low down in the atmosphere - i.e. from the surface. Without this massive negative feedback the balance would be tipped even more firmly in the direction of positive feedbacks. At present the small size of the annual volume loss (excluding events like 2010 and 2007) when compared to the annual cycle shows how marginal the 'win' of positive feedbacks is.

What I'm wondering right now is how much of the acceleration in recent years is due to atmospheric feedbacks, like the Arctic Dipole, assuming that is indeed a feedback.

I don't think later refreeze is the primary issue. What counts for me is that we seem to be heading for a seasonally sea ice free state, and the main mover for that is summer ice loss. PIOMAS anomaly plots show what area and extent shows; the summer thickness/extent/area is pulling away from the winter. So ice re-growth is still strong enough to wipe out much of the losses of the summer. Again, this is the negative feedback of energy loss in the autumn at work. Yet each year since 2007 the summer losses have been greater than before 2007.

How much of this loss is due to thin ice, and how much is due to the Arctic Dipole anomaly? And is the AD a feedback on ice loss, which would explain the early summer Greenland centred high (which I am now sure is actually the Arctic Dipole anomaly) being so prevalent after 2007. Or, perhaps a more interesting question is:

Is the AD driving the rapid loss of ice post 2007? Therefore is the volume loss a sideshow to the atmospheric driver?

Jim Williams

Chris, what about the 6 degrees coming from the Atlantic (so far) as the western boundary currents trend poleward and the tropical seas warm?

Klon Jay

Thin clouds, but can see how ice in the Laptev Bite is really detached.
http://www.arctic.io/observations/8/2012-09-12/7-N84.73839-E132.495295
Perhaps yesterday was better -- http://lance-modis.eosdis.nasa.gov/imagery/subsets/?subset=Arctic_r04c04.2012255.terra.1km
Also, anyone have a link to updated ice age charts? It would be nice to see how the first year ice is fairing.

Kevin McKinney

Thanks very much, Terry! I appreciate that.

Jim Williams

General Systems. I don't buy into either the runaway Venus or the Gaea hypothesis. It seems to me that if temperatures were going to zoom ever upward there has been plenty of of time for that to have happened. Also, I see no evidence for or reason why the Earth as a whole would behave as a homeostatic (living) being.

In General Systems theory, what you would most commonly expect of a non-living system in response to changed parameters is a slow change as the changes begin to take hold followed by an extremely abrupt change in behavior as the system falls to the new equipotential surface. (Very minor changes will not provoke the fall from one surface to another, but simply a "rolling" from one place to another.) In living systems the same thing can happen, and it is called death.

It seems to me that the Earth's climate is currently rolling towards a fold in the equipotential surface (a cliff), and I am expecting it to fall off said cliff sometime soon.

I will admit that I do not know that there is an equipotential cliff looming just ahead, but all the signs fit and I've seen no analysis which has even rationally considered the question.

My guess is still that we will have a Summer without ice shortly (not a Summer in which the ice all melts), and that within two years after than we will have a Winter without ice in the Arctic Ocean.

If you disagree, please show me a General Systems analysis of the sources and sinks. The discrete differential models have failed badly enough that I feel justified in completely ignoring them.

Chris Reynolds

Jim Williams,

"Chris, what about the 6 degrees coming from the Atlantic (so far) as the western boundary currents trend poleward and the tropical seas warm?"

A link to the source please.

Richaburton

Robertscribbler thank you for your comment on the leads. It is true that they are common. Just wondered if anyone knew if things had worstened. However, as you have shown from the satellite data from 12 years ago....things look more or less similar from above.

Having read every post on here I am truly fascinated. There is definitely something interesting going on with the temperatures during these very early stages of the refreeze process. I do like the suggestions that the ice pack has shrunk so much that the climate is becoming more like that of an island and that the temperature near the pole is being moderated by the on shore 'breezes', so to speak.

I also am interested by the suggestion that the mixing of the ocean this season and the vast melting on the Barents Sea edge of the ice pack has lead to an extension of the North Atlantic Drift into the Arctic Ocean.

Both of these things will no doubt be overcome this winter season, as I don't yet think we have quite reached the stage where they are going to have enough potency to dominate the Winter freeze up. However, i do think we have to look at what is currently happening and realise it is a window on our future Winter arctic. The way the data looks now could be what March looks like in 2025! unbelievably Frightening!

Klon Jay

I'm trying to reconcile this ice age chart, and the modis images.
http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2000/08/Figure5.png
and
http://www.arctic.io/observations/8/2012-09-11/5-N79.729278-E139.618159

It looks as though the "ridge" of older ice has moved from between Wrangel and the New Siberian Islands, to directly pole-ward of the New Siberian Islands. First year ice on the chart pole-ward of Franz Joseph has been eaten away. Does this seem correct? Any significant first year ice left?

Chris Reynolds

Klon Jay.

Bear in mind that in the drift age model used by Maslanik to make those images any box area with even a tiny proportion of older ice is determined as the oldest ice in that box. So 95% first year, with only 5% second year ice is called second year.

IMO all of it is rotten ice. The amount over 5 years old is tiny.

r w Langford

The Canadian governments attack on Science and the Environment brings our foremost climate scientist and Nobel prize winner to publicly state facts and figures that should scare everyone.
http://www.timescolonist.com/technology/Tories+continue+science+environment/7229084/story.html
"In the September issue of the international journal Nature Geoscience, Andrew MacDougall, Chris Avis and I published a paper in which we quantify the magnitude of the permafrost-carbon feedback to global warming that had been hitherto unaccounted for in previous assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."
"The news is not good. Instrumental records have clearly revealed that the world is about 0.8 degrees Celsius warmer than it was during pre-industrial times. Numerous studies have also indicated that as a consequence of existing levels of greenhouse gases, we have a commitment to an additional future global warming of between 0.6 C and 0.7 C. Our analysis points out that the permafrost-carbon feedback adds to this another 0.4 C to 0.8 C of warming. Taken together, the planet is committed to between 1.8 C and 2.3 C of future global warming - even if emissions-reduction programs start to get implemented."
Nice to see a few scientists speaking out and not waiting to print safe statements in an IPCC report. The pendulum is moving.

Enno Zinngrebe

On the question if not increased oceanic heat input from the Atlantic dooms the ice (Jim Williams, above).

I have been trying to find things to read about this in recent weeks. There is a lot of good articles. I want to cite from one abstract, by Korhonen et al 2012

http://www.ocean-sci-discuss.net/9/2621/2012/osd-9-2621-2012.html

"While the warming of the Atlantic inflow was widespread in the Arctic Ocean during the 1990s, the warm and saline inflow events in the early 2000s appear to circulate mainly in the Nansen Basin. Nevertheless, even in the Nansen Basin the seasonal ice melt appears independent of the continuously increasing heat content in the Atlantic layer. As no other oceanic heat sources can be identified in the upper layers, it is likely that increased absorption of solar energy has been causing the ice melt prior to the observations."

As (or if) I understand it, the people seem to say, that only the presence of the upper freshwater layer in the Arctic enables an arctic ice cap to exist at all: even without humans, heat content in the (mostly Atlantic) influx waters would be sufficient to keep the Arctic ice free even during the polar night (see http://www.ocean-sci.net/8/261/2012/os-8-261-2012.pdf p. 267). But, they seem to say, that warm water doesnt get near the ice and therefore it doesnt play a role in the ice melt (yet); even if it warms a bit - as it seems to do. But; should the arctic freshwater layer break down in large scale due to too little ice, these warm waters might come to the surface and ruin all option for ice. (E. g. this would be a quite distinct tipping point behaviour). Caveat: my understanding may not be right.

Werther

Djprice, thanks for joining my brainstorm.

You question my remark on the present configuration being unique. That’s fair enough. I comment from what I may perceive as intuition out of the daily info I can pick up. I have in no way ambition to claim scientific insight.

Having realised that, I still put forward what’s on my mind, trying to be on topic and close to what makes the polar environment the main focus of Neven’s blog.

I think we are rapidly entering the time of consequence. That doesn’t mean that I expect a sudden climate shift out of overwhelming weather, like in a movie as ‘day after tomorrow’. What I expect and fear is instability. Like Hansen showed on clear, peer reviewed data scrutiny, three sigma weather events once happening at a same time over say 5% of our planet’s surface, now occur over twice or more of that area.

Back to present, your suggestion on colder air flushing in north of Alaska seems perfectly right. The same for the consequence. Even this late in September, the ice boundary in FI the Kara-Laptev sector isn’t safe.

On uniqueness compared to last year; my remark is based on some pattern peculiarities mostly over North America, the North Atlantic and Europe. I am less informed on the Pacific.
It goes only for the period 28/8 to 9/9. The Kara Bulge isn’t unique; it was a consistent feature last fall and winter too.

What is remarkable are the deep incursions Rossby waves on the polar jet are making into the Arctic. And vice versa into North America and Eurasia. These waves were long-lasting and strong over Greenland this summer.
Now, during the fall, they take on another character. The anomaly is creating a steering pattern through the Atlantic right into the Arctic. I have a hunch the collective energy of Atlantic storms is playing a role in the redistribution of heat from the subtropics into the Arctic.

Literally on the side of this is the possibility that TS Nadine, hooking in, may even be steered right into Spain and Southern Europe (GFS/ECMWF 2209).
This is not immediately related to low Arctic sea ice extent. But it is an aspect of instability. The chance of getting hit by freak weather is growing.

Last but not least, your remark on recurring dramatic melt north of Siberia. You’re right in my opinion, though this season the ‘unique config’ seems to me more a result of the melt. Don’t forget that only this year has completed the seasonal melt-out. Last years there was always Neven’s Arm in the ES Sea, in 2007 the Northeast Passage was completely blocked along Severnaya Zemlya.

Whatever temporary fall pattern arises, it is dependent on the present situation. It is a stage, not a still…

Artful Dodger

Hi Enno,

Rudels (2012) is an excellent paper with a thorough history of polar oceanography. In it, Nansen Medal winner Bert Rudels discusses five related topics:

  1. The low salinity surface layer and the storage and export of freshwater.
  2. The vertical heat transfer from the Atlantic water to sea ice and to the atmosphere.
  3. The circulation and mixing of the two Atlantic inflow branches.
  4. The formation and circulation of deep and bottom waters in the Arctic Ocean.
  5. The exchanges through Fram Strait.

It's also good to see that this paper is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Citation:
Rudels, B.: Arctic Ocean circulation and variability – advection and external forcing encounter constraints and local processes, Ocean Sci., 8, 261-286, doi:10.5194/os-8-261-2012

Well worth the time for any Arctic watcher. Recommended!

Arcticio

Jim William,

may be not the right place to discuss Gaya and also I'm not an advocate of this theory. But, this is an open thread and I like to invite you to get concrete on your definition of a living being from a physical point of view. There are voices saying 'the purpose of life is to hydrogenate carbon dioxide':

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2010/03/10/free-energy-and-the-meaning-of-life/

Essentially live comes from the fact that this planet is a photon mill, that is Earth receives high energy photons from sun and radiates low energy photons (much more in numbers) back into space. The latter is disturbed by greenhouse gases, which is why the climate is warming and we are discussing here the loss of sea ice.

My point is until all interacting processes are understood assuming the planet is a life form is the most appropriate metaphor we have. Considering it as a technical system is way too under-complex and just an invitation to geoengineering - where undesirable and life threatening consequences pop up at places no one ever thought of.

However, I do agree with your point the transition to a new equilibrium in the Arctic might be much more abrupt than expected. Also, even with an ice free Arctic we still have not reached an equilibrium on a planetary scale. It is time to find out what's next in the pipeline.

Apocalypse4Real

Sea ice thickness, concentration and kmzs are up for Sept 11, 2012

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

Dan P.

Chris R -

Excellent point that very thin sea ice is not so different from open water. I had been making too big a deal about the difference in cover; the fact that heat transfer is more like a continuum from no ice all the way up to the extremely solid multi-year ice is a big deal and highlights the importance of your work exploring the composition changes of the ice.

I also realized that the question I'm really wondering about is: when in the year are conditions most important/visible for eventual ice loss? I think the reason I'm focusing on this late-season freeze (aside from the fact that it's excitingly current) is my instinct that water stores enough energy to give the arctic a substantial memory of the past season, and that that should be more important somehow than atmospheric conditions given how little heat is stored in the air. This way of thinking may be incorrect. But I think it might be hard to identify this kind of energy storage if it shows up mostly in burps of saltwater/freshwater mixing that Enno and Lodger referred to upthread (thanks for the papers you two!)

I agree that volume is the right metric for current ice health and PIOMAS is a good measure. I would slightly deemphasize your description of 2010 and 2007 as unusual-condition events that are distinct from the trend. I would instead assume that the recent "neutral" trend is steeper than the remaining years seem to show, since those "regular" years should include some weather departures in the opposite direction that are however less spectacular and harder to see.

Still, your analysis of the disappearance of thick multiyear ice in 2010 is a pretty convincing argument for a turning point. And the disappearance of that thick ice did happen in spring, not fall.

Wipneus

Domino nr. xx, record low ice in Canadian Archipelago:

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.12.html

Jim Williams

Here you go Chris:

http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2012/06/ocean-heat-flux.html#more

"In 2010 a positive trend was reported in the temperature of the relatively stable NwASC volume flux, corresponding to a linear increase of 0.5°C in 1992–2009, whereas in the Barents Sea Opening, a temperature increase of 1°C over the period 1997–2006 (to values above 6°C) was reported. "

Jim Williams

Arcticio, the definition of life keeps moving. This is why I qualified that as having a homeostatic mechanism. I don't see signs of the planet actively attempting to maintain a specific range of behaviors -- it's not "trying to stay alive."

Most of the time I prefer the old definition of life, but Scientists don't seem to like thinking of rocks as alive. Of course, by the old definition our planet is very much alive.

Chris Reynolds

Jim Williams,

Thanks for that, it doesn't tell me anything I wasn't aware of. Which is good - new news on ocean currents will probably be bad news.

What made me ask for your source was that I took you to mean an increase of 6degC, which is something like 6 times the sorts of increases I've read about.

Chris Reynolds

Dan P,

The heat flux through ice is inversely proportional to ice thickness, so the initial large spread of thin ice in the freeze season is really lousy at insulating. You can see what I mean by the fast spread of this ice at PIPS:
http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arc_list_arcticict.html

Once the ice has spread it starts to thicken and then it begins to insulate better. However looking at NCEP/NCAR profiles of atmospheric temperature anomalies (360 deg round from 70degN to the pole) for Feb/April from 2002 show warm surface anomalies in 2006 and 2007, then 2010, 2011, and 2012 all show warm anomalies with a substantial low level surface hugging warm anomaly.

2006 and 2007 are a bit of a puzzle, 2007 is reasonable because that year was 'primed' in part due to reduced thickening of the ice. But I can't yet explain 2006. I;ve yet to really take apart Fed-Apr post 2010 to see more detail, but the map plots show warm anomalies concentrated over the ice. So this may be suggestive of increased heat flux through thinner ice. Autumn temperature anomalies show similar ground hugging warming- it is generally accepeted that this is due to increased heat loss from areas of ocean that used to be ice covered at the end of the season.

I really need to complete the work I started months ago on regional masks for PIOMAS - that would allow me to pull out numbers for average thickness in given regions (by CT region map). However looking at my PIOMAS thickness plots suggests typical thickness losses of around 25cm to 50 cm on around 2 to 2.5m baseline. This might be significant in terms of heat flux to atmosphere.

I think it's widely accepted that the volume anomalies in 2007 were due to freak weather conditions. I've argued in detail at my blog that 2010 was similarly anomalous - I think I've done so successfully because nobody has told me where I'm wrong.
http://dosbat.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/what-caused-volume-loss-in-2010.html

So I do think it is important to emphasise the interplay of 'black swan' events in the overall process. But to be clear that they are exceptional. 2007 can be seen as part of the process - the pattern I've recently shown (well updated from last year) is the Arctic Dipole. In research soon to be published it is shown that since 2007 the AD index has crashed, so the event of 2007 was part of that - nonetheless the synoptic set up was extraordinary. 2010 is a different matter - it was an accidental convergence of different processes delivering the coup-de-grace to the process of removal of multi-year ice. So 2010 really was a 'black swan' event.

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