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Another great post. There's a bit of word salad, though, in the second paragraph after the first set of graphics:

" I devoted to since it the "

that you might want to clear up (though I generally am quite fond of sald '-). Feel free to delete this comment after you do.

[Thanks, wili. Fixed now. N.]


"as always in the Arctic there is more than meets the sensor."

For example, the first image below shows how Jaxa 36VH 18V color microwave also can be subject to both passing clouds and ground changes that occur between satellite passes (swathing). The pinkish-white region is not present in earier or later flanking days and does not represent ice conditions. The sawtooth pattern used to feather away swath boundaries was not a total success here (red arrows).

The brown/magenta ice corresponds to blue ice on Modis. It looks the Northwest Passage will be opening soon, if you don't mind a somewhat roundabout route for your slushbreaker. I've attached the mask from 89 Ghz as it illustrates the complexity of passages in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

 photo jaxa2Cloudy_zpse06c6f18.png

Chris Reynolds

New gridded PIOMAS data is out, so I've added a third May Status blog post.

Lynn Shwadchuck

Neven, that video is just my speed! Thanks so much for taking the trouble. I love how you guide us through with your mouse. And it's nice to put a voice to the name and hear that cute accent in combination with your exquisitely idiomatic English.

Hans Gunnstaddar

I agree the video format is a good way to communicate more information in less time, so thumbs up on 2nd try. Seems very odd for a cyclone to remain in the same region for so long. Will probably break up ice but also delay melting.


Thanks, Lynn and Hans. I'm just going to try this out for a while to see where I can take it. I always try to do things that I would want to see myself, and this could be one of those things.

And it's nice to put a voice to the name and hear that cute accent in combination with your exquisitely idiomatic English.

The accent is Dutch, and you can hear how I mix my UK and US English, both having huge influence on Dutch culture. I'm glad you liked it, but there's no need to call me an idiot. ;-)

R. Gates

Excellent update, of course Neven.

I've been mentioning sublimation with regard to these cyclonic events, and had the doubts in my own mind about how much sublimation of the sea ice could be a factor in ice mass loss when these strong cyclonic storms pass across. This research, from Antarctica, shows that even at temperatures well below freezing, with the right wind and storms, you get sublimation:


Now interestingly of course as sublimation turns the ice directly to water vapor is that a consequence of this is that you'd get more cloudiness as a result as that vapor rises from the surface of the ice, is cooled, and condenses into clouds. Someone noted what seemed like an usual amount of cloudiness, especially a low haze type cloudiness around the Arctic this spring. Could partially be the result of sublimation?

Overall, I think these late spring and into summer cyclones are not delaying actual melt, but might be mixing up the ice, diverging the ice, and possibly leading to some period of rapid melt later on. I'll be anxious to see IJIS data when it is finally updated beyond June 4th. I detected what I thought was the beginning of "The Cliff", and just as SIE was getting close to last year, someone at JAXA took a vacation!

Seems very odd for a cyclone to remain in the same region for so long.

Yes, as far as I am concerned, this is the key question of this ASI update. As I've mentioned in the video, I might not have paid enough attention in previous years, so perhaps this is a regular occurrence, or not that unusual. Does anyone know just how normal a spring cyclone that sticks around for three weeks is?


I asked this over on the forum, but I might as well parade my utter ignorance here as well '-)

Is there any possibility that this kind of semi-permanent cyclone will become a permanent feature at the top of the world as the ice becomes more and more fractured?

Is it being fueled by whatever (relative) warmth is coming out of the leads?

If so, won't these become an ever-more regular feature of whatever ice is left, and through more and more of the year?

And if these conditions do create an essentially permanent cyclone in the Arctic, what would the consequences of that condition be for weather patterns further south?

"Interesting" times.

Thanks for the great video, post and forum, neven.

Chris Reynolds

From my reading I thought cyclones normally came in transited and were replaced by new systems.

Looks odd to me. I'll email Dr Francis.


Wow. Thanks, Chris.

By the ways, those comparative maps of ice volume at dosbat are amazing and...thought provoking. I'd be more than interested in any further conclusions you think can be drawn from them.

The pattern of thick ice this year, with a portion of the thickest ice in the (relatively) far south near Alaska and Siberia suggests that when melting really gets going, the ice pack will quickly be reduced to the blue area--the chunk around the CA that we saw at the end of last year, plus some scattered bits around the periphery that will quickly melt away.

Or am I missing something obvious?


I'm glad that Chris is going to try to get the opinion from Dr. Francis on what is currently happening with that persistent cyclone. If we are experiencing another (this isn't the 1st) paradigm shift in the arctic, what are the implications for the future.

If this cyclone, or one of it's brothers/sisters/nieces/nephews, decides to visit the arctic from September through November, what does that do to impede or enhance the annual recovery?


The video is wonderful, just great to hear your train of thought and watch your mouse exploring. Thank you very much.


Mark Serreze and Andrew Barrett wrote a research paper in 2006 called The Summer Cyclone Maximum over the Central Arctic Ocean, which I read last year during GAC-2012.

I'm re-reading it now, and not understanding much of it, but I did find this towards the end:

Daily fields for June 1989 show a series of lows moving into the central Arctic Ocean generated over Eurasia and along its coast where the Eady growth rates are strong (as a reflection of the Arctic frontal zone), which often deepen in their passage. At 500 hPa, a closed low persisted over the Arctic Ocean for the entire month, meandering about the region.

If I'm getting this right, it means that a cyclone that lasts for several weeks, isn't uncommon.


And from the conclusion:

Results from the present study suggest that, at least in part, the summer cyclone pattern owes its existence to differential atmospheric heating between the Arctic Ocean and snowfree land. If patterns of differential heating change substantially, such as through earlier springtime loss of snow cover over land, or through changes in the presently strong summer net surface heat flux over the Arctic Ocean as the sea ice cover disappears, this may invoke changes in the summer circulation.

There have been negative snow anomalies over large parts of Siberia for weeks now, so I guess this could have something to do with the current cyclone.

Steve Bloom

POP goes the Weasel? Will this be the event that finally moves him off the dime into a full reassessment? I'm laying in a big supply of popcorn for the season, and not just to watch him. :)

Hans Verbeek

SST's between 50 and 80°N are just a little above normal, just like in May of 2011 and 2012.

Usually the seasurface north of 50° warms considerably in June and July.

Hans Verbeek

Seasurfacetemperature between 50 and 80°N is just above normal, as in May 2011 and May 2012.

Usually June and July show a stron warming over the seasurface above 50°.


Let's see what happens this year.


Neven, here is a more recent (2012) paper and review of Arctic cyclones that cites the Serreze and Barrett 2008 you mentioned:

In this study, three-dimensional structures and the life-time behavior of arctic cyclones are investigated as case studies, using reanalysis data of JRA-25 and JCDAS. In recent years, arctic region has undergone drastic warming in conjunction with the reduced sea ice concentration in summer. The rapid reduction of the sea ice concentration is explained, to some extent, by a pressure dipole of the arctic cyclone and Beaufort high over the Arctic Ocean.
...the arctic cyclone indicates many differences in structure and behavior compared with the mid-latitude cyclone. The arctic cyclones move rather randomly in direction over the Arctic Ocean. The arctic cyclone has a barotropic structure in the vertical from the surface to the stratosphere. The arctic cyclone detected at the sea level pressure is connected with the polar vortex at the 500 hPa level and above. Importantly, the arctic cyclone has a cold core in the troposphere and a warm core around the 200 hPa level. The mechanism of the formation is discussed based on the analyzed structure of the arctic cyclones.
The arctic cyclone moves around the Arctic Ocean and survives longer time than the mid-latitude cyclones. The origin of the arctic cyclone is not the baroclinic instability, but the merging of smaller scale meso-cyclones like the tropical cyclones. The warm core in the lower stratosphere is not maintained by the latent heat of condensation, but the adiabatic heating due to the downdraft in the strato- sphere. The vorticity supply by the upper polar vortex is another important mechanism to maintain the arctic cyclone which is different from the mid-latitude cyclone.

free full text:


Thanks, all. Much to ponder. So if this thing fizzles out in the next couple weeks, it is likely within the range of what might be expected for this time of year. If it were to last much longer than that, perhaps we would be seeing something new.

Of course, even if these types of persistent cyclones have been seen this time of year in the past, they likely have not occurred before over such a thin, salty and slushy ice pack.

Lynn Shwadchuck

Thanks, A-Team for posting that paper. I have such a sketchy understanding of all this, but intuitively (or maybe it's my visual mind) the ideas that the arctic is the end of the line for energy movements and that the swirl of a cyclone sort of hooks itself to the polar vortex make sense to me. It seems like the discussions here about the recent arctic cyclones have been musings about whether they're unusual. At a glance having scanned this over-my-head paper and read the intro and conclusion the concern seems to be that although it's normal for arctic cyclones to persist, the environment in with the 'Atlantification' of the Arctic and Eurasian rivers dumping warm water in, etc. they're persisting in a whole new arctic, which means the effects on the ASI are unpredictable to say the least.


Since I predicted this cyclonic activity despite the entire winter being anticyclonic, I do have a little insight on the subject. The Japanese paper cited by A-team is quite good, there has been symmetry between tropospheric and stratospheric circulations:


and in the stratosphere:


(someone would have to tell me what: "You can use HTML tags like <b> <i> and <ul> to style your text. URLs automatically linked" I would like to post the maps here.)

But that is not often the case, at least I am more aware of different patterns between the 2 lowest layers of our atmosphere.

The paper citing a drier warmer atmosphere surrounding the colder Arctic ocean one does not make sense, usually the cold from a high pressure spreads out towards the warmer cyclones. In fact literally makes the winds happen.

What gave me the insight was refraction observations pointing towards a strong adiabatic interface situated right above the surface. Its simple to describe, hard to understand, I make it short,
Arctic sea ice and land was warmer than the air very often, there was not a lot of the opposite. Being so you have the basis for cyclonic activity, rising air, especially when and after the sun rose from the long night. Thinner ice is largely responsible.

I applaud all the efforts here trying to explain why we have this Arctic weather. #1 in effort and revealing state of the science understandings.

Chris Reynolds

Thanks Wili,

Any further observations on that stuff will come from further reflection and any discussions. Discussion anyone?

The difference between 2013 and 2012 is only of the order of 20 to 30cm thinner over Chukchi and East Siberian. But this is the May average, and as we're probably seeing the start of melt now in early June, this could give 2013 the edge. Where 2013 is thicker is in the Atlantic ice edge region. This is the region whose ice edge has changed little when compared to the Siberian sector.

HYCOM has revised downward the amount of damage the May storm caused.
Projection on 1/6/08 of 8/6/13.
Projection on 7/6/13 of 8/6/13

But the current projection shows substantial thinning of Kara by 15/6/13.

So I think we'll see the action start in Kara, and really exciting recession of the ice in Chukchi/East Siberian in July.

The Drift Age Model shows that as of the most recent plot the conditions for 2013 are more conducive to melt than 2012.

2012 Week 22.

2013 Week 22.

I've said it before, but there may be new readers now. There is no coincidence between the thicker ice between the pole and the East Siberian Sea in 2012 and the presence of that multi-year ice tongue. And it is no coincidence that this thicker older ice was where an area of melt resistant low concentration ice was in 2012.

Chris Reynolds


Bold & Italics format leak from Wayne's post.

[Got it, thanks. And learned how to display html tags as plain text. N.]

Christoffer Ladstein

Though in numbers and area/extent this spring have been "painfully" slow, I just have to emphasize the difference between the interior & and main icepack North of 80 degrees: It's SO battered and broken up, almost shredded to pieces compared to 2012!
Must be a nightmare to cross this Territory these days...the survival of the fittest of polarbears = the most athletic!

Aaron Lewis

The cyclone is breaking the ice, and then banging the pieces together, forcing spray into the air. The spray wets the ice, so sublimation is not required to move water vapor into the atmosphere. The wet ice has a lower albedo than ice covered with snow or frost.

Sublimation occurs in dry conditions, cooling and hardening the ice. I wish this were the case.


Wayne, the way you would insert images is by using the <img src="link of image you want to display">

You then get this:

Unfortunately the image is too big for the comment box and as far as I know, there is no way to adjust that. So what I do, is I download images, resize them to a maximum width of 400px, and then upload them to Picasa (there are many other sites that provide such a service like Imageshack or you name it), and then put the link of the image between the <img src="link"> tags.

If you put a word between these tags <b> and </b> this word will become bold. The same with <i> and </i> or <blockquote> and </blockquote>. You link to a website by using <a href="link">any text you'd like to describe the link</a>

Or if you work with FireFox as a browser, you can use this the text formatting toolbar add-on, that was once recommended by LRC and saved me from carpal tunnel syndrome.


I'm going to read this paper by Screen et al. (2011) later today, but saw this in the abstract of another paper behind a paywall called Dramatic interannual changes of perennial Arctic sea ice linked to abnormal summer storm activity:

The perennial (September) Arctic sea ice cover exhibits large interannual variability, with changes of over a million square kilometers from one year to the next. Here we explore the role of changes in Arctic cyclone activity, and related factors, in driving these pronounced year-to-year changes in perennial sea ice cover. Strong relationships are revealed between the September sea ice changes and the number of cyclones in the preceding late spring and early summer. In particular, fewer cyclones over the central Arctic Ocean during the months of May, June, and July appear to favor a low sea ice area at the end of the melt season. Years with large losses of sea ice are characterized by abnormal cyclone distributions and tracks: they lack the normal maximum in cyclone activity over the central Arctic Ocean, and cyclones that track from Eurasia into the central Arctic are largely absent. Fewer storms are associated with above-average mean sea level pressure, strengthened anticyclonic winds, an intensification of the transpolar drift stream, and reduced cloud cover, all of which favor ice melt. It is also shown that a strengthening of the central Arctic cyclone maximum helps preserve the ice cover, although the association is weaker than that between low cyclone activity and reduced sea ice. The results suggest that changes in cyclone occurrence during late spring and early summer have preconditioning effects on the sea ice cover and exert a strong influence on the amount of sea ice that survives the melt season.

I guess that the weaker association between lots of cyclones in May/June and higher minimum is because of thinner ice.

So if 2013 has this slow start, but still goes low, there's even more evidence that the ice is so thin that it doesn't care what the weather does. Which means that a recovery could be difficult to achieve in a warming world.

Which we already knew. :-) :-(



Wonderful material you provide.

These persistent, early summer cyclones in the Arctic seems to be the new “kid on the blog”. Took the liberty to compare the three cases from the Tanaka et al. (2012) paper (and this year’s cyclone as well) to the snow cover anomalies provided by Rutgers ( http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/chart_vis.php?ui_year=2013&ui_month=5&ui_set=2 ). In all four cases, the month of the cyclone was preceded by massive negative snow cover anomalies, mainly over the Eurasian continent.

So, apparently, the large temperature contrast between a snow-free continent and an ice-covered Arctic Ocean seems to be conducive to the development of these cyclones.

And the big question really is, whether it is the sublimation of massive continental snow covers, which is providing the energy for these cold-cored bastards?

Glenn Tamblyn

I know there are various opinions about how good the Navy's thickness projections are but look at the latest animation. Look at the big sheering event they are predicting above the Lincoln in a few days.



I can offer another possible explanation for the persistent cyclone: On one side we have dark land where air is rapidly warming, on the other side we have ice with a fixed low temperature. If warm air moves over this cold surface it cools down and the ideal gas equation p*V/T = const shows that the pressure has to go down as well.

However, I'm not quite happy with this explanation since last year I wanted to explain the recent unusual high pressure during summer over Greenland with a similar effect. But maybe it still fits together... The thought was the following: If we have a warmer than usual Arctic and a last remaining cold resort in Greenland, the air should cool down and "fall" down the slopes of the ice sheet. This would suck more air from above down to the ice where the falling air would warm and dry. The difference between the Greenland ice sheet and the Central Arctic may just be topography leading to a high pressure area in one case and a low pressure area in the other.

If I remember correctly, last year the cyclones around the Arctic have been closer to the coast while a high pressure area was located at the pole. There was low pressure in the Bering sea while this year we have high pressure over there. This is bringing warmer air and water through the Bering Strait this year and colder conditions in Alaska, while the heat from North America is directed more to the CAA. Last year there was also a storm in the northern Chukchi Sea fracturing the ice, which subsequently melted out. I'm always reminded to that when I see this years ice in the Central Arctic.

Finally I'd like to point to east Greenland. It seems to be pretty warm there this year. Zacharia Glacier will calve again but when will the tongue of 79 Glacier finally break apart? As you know, these two glaciers will soon have a big influence on ice mass loss in Northern Greenland and they will lower the ice surface rapidly leading to more surface melt.

Espen Olsen


"when will the tongue of 79 Glacier finally break apart" I believe you are thinking of Zachariae, the tongue was separated last year, just south of Lambert Land (Kap Zachariae) and between Nørreland and Schnauder Ø, I dont think the separated part will move much it is probably stuck on the ground.
Regarding the 79 Fjords Glacier, I think Spaltegletscher between Skallingen and Hovgaard Ø will not survive many years.


Glenn T notes, despite the uncertainty in accuracy, a massive thinning intrusion is predicted at the Navy site

Using the Navy's prediction archive for hindcasts, nowcasts and forecasts, It is instructive to see how the forecast changes over time for a fixed date. Initially it is seven days out so maximally uncertain, but as it gets closer in, it understandably comes to better resemble the final stable version. The animation below looks at the forecast variation for today, June 9, which they first started predicting on June 1st. (This amounts to 'taking the diagonal' through their archive.)

An earlier post looks at this in a slightly different way, animation repeated below. The bottom line here is details of the farthest forecast can't be taken literally but they do give a fairly decent sense of coming events (recalling that at the end of the day, we don't know how well modelled thickness corresponds to actual thickness.)

 photo Navy09JuneB_zpsbb8f0d99.gif

 photo NavyComp_zps85f7c3bf.gif

michael sweet

Big loss on Cryosphere Today.



I agree that the separated part of Zacharia will not move, possibly for a couple of years. But I really mean 79 Glacier. Spaltegletscher might soon be gone but what really keeps the ice tongue are these small island in front of 79. At some point the ice will be too thin and shatter. When Spaltegletscher is gone this opens a new hole where pressure from the glacier to the islands can be released. Once the glacier separates from the islands the rest of the floating tongue might disintegrate within a few years. This scenario might not happen this year - and maybe not next year, but I wouldn't be surprised if it happend at any time.


Not only a big loss on CT,but large areas of melt showing on the Uni Bremen AMSR2 concentration page.

Neven, perhaps this is a case for "looking for spring weirdness". It is clear from the research that there are long lasting spring storms over the cap. They may be bigger or more powerful now, but perhaps not more frequent. I feel that focusing on the "maybe" of increased storm frequency or even severity, creates a wattscrapwiththat opportunity to deny the evidence right in front of our eyes.

What is certain is that the impact in the CAB from a storm of this kind is more severe and significantly greater and more widespread than has been recorded before. This is almost certainly due to the thin ice which is now heavily impacted by the storms (as has been said here many times by many people). Focusing on the impact is a good way to highlight the effect of thin ice in (within bounds), normal weather.

It is glaringly obvious that the periphery is melting slowly and the centre is collapsing. This is NOT normal for Spring or early summer.

Oh and BTW, with picasa you don't need to resize the image before uploading, just choose the 400x400 from the image size drop down before copying the link...


Also I see that Barrow has risen to 36F even with heavy overcast cloud and all the ice in range of the camera is either beginning to, or has already suffered, significant melt.

Oh and BTW, with picasa you don't need to resize the image before uploading, just choose the 400x400 from the image size drop down before copying the link...

Great tip, Neil. Thanks.

My interest in the cyclone was primarily fed by the question: How unusual is this? Although not fully answered yet, I think it's safe to say that this happens every once in a while, under specific circumstances. It doesn't necessarily mean it's the thin ice that has caused this set-up, or that we'll see it more often in years to come. Of course, it can't be excluded either.

It isn't evidence either way, but it's the kind of stuff I'm on the lookout for. Mind you, the cyclone isn't gone yet, so this tale might still get a tail. Perhaps more knowledgeable scientists will have a say about it, for instance in the next NSIDC monthly summary.

The second aspect, like you say, is that even though a persistent cyclone of this kind isn't unusual, its effect on the thin ice below probably will be a first. But we'll have to have some patience for that.

R. Gates


I wouldn't jump to such a fast conclusion that the periphery is melting unusually slowly just because the SIE and Area were slow to decline in May. Areas such as the Kara Sea, have very fractured sloppy ice, subject to divergence, and can look good temporarily in extent because of that divergence, but are then subject to rapid decline, or "The Cliff" as we've been calling it. Take a look at the Kara right now:

You can easily see how this ice can be subject to divergence. Plus, in a few days, the Ob river and Yenisey, will begin to really start dumping warmer water into the Kara Sea. Expect the Kara Sea to be a good example of "The Cliff" that is due to hit SIE and area later this month, and it's already begun elsewhere.

R. Gates

Michael Sweet,

A few more days like the last few and 2013 will eclipse 2012, and if these cyclones persist eating up CAB, July and August will be devastatingly harsh months for the sea ice. I await with great interest the next update of the IJIS extent data. The Cliff had started and the remainder of June should be quite interesting.

Aaron Lewis

My feeling is that the Arctic cyclones that formed a few years ago over intact/competent sea ice are inherently different from the current generation of Arctic cyclones that are occurring over fractured sea ice, and thereby have access to more water vapor.

The practical impact is that Arctic cyclones are getting larger, more powerful, and more persistent.


And look at Baffin Bay:

What a gloriously clear view! Zoom in to your heart's content on the Day 160 Arctic Mosaic.

This and Hudson Bay is where I think most of the next days' drops will come from. Baffin Bay should've melted out by now, given the warm waters at the end last year's melting season, the anomalous warmth during winter, but May's cold kept the ice alive there.

My feeling is that the Arctic cyclones that formed a few years ago over intact/competent sea ice are inherently different from the current generation of Arctic cyclones that are occurring over fractured sea ice, and thereby have access to more water vapor.

You could be right about that one, Aaron. We just keep watching.

BTW, ECMWF has the cyclone weakening in coming days, but not disappearing.


Thanks Neven, perhaps this works

SST's are very warm, more than capable of melting things fast.


Thanks, Wayne.

Other tip: In case someone pastes an image that's too big to see, you right-click it and press 'view image'.



R. Gates

That is a spectacular view of Baffin Bay, Neven. Yep, it, along with Hudson will provide a lot of the fall in extent and area in the next few days, but we know these areas will pretty much be going to zero anyway, and can write them off. As we go forward into July and August, I'm looking at things going on onow that might make a difference in the final weeks of the melt season. This PAC-2013 certainly has done a nice job of chewing things up and preconditioning the ice for big late summer melt (if other conditions align). We know that the CAB is where the action is late in the summer in terms of ice extent and area. BIG open water right at the pole could be the story of late summer, with our persistent MYI hugging the edges down toward the CA. This might be the ways things go for the next few summers as the MYI is slowly eaten a way each year leading up to our first ice free Arctic summer in the 2016 range.


Doe anyone have any reliable information, as opposed to speculation, as to why IJIS Extent has not updated since the 4th??

Craig Merry

check out the NSIDC "Greenland Today" maps and percentage of melt - it's definitely way above average.

Craig Merry



Those Navy thickness animations certainly make it look as if the multi-year ice is sliding along the CA and out Fram Strait

Chris Biscan

Above all else this cyclone has protected the ice.

2013 is now 450K behind 2012 on NSIDC.

2012 drops another 500-600K in the next 3-4 days and a couple million by the end of June at least.

There is no way 2013 is going to keep up regardless of the Baffin or Hudson.

Multiple regions are way behind.

The Beaufort has barely any open water and it's June 9th. It will take another week even with warm conditions to get that going.

The Kara continues to fall behind 2012.

Chris Biscan

The Beaufort hasn't been this above normal on CT since 2006.


On posting images, the maximum width displayed in this column by Typepad is 415 pixels, so a bit more than 400.

Most of the satellite imagery and model products work as they come (native resolution) within the 415 pixel constraint.

However some maps show excessive regions outside our remit (Arctic Ocean). For these, take a screenshot at the 415 width.

Ditto tables and charts within pdfs -- these are usually vector graphics and so can be continuously resized.

On a mac, command-option-shift-4 and depress space bar -- then draw a rectangle anywhere on screen of 415 width and then mouse it over the target. Open the clipboard in Preview, save as png or jpg, upload to your photo storage server, capture its url, and whack it back to for your post.

Adding a graphic to your post thus takes sixty seconds or less.

However it won't have a satisfactory outcome starting from a poorly conceived large chart with text served only at web resolution. These cannot be rendered readable even by Gimp or PS within the 415 pixels width constraint.

Photo-like imagery can be resized up or down from anything to 415 in Gimp etc with very little loss in clarity. There are four common interpolative methods that vary in their weighting use of pixel neighborhood: bicubic, sinc, linear, none.

Indexed color -- as in Ascat -- uses a one-off palette and cannot be intepolated up or down without converting mode to grayscale first.

'None' is useful in a few situations where you are curious at the single pixel level. It will blow up each pixel to a 2x2 etc block of pixels of identical color, unlike expanding on your monitor.

Satellite images and sea ice products are really spreadsheets, pixels corresponding to cells. Every arithmetic operation in a spreadsheet has an exact counterpart as an image enhancement (the 'mode' pulldown menu in Gimp).

Rescaling and/or rotation can degrade their scientific value; the right enhancement can add greatly to their utility.

R. Gates

Chris Biscan,

I hope you're right about 2013 not keeping up with 2012, but I suspect you will be wrong.

Regarding cyclones protecting the ice, that may have been true when the ice was thicker, but now these cyclones are simply more like blenders-- mixing, cracking, splitting, and especially in the CAB, making for a very interesting July and August in which the CAB will be the bulk of all that is left toward the end of summer as most everything else will empty out much like last year.

Glenn Tamblyn

2013 vs 2012

The outer basins in the Arctic may take longer to go than last year but go they will. And the CAB loos like it is getting turned to mush.

Ian Allen

Summit, Greenland soared to -3.4C yesterday.


Perhaps Baffin, Hudson, Chukchi will lead the way, followed by Kara and Laptev, while Beaufort develops?

Bigger changes on the day-to-day comparison of UB SIC maps today, especially in Chukchi.

Should show up in the data in a day or two.


The Greenland Ice sheet melt is way up on average. Is this because of more warm air being drawn across it's surface than usual?


Chris Biscan

The Buoys by the pole show fresh snow has fallen during this vortex and quite a bit of it.

One of them is showing 51CM now.

There is a lot of areas where the ice has been devastated and broken up into very small floes.

This does leave them more vulnerable. We will have to see how it goes. With the weather. Obviously more snow is going to fall with these persistent vortex's.

The model's do show some persistent warmth in the CAB. while the EURO/GEM crush the Russian side(ESB) from day 5-10.

There will be some big melting in the CAB/CA/Beaufort, Chukchi, and ESB the next 5-10 days.

But probably not a lot of open water until day 5-7 at least. This ensures 2013 will likely fall way behind 2012 for a while.

Chris Biscan

Pacific side.

Chris Biscan


Mostly Higher Pressure = lot's of Sun. Some WAA from the Southern CA area. And some WAA about 4-7 days ago from the SE/ESE helped lower albedo and melt snow up to roughly 1600-1700M so far. without any major influx of cold air from the arctic. The albedo lowers enough/SST's warming which have exploded over the Western Coast.

help reinforce a positive feedback. The pattern has been slightly ok for melt but not great.



The dark ice layer should emerge in a couple days. This will ramp up the feedback big time.


That show's the melting snow layer well. The peachy color is where snow melt has been limited.

Chris Biscan

The Canadian Arpichelago get's smoked starting in 24-30 hours for the next 10 days the models say.

Above 0C 850mb temps and High Pressure = Sunny skies.

We will see a rapid melt down With snow melting off the land regions within a week which will feedback heating and ice melt.

It's going to be pretty wild.

Ian Allen

Summit, Greenland -1.4C at 12UTC.
Could be in for another 1 in 150 year melt soon.

Chris Biscan

I am skeptical of that. The Summit is at like 690MB.

I Can't see how it's that warm right now.


Two significant effects of the cyclone are thrashing of multi-year ice in the west central Arctic Basin and rotationally geared export towards the Fram.

The animation below shows continuous eastern flow of the thickest non-coastal ice over the last 24 days (the last frame being today 10 Jun 13). The northern tip of Greenland (Cape Morris Jesup to Nord) is at the bottom.

Once ice rounds the bend at Nord, it becomes as irrelevant to inter-year comparisons of melt stages as Hudson Bay or the Baltic. It is really only the multi-year ice remaining in the central Arctic Ocean that matters.

However, moving towards the Fram is not the same as moving out the Fram -- the multi-year ice is quite capable of sloshing back and forth or just sitting -- so 24 days of coherent eastward motion is signficant, with another 7 days or more forecast by Navy Hycom.

Quantitatively, the displacement between the first and last frames is 80 pixels. The scale of Ascat at this latitude is 9.1 km per pixel, giving a displacement of 728 km. The height of the band of multi-year ice not hugging the coast is about 70 pixels, meaning an area of 458,000 sq km has moved past a fixed line, with another 150,000 sq km forecast for the coming week.

Because there is no support for plastic deformation, compression, divergence, thickening, thinning, melting, or over-riding, this amount of multi-year ice has turned the corner to the Fram, representing export of perhaps 5% of the area of thickest oldest ice.

 photo cyclonefram_zps08761204.gif

 photo export10Jun_zps19fc95a0.png

Hans Gunnstaddar

The melt percentages for Greenland show it got off to a slow start this melt season, but is high above the norm now, and am wondering if that is a harbinger for the Arctic.

On a side note in the realm of odd weather, at a much lower latitude in No. CA we had a spike of record breaking 110F that only took 2 days to build in, followed by a 59F rainy thunderstorm with lightening 2 days later. Huh?

Remko Kampen

Hans, for that dr. Jeff Masters (I believe) coined the term 'whiplash weather'. Google and find.
Jet stream meridionality or broken up in cells.

Jai Mitchell


I am also in Northern California and believe that this current weather pattern is one of the rarest events ever seen. It is a cut-off low, formed in dry air between a subtopical jet to the south and a polar jet vortex flowing East to West.


Jai Mitchell

Apologies for the noise, I wanted to share because it seemed appropriate to the very strange jet stream activities we are seeing in the northern hemisphere.


Below is some recent sequential imagery of the Northwest Passage area comparing Jaxa color microwave to Modis visible. Clouds have been affecting both types of imagery for several weeks now -- significant developments are occurring but it is difficult to get a handle on them, and inter-year comparisons seem out of the question.

I'm discovering that the 'same date' on photos does not really mean that. Even if the satellites are all in the A-train (they aren't), the hour for a particular swath used in the final composite can vary.

Across all the imagery and derived products such as sea ice area we commonly use here, the 'same date' might actually be spread across 12-24 hours; that is coming to matter more and more this time of year as conditions can change over the offset. Mixing and matching channels from different sensors in a false color stack is then a dubious proposition.

 photo CAA10Jun13_zps8555dcde.jpg


Excellent A-team work demonstrates the particular physics at play.
The floe edge of Barrow Strait did not advance, despite significantly warmer weather, and at times the high sun hitting dark sea water, The sea current is Eastwards, the ice is not so thick, yet no apparent change.
What happens, as with every year, is the decay of sea ice mainly on the underside which weakens its structure and over all consolidation. Eventually huge chunks of sea ice will break and float away with the current. So goes for every other bit of ice. Remote sensing illusion is made, sea ice is holding up to the onslaught of spring and summer. But what really happens is a certain state of weak density pre flowing pack. Which one day
will become nothing but sea water. For now, the sea current and tides play the major role of wreckers, after so many photons hitting the sea ice the castle will be made of wet straw.


How much warm water is the cyclone bringing up from the depths?

The heavy snow on top of the smaller floes, instead of insulating the ice, is probably pushing the ice down into the water and exposing more ice area to the relatively warm sea water.

In this case, snow on ice is a bad thing.

"In the end, it will just melt away quite suddenly."

Craig Merry

Hans and Jai, I've lived near Sacramento all my 27 years - very unusual weather. Consistent temperature swing events like this won't be very pleasant for many.

L. Hamilton

4 century breaks for CT area this month, while DMI 30% is declining more slowly.

R. Gates


Certainly based on area, the Kara went over a mini-Cliff today:


Again, the flux of warm water from the Ob and Yenisey rivers into the Kara will be skyrocketing in the next few weeks. The already broken up ice in the Kara will melt rapidly.

As A-Team, myself and others have pointed on, the real issue is how much the damage being done by the current cyclones to the thinner CAB ice pack will affect the later summer melt as all the action at that time will be in in the CAB.

Bill Fothergill

Thanks for the nice vid Neven.

Somewhat OT, but did anybody else notice that the next offering on Youtube was Joe Bastardi?

The date was the 20th Sept 2010: he was showing the DMI 30% chart and predicting that the 2011 minimum would be round about the same level as 2005. Nice try Joe, only about a million or so square kilometres out.

He also made a statement to the effect that, following the 2007 wake-up call, "people" - unspecified of course - had predicted that the Arctic would be ice free by 2010.

Does anybody here know if such a claim was actually made, or whether this was just a blatant strawman?

Cheers billthefrog

Chris Reynolds


I can't recall who said it, but the actual statement was to the effect that if the acceleration of trend implied by 2007 continued the Arctic could be ice free by 2010.

That's a correct statement. But 2010 took things way below the equilibrium at the time, so it was followed by a rebound. I don't think anyone knew that would happen in the months after 2010.

Bastardi is just a mindless w____r.


You still need lots more practice on the videos. As far as Zachariae Glacier remember last years detailed look at the glacier. Have to focus on Spaltegletscher later this summer.

Hans Verbeek

SSTs between 50°N and 80°N are starting to rise in the first week of June: http://goo.gl/8fCNt
Just like last year.
SSTs will max out in August

Chris Reynolds

Sorry, should read, 'in the months after 2007', i.e. the record low.


R. Gates (sorry, I believe you go by Robert, but can't remember), do you know of any good links that show daily or weekly volumes of river discharges, particularly for Mackenzie, Ob, and Yenisei? It would be interesting to track these and compare them to their effect on the Beaufort and Kara Seas. Especially since it looks as though the towns along those rivers are either expecting or already experiencing very warm temperatures. Looking at Mackenzie, for instance, I see lots of places with temps in the 70s right now (and expecting to go to the 80s by next week!) Just wondering how much of a role the Mackenzie heat pump might be at play in shaping this year's minimum extent. Thanks!

Hans Gunnstaddar

Thanks for the link Jai. That rare dry anomaly spinning its way through moisture made for quite a light show as seen from our Hidden Valley Lake, CA home: Here is a link with video showing part of that light show. http://www.lakeconews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=31607:lightning-storm-takes-place-overnight&catid=1:latest&Itemid=197

Bill Fothergill

Thanks Chris,

I know that Peter Wadhams and Wieslaw Maslowski have independently of each other publicly predicted September 2016 (+/- ~3) for an effectively ice free Arctic. Prof Wadhams made this statement last year (or possibly 2011?) but Dr Maslowski has been saying this since about 2006.

What is still unclear is whether the "claim" for an ice-free 2010 was just a throwaway line "if such-and-such happens, then the result would be blah-blah", or whether it was meant as a genuine prediction.

I know which one I think is the case.

PS You shouldn't be so reticent about expressing your innermost feelings about "certain" people. (By the way "certain" is an anagram for "a cretin" - what a coincidence.)



Ah, Neven, I go camping for a day or two and find this wonderful post waiting to greet me. I agree, Rocky Balboa would be a nice allegory for this particular storm. Or, possibly, the little storm that could.

Your ECMWF models show it keeping on by around June 20th. Amazing.

I'm seeing a lot of little punches of warm air and low pressure cells coming up from the south. It seems this storm just eats them up. So I wonder if its just feeding on all the warmth and instability coming up from the meso level.

Pressures have ranged from 975-1000 mb over a period since at least May 26th. Does anyone else have anything on similar storms of this strength and duration in June?

One small point... While the central ice has tended to bounce back more in the models, looks like we've seen more persistence of ice thinning on the Russian side. And though bouncing back more, even the thick ice appears to have taken a pounding. Looking at Lance Modis shows lots of cracks and little polynas even close to the CAA these days. There's also an interesting circular melt/cracking feature just north of Greenland in this shot:


@ Bill

I saw it posted, in 2007, as a form of curve-fitting analysis that if trends from the 2007 low continued, then the Arctic 'could' be ice free by 2010. It was stated as a 'worst case' reference and not an actual position.

For example, I suppose the current worst-case/best case range could be from 2013 to 2040 depending on how you look at trends.

Bastardi, I think, mangled the analysis by implying 'everyone' believed the Arctic would be ice free by 2010 rather than a few people stating the Arctic COULD be ice free IF 2007 repeated in 2008, 2009, and 2010. It was speculation, not science.

Wadhams/Mackenzie were the earliest in the science community (2015 or 2016+ or- 3 years) to my knowledge.

@ Chris R

Hey look at all that blue in the CAA, Beaufort, and on the East Siberian side! Warm weather on the way too...


I knew Wadhams well in the days of Holland at SPRI. I think ice free is a long shot at best for 2016, irrelevant really, ice free North Pole is the big thing. I believe every trans ocean shipping company waits for this signal. They apparently don't like dealing with the NW and NE passages. So I think this year may be it for the ice free North Pole, what's left of the pack will fight for its existence for years to come. When we will see much looser sea ice over the Arctic Ocean at maxima, impossible to trek by snowmobiles or amphibious vehicles alike, that is when the sea ice will vanish every summer like Baffin Bay. So cheers Peter! Still remember Clive, who would be astounded by no ice in McClintock channel.


I was off for the day (meeting Jim Hunt in Vienna!), so 5 posts had to wait in the spam bucket until I returned. Sorry about that.


@ Wayne

That Wadhams is definitely a melting 'bull' isn't he? I don't know. I tend to lean toward the bullish side myself. He could still turn out correct. We have pretty thin conditions and much of 2013, plus 2014, and 2015 yet to go. (I'd call the Arctic essentially ice free at 1 million square kilometers or less extent, .5 million area). You do work with Wadhams in the past?

If he doesn't, I wonder if Bastardi will still say 'everyone' was predicting no sea ice by 2010?

I think you've got a good shot to be right about the North Pole this year. Looks pretty broken in that region compared to previous times. How long do you think our PAC 2013 will last? I saw earlier in the thread you'd mentioned something about noticing a potential for more cyclones this year. Would like to hear your take on it.

I bet those shipping companies are chomping at the bit to get that North Pole passage. Might be a real mess for years, though. The IOCs are having one heck of a time with their drilling platforms. And I hope they continue to.


Daniel Bailey

Maslowski made his initial prediction here, in May of 2006, based on data through the meltseason of 2005, here.
Slide 6 contains the pertinent text.

He then followed it up in January of 2007 with this prediction, where he refined it to 2016, ± 3 years, here.
You'll find the pertinent text is on slide 12.

Maslowski details his proprietary model (to the degree he's allowed, as he runs it on the US Navy's supercomputer) here.


Hi Robert, Clive Holland was a polar historian, he would be very essential in these days of great melts. Peter basis for Ice free 2016 is too fast, because sea ice still consolidates and forms very high and thick pressure ridges. When the sea ice will become very loose, ridging will be far more scarce therefore no more MYI and quickly after no more summer sea ice. Bastardi is famous for making bad predictions, by claiming "everyone" said no ice by 2010, that explains why, he is often totally misinformed and makes grandiose theatrical statements which usually fall flat, its TV entertainment masquerading as as science news flash. PAC will fade when the opposite conditions prevail, that is cold sea or sea ice cooling the air and creating an anticyclone, or La-Nina to reign heavy, or more thick ice surviving the melt. This said, when sea water will actually cover great expanses of water the remaining pack teaming on with Greenland will cause the usual Greenland High on steroids. So wait for more open water.


IJIS is reporting again -- three days of data were lost.



Navy Hycom for 18th of June below -- you can see where this is headed: an open water wedge from Laptev Sea to North Pole.

Right or wrong, they have been consistent since 28th of May on thinning developing in this quadrant. That's 13 days of stable hindcast they have not deemed necessary to revise, the nowcast of today, and the next 7 days.

I am not seeing anything on our usual imagery sources either supporting or conflicting with this modelled thinning.

Tomorrow becomes available at 6:16 am; the time zone is unspecified but 5:16 am here on west coast time so sounds like server is on Rocky Mtn time aka Boulder, CO.

 photo nowcastvsForecast_zps0106ca28.gif


Like the Spanish would say: Bery interesting. Gracias.

Espen Olsen

Looking at the Modis, I think our North Pole Webcam is in for a ride, in the Ice Cube Sea, it is now at:

06/10/1500Z 88.112°N 5.613°W

Tom Zupancic

There are some interesting topological features in this region that might contribute to the process of heat transfer in this part of the Arctic Ocean http://geology.com/articles/arctic-ocean-features/

Chris Reynolds


I keep looking at this:

And when I do I allow myself a moment of "Go On! Melt!", as I bounce around like Tigger.

Might not happen, but what if it did? And if we had clear skies over that region - now there's a set of MODIS I'd like to have. :)

Shared Humanity

"There are some interesting topological features in this region that might contribute to the process of heat transfer in this part of the Arctic Ocean."

I've wondered for the past year whether the Lomonosov Ridge could be responsible for Atlantic water upwelling and causing the Laptev bite. Could this be increasing the salinity of this area?


A-team , I can see something http://eh2r.blogspot.ca/, look closer and there is some open water and apparent thinner ice.


Might not happen, but what if it did?

Like I said: If this is real... :-)

It's very interesting. The ACNFS model keeps us busy like never before.

Chris Reynolds

I can't recall where this was being discussed. But some time last week I said I'd ask Dr Francis about the apparently long lived storm rolling around the Arctic Ocean. She's OK with me posting her reply.

Dr Francis said that the May low pressure does seem to be anomalous, noting that it was similar to the PNA pattern.
The expected winds from the above pattern seemed to fit with the HYCOM sea ice plot showing the opening poleward of Kara (last week's animated gif). She noted that the expected winds implied ice divergence in Laptev and East Siberian.

Dr Francis noted the dipole apparent in the June SLP anomalies.
I think that here she means particularly along the Atlantic ice edge.

She closed saying: "Given the already record thinness of the existing ice (see attached - PIOMAS THICKNESS GRAPH) and this continuation of the dipole pattern, it would seem we might be headed for another "interesting" summer in terms of Arctic sea ice."

Note that I've put in NCEP/NCAR based on what Dr Francis referred to as the graphics didn't make it to me in the email.

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