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Ac A

Hi Neven, here is another, at CBS:




Thanks, Alexander. That's a pretty good 1 minute report. Record - scientists stunned - possible effects on the jet stream.

Do y'all feel there's a shift wrt "knowledge about the Arctic and the consequences of disappearing sea ice"? Could this be common knowledge in 2-3 years?



"Do y'all feel there's a shift wrt "knowledge about the Arctic and the consequences of disappearing sea ice"? Could this be common knowledge in 2-3 years?"

I am not sure about that, I think extremely heavy forces will prevent that from happening especially in the current global economical situation, but I am convinced that those heavy forces know exactly what is going on and some of the dire consequences!

Jim Hunt

Arctic sea ice thickness visualisation courtesy of SMOS - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xgM4c7VBUc

4 views so far!

Tim D

There is pretty good coverage of this topic here in Europe, is it really the case that most US Americans don't know that the Arctic ice has hit a record low this summer?

I liked the Young Turks video as he's clearly an ordinary media guy listening to what the scientists are saying but putting it across as a layman. He touches on the subject of "what if the scientists are wrong". I have heard this a few times and given that many of the "climate deniers" are on the right of the political spectrum isn't the best argument for them that the Risk - that means dollar cost - of making the wrong decision on climate change is much much higher if the do nothing policy turns out to be wrong as opposed to the cost of rapidly curbing CO2 emissions turns out to be wrong.

Mary A Bein

"There is pretty good coverage of this topic here in Europe, is it really the case that most US Americans don't know that the Arctic ice has hit a record low this summer?"

The media here in the US are starting to cover the minimum sea ice story now that the new record is here. As you see in the CBS minute there are even pieces that don't have the "he said/she said" equivalency that has been part and parcel of media coverage so far. However there are too many people in this country that believe Jesus rode the dinosaurs or that an ice free arctic means more oil and gas to burn. What is worse is that no politician in this country (US) wants to buck the "big boys" of the fossil fuel industry.

By the way, I am a "newbie" since I only started watching this blog since the great arctic cyclone of 2012 in August and most of the posters on this site have taught me so much and I am grateful for that; and kudos to Neven for such a wonderful site.


Good stuff, but what the first NASA video shows is not only one cyclone but many criss crossing the Arctic ocean. The greatest meaning of this is that it was cloudy all while first year ice more or less disappears in the reverse way it was formed from last years refreeze. In other words, the ice was thinner all a while multiple cyclones penetrated the Arctic ocean even in the dead of winter.
What we see here is the new weather look of Arctic weather largely driven by thinner ice which is novel since this melt did not require the sun.


Again the first NASA video shows winds coming from Ellesmere and Greenland almost continuously throughout the sequence. These are due mainly a normal circulation in part of a low almost always crashing over Baffin Bay. It is perhaps the biggest reason why the ice doesn't break up on the NW pf the Canadian archipelago. Its the last stand of ice during the summer keeping the air cooler over that region.

Conrad Schmidt

"(who also made this stunning video of ocean currents)"
Quote from Neven re NASA. They cover all ocean currents except the arctic!


Different topic -- has anyone noticed the British Environmental Audit Committee Report, issued this morning. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmenvaud/171/17102.htm

Conclusions are at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmenvaud/171/17108.htm


Hi! It's my first time on this blog, thanks for the excellent videos! I'm actually finishing a class where we have spoke about the icecap melting yesterday. It might not be a video, but I think it is worth sharing:
It's showing the extend of the icesheet melt in Greenland in just four days ( 8th of July - 12th of July).

And here's a video of the result of that melt on a bridge.



Oops — the date on the British Environmental Audit Committee Report says Sept 12 (not this morning).

Travis Fisher

There is a sea ice skeptic article out today at The Register : http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/21/arctic_antarctic_sea_ice_record/

Main points:
(1) the antarctic sea ice extent this year is over +2 sigma, partly balancing low artic ice
(2) losing sea ice doesn't raise sea level
(3) ice fluctuations have been observed for centuries
(4) "ice free" doesn't mean no ice, just no big ice areas
(5) gcm models show easy recovery from ice free summer to normal extent

conclusion: nothing to worry about!

I would look for (1) to be the new skeptic go-to point for the near future.

Jim Hunt

@Donald - Thanks for the heads up. The report was only published online on "September 20th". A brief(ish) extract from the conclusions:

A collapse of summer sea-ice, increased methane emissions from thawing permafrost, runaway melting of the Greenland ice-sheet, and a collapse of the thermo-haline circulation, may all be approaching in the Arctic and will have disastrous consequences for global climate and sea levels. These together comprise a wake-up call to reinvigorate efforts to tackle climate change. A lack of consensus on precisely how fast any tipping points are approaching in the Arctic should not be used as an argument for inaction; rather it demonstrates the need for continued and sustained research to underpin further action."

Just more hot air?

Andy Lee Robinson

Tamino did a great smackdown of the Antarctic "Look Squirrel!" response.

Alan Clark

Travis: "I would look for (1) to be the new skeptic go-to point for the near future."

I agree, I have seen several people making the same sort of claim in comments to articles.

Jim Williams

1. I think "Hot Vids" would be a better topic title.

2. Jim Hunt, I think the first sentence states rather clearly what I think is wrong with this kind of "report". It says: "There is growing evidence that the damaging effects of climate change are being felt strongly in the Arctic. " I would rephrase it as: "There is growing evidence that the effects of strong climate change in the Arctic are damaging to Homo Sapiens' interests." To state "damage" without specifying damage to whom is totally meaningless. From a purely objective viewpoint it is merely change.


There will be more out on the methane increases as we go through fall.

If IASI 2 is made available during its test/calibration period, after Oct 29, we may have better imagery than the current IASI capabilities.

We have had a couple of hints from the Russian expeditions.

I will update the methane site as soon as the data is available.

Lars Kaleschke

Here is another video on ice thickness. Watch out for the upcoming ESA webstory:



That's a great thickness animation, Lars (where can I rent these Visualization people?). As stated above, Noiv turned it into a YouTube clip.


I've prepared some response on the remarks Trevor made above and took advantage of it to do some preliminary research on the coming Antarctic summer.

1. So the claim is that there’s more Antarctic sea ice extent than compared to the period 1979-2008 mean, up to 2 standard deviations. Statistically, that may be right. But is it significant?

Not when volume is considered.

Except from parts in the Weddell Sea, most of the current 16 Mkm2 melts out each Antarctic summer. The important property is ice volume. I have no indication that the FYI Antarctic winter pack ice is much different from the similar ice during the Arctic winter.
Maybe the brine content is a bit lower. I expect that because of stratified layering of summer melt water. The Antarctic environment has zonal protection through atmospheric and oceanic currents. There is a great difference in geography with the Arctic.
On the same ground, I hold thickness over there likewise 1.8 m at maximum.
Concentration, according to CT, is about 80%.
A quick calc suggests 23.000 km3 of FYI on a regular basis. This volume is much less volatile than extent through the years.
So what matters is that unlike the Antarctic, volume has dropped in the Arctic from 28.000 to 22.000 km3 in winter and from 12.000 to 3.000 km3 in summer.
The northern summer cumulative at present looks like 3 + 23 = 26.000 km3, the sum during northern winter 2 + 22 = 24.000 km3. The 1979-2011 mean was 12 + 23 = 35.000 km3 and 2 + 28 = 30.000 km3.
The bipolar year round mean decrease in volume must be around 7.500 km3, about -23%.

The trend is significant, consistent and accelerating. Could it reverse? Yes, weren’t it for a nice blanket of extra greenhouse gases, centered on the Northern Hemisphere. Water +4%, methane +9%, carbondioxide +41%.

2. That sounds reassuring, but it isn’t. This is a good example of focusing on just one aspect and forgetting the collateral damage from loosing significant sea ice cover. Climate/weather change and land-ice sheet behaviour are strongly dependent on balanced sea-ice cover.

3. Documented observations have been very limited in time and space and do not occur before 1550 AD. To assess the fluctuations, we depend on scientific means developed during the last three decades. There is no indication there has been a rapid change like we are witnessing now through any geological timeframe. At least, not in this short and widespread time and space.

4. It was clear all summer there were bits and pieces outside the relevant +15% concentration in the Chukchi, around Wrangell Island and maybe elsewhere. Their relevance in terms of volume is almost zero. Maybe the only effect that is relevant is that that debris could sustain refreeze.

5. With all due respect for the hard work of model developers, the models are mostly relevant as for predicting the trend. They are not yet fit to make adequate predictions in time and space.

BTW Gavin has an interesting entry on the attribution of severe weather through climate modelling on RealClimate.

LBNL Pine Island Glacier shows a second large rupture some km’s north of the one we saw coming through last January. And temps have been anomalously high on 1000 and 850 Mb all through winter over Antarctica.
So what about next summer?


Travis Fisher, September 21, 16:32, and the graphics hot shots here,

There is a sea ice skeptic article out today at The Register:

(1) the antarctic sea ice extent this year is over +2 sigma, partly balancing low artic ice

I would look for (1) to be the new skeptic go-to point for the near future.

Complete agree with Travis and see good evidence of the last sentence occurring, though without the “partial balancing” qualification. I believe a seasonal (suggest April – October and the corresponding SH months ) graph of the trends in Arctic and Antarctic sea ice plotted together would be highly useful in countering this rhetorical bumf. A line graph I’d think. Suggest full legend w/data source on graphic and and Neven hosting (trading on this blog’s growing rep) if he’s willing, so a simple link grab is all that's needed to propagate.

A graph that’s honest in conveying the trend in both hemispheres, when it is material, to help educate on changing albedo impacts, not simply torpedo the Antarctica red-herring.

Tamino’s graphs just up are excellent, but I’d think one focused on when there’s solar gain rather than annual average or yearly max or min, and in actual units rather than anomalies like the one Cryosphere Today stopped updating


would be most useful.


That might be a good initiative. It would surely be better and more appelaing than my simple calcs above.
CT has a combined yearly mean extent graph, but that one hides the true state. A split in seasonal sums may be more illustrative.
One on volume would be the best, but I presumethe necessary data are lacking...


To top it off for the day, I've read the new weekly report from Polarstern.
Through a lot of interesting biospheric info, two parts were of specific interest to me:

'The seafloor of the Siberian Arctic is not littered with trash yet. In all other ocean areas, including the giant South Pacific, litter is already found every few hundred square meters.'

'The daily satellite sea ice data continue to surprise us - just how much the face of the Arctic cryosphere has changed during the 6 weeks of our expedition.'


Werther, Whitebeard:

I suggest not proceeding down that route with the antarctic data. That can lead to the two sides just talking numbers to each other - the majority (who we are trying to persuade) can get fed up with both sides and lose interest.
It will be better to focus on why the antarctic figure is not matching the arctic melt even though the antartic is warming. AGW will impact different regions in different (often unpredictable) ways at different times - this is a key message. actually in this case the mechanism seems to be quite straightforward and is understood. in other scenarios it may not be. Also what do you say in the future if antarctic increase is greater than arctic decrease? This is theoretically possible because the annual arctic decrease is bounded (and getting more bounded all the time) and the antarctic increase is in the short term unbounded.


As it happens, I just sent Neven an e-mail concerning just the kind of graphical data that Whitebeard has suggested. Countering antarctic nonsense once and for all really requires a comarison of only three graphs. First, compare the decadal averages and full 33-year CT data on antarctic sea ice area,
with the decadal (and selected recent year) sea ice area data for the arctic,
Nothing of statistical significance is going on as far as antarctic sea ice area is concerned - period - end of story. The last six years of antarctic ice shows nothing more than the degree of scatter about the long-term mean that one should expect from any arbitrarily selected six year interval in the antarctic ice record:

The response to a denier who dredges up an argument involving antarctic ice as a distraction from what is going on in the arctic is, basically, "Look at the graphs and answer the following question: If the arctic sea ice data showed the either the long- or near-term behavior that the antarctic sea ice data shows, do think that an Arctic Sea Ice blog would even exist?" Of course, you could go further and point out that antarctic land ice, like the Greenland land ice, has shown a very clear statistically significant decline over the past decade at least.

Chris Reynolds


Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!

That mindless jerk Lewis Page doesn't even have the guts to post an accompanying image of the NISDC plot of Arctic sea ice.

Double figure IQ drivel.

Are The Register trying to give people the impression that people in IT are gullible and incapable of sceptical thought?

Artful Dodger

Let's extend the comparison made here on Aug 13, 2012

If the Antarctic Ice Sheet were the size of the largest elephant ever weighed (10,900 kg), then Antarctic Winter sea ice is a 4.8 kg Turkey.

The Antarctic is a continent covered with ice averaging 1.7 kilometers thick. In the Winter, it is surrounded with seasonal sea ice averaging 1 meter thick. Every Summer, almost all ( >90% ) of this sea ice melts.

Raw or cooked, its still a Turkey. While skeptics ignore the Elephant.

More discussion at Skeptical Science:
"Is Antarctica losing or gaining ice?"


Artful Dodger

When looking at it this way, it is no different than when WUWT remarks about how fast the Arctic freezes each winter.

Simply not relevant.

However this will be an effective argument for decades as the Antarctic ice will recover each winter.


(Sorry to introduce that "M" word again, Neven)

They showed the video from here at our local Astronomical Soc. meeting the other week, its about Noctilucent Clouds and their possible connection to increased levels of methane. I hadn't heard about this before, maybe you all already had?!
They get to that part about 3mins in.


Artful Dodger

Hi, Djprice537

Yes, Antarctic sea ice is:

  • miniscule compared to the land ice sheet,
  • almost entirely seasonal, and
  • shows no significant trend.

Antarctica is more the Summit of the collapsing house of cards which is the deniosphere.

Kia ora, Clare!

There's been a couple occasions where Commenter A J P discussed the methane / noctilucent clouds connection.

My favorite is a discussion featuring Chris Reynolds, Commenter 'Old Leatherneck' (Semper Fi!), and 'A J P' on August 26, 2012 at 11:50 in the "Records Dominoes 8" thread.

I am fascinated. This feels like one of those unknown unknowns. Please continue!



Tena koe Lodger, :-)
I can see I should have searched the blog a bit harder re. the noctilucent clouds first 'cos I had actually read those posts too (it is hard to keep up with you all & especially all your brain power!).
What actually focussed my attention to this is that the Astronomy group seems to be a 'bastion of (v nice) climate change deniers' & here the Pres. actually mentioned the CC term before showing the clip!
At the meeting the month before he had asked me if I'd seen how the recent solar flares had caused the extreme Greenland ice sheet melt.....
I try to be on my best behaviour there but sometimes it is quite hard!

Now another clip/trailer for a movie which I imagine many of you will have already seen = Chasing Ice. I'm reeeeally looking forward to seeing this on a BIG screen, not just glimpses as photos on my screen & in his book. It's showing in the next town this coming weekend as part of the NZ International Film Festival!


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