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Aaron Lewis

Rob & Terry,
Older sea ice often floats in its own relatively fresh melt water, which floats on more saline water below. Thus, the bottom of the sea ice is often closer to 0C than to -1.9C.

We have reports of "slush ice" that looks like thick MYI, but which has been partially melted, resulting in granules of ice weakly frozen together. The mass contains significant volumes of water and air. Cold will seal the mass, allowing the air to insulate the core of the ice. Any heat allows water to percolate through the mass, advecting heat through the volume. Here, heat has to include stress from drift, so winter winds can transfer heat to the core of the ice, even when they are well below freezing. And, films of water, wrapped around ice granules, are very good at absorbing sun light. Thus, ice can be absorbing light and melting, even when the surface air temperature is below freezing.

Chris Reynolds

Steve Bloom,

Ah yes! I should have remembered, I gave it a read and gave up I'm afraid, I'll await the English version. I'm busy trying to improve the area calculations for the PIOMAS gridded data so everything else has gone out of my mind right now. I'll be posting tabulated PIOMAS volume by thickness categories, but want to improve the area first (following a suggestion from Wipneus some time back).

I'm going to watch the new Dr Francis Video tomorrow.

R Gates,

Thanks for the clarification.


Re the temperature of melt, and whether sea ice can melt from within, see also...


There are certain algae which have evolved to live within the ice, and can engineer it, by producing a natural anti-freeze that brings the melting point down to -10C.

Jim Hunt

Further to my recent reference, I note that Baron Stern of Brentford has been hobnobbing with the great and the good in Davos this week:


According to the Grauniad:

"Lord Stern, author of the government-commissioned review on climate change that became the reference work for politicians and green campaigners, now says he underestimated the risks, and should have been more "blunt" about the threat posed to the economy by rising temperatures."

Steve Bloom

There's a shorter Q+A video also now posted, featuring JF and a NOAA presenter.

Of note is a comment from her that Alaska and the British Isles are in for even more interesting times in terms of extreme weather.

Steve Bloom

Great and largely bad, I'd say, Jim. :)

Steve Bloom

Hansen has loaded climate dice, Francis has a stacked deck of cards, but from Jim's link I see that Stern cuts right to the chase:

"Do we want to play Russian roulette with two bullets or one?"

Jim Hunt

Quite so Steve. I guess it's good news from Davos that the new president of the World Bank says he will "make tackling climate change a priority". Unfortunately he also said:

"We have to find climate-friendly ways of encouraging economic growth. The good news is we think they exist"

which sounds a lot like clicking another bullet into yet another chamber to me.


Is anyone know about daily information about snow cover? Cryosphere Today have it, but only as a map. Does someone provide this as values?


Lanevn, try Rutgers University Global Snow Lab.

Unfortunately he also said:

"We have to find climate-friendly ways of encouraging economic growth. The good news is we think they exist"

Have you ever heard the Pope say: We're going to reorganize church structures by dispensing with the Bible? :-)


I'll be updating the Arctic methane release info later today.

In summary, there is a layer of high concentration CH4 over the Barents and Kara seas that has readings above 1950 PPBv that has been fairly persistent.


The AIRS/Aqua/Giovanni and METOP A IASI CH4 imagery has been updated through Jan 20. I will add the AIRS Google Earth imagery later.

Bottom line: The AIRS/Giovanni images show higher concentrations (above 1900 PPBv) of CH4 than either 2011 or 2012 across the CAB or Siberia at 359 mb.


The METOP B imagery will be updated later today.

Bob Wallace

"We have to find climate-friendly ways of encouraging economic growth. The good news is we think they exist"

The now underway transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is going to produce a great amount of economic activity.

Any country that has a major outlay for the health damage caused by burning coal is going to find the cost somewhat offset by reducing health costs. (The US for example.)

Some of the cost is going to be covered by the "it was time to replace the facility anyway" normal expenses of utilities.

As we bring more fuel-free generation on line the cost (both financial and in GHG emissions)will decrease.

The least developed parts of the world, where people rely on kerosene for lighting, are getting micro-solar systems installed at a rate of over 1,000 per day. Over a million systems have been installed to date. And that rate is about to get tripled or better.

By making monthly payments less than they were making to purchase kero they will pay off their system in a couple of years. That leaves them more money now and even more money once the system is paid off.

This reduces CO2 and black carbon/soot as well as makes significant changes in economic activity at the very bottom of economies.


The METOP 2/B IASI CH4 imagery has been updated through 012613 pm.

There are high methane concentrations over the Norwegian, Barents and Kara Seas for the last few weeks and few days, as high as 2140 PPBv.


Jim Hunt

Hello again Bob,

I note you haven't yet responded to my earlier question to you, so at the risk of repeating myself:

"Do you foresee the US implementing anything like the Oz plan in the near future?"

Here's a follow up question for you. Do you agree with the World Bank that "encouraging economic growth" is a good idea?


How can you ask a question like
"Do you agree with the World Bank that "encouraging economic growth" is a good idea?" to Bob after the post he made above.

It would seem more natural (and perhaps it is sufficiently implicit) to ask:

Should we target economic growth in general regardless of whether carbon intensive or not or should we target rapid increase in renewable energy, energy efficiency and efficient products even if that means a net loss of economic activity compared to targeting economic growth regardless of carbon intensity?

That should be a no brainer but then how much economic activity should we be willing to sacrifice for how much reduction in carbon emissions?


Question: IJIS has not updated since Jan 24 -- http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

Does anyone know why, or how soon they will resume?




There is an article on BBC this morning in regards to sustainable future development in relation to climate impacts.

The article title is: Savings needed to meet future demand for resources

The link is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21203336

Jim Hunt

@Crandles - Would it be overly pedantic of me to point out I simply typed my questions into a little box? If you're wondering why I typed those two questions, it's because they don't tightly constrain the answers, and Bob still hasn't got around to answering the first one yet!

In addition I've been (virtually!) sat on some US Smart Grid committees for a few years, and I'm not terribly impressed with progress thus far. See for example:


@A4R - Thanks very much for that link. It hadn't appeared on my radar screen via any other route as yet. Might I humbly suggest that Bob and any other interested parties at least follow the links and read the first two papers?



"micro-solar systems installed at a rate of over 1,000 per day."

And the world population growth is about 200,000 per day.
That makes it a really big effort.

Ghoti Of Lod

Looks like JAXA has begun to release AMSR2 data and Uni Bremen has begun to produce sea ice concentration maps with it.


Bob Wallace

I'm sorry, I don't know what "the Oz plan" is. I haven't noticed any questions you aimed at me.

I'll give you my very basic idea of what we need to do.

1) We need to switch our energy sources to renewables.

2) We need to switch our manufacturing to sustainable materials.

There is no one route to get from where we are to where we need to get. We'll have to figure that out as we go.

I think we should take the things that are proving themselves right now and multiply them.

If we can install 1,000 micro-solar systems a day in Bangladesh, do it at a cost that actually saves end-users money, and cuts both CO2 and soot then we should expand that program many times over.

Take that program which is demonstrably working, providing its own continuing funding, and creating jobs and start one everywhere that people need it.

If we can do 1,000 a day we can set up 200+ similar programs and stay way ahead of population growth. You know there are vastly more than 200 people in the world who would love to run a program, help people and make themselves a salary.

In a few years essentially no one would be using kerosene for lighting. Billions would be breathing cleaner air and have more money in their pockets.

We need to take the technologies that are working - wind, solar, geothermal, hydro and tidal and figure out how to accelerate their growth.

We need to subsidize EVs and PHEVs enough to create adequate manufacturing volume and bring their prices down.

These are things we can do right now. We can do most of them with sustainable inputs while we seek replacements for the inputs that aren't sustainable.

Now, this one...

"Should we target economic growth in general regardless of whether carbon intensive or not or should we target rapid increase in renewable energy, energy efficiency and efficient products even if that means a net loss of economic activity compared to targeting economic growth regardless of carbon intensity?"

That's a long version of "Would your rather have your hand or your foot cut off?"

The answer, obviously, is "Neither!".

How about we put some real force behind installing renewables knowing that will increase economic activity?

In the US we have about 90,000 people working in the coal business. We're getting about 36% of our electricity from coal. Coal-electricity costs us between 15 and 20 cents per kWh. (External costs included.)

In 2011 we had about 75,000 people working in the wind industry. We got 2.9% of our electricity from wind. The median LCOE for
wind-electricity is now $0.06/kWh. (No subsidies.)

Wind is cheaper than coal. Paying less for energy boosts the economy.

Wind is supporting many more employees per GWh while paying less for the electricity.

Boost wind installation and a lot more people earn paychecks. A lot more money is going to slosh around in the economy, lifting everyone's boats.

The same conditions hold for other renewables.

Solar is cheaper than coal if we do full accounting. It creates lots of jobs. It helps cut health care costs helping to shut down coal.

IMHO if we strongly tackle CO2 emissions we will boost economies around the world.


Bob Wallace

Ah, I found your post to me Jim. It was part of a larger one.

The Oz plan. Well, wonderful if it can be made to happen. I really don't think the US could transition that quickly off fossil fuels. It would be great if we could, but political and practical issues would, I suspect, make it impossible.

The US needs a plan but a plan on paper won't do a lot unless there is a larger buy-in from a large majority of voters. And I don't think they are quite there yet.

I accept the fact that the US is likely to be a lagger rather than a leader when it comes to cutting GHG emissions (even though it is one of the world's worst in terms of per capita emissions).

If we have a couple more years of extreme weather hitting the US (extreme weather in other countries does not get attention in the US) then I suspect we'll see pressure put on even Republican politicians.

What we do have going for us in the US is that (subsidized) solar is just about to reach end-user parity over much of the country. I expect solar installation rates to soar over the next two years.

And wind has gained enough political power to keep it from being jerked around by subsidy funding from here forward. (Plus the wind industry believes that it is about five years away from needing no more subsidies.)

We're going to make progress. We've got about 100 coal plants scheduled for early closure. We're now seeing non-hydro renewables at just under 6% of total electricity generated. That number should start to grow quicker. But it may take us another year or two or three to get really serious about tackling climate change.

We have a problem that I don't think any other country has to our extent. Two of the richest people in the world are funding a campaign of disinformation and keeping the greater public confused.



"We have a problem that I don't think any other country has to our extent. Two of the richest people in the world are funding a campaign of disinformation and keeping the greater public confused."
In Italy they had Berlusconi and are going to get him again - it looks like a lot of poeple really enjoy getting disinformed and greatefully (re)elect the strangest leaders for entertainment.

In Germany we just had some luck in the Lower Saxony election a week ago - green&left oposition has now majority in the federal council and is able to delay the "eco-limit" until the big election in autumn... On the other hand, politics start to hand eco-things to EU - that is the first step away, because eco-laws move from "our-good-national-law" to "thoose-EU-burocrats-usual-bad-law" and then its ruined for long...


Has anyone heard why no data has been published by IJIS since January 24?

IJIS sea ice extent: http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm


Updated Artic methane through January 27 pm. CH4 concentration as high as 2150 PPBv at 718 mb across the Barents, Kara seas.


Otto Lehikoinen

Any guesses when and if the transpolar drift forms this winter? Now it looks like what ever build up of ice happens in Kara Sea coast, after a while it moves to the outflow near Greenland. The circulation seems to be slower now than week ago, but still somewhat oddly placed.


I have been following your amazing blog for quite some time now, when I found it linked on my favorite weather page www.alberniweather.ca.
And after thinking it over, I believe it's time we named this new age we have created.
I propose ANTHROPOGENCENE or ANTHROPOGENECENE depending on which is more grammatically correct.
I prefer the 2nd if pushed for a choice.
I have been considering when this new age started and I believe phase 1 was since the industrial age started, and the 2nd phase started when the Co2 spike began it's steady rise and the ice it's death spiral.



The Anthropocene is an informal geologic chronological term that serves to mark the evidence and extent of human activities that have had a significant global impact on the Earth's ecosystems. The term was coined recently by ecologist Eugene F. Stoermer, but has been widely popularized by the Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist, Paul Crutzen, who regards the influence of human behavior on the Earth's atmosphere in recent centuries as so significant as to constitute a new geological epoch for its lithosphere. To date, the term has not been adopted as part of the official nomenclature of the geological field of study.



UNI-Bremen is back again to AMSR, that is AMSR2 of course.

Even better, they finally got their graph right too - look at the yellow 2012 line.

Don't forget to alter your bookmarks.


Thanks crandles for your info. I agree completely with Paul but think that ANTHROPOGENECENE sounds scarier and we need scary right now.


2013 down under http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr2/extent_s_running_mean_amsr2_previous.png

Artful Dodger

Borehole drilled into Antarctica's Lake Whillans produces first results:



Just Testing

Arctic Sea Ice Monitor just took a 0.5 mln dive.


IJIS has updated, but very erroneous. I expect the lacunes will be filled and the data corrected soon. Maybe they’re introducing AMSR-2 data?

On the current extent-situation; I think it reflects the remarkable fall-winter characteristics up to now.
NCEP-NCAR shows a large part of the Arctic anomalously warm at 1000Mb (15/09-27/01). In fact, the warmest as far as I’ve been comparing the last few years. I know DMI temps above 80dgN do not fully parallel that, but that represents about 15% of the Arctic.
At the moment, I’m hypothesizing that the SSW/AO induced (not so very-)cold outbreaks and anomalous winds supported extent growth, but thin, in the peripheral seas.

Compared to ’11-’12, covering the Bering Sea and Baffin Bay less, the Kara Sea more. Though it is hard to tell, the freeze is generally too weak to really boost ice thickness. OTOH, while the winds do create a lot of leads, new ice may form in these, compensating some of the lacking thickness growth.

Anyhow, I don’t think that this will significantly influence the trend in spring-/summer melt. Most of it is FYI. And with a continuation of a ‘warm’ lower troposphere over the Arctic, sunlight will soon accentuate that trend.


Testing observed:

just took a 0.5 mln dive

Meaning every now and then IARC-Jaxa has a bit of a problem on his turn too.

But as UBI-Bremen finally has got it right we do have sufficient a consolation, don't we?


... and meanwhile daylight has returned to Svalbard

Albeit it will be completely dark in half an houre or so.

Matt Arkell

I've just done a quick pixel count on the last few DMI 80degN graphs, trying to get a handle on temps over the winter, and came up with some interesting numbers.

Figured I might as well share them. The numbers are the net number of pixels above the ERA 40 line from when it dips below 273K, and the T/D value is until the 29/1 in each winter, while Total is the total for the "winter" (from when ERA40 goes below 273, to when it gets back to it).

T/D: 6190 px
Total: 12470 px

T/D: 6712 px
Total: 12680 px

T/D: 11424 px

The methodology is crude, so it's not exact, but this winter is already at approximately the final value for the last couple of years, when it would normally be about half that.

Whether this actually means anything or not remains to be seen, and I don't have time at the moment to dig further (bed then work beckons), but I don't take this as a particularly encouraging sign for the ice this year.

Artful Dodger

Hi folks,

Looking at the IJIS SIE data provided in their .csv file, it looks like AMSR-2/WCOM1 went into constrained mode on Jan 24/25, 2013 (IJIS data is "-9999" for that date).

So then, checking NOAA's spaceweather weekly highlights, I see this report:

"On 23 January, a large filament eruption was observed off the northeast quadrant of the visible disk. LASCO C2/C3 and STEREO A/B COR2 imagery supported an associated CME with this event. SWPC forecaster analysis and WSA-Enlil models runs indicated this event was Earth directed, however very little affects would be observed upon arrival."

So, JAXA likely put WCOM1 into constrained mode to weather the CME event. This of course shuts down observations and communications.

P.S. This is part of the 11-year solar cycle. Look at the IJIS .csv file again, this time focusing on 2002. See how many "-9999" entries there are compared to 2007/08?

H1NT: look up in the polar sky. If there is a strong aurora, the satellites may have to go to sleep until it passes.

H2NT: Sometimes, it really IS the Sun ;^)


Climate Changes

An interesting and positive outcome of earlier Springs: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130129171427.htm


Werther, after weeks of the almost exactly the same pressure pattern, of a High 90E > 180 W >90W degrees longitude and a Low or multiple Lows hanging about 90W >0 >90E circumpolar longitudes (except for Greenland and Northern Ellesmere), while I am not a fan of the theory of persistence, if this pattern continues, it seems Arctic sunrise rays will hit exactly where most of the thinnest ice is. Doesn't look good for a recovery, the opposite pattern would be better, whereas the open water areas having sunlight is more warming than just clouds, while clouds over thin ice would better cool its surface. There is no apparent break in the current pattern. Heavily influence by open sea water an a particular jet stream pattern meandering much less mirroring the geographical sea surface ice/water cover stalemate. April will be certainly be the month to predict this coming melt season. Give it a month and we will have a better idea, in between I have been detecting a strange
continuing adiabatic lapse rate tendency immediately off surface,
it can be due to the overall heat injected by all the open water including the numerous leads. Waiting for the sun to confirm all this.



Looking at the monitor page http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/cgi-bin/seaice-monitor.cgi AMSR-2/WCOM1 was operational on 24/25 Jan. If something went into constrained mode it must have been this WindSat bird that does the measurements for the extent data.

Artful Dodger

There's a new press release from JAXA on GCOM-W1 on Jan 25, 2013:

SHIZUKU to Provide Brightness Temperature Products

Possibly a data pause during a switch over, but in that case one would expect the data for Jan 24/25 to catch up.

No notices on the IJIS website, so this little hiccup may remain a puzzle. The sea ice watch continues.


Just Testing

Thanks for the info, all. I was under the impression that the data came from multiple sources or was supported by a validation in one way or another.

It's weird that of all the high tech gear up there only a fraction trickles into public data. This reminds me of the mid-atlantic ridge, the hidden thesis of plate tectonics, which turned out to have been discovered and mapped by military submarines well before academia first observed it.

Jon Hurn

I note that a general election has just been called in Australia for 14th September. The subsequent political shenanigans will be at their hottest at pretty much the same time the Arctic ice melt reaches its climax. We can hope the melt will in part at least inform, if not the politicians in their policy platforms, the electorate in their voting choices. It's probably a forlorn hope...


For those interested in Arctic methane release, there is a new article on Stanford's research into measuring subsurface water and its impact on methane release:



This post is for Apocalypse4real and others who may be interested in suggestions for better presenting the data for public consumption. I’m a layman who has been trying to learn about climate change, arctic conditions and methane well enough to present to others. I am currently co-leading a climate change class at our UU church. I am telling the story of Arctic Sea Ice from the past to the present. Ideally connecting with any memory/stories/pictures people may have of the hard ice conditions of the first arctic explorers and bringing that memory/story/picture up to current conditions.

I find there is plenty of videos and things to tell the story of sea ice extent and nice graphs for volume. I’m not seeing sea ice concentrations as a compelling story to tell. But I see value in showing sea ice thickness over time, using the Google polar maps with color coded sea ice thickness . Meaning I would like to put up thickness images for the same date but different years side by side. And I would like to go back as many years as possible. I currently only have such images back to March 2012.

For people who are familiar with Sea Ice conditions, a comparison of the last 2 years may be all they need. But when explaining to the general public, I’m starting off with what the ice use to look like years ago and bringing them forward from there. So I would like go back and show the ice as thick as they may have thought/heard about, then bring that forward to present day.

I understand there are have definite limits on the amount of data/images that can be stored/presented. That you cannot keep many years of data online.

With that in mind, would it be possible to have a single page that has multi-year data for a specific date or perhaps 2 specific days. Like pick spring equinox (March 21) and fall equinox (Sept 21). And list the sea ice thickness images for those two days for as many years as possible. Like there could be 2 columns on the page. Column A is March 21, Column B is Sept 21 for each year, with the oldest years at the top.

I could then explain these images by saying. “This is the ice thickness after a winter’s worth of freezing, at the spring equinox where we shift from longer nights to longer days. And here is the ice thickness after a summer’s worth of melting, at the fall equinox where we shift from longer days to longer nights.”

This could tell the story in a very consistent, understandable way to a non-expert audience. I think specific days like spring and fall equinox are better than having the actual lowest point and highest point of each year. The fact that the lowest and highest points are on different dates each year adds complexity to telling the story. Whereas the equinoxes are anchored points in time, that many people will understand. Or will accept as naturally occurring points with a meaning of their own, not just cherry picked dates that make the data look best. And the equinoxes will approximate the highs and lows well enough for illustrative purposes.


Two small pics from MODIS 0301 and today.
Desintegration has started on the NW corner of the PIG:
 photo PIG03012013detail_zps6fcfd960.jpg
 photo PIG31012013detail_zps2acb222f.jpg
See the difference? About 10 km2 has fractured.
So despite the colder than usual spring, it looks like there is movement...
When the lot goes, the calving front will be positioned some km's beyond the 2001 event.



There are monthly thickness images in a video at

That seems to need quicktime to work but you can stop it on April and September each year to take a copy. Use seems permitted though you should attribute it to PIOMAS.

PIOMAS is a model with observations used to correct the model and keep it in line with reality. This goes back to 1979 when there was adequate satellite observation. If you want further back than that, then you are not going to find much thickness information.

An alternative to thickness might be ice age. There is a video from 1987 at


I think there is such an animation starting in 1979 and I may be able to find that again if you want it.

I believe there are shipping records of extent going back to about 1600 - not sure where to direct you for those so maybe someone else can help with that.


Hi opensheart,

AFAIK there is very little information on sea ice thickness before the satellite era.

This, from the Wikipedia on the USS Nautilus's voyage in 1958, may be useful:

"The most difficult part of the journey was in the Bering Strait. The ice extended as much as 60 feet (18 m) below sea level. During the initial attempt to go through the Bering Strait, there was insufficient room between the ice and the sea bottom. During the second, successful attempt to pass through the Bering passage, the submarine passed through a known channel close to Alaska (this was not the first choice as the submarine wanted to avoid detection)."

In recent years, the Bering Strait is completely ice-free for about 5 months of the year, and, barring icebergs, there is no 60foot thick ice anywhere in the Arctic.


CT Global Sea Ice Anomaly = - 0.107.

Models predict (<95% confidence) regular WUWT sea ice updates imminent.

Rob Dekker

For "better presenting the data for public consumption", this graph of ice extent over the past 1500 years (based on Kinnard et al) should be pretty compelling :


Chris Reynolds

It's hard to tell from that graphic, but has the average extent for August been used? I ask because the Kinnard et al graph relates to August sea ice extent.

This graphic shows the Kinnard data from their supplementary material with NSIDC monthly extent for August appended to it.


Have you seen this post from Skeptical Science?

That uses a graphic from DMI, who have a set of historic sea ice maps here. The ones that will interest you are from 1901 onwards. They can be compared with August areas at Cryosphere Today. That's set up to compare mid August 2000 to 2012 - well it was before Typepad lost my post. However note that the DMI maps are based on various observations interspersed with analyst's knowledge.

As for thickness:

What thickness data do you have back to March 2012? There are a couple of us here that are using PIOMAS modelled thickness data and can produce monthly thickness plots for any month from 1978 onwards. But PIOMAS is a model, albeit a very good one. For people who want to see real data they'd need to look at ICESAT. This graphic, a figure from Kwok & Rothrock 2009, shows thickness profiles from 1988 compared with the 2004 to 2008 average. Figure 3 of this article is an excellent graphic.

However to go back to the maps of the DMI - to look at thickness back then needs an understanding of arctic sea ice itself. For example, this is a plot of PIOMAS volume, and (red bar chart) year to year differences. The question it poses is; why did volume drops as large as 2007 and 2010 occur without the associated impacts of 2007 and 2010? The answer is that the ice was thicker during the previous volume drops, so a given loss of thickness did not expose open ocean as happened in 2007 and after 2010. Likewise there will have been variable volume in the past, before the satellite records and PIOMAS, back to the DMI data and before e.g. Kinnard et al. But the ice was almost certainly thicker then. Understanding why brings in ideas such as the Transpolar Drift, Beaufort Gyre, and the Beaufort Gyre Flywheel. It gets complex very fast.

I often find myself unable to respond to people's questions because nobody wants me keeping them there for ten minutes while I wave my hands around and try to provide enough information to get to the answer to their question.

I've now come to the conclusion that when the ice drops below 1Mkm^2 and repeatedly continues to go lower in the following years it will provide people with more a more complete answer to their questions than all my complexity and handwaving.


Opensheart, perhaps


with links to eg Franklin expedition



provide a good contrast.


opensheart, here is a 30 years overview of sea ice age (week 48) http://dl.dropbox.com/u/354885/Arctic/wz/48/age48.gif and here same thing as video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOgkbtomiuM (all weeks up to 2011)



Thanks for comments and the request.

The best arctic sea ice video out at the moment, that captures the issues and compelling science concerns for the public is by the Yale Climate Forum:


Nightvid Cole


The last frame seems wrong, it looks like the ice has not advanced in age by a year as it should, judging by the spatial patterns within the multi-year pack.

Can you please link to the ORIGINAL source rather than your Dropbox?

Jim Hunt

Typepad's eating my words of wisdom again, so here's my nth attempt, this time in pieces with raw links....

Bob - Apologies for my tardy reply, but things have been a bit frantic on this side of the pond recently. Apologies to Neven too, since this isn't strictly all about Arctic Sea Ice.

Whilst I understand the theory, here's the practice. Do you suppose after the elections Jon refers to the "Oz plan" will be implemented, and Oz will in fact be using 100% renewable energy within a decade?


"Smart switches" I helped design have already been in use in "the third world" for a decade or so, but according to Scientific American it would be a good idea post Sandy if the good ol' USofA started installing them soon too:


See below....

Jim Hunt

SATire - See above....

Over here in Europe renewable energy subsidies are sufficently lucrative that the Mafia are currently taking a keen interest:


Here in the UK we don't have any deserts, so solar PV developers are keen to cover prime agricultural land with silicon instead. According to our National Farmers Union this makes perfect economic sense, whereas carbon sequestration using biochar does not:


Doesn't it strike you guys that something isn't quite right with the world in general, and "free market" economics in particular?

Chris Reynolds


I see no reason to suspect the image from Arctic.io. On this blog post you'll find PIOMAS gridded thickness December for all years from 2006, with 2010 onwards shown on the page itself. Check out the agreement between the thicker areas of ice and Maslanik's findings on the image Arctic.io linked to. This is common to the full series back to 1983 (PIOMAS goes back to 1978).

Chris Reynolds

Oops, forgot link - http://dosbat.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/piomas-gridded-data-2012-is-here.html

Nightvid Cole

Chris Reynolds,

Click on the FIRST link in Arcticio's post. Look closely at the shape of 2011's 4+ year ice pack and 5+ year ice . Now look at the same things for 2012. If you look closely enough, you can tell that the 4-year-old ice has failed to become 5-year ice from 2011 to 2012.

Hence my earlier comment.


I have contacted TypePad about the issues with commenting. I though that maybe it was temporary, but the bug seems to have become a feature.

Werther has asked me to post this on his behalf:

About worldwide sea ice area…
I grant anyone his or her happiness when and if spin like ‘…everything is OK…’ eventually might start.
Personally I’m not so sure about the consolation that could be derived from possible zero anomaly.
Both hemispheres have shown peculiar anomalies all fall and winter.
In the Arctic, the persistent high over the East Siberian Sea triggered a constant cold influx from Siberia over the Kara Sea through January. It is the main reason why area anomaly is lower than the trend for the day.
Over Antarctica, persistent highs all through the troposphere have reigned in the Amundsen Sea. On the other side of the Peninsula the contrary. In between, constant southerlies have uninterruptedly cooled the Weddell Sea. Katabatic winds have pushed the pack ice away from the coast and the Filchner Iceshelf. It creates sea ice, which still shows an enormous spread.
So what? First, significant changes are reshaping the form and function of the different atmospheric cells. Processes that probably relate individual phenomena. ENSO, the thermohaline circulation, Rossby waves both atmospheric and oceanic, AO and Sudden Stratospheric Warming.
Second, although the Kara Sea is frozen tight now, it will completely melt out in summer. It is not really significant for the sea ice trend. I fear a similar insignificance goes for Antarctic FYI. While all seems quiet on the Southern front, change will appear over there too. It may come with a vengeance…

 photo Temp1000Mbano0101to290113small_zps16444f14.jpg
 photo Temp1000MbanoSH1509to29012013small_zps7eeaee1f.jpg

Chris Reynolds

Nightvid Cole,

I do understand your earlier comment.

Maslanik uses a parcelling technique, the parcel uses the same threshold (15%) as extent, so if >15% of the ice is 4 years old the parcel is assigned that age, i.e. the oldest ice over 15%. If the four years old ice is suffering such losses that not more than 15% survives in a parcel it disappears and the oldest ice can stay at 4 years, as the previously 3 year ice ages one year having survived the summer.

This is why Maslanik's timeseries shows continuing drop off of ice over 4 years old - the typical maximum lifetime of Arctic ice is now 4 years, what little that grows to an older age is residual.
Original from NSIDC, google Maslanik NSIDC sea ice news - and you should find it.

Indeed if we are to take Maslanik's plot for week 48 2012 and PIOMAS volume/thickness distribution then the median ice age is now probably about 2 years old.

*I have a horrible feeling I've said some time before that even a low percentage (<15%) would tally a parcel as that age ice. If so I was wrong - just checked Maslanik et al 2011 "Distribution and trends in Arctic sea ice age through spring 2011" What I say above about Maslanik's method is correct.


While I can accept the idea that some 4 year ice could pass under the 15% threshold and stay as 4 year ice rather than becoming 5 year ice, I would expect that to be rather patchy i.e. some parcels would pass under the threshold but there would be other nearby parcels that did not drop under the threshold.

You seem to think it could happen to large areas of 4 year ice without any becoming 5 year ice. Not only that 4 year year ice but also the three year ice next to the red strip in the middle of the central Arctic.

While the typical maximum lifetime is less than 4 years, that doesn't mean that there aren't parts like that red strip in the central arctic basin that are in positions where you should expect it to mainly survive. It seems a little strange to me that 3 year ice next to the red strip would pretty well all stay as 3 year ice yet a thinner adjacent strip of 5 year ice still be clearly identifiable as having moved little.


The typical age is falling dramatically because the exit areas C, D and E are much larger than the entrance area A. Area A and nearby parts of B are far from typical: any loss of ice is likely to be preferential melting of younger ice while older ice is retained. (At least until melting does reach that far.)

It looks an awful lot like the ageing hasn't progressed to me.

Nightvid Cole

Crandles explained it very well.

Chris, PLEASE study the patterns closely, and look carefully at the relations between previous years. Try to match (by eye) the features of the n-year ice in year m to those of n+1 year old ice in year m+1. Get an intuition for the relation, which is usually just a bit of distortion from one year to the next (except what melts or goes out Fram Strait.)

And then look at 2011 and 2012, and you will see that something is amiss.

Nightvid Cole

Let me further add that any 3-year ice in one year must have come from 2-year ice the year before.

The 3-year (green) ice in the central arctic next to the red(5+ year old ice) in 2012 should have come from 2-year(turqoise blue) ice in 2011. But it doesn't. The same area in 2011 has almost exclusively 3-year ice.

I think it is quite clear the plot simply failed to advance the age by a year.


I've received an answer from TypePad:

Thank you for reaching out. It looks like the comments are going to the spam folder because they're pretty long. We're working on adjusting our spam filtering currently but for right now, you may need to check the spam folder daily to publish comments from there. We apologize for the inconvenience.

I also apologize for not knowing I even had a spam folder! It's hidden somewhere and I just found it.

From now on, when your comment is not coming through, just send me a mail or leave a short comment, and I'll get it out of the spam container.


Chris Reynolds


"It looks an awful lot like the ageing hasn't progressed to me"

Same here. The best explanation I can come up with is the one I've outlined.

"You seem to think it could happen to large areas of 4 year ice without any becoming 5 year ice."

I seriously wonder if there is really that much old ice in large continuous extents. So I suspect that the older ice is 'falling below the radar' i.e. dropping out of the Maslanik method consideration by being less than 15%.

Maslanik's method has, AFAIK, been applied consistently over the period shown in Arcticio's graphic.
From past watching of Quikscat I have followed how the older ice pulses out to Fram with cycles of the AO during the winter, also similar behaviour into Beaufort, from what I've seen, including Wipneus's recent graph - export through Fram hasn't increased substantially, so I'm treating it as a constant drain. Transport into B has probably stayed the same. What has changed in the 2000s is that transport into E (Beaufort) leads the ice into a killing zone, whereas once it cycled to be returned into A. Also less volume means more wind transport (Hakkinen).

If the ageing hasn't progressed, and I agree with that, then what is the reason?

PS, I've broken the Arctic into three sectors:
Atlantic 320 - 100
Siberian 100 - 290
American 290 to 320
And have carried out several calculations, March thickness, thinning from May to Sept, Open Water Formation Efficiency. March thickness reducing in Siberian, American and Atlantic. May to Sept thinning is increasing in Siberia and America, but not Atlantic. Sept thickness little change in Atlantic, increase in thickness in Siberia and Atlantic - probably due to loss of thinner peripheral ice and increased biasing by thicker ice in central pack (about 1.2m early 2000s, 1.5 1.6 respectively in 2012).

Open Water Formation Efficiency (OWFE) for three regions in PIOMAS gridded data.

OWFE from Holland et al.

Holland et al, Future Abrupt Reductions of Arctic Sea Ice.

Chris Reynolds

Nightvid Cole,

"Chris, PLEASE study the patterns closely, and look carefully at the relations between previous years."

Please don't suggest I haven't, that image has been up in my browser since earlier today, I've been looking at it in between some data processing.

If you have problems with it and suspect Maslanik has made a mistake, email him a copy of the graphic.
I've been in touch with him in the past and have found him very helpful and approachable. But when approaching a scientist it's best not to start by saying you think they've made a mistake. Start by saying you don't understand.

Chris Reynolds

Oh, forgot to add.

PIOMAS grid box thickness categories for December 2012.
2.75m 0
3.00m 0
3.25m 0
>3.5m 0
i.e. no grid boxes report over 2.75m.

That doesn't mean there aren't local peaks of thicker ice, just that there aren't enough to 'tip the scales' and make grid boxes report thicker. Just like I suspect the Maslanik graphic's 4yr+ ice has dropped below reporting levels.

This is part of the reason I don't find the Maslanik graphic for week 48 2012 unbelievable.

james cobban

Some of you might be interested in checking out Paul Salopek's blog about his seven-year walk out of Africa, re-tracing one arm of our species' great diaspora from the Rift Valley.
He began his walk about 10 days ago, covering about 15-20 km/day on average.

It seems Mr. Salopek will be addressing the issue of climate change in his posts along the way, which is of interest to all of us here. From his website:


"Over the next seven years, writer Paul Salopek will recreate that epic journey on foot, starting at our species’ birthplace in Ethiopia and ending at the southern tip of South America, where our forebears ran out of horizon. Along the way, he will explore the major stories of our time — from climate change to conflict, from mass migration to cultural survival — by walking alongside the people who live them every day: cattle nomads, artists, traders, farmers, shopkeepers, scientists, everyone."

I think its great that Salopek is reviving
"“slow journalism,” reported at a human pace of three miles an hour". And that he has taken on "an “assignment” in the spirit of Herodotus, or of the medieval Islamic traveler Ibn Battuta." This is what we need more of in these days of journalist-free media outlets that specialize in sound-bites about trivia.

Here are a couple of climate-change related stories he'll be reporting on:

> Walking with Reindeer. Crossing the wild Amur River into Russia, I will meet
Sergei Zimov, a quixotic scientist who is recreating an Ice Age “reserve” near
Kamchatka, complete with reindeer and imported American bison. Zimov is
trying to increase carbon sequestration through grazing—that is, by returning a
small chunk of Siberia to its post-glacial grasslands condition. (Grasses soak up
large amounts of CO2.) This is just one of scores of global warming stories along
the walk’s route. There is an unsettling circle to close here: Just as the first
humans colonized the Earth at a time of climactic instability, hop-scotching ice
ages, so we are confronted today by a planetary climate distorted by our
civilization’s massive carbon wastes.

And when he get's to the Bering strait around 2018 he'll be reporting on the Arctic (it will be interesting to see if there is any ice left for him to report on by then):

> Beringia—the Cold Bridge. About 15,000-22,000 years ago, North America’s
first human visitors took a very long rest stop. They paused for some 4,000 years
in Alaska’s chilly, prehistoric Serengeti, waiting for glaciers to melt. Then they
poured down the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains, or paddled down the
American shores in canoes, occupying an immense virgin continent within a
single millennium. Their appearance helped trigger one of the largest mass
extinctions of animals since a meteor wiped out the dinosaurs. (Among the
creatures possibly hunted into oblivion: an armadillo the size of a Volkswagen
Beetle.) Today, in the anthropocene or “age of humans,” our hunting continues,
only now on a vaster scale and with high technology. I will cross the Bering Strait
by oceanographic research vessel, writing of the looming international scramble
for the Arctic’s thawing natural resources, prime among them oil.

You can also follow his progress at National Geographic's website:


james cobban

Neven, I think typepad just spammed my comment.


Are other week numbers available? If so, does the ageing happen in one jump always at the same week number and is there any sign of such a jump in 2012?

Chris, interesting.

Have you got numbers/a graph of your Atlantic sector April volume?
I am wondering how well it correlates with Atlantic water core temperature. A graph of AW temp is in Fig 1 of


Nightvid Cole

Chris Reynolds,

Where did you get the map from? Original source please?

Bob Wallace

Jim -

" Do you suppose after the elections Jon refers to the "Oz plan" will be implemented, and Oz will in fact be using 100% renewable energy within a decade?"

I don't follow the politics down there so I really don't know how serious the Oz-ites will get if the environmentally responsible people are put in office.

I did take a look at where they got their electricity in 2011. 54.9% from black coal, 21.8% from brown coal, 16% from gas and oil. That's 92.7% from fossil fuels.

Do I think they'll get their grid to about 100% renewables in only ten years?

I highly doubt it. It would take an incredible miracle. (PV is coming on fast down there, but "a decade"?)

And I suspect that thermal solar won't be a big player in future electricity production. Thermal solar can store energy, but it can store only in the form of heat - it can't store surplus energy from PV/wind/tidal/etc.

I think we're well on our way to affordable large scale battery storage. Batteries are going to have the advantage of being able to store from any electricity generating source, cycle more frequently, and produce more revenue.

Plus PV is on the way to being so cheap that using thermal collection to spin turbines probably won't make sense. In the US we've had one thermal plant that was being developed changed to a PV array.

Bob Wallace

Chris - could we be losing significant amounts of "oldest" ice into the Canadian Archipelago?

Watching ice movement patterns late last melt season it looked to me that stuff was moving south through the various channels and, with the snow cover gone on the islands, melting was likely accelerated.

The oldest, thickest ice would be piled up right at the head of these channels.

Chris Reynolds

Nightvid Cole,

Which map?

Chris Reynolds


Volume split into three regions.

Slight correction, I've broken the Arctic into three sectors by longitude:
Atlantic 330 - 100
Siberian 100 - 290
American 290 to 330

And calculated for grid boxes north of 65degN.

Previously I stated 320 as margin between Atlantic and American.



I think the lesser trend in Atlantic is due to net ice influx into that region.


Nightvid Cole,

advancing the ice pack by one year happens at different weeks and the selection of this 'anniversary' is result of a human decision. After this decision the images must be reprocessed. I propose you ignore the last image until next update or visualize this step mentally.

Chris Reynolds


I'm surprised it's left until so late.

Do you have a link to the source page for these images?


Neven, I think typepad just spammed my comment.

Indded. I've published it, it's a bit further up, here to be precise. Sorry for the inconvenience.

james cobban

Thanks Neven!


Thank you Chris.


Contemplating cumulative warmth end of melt to end of January…

Still three months of mean extent growth to go… four and a half month gone.
2013 does resemble ’10 and ’08…wait…even ’06 comes close…but before ’02 you’re hardly going to find any resemblance.
 photo Presentatiewarmthdifferencefeb2013small_zpsdf951ed0.jpg


Meanwhile... on the other, GAC-thread...Sam, Chris, A-team report quite gloomy on 2013.
For a part of this Saturday, I've been listening Fauré, Vaughan Williams, Elgar and Debussy. I find consolation in art.
Not in the incoming data. CT and IJIS are not representative for what is to come.


I've updated the AQUA/AIRS Giovanni 359 mb and IASI 600 mb imagery.

The IASI 600 mb: Record high CH4 PPBv concentrations in Barents and Kara:


Ghoti Of Lod

Werther, have you been listening to requiems?


In Paradisum, Ghoti...
I'm not particularly Roman, but Fauré's music might help me through..


Chris, NightVid, what would you pay for a search engine introductory workshop?

Srsly, here you go: http://bit.ly/12jNTAD

Chris Reynolds


Ahh, I'd misrembered Tschudi as Tschundi!

Given the progression, I really don't buy the idea that week 48 is in error due to them not having incremented yet.


I've forgotten to include concentration in my area calculation for % open water. So my graph of OWFE has now changed. Also re-reading my comment above I think I got two graphs mixed up - September thickness is down all the way. Just need to re-check my work and will blog later today.



The Arctic 1 Februari is updated now.

Other than that SIE is as low as in the previous years since 2003, there seems nothing special nor any weirdness to report.
But as we all sure know by now, even around the Arctic it isn't always as it looks like.


Make that Arctic 1 Februari parade.



see anything equivalent to change from wk 36 to 37:

Chris Reynolds


Point taken. Also week 38 to 39 of 2007. I only got the link to that this morning and hadn't had the chance to look.

And I presume one of you has emailed the team behind that data????

Or do I have to do it?...

I'll assume I have to. Email on its way.


FYI: NASA TV will debut “Science Uncut: Arctic on the Edge?" Mon Feb 4 at 8pm Eastern Time (US). You can watch NASA TV at www.nasa.gov/ntv .

Artful Dodger

Hi Neven,

Can we have a Feb Open Thread, since we're already on page 3 here?



Is it February already? My, how time flies!

I'll open a second OT tomorrow, Lodger. In the meantime I have sent an e-mail that you might find interesting to that address of yours you rarely check.

Artful Dodger

Neven: Read, and done!

Chris Reynolds

Regards the sae ice age plots, relevant comment on the new open thread. Here.

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