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The ECMWF weather model is forecasting a huge high level pressure area starting in Beaufort and moving over the centre of the Arctic, with SLPs as high as 1065 hPa, in the coming 3-5 days. That should stir things up, but also cause an extra late cold snap.


Here is the Nares Strait through the seasons, 163 days from 01 Oct 12 through 14 Mar 13. Probably the most interesting event is the giant 'flare' from 14 Jan 13 to 30 Jan 13. Apparently a large amount of water from the north was pushed under the ice and out through the straits over this 16 day period, possibly associated with a storm event, large-scale movement of the Arctic Ocean ice pack, currents (pressure differential), or has some relation -- direct or indirect to the extraordinary cracking season.

Over the last few days, it seems that another large flare could be developing. Note the appearance of pink, which in Jaxa radar is associated with melting, here in the area of the persistent ice arch. Navy sea ice drift animations, which are also good on flares, might have some predictions here for the next few days.

 photo BigEvent17Mar13_zpsec116864.jpg

Rick Aster

I wonder if the rapid cracking is an indication not merely of thin ice, but also of bottom melt. I picture bottom melt over time making the ice bottom more smooth so that the ice is more easily blown around by the wind. An object drags less in the water if it is smoother, and then it can go faster, or at least I have heard this is a principle in designing boats and surfboards. If the ice moves faster in the water it seems to me that makes more energy available to propagate a crack in the ice.


some perspective, with visual aids, to supplement the images and discussions in this sequence:

First, how much water we talking about?

Now spread that water back over the mineral surface, as the thin liquid/solid base of a 50 km moist and gassy skin on and around a 12,700km diameter ball. Add a sunny summer, stir.
[That image is a day in Sept 2008, over the western hemisphere, as Ike and other tropical storms were hovering in the Atlantic, churning with energy.]

We, and the rest of life as we know it, are mostly water, living within that narrow wet skin, which is kept mostly gas and liquid by solar heat. The stubbornly stable equilibrium is maintained by dynamics that are the stuff brings you and me to this and similar sites to argue details of the human end, speaking math flavored with politics.

Now, back to the preliminary processes of winter-into-spring thaw, 2013 version, as that equilibrium accounts for our latest contributions in the game...
[george winston has an album called Winter into Spring, with a long piece called "Ocean Waves", which might be appropriate. A little too laid back, maybe, but there's not much we can do but watch...]

Paul Beckwith

Tired of just lurking on this great blog; Movie time: Arctic meteorology... Here is the 10 day weather circulation pattern in the Arctic from the US GFSx model; in a movie that I just put together. "Normal" would be much more blue and purple and be quite circular. This is the "new normal" due to convoluted jet stream from collapsing Arctic albedo...as much as sea ice is declining, Arctic snow cover is declining even faster...perhaps blog should be renamed Arctic sea ice and snow cover? https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByLujhsHsxP7aVNXREk1emFyaW8/edit?usp=sharing

Robert Fanney

It would seem these, very extensive, crack structures are yet one more strike against the sea ice. We'll see.

As for a big high building, seems like a good of heat transport going into the Arctic at the moment. Will be interesting to see how much gets flushed out. Looking at warmer air coming up from the south over Eastern Siberian and Greenland.

Robert Fanney

Seems that the cold air just hangs over the continents with quite a bit of warmer air over the Arctic ocean.


Ac A


regarding this and previous post (on PIOMASS-maybe-not-so-bad). It is good that people actually take care of themselves and US oil boom 'protects world from supply shocks'. Well, sayz IEA. That "take care of themselves" is sarcasm, of course...

Opec expects US oil supply to rise by 580,000 bpd to 10.59-million bpd in 2013, which it said would be the highest level since 1985.

Jim Hunt

Peter Sinclair has picked up on the story, with proper attribution for a change:


I'm endeavouring to persuade Andrew Freedman of the error of his ways!



"The ECMWF weather model is forecasting a huge high level pressure area starting in Beaufort and moving over the centre of the Arctic, with SLPs as high as 1065 hPa, in the coming 3-5 days. That should stir things up, but also cause an extra late cold snap."

Neven , shades of 2007, if there is extensive sunlight hitting black first year ice , this soon coming High and particular the latter ones will be devastating. It is again up to clouds to save what is left of perineal sea ice. As it was in 2012. Eventually 2007 like dipole will strike with the full force of the higher sun. When this happens bye bye summer sea ice.


Jim, just this morning I have added a new board to the ASIF called 'Developers Corner' (under AGW in general), where people can discuss the programming behind charts, animations and models. If you like you can present your DASIM project there.


Indeed, Wayne, a high like this during May or June would be a disaster.



"this fracturing event appears to be related to a storm that passed over the North Pole on Feb. 8, 2013, creating strong off-shore ice motion. The event is unusual but not unheard of"

Walt needs to review this, is not exactly right.

Jim Hunt

Thanks for the heads up Neven.

Maybe the existing DASIM thread should be moved to the new "Developers" board? Can you do that behind the scenes? Especially without permanently breaking any existing links!


That's right! I knew there was a thread that fitted in there, but couldn't remember where. I'll move it.

Jim Hunt

Hi Wayne,

"Walt needs to review this"

Has Walt already done so? The "unusual" bit seems to have disappeared.



Jim is not unusual for sure, but the Low at the Pole moving things around is very incomplete all while the entire cracking followed a strong High pressure isobar wind pattern along with cotidal lines. Is like he is describing something we haven't seen.

Jim Hunt

Or alternatively are those Freedman's words rather than NSIDC's?

Espen Olsen

No it is removed:


"Similar patterns were observed in early 2011 and 2008, but the 2013 fracturing is quite extensive."

S Latham

From the post: "2) the thin ice that now grows to fill up the leads, will go first when the melting starts, potentially leading to more open water between floes to absorb solar energy and convert it to heat."

Is the effect all solar? I wonder if the another deleterious effect of the cracking is to get more salt into/onto the ice and lowering its melting point.


For those wanting another tool to observe sea ice movement, the My Ocean desk has sea ice velocity forecasts. Use Google Chrome to have the site work.

From the page below, hit the view button to see the results for sea ice velocity, etc.

Also, the resultes are best viewed in Google Earth, which is one of the display options.


Robert Fanney

When NSIDC says 'quite extensive' they mean more extensive than 2008 and 2011?

Need a little clarity here.

Such as 'large cracking events have happened before. They are rare, but similar events were observed in 2008 and 2011. That said, the current event is larger than previous ones and it seems the area of cracked ice has continued to spread.'

I don't know if this is true but it is what seems to be most likely given all the statements so far.



New to this blog and I have read some of the comments from this blog and the old one on the cracking of the sea ice but not all of them. Not sure if this has been mentioned or Could be a reason..

I feel the cracks started like they normaly do after a storm. Then the cracks went wild after the Meterorite Explosion over Russia on Feb 15 2013. That high alitude explosion sent a shock wave out in the Atmosphere. The shock wave was on the North Asia side of the sea ice. I feel the shock wave pushed down on the Ice like a vehicle driving on it. The waves under the ice crossed the artic sea reaching the Canada alaska side increasing the cracking weak zone.
Anyone feel that could be one of the causes??


"if you can call something with a few inches of freeboard a wall" that's a few X 9inches below giving a haven for warmer water to 'hide+refresh' from the flow below.
On the USNavy site signs of the lift off of the thick ice from the central archipelago area are growing and anytime soon the first permanent lead may open somewhere like 130W 72N.


Just found this new info...
NASA Fireball Website Launches with New Russian Meteor Explosion Details

by Leonard David, SPACE.com’s Space Insider Columnist

Date: 14 March 2013 Time: 07:00 AM ET



The area where the meteor was is closer to Rome than it is to where the ice is cracking. May as well blame it for the Pope resigning too.



...the cracks went wild after the Meterorite Explosion over Russia on Feb 15 2013. That high alitude explosion sent a shock wave out in the Atmosphere. The shock wave was on the North Asia side of the sea ice.

NJSnowfan, that explosion was probably in the kiloton range and is very unlikely to have had any effects on the cracking itself.

Any effect would be limited to a couple hundred miles. Anything further than that will simply be a sonic boom.


Clouds have obscured the active cracking area NW of Ellesmere last 18 hours, messing up my time series and leaving us wondering what is going on at the ice. Hopefully the weather will clear during the coming 1065 hPa sea level pressure of the ECMWF forecast.

The event may be what was driving the major ice compression event above Ellesmere predicted at Navy ice speed and drift. The high pressure over the Arctic may also be associated with export out the Fram, the flushing event shaping up out the Nares, and bulk movement of the ice pack generally.

Movement of the goat's head -- our quasi-rigid array of monitoring buoys in the central Arctic Ocean -- may also be affected. This moves like a frisbee; by disentangling its translations and rotations, we can get a quantitative sense of linear and angular velocities and the forces that give rise to them.

I chose 'goat's head' for terminological consistency -- we ruminate here quite a bit on sea ice , climate modelers are feeling sheepish over their asinine predictions of 2040 summer melt-out, and a bullish melt season is shaping up for the multi-year ice so deer to the planet's heat budget. As with the camel getting its nose under the tent, this block is the place to start decomposing global ice pack motion into its rigid, deformable, and brittle components.

The animations runs for six and a half months, from 30 Aug 2012 to 14 Mar 2013. One of my imaginary assistants has marked out a bar on each from the base of a horn to another stably recognizable 'buoy' point and put each day's distance and angle to the pole into a spreadsheet for later analysis, while another is pursuing the satellite's swath pattern for a more accurate time-stamp than a calendar day (because two rounds of newtonian differences are needed to give velocity and acceleration). However the motion is actually slow enough that every 3rd day suffices for the animation, and so the time error largely drops away.

You can see some very odd things happening this winter, such as a pure translational episode, followed by a dash towards the pole. More about these later.

 photo BigEvent17Mar13_zpsec116864.jpg


I should have mentioned above that SZ stands for Severnaya Zemlya archipelago. A bit of Komsomolets Island is sticking out 80.6° N, 94.5° E to orient you.

I have an Arctic-wide version of the goat's head frisbee that I may update post after the storm has blown by. I'm just now checking spreadsheet distances and angles and will post that offsite shortly.

Neven, yes all the imagery and animations I post are in the public domain. Open source, no copyright permissions or releases or crediting are needed. I would carve my initials into an ice floe if there was some need to retain 'ownership'. There isn't.

Congratulations on being linked to from NSIDC! The gov't is very leery overall of sending people off to other web sites, as that can be read as endorsing their content. Social Security, National Park Service, NSIDC ... it is no different.

But here I think a lot of Arctic scientists scan this blog for news and ideas while they drink their morning coffee. NSIDC concluded long ago that the site is safe and run with integrity.


A-team, Neven and all,

If we've earned a reputation high enough to have the NSIDC include us in a posting, it only makes us more obligated to do the best we can to maintain that quality in the pursuit of our learning and in educating the public about the Arctic.

Artful Dodger

A-Team wrote | March 15, 2013 at 23:08

"another is pursuing the satellite's swath pattern for a more accurate time-stamp than a calendar day"

Hi A-Team,

I'm not certain which satellite you are referring to, since it's not explicitly mentioned in your latest comments.

However, if the sensor is part of the "A-Train" satellite constellation, then it's pretty straight-forward. Their heliosynchronous orbits mean that these satellites cross the equator on their ascending node at 1:30 PM local solar time (which is why MODIS visual imagery is so consistent, because the solar angle is always very similar).

The orbital period for the A-Train is about 98.4 minutes (14.5625 orbits per day), in this order:

  • GCOM-W1 (SHIZUKU), host for AMSR-2, lead spacecraft in formation
  • Aqua, runs 4 minutes behind GCOM-W1
  • CloudSat runs 2 minutes and 30 seconds behind Aqua
  • CALIPSO follows CloudSat by no more than 15 seconds

Else, we can get NORAD "two-line elements"(TLE) for other birds. But I think using daily data spacing is appropriate for our purposes, since the sea ice moves just 1-2 km/hr. Hope this helps. 8^)


Artful Dodger

Hi Villabolo,

The Mar 15 meteor did not even fracture the ice of the lake that it hit. Which is 5,650 km from Barrow, Alaska where the cracks started. 13 days BEFORE the meteor strike...

When a 1st-time commenter comes in here spewing this kind of denialist claptrap, just let it go. You don't need to respond. This isn't that kind of blog.

PLEASE, do not feed the trolls!

Colorado Bob

A bit off topic -

I saw this quote about Patagonia the other day .......
"Australia didn't swelter alone. December and January were the hottest on record for land areas in the Southern Hemisphere. Temperatures in Patagonia, Chile, were more than 7.2 degrees F (4 degrees C) above normal in January, while much of southern Africa reported its hottest temperatures on record that month."

Glaciers melting at fastest rate in 350 years, study finds
Some mountain glaciers are melting up to 100 times faster than at any time in the past 350 years.

The findings, based on a new ice loss calculation technique developed by studying the glaciers of Patagonia in South America, have worrying implications for crop irrigation and water supplies around the world.

"Temperatures in Patagonia, Chile, were more than 7.2 degrees F (4 degrees C) above normal in January, "

And last Sept -
"Patagonia is kind of a poster child for rapidly changing glacier systems," he said in a statement. The region, he added, "is supplying water to sea-level at a big rate compared to its size."

The study was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters:
Patagonian Glaciers Melting in a Hurry
A new study finds that ice fields in southern South America are rapidly losing volume even at the highest elevations


AD, there is a difference between not having any idea what you're talking about, and trolling, and if NJSnowFan is simply not very well informed i think that 'spewing this kind of denialist claptrap' was a bit harsh. as more people visit this blog it's inevitable that some people will be simply uninformed, and the two posts in question were phrased as a simple request for information. which Villabolo provided. nuff said

Artful Dodger

sofouuk, they're called 'concern trolls' and you are feeding them. Let's just agree to stop.


Schism now expected north of Ellesmere http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticictnnowcast.gif


AD you are very sure of yourself. but i will stop

Hans Verbeek

Shell is temporarily barred from drilling in the Arctic.

Statoil has postponed expolaration in the Chukchi-sea.

Sell your car en stop flying: peakoil is upon us :-)

Chris Reynolds
When a 1st-time commenter comes in here spewing this kind of denialist claptrap, just let it go. You don't need to respond. This isn't that kind of blog.

So it's not the kind of blog that gives polite and helpful assistance to those who genuinely don't know and genuinely ask questions?

On the odd occasion I've noticed denialists here they've rapidly got out because they soon realise that on the topic of sea ice they're out of their depth. There is someone who's been touting the 'natural' angle recently, and failed to respond to serious points made against their case. That's the sort of behaviour I take as indicative.

But real denialist trolls show a pattern of repeatedly saying things that aren't correct, going on to other matters, and even repeating the things that have been shown wrong when they think everyone's forgotten. While all the time failing to change their position, or at least thank people for the new information and that they're going away to think about it. This is the hallmark of the denialist, it is the failure to behave logically when faced with new information, over a protracted discussion.

Anyway you cannot judge whether someone is a denialist from one question. Simple 'not knowing' could be what's going on, and not knowing is where we all started.

I know it's Neven's blog, but as a regular poster: Can we please be more polite to first time posters and realise that what's obvious to many of us with years of following the ice isn't obvious to the average person.

Some (Most?) of us expect a remarkable and exciting year in 2013. If this is the case, and the press pick up on this issue, we can expect a lot more 'newbie' questions from people who honestly don't know.

PS. AD - if you're as dismissive of that person for not knowing about some fracturing appearing earlier, then what about me? I consider that earlier fracturing to be relatively uninteresting and not uncommon, and that the really exciting stuff started from 19 Feb 2013.


I agree with Chris Reynolds. Innocent until proven guilty. This blog has been blessed in that rarely a fake skeptic/denialist shows up (because they hate what Arctic sea ice is doing to their position), which means that our tolerance and flexibility levels should be at a maximum, right?

Of course, if we do get structural problems with (concern) trolls, I'm all for Lodgers's approach. One warning and that's it. But I'm not worried about that in absence of a 'you betcha' recovery.

In the meantime stupid questions are more than welcome. Where would we be without stupid questions?


Very helpful satellite info, Artful D. I was looking at IARC Jaxa (IJIS) GCOM-WI (SHIZUKU), host for AMSR-2 36H 36V 18V radar. They are rather good about uploading intermediate images during the day as the swaths get filled in. I guess I could collect these and see when the goat's head region is first filled in (stably or overwritten? at same time every day?).

Because the infrared is fairly useless during these pack rearrangement storms, I'm still interested in higher resolution radar if AMSR-E has this. Is it convenient for you post an image at their native resolution (limited to Arctic Ocean)? For the purposes of the blog or forum column widths (415-620 pixels), the native resolution on what I've been using is satisfactory. For research purposes, not.

 photo swaths2_zps65269c14.jpg


REF RUSSIAN METEOR: The primary Meteor strike caused super subsonic seismeic rumblings around the globe - reaching the east cost of North Americia around 12 hrs after the meteor 'strike'. More importantly, the FEB 16 'stike' was just 3 days before (not 13) the major ice cracks began to appear. What is maybe more telling, there were rapid 'surges' in the larger crack formations for several days after the primary formations. And - the large cracks have a remarkably circular formation, similar to a supersonic explosive wave front. Considering there were quite a few smaller but widely observed metoers in the higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere for a week after the 'Russian' strike. - it is a valid hypothesis that an meteor may have struke the arctic ice, or more likely, exploded 1-3 kilometers above the centroid' of the ice fracture.

(That 'small' ice break found in Russia was no doubt caused by a large 'pepple size' of piece of the meteor moving at 40,000mph.)

Jim Hunt

A stupid question from yours truly.

Exploring recent Chinese and Russian contributions to Arctic research I note that the temperature sensor aboard the Russian "Drifting station North Pole - 40" AKA Buoy 2012G, shows temperature increasing from -32 to -13 over a period of 24 hours last week.

Does that mean that "spring has arrived in the Arctic", as promised by R. Gates on March 7th?

N.B. Typepad's self references still don't seem to work, unless the target happens to be on the final page of comments.


A dozen meteors could have fallen into or exploded just above the sea ice, without that big and stable high pressure system kicking the Beaufort Gyre into high gear and without all of that thin ice around, we would have never experienced such extensive cracking.

The danger of discussing these things too much is that Steve 'Truth-bender' Goddard gets a sniff of it, posts twenty-five 50-word posts about it in two days, Marc 'Paid-to-lie' Morano picks that up and then Anthony 'AGW-is-real-but-it's-a-hoax' Watts comes with a some-people-say-post, and then it was the big stormz and meteorz what dunnit. :-P


The Arctic ice fracturing is beginning to get more US mainstream media attention.

This morning, A-Team's blue ice fracturing image is the headliner on the Discovery article, "Arctic Storm Shatters Thin Sea Ice. It also includes credit to the Arctic Sea Ice Blog:



Similar coverage in LiveScience, "Arctic Storm Shatters Thin Sea Ice", and A-Team/Arctic Sea Ice Blog get credits again.



Meteor impact on Arctic ice fracturing? No relationship in the AVHRR imagery!

The earlist AVHRR image I have is February 4, in which the fracturing is already evident in areas past Barrow.

The February 15 imagery, the date of the Russian Meteor event,depicts no major change.

It is not until February 20, five days after the meteor event that the next round of major fracturing appears.

I'll post three AVHRR images in the following thread for verification.


Shared Humanity

Johnm33........Schism now expected north of Ellesmere.

Looking at the ice thickness image and the upcoming Grinder event, it looks like the Fram export may not be transporting much thick ice into the Atlantic anytime soon. Has this ever occurred before? Is it simply an obvious statement as to the condition of the sea ice?

Shared Humanity

Neven.....Where would we be without stupid questions?

I know where I would be and continue to be...very concerned and still fairly stupid. I am new (9 months) and ask stupid questions here all of the time.

Having said this, I've been on other blogs where trolls have infested the place and caused a lot of damage. If persistent, and they tend to be most persistent on sites that have gained exposure because of the level of discussion and insight, (to your credit Neven, this is such a site) you need to be vigilant. I do not think it should occupy the informed here who have more important things to discuss.

It is up to the moderator. I've seen sites struggle with the issue of censorship. I am generally opposed to it. If trolls do show up, one solution would be to move their comments to a separate thread (with an appropriate title) where they can deny to their hearts content (propose their alternate or natural process arguments?) This is not without precedent as you and other commenters have requested posters to stay on topic and have moved comments to new threads when necessary.

Robert Fanney

Yes. A meteor exploding 3000+ miles away and 'causing' cracks that began nearly two weeks before is definitely Steve Goddard Material.

For my part, I'd worry very much about the fragility of sea ice if a 300 kt explosion 3000 miles away could cause such a large crack up 11 days before the event. (we've had earthquakes that released more energy in the period, not to mention the 400,000 hiroshimas + of heat forcing each day due to AGW ;).

As for trolls, I tend to agree with Neven. That said, they can be a real pain to deal with. Which is why I think AD is so concerned. I like the idea of a separate forum should the problem grow. Censorship usually ends up hitting a few innocent questions and can offend the reader base.

Let's hope Steve doesn't pick up on the asteroid canard. But, if he does, at least we can have a little chuckle about it.

Chris Reynolds

There is no connection between the Russian Meteor and the recent events in the Arctic.

Dave Leaton

NJSnowFan, et al., you could also just ask NJSnowFan if s/he understands the technical detail of the response. A simple request for verification of understanding usually results in the separation of trolls from the curious general public. Unless, of course, this is meant to be an experts-only forum/blog.

Robert Fanney


I think that's something most of the experts here understand pretty clearly.


Shared Humanity,

"it looks like the Fram export may not be transporting much thick ice into the Atlantic anytime soon."

Looking at the same animated thickness gif's it is obvious, that most of the ice leaving Fram now and next weeks did survive the last summer. But I agree, that it is not thick - <2.5 m. That is now about the max. thickness of all the multi-years ice between Fram and somewhere near the North-Pole. Later on schedule to pass Fram are a small chunk of FYI and after that our beloved goats head - quite thin MYI.


and getting back to topic - cracks:

From the same animated thickness gif it is observable, that all present multiyears ice experienced severe cracking in every month since 05/2012 - every area cracked multiple times since then. So - cracking these days is probably just a natural behaviour of repeatedly kneaded ice. Cracks are now normal - at least until the ice is molten.

Robert Fanney

The ice does seem to be very mobile too. So thin ice + mobile ice may well mean more cracking. All part of what would seem to be a pretty clear transition to that molten ice you mention, SATire.


Here's another newbie (non-troll) asking a newbie question.

I take it that when the melt begins the ice within the fractures will be the first to melt. So when summer comes will this melt create isolated islands of ice instead of one very shrunken ice cap?


Good idea -- move the nonsense and response to nonsense over to an bottomless dead-end forum and off-topic stuff off to its topic. More work but makes for a better long-term archive.

If you're an inexperienced but sincere person making incredible claims about ice movement that conflict with physics and satellite photos -- please provide us your data source, pose it as a question, or spare us the post.

Below is what the ice has actually been doing the last 30 days. Note the central Arctic motion (per goat's head buoy) has markedly accelerated the last 4-5 days.

We can actually easily quantitate daily Fram ice export ourselves rather than rely on layer upon layer of potted products or intuiting. And that's your first clue something is very wrong -- no daily product, only seasonal.

The second clue is about half of the ice classifiers have the goat's head mis-classified (not though the Russian product). Makes me wonder what else they have way wrong.

When someone's ice classification conflicts with ice-penetrating structural radar, it doesn't mean they're wrong, just that they have some serious explaining to do. When they can't or won't or don't, move on to something better.

 photo day74ascat3d_zps9d9b32f0.gif



I am not an expert so this may need correction but I would suggest no. Winds and current will move the ice pack. This would generally be expected to keep the pack together held up against CAA. But it might not happen that way. If the pack is moved away from land then certainly some pieces will end up clear of the pack and melt but I would still expect the pack to mostly stay together. The pack edge usually stays fairly distinct. Odd pieces with a lot of ocean around tend to melt quite quickly due to albedo of ocean absorbing lots of heat.

Also pieces will break off which are deeper than they are across so that they rotate and take up more surface area. This can fill in some of the area that melts out (though again it will tend to be thinner and therefore be liable to melt out earlier).


If you dust off your notes from high school trigonometry (notably arctan) and recall from its maclaurin expansion that sin(x)~x for small latitudinal x, you'll see that pixel x,y coordinates on a polar stereographic project are readily converted to km from the pole, latitude, longitude, and (for the two points determining the line on the goat's head) slope.

If you believe that everyone's opinion is equally valid (especially yours, 2+2=5 included), there's no need to further consider actual Arctic ice pack motion data. For the others, I've provided it below. Five points per line, each line representing the position of the goat's head fiducial line from 30 Aug 12 to 14 Mar 13, every third day.

I've found in the past that tabs and carriage returns don't transfer reliably across software and platforms. So, before pasting in your spreadsheet, simply grep out ^ for your tab and ] for end-of-row. There are all sorts of fun and games to do with the motion.


Bouke Van der Spoel

Does anyone know if there are any foot expeditions to the pole going on/planned this year? With all those cracks, I guess it has become very risky.

I wonder if the last expedition has already happened...


Bouke, there's a special thread on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum dealing with that question (ignore the security warning and make an exception as https is actually safer than http).

Vergent Bill

Last year the cracks melted out a left open water that stayed open until the surrounding ice melted out completely.


Lance Modis

Vergent Bill

The ice is always cracked. What has caused these cracks to open up so wide is the massive export of ice into the GS, Barents, etc.

The area of the cracks is exactly equal to the exported area plus any area lost to pressure ridging.


Vergent Bill,

Your Lance Modis link doesn't work.


Thanks for answers to my question. I am NO AGW. You can see my post on twitter that I am no AGW @njsnowfan
When I see something, I like to speek my mind not like many people in this world.
Man reason why I was asking questions about the Russian meterorite is it was such a large explosion HIGH up in the atmosphere. Yes the explosion was many miles away from Alaska and Canada but the area on the N asia side of sea ice is all first year ice. That is where the wave COULD of started was my feeling.When you have a storm it will push on the ice in a small size area creating waves under the ice that will travel to the other side of the artic ocean. I noticed 5 days after the explosion the ice shifted a bunch and the area that was already weak and cracked went wild. My feeling was the explosion COULD of increased the cracking and I wanted to find out if it COULD be one of the reasons. I don't want the AGW blaming the severe cracking on their so called global warming if the explosion COULD of made waves under the artic ocean cracking the ice more.

Thanks again, AKA the troll......

Chris Alemany

At risk of feeding the troll... perhaps if you're going to connect the Russian meteor explosion to Arctic sea ice cracking you should investigate whether there was any cracking caused by nuclear detonations of similar magnitudes and similar or lesser distances in the past.

I think you will find that if there was a significant link between atmospheric detonations in the kiloton range and Arctic ice fragility, science would have noticed it in the past 60 years.


thanks for the comic relief to the concern troll. next you could try to prove the effect of Sandy to the vortexes cracking the Antarctic ice in Weddell Sea. the style of the discussion here is all too serious sometimes, but I for one try to keep the humor out of here so i'll stop.

Craig Merry

Amazing animations A Team and kudos for contributors for keeping the blog/forum on topic. It's quite fascinating to read through. You know you're doing good when outside influences start citing.

I definitely consider myself an amateur. I'll keep on lurking and see if I can pick up books and understanding along the way - to somehow contribute would be great.


A good analogy (I believe) would be a tree being blown by the wind. In its past it has faced many storms, but one day a storm happens by and it falls. There is nothing too unusual about this storm, in fact it was not even a very big storm. On investigation it was found out to be all rotten at its core from all kinds of factors, but the media and others reporting about it only say that the tree fell down in a storm. Those hearing/reading those reports would believe that it was the storm that brought the tree down. In fact it was the rot that brought the tree down and the tree experts all agree with it although they would also have to include that it was at this particular time the storm was indeed responsible for it happening at this particular point in time.
Just as what is happening to the ice can be pointed at if such and did not occur at this moment then this happening would not have occurred just like this at this moment (hope you can follow that distorted logic)
That is the constant battle that the majority on this forum are fighting. The reason the ice is in the shape its in is because of AGW, but for every little event that happens on the Arctic you can always find some other event that made it occur in exactly the way it did.
I am no scientist, but do enjoy following you and congratulate all of you on the advancement of our understanding as to what is going on at the core.
PS @Colorado Bob: See the avg temp map for Feb February 2013 the globe's 9th warmest February on record
Note: Firefox has a very cool toolbar Text Formatting Toolbar that make tagging quotes, naming html links etc a breeze (wish I had found that a few posting back.


Note: Firefox has a very cool toolbar Text Formatting Toolbar that make tagging quotes, naming html links etc a breeze (wish I had found that a few posting back.

Oh, wow, this is going to save me at least half an hour a day! This is so cool. Thanks LRC!

Jim Williams

Off Topic: I've been going bonkers reading that "[Name] on Crack is bad for you"


Haha, hadn't noticed that one. :-)

Vergent Bill

"Vergent Bill,

Your Lance Modis link doesn't work."

They are doing maintenance. Try, try again. It seems to work 50%.


Pardon the minor moment off topic - except that the Arctic fracturing is having an impact on methane readings...

The METOP 2 IASI CH4 imagery has been updated through March 15 12-24 hrs.


The Greenland, Norwegian, Barents and Kara Seas continue to have record amounts of methane at 586-600 mb, as high as 2199 PPBv on March 15, 2013 -12-24 hrs.

Even more interesting are the areas of methane release in the Laptev, East Siberian and Chukchi Seas as the Arctic ice fractures. This is unusual for this time of year. Two Google Earth imagery samples are attached in the ASIF:


When one compares this with surface readings of approx. 1830 PPBv at Mauna Loa at the end of February, 1947 PPBv at Ny-Alesund in mid-February, or early March readings of 1930 PPBv at Barrow, we have a considerably higher set of readings over large portions of the North Atlantic and Arctic.


LRC @ March 17, 2013 at 07:09

"A good analogy (I believe) would be a tree being blown by the wind."

Another analogy would be that of a termite riddled house. Nothing happens until one day a support beam or something collapses and the house caves in.

Robert Fanney


Laptev has been pretty methane hot all through winter to now.

I wish AQUA would update more regularly. Tends to paint a very vivid picture.

Chris Reynolds

Here's a blink pic for the most recent wide area of clear sky (12/3/13), as shown in the main post above, and the fracturing that's opened up in the last 48 hours off Ellesmere(image 17/3/13).

I don't have a strong opinion as to whether this has significance for the coming season, or how unusual it is. But from memory I don't recall seeing such fracturing right into the MYI region off the CAA.

Chris Reynolds

Further blink pic.

Comparison between ASCAT for day 50 and day 75.

Compare with HYCOM, for 20/2/13, and 17/3/2013.

ASCAT shows a large scale movement of the entire pack towards the Atlantic. ASCAT shows thinning out of ice in Beaufort due to cracking.

HYCOM shows polnya opening off Banks Island, this isn't happening in reality, as I've said before this suggests HYCOM ice could be too strong under tension. However the polnya off Barrow Alaska is seen in ASCAT.

HYCOM animated gif with forecast suggests that the CAA coastal flaw lead will open spectacularly by the 24th.
This might manifest itself as further fracturing of the MYI.

Espen Olsen

Another huge crack developed half along Ellesmere northern shore and crossing 80W on its way towards the pole!


Espen Olsen,

"Another huge crack developed half along Ellesmere northern shore and crossing 80W on its way towards the pole!"

Espen, how long do you think it will take until it reaches the pole?


Below I compare late winter and spring ice cracking and ice pack movement over the last four years (2010-2013). These Ascat radar animations run from the first of February to the first of April (2013 only to 16 March).

They are synchronized to start together and run at a 100 ms frame speed, then wait if they finish early. (The satellite has bad days where no image is obtained.) If this synchronization does not work for you online, just download the files and drag all four onto a blank text editor page (such at TextEdit freeware on Macs).

There are no Ascat images for earlier years, just as there are no Jaxa color radar before 2012. Visible and near-infrared instruments cannot see the ice in the dark of the Arctic winter. Chris at one point did re-locate earlier scatterometer series.

It is not obvious how to quantitatively compare cracking onset date and extent from different years.However a year like 2013 is grossly more extreme than 2010-2012 however you care to make the comparisons.

We've had an onslaught of new posters over in the forum denying that "the extent and mid-winter ice cracking in 2013 appears unprecedented". It's easy to tell when someone has no experience whatsover with remote sensing -- they don't mention the satellites or sensor or link to photo or archive url in their post (because they don't know what satellites, sensor, photos or archives are involved) -- just blowing smoke.

Yes indeed, cracks happen every year -- but that was never under discussion. While multi-year ice fracturing especially offers nothing but downside melt implications, as Chris notes, we have no way of folding crack onset, geospatial distribution, and extent into a quantitative summer melt maximum prediction.


Very nice, A-Team. There's a clear difference.

Robert Fanney

A-Team. Great ice transport ensemble. You can also see cracks forming in the Beaufort during previous years. But they don't look anywhere near as extensive as 2013.


Good spotting, Espen.

This feature cuts through the very center of the very oldest, thickest coldest ice.

This ice resists simple brittle fracture and gives rise to the oblique shear zone shown on the AVHRR infrared image below.

The near-coastal location has nothing to do with bottom grounded ice or ice linked to landfast ice -- we've seen it before in the open ocean in this same region.

If you look above and to the left of the North Pole, this fracture is continuing the 'Beaufort Gyre pattern' of nested, curved arcs that has been developing since early February.

 photo newCrackMar17_zpsb984a4c3.jpg

Rick Aster

Looking at the animations from A-Team, I am drawn to the line between Svalbard and the North Pole. If I am reading this correctly, through 2012 this area had a coherent body of multi-year ice that seemed to slow down ice transport toward Fram Strait. This year, by contrast, it looks almost like pouring water out of a bucket.


As a interested lurker on this I have been looking into the Ice export through the FS since the animations posted by A-Team [great work again!]

A couple of recent papers are of particular interest. first looking at the modelling in CIMP5:

And the next looking at the increase in export through the FS:

This one in particular gives some insight to winter ice export and how this affects summer minimums.
On the basis that the cracked nature of the ice pack increases surface area exposed to wind and decreases the overall pack viscosity (for want of a better explanation) what we are seeing is the potential for significant export of ice through the FS. The next indicator of the likely summer minimum will be looking at this export value.
Anybody got a link?

Espen Olsen


It is already there with several other several other cracks, I am wondering where they will place the North Pole Web Cam[color=#000000][/color] this season, and how long will it stay there?

Espen Olsen


The cracking is continuing today in a big way, 2/3 of MYI of the Northern shore of Ellesmere is now in "Fracture land", yesterday it was only half. Now only a "small" piece of solid sea ice north of Ellesmere, Nares and Greenland is left.

Remko Kampen

@NJSnowFan, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwlNPhn64TA
57 MegaTon explosion 'Czar Bomba' on Nova Zemla, ice out there? Don't think so.

@Paul Beckwith | March 15, 2013 at 03:58 - like I remarked somewhere else - we need to rethink our Hadley theory... Look at all the Sandy left bend opportunities in circulations like this. Of which I think I know only one precedent, part of winter 1940...

Jim Hunt

Mr. Bond - Here's a link to some work Wipneus did on that topic:


I'm not sure that's exactly what you're looking for though?

John Christensen

As this seems to be our current open thread a few comments on ice from here:

- SIA is similar to 2012 at this time, but SIE (from ROOS) is a bit lower this year, which I see as good news, as the pack is less spread out (in spite of all the cracks, or does SIA calculations have challenges with this kind of comprehensive fracturing?)

- Kara and Barents are doing better than last year, while Bering and Okhotsk are lower than last year, so that ice surface (SIA) but also relatively more volume this year is in the Arctic bassins rather than exteriour to this?

- Finally, I just find it remarkable that SIA is able to climb to 13.796mkm2 after the meltout last summer, but the only thing to retain from that is that SIA is what it is, while volume is the true indicator of Arctic sea ice health...

And thank you all for comments and feedback - I will respond as other work allows. The discussion can seem to become a bit paradigmatic at times - 'we' and 'them', but as often stated I am not challenging AGW, which would be quite foolish - just trying to better understand the nuances of the climate in which AGW is becoming an ever-stronger element.

Espen Olsen


Extend and Area is becoming more and more irrelevant, it is only volume that matters.

John Christensen

And for the high-pressure area and FS export:

Since the high-pressure area has moved this far 'east' towards Zemlya Georga (http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/weather/arcticweather.uk.php), wouldn't this turn the wind pattern immediately above Fram Strait in a Westernly direction potentially reducing ice export or at least reducing MYI export via FS, while the high-pressure is stretched this far towards the Atlantic?

John Christensen


I agree; volume is the true indicator of Arctic sea ice conditions, but what the data is also showing is that even when volume and area was crushed like last year, the ice will rebuild - as thin FYI.

Although conditions are very different, the Arctic will soon (if not already) look much more like the Antarctic, where the vast majority (or maybe all) of the sea ice will melt out each summer and then reform in a thin, fragile state every winter.

Espen Olsen

Continued east ward Sea Ice cracking:
The cracking will soon enter the area above Nares.

Espen Olsen


Yes the "ice age" is not over yet, next door where I live (CPH) the lakes are still frozen.

John Christensen


I'm here too, in Nærum, waiting for the snow to come later today and tomorrow - and finally for spring to arrive sometime soon..

Espen Olsen


And I am in Holte, just 4kms apart? But I the think that blizzard is far overblown, at least for today!

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