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James Shearer

Interesting observation, but do we know if this is a unique event, or might this happen every winter but we just haven't had the ability to see it before?

Chris Alemany

What is the link for that imagery? (In this post) Thanks!


James, some people have been looking at satellite sea ice since 1979, myself since 1985. The main difference since 1985 is the shown by A-team recent multiple leads, all over the place, as opposed to 1985 would have been scarcer. Ice compressibility is also a great feature of now a days, when you can see vast areas of open water right when there was none then. It can also be shown as I did on my blog that ice displacement speeds are off the charts even in the dead of winter. All this open water changes the very nature of the lower atmosphere. There is more moisture, dim stars are seen less frequently by ice crystal prolonged events, the air from the surface to atmosphere interface is leaning adiabatically and there are less steep consistent inversions. Causing the apparent sunrise positions to shift and cause a great deal of consternation to the people of the Arctic


Here is the link:


I download these photos every few hours, but miss the ones when I finally have to sleep.

[Note to self: Must get out of Mom's basement.]

Since the middle of December, the ice has been breaking up much as it did last year in March. The breaking up in March was a couple of months early.

Back in 2006, this did not happen because so much of the ice was still multi-year ice.


Tenney, don't rush on the basement:



Chris Alemany

Tenney: you need a script for that... Ill work on something. Might take me a few days though, got a lot on my plate.


Typepad doesn't support ftp links so here again a link to the folder with latest apprx. 30 high resolution infrared Arctic images:

Click me

John Christensen


This area was previously covered with multi-year-ice, but this past summer the remaining pack was far away, so this is all first-year-ice, and therefore would be much more fragile compared to the time before 2007 - and indeed before last summer.

Upside - if any - is that it is -27 to -30C in the area according to Wunderground, to open water will not remain for long ..

Chris Reynolds

Dr Tschudi has got back to me.

The sea ice age plots don't appear to have incremented, they should increment by one year to knock each category of ice into the next latest age group.

He wasn't aware of it, but for some reason the sea ice age increment has skipped, seems to happen automatically normally. He's going to look into it.




Espen Olsen

Nares Strait / Kane Basin

I wonder if the ice bridge in Nares Strait at the Kane Basin outlet to Baffin Bay, will be be an issue this melting season?
There is plenty of open water in the area?

Steve Bloom

Unsurprisingly, researchers are jumping into the sea ice change-induced funny weather business at an increasing pace. This new paper seems to have not been linked here as yet:

"On the Relationship between Winter Sea Ice and Summer Atmospheric Circulation over Eurasia

"Using the NCEP/NCAR and JRA-25 re-analysis data, this paper investigates the association between winter sea ice concentration (SIC) in Baffin Bay southward to the eastern coast of Newfoundland, and the ensuing summer atmospheric circulation over the mid-high latitudes of Eurasia. It is found that winter SIC anomalies are significantly correlated with the ensuing summer 500 hPa height anomalies that dynamically correspond to the Eurasian pattern of 850 hPa wind variability and significantly influence summer rainfall variability over northern Eurasia. Spring atmospheric circulation anomalies south of Newfoundland, associated with persistent winter-spring SIC and a horseshoe-like pattern of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the North Atlantic, act as a bridge linking winter SIC and the ensuing summer atmospheric circulation anomalies over northern Eurasia. Indeed, this study only reveals the association based on observations and simple simulation experiments with SIC forcing. The more precise mechanism for this linkage needs to be addressed in future work using numerical simulations with SIC and SST as the external forcings. Our results have the following implication: Winter SIC west of Greenland is a possible precursor for summer atmospheric circulation and rainfall anomalies over northern Eurasia."

More summer blocking ahead for northern Eurasia, from the sound of it.



The NOW Polynya does seem larger than usual this year, but I'm more concerned with PII 2012-A-1

I wonder if the largest chunk of the Petermann ice island that grounded in Kane Basin might disrupt the flow of ice through Nares Strait for the next few years. It's in an area where the passage is fairly wide, but a blockage between the grounded ice island and Ellesmere Island could possibly form some sort of bottleneck.

I think the Hall Basin gyre directs most of the thick ice towards the western side of the strait & the Kane Basin gyre may also act to direct ice flow into the area that could be blocked.

Once the ice island melt enough to float over the Kane Basin sill things should be back to normal & it's certainly possible that ice flow won't be effected anyway.
Still something to watch in 2013.



Tenney, Youtube awaits your animation ;)

Remko Kampen

"Open Thread February 2013" or "Colossal Polynya February 2013"...

So the near future looks like the winter ice cover isn't going to be closed pack either as summer melt becomes total every summer.

Espen Olsen


Yes I almost forgot about the stranded PII 2012-A-1, it could easily be parked there for a while, maybe even years?

James Shearer

Thanks for the additional info guys!
This paints a depressing picture - if these cracks and leads persist until the end of the winter (if the ice remains thin and weak), then the ice is going to vanish really fast, once the sun gets to work :-(


@ arcticio,

Seems a similar set of leads and fractures is occurring near the New Siberian Islands.



By the way, global sea ice area anomaly became positive.


Pretty clear that the sea ice is thin, rotten and vulnerable in the Beaufort, Chukchi and East Siberian seas. Since I am new here is this the norm or worse than in the past?


Hi All,

Slightly off topic, I wondered if I could seek out some suggestions. I'm doing an undergraduate masters course (MSci)at the National Oceanography Centre in the UK and am now thinking about what I'm going to as a research project. I have a broad interest in what could be called Earth system science, with perhaps an emphasis on photosynthesis, primary production and molecular biology. I have however become more and more taken with the cryosphere and the apparent rapid changes in the Arctic in particular. So much could (is!) changing there and fast, with very little known about much of the basic ecology. What would people suggest as possibly important and/or interesting things to study at the moment, considering I'm unlikely to be able to hitch-hike a cruise there (but could possibly travel this summer). Thanks in advance,



Does the state of this ice suggest that the CAB will be unprotected during the coming melt season much earlier than before?

Chris Reynolds

Hello Phil,

In terms of remote sensing (as you haven't the budget to go up there) and crossing with Biology - algal bloom changes, or changes to vegetation. Perhaps comparing the Canadian/American Arctic to the Eurasian Arctic, as the former seems to be warming faster in the winter than the latter. First graphic this page, note the difference between the region between Hudson and Greenland vs Siberia.
Would winter impose a difference in latitudinal shifts of land plants given that summer is warming? Would this be detectable?

I'm wondering if an algorithm could detect changes in occurrence of certain colours associated with algal blooms or shifts in predominant land plants. It may however already have been done...


Thanks so much Chris.

As I'm at the Oceanography Centre I would be looking more towards the phytoplankton blooms than the land plants and have thought about that. Increasing open water does appear to be leading to much greater primary productivity in the Arctic, with in all likelihood shifts in species composition, possibly opening up of fisheries and changing linkages with the benthos. Also thought some about the communities directly associated with diatom production on/in the ice itself, but don't know much about this.
At a push I might be able to blag my way up to Svalbard ( http://www.arctic.ac.uk/infrastructure/research-station/ ) - not sure yet what instrumentation/boats might be available though.

Chris Reynolds

DJ Price,

In 2011 I took a set of MODIS shots of the ice for various years - 15/9/XX - not including open water. I renamed them, put them in a folder and left them for a couple of months. My memory being what it was I forgot about it entirely. Then found them again last spring. Without referring to the text file I was unable to tell which one was from which year, or even attempt an order - so I concluded that suspicions I had about the pack being worse in Beaufort weren't founded. Whether this test could apply to the leads people are discussing I don't know.

Certainly if you gave me a series of shots of the Eastern Siberian sea in August, including last year's massively low concentration area - I'd be able to pick that out. It was exceptional.

Chris Reynolds


"Also thought some about the communities directly associated with diatom production on/in the ice itself, but don't know much about this."

As the ice has transitioned to mainly young ice from mainly old the first year ice has started to melt earlier and absorbing more solar radiation has enhanced volume loss during the late spring, probably having a role in the increased annual range since 2007. I'm wondering if the green signature of algae _might_ stand out in MODIS, and if earlier blooming on the ice _might_ be detectable. There has been a recent paper about algal blooms on/in the ice, but I was too busy to pay much attention and can't recall the details. A link to the abstract was posted here - someone else will remember the details.

Gallery of MODIS

Iberian Peninsular with different colour options - got by clicking on one of the above images.

You'll find links to data from other systems on the first link, there may even be links to source data, which would be needed as jpg/png compression would screw up any (tiny) signature. That's before you get into issues of scattering masquerading as what you're looking for...

Chris Reynolds

I'll leave it at this...

Espen Olsen


Dont excpect much potential in fishery, most of the Arctic Sea is too deep, with or without sea ice, for most fish species.

Colorado Bob

2 methane stories of interest :

Dramatic increase in methane in the Arctic in January 2013
Below a combination of images produced by Dr. Leonid Yurganov, showing methane levels January 1-10, 2013 (below left), January 11-20, 2013 (below center) and January 21-31, 2013 (below right).


The most amazing pictures of methane bubbles frozen in Lake Abraham , Alberta, Canada. They really indicate the scale of the out gassing now underway.


Aaron Lewis

Carbon feedback seems ripe for new work.

We do not seem to have good handles on biochemical conversion of terrestrial /tundra/peat materials to CH4/CO2. Are we seeing conversion or clathrate decomposition?

Then conventional wisdom was that sea floor /clathrate CH4 would be decomposed by the time it got to the surface. That does not seem correct.

And CH4 exchange between deep water/ and sea floor seems to have messed up our dating of deep water, and thus our estimates of deep water movement.

It would be nice to know more about what critters eat clathrate methane.

Fairfax Climate Watch

Colorado Bob, those graphs are serious...

...on a related note, new research shows that the soil-carbon sink has been greatly overestimated, to the extent of an addition 2ºC warming between 1860 and 2100. http://climatewatch.typepad.com/blog/2013/02/new-numbers-hone-in-on-soil-carbon-uptake.html

...this finding could be a prequel to better estimates for the thawing permafrost and methane hydrate influence on temperature this century.


Hello Phil Chapman,

Great to see people in the scientific community, whether students or alumnii, take an interest in Neven’s blog.
The first process that gets to my mind after reading your comment is nutrient uptaking of tundra vegetation. I wonder how the soil-plant interaction may change under rapid climate change.

I read some time ago the Danish have a research station in NE Greenland, where this subject is probably already studied.
In a glance, I found these links promising:

I am a landscape designer and constructor, soil and vegetation are of specific interest to me.
For our future agricultural needs, we are very dependent on the, probably scarce, opportunities climate change will present. Even when we watch with awe the change in the broader picture, it is important detailed studies are carried out to understand and be able to cope.


Those CH4 plots provided by Colorado Bob are certainly eye-openers.

I've been following Dr. Yurganov's methane maps for quite sometime and am trying to get a better grasp of how serious the methane problem is, not only now, but in the imminent future. I also have been following AR4's blog with the regular updates of the various methane maps.

I have a question for those far more knowledgeable than I am about the relative radiative forcing of CH4 in the Arctic Regions durring the dark months. We know that sunlight is required to create Hydroxyl, which then helps break down the CH4. It seems to me, that all of the CH4 released over the Arctic Ocean in the darkest months, remains there with it's full radiative forcing potential until the winds circulate it beyond the arctic.

So, my question for the experts is this: Is CH4's contribution to overall GHG radiative forcing greater in the Arctic in the winter time that is in the summer?? When I look at the DMI plots of Mean Temps above 80 degrees North, I see that the recent year's increases seem to be occurring in the winter and not the summer months.

Kevin McKinney

OL, Gavin Schmidt had a measured response at RC:

It's interesting, but the near one-to-one correspondence between methane and the ice outline and coasts sends a bit of warning message related to the satellite retrieval. I think these images come from spectral analysis of the reflected Near-IR, and that means the strength of the signal will be different over ice and water and land. Additionally, if this was related to warm water and methane hydrates, you wouldn't see it in January, you'd see it in August. It is plausible that this is an impact of gas/oil extraction and transport (which increases in winter), but this would need some checking.

And I don't think the temperature increase in winter necessarily needs an explanation: the summer budget is dominated, I would think, by insolation, which doesn't change, and even more by the 'clamping' effect of the ice melt going on. The winter budget, though, is dominated by radiative cooling, which is exactly where the greenhouse effect acts.

Though you've got an intriguing idea there...

John Christensen

Related to the CH4 plots:

It seems to correlate well with a high increase in temperature of the inflow of warm AW into the Arctic via the Fram Strait, as you also see from the huge ice free area just north of Svalbard, which we have not seen to this extent in recent times.
Another perspective is that the temperature in the area (while much warmer than in the ice-covered areas), is -5 - -15C, so evaporation from the relative warm water should be very high, causing methane to be released from the water, and not from the sea floor.

SST in the Fram Strait would not necessarily capture a temperature increase of the AW inflow, as the salty AW enters the Arctic beneath the lighter Arctic low-salt surface waters.

Does this make sense?

Wayne Kernochan

I haven't seen this mentioned. The Mauna Loa global CO2 figures for 2012 are now out. They show an increase of 2.56 ppm over 2011 -- the second largest increase on record. The biggest (2.93) was in 1998 -- a far better year for the global economy.

It appears that CO2 year-to-year growth is indeed accelerating. If this trend holds, we may see a daily reading above 400 ppm at Mauna Loa this year. - w


Quoting: Kevin McKinney:

"And I don't think the temperature increase in winter necessarily needs an explanation: the summer budget is dominated, I would think, by insolation, which doesn't change, and even more by the 'clamping' effect of the ice melt going on. The winter budget, though, is dominated by radiative cooling, which is exactly where the greenhouse effect acts.

Though you've got an intriguing idea there..."

Kevin, thanks for taking the time to respond to my query as well as Gavin Schmidt's comments at Real Climate. With all of the varied definitions of the relative radiative forcing of CH4, I was looking for some better definitions. Since I'm not a scientist, let alone a Phd in Atmospheric Chemistry, I get confused by the extreme concerns raised by AMEG and the lesser concerns expressed by the Climate Science community in general.

However, I did learn an important lesson as a very young systems engineer support software development of command & control systems 35+ years ago. I'd had a very successful day, if, when I asked the computer programmers a series of 10 questions:

7 questions caused them to laugh uproariously.
2 questions caused them to roll their eyes in disbelief.
1 question caused them to solve the problem at hand.


In regard to numerous CH4 comments and Yurganov's imagery.

Something has triggered higher CH4 concentrations over the Norwegian, Barents, Kara sea areas, and what the full causes are I cannot study at the moment.

However, the concentrations go higher in waves beginning in mid-October till the end of January, 2013. You can see the whole run at:

2012 and 2013 are available at 600 mb, providing direct comparison.

The METOP 2 IASI CH4 data has been showing high readings and I'll post more for February later. Yesterday pm imagery was over 2100 PPBv CH4 in some areas.


The solar flare interference is minimizing CH4 coverage results, but some areas are still showing through during February.

Artful Dodger

Apocalypse4Real wrote | February 04, 2013 at 14:09

Hi A4R,

To link to a file on a ftp server that doesn't allow anonymous login, you must enter html code something like this:

<a href="ftp://arwguest:guest@cisclient.cis.ec.gc.ca/HRPT-Resolute--ArcticComposite/arcticComposite.130204.1142.4.png">File wanted</a>

... which renders like this File wanted :^)

Good luck, and


Artful Dodger

PhilGChapman | February 04, 2013 at 15:30 asked:

"What would people suggest as possibly important and/or interesting things to study at the moment"?

Contact Dr David Barber at the University of Manitoba. He was the lead author and chief scientist for the The Circumpolar Flaw Lead Study, conducted in the High Arctic for IPY 5 years ago.


David's a good guy, and a great teacher. I'm sure he'll have plenty of ideas for research topics in your specialty.


Glenn Tamblyn

Comparing the animation Neven has shown with the latest CICE animation here http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticictn_nowcast_anim30d.gif

There is an interesting possibility. CICE is showing a large mass of the remnant 4.5-5M ice having moved SW, left Ellesmere and continued on.

With weak ice in the Beaufort not resisting the BG very well what are the odds that the mass ends up sitting in the middle of the Beaufort at the start of the melt season, waiting to melt.

Rob Dekker

Lanevn said

By the way, global sea ice area anomaly became positive

Thank you for noting that global sea ice area reached 'average' ?

I recall that a few months ago the global sea ice area anomaly was at an all time record low :


Rob, any idea how to get these people with a moon perspective on sea ice back on Earth recognizing volume?


"By the way, global sea ice area anomaly became positive."

Not so albedo wise, the terms "Global sea ice extent" has no comparable meaning in 24 hour darkness vs greater impact with the sun shinning high in the sky. Antartica having a positive anomaly is significant now, while the Northern Hemisphere being negative to an equal extent does not compensate anything since the sun is too low or still under the horizon. Better terms should be used, sort of net or world wide potential albedo. Extent in the Northern Hemisphere may easily reach normal levels despite all time lows at summer minima.


Much appreciated -- helpful pointers from A4R, ArtfulD and Articio to the Canadian ftp infrared image storage site!

Once there, you do have free movement around in their file directory, notably up and back down to these archive folders:


The first of these provides vastly superior resolution than imagery released on their main web page (which has no link to the ftp site!), over 2.8 million grayscale pixels covering Herald Island to west Ellesmere. Images can only be captured at full size by mousing over and using the "Save Image As..." browser command. Some are throw-away satellite malfunctions. These are rolling archives providing transient storage.

This imagery needs to be optimized for the analytic purpose at hand. Below I inverted the 0-255 grayscale, converted to RGB, rotated 30º cw, and colorized to bring out the crack system relative to 'blue' ice. The image below is wider than Typepad allows (721 vs 420 pixels) but it can still be viewed in full using your web browser options.

The spit of land in the upper left is Barrow, with broken ice near-shore bounded by a prominent gyre streamline. Some floes have broken off from the surround ice and are now frozen in the main fracture. While fractures do freeze over very quickly at these temperatures, they will never attain the freeboard of adjacent parental ice. Despite more drift-in snow insulation, at melt pond time, fractures will be the first to go as water drains to them. Thus the fracture pattern developing now has some predictive value.

Fractures are not particularly suitable for year-to-year comparisons. While the ice is mechanically weaker now and the extent fracturing appears unprecedented for early February, the fracture is happening here for a reason: the Beaufort Gyre is roughly circular (attributable to conservation of angular momentum) but the basin geometry is not -- because of its islands and peninsular obstructions, the southern Canadian Basin cannot participate and so we see the shearing here.

 photo Beaufort_zps0b4aea41.jpg



That glob of 3-5+ meter ice has been slowly moving along the Canadian Arctic Islands. It is thickening, but will likely continue to move through the season. Whether it gets into the Beaufort is unlikely.

It seems that another 80 days movement at a similar speed (its moved about 90 miles in 20 days), would place it off of Prince Patrick Island at the beginning of May.

See the UK MET/NOF Godiva 2 imagery:


Google Earth shows it best.



There seems to be a similar fracturing pattern developing north and east of the New Siberian Islands that seems to be expanding as well.

Much appreciation for your image above - it enhances really well.


Yesterday I watched on NASA TV “Science Uncut: Arctic on the Edge?". I took away from it that things are changing in the arctic, and that we can expect a seasonal ice free arctic in the summer around 2100. To me, that all seems pretty far away, considering the changes in the arctic we saw in the last couple of years. Is there a disconnect between scientists and reality, or did I misunderstand the message?


Arctic on the Edge:



Just mentioning:
UAH-global-temperatures going through the sky.
An unprecedented increase taken in consideration the ENSO conditions.

Bob Droege

Does the Antarctic sea ice extent look unusual to anyone?
I was wondering if the sea ice normally pulled away from the coast at the minimun each year or not.
And it looks like the sea ice has been swept around and is being held up by the Antarctic peninsula.
And does open water normally approach the big ice shelves each year at the minimum?

I haven't watched the minimums down south as much so I am wondering if all this is usual stuff or not.

thanks for this blog, I find it very useful.


Good spotting A4R, I've been watching that feature around New Siberian Islands too. Unfortunately, the infrared imagery only goes up to the easternmost island (Novaya Sibir) and not to Kotelny -- and what's available ones is all low res. I suppose thinner, warmer saltier ice has more to offer in the rheology dept, so when the gyre backs up off this obstacle, it creates a back wave pressure pattern, like a rock in a stream.


I should have included bathymetry for my earlier 'blue ice' image of Beaufort sea fragmention, so IBCAO 3.0 below. Landfast ice, grounded ice, Barrow Canyon, local currents likely all have a role here.


For your collective amusement, I offer "Greenland on fire" -- the fractured ice pack north of Nord/Morris Jesup and the slush stream exiting the Fram. Note the ice at 81ºN and below appears incapable of holding a crack.

 photo greenlandFire_zps87a34fe7.png
 photo iceBath_zps2c593b3c.jpg


1. What do people think the annual max will top out at this year? Any polls to be posted?
2. What happens to the Danish north of 80 2m average temperature chart when the ice cap melts? Will that shoot sky high?
3. What is the concensus on January PIOMAS? Was it cold enough to generate some good ice thickness this year?

The Arctic on the Edge video was pretty neat. But talking about 100 years from now seems pretty conservative, no?

Aaron Lewis

It is worth remembering that Gavin Schmidt is not a realist. In 2008 & 9, he was still talking about an Arctic sea ice recovery.

While we have to always be aware of the limitations of all environmental sampling systems, A4R/Yurganov's imagery of pulses or waves of CH4 demonstrate that CH4 levels are likely real (or very close).

The bottom line is that the videos where folks light off methane from bubbles shows that the concentration of methane in those bubbles is greater than 50,000,0000 ppmbv.

If the vast plumes of methane witnesses by folks like Igor Semiletov, are also more than 5%v, then, to quote John Lovell, "Houston, we've had a problem here."

Gavin assumes that we have a well mixed atmosphere. He lets this assumption trump analysis. If Earth did have a well mixed atmosphere there would be no ozone hole and the Arctic atmosphere would not be enriched in methane.

Chris Reynolds
If Earth did have a well mixed atmosphere there would be no ozone hole and the Arctic atmosphere would not be enriched in methane.

Bangs head on desk....

Artful Dodger

Newcastle University scientists have discovered that sea urchins use nickel to make shells from carbon dioxide. The mechanism may be effective for carbon capture and storage (CCS):


A press release appears in the journal Catalysis Science & Technology.

The new paper is Bhaduri & Šiller (2013) "Nickel nanoparticles catalyse reversible hydration of carbon dioxide for mineralization carbon capture and storage". From the abstract:

The separation and storage of CO2 in geological form as mineral carbonates has been seen as a viable method to reduce the concentration of CO2 from the atmosphere. Mineralization of CO2 to mineral salts like calcium carbonate provides a stable storage of CO2. Reversible hydration of CO2 to carbonic acid is the rate limiting step in the mineralization process. We report catalysis of the reversible hydration of CO2 using nickel nanoparticles (NiNPs) at room temperature and atmospheric pressure. The catalytic activity of the NiNPs is pH independent and as they are water insoluble and magnetic they can be magnetically separated for reuse. The reaction steps were characterized using X-ray photoemission spectroscopy and a possible reaction mechanism is described.

Espen Olsen

Another proof of change:
Russia will make it possible to sail through the Northeast Passage without ice class ships.
And Russia will allow commercial vessels with ice-class 1A certificate to pass the north east passage without Russian icebreaker assistance, and worse, ordinary vessel will be allowed to pass without assistance??


Bob D there's an archive here http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/ssmisdata/asi_daygrid_swath/s6250/2012/


Espen, a mining engineer in Greenland (rare earths, Ilimaussaq, Kvanefjeld) was quoted a while back as hoping the whole ice sheet would melt. Make his job a whole lot easier; iPhones too cheap to meter and all that. But I'm not sure how much of the customer base would be left.



NSIDC has a new and interesting monthly analysis out.

Espen Olsen


Yes it big news in Denmark at the moment, because The Goverment of Greenland "Grønlands Sevstyre" wants to give a mining concession to a Chinese company using only Chinese labor, and I am sure the Chinese prefer it without the ice!


Top-down methane spectroscopy is not easy but folks have been working on the instrumentation for decades. Gavin's notion they can't sort out land from water strikes me as preposterous.

That's the very first question the grant and space committees would have *before* (not after) an expensive instrument is funded for an expensive satellite launch requiring years of expensive data collection and analysis. And all this stuff is vetted with airplane data years prior to launch.

Yurganov provided an excellent online poster/preprint at the Dec 20 12 AGU meeting, A31D-0062. It's been linked to here before: http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2012/files/2012/11/AGU12ch4v2.pdf

The two biological sources of methane are phosphonomethane catabolism in near-surface waters and obligate anaerobic archaeal methanotrophs below the oxygenated and sulfate bottom layers. The rest is coming from geothermal cracking of petrochemicals at depth. A lot of this methane is indeed oxidized to C02 in the sediment sulfate layer .

Methane dissolved in water (not in a bubble) can be consumed by diverse methanotrophs on its way up. Some scientists -- often ones deeply invested in C02 primacy -- argue all of it. Not to worry.

The inconvenient truth here is most of the Arctic Ocean is observed greatly supersaturated with respect to dissolved methane. (That's supersaturated relative to the lower atmosphere, not relative to the soda bottle.) Maybe the water was too cold or phosphate was limiting -- whatever, the methanotrophs couldn't do their job. Biochemical reactions go slowly in cold water -- there's no getting around Arrhenius' Q10.

Yes, psychrophilic bacteria are genetically adapted to cold (membrane lipid composition, enthalpy/entropy of enzyme folding) but that can only go so far. Next up: Henry's Law of partial pressures. Bring it on, the methane escapes to the atmosphere, never to return. Provided it's not trapped below an ice pack until spring. Methane can go right through frazil or sea slush however.


In case anyone's interested the really cool citizen science project "Old weather" are currently logging climate data form 19th centuary ship voyages in the Arctic:

For those who haven't heard of this project before check out this video:

"Help scientists recover Arctic and worldwide weather observations made by United States’ ships since the mid-19th century. These transcriptions will contribute to climate model projections and will improve our knowledge of past environmental conditions. Historians will use your work to track past ship movements and tell the stories of the people on board."

Feel welcome to jump aboard:

michael sweet

The NSIDC has a new feature called Greenland Ice Sheet Today that started with this month's monthly analysis. It has several good images of melt area that you can add to your sea ice graph pages. Well worth a read for all here. It will be interesting to follow this summer. They say it will be updated monthly and as needed in summer.

Chris Biscan

UAH has come in at .51C very very warm for the ENSO conditions, nothing before like it.

Global sst's are very warm too for ENSO conditions and snow cover.


"With weak ice in the Beaufort not resisting the BG very well what are the odds that the mass ends up sitting in the middle of the Beaufort at the start of the melt season, waiting to melt. "

Could movement like this have been the cause for the separation of a large volume of ice from CAB that then melted out during the GAC2012?

Bob Droege

Johnm33 thanks, that answers my questions, doesn't look all that unusual.

Bob Wallace

Bosbas - those of us who look at the PIOMAS volume data are left with the impression that one of two things must be happening:

1) The Arctic Ocean is going to be essentially ice free for a portion of the summer anywhere from this year through about five years from now. Or...

2) The PIOMAS data is a fantasy.

I don't see anyone supporting #2.

Take a look at Wipneus's annual minimum volume graph.


If you had won the lottery in 1979, started out with 19 million dollars and your accountant plotted your net worth for each following year I suspect you would be broke before 2100. Most likely before 2020.

Bob Wallace

And Bosbas, the reason why some people were thinking 2100 or some other far away date is because they were looking only at two dimensions of the ice. What you can see when you look down on or out on the ice. They were not looking at thickness.

We've lost most of the older, thicker ice. The Arctic is mostly covered with newer, thinner ice. Thin ice simply does not have the melt resistance of thicker ice.

We're getting down to a relatively thin layer of ice that is simply going to melt away soon. Unless some unknown force comes into play to stop the melt.

So far no one has identified any possible force that might turn things around. The forces which produce melting are getting stronger.


Bob Droege, wellcome,
On your questions concerning Antarctica, I commented above through ‘Open thread 1’ Neven | February 01, 2013 at 19:08 . You may find the accompanying NCEP/NCAR graphs interesting.
The temp anomalies they show correspond with the SLP, 500 and 200Mb pressure anomalies.
The current NSIDC January report also deals with the specifics of the January configuration.

As I recall (I follow MODIS on Antarctica since the Larsen B shelf collapse in 2003), most shelf fronts get exposed through Antarctic summer. The current sea ice extent is unusual.

The developments in both hemispheres give me a tantalizing sense that processes are getting weird. They are masked through relatively high sea ice extent. Which is exactly the kind of temporary ‘tricks’ nature exposes under constant AGW forcing.

I am very interested in getting my head around global ocean-atmosphere coupling processes. To me, it seems likely that the on-off ENSO swings are related to Sudden Stratospheric Warming events. That goes for deeper ocean storage of trapped warmth too. And other aspects may be transfer of warmth to the Polar cell by means of cyclones and at the tip of stationary, expanding Rossby waves.

I’ve got some big questions myself on these, too. Looks like there’s a learning story that might continue long after the Arctic Ocean had turned seasonally ice-free…

Ac A

Ok, since this is open threa, I think this is relevant here:

"Collapse may ACCELERATE global warming"

[already happening?]
People will not stop using fossil fuel. Here is how that will work out: The rich people who control the oil fields and refineries are not going to willingly give up their wealth. Instead they will hire many more armed guards. Every oil-tanker truck or ship will be guarded with many weapons. There will still be plenty of market for fuel. What will change is that any pretense of regulation will fall away. The production and use of fossil fuel will become dirtier than it has been in many decades. ALL known reserves of fossil fuel will get used, even though climatologists have already made it clear that that will be fatal for the ecosystem. Global warming will accelerate.

That's the early part of collapse. ...




Alex, hi,

I understand that you link that essay. But it reminds me having watched the movie 'Armageddon' once. The hosts asked to step forward when you would believe in Christ afterwards...
I follow the musings of FI Richard Heinberg, Gail Tverberg. While depressing every now and then, they don't deprive me of motivation to get into 'city-agriculure'.

That said, I would be interested in a 'layered', mild form of authoritarian eco-government. I would like to hope for Plato's state of philosophers, based on his ideals. And add compassion.
There is still a chance the EU might go in that direction?

Chris Biscan


In-case you missed it. UAH came in very very warm. Unprecedentedly warm for ENSO conditions and 2nd to 2010 which was a NINO.


Time for Version 5.6! ;-)


On collapse...
Alex, others, Tamino has a post on the subject that couldn't better reflect what I hope for.
On authoritarian; don't think I mean this to replace democracy. That's why I write 'layered'. We should approach challenges according to their nature and proportions.
Restrict in the big picture, leave as much as possible room for people and businesses on the small scale.


Time for Version 5.6! ;-)

Actually version 6 has been in the works since about Oct 2011.


BTW, I think Dec 12 was surprisingly cool (on GISS and UAH) and Jan 13 has bounced back to about where I would expect it to be.

Ac A

Hi Werther,

yes, Tamino wrote it well. As usual. My guess it will be all of it. It has already started. Look at Sytia, Egypt (on the verge of civil war), Mali, Greece (grad of remaining forests - what then?), Spain (unemployment - what next?), and we are not nearly the end of credit crunch.

Think about China-Japan worsening relationships, etc... so it realy depends when one will be during decades long climatic/financial/social/economic decline.

And we also know that unsustainable population bubble has to burst. Malthus was right, only little bit premature.

We live in iteresting times, revealing our collective optimism/ignorance and everything :-)



It's beginning to look like the polar bears have had the last word at point Barrow.
Or would the ice be to thin to have anything installed on it?

Anyway, the Barrow webcam is out of order since almost a month. And the "as soon as possible" there doesn't sound really convincing as we encounter the very same "ASAP" message at the Wales webcam which resides at the same website onto the same server. The "ASAP" there takes now more than one year and six months.

I wrote a message to the Wales webcam responsable about a year ago, and received the answer the good guy was out for a trip around the world and other nice things.

So it doesn't look good. To bad ...

Mike Constable

Re:- Barrow - camera location:-

This image has been recorded by a web cam overlooking the landfast ice (or coastal ocean during the ice-free period in summer) from atop the bank building in downtown Barrow, Alaska. The camera is looking approximately North.

Not bear-proof?? Also the weather reports on the breakup part of the site have not been updated since late November. I have tried Googleing the 2013 Mass Balance Site, best references seem to go to Andy Mahoney (and I have not contacted him) from site:-


The Barrow data is very informative when the bears leave the equipment alone and it is kept up to date!


Have another look at the Canadian sat imagery. The clouds have cleared over the NP and CAB. Lot's of fracturing.


Mining uranium on Greenland as it melts -- http://www.businessinsider.com/race-for-greenland-uranium-deposits-2013-2


A4R, I take it that you are referring to ftp://cisclient.cis.ec.gc.ca/HRPT-Resolute--ArcticComposite/arcticComposite.130206.1414.4.png

Lots of fractures close to the pole, as well as throughout the basin.

Espen Olsen


Lot's of fracturing.Yes watch this sat image from north of Nares Strait: Sorry wrong link:

Chris Reynolds

A Team,

"Gavin's notion they can't sort out land from water strikes me as preposterous."

The calculation of methane concentration from satellite retrievals requires an assumption be made about surface emissivity. If they get the emissivity wrong they get spurious anomalies of methane concentration. Dr Yurganov explained this a while ago when I was corresponding with him about 400mb CH4 anomalies above the East Siberian Shelf. My argument against this point was that the ESS anomalies were a persistent pattern over many years, and that similar anomalies are not found elsewhere along the ESS, where similar surface emissivity mismatches might be expected to occur.

Chris Reynolds

Sorry that should read 'along the Siberian coast'

You can see what I'm going on about here:

Chris Reynolds


Sorry but those first draft graphs I gave you of regional breakdowns are duff. My area weighting was wrong. You'll find correct stuff under this blog post;
I've checked by re-working the PIOMAS thickness graph on their website (albeit that's daily and I'm monthly) and various other idiot checks have passed.

Nightvid Cole

Aaron Lewis said:

The bottom line is that the videos where folks light off methane from bubbles shows that the concentration of methane in those bubbles is greater than 50,000,0000 [sic] ppmbv.

Shouldn't that be 50,000,000 ppbbv ?

Artful Dodger

Satellite soundings are not the only means of measuring Arctic methane concentration.

This NASA article is from 04.22.12 Study Finds Surprising Arctic Methane Emission Source". From the article:

"HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) airborne campaign, which flew a specially instrumented National Science Foundation (NSF)/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Gulfstream V aircraft over the Pacific Ocean from nearly pole to pole, collecting atmospheric measurements from Earth’s surface to an altitude of 8.7 miles (14 kilometers)."

Air pressure at 14 km altitude is about 100 mb. This is about 52,500 feet AGL. So the measurement there represents the well-mixed methane gas present in the atmosphere (yes, methane CH4 is a well-mixed gas, in spite of what you may read on denier blogs)


Artful Dodger

Re: Barrow - camera location

The camera is located on the roof of the bank building in the center of the town of Barrow.

If Polar bears ate the camera, that would create a real 'run on the banks', lol.

Better to research, then post, Kris.

Mike, you can see the last day's feed from the camera before it stopped sending images, here:



Art Full wrote:

Better to research, then post, Kris

And Art Full badly is in need of a course in comprehensive reading.

As I wrote:

It's beginning to look like the polar bears have had the last word at point Barrow.

And I did provide the link to the point Barrow sealevel site, didn't I.

But apparently Art Full has been to lazy to click onto the link.

Point Barrow where hitherto the Mass Balance site has been (or had been) situated. And at which site we can read the devices had been damaged by a polar bear earlier previous season.

And I wondered if the ice would still be to thin there, didn't I?

Thus the referance to the polar bears was just a little piece of irony, alas far beyond the scope of the Art Full of intelligentia.

And other than that, I made the comment the Wales webcam, Barrow webcam and sealevel site are maintained (or had been maintained) by the very same organisation. Which is telling us for over a year and a half "operations will be continued ASAP". And I told too if ASAP takes that much of time "the operations" never might resume as well.
Maybe in Great Albion's book ASAP could takes years and years, but it's not like that in a normal World.

So, keep you stupid British denigrating and racist jokes for yourself, or even better, take ASAP that course in comprehensive reading. ASAP in it's normal meaning of course.

Mike Constable

My point was that nothing has been maintained properly at Barrow - the bear put an end to the Mass balance site early last year, the airport weather reports/forecasts on the site have not been updated since late November and the camera on the bank building has not been working for some time.
I did try to communicate when the Mass Balance numbers stopped for the second time last year but got no response. I wondered if the funding had dried up? It was always interesting to watch the temperature profile of the ice change as spring arrived . . .


For current Nares Strait condition, you don't want to look at the daily composite, there's much better resolution over in the Ellesmere folder. The image below presents both enhanced (inverted, orange) and direct grayscale.

Look at all the floes. And the pull-apart at the entrance. And the normal North West Waters (a named polyna). Yes, this is 07 Feb 2013.


 photo naresDouble420_zps0f64dcd6.jpg


A4R is quite right, a whole of cracking going on between the pole and Banks and around the Russian islands. Crack propagation velocity is quite remarkable -- this is why early polar explorers refused to use sleeping bags.

The north pole right now is occupied by very thin ice; too cloudy though for IR enhancement and interpretation.

Look at that little eddy shaping up north of the Alaska/Yukon line -- I predict that will bring some very extensive fracturing in the next day or two.

 photo 3Day420_zps34c1cfd6.gif

Espen Olsen


Just to add to your observations, I suggest you to use the sat-images from DMI where you can find cracks reaching all the way from Fram Strait to Bering Strait.



Espen, that is a fine site for properly archived imagery on and off the Greenland shore. I find Nord the most useful for the Fram.

The link you provide only covers the entrance to Nares Strait and a bit of Ellesmere. They provide another feature 'choose instrument or satellite' (8 options, none working today) but I've never seen winter coverage of the Canadian Arctic there. (Visible is not available this time of year; everyone is using the same NOAA avhrr.)

Some of the IR imagery is poor quality, not the fault of DMI but arises from off-nadir satellite look.

I have been engaged for weeks in a friendly but unproductive dialog with DMI staff there to correct the typo on the American philanthropist Morris Jesup and more importantly to correct the incorrect corners coordinates on Kennedy frame (which is too much like Lincoln).

Nothing has come of it. Except that they agree it is a great idea because we are losing coverage of the central Nares as things stand. (Four keyboard strokes and a save doesn't take that long.)


What strikes me as unusual is the dearth of MYI north of Greenland this year. Even if the Petermann ice island acts to keep Nares blocked until deep in the melt season, it won't make too much difference.

2013 is going to be an interesting year.


Nightvid Cole

PIOMAS has updated !!!


PIOMAS update:
Latest value: 2013-01-31 16.843

I have updated my graphics at ArctischePinguin for the latest data.

Note that the graphics have been moved to a subdirectory. If anyone is using permanent links you will need to update these.

Monthly data
Daily Anomalies
Daily data
Daily data with a "prediction" based on exponential trend


Piomas Arctic sea ice volume for each day of January 2013 was at least 0.700 lower than the minimum for that date of any year during 2002-2012.

Chris Reynolds

Dr Tschudi has just informed me that the sea ice age plots have been updated, increment week now week 38.

I retract my retraction that what they show wasn't so bad. Comparison of week 52 for years of this century shows that while there has been an increase of oldest category the overall extent is the lowest for any year, except possibly 2007 itself. And with the ongoing loss of volume since then, and the implications that brings for open water formation, things do not good for the ice in 2013.

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