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Jim Hunt

A bit more information to add to your usual excellent overview Neven. As we've been discussing on the forum, the water temperature under the ice in the Beaufort has now risen to the -1.2/1.3 range. Under the floes that have instrumentation embedded in them at least!

Shared Humanity

I come here and lurk everyday. This post is why. I learn something each time I visit.


Thanks for another great post.

Klon Jay

I was thinking last month that the Beaufort was not opening up as usual due to the PAC. The winds were pushing into that region, so it seemed from hycom/CICE, but I don't have time to look back at the data.

Kevin McKinney

Excellent, as usual!

R. Gates

Top-drawer stuff Neven, as usual.

As noted, we certainly have begun to see the potential of a big melt out in July with weather cooperating. The date I'm looking at is around July 22-25. Based in my area projects using IJIS we should be right around the 7 million sq. km. mark, just inching up to 2012 at that point. Weather is of course a big factor, but right now that date of July 22-25 with the area around 7 million sq. km. seems right on target and in fact it could hit it a bit sooner with the right weather. Some wouldn't have believed this possible with the slow start to the season, but the thin-ice dynamics are starting to take over.


Thanks for the thanks, everyone. I overdid it a bit this time. It seems that the busier I am, the more I write. But I won't have to explain CAPIE next time. ;-)

Can you just imagine what this melting season would have looked like if we'd had this SLP set-up somewhere in May?

Kevin McKinney

Nice to hear your voice, Neven! Not 'boring' at all. ;-)

Didn't hear the error, either--either over my head, or my brain 'heard' what you meant to say. Hope you'll reveal that sometime for fun...


Let's see if others hear it, before I give a clue. The first person to hear it, gets an Arctic umbrella!

That's one of the oldest jokes on the ASIB, folks. You're not really getting an Arctic umbrella. :-P


Was the error calling 'Severnaya Zemlya', 'Novaya Semlya'? A bit of confusion with the banana shaped 'Novaya Zemlya'.

Lynn Shwadchuck

Neven, your video is just great. All your hard work allows me to use minimal brainpower to get the gist of this hot spot stuck over the thin ice, poised to pound it. I wouldn't worry about music. The little editing I've done on my Mac in iMovie showed me it's not very difficult to create another track in the timeline and drag some stock music into it. But not an important thing to do with your precious time.


Yes, as Lynn says, the video is a great help! And I'm not sure you need the addition of funeral music to emphasise an already grim situation.


Well I won't win the Umbrella either I think... I didn't hear your first audio post, i didn't imagine your voice like this.

May I suggest that (if possible) you change the mouse cursor from a hand to a plain large arrow ? The stabilo effect is not the best for visibility...

Most excellent post as usual !

Was the error calling 'Severnaya Zemlya', 'Novaya Semlya'? A bit of confusion with the banana shaped 'Novaya Zemlya'.

Crandles, as soon as I get my hands on an Arctic umbrella, I'm sending it straight to you! Congratulations, that was the mistake. :-)

And I'm not sure you need the addition of funeral music to emphasise an already grim situation.

Okay, death metal it is. ;-)

You can't imagine how weird the atmosphere was here while recording. I live in this picturesque Austrian village, and the procession for the funeral had a whole fanfare walking in front of it playing sad music. In the meantime it's pretty warm here, around 30°C, and I was looking at all those graphs and maps. Very surreal! Too bad my microphone don't do surreal!

I'm just playing around with the videos. Maybe at one point I'll really turn it into something worthwhile. Stuff like post-season analysis, or just short tutorials. Or maybe nothing at all, depending on real life.

Lynn Shwadchuck

It's likely that the arctic melting and weird weather will reach a critical mass in the eyes of the media and Neven's blog will suddenly be a major source of background info for people who drag their heads out of the sand. For that reason I can imagine zippy videos would be handy to have on hand.

Jeff Poole

What Lynn said.
This blog will be the go to resource for any journo on the planet who can tear themselves away from reporting celebrity t*ts and a*se for Murdoch or stock market t&a for Forbes or Bloomberg and suddenly notices that *gasp* the ice cap is melting and it might be a story...

Keep up the videos! They are a superb resource for the non-expert.
The alternative is that the journos/hacks will turn to some other easily digested information from the science deniers

Hans Gunnstaddar

As an admitted amateur, yet ever fascinated by what's happening in the arctic, I like the videos because they water the latest info. down quicker than if I bounced my way through the written verbiage, and don't at all mind the curser. Reminds me of those tutorials for how to operate software. I find my self saying, "Oh, so that's how that works."

Should be very interesting watching the impending high go to work on the lagging Beaufort.

Francis Ridder

Long time lurker just wanting to say thank you. I am loving the video and will be posting it around. Totally off topic but, are you using KDE? The scroll bars look like one of the themes.


As a current holder of a super duper excellent Arctic umbrella, I have no need for another. So, no. I didn't pick up anything so terrible as an error in your video - which was pretty good anyway.

It's getting to be a kind of guilty obsession. I do, but I don't, do, don't, want to see a big, fast melt. Each year is more fascinating than the last. We'll see where we are in a couple of weeks.


Neven, almost everyone seems to forget that sea ice melts are physical vector creatures. They form the very look of sea ice when combined synergetically. For a long while, the winds teamed with tides, direction momentum and coriolis effect to overtake the arctic basin current completely. This scattered the ice to extend outwards, to the contrary of most normal seasons. In turn this gave a negative temperature feedback along with the extra cloudiness because of the long lasting cyclone. We see now that any compression (ice moving inwards) will accelerate the melt at the edges of the pack which is where the sun really is a factor particularly when the temperatures are warmer. So we are left to admire the complexity of it all, whilst not forgetting, this is how a thinner arctic ocean sea ice behaves. We are not bound by our predictions, but by how we fail or succeed by them. I still believe that it will be a great melt with vicinity of the North Pole now likely navigable by small water craft though the much looser pack ice.


Christoffer Ladstein

First melt ponds spotted at the North Pole webcams! More or less as in recent years. Remember summer of 2011 when one of the cams tilted all over, right!?

Btw, very strong and convincing voice you got Neven!
Keep it up, the party is just halfway, and now its time to prove who stays till its over;-).


How beautiful the fragile ice shield is! Just as we're now starring at the vanishing ice we will be starring at our fragile civilization...

Ron Mignery

I thought Nova Zemlya was the combination of the two adjoining islands Severny and Yuzhny.



Excellent summary as always, the sea ice dynamics in the Beaufort after the fracturing events this winter/spring is of real interest, since till now the weather has not given us the opportunity to see how it effects strong melting conditions.

This next couple of weeks will tell us more on how this ice melts (due to thinner fractured areas heating/melting more quickly), or the higher remaining thickness has it survive the season, especially in areas that seem to have more MYI near the CAA.

Totally off topic but, are you using KDE?

Nope, I work on Windows XP, and use CamStudio to make the vids. As soon as I have more time I will see if I can improve things with programs like VirtualDub and Audacity.

May I suggest that (if possible) you change the mouse cursor from a hand to a plain large arrow ? The stabilo effect is not the best for visibility...

When I hover over a linked image you get to see the hand instead of the arrow. I'll see if I can do anything about that.


I'm still not convinced the fracture event had much if anything to do with the slow melt in the Beaufort. That region has been the coldest region of the arctic year-to-date which would be my choice for the culprit. Colder temperatures = slower ice melt.

Bob Wallace

I recommend that people take a look at Wipneus's regional extent -


and area -


charts. They superimpose the 2012 melt record on the current year melt for each region.

In 2012 ice (other than bits of rubble) remained in only the CAB, GS and CA. Looking at region to region one can see that the meltout regions of 2012 are likely to be meltout regions for 2013.

The CAB and CA 2013 melts are not very different from 2012 to date and the GS has melted significantly more/earlier this year.

The cold spring might have slowed melt in areas where it really doesn't matter, but there doesn't seem to be a big slowing of melt in the regions that count.

I'd say the race is still open for 2013 to win based on what I see in those charts.

Kevin McKinney

Interesting perspective, Bob. Notable is the fact that the Beaufort is by far the biggest 'holdout' this year, so if Neven's prognostications prove correct, that could possibly close the gap significantly between 2013 and the previous 'horses' in this race.


Bob, both links are extent.

Bob Wallace

Sorry. This should be the area set...


Beaufort melted a month and a half before the end of the season last year. It's lagging 2012 no more than that this year. I'd give it even odds to get to zero (+ rubble).


My suggestion: keep up the video work. They are entertaining and moreover, good practice for the TED talk.


I don't think saying "this region will melt out anyway" is the correct way to analyze the melt in any given year except for regions that are totally isolated from the main basin like Hudson Bay, SOO, Bering, and perhaps the southwest Kara and Baffin Bay.

If areas like the Beaufort or Laptev or East Siberian Sea are slow to melt out, then that creates less time for their waters to heat up and start laterally melting the central arctic. In 2012, we already had a ton of open water assaulting the ice pack from the Beaufort and it was thinning out fast from the East Siberian side. How do we make up for that this year? I think the answer is we melt out those areas very fast with this new pattern in place and then hope it persists to really put carnage on the ice beyond that.

Dan P.

Greenland sea has only recently truly cleared out of clouds, but here's an animation over the last 5 days or so where you can see the fast ice breaking apart along with the floes coming down through the Fram highway to oblivion.

500 km/pix resolution, MODIS 1+4+3

k eotw

henry, i agree


@Henry & others...

Real carnage is not what I want. I want the ice to persist. Data suggests it won't.

I think it is a mistaken perception that increased extent will be certain to result in less melt out. In the last week, the difference between 2012 & 2013 have been cut by more than half, and 2013 gains daily. There are huge stretches all across the basin with "sick" ice - brown or grey from thinness or high granularity of floes. The overall concentration is less than last year, and the differences in large, open expanses of water are not as significant as numbers might indicate.

I spend most of my time actually contemplating Lance-Modis, rather than models. It is suggesting a different and more serious outcome to me.


Its rather better to state that a high pressure , same as today's 1029 mb over the Arctic ocean basin, moves the ice away from Beaufort directly into the open Chukchi. The wind vector is in tandem with the ocean current, heat from the South has changed the weather scene. This wind will also consolidate the pack from the Pole to the Canadian Archipelago. I expect massive melt numbers to start just about now, not that its only thawing ice, but compacting, a good thing despite the great extent drop to come.


jd_allen, what "data" suggest the ice will not hold out more than 2012? The only argument is anecdotal interpretation of modis satellite. Hard quantifiable data like CT area suggests the opposite of what you claim. Same with temperature data. Its been a lot colder this year. Unless we can prove that sources like CT are missing something that it didn't miss in past years or that temperatures significantly colder than recent years don't matter, then I don't see how the data shows the ice worse off than last year. This is excluding PIOMAS which is a model, but it also shows more volume than the past 3 years.

I think the best bet to get near record extent is to have huge compaction ala 2007.


Neven, your video is blocked at our work. I'll get to it later when I have some time, I'm VPN right now to try and get some stuff done.

Do I recall correctly? That at about this time in 2012 the "smart" vision was that it was

Cooler than 2007
Less conducive to melt than 2007
Slower than 2007
Simply not going to make any records


Pretty much what Henry is saying today.

As I recall, 2012 ignored the past and we learned new things. Like the weakness of the ice, the likelihood of late summer storms, that melt and transport could be catastrophic when the conditions were "less than perfect".

We learned that the arctic has changed and that observations of previous states no longer applied.

I'm wondering what we'll learn this year???

Or, just like 2006, we might learn that a slow start doesn't mean re-growth. Just a different year with more of the same and more escalation and more rapidity.

Personally I'm wondering what the new state of the arctic will bring.

The AMSR2 Bremen maps for 9th July show rapid and accelerating melt for a large swathe of the "slow" areas. Sumatra Island continues to burn releasing peat based pollution and CO2. Recent previous significant events 97/8 and 2006.

I recall watching the Arctic in 2006, monitoring daily and tracking the "slowdown". I also recall overlaying the melt maps for 2005 and 2006 once the season ended. It was clear that this "no record" year had done significant additional damage to the ice structure. The perfect storm of 2007 followed and everyone lost interest in the "near miss". I doubt anyone will make that mistake again.


NeilT, last year, 2012 was running below 2007 all summer in CT area with the excpetion of a brief day or two mixed in where it was virtually tied. Volume was running way lower. The data showed a record was very possible.


Henry said

"...then I don't see how the data shows the ice worse off than last year. This is excluding PIOMAS which is a model, but it also shows more volume than the past 3 years...."

OK, first off, there's over 20% less MYI this year than there was at the start of 2012:


Second off, the over-all thickness of the ice at maximum was estimated to be 5-8% thinner than at the start of 2012.

Third off, there was nothing like the fracturing event, or the current highly divergent state of most of the pack.

Lastly, we are *just* reaching the point in time where the ice temperatures are equalizing across depth, and we enter the most serious bottom melt period of the year. We haven't seen the worst of the melt yet.

For those reasons , no, I do NOT think the ice is in better shape this year than last. My conclusion is not just "anecdotal". I just think that the satellite imagery is picking up conditions on the surface, which the models are *Not*.


jdallen, we'll respectfully agree to disagree. Your "beginning of melt season" argument is irrelevant if a slow spring has made the ice thicker than recent years which is exactly what PIOMAS shows. We were below 2012 in early 2013 on PIOMAS but now well above it. So that is over and done with. There was far less MYI in 2008 than 2012 too (at least according to the NSIDC MYI graph) and that year finished much higher as well.

In addition, the CT area is well above the 2010-212 years. This measures concentration vs extent which doesn't.

You clearly think te colder temperatures this melt season and higher concentration do not matter. That is fine and I respct your opinion. I just don't agree with it. The good news is that we will together both watch it unfold the next 8 weeks and find out what happens. :-) No hiding from mother nature in this discussion.


Here's my back of the envelope argument for why we're likely to pass 2012:

In 2012, there was solid ice to halfway between Prince Patrick and Banks islands; this year the ice is weak and is obviously going to melt back to Borden if not further.

2013 is almost certainly going to match 2012 as far as the dramatic meltout of the CAA.

In 2012, there was a huge clot of ice in the Fram Strait; this year the stuff moving through there is weak first-year ice.

In 2012, there was a line of thick ice arcing between Svalbard and Severnaya Zemlya; this year the ice along that line is already fractured and rotten.

In 2012, about 2/5 of the remaining ice was in the Eastern Hemisphere; this year I fully expect everything between Svalbard, Wrangel, and Russia to melt out. Unless I'm way off base about arctic currents, there's no mechanism to compact that ice against the more solid stuff in the Western Hemisphere, making it doomed for melt.

Looking at the areas that are already critical this year, I don't see how we're not going to pass 2007 et al. and give 2012 a run for its money.

My crystal ball says that the CT with boundaries about at a line between Svalbard and Wrangel, a line between Borden Island and somewhere slightly east of the New Siberian Islands, and the CAA is about what the final shape of the thing is going to be, and that doesn't provide the numbers to avoid a new record.


"My crystal ball says that the CT *triangle* with boundaries..."

(This thing needs an edit function so I can hide my writing errors after the fact. ;) )


I tend to agree with Henry. Even though extent seems to behave been dropping rapidly in the last few days, the CT SIA anomaly is hovering around the - 1 million mark as it did for the same period in 2008 and 2009 . Although we cannot predict what the weather will be in the next 60 days, i would still put my dollars on a final SIA figure between 3 and 3.5 million (SIE between 4.8 and 5.3 million).


After avidly reading this blog for how long now, 2 or 3 years maybe, I'm finally feeling compelled to comment.

At least in the USA, the denial of danger from our fossil carbon emissions has been so immensely frustrating to those of us who accept the scientific findings that every year we hope the Arctic sea ice melt will be dramatic & scary enough to awaken the general public. This leads us to say it looks bad (for the melt) when cooler temps reduce or delay the melt, or good (for the melt) when high pressure governs mid-July.

Yet we do not want the Arctic sea ice melt to be so dramatic & scary that it tips the behavior of the Arctic's physical systems into a new basin of phase space. This leads us to use "bad" & "good" in the opposite direction, good (for the ice, & for us all) when cooler temps reduce or delay the melt, or bad (for the ice, & for us all) when high pressure governs mid-July.

We should probably spell this out on occasion, reminding listeners & readers why it is we so often appear to favor or applaud a rapid or a record melt: we want people to wake up. Otherwise from the way we use "bad" & "good" it looks like we want the ice to be lost, or that we are conflicted about what we want.

Jim Hunt

Henry - Here's some "Hard quantifiable data" for you

Make sure to check the right hand side (Open image in new window). More details on the forum.


BTW, I'm not saying there is zero chance for a new record or that we are going to finish with some anomalously high figure, I'm simply pointing out that the quantifiable evidence does not support a new record at this point. I was just surprised at how confident many were at a new record or close to a new record despite this year lagging well behind 2012.

We'll need to blow the record loss in area from this date forward completely out of the water to achieve record levels. Since area loss has shown to be relatively stable over the years from July 1st onward, I have a hard time believing this year is any different. Especially when PIOMAS shows higher volume as well.


Great post as always, Seems with the recent weather prediction, what was looking like a 2013 recovery is 'on thin ice'.
I note that the relatively 'warm' conditions in Antarctica are continuing, wonder if this will have any effect on the WAIS down the track?


A dipole is now in place, I think the records are set to go bye bye, there is a misconception about cold air. If colder air was responsible for greater extent , then why all that loose pack ice near the Pole on the Russian side? Colder air does affect the edge of the ice scene, but what happened near center of it all?

A pub experiment is required: 3 transparent drinking glasses required, fill 1 with ice, place on counter, fill other with same ice quantity top it up with cold water, place on counter, again same as with 2nd but 3rd glass with hot water.

Which one will melt completely first?

Now extent as such is a weird metric at times, such as now,
if the ice scatters instead of compacting, extent will be greater, and all the contrarians of the world like the one at the Telegraph,
will do cart wheels over fictional "warmist" dead bodies.

Scattering is the wrong term though, I prefer pushing against the shores, some are conducive to exacerbate melting some are not, was it not cloudy over Kara sea? Isn't there vast open water there? Now that we have Arctic Dipole in place , sea ice will be pushed against open water.

David Goldstein

Manuphonic- This is an article of mine published a couple months ago that addresses the issue that you bring up: "Brun, Baby, Burn: A Climate Activist's Wish For Superstorms, Wildfires and Drought." I'd love your feedback: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/davidgoldstein/burn-baby-burn-a-climate-_b_3224411.html


Anybody care to share his/her thoughts on what happened in Greenland today? It's been WAY too cold for weeks, and today BOOM:


We should probably spell this out on occasion, reminding listeners & readers why it is we so often appear to favor or applaud a rapid or a record melt: we want people to wake up. Otherwise from the way we use "bad" & "good" it looks like we want the ice to be lost, or that we are conflicted about what we want.

Indeed, I will bring it up some time in a future video. I wrote a post about this exact thing at the very start of the blog, called To Melt or not to Melt: the Alarmist's Dilemma (the link can easily be found in the Best of Blog section in the right hand bar at the top of the blog).

I still feel like that: I want the ice to go because I'm a sea ice nerd and it's spectacular and might wake people up. And I don't want it to go, because the risks scare me and make me worry for my child.

I do try to make sure that when I say something is bad, it's bad for melting or ice decrease.



I think we can expect another importend melt on saterday 13 juli after 18 pm. Watch it!


The excitement builds ... on July 24th, we'll have twelve full months of Jaxa microwave data, enabling year-to-year comparisons of the same date for the first time.

Anticipating that, the animation compares the last five days of this year, namely 06-10 July, to the first five days of last year, 24-28 July.

To minimize the distraction from cloud emission, each RGB frame was decomposed into CMYK with K retained. The stack of 10 K's was then converted back to RGB and consistently colorized blue, still at native resolution and without contrast changes.

If, and this is a big if, nothing changed in satellite sensor gain or subsequent processing steps, the inter-year frames can be meaningfully compared (except for the offset of 14-18 days here).

There is quite a contrast between the two ice packs -- a lot of melt needed in 2013 in the next two weeks to catch up or overhaul 2012.

The location of open water will be fairly similar but the multi-year ice distributed quite differently. You may wish to download the gif to make slower or side by side comparisons of individual frames.

 photo 201213Comp_zpsba9c32b8.gif


I'm fairly sure that was the heatwave air from southern US. The air flow at this time of year moves the central air from the US up along the Great Lakes then out into the Atlantic and from there across Greenland and into the UK. The record heat was recorded about 5-6 days ago and I do believe it's that affecting Greenland now.

R. Gates

That's quite an interesting animation A-team. Wish we could see it with thickness comparison as well. Right now the ice is getting hammered pretty hard but to catch up with 2012 by the last week of July we'll need to see daily 100K losses until then. Not impossible, but it would require a record July melt for sure. I do take note, as others have as well, of the fractured ice near the pole that resulted from the PAC-2013. This area deserves lots of attention in the next few weeks.

Shared Humanity


I have so little knowledge, I feel unqualified to comment but I'll give it a shot. The upper Midwest has had just as dramatic of a shift in the last 48 hours. we went from a prolonged period of wet, cooler than average temperatures to sunny warm and dry. The 10 day forecast (these can be unreliable) forecasts this sunny warm weather to persist. Meanwhile, the heatwave in the western U.S. has broke.

Could this be a symptom of a new NH weather regime where sticky weather will hang around for weeks and then suddenly shift to different weather? What has the jet stream done and what do the lows and highs look like? Haven't we also just shifted from a persistent Arctic low to a dipole in the past 48 hours and isn't the forecast for it to persist as well?

Could it be possible that NH weather could be a succession of sticky weather, where a persistent weather pattern suddenly shifts into a different weather pattern that is similarly persistent?


Shared Humanity, look up "blocking patterns."

You're not the first person to notice this, and it's (ostensibly) the biggest sign of climate change at the mid-latitudes so far.


beautiful picture of the break up in Nares strait.



On whether we cheer the melt, or not.....

It is human nature to long for the public - especially USA public - to "wake up". I'd like to suggest, however, that all energy spent on this question in terms of sea ice is energy wasted.

Why? Simple. The dozing public will only stir when they feel something in their gut. How many of them have even seen sea ice, except in pictures with cute seals, polar bears, or "Eskimos"?

Carry on the work, ya'll! But even instantaneous sublimation of all sea ice is worth nothing more than a few days in the recreational evening news cycle, sad to say.

It is the RESULTS of the disappearance of sea ice, after the fact, that will grab 'em by the guts. And at that point, the past loss of sea ice will only be of academic interest to a somewhat larger minority than now.

The rest, even if they are in the streets about climate issues, STILL won't care about sea ice. Instead it will be about infrastructure and agricultural failures in their own home towns.

And so I don't fret over the question whether to root for the melt, or not. I do pay attention, because as a kid I always wished I could have been around to watch the huge geologic catharsis the planet has gone through.... and gee, be careful what you wish for! It is fascinating to be in attendance. But even explosive loss of sea ice affords very little pressure to alter public policy.

Instead, to wake the public up....

With love, I root for ever more dramatic ag losses to leave blank spots on US market shelves, followed by times of recovery in which we might actually start acting on the lessons learned through firsthand experience. With love, I also root for infrastructure failure - without any assistance from us - during ever greater weather extremes. How about a 3 week off the charts heat wave with no electricity? Yeah, a LOT of people will die. But if we take aggressive action as a result, several orders of magnitude more people will have quality lives in the longterm thereafter. Such events are absolutely essential to light the match of mitigation. It's wake up now, or wake up later, and we all hope it happens soon enough that we are still in control, i.e., before runaway feedbacks take matters out of hands.

So my thought is to forget the question "Should we cheer the melt?", because sadly, to most people its an academic question that they really don't give a belch about.

The better question is whether to root for climate horrors right in your hometown?

See http://www.philosophersbeard.org/2010/10/morality-vs-ethics.html

Martin Gisser

I'm no longer sure that The Melt, superstorms like Sandy, gigantic forest fires, gigantic deluges, and even large agricultural failures will be of any help.

1) Rising food prices will not be felt significantly in rich nations. You have to look e.g. at Egypt for this, but the hunger riots are interpreted as being political.
2) Conservatives love Palmström logics: "And he comes to the conclusion: His mishap was an illusion, for, he reasons pointedly, that which must not, can not be."
3) Alas http://www.climatedenial.org/ is offline. A recent post there tells how catastrophes don't change U.S. public perception much.
4) The recent deluge in India was prominently blamed by environmentalists on "land use change". Just look at the amazing Kedarnath debris flow and see that this is wrong.

5) Last but not least, most people tend to get used to catastrophes. They develop a variant of Stockholm syndrome and develop ever more psychopathic symptoms of denial.

Examples: U.S. conservatives' love of coal mining perversities and fracking. -- Oh, Canada. -- From my personal experience: It still hasn't rained enough here in Bavaria (recent 500y deluge). My mom still thinks immigrants are a more important issue.


Martin Gisser,

I agree with you; it's hard to see a Pearl Harbor event for climate change that will have anywhere near the motivational impact of the original.


Why, of course, the enemy is us.

My mom still thinks immigrants are a more important issue.

Throw 'em in the Danube when it's 12 metres higher than normal! Especially if they're bankers as well.


The idea that "they" are going to be aroused is simply self-justifying. How aroused are people who write on this blog? What do we do? Knowing doesn't count as doing. Writing here doesn't count either. Is it doing something to write and hope others will see it and do something? There's no solution within the present lumbering system. Surely we all know that. Find something it can now do well other than blow things up. I myself seriously doubt there now is anything humans can do about global warming, but surely if there is it must be a highly organized world-wide extremely radical response. It requires the end of industrial civilization. Does anyone think the government is up to the job?


Why wouldn't your Mom think that?

How often does Obama talk about that issue compared to global warming?


Martin Gisser,

But, beyond the difficulty of seeing a Pearl Harbor event for climate change, I see a more serious issue. The numbers are slowly starting to get out of reach.

Kevin Anderson (U Manchester) has been doing the best linking of climate science to climate policy, in my estimation. He wrote a series of papers showing that, to avoid going beyond a global mean temperature increase of 2 C, global CO2 emissions would have to be reduced by about 10%/annum starting about now, and continued for decades. A recent paper in Nature by a Swiss modeling team showed that when other variables besides temperature constraints are taken into account, the CO2 emissions reductions have to be doubled. So, the global emissions reductions would have to be about 20%/annum, and with equity considerations, the advanced nations would have to reduce by 30%/annum or more.

But, this is for 2 C, and the global models that Anderson used don't include the major positive feedback mechanisms. Anderson states, and many other leading climate scientists have stated, that 2 C brings us to the Extremely Dangerous region, and that a 1 C limit is much more justifiable from a scientific viewpoint. My own view is that the temperature at which the rapid Arctic ice melt started to become visible would have been a much better target, perhaps half of where we are today.

If we terminated all fossil fuel use today, published studies show that we would reach peak temperatures of about 1.5-3.0 C in about 3-4 decades, with a few outliers on either side. The differences depend on assumptions made for 'climate sensitivity', 'aerosol forcing', and other parameters. So, at a minimum, we would need not only to terminate all fossil fuel use as soon as possible, but institute rapid carbon recovery and some type of geo-engineering in parallel to avoid going over the cliff in the interim. Is this even theoretically possible? In practice, there appears to be no evidence of any moves in this direction; both President Obama and the Chinese premier (5 March) have made statements that essentially say 'all of the above', which is diametrically opposite to what the numbers require. So, even if we did have a climate Pearl Harbor, what could we do to win the battle?


Oops, sorry Martin.... my USA-centrism is showing.


First, let's dispense with the notion "Pearl Harbor Event" in the singular.

I'm talking about the accumulated in-your-face impacts (((per individual))), which will be highly variable.

It goes without saying that sooner or later, all the sleepers will have a moment of awakening. THE QUESTION IS, will

1. Enough of them awaken
2. Soon enough

to demand action when we have a chance of keeping it to 3 or 4C, instead of 9 or 10?

And so I root for many "climate pearl harbors", sooner instead of later, because I believe that as horrible as 3C will be, 9C is a hell of a lot worse.


The US made it clear in 2012 that the 2C limit was not achievable.

See: Todd Stern remarks, Dartmouth College, August 2012:


The Germans understand that as well. See:

Modifying the 2°C Target, Oliver Geden
SWP Research Paper 2013/RP 05, June 2013, 30 Pages


Martin Gisser

Australia 1970
~ Judith Wright ~

Die, wild country, like the eaglehawk,
dangerous till the last breath’s gone,
clawing and striking. Die
cursing your captor through a raging eye.

Die like the tigersnake
that hisses such pure hatred from its pain
as fills the killer’s dreams
with fear like suicide’s invading stain.

Suffer, wild country, like the ironwood
that gaps the dozer-blade.
I see your living soil ebb with the tree
to naked poverty.

Die like the soldier-ant
mindless and faithful to your million years.
Though we corrupt you with our torturing mind.
stay obstinate; stay blind.

For we are conquerors and self-poisoners
more than scorpion or snake
and dying of the venoms that we make
even while you die of us.

I praise the scoring drought, the flying dust,
the drying creek, the furious animal,
that they oppose us still;
that we are ruined by the thing we kill.

Artful Dodger

Hi folk,

Political and philosophical discussions belong over in the Forum, under the Policy and Solutions category. This topic is about Arctic sea ice.

Thanks for staying on topic. :^)


Christoffer Ladstein

Thanks Lodger!

The "landfast" ice at the northeastern part of Greenland is also getting shredded violently these days, worse than the latter years, or earlier maybe?

Very facinating anyway!


Will the Northern part of Greenland this year become passable by ships?! 1-2 days more and Nares will be exporting ice, then we'll see!


"It requires the end of industrial civilization. Does anyone think the government is up to the job?"

You see, there you go. Cause lost. Nobody will listen and with good reason.

It has taken 200 years of industrialisation to create this mess. It will take industrialisation of an unheard of level, to try and resolve this mess by physical intervention and before that we need to move industry to a carbon neutral state.

The moment you state that industrialisation has to go, you

a) are labelled as a green fanatic
b) are ignored
c) are deemed not to know what you are talking about.

Let's put it this way. If you go around telling industrialists that fixing "climate change" is going to be the biggest moneyspinner ever seen and will give them all the technology they never thought to see for 5 decades, what do you think they will do?

But, no, keep on telling them you are going to destroy their business, put billions of people out of work and go back to the land.

That'll work. Sure it will....

Sorry I know it's off topic but it is on topic in a way. What we see today in the disintegrating heatsink we know as the Arctic is a powerful weapon in action to stabilise our climate. If handled correctly.


Industrialization per se isn't the problem. For that matter, global warming is not the heart of the problem either. AGW is collateral damage of the pursuit for nonstop economic growth.

Even if those industrialists Neil speaks of solve global warming, some other civilization-busting limiting factor will take center dire stage.

And this IS about the ice....whether to cheer the melt or not. My point is that the ice doesn't really have any psychological chutzpa, compared to what's needed to crack the unconscious mythos that growth-is-always-good.

R. Gates

I think it wise that we keep discussions related to sea ice, but suffice to say that the decline of the Arctic sea ice is directly related to the rapid expansion of human civilization and the dawn of the Anthropocene, at some point the "anthros" need to take ownership, or more like stewardship for this planet that we so heavily dominate, and realize that through policy, direct action, geoengineering, changes to our economic and energy systems, and by whatever other means necessary, we've got to make some alterations in the current "business as usual".



"But, no, keep on telling them you are going to destroy their business, put billions of people out of work and go back to the land.

That'll work. Sure it will...."

That's known as telling them the truth. If the x-rays are showing spots on the lung, what do you tell the three pack-a-day smoker, whether or not he wants to hear it? I don't see any other way; demand has to be cut as painfully as possible if we are to have even a ghost of a chance. That's what Mother Nature wants. Unlimited availability of cheap energy; that's what we want. And, you know who will win that battle.

Shared Humanity

I also agree we should keep on the topic of Arctic ice.

@ Christoffer Ladstein

What are the eddies, east of the land fast ice, that are visible on this image? There are several of them. Is this ice rubble that follows local current formed while traversing the coast?


I also agree that we should stay on-topic, even though I got carried away myself!

There is a fine section on the ASIF where a couple of folks are having great discussions.


Sorry, I guess I took a couple sea ice philosophy comments as an invite for more.

I know squat about sea ice science, but I've been avidly reading this blog to learn about it.

Thanks for all ya'll do! I now return to lurk mode.


Quoting Neven:

"There is a fine section on the ASIF where a couple of folks are having great discussions."

In addition to the topics Artful Dodger mentioned in the Politics and Solution Category, Ww have a long running discussion about the "Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice" in the Consequences category, with over 200 comments and 7,000 page views. There are many very important issues raised in the above posts and I would hope that these discussions are carried over to the ASIF. I may, as time permits, copy and paste many of them over to the Forum, myself, so that these thoughts are not lost forever. However, I don't want to be like an editor trying to decide which comments are the most relevant.

So please come on over and join the conversation about the multiple ways we are destroying the planet!!



Thanks, I'll check that out in the next few days.


Rarely does one see remote sensing pictures showing a huge ice pack compressing from shore, so fast it seems the sea ice is retreating by the hour. Tomorrows numbers should indicate a huge decrease in extent, but CT is a bit slow in catching up to the progress, perhaps they average the sat pics throughout the day?? ...


Artful Dodger

HI wayne,

No, SIA is not averaged. CT is a day behind. This has been discussed ad nauseum on this blog.


Paul Beckwith

Have a look at the navy forecast (as part of the 30 day gif) on sea ice thickness. It is indicating a collapse of large sections of the MYI. http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticictn_nowcast_anim30d.gif

Rob Dekker

Paul Beckwith,

The NAVY Hycom model is used mostly to provide US NAVY vessels with short-term (couple of days) ice extent, and movement predictions.

It does not even pretend to present an accurate assessment of ice thickness. That's not what it's used for, and that's not what you should use it for either.

Mostly it overestimates ice thickness, as we saw in 2011 when Hycom was presenting 3 meter ice in the Beaufort, while the USS Healy was cruising through that same area at close to 20 knots.

Now that Hycom projects unrealistic and physically unlikely changes in ice thickness over extremely short periods of time, I'd like to appeal to your "common sense" and take the info on ice thickness with a grain of salt before you hurt yourself in wild projections using it's admitted and confirmed inaccuracies.

Rob Dekker

Maybe a better place to start is PIOMAS.
That model has shown to be pretty darn accurate for ice thickness and it presents this :


Which shows dangerously thin ice right now, so the situation is bad enough as-is.



I've taken screen shots from Worldview. I'm going to compile them into a full set but I have no stable source to host images. I've been taking lots of screen shots from lots of places. I'm not backing down from my forecast of a low year. I think all we need is a storm or two and the last MYI is 'stuffed' as an Aussie would say :)

I've never seen such low concentration ice in the Frams. Everything is melting in situ or being pushed around by the jet stream.

All the land masses around the arctic are over 0C up to 7-9C in places

The overall temp in the arctic is up, regardless of clouds the ice is being eroded very quickly.

There are massive melt ponds on the west and east coasts of Greenland.

I see big streams of hot warm air from the US and Canada and Russia being sucked into the Arctic.

A Big Year


Well it does seem that high has done a number on the ice over the past 5 days or so. Looks like we have another two to four days left in the ECMWF. Then, looks like it's back to stormy conditions.


Thanks Artful, Robert, depends what model you look at, some carry an Arctic Basin High for at least 6 days. With more clouds cleared overthe SWquad North American side, sea ice looks like it is in a very poor fragile state.


Kate, it would be cool to show even more how fast the ice is disappearing, good luck with your collages. You are right about
storms, they simply will break up a sheet wrecked by tears of heat.

Hans Gunnstaddar

What's with the Beaufort this year? The high is hanging right over it with some melt at the coast but it's still holding on.


I was also expecting more of a melt/retreat, Hans. This region of the ice pack is supposed to contain some of the thinnest ice in the Arctic, according to PIOMAS, CryoSat and also IceBridge (image from the latest NSIDC monthly summary):

From up close the ice doesn't look all that great, but still cohesive. Is the lack of extensive melt ponding during the first half of the melting season (contrary to last year) such an influential factor? Could be.


bottom melt is a silent killer. since all the ice in the Beaufort started the melt season at between 1 and 1.5M it seems likely to me that the whole darn lot could just sit there looking good and then suddenly vanish in a few days from that botttom melting with not a surface melt pond in sight.
the melt season is still yet young.
I think the same thing will occur in the North West passage.

John Christensen

Using the Compare option at CT, you will see that Beaufort (as well as ESS and Kara) simply has both a much higher SIA as well as thicker ice right now compared to a year ago:
The substantial retreat in 2012 combined with the enormous red area (60% sea ice concentration) covering almost all of the western Arctic area, was what enabled the continued strong melt into August and early September.
MYI is most likely weaker this year than last year, but the FYI does look much better IMHO, and from DMI 80N temps you see that night temperatures in Beaufort and elsewhere often reach below -5C, helped by the high.
Weather has been very favorable this year, and I guess the question is whether by now the ice has regained some strength to endure upcoming weather events, or if the next low (or high) will crush it..

John Christensen

When considering that it was the combination of GAC-12 and the ice rubble (red area in CT from Beaufort across ESS to Laptev from link in previous post) that caused the extraordinary SIE loss in August 2012, one might speculate that enough ice cubes will remain in the western areas this year to keep SIE up somewhat, while SIA could end closer to 2012 numbers..

Hans Gunnstaddar


That's a link for CT comparison for July 13, 2012 & 2013. Based on those shading differences it doesn't look like there's any chance 2013 can ever catch up. It's a rebound year, just as I suspected before the season began.

Jim Hunt

@Philip - See the link to the forum in the first comment above. There's plenty of melt ponds plus top and bottom melt visible in the Beaufort at the moment.

@John - Concentration != Thickness? Do the webcam images suggest to you that "the ice has regained some strength to endure upcoming weather events"?


Agreed Hans. This is consistent with what the CT numbers and PIOMAS showed for June. The weather doesn't look very favorable either in the near term for any drastic changes.


Yup, this season could be over in two weeks as far as breaking records go. But nothing is a dead certainty in the Arctic.


Coincidentally the NSIDC has released a mid-month analysis:

The slow retreat of sea ice in the Beaufort Sea has resulted in the most extensive ice cover seen there in the last seven summers (Figure 4). Ice extent also remains rather extensive in the Chukchi Sea, though other recent years have seen more ice at this same time of year, particularly in 2012, when Shell was forced to delay drilling operations and reduce the number of wells planned. Despite extensive ice cover, visible imagery from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite instrument shows melt is well underway.

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