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Susan Anderson

What's with the jerk downwards in extent recently? This may not be the right place to put this query, but it is very odd looking.

Also, I'm seeing some spectacular weather flows in the water vapor animations. Perhaps this is the best one to show how much chaotic energy seems to be in the system:




Is the mid latitude cell between the Hadley cell and polar cell being overtaken or subsumed due to the weakened slower jet stream undulating more? And, is this causing more cold air further south which masks some warming? But, also undulations of relatively warmer air toward the arctic? That's what it looks like to me but... I'm just an armchair amateur.


Oops wrong link. jeesh


@Susan Anderson

The recent downturn is just a matter of happenstance. At this point in the refreeze season there's a natural bottleneck which occurs because there's a huge increase in landmass at the 70°N latitude band. During the first two weeks of November the biggest gain in sea-ice is usually in Baffin Bay, with the Chukchi/Bering and Barents/Kara typically averaging small daily gains but in reality this average is just a reflection of oscillation with a trajectory toward freeze-up due to winds from weather systems. Even more so, the sea-ice on the Atlantic side is quite variable due to the passage of storms along the ice edge, which extends much farther in distance than the ice edge in the Chukchi/Bering. Last week there was a period of extended southerly flow over the ice edge in the Barents/Kara Seas which more than offset the gains in Baffin Bay, with the Chukchi/Bering holding nearly steady. The end result was a week-long period of losses in extent/area, but since the temperatures along the ice edge on the Atlantic side were below freezing the likely result was a weeks' worth of compaction and a sea-surface skin temperature of -2°C in the once-ice-covered areas which should refreeze quickly.

In fact, over the next ten days there's going to be dramatic increases in sea-ice extent due to three factors.

1. Days 5-10 features arctic air and northerly flow over the Barents/Kara Seas. This should basically freeze all of the Kara Sea but for a small donut hole in the southern end and drive the ice edge south 5-10nm/day each of those 6 days.

2. Very favorable freeze-up conditions across Hudson Bay. -20°C 850mb temps (arctic air) is fed over the western half of the basin on northwesterly flow for much of the next ten days. This should bring sea-ice over a third to a half of Hudson Bay by Thanksgiving.

3. The Chukchi should finish its refreeze and ice will begin developing in the Bering.

These three factors, plus the continued freezing of Baffin Bay, should bring extent to about 10,600,000sq.km by Thanksgiving.

John Christensen


I agree with your assessment of the event last week being mainly a compaction event, enabling thickness gain as well as quick refreeze of the seas, but with the substantive low in the Barentz right now (http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/weather/arcticweather.uk.php), the Siberian cold could be held at bay and cause further compaction on the European side or even melting at the edges.


Susan, exactly spot on, I have been observing an uptick of cyclonic activity since last December. 2 days ago there was no anticyclones over the Arctic Ocean, none, at a time when they should be strongly pervasive. This is the new Arctic, latest version, strange and wildly different. Colder summer = warmer winter.

Colorado Bob

OT -

New video of the storm surge coming on shore last week , you won't believe this @ 44 seconds into the clip -


Susan Anderson

Thanks everyone. Watching and learning.

Gerhard Trausner

Hi Neven !
Slightly Off Topic
As we see in Modis actually not much of the Arctic, the Antarctic often I look at the moment. There is a glacier, whose tongue 40 - 50 km extends in the open sea. I find that strange. The glacier is located approximately in the center of the image.

Since the tongue is stable for years, I think he's sitting on ground firmly. But what surprises me. But he must have made ​​a deep ditch. Maybe Espen Olsen and Mauri Pelto know more about these glaciers in the Ross Sea.
Have a nice day, and enjoy using your new house.


Hallo Gerhard,
Fresh from memory...isn't that Drygalski icetongue? I'll look into Wiki later, indeed, an interesting feature.


Yes, it is, complete with bits of B15 and C16.


I haven't heard about this one, but I believe the process is something like this


Where the shelves are lost and the glaciers which have no natural barrier start to discharge at massive rates.

PIG is slightly different here as there is, quite literally, a small mountain range between the grounded glacier at the seaboard end and the up range glacier. Scientists are interested in what may happen if/when, the sea finally manages to melt back to the mountain range and melts out the blocking ice, floating the glacier on a small lake.

Interesting thoughts.



A new study shows that the ASI loss of recent years is unprecedented in 650 years.


HT hotwhopper


Kevin McKinney

idunno, thanks! Sounds like a very good proxy tool indeed.


I note that CT SIA is now tracking 2011. I'm wondering if PIOMAS volume will begin to do the same.

It would be an interesting end to a very interesting season.

Gerhard Trausner

Werther , Neil
Thank you very much

Colorado Bob

“PORTLAND, Maine — The microscopic creatures that make up a critical link in the ocean food chain declined dramatically the first half of this year in the North Atlantic as ocean temperatures remained among the warmest on record, federal scientists say.

Springtime plankton blooms off the coast of northern New England were well below average this year, leading to the lowest levels ever seen for the tiny organisms that are essential to maintaining balance in the ocean food chain, said Kevin Friedland, a marine scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Colorado Bob

Further summer speedup of Jakobshavn Isbræ

Abstract. We have extended the record of flow speed on Jakobshavn Isbræ through the summer of 2013. These new data reveal large seasonal speedups, 30 to 50% larger than previous summers. At a point a few kilometres inland from the terminus, the mean annual speed for 2012 is nearly three times as large as that in the mid 1990s, while the peak summer speeds are more than a factor of 4 greater. These speeds were achieved as the glacier terminus retreated to the bottom of an overdeepened basin with a depth of ~ 1300 m below sea level. While retreat may slow slightly as the terminus retreats farther – to a moderate rise in the bed – it is likely to reach the deepest section of the trough within a few decades, at which point it should rapidly retreat to the shallower regions ~ 50 km farther upstream, potentially by the end of this century.


Colorado Bob

Current climate change models greatly underestimate the amount of methane being released by thawing permafrost in the Canadian Arctic, according to Canada's National Institute of Scientific Research (INRS).

Canadian, French and US researchers from the INRS have been studying the methane and greenhouse gas emissions in small thaw ponds, concluding that the emissions could have a significant climate impact.

"We discovered that although the small shallow ponds we studied represent only 44 percent of the water-covered surface in a Bylot Island valley, they generate 83 percent of its methane emissions," said Karita Negandhi, a water sciences doctoral student at the INRS's Environment Research Center.


John Christensen


Thank you again for providing these meticulous updates on PIOMAS volume changes!

I have had a look at the number to help find out what happened - and it will be great, when we see Chris Reynold's breakdown of PIOMAS grid data into CT areas for further analysis.

When you look at volume gain for years with strong gain between Jan. 1 and max volume (in kkm^3) and then melting between max and min for the latest 'recovery' years in (), you have:

80: 8.1
83: 7.5
84: 7.0
85: 8.0
86: 8.1
96: 7.5
97: 7.5
08: 8.5 (18.0)
09: 8.0 (18.2)
13: 8.5 (17.0)

Average (79-01): 7.0 (16.3)

2008 and 2013 had the strongest late-season volume gain in the period measured, but melting was reduced by approx. 1,000 km^3 in 2013 compared to 2008 and 2009, and compared to average net loss between Jan. 1st and minimum, 2013 was the only year of these three recent 'recovery' years, where net volume loss was less than long-term average between Jan. 1 and minimum.


Looking at changes in Northwest Greenland glaciers 1999-2013. Plenty of new islands note Rink Gletscher and Steenstrup Glacier


Gerhard that is the Drygalski Ice Tongue which is fed by the David Glacier. It is not grounded but is well afloat. The tongue emerges from a deep trough with a thickness of 1200 meters. It thins as it spreads laterally and melt at the base t 500 m. This is still quite thick which gives it better stability than the Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves.

Colorado Bob

Twice as Much Methane Escaping Arctic Seafloor
The Arctic methane time bomb is bigger than scientists once thought and primed to blow, according to a study published today (Nov. 24) in the journal Nature Geoscience.


Colorado Bob

Arctic storms speed up release of methane plumes

A stormier Arctic could fast-track the greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, potentially accelerating global warming.

"Significant quantities of methane are escaping the East Siberian Shelf as a result of the degradation of submarine permafrost," says Natalia Shakhova of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. She and her team collected data – at a great cost – to show that vast areas are releasing plumes of methane gas, which is escaping into the atmosphere.


The story Bob sites has been picked up by Climate Central and is about to be the topic of a lead post at RealClimate.

Any chance of a post here about it?


Wili, I was planning to post about it tonight.


Awesome! I know you're a busy guy, but this looks like a fairly big story. I look forward to see your sage perspective on it.

Hans Gunnstaddar

"But the findings don't show that a major pulse is under way. "The total volume of methane being released is still small," said Laurence Smith of the University of California, Los Angeles."

That will be the part of the story MSM and in turn GW denialists latch on to. What's really important here is quantifiable increases of methane emissions over previous years so people can see via data the changes taking place.

Colorado Bob

Hans -
The new measurement more than doubles the team's earlier estimate of Siberian methane release, published in 2010 in the journal Science.

"We believe that release of methane from the Arctic, in particular, from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, could impact the entire globe, not just the Arctic alone," Shakova told LiveScience.


Colorado Bob

We visit German climate researchers in the northern Siberian wilderness of the Lena Delta. They’re studying how the thawing of permafrost is affecting climate change.


6:16 min. video.

Shared Humanity


What's really important here is quantifiable increases of methane emissions over previous years so people can see via data the changes taking place.

And I am absolutely willing to bet that these increases will be exponential in nature. If so, they will suggest positive feedbacks are already in place that will be difficult to reverse.


Note that they determined that there has been 1C (1.8 F) warming of bottom water temps in summer over the last 14 years, mostly from increasingly warm river water.

Siberia is warming rapidly, mostly from albedo change--less snow, more trees. This process is likely to continue and accelerate, as SH points out.

We're at about 20 million tonnes methane (= 2 billion tonnes CO2 GW potential over decade time scales). If this is doubling every five years, in 20 years it will come to the equivalent of 16 billion tonnes CO2 per year, over half the current CO2 emissions from human activity. And of course the next decade would put it at well over twice all of current emissions.

Of course, it is very hard to tell what the doubling time could be. And according to Shakhova there could be a sudden emission of 50 billion tonnes at any time, iirc.

james cobban

Reported Aug. 29, 2013, from NASA (sorry if this is old news to everyone):

"Hidden for all of human history, a 460 mile long canyon has been discovered below Greenland's ice sheet. Using radar data from NASA's Operation IceBridge, scientists found the canyon runs from near the center of the island northward to the fjord of the Petermann Glacier.

The researchers believe the canyon plays an important role in transporting sub-glacial meltwater from the interior of Greenland to the edge of the ice sheet into the ocean. Evidence suggests that before the presence of the ice sheet, as much as 4 million years ago, water flowed in the canyon from the interior to the coast and was a major river system.

"It is quite remarkable that a channel the size of the Grand Canyon is discovered in the 21st century below the Greenland ice sheet," said Studinger. "It shows how little we still know about the bedrock below large continental ice sheets."

The IceBridge campaign will return to Greenland in March 2014 to continue collecting data on land and sea ice in the Arctic


Chris Reynolds

Regional PIOMAS volume breakdown available as a csv file here:

A set of volume/thickness breakdowns will be calculated, but due to my day job probably not until the weekend. CSV's wil be provided in a folder, so the two links here will be invalid when I reorganise. A functional Excel 2007 file will also be made available.

For anyone using the gridded PIOMAS data, there's a mask of regions in the same format as the PIOMAS gridded files here:

There are 120X360 bytes, one for each PIOMAS grid box, with the corresponding region number calculations based on NSIDC 25km grid mask and Cryosphere Today regions. So it's a simple matter to shadow any processing with the region mask to select out regional detail.


Related to regional volume… looks like large export through Fram Strait.

This is HYCOM for today:

 photo HYCOMicethickness20131125small_zpsc548f11c.jpg

I had a look on Ascat this morning and had the same impression. Meanwhile, it is also cold over the EGS (not especially over the Fram, but -3 dC anomaly near Jan Mayen).

As one of the posters wrote earlier, this set-up seems to linger for some time.

Chris Reynolds

For completeness,

PIOMAS thickness broken down into regions.

PIOMAS volume and thickness broken into regions for Excel 2007 and later. Contains user selectable tables breaking down into region and month. Contains VBA code used to process in 'module 2' of the VBA tree.

If anyone wants more (like the volume/thickness breakdowns) - ask. Otherwise I'll be too busy looking at all this data to spend time posting further public data.


The rarely spotted Dr Maslowski appears here:


Interesting info on why the NPS model is possibly better than PIOMAS, and still predicts an ice-free Arctic by 2016.


"NPS --- predicts an ice-free Arctic by 2016"

If there is less than one million square m----- by 2019 this is an accurate prediction,
( 2016 +/- 3 )

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