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Hear, hear!!!

Jim Williams

The reality, D, is that given the known errors in measurement you can have 0 Volume and very large Area and Extent. If the ice is very thin and covers the entire Arctic you can still have 0 volume within the error range of our measurement skill.


Hi Neven - check your e-mail.

The 9-17 EC composite must have just been posted - you now have the declouded version. I THINK all the islands are still there...........

This composite includes the 9-13 minimum SIA, so it may have a certain iconic status to some.



I was joking about volcanic heating on the Yukon Coast, but did google for geothermal sites in the area - there are none.

The heat isn't centered near the Mackenzie Delta, but seems close to Hershel Island where an international team was doing research this summer (and blogging) they did mention warm air temperatures (up to 20C) and taking short, cold swims off the island.

So far:

It's too late for solar to be the cause.

No geothermal in the area.

Temps are much warmer than the warmest Arctic Ocean strata.

More than 1 sensor has recorded the heat.

SST's (I think) have exceeded shore temps at times.

I'm running low on ideas and have eliminated all that have come to mind.

A Canadian icebreaker the Louis St. Laurent was anchored off Hershel Island at one point this summer and it's possible that they have recorded air and water temps, but I haven't located any data from them.

I don't track Healy regularly, but seem to recall that they were cruising along the US/Canadian line earlier. - perhaps they recorded something.

It's an intriguing question that deserves an answer.




Welcome back.

You asked why the Arctic is green?

I have been watching that for a week now. It appears to be a giant algal bloom similar to the bloom off Norway, but based on color, it appears to be blue green algae rather than diatoms.


Terry, I agree. It's getting hard to figure.

Makes me think of the series of shark attacks off the New Jersey shore in the summer of 1916 (I think). It was all done by one great white shark (they caught it later, and found body parts), but 8 people were attacked, and 3-4 killed over the space of several weeks.

In the interim, the newspapers were suggesting that it was due to the propellers of German U -boats, rather than a shark...........

I haven't got to that point yet, but yikes - people deliberately swimming in the CAA?. I've heard that lots of Maine fishermen don't bother learning to swim........

Could it be a deep-sixed reactor from a Russky sub?


Is that an algal bloom? No way! I mean, it's possible, but that's mind-blowing!

Isn't it because of the sensor, now that darkness is setting in, and that big white ball in the middle of the MODIS Arctic Mosaic is growing?


Neven - Tenney

Environment Canada has the Ranger images, they may help. Some of their experimental stuff is good too, but to access it you have to start at


Then click on the

Arctic wind forecasts and AVHRR imagery link

Direct linkages to the FTP files require a password for some reason.


BTW - Taking 3 days off to recover from a vacation might be considered self indulgent:]


The link is: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/17/royaldutchshell-idUSL1E8KHHA120120917

re: Seke Rob
"It was thought the Shell ice report was a ruse."

I doubt it was a 'ruse' - I heard from 2 very reliable sources last week they were in fact forced to disconnect from the semi-permanent anchoring position for almost 36 hours due to ice floes. Were they being extra cautious or even paranoid? May be. But that applies to many oceanic operations in warm waters as well.

Bruce Worden

I'm gonna guess that the green is some kind of refractive temperature/salinity contrast effect.

Or aliens. Never rule out aliens.


Jim Williams:

As the amount of ice remaining decreases, the margin of error will continue to decrease as well.


"The melt on Greenland is massive. It is significant to future Sea Level Rise (where 510 cu km melt = 1mm SLR). Net ice loss from Greenland in 2011 was 370 cu km. Net ice loss has been increasing at 33 cu km per year according to the GRACE data. The 2012 loss will be spectacularly greater. But whatever it proves to be, to project a multi-metre SLR from it is simple fantasy."


2100 - 2012 = 88yrs

370cu km/yr * 88yr = 32,560cu km

That covers the linear component, now for the assumed linear rate of increase:

33cu km/ yr increase.

88*89/2 = 7,832 increments

33cu km/increment * 7,832 increments = 258,456 cu km.

Total = 258,456cu km + 32,560cu km = 291,016cu Km net melting from Greenland by 2100.

To find MM SLR divide by your reported value of 510cu km.

570mm SLR from Greenland alone.

Although when I adjusted for 80% of the Earth's surface, I got a number around:

713mm SLR, from Greenland alone.

But remember, this is only the portion from Greenland, and assumes the rate of increase in melting, 33cu km/yr/yr, is linear.

Also, as more of the winter/spring/fall sea ice disappears, it seems likely that a larger portion of the excess heat budget in the Arctic will go into Greenland ice cap during melt seasons.

I figure in about 6 to 9 years, the winter time maximum volume will be less than the Summer time minimum volume was in 1979.

So some of that excess heat that is currently going into net sea ice melt will be added to the net melting of Greenland ice caps. Where else would it go, besides the deep ocean?

Ethan O'Connor

Re: Beaufort Sea and Yukon coastal SSTs, the NOAA/NESDIS 14KM analyzed field product for the expanded alaska region is showing temps that max out around 10C near the coast and are ~3-6C for most of the area:


The number of observations used for the current 48hr analysis is high:


and the average observation age is low:


These are remotely sensed products, and not in-situ observations, but seem more plausible than the 18C readings. Still really warm, though!


@Protege Cuajimalpa

Mauri Pelto's blog, From A Glacier's Perspective, has the best information on the Petermann Glacier:


Fairfax Climate Watch

Re: Green Water

The water's temperature strongly influences sediment-water interface reactions and flux rates of nutrients, either into or out of the sediment. Also, temperature determines the availability of many nutrients within the water column. And for that matter, so does UV radiation (sunlight).

Generally, warm waters = higher nutrient availability. Direct sunlight also significantly transforms nutrients in the upper 10 cm's or so. Also, if the bottom sediments are warming, above temperatures they've ever seen before, radical changes are almost certainly occuring there, which could be releasing significant levels of nutrient loads into the water column.

The green color is also showing up next to blue colors in the same frame. If this is real color we're seeing, then yes, there is a huge algae bloom! And yes, now we can start to think about 'dead zones' like have been happening in the Gulf of Mexico happening in the Arctic too.

I wonder, if the oceans loose their oxygen, would the stench from quadrillions of dead fish spread across the entire planet, or just entire countries? See California stench story from last week for more on that concept.



That greenish water in the MODIS images in some kind of bloom, and it is gobsmacking enormous!


Tenney look at my blog , got a good visual picture...


Account Deleted


same green area as last year


@D: That is from local melt. I would think the big effect on the glaciers would not be from local, but from calving. As the Arctic waters heat up and are able to get under the head of those glaciers and farther back, those glacier movements could radically start picking up speed.
There would be nothing to hold the fronts back and there would also be a lot of lubrication. On top of that with greater heat, more melting and that will mostly end up draining to the ocean UNDER the glacier. Would not think it would take much water between bedrock and ice to reduce the friction that holds the speed of glaciers in check substantially.
Not that I know much at all about such things but I would also think you could start getting a momentum feedback going in that the faster the glacier starts moving the faster the acceleration will become.


I'm no expert on glacial movements, but would the fact that, underneath the ice, Greenland is basically bowl-shaped (http://maptd.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Topographic_map_of_Greenland_bedrock.jpg) perhaps reduce the risk of catastrophic glacial flow?



Yes Greenland i somehow bowl-shaped, but with many poetential outlets (future fjords).

Jim Williams

Paddy, I think all of the ice below sea level is subject to basal warming and lubrication. There's still debate about ice dynamics, and the breakup of Larson B has put the "trapped in a bowl" theory into doubt. It's quite possible that the ice will be happy to turn into ice cubes and flow out to sea.

Account Deleted

D - firstly you forgot to divide by 2, only 3916 increments, not 7832 as state in your calculation. There also seems to be some discrepency between your calculation and the one in TAR i.e.'if the entire 2,850,000 cubic kilometres of ice were to melt, it would lead to a global sea level rise of 7.2 m (23.6 ft)'

Account Deleted

D ignore the last bit as I was being a muppet and mis-read your mm as cm, but the divide by 2 still stands - so between ~28 and 36 cm from Greenland alone.

Seke Rob

No longer a science journal of high respect, some Americans commented to me, but still:


Sea level rises by sea ice melt too, just a little. http://nsidc.org/news/press/20050801_floatingice.html


Welcome back to the never sleeping world Neven. Hope your holiday was pleasant!

"Is that an algal bloom? No way! I mean, it's possible, but that's mind-blowing!"

It is likely coastal sea waters mixing from high winds, sort of eliminating thermal layering and causing the sea to look like its in the tropics. The colour mechanics is very fascinating, it may be more complex.

Jim Williams

Seke, I think there's a small flaw in the analysis in the nsidc one, although it might still turn out to to basically correct. The statement as it stands assumes the water will remain fresh after melting; which will become untrue over time (assuming it isn't continuously protected from the wind).

Now, it may be correct that brackish water is less dense than sea water, and that in general the sea water becomes denser with added minerals; which would make the statement basically correct even if wrong in detail.

(There's also the fact that with exception of freezing, water becomes less dense and expands as it warms. There is a lot more liquid water than ice, and in general the sea level is rising as the oceans warm. The melting of the ice contributes to the overall general warming -- well, it does after the ice has melted.)

Seke Rob

Jim, nice reasoning, but it's fact... melting ice raises the sea level, ever so slightly, and then when liquid needs a whole lot less energy to expand... double whammy. NSIDC and other "at the public aimed" educators present simplified concepts similar to the IR meter measuring a candle flame, then a CO2 gas curtain is dropped in-between, transparent to the eye, and the IR meter is no longer "seeing" the flame. Denialistas happily argue that it's because the CO2 gas is cold, but is it enough to fully remove the flame's IR radiation?

As for me-etc, GIS melting out adding 28 to 36 cm? Back of envelope I came to 7.9 meters. The SA article mentions 24 feet potential... give or take the size of the feet, that's 8 meters. I could always be wrong, but a whole lot of literature and publications mention that order of SLR stored in Greenland. FTM my envelope math says that with GIS being 1.7 million KM^2, the average thickness is 2.85 / 1.7 = 1.67 KM for perspective. The factor global oceans of ~360 million km^2 to 1.7 million is 212. 1.67 KM thick is 167000 cm. 167000 divvied by 212 is 787cm. This is kindergarden math, which I can still conjure up, with ease. Of course, there's massive flood plane, so total ocean acreage expands while melting is ongoing, so it will be less :D

Seke Rob

Horrible English homophones... floodplain, not flood plane :embarrassment smiley, now 30 years old:

Jim Williams

I re-read the article and decided it didn't actually say what I thought it said. He didn't specify that the ice water remained fresh (unmixed) in the beaker, and it isn't clear from the pictures.


The green is not an algal bloom, it is, as Neven surmised an imaging artifact due to the low angle of the sun (cf: why is the sky red at sunset?)

The same artifact is seen on Antarctic mosaic. And since thats on land, (in best Alec Guinness voice) "that's no bloom."

Of course, on the Antarctic mosaic, because its on white snow, it looks yellow; on mixed white-and-blue fragmented ice in the Arctic, it looks green.


Just 1 of the operational ICE Graphics produced by the ANC WSFO. Note that there is an arera of ice to the NW of Barrow, and a lmuich larger area of significant ice around Wrangell Island extending to the eastern Siberian coast.


The point being - the 15% 'threshold' for 'Ice Free' conditions can be too misleading when calculating sea ice area among other derived metrics.

The same WEB site has a fairly hi-res SST chart for the north coast of AK.


With regard to exponential / quadratic / Gompertz discussions, it must be a sigmoid (s-shaped curve, of which a Gompertz is just one type). Here's why:

Arguing for accelerating decline until flatlining at zero (as I did in the past) misses the point that sea ice measurements do not only include sea ice in the literal sense (that is, frozen sea water).

Land ice calving off glaciers is also included once it sets sail from its parent glacier. So as long as Greenland is generating ice islands, there will always be some (trivially small) amount of ice being topped up and picked up on sensors. Even if the Arctic Ocean was a uniform 10 degrees celsius, there would be some floating ice to measure (although any given 'berg would not last long in such conditions...)

The inevitable conclusion is that even if one allows no negative feedbacks on sea ice (which would normally mean a crash to zero), there must be some (probably extremely small) area for decades to centuries afterwards. It won't be actual sea-ice, but it isn't now and it currently counts to the total, and would go on doing so.

A Gompertz is the best curve, however the recurve will probably be a sharp corner, and the tail long and thin...

2 cents worth.


As the arctic ice meltdown progresses over the coming decade - we really need higher resolution data if climate model forecasts (for the whole gamut of ice related impacts) is to improve. The ongoing dissertation on the anomalous 'warm water' centered to the east of PRU is just 1 more example of the need for more in-situ measurements.

A fairly strong storm over western AK brought very warm temps and 'torrential' rains across south central Alaska with 1-3 inch rainfall totals during the past day and extensive river flooding in the ANC area. 50mph wind gusts (not really unusual for late SEP) within the ANC city limits with much higher gusts to over 80mph across the ice fields at Portage, Whittier and Exit glaciers.

Also of note is the record low temperature set at Saint Paul Island (27 deg) with a widespread snow cover now in place across far eastern Siberia as well.




Pretty clear evidence that the ice has separated from the Axel Heiberg.


The change in terminus condition of some glacier will lead to increased calving. Mittie Glacier, Ellesmere Island is a new example. As has been pointed out many times meltwater lubrication is just not an important mechanism for acceleration of most of the big outlet glaciers of GIS. Nor has this occurred on land terminating glaciers. This is because there has been plenty of water beneath these large outlet glaciers, and adding more does not help. However, in northern Greenland there are a few outlet glaciers where possibly the amount of meltwater has been a limited factor.


Is it surprising (unusual) that the ice has, in fact, separated? Does it suggest that something has changed in the archipelago? Will the ice continue to separate from there or the north coast of Greenland?


To me, the underlying question in all of this is how the ongoing changes in the arctic are going to change things in the mid-latitudes. When I see 20C temps in the Beaufort Sea (which I think are erroneous), I see the potential for winter to operate in a completely different manner than it has in the past.

I cannot myself get behind the idea of winters being more severe. If the arctic is warmer, than the thermal gradient between warm and cold is less, and the energy that is thermodynamically available is less. It is hard to imagine a weather system bringing temperatures of -20C after blowing over open water.

So the Beaufort sea temperatures matter to me, because they indicate the ocean is going to take a long time freezing. They indicate that, unlike in previous years when our maxima were within a couple standard deviations of normal, this winter we may not see anything like a full recover; the arctic is just too warm.

And if those cold winter winds howling over the arctic are howling not over fast ice, not solid ice all the way to the Alaska shore, all kinds of craziness could happen.

THAT will ruin models, and THAT will get people to notice.

The September extent doesn't really matter in itself - albedo doesn't matter, as the sun is almost gone from the far north. What does matter is how quickly the refreeze occurs. Is there not enough multi-year ice, not enough icy water and too much warmth to cause a quick refreeze, as we have almost always seen?

What if the arctic acts not as a source of bitter, dry cold but of warmth, well into the winter? Much of the winter arctic weather is driven by a cold, *frozen* arctic ocean. Barrow, for instance, receives more than half of its precipitation in July, August, and September, when it is near to the open ocean.

This is why I am concerned with the reality of these anomalies. This may be the year we do not see anything close to a full winter refreeze, and if we do - we will see a radically different climate, not just in the far north but throughout the northern hemisphere.



Most of the discussions I've seen on the topic specify that the kind of ice you are discussing (i.e. SIA numbers of well under 0.5 million Km2) should be ignored in the calculation, because the genesis of such ice is very different from that of most of the SI that we are seeing.

In my post on the subject, was talking about ice that had been created on the ocean surface during a previous freezing season (increasingly the most recent one). As far as I know, bergs calved from glaciers during the current melt season are generally not considered sea ice and can readily be distinguished from it (i.e. they have pebbles and such in them and are completely freshwater ice).

So we may not really be disagreeing much. If you were to include bergs from glacial ice, then I agree that you'll have a long thin tail on your distribution - this will last until ALL of the ice (including the GIS and AIS) are gone.

Bruce Worden

"Denialistas happily argue that it's because the CO2 gas is cold, but is it enough to fully remove the flame's IR radiation?"

Isn't the air between the flame and the detector cold (relative to the flame), too? Isn't the upper troposphere cold relative to the planet's surface?

The temperature of the intervening gas shouldn't matter if the gas is transparent to IR -- the IR should pass right through to the detector. Use Helium instead of C02 and see what happens.

Denialists are morons.

Chris Reynolds

Frank D,

But the area from the factors you mention is negligible. I've previously thought that we'd see a sigmoid form to the final parts of sea ice area/extent. Now I doubt if the current state is stable enough to support the tail of the sigmoid.

Dave Leaton

Brad Plumer has a piece at WaPo. I pointed him to the more recent model-observation comparison that's in the main post. I'll post the link here, and maybe an exchange of traffic will occur.




I don't see the problem. Since this matters first for ice volume we have:

- PIOMAS, probably does not include such land ice;
- Satellite measurements, should be able distinguish sea ice with free board of half a meter or less from the big icebergs.

Jim Williams

Jimboomega, my guess is that your analysis is a year or two early. I think this winter, and probably the next, will depend upon where you are -- and I think which where is basically random. I'm hoping that the bitter cold winter when the Polar Vortex falls off the pole will not be in New England. I don't think it will be many more Winters before the "Cold Winter Blast" simply isn't all that cold.



Roger Harrabin on R4... Met office said ice loss greater this year because of weather. True?

Met Office reply:
If the point he was making was that temperature is not the only driver of sea ice extent in any year (so for the sample the number of storms has a significant impact) then that is correct and what we have said. Of course that doesn't say anything about the relationship between these other drivers and climate change.

What should I now reply?


Geoff, what did they say about thickness/volume? Would the weather have had the same effect in previous years/decades?

Al Rodger

Hi M. Owens.
(A reply to you way up thread. I tried uploading it yesterday but it wouldn't go. So I went to the pub. Or was it the other way round. It's still sticking so here is part 1 of 2.)

I could just cut & paste references here but there are rather a lot & in all truth, a couple of the ones I had in mind are proving elusive this evening. So I thought a very quick run through the approaches within the references.
The IPCC has been reducing its max SLR for 2100 ever since FAR in 1990 but has not got much credibility in doing so. At the other end of the scale is Hansen & Sato 2011. Now I don't have a problem with most of this paper. It is saying SLR is gonna hurt. It is only when it starts saying how quickly that I get all contrary, especially at fig 7. This waving of 5m SLR by 2100 goes back to Hansen 2007. Hansen affirms he cannot prove his doubling model is an improvement on the linear one. He is only "confident that it provides a far better estimate than a linear response for the ice sheet component of sea level rise under BAU forcing." In H&S 2011 he provides GRACE data from Greenland & Antarctica with tentative doubling projection lines. I am unconvinced. Here is the Greenland data graphed up to 2011 & the doublings are not apparent. Also the energy requirements are far too high by the last couple of decades of melt before 2100.

Al Rodger

(Part 2 now of 3.)
But that is not to dismiss H&S2011 out of hand. And definitely not to ignore its main message - If global temperatures are not brought down, SLR will keep on going.

There have been very large SLR in the past. MeltWaterPulse-1A 14k years ago averaged 4 metres per century over 300+ years. Half of that SLR may be due to a NH Ice Sheet collapse (abstract only) and happened a second time 8,200 bp but ice sheets of this configuration are thankfully gone now.
During the Eemian sea level was higher than today and study impliesthe cause was mainly Greenland melting more, not Antarctica, although SLR remained high (possibly 2m per century or more) right up to the 'highstand'. High Northern insolation was suggested as a cause of the high rate.

The linear approach (ie melt rate is linear with temperature) has been used to model future SLR and gives a max SLR of 1+m per century either modelled or correlated with past SLR. These pretty much conform to IPCC with added ice cap melt.

Al Rodger

(Part 3 of 3.)
A more detailed approach is to consider where the melt will come from. The case that it will be from ice flow and not ice melt is quite convincing. Pfeffer et al 2008 constrain SLR to below 2m by 2100 because the sources of the ice are constrained by geology. (Some missing refs add further constraint, if I didn't just dream them.)

Greenland shouldn't be a source of unexpected SLR. Glaciers have recently been reported speeding up 30% (No ref to hand) which fits if you consider the actual ice loss = net ice loss (measured by GRACE) plus snowfall and so hasn't doubled since GRACE measurements started. Also satellite data shows faster glaciers but no doubling. There is also studies showing glaciers slow dwon when the melt really kicks in.

So we are left with the possibility of surprise SLR from Antarctica which cannot be dismissed. However, the studies that address the issue (eg Bamber et al 2009 or Hartmut et al 2012) consider it very unlikely.

So it's not over, but the fat lady is clearing her throat (and if all these links work & point at the right papers, I will sing also).

Bob Wallace

To add to what Jimboomega points out, it's probably time to pay more attention to the behavior of the re-freeze. Cold is going to be acting on ice much different from what has been in place on previous years.

Take a look at the CT Central Basin chart. The CB is still bleeding ice.




Yes the next coming weeks will be extremely interesting to watch and follow, and especially what this will do to weather systems further south!

Chris Reynolds

Geoff, Neven,

Weather in 1981 lead to a loss of volume event that equalled 2007 and 2010, yet was followed by a return to normal conditions - i.e. the ice 'bounced back'.

The same cannot be said of 2007 and 2010.

Furthermore CT area anomalies clearly ran below those of 2007 from the end of the first week of June.

Seke Rob

Bob, could be me, but the second chart on that page gives an uptick indicator for the black curve, compared to the first which does nothing but point down in absolute.

Notably, what I've found with these long series compressed images to include the ones I brew myself, is that up is so tight on down, it's not visible, absent sufficient resolution. Been experimenting with vector graphics for this purpose, but my standing image host host, Photobucket is not accepting them (what to expect if 26MB), but the detail at even the most absurd zoom... projection on wall, is amazing.

Chris Reynolds

I've changed my opinion on when we'll see a seasonally sea ice free state. Previously I've said I thought not until later next decade, and if I was wrong it would probably be because it would be later.

I now think we will see a seasonally sea ice free state by 2020.


Aaron Lewis

I worked on the design of the Hanford Repository.

I spent a lot of time thinking about the floods. As Feynman noted in 1964, the "ice dam theory" does not work.

Klon Jay

I've been looking at the green water for several days, and I'm not sure if light angle or bloom. However, here you can see a non-green patch within the green area, which sways me toward bloom.

Steve C

Klon, et al

We've now got phytoplankton mentioned on two different threads. I'm with you, we've seen a number of phytoplankton blooms throughout the summer (some quite enormous in size), and you've picked a perfectly representative image.

Green ice may be a kind of artifact, but green sea water (this green) is phytoplankton.

Brian Johnson

Excellent post on your blog Chris! Thanks for putting all of the pieces together for us.

Bob Wallace

Rob, see what you mean. But my point (at least the one I tried to make) is that is that this year's ice is different. Even the CB is different, loosing ice at significant new levels.

Models and predicting from equations are great, they can teach us a lot, but we do need to check in with what is happening outside the modeling room. How does one model unique, previously unseen events?

Seems to me that we're now modeling as a way to discover all the factors we hadn't considered. Sometimes because we haven't seen those factors before.

Chris Reynolds


Thanks, it's not really all the pieces.

There's stuff I pulled out because I'm not sure (yet) - like the reference to warm anomalies from Feb-Apr and May-Jun (in the final list). I'm still figuring that out. As a teaser, here's some youtube vids I knocked together.

Tropo cross sections N of 70degN.

May & Jun

Feb to April

What's going on is puzzling. Again it's a post 2010 change (i.e. PIOMAS volume loss that year) but the winter one looks like an Autumn type pattern. The problem is I can't sort out whether it's due to influx of warm extra-Arctic air disturbing the climatological mean of a low layer inversion. Or if it's really thin ice venting heat to the atmosphere. And if it is supposed to be the latter then how would NCEP/NCAR pick that up? One additional detail; map plots of those periods show warm anomalies for surf temp occurring over the sea ice, although in some months they could be part of wider patterns generally the agreement with the ice area is good.

There's loads more work to do on what's going on. What I've seen this year of atmospheric changes and what PIOMAS implies really is exciting and mind blowing. The changes are vast, actually I mean...

The changes are V A S T!!!


That was a nice post Chris - I plugged it over at AmWx, maybe it will educate some people,,,,,,



That was all I got. Earlier in the week I had a conversation on a bad line about whether the changes in Arctic ice will cause floods and droughts. I had sent a link to this page http://bkuk.com/rossbyWaves/ to emphasise the question and later copied them into an email to the EU Climate Commissioner which included http://bkuk.com/eu/

Though the line was bad (because wind my end and train the other) I heard enough to know that the Met Office people were not sure enough to say much - except about colder, wetter European winters.


Thanks. I'll try that. Unless I jump off a bridge first!

Peter Ellis

Aaron: Do you have a reference for that 1964 Feynman calculation? I've tried Googling it, but all I find is you saying the same thing over and over on various different sites? If you'll forgive me saying so, it seems greatly unlikely on the face of it.

Chris Reynolds


From the recent Overland Paper I've blogged on.

Meanwhile, an enhanced southward dip in the jet stream leeward of the increased ridging over Greenland has caused generally cool wet summers in the U.K. since 2007, with record rains and floods in 2007 and 2012 (e.g., Hanna et al., 2008b; UK Met Office, 2012).

Hanna et al 2008b is

Hanna, E., J. Mayes, M. Beswick, J. Prior, J. and L. Wood (2008b), An analysis of the extreme rainfall in Yorkshire, June 2007, and its rarity, Weather, 63, 253-260. (Special Issue: Summer 2007 in the UK), doi:10.1002/wea.319.

Sounds interesting but I've not got a copy.

Met Office is:

Which doesn't mention the Arctic as far as I can see.

The Met Office will continue to be cautious until things are strongly demonstrated. They're an inately conservative institution.


Wayne, thank you! I had forgotten about the regional satellite photos.

I have a post up on this now:


Be sure to hit the page down key several times to get past the list of posts (I just have a very simple blog).

More to come on this.


Well Chris, the MetOffice isn't alone. I tried to push the Dutch television tonight on a comparable matter (see minimum open tread).
On the sparse times the subject is even mentioned, the caution makes them present it low perspective, superficious and detached.


Oh, re-reading it, I may be naive here...that may well go for most subjects ....


Peter Ellis, so do you think we should be greatly concerned about ice dams? It seems to me that events that have happened many times previously will likely happen again under similar conditions in the future.


Doing more digging I was too simplistic in saying that more melt water would increase lubrication therefore speed of glaciers.
As http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215173144.htm and other articles point out that the lubrication part is negligible, other far inland which actually by evidenced this yr could start increasing more, there are other factors that seem to indicate that melt water does indeed increase the speed of glaciers through other means most of which is still poorly understood. So that greater melt could indeed increase the speed of movement much more then is thought now. The difficultly goes back to the fact that although glacier movement has been studied extensively over the ages, until recently, has not been studied under the conditions that are now happening around GIS and WAIS.
The point I was trying to support was that the major melt of GIS was not going to be local, but by calving and that we really can not predict with any certainty how fast that will occur once the Arctic is ice free. I can not see it staying at its present speeds and believe that it will escalate exponentially just as the melt of the Arctic ice sheet has melted. Remember that 10 yrs ago the majority were saying the Arctic was safe for the next 100 yrs. Based on that experience alone one should be very careful about declaring that the GIS is safe for 1000yrs and that anyone who says far quicker does not understand what he/she is talking about.
I am not declaring anything because I know nothing other then my money is backing those like Hansen because I do not like the direction things are going both geologically and politically.


I'm going to have to take big step back here.

The water around Axel Heiberg Island was also open in 2008, and the ice shelves on Ellesberg were mostly gone.

This begs the question, why is it common currency that remnants of multi-year ice will still be found there in the coming years?

The ice shelves are no longer there to put a drag on ice moving toward the Fram Strait. The ice now is much thinner and in smaller pieces and is moving much faster.

I don't see any haven for multi-year ice. The ice arches north of Greenland are gone. They were not completely gone in 2008.

So where is multi-year ice going to hang out?


Terry, thank you so much for the links. I had been looking at Envisat images for years, but it's gone offline. I would love to be able to look at the RADARSAT-2 images. Does anyone know of a link to publicly available images?

Steve Bloom

Tenney, agreed about the "refugium." Ice movement through the archipelago this year and last has put paid to it. Currents make it likely that the last significant ice will be in that region, but now it's clear that it will lack persistence.

Artful Dodger

Hi Peter,

While you're bumping about in 1964, have a look around for this little gem (below is all I've got ;^)

Toporkov, L.G. (1964) "Is it possible to remove the ice cover of the northern arctic ocean", Foreign Technology Division, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

Abstract: The feasibility of a plan for the removal of the ice cover of the northern Arctic Ocean is discussed. The plan involves the construction of a dam across the Bering Straits and transferring 150,000 cubic km/year of water from the northern Arctic Ocean into the Pacific Ocean and an inflow of the Atlantic Ocean into the northern Arctic Ocean.

Accession Number: AD0611038



Of course, any Yank with access to the full 13 page doc, please serve it up!



Seke Rob

Was 1964 not in the decade they were experimenting with LSD, in the military? A good read is a book by Mark Lynas, the God Species. http://www.amazon.com/God-Species-Saving-Planet-Humans/dp/142620891X Was pulled by Amazon under pressure of 'certain' groups, then after 14 days put back in the catalog [good marketing].

Artful Dodger

"Global warming is an engineering problem."
-- Rex Tillerson.

Apparently, removal of Arctic sea ice has been a goal for 50 years.


Dabize, Chris, Wipneus - i agree with your points. It is certainly easy to distinguish glacial ice from sea ice if you get up close. And for big chunks freeboard differences would show up on a satellite swath passing over a particular chunk. And I completely agree that the area involved is trivially small - since I personally consider "ice free" to be best represented by <1 million sq km, it is below my own threshold.

My point is very much about the numbers actually presented here, not the reality of the processes. THe fact is, we currently include fresh water icebergs in the "sea ice area". Even if careful thikness measurements were used to exclude the bigger chunks, a single calving produces a lot of smaller pieces that cannot be distinguished from sea ice without physically inspecting them*. They are part of the numerical picture now, and even if we reach a point where no sea ice forms even in winter, we will still have little bergy bits calving of glaciers and sloshing around. I'm sure someone in 2070 will say, "Look, ice area is 625 sq km's! And those alarmists said we'd be ice free by xxxx."

As to the more substantial point of whether actual sea ice will crash to zero or find some little refuge areas and form a genuine (if thin) tail, I remain agnostic. I've heard enough good arguments on both sides to know that I dont know enough. But I'm sure that we will not have to wait long to find out.

Chris - your recent post on this theme was one of your best, for mine.

* I suppose at some point in the future, it will be possible to physically inspect every piece of ice in the Arctic Ocean, by sailing up to it. ;-)

Chris Reynolds


I'm having a change of mind about the 'virtually sea ice free == <1M km^2' definition. I apply that to CT area, and with a little over 2M this year, 1M is looking horribly close.

It may seem uncharitable to move the goalposts this late in the 'game', but to continue the analogy; team ice-loss are looking so good that team ice-save may need a handicap. Maybe move the goalposts closer.

I'm wondering if the 'result' once ice gets below 1M km^2 may not be meaningless as the game will continue without a pause with 1M merely being one point in a continuing crash of area.

Maybe something like 0.25M km^2 would be more reasonable...


And Watts will claim everything is ok. Because they still serve gin tonics with ice in Nuuk (Greenland).

Fairfax Climate Watch

Al Rodger, thanks for the posting.


I've been following the posts of Al Rodger like you. They deal with SLR and modelled response by ice sheets to trended global warming.
Generally, all scientific info I saw during the last years have eased me to see +2 m at the end of this century as the upper limit.
Most of it would initially originate from South Greenland. For several reasons, glaciation as a remnant of the fourth ice age stage did continue over there on anomalously southern latitude. While the great Laurentide icesheet dwindled into the small Barnes Icesheet.
How could it not rapidly vanish under the given circumstances?
It might produce 50 cm SLR up to 2050/60. That sort of SLR may seem manageable for rich, organized societies.
But, I've been imagining what +15 cm in 10 years time could signify for FI the North Sea Basin.
During bad storms, the surplus 115 km3 of water might produce an extra surge bulge in the funneled southern part of the Sea.
While through bad storms the level could already go up to +5 m, an extra 2.25 m and wave height could prove very damaging.

Chris Reynolds


But, I've been imagining what +15 cm in 10 years time could signify for FI the North Sea Basin.

Or for Bangladesh - there are an awful lot of very poor people living on river deltas there. Poor people (I mean really poor people) are less able to cope than the residents of Europe and the US. For the truly poor they don't even have opportunity of the hinterland of what are still wealthy nations, despite whatever economic difficulties may face those nations.

It's a sad fact that while the wealthy have created AGW by burning fossil fuels, and consuming massive quantities of food (land use change, CH4 increase), it's the poorest that will suffer most.


Morning Chris,
Compassion with the less fortunate should be at the heart of any response, whether it is on rearranging to a durable economy, cutting emissions, mitigation, disaster relief effort.

I take it you basically agree with the SLR properties I described in my post. The point is that even when SLR wouldn’t be as sinister as Hansen and Sato suppose, the challenge will be big enough. And that’s for SLR as a consequence on it’s own, not to speak of change that will impact agricultural productivity.

I focused on the North Sea, because I find it harder and harder to endure what I see as the usual approach on this here in the Netherlands. I am part of a society that donates wholeheartedly to provide help to people enduring disaster everywhere. But it is as if idle engineering folly collectively leads us to underestimate what’s coming.

Soon enough, sole protection against sea and rivers will cost not 1% but 3% of BNP to be effective (another ‘ hockey stick’). And the economy is hardly capable to raise that sort of capital any longer (which is a matter of priorities…).



re goalpost shifting - Yes I thought the same as I typed that out. I first pegged 1 M sq km back in the days when 3-point area was a relative novelty, and have really reset. This year has challenged everyone to reset their perspectiv-o-meters, doom'n'gloomist and she'llberightist alike.

Your proposed 0.25 (might be a bit low for my tastes) is probably still above the tail I was thinking of; I don't have a figure for glacial contributions, but I expect its in the 10,000 to 100,000 range.

The problem with 250,000 sq km is that is getting quite close to the "noise" of weather driven fluctuations which reach 150-200 k most years.

Artful Dodger

Hi folks,

The problem with focusing Extent, Area, or even Volume as a metric is they are all poor proxies for the underlying variable we really want: that is, the surface heat budget of the Arctic.

There is no physical reason to apply a sigmoid curve to sea ice (the molar enthalpy of fusion is a step curve). If instead you fit a sigmoid to the underlying heat content of the ocean / atmosphere system, then certainly there will be a long tail in the temp/heat curve.

This is simply because heat (energy) radiated by a black body increases with the forth power of its temperature. Meanwhile the albedo flip produces just a 15x increase in absorbed heat. The higher exponent wins, and temperature increases flattens out.

But this flattening does not necessarily occur while there is any remaining sea ice. The inflection point in the curve may be at a much warmer state than where the sea ice collapses (the state change step).

My instinct is it will happen as Arctic ocean SSTs approach those of the Atlantic, due to reduced meridional heat transfer.

Greenland ice contribution to Arctic SSTs can be similarly accommodated. Heat always flows from warm to cool, SSTs will increase until the heat flow from the ocean/atmosphere is in balance with the cold source, continuing until the cold sink is consumed. The transfer rate will simple determine the size of the ocean affected. If the transfer rate is high, the area affected increases.

In summary, I expect Arctic sea ice melt to accelerate until it is all gone. The Arctic will become a lobe of the Atlantic.


Jim Williams

I'd agree with that Lodger. Only question is how fast it will happen. I notice that all the "it can't be faster than" arguments discuss insolation and air currents, but I never seem to see them mentioning possible changes in ocean currents.

Until someone gives me a solid estimate for how long the Greenland Ice Cap would last if the Gulf Stream decided to shift west of Greenland I'm going to treat all "it won't be over x in y years" computations as meaningless. I'm not saying the current will change, but I am saying all the "it can't" statements are junk.


FrankD, I was going to make the point that AD made above, so I can keep that short.

The simple picture of the decrease in volume is caused by an heat imbalance, possibly increasing. If the surplus heat is not going into melting, it will raise the temperature of the sea.

There is no sigmoid in that picture. After the ice is gone, the arctic will be an increasingly warmer ocean, a bad place for any straying ice.

Unless perhaps there is a safe part of the arctic. A place where the ice can go, but heat won't follow. I am looking for such signs, but found nothing yet with 20% of summer ice remaining.


On sigmoid or not sigmoid shape of the last remaining ice cover approaching meltout: I don´t know the physics behind it. But there is a recent paper that contains a figure that gives an implicit answer on how "the models" treat this. I think it has been cited before here.

This paper: (Massonnet et al)

Its Figure 4, "Phase space of the SSIE as simulated by the CMIP5 models under RCP8.5", plots the mean september ice extent against the rate of change of the september ice extent, for a varied selection of models. As discussed in the text, all models show a "U-shape" in their rate of change: the rates approach zero as the extent approaches zero. That is the behaviour of a sigmoid, and not the behaviour of a step change (or "crash" or "exponential boundary hit" or however one calls that).

As a nonphysicist I cant judge if the models are correct in showing this behaviour, but it is something that is common to all of them, and if its wrong (i. e. if Artful Dodger [above] is right) then they are all wrong. I´m hesitant to believe that. Rather, I see (and the paper itself also explicitly states) that their maximum rate of change occurs at remaining extents of circa 2-4 MKM. That means, the accelerating behaviour that is seen in ice extent loss, so far, is just what these models suggest (we would then be now nearing maximum loss rates, and could expect decreasing loss rates in a few years). The timing is off [don´t ask me why, ask them..], but so far the qualitative agreement between these models and reality seems OK to me. So "naively" I wouldnt yet bet on non-sigmoidal behaviour.

Another paper gives a pertinent comment, from the people of the AWI: (Since when is the AWI in Potsdam??)


"Beyond general weaknesses related to insufficient representation of feedback processes, it is found that the model’s ability to reproduce observed summer sea-ice retreat depends mainly on two factors: the correct simulation of the atmospheric circulation during the summer months and the seaice volume at the beginning of the melting period. Since internal model variability shows its maximum during the summer months, the ability to reproduce the observed atmospheric summer circulation is limited. In addition, the atmospheric circulation during summer also significantly affects the sea-ice volume over the years leading to a limited ability to start with reasonable sea-ice volume into the melting period."

I don´t see in that a suggestion that the models are qualitatively wrong (as they would be if they all missed a step change); only that they cant get the atmosphere (reaction) right yet and are too slow on the ice loss on account of that.

A step change that I could see (and maybe would be a bit along Artful Dodger´s reasoning if I understand that) might be if at some state the entire Arctic freshwater layer "collapses" or "destratifies" or however one should term that. Then maybe the ice could suddenly be gone in one big gulp. But all I can find to read from the scientists seems to suggest that =so far= there isnt a sign of that yet.

I´m aware that I am logically only "appealing to authority" here as I dont actually understand =why= the models underlying the Massonnet et al figure shows sigmoid-indicating U-shapes. But I will be slow to think that they all missed the boat like that.

(Maybe there is someone knowledgeable here who can explain why all the model output is signoidal, irrespective of whether it´s temporally correct?)

There is another even newer manuscript of Massonnet et al, that I just found. http://www.astr.ucl.ac.be/users/fmasson/tc-2012-99-manuscript-version1.pdf

Largely the same content, but more detailed. It predicts "summer sea ice free, < 1MKM)" (but "in 5 consecutive yrs") as being still 30 years or more off, based on those models that most closely agree with the PIOMAS volume estimates. Interestingly, the model trajectories in that paper (CMIP5) do show a steeper sigmoidal at the end than what´s in widely known CMIP3 projection graphics. Also, the model realisations therein show frequent short-time periods with very steep declines: As steep as we see today; yet they catch themselves. So could we then, conceivably, in the real reality. Based on what would we say that that is not so?

Kevin O'Neill
Heat always flows from warm to cool...

This seems to be one of the most poorly understood axioms of thermodynamics. The misapplication is almost universal on climate sites. The 2nd law is true in an idealized closed system; it has little application to weather or climate.

Ocean stratification, cool lake breezes, and any of a dozen different features of weather would not be possible if this were literally true all the time.

Seke Rob

Reminded me off the illustrious Dr. Roy, and buddy Christy (Who had the Southern Hemisphere warming last month, RSS had it cooling, same baseline I think to knock that off the argumentative points list, though irrelevant): http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/07/yes-virginia-cooler-objects-can-make-warmer-objects-even-warmer-still/



Chris Reynolds

Frank D,

Yes 0.25M may be too small.

Artful Dodger,

I disagree that heat content will be a sigmoid. In foreseeable timescales (next couple of decades) temperatures will shoot up.

Sigmoid curve:

The fourth power emission dependence on temperature means the Arctic will become a better emitter. However it is notable from NCEP/NCAR and PIOMAS seasonal volume loss how during the summer months (when volume is falling - peak loss in July) - temperature is 'pegged' so you simply don't get the large anomalies you see in autumn or winter.

Once the ice is gone you'll see temperatures shoot up - the negative emission feedback won't be able to oppose this - it merely stops the whole planet going Venus.

Chris Reynolds

I can't recall reading anything in the literature that explicitly explains why the models show the sigmoid tail. However it's my understanding that the reason is mainly the lower angle of the sun as the ice melt proceeds towards the pole at the end of the season.

This is still a factor. However the PIOMAS volume anomalies since 2010 suggests earlier volume loss. The retreat of ice in the early summer and earlier attainment of sea ice area/extent show faster retreat of ice during the season. The early summer AD also acts to bring ice melt earlier and plays a role in the previous two points.

So the first reason I no longer think the models are correct in the long sigmoid tail is that they're not showing summer melt that is as aggressive as reality.

The second reason is that while there is thicker ice off the CAA; the clear out of the CAA and repeated open water there in recent years, and the massive loss of thick ice over 2010, mean that the CAA and its Arctic coast is no longer a refuge.

Chris Reynolds

BTW - if anyone does know of any papers that explain the factors behind the sigmoid tail I'd be grateful.

Well, I'd be grateful, then I'd probably kick myself as I realise I'd read the paper and forgotten... :(


Dear Sirs

Please allow me to contribute a few lines of thought to this thread. Flying back home from Paris last night with a 170 knots tailwind, I realized that the surplus energy from the Tropics to the Arctic is not over yet this year.

Back of my pillow calculations this morning led me to the following conclusions:

Arctic sea ice volume has been decreasing about 1500 cubic km each year since the turn of the century. Greenland ice sheet volume has been decreasing recently - perhaps reaching 500 cubic km this year. In summary, about 2000 cubic km of ice is melting each year. This is eguivalent to the energy surplus from out CO2-emissions, I presume.

This ice melt equals a 30 by 30 km chunk of the Greenland ice-sheet (2 km thick on average) each year.

Since Greenland is about 2100 km long from N to S, it will take about 70 years to melt a 30 km slice of the ice-sheet. Considering an average width of 900 km., the Greenland ice-sheet, may take approximately 2100 years to melt down at the current rate of melting.

2100 years divided by 7 m of sea level rise means that Greeenland will contribute about 30 cm to global SLR by the end of this century. It is not a lot I agree, but none the less, enough to worry me.

I hope change is going to lower these figures.

All the best (and thank you to Neven for a wonderful blog).

Dan P.

Just a technical aside on radiated power being proportional to T^4. Across the small temperature changes we're referring to, the linearized version of this formula is just fine. Remember the 4th power curve starts at 0 K.

For example, compare the change from an average temp of 0° C to 4° C (273 to 277 K) to that in the first degree of change (273 to 274 K): (277^4 - 273^4)/(274^4 - 273^4) = 4.06. If you just assumed power radiated was linear in temperature, you'd get 4x as much, so this is only a 1.5% error in the calculated *change* of the heat balance over this change in temperature.

As a consequence the negative feedback from increase in radiated power doesn't particularly depend on the exponent over such relatively small changes in temperature. We really should think about the radiation feedback as just something that steadily increases in strength with temperature, which means it will eventually overwhelm any forcing that does not also continue to rise (e.g. fixed higher levels of CO2). But the mere presence of the large exponent in the underlying law doesn't mean it necessarily overwhelms forcings that also continue to rise (e.g. increasing levels of CO2).

As far as I can tell none of this affects the arguments A.D. and Chris were making, though.


Trying to digest and put in words what I have learnt in recent weeks. Should I believe the models with still-long tail of summer ice or a Wipneus-style extrapolation to 0 before the decade is out? I´ll try to list, happy to be corrected where wrong.

Loss of ice in very general terms is due to enhanced energy input from above. Not from ocean heat yet as ice is still isolated in its "fresh water bath". But no more energy comes from sun than always; therefore imbalance is due to less energy loss in winter due to GHG. Summer sun heats top water layer through ice; that can lose less heat in winter; therefore less ice growth, therefore decreasing thickness; therefore increased summer energy input etc. ... That is in my understanding the basic mechanism of change.

Summer ice goes to zero if winter ice growth gets so thin that summer energy input is sufficient to melt it fully. A "tail" would then require that theres a region in which winter ice growth is hard to make thin. That could be the region of longest polar night - quite independent of atmosphere or ocean currents.

In the Laptev last winter new ice was constantly blown away (into the transpolar drift) (ref), letting it act as one giant semi-polynya, or ice machine. Consequently ice there was only 40 cm thick in spring (ref), which melted out fully. In earlier times, ice there could grow over a meter, and didnt melt out fully. So I would have to ask, given that someone took magically away all ice in september and let it completely regrow in one winter, would it then grow thick enough at the pole to survive the next summer? If so then that would be a mechanism for the "tail": winter regrowth-from-scratch thickness could recede only slowly polewards, (in a balance between increasing thickness of the GHG filter, and length of the polar night). That might be not very concerned with weather and ice drift.

That reminds me. Did not someone couple years back publish a numerical experiment doing just that? Magic Ice Removal? Didnt they find that it came back in a couple of years? Doesnt that imply that if these calculations were right then there is a tail?

OK, did that seem logical to anyone? I´m just groping in the dark, as many.


Up thread, on 22-Sep, at 07:52 Chris Reynolds refers to "really poor people" and "the truly poor," followed by Werther's 10:37 reference to "the less fortunate." While I typically find the comments from both of these gentlemen to be astute, rational and generally accurate, I feel I must interject and propose an unorthodox perspective.

First I must ask, Why is it "those" people are poor or less fortunate? Would that not presuppose the question, Why are people in the OECD countries (and more than a few others), in general, more fortunate? Consider that neither statement/query is accurate. If one were to look "more closelier," would it not be most appropriate to say that "we," the people of the more fortunate countries/regions live more, perhaps 'too,' rapaciously? Where is it written that humans must always and only pursue "bigger, faster, longer, more..." ad infinitum? Why is such pursuit equated to better and progress? When corporations (of any kind) talk about "externalizing risk," why is there never any mention of "where" their alleged external realm exists? If the "risk" is external to that company exclusively, does that not imply that every company/person/thing 'outside' the externalizing company bears that risk? Why are "we" allowing this paradox to continue? As another astute being (Jiddu Krishnamurti) once observed, It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

Back to the ice...

I find myself wondering if any of the excellent commentators (or lurkers) here at ASI or the scientists we all so eagerly follow have ever done any of their own experiments with ice, water and heat beyond in situ observational field research. I also wonder what thoughts any of you may have regarding Newton's Law of Heating & Cooling.

Fairfax Climate Watch

P-maker, what about forcing? GHG has been rising, and there is pressumed to be at least 30 years of significant continued accelerated forcing in the pipeline already. If atm. CO2 is going up at 3% yr-1, then shouldn't the min. vol. decline yr-1 proxy you suggest also change by that much per year? And then if you include water vapor increases as ASI extent declines, plus albedo change from NH snow cover, seems that the 2000km3 starting loss rate should increase by at least 3% per year, maybe more like 6 or 10%. at the hypothetical 10%, the rate of loss quickly moves up to 10,000km3 and then 100,000km3 yr-1 and so on - until GIS is gone in something like 40 years from today.


Colincr, good morning,

Let me be more specific as to what I mean writing ‘the less fortunate’.
I mean people who get hit by natural disaster. Not in a sense of those who have less material wealth in this world. On the content of your post...I agree.

On Newton… he’s IMHO an exponent of the deconstructive rationality that got us where we are in the first place. That’s why I love Goethe.FI his colour theory was beautifully elegant, albeit subjective. It was art, and couldn’t do any harm.

Hi M. Owens,
I love fancy calcs too. But imagining the GIS fading within 40 years…. I guess you are ironic here. On some parameters you mention, I have been musing a lot. There must be ‘more in the pipeline’ (warming) based on what we already emitted. It has loaded all kinds of physical processes that have a certain ‘bandwidth’ before they get to another mode. And that is usually not equated in climate models.


I've been catching up on links and comments and have just seen the vid posted by steve gregory, a quicker loading version is on the cool vids post[second vid]. Clearly no-one shares my view of the cause of the excess heat in the beaufort, but from 18sec+/- into the vid there appear to be pulsed wisps of melt stretching from barrow point across to banks island which then back up into mackenzie bay, and they seem to follow on from changes passing through the bering strait. Anyone else see this?


Johnm33, I had noticed your comments and the rest of the discussion wrt the heat in the Beaufort Sea. When writing the Ocean Heat Flux blog post, I based myself on this synthesis report (PDF). In the section on Bering Strait mention is made of the Alaskan Coastal Current:

Since 2001, an extra mooring has been added to measure a seasonal, warm, fresh coastal current on the US side of the strait, the Alaskan Coastal Current.


The above estimates are based on near-bottom data, using a simple approach (based on satellite data and summer hydrographic stations) to include the substantial contributions from the Alaskan Coastal Current and stratification in the upper water column. While only ~ 0.1 Sv in volume, the Alaskan Coastal Current is believed to contribute one-third of the heat and one quarter of the freshwater fluxes through the strait.

Could that have something to do with it?



I can see from Healy she is getting into warmer areas both water and air wise:


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