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I can't believe nobody commented yet. Well thanks for the analysis Neven :)


1) not much melt ponding, 2) ice pack being dispersed

Maybe you meant "ice pack being compacted"?

Chris Reynolds

I've noted your post in my latest blog post, just published.

The title sums up my opinion: "2014 is not being handed its hat, it's just getting started."

I still see 2012 as unattainable, but 2007 and 2011 are a real possibility.

What we need for high export out of Fram is an intense Greenland ridge, this hasn't happened so far. Here's the average SLP for summer (JJA) 2007 to 2012.

Since 18 June 2014 has been shaping up in a similar pattern.

The gap in the pattern being the high protrusion into the Atlantic. Given the broader similarity I expect an anomalous Greenland ridge to build as the summer proceeds.

I can't believe nobody commented yet. Well thanks for the analysis Neven :)

Thanks, seattlerocks. I guess people are still reading. This is my wordiest ASI update ever. Sorry for that.

1) not much melt ponding, 2) ice pack being dispersed

Maybe you meant "ice pack being compacted"?

Let me see. Every time I write about CAPIE, I have to sit back and remember how it works.


Yes, you're right. Fixing as we speak. Thanks.


Well done Neven. It is so true, there is no "schedule" especially in the Arctic. My recent focus has been with sea ice micro-dynamics. We know more about the greenish stuff than ever, but the micro-dynamics are newish to me. I believe that the "warming" up as reported above is due in large part to sea ice columns coolest layers vanishing. So there is much less of an atmospheric heat sink now, and virtually very little cohesion in holding the ice together. A cyclone will reveal how bad sea ice strength really is. I have already captured wide variances in near shore ice movements, it won't take much to make a mess of things, similar to cyclone of August 2012, it wasn't the cyclone per say which appeared to vanish ice, it was the state of the ice prior to its arrival.


Thanks for the link, Chris. I wouldn't be surprised if at the end of the melting season we go: What if it hadn't started this late?

Like every month I'm really curious what PIOMAS will report.

Bill Fothergill

Neven et al,

The link to the Forum in the last paragraph of the OP is giving me a misdirect warning. I don't know if the problem is at my end, or if there is genuinely a link problem.


Hi Bill, do you get a security warning? That's because there's an issue with the security certificate, not with security itself. You can tell your browser to make an exception, or remove the 's' from 'https'.


Bill Another option is that you have a plugin in your browser (or something your ISP does for you) such as you antivirus or firewall software installed, or some other extension added to your browser that automatically redirects you to a generic page when you try and enter a https site. In this case you need to going into whatever extension or softwares options tab and add link to white list. Have had that happen to me on occasion with both my firewall and antivirus software. Very easy to fix once you know how, but every one of them does it somewhat differently so best idea to find out how is to google whatever is redirecting you and add white list. you should get your answer.
Either nevens or this should fix your problem.

Chris Reynolds


I really don't know what PIOMAS will bring. If daily gridded data is released this month I may be using that in addition to the monthly data - the change after 18 June has been so remarkable.


2014 seems to have opened its Hudson Bay piggy bank, causing IJIS SIE to drop big time. Today the second biggest daily drop in June for the 2005-2014 record: 173K. Biggest drop was 182K on June 8th 2012.

2014 is also second when it comes to century breaks for the melting season so far: 10. 2012 had 19 (!) century breaks so far, but I think Windsat filling in between AMSR-E and AMSR-2 had something to do with that.

Bill Fothergill

@ Neven & LRC,

Thanks guys, being a lazy bugger, I just knocked off the offending "s".

John Christensen

Thank you for the great update - and for the comment Neven!

And yes, this is an interesting year. It seems of course that every year is actually interesting, just each time for different reasons.

Of the main factors contributing to heavy Arctic ice loss (geographic distribution and strength of highs and lows, melt ponds, and SST), 2013 had the ideal combination for low melt:
- Central Arctic lows keeping temps down/reduce melt ponds and ice transport reduced, as well as positive NAO for summer months, reducing heat transport from the Atlantic Ocean.

It is interesting to note that the last summer with even sligthly positive NAO during summer months was back in 2006:


2010 and 2012 had very strong negative NAO during summer, evidently causing massive heat being transported to both the Arctic region as well as much of Greenland.
2007 in contrast had only sligthly negative NAO during summer, but then had this combined with massive Arctic highs and strong ice transport.

This year seems to be a mixed bag of lows and highs, but with little transport. NAO is nearly neutral, evidently reducing northbound heat transfer, which to me seems to be the factor, which so far makes 2014 fare a bit better than anticipated (i.e. keeping temps down and limiting melt ponds).
With the strengthened central pack in the CAB compared to a year ago, and with peripheral seas nearly wiped out by now, I would not be surprised if PIOMAS numbers would show June 2014 volume loss to be less than for June 2013, but let's see..


What I find interesting is that other then 2007 which had the perfect storm of events to a melt season (transport weather etc) since then the Arctic has shown has different ways to bring about a melt. Even in 2012 if my memory servers its was mainly transport. If all these elements ever got together in one season, I do not think the ice is strong enough nor there is enough of it to make it all go. The MYI maybe thick, but I always remember reading back in 2009? scientists blogging about the fact that they were about to setup equipment on what appeared to be a very large strong MYI floe and it disintegrated before their eyes by a wave traveling 100ks under the pact that was not supposed to be able to occur. I keep saying folks. MYI of today is not the MYI of 1980. This is different ice that can turn into a slushy very easily. I also call to mind the mathematician (also an expert on ice) saying that the structure of sea ice is such that it is almost impossible to tell from satellites how thick that ice really is. And definitely do not know how strong it is.


"What kind of chicken did we have in the oven?" That indeed seems to be the question.

How frozen was it? How warm will the oven stay for how long, this year? Will the Arctic suprise us yet again?


Lennart: I like that illustration. Paints the picture perfectly for me.



I just noticed that NOAA et al had to add an olive colored band for 8+ degree C anomalies in the ocean west of Svalbard and northwest of Iceland.


Also, several of the ice indices have turned south and now put 2014 near record levels for the date.



Wait till Kara Sea goes Neven … But the larger picture stems from the micro-action in sea ice: http://eh2r.blogspot.ca

Chaos happens when the general term heat sink to sea ice shifts to the ocean.

Hans Gunnstaddar

In the last 24 hours extent dropped due to quick loss of ice mostly in Hudson Bay.

The graph I've been looking at a lot lately is the top row, far left. Look how chopped up it is becoming from the Beaufort over to the ESAS.

Lord Soth

I have come to the conclusion, that it is not worth the effort to make predictions before July1, and preferably before the third week of July.

In the post 2007 sea ice epoch, every year has been a contender. By the third week of July we have our finalist list, as can be seen by the IJIS (Ver 2) full graph in which we have 2007,2011, 2012 intercept. After this date, it is mostly the weather pattern, to give the final results.

Concentrating on single factors such as early melt ponding as a major factor for ice loss on 8 post 2007 seasons, is statistically pure garbage.

As far as ice loss, we are on the road to zero artic sea ice. This may take 20-30 years on a slow bumpy road, or we get a sudden plunge by another year like 2007.

As far as predictions, I have one. Since 2007 we are in a new epoch. Despite the worst arctic summer in 40 years, 2013 sea ice lost was below 5 million sq. km (using IJIS Version 2 Reference). My prediction, is that we will never see sea ice extent over 5 million sq. km for multitude of generations.


The Nares Strait continuing to open up, broken as far as the tiny Hans island
and some melt-in-place open water at the north end too.


For those following sea ice story for years, there is nothing more fascinating than seeing a melting close-up. A great deal of solar heat absorbed by the sea ice goes further down towards the sea. From that, the colder sea, what maintains the ice from total collapse, equally warms, it seems real melting is from the top first then from the bottom, a bit of a surprise. http://eh2r.blogspot.ca

Sunnier conditions do not necessarily mean instant warming of surface air, rather a great warming of ice and sea. Warmer Surface temperatures from land by advection, accelerate the process.


Over on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum I have opened two new polls for July, which will run for 10 days:

NSIDC 2014 Arctic SIE September minimum: July poll

Cryosphere Today 2014 Arctic SIA daily minimum: July poll

Looking forward to your votes!

Hans Gunnstaddar

Refer to graphs link/ then look at top row far left graph:

Anyone else discern the pincer action going on with tendrils appearing in the Beaufort reaching out to touch it's sister tendrils emanating from ESAS?

If that seam slices an open water line in the ice, that whole section back to the Chukchi Sea will be cut off from the main polar ice cap and more quickly disintegrate than if it remained attached.

Jim Dowling

IJIS now below 2012 for the same date. Still some ice left in Hudson Bay and the Greenland sea, so I expect another day or two of 100,000 km drops. After that, it will probably slow down relative to 2012 unless the Kara sea goes quickly.

Rob Dekker

Rutgers' snow numbers came in for June.

At 3.6 million km^2, these are the highest since 2009.

This is another indication that 2014 Arctic spring has been cool, and some may suggest that it was as cool as 2013.

However, March, April and May snow cover suggest that there is quite a lot of energy in the system, which may still materialize.

My simple formula of using snow cover (in March, April, May and June) as a predictor of September sea ice cover suggests that we are heading for a 4.7 million km^2 minimum, which is up from the May prediction of 4.6.

The really important part about this graph using snow cover as a predictor is the standard deviation (319 k km^2), which is way better than the standard deviation on a linear trend (550 k km^2).

In simple words, 4.7 with a SD of 0.319, mean that there is a virtually no chance that 2014 will turn out to be breaking the 2012 record, and more importantly, there is only a 2.5 % chance that 2014 will go above 2013's 5.3 million km^2.

Rob Dekker

Sory guys. I've never been good with creating and posting graphs.
But I hope you get the point.


Before you vote look at the candidates and see if they have any compelling differences:


Colorado Bob

Whaling Log Books Reveal Depth of Arctic Ice Loss
Arctic ice fronts from the early 19th century were far more advanced than they are today, according to whaling log analyses from University of Sunderland researchers, giving scientists a clue to just how much climate change is affecting this region.
As part of the ARCdoc research project, scientists analyzed historical logbooks recorded by explorers, whalers and merchants during epic expeditions between 1750 and 1850, including famous voyages such as Parry's polar expedition in HMS Hecla and Sir John Franklin's lost journey to navigate the Northwest Passage.


Colorado Bob

University of Sunderland press release -

Whaling logbooks could hold key to retreating Arctic ice fronts


r w Langford

Robert Scribbler has an excellent post on high water temperatures surrounding the arctic which is reflected in the rapid loss of ice.
High pressure is also predicted for the next days.
He also has and excellent update on el nino with high water temperatures and another Kelvin wave propagating in the western pacific.
It looks like we are in for a rocky ride this summer and fall with a double whamy of low ice and a big el nino. Nature is on a rampage. Hang on for the ride.

Colorado Bob

Scientists sight better simulations of soot's sway on Arctic climate warming

No one but a Grinch enjoys black snow—it has no redeeming qualities. Yet scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory trained their sights on soot to understand its undesirable effects on the Arctic environment. Using global climate model simulations, they evaluated soot's effects in Northern China and the Arctic against measurements over the region. PNNL and a University of Michigan collaborator found key model parameters that correctly spot soot buildup and melt-away in a complex seasonal and latitudinal dependence swing. Their study will help the climate modeling community better understand soot's great influence on regional and global climate.

Read more at: Link


Recent Buoy data more profoundly analyzed revealed in large part what happened during summer 2013 as presented by Jim Hunt thanks to NASA:


A very persistent cloud covered summer did not stop the melting of sea ice at all (as on August 28, 2 months from now). It simply continued less intensely. Here is what likely happened: the lack of sunshine for most of the sea ice pack slowed top of ice melting, but the weather had above 0 C weather nevertheless. This meant bottom of sea ice melting continued because of thermal transference from air to warmed ice to sea, the warming sea below the ice should have been largely responsible for a great deal of melting. However, the overall lack of warming of sea surface due to lack of direct insolation caused an earlier refreeze prompting the now known sea ice extent anomaly trend break with respect to 2012 all time minima.

Flash bak to today, insolation has been very strong at peak high sun elevations on the North American side of the Pole, this is not 2013. But consider 2013 weather returning suddenly, the added heat to the sea ice has been huge, even if cloudy like in 2013 from now on, the ice extent will be lower. The heat is in the system can't be lost. However weather dynamics will continue like its 2014, the Canadian Archipelago standing out as a cooler place will eventually fade, but not yet . The North American side Anticyclonic driven solar bath will continue for sometimes to come, while the Russian side of Pole will have the opposite. A unique 2014 style dipole persists. The heat gained to sea will make this years melt great! Despite any sudden change in less insolation to come.

Colorado Bob

(Riverton, Wyo.) – The National Weather Service office in Riverton retweeted a note from their colleagues in South Dakota this afternoon who traced the hazy conditions over a wide area of the Northern Plains to forest fires in far north Alberta and the Northwest Territories, Canada. Residents of the Wind River Basin woke up this morning to the hazy conditions.

See the graph above created by the National Weather Service in South Dakota:


Yesterday it was 81 F in the Mackenzie Delta on the Arctic coast .

18:45 UTC
Fires and smoke in northern Canada



@ Rob Dekker
Thanks for the updated graph and prediction, Rob. I will be surprised if the impressively low SD of your method holds up in coming years, given increasing fragility of the sea ice and its susceptibility to many other factors.
As for this year, it looks like the snow cover and melt pond predictors are pointing in opposite directions. My leanings are toward the latter, though the Arctic counsels an open mind.

Chris Reynolds

My June Status blog post is now available.

"...June thinning will play a large role in the rest of the season, thinner ice needs less thinning to reveal open water and cause extent or area to drop. In respect of this it is worth noting that for the ESS May 2012 average thickness was 2.28m, May 2013 average thickness was 2.31m, but May 2014 thickness was 1.76m; about 50cm thinner than either 2012 or 2013. The picture is similar over Chukchi and Beaufort..."

Hans Gunnstaddar

Chris, to your point I've been watching the sea ice concentration graph daily, and the region you refer to has been changing remarkably fast this past week or so, with 100% white areas changing to shades of lower percentage shades of blue-white. I've been astounded by the speed of the changes and wondered if anyone else had noticed until your post backed up my casual observation with hard data. Thanks!

Can the source of that rapid change be pinpointed to warming waters from El Nino?

Chris Reynolds


The regions being Baffin and Hudson - I'm not sure about El Nino, I think it's just warming within the normal variation. But the slow start in the Arctic Ocean has shown it up.

Just checked NCEP/NCAR, the temperatures for 18 June to 30 June in Baffin were normal, Hudson was caught between warmer than average on the east, cooler on the west. I've not been able to satisfactorily tie down the reason for such strong recession in those regions.

Whilst I was on that site:
I thought I'd do a regression of NINO3.4 and surface temperature.
Over much of the eastern US, including Hudson Bay, as NINO3.4 index for June goes up, temperature goes down. But I don't have any statistical confidence on that! I've been sceptical of the talk of ENSO impacting sea ice, on that plot there is a warming with +ve ENSO on the Pacific sector of the Arctic Ocean. But I've not found a strong link, and from what I've read in the literature the paper that found a role for ENSO had to use some complicated maths to extract a small regional signal.

However as I type this I deleted the sentence ending that paragraph - an expression of doubt. Because when I do a regression of NINO3.4 with sea level pressure for June I get:
In which a high NINO3.4 gives a high pressure over the Arctic Ocean. The current synoptic pattern doesn't tally with that strongly, I still think the high pressure over the Arctic has a loss of sea ice role in it. But maybe the building NINO has a role in the current high pressure.

Rick Aster

Wayne, thanks for that analysis. Sea surface temperatures loom large right now.

Colorado Bob

Way off topic -

151. etxwx -
Many thanks for the :

An Expedition on the Disappearing Rio Grande

I remember reading about this last year , really a wonderful project :

Last summer, Colin McDonald came into my office in the Texas Tribune newsroom with a proposal. He had been awarded a Ted Scripps Fellowship at the University of Colorado Boulder to prepare for the expedition of a lifetime.

McDonald, a former environment reporter for the San Antonio Express-News, was planning to travel the length of the Rio Grande — on foot and kayak — to document its ongoing disappearing act and to examine its effect on the people and places who rely on the river.

He was going to raise all the money on his own to fund the work, but McDonald needed an outlet for his journalistic endeavor. He wanted the Trib to host his daily blog posts from the river.

McDonald spent months preparing for the trip and raising the money he would need, about $40,000. Meanwhile, Ryan Murphy, our news apps team lead, designed and built a custom website for the project.

Last month, McDonald embarked on this epic expedition, and we softly launched his website, Disappearing Rio Grande


The Rio Grande has been the lifeblood of the valleys and civilizations it flowed through for more than 3,000 years. As cities and farms suck it dry and a warming climate makes it evaporate faster, the river's future has never been more uncertain. Reporter Colin McDonald and photojournalist Erich Schlegel are traveling the length of the Rio Grande, interviewing those who depend on and control it, taking photos and videos, and cataloging the chemistry and biology of the river from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico.

Their work will be uploaded from the banks of the river via satellite and shared here as they spend seven months on this 1,900-mile journey.

Hans Gunnstaddar

C.R., you wrote at the conclusion of your post I was replying to:

"The picture is similar over Chukchi and Beaufort..."

That's region to which I was referring.

Chris Reynolds


I see. That was based on May numbers, we've yet to see whether June has reduced that difference.

Hans Gunnstaddar

Ok so it's check, but not checkmate, i.e. until June's numbers come in.

Chris Reynolds

Well it's not even checkmate with June numbers, the weather could shift.

I won't say this is interesting - it's just the sort of thing that interests me. ;)

Using PIOMAS gridded data. Arctic Ocean Sea Ice volume loss from May to June. 1980 to 1999 average loss is 1.8k km^3, from 2007 to 2009 it's 2.48k km^3, from 2010 to 2013 it's 3.63k km^3. Even 2013 had a loss of 3.06k km^3 from May to June. 2012 lost an eyewatering 4.17k km^3!!

June 2013 average SLP was more like early June 2014.

My guess is that June 2014 will have lost more than June 2013. If I put 3k km^3 loss off May's volume into my prediction method for NSIDC September average extent, I get 4.89 to 3.81M km^2. That rules out 2012, 2013, and argues against 2009 and 2010, but includes but includes 2007, 2008, and 2011.*

Fingers crossed for good melt weather and a June loss in the Arctic Ocean of over that for 2013.

*As I've pointed out already on the forum, I doubt that we have seen the full range of possible outcomes of weather acting on thinner ice since 2007 and then 2010. I suspect that 2013 shows us the higher limit but havve doubts that 2012 really shows us the lower limit of what is possible.

Hans Gunnstaddar

Well, I can't wait for the follow up on this with new data.

Meanwhile ck. ice concentration graph showing Kara with newly open area of water. Extent is now just short of 2012 trend line.


many thanks for the extensive update. Re. the Kara Sea I was wondering what that could mean for planned industrial activities there this summer (exploration drilling by Rosneft). Especially in the light of a Russian expedition that was out there earlier this year and which warns of extreme ice conditions in the Kara Sea (http://barentsobserver.com/en/energy/2014/06/extreme-ice-conditions-future-oil-areas-18-06).

Chris Reynolds


Errant ) and . on the link above. Thanks for the info Bibken.


Thanks for the link, Bibken (and CR for fixing).

Rob Dekker

Chris Reynolds,
Thanks for your comprehensive assessment of PIOMAS gridded data, and your resulting projection of Sept 2014 ice extent.

Your assessment is consistent with my projection based on spring snow cover

but I'm surprised by the ice volume loss you report for May to June :

1980 to 1999 average loss is 1.8k km^3, from 2007 to 2009 it's 2.48k km^3, from 2010 to 2013 it's 3.63k km^3. Even 2013 had a loss of 3.06k km^3 from May to June. 2012 lost an eyewatering 4.17k km^3!!

Specifically, do you have any suggestion about which physical process could explain a doubling of volume loss over May to June since the 80's ?

Rob Dekker

I'm not sure about you guys, but posts like the Arctic drilling plans from Rosneft and Exxon make me sick to the stomach.


If these plans to drill for oil in the Arctic, just because we now can because of diminishing Arctic sea ice, is not an "insult to injury" to the Arctic and its ecosystems, then I wonder what is.


The lack of area drop is convincing me this will be closer to last year than many of the previous recent years.

Also the refusal of the arctic to really warm up this year. Every time I check the NOAA one day anomaly chart, the temps seem to be near ot below average.


Colorado Bob

Dark snow: from the Arctic to the Himalayas, the phenomenon that is accelerating glacier melting
Industrial dust and soil, blown thousands of miles, settle on ice sheets and add to rising sea level threat

When American geologist Ulyana Horodyskyj set up a mini weather station at 5,800m on Mount Himlung, on the Nepal-Tibet border, she looked east towards Everest and was shocked. The world’s highest glacier, Khumbu, was turning visibly darker as particles of fine dust, blown by fierce winds, settled on the bright, fresh snow. “One-week-old snow was turning black and brown before my eyes,” she said.

The problem was even worse on the nearby Ngozumpa glacier, which snakes down from Cho Oyu – the world’s sixth highest mountain. There, Horodyskyj found that so much dust had been blown on to the surface that ability of the ice to reflect sunlight, a process known as albedo, dropped 20% in a single month. The dust that was darkening the brilliant whiteness of the snow was heating up in the strong sun and melting the snow and ice, she said.

The phenomenon of “dark snow” is being recorded from the Himalayas to the Arctic as increasing amounts of dust from bare soil, soot from fires and ultra-fine particles of “black carbon” from industry and diesel engines are being whipped up and deposited sometimes thousands of miles away. The result, say scientists, is a significant dimming of the brightness of the world’s snow and icefields, leading to a longer melt season, which in turn creates feedback where more solar heat is absorbed and the melting accelerates.


Chris Reynolds


I've done a blog post on the spring volume loss in PIOMAS back in February this year.

I didn't manage to pin down the exact cause, but it seems to be associated with the thinning of ice and movement from ice of 2 to 3m thick into the 1 to 2m thickness band. Most regions in the Arctic Ocean participate, but the Central Arctic region is the greatest single contributor. Crandles pointed out that in an SIPN presentation Dr Blanchard Wrigglesworth shows results from PIOMAS when April thickness is artificially thinned by 1m.
You'll need day 1 morning 1 from 57min onwards.

What happens in PIOMAS is that when current April ice thickness is thinned by 1m, the ice rapidly retreats such that by the end of July the only remaining ice is the residual thick multi year ice off the northern coast of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. This is then slower to melt, the resulting shape in terms of anomalies would be similar to what is being observed now, with an aggressive spring volume loss, and after about 21 June (solstice) anomalies rise as the late summer losses are similar to the past climatology. However in the experiment where ice is thinned by 1m the spring volume loss must be much more aggressive as a proportion of total volume.

Basically thinner ice melts faster in the spring than thick ice. The exact reason for this - I don't know.

However the increase in June NSIDC Extent losses after 2010 seems to me to imply that what is happening in PIOMAS is real.

Chris Reynolds


I'm finding it impossible to call right now. In the Arctic Ocean, compaction (=Area/Extent) has shot up as area has failed to fall but extent has fallen over the last few weeks. This cannot be maintained, compaction falls in the summer. Losses of extent are not unusual for recent years in most of the Arctic Ocean in June, however loss of area has been more normal for the 1980 to 1999 period. It is in July that greatest extent losses occur, and losses in June imply high losses in July - in line with recent years.

The extremely good melt weather has backed off over the last few days, reducing extent losses. However GFS and ECMWF both show the strong highs that have led to high losses from 18 June to 30 June returning. Limiting consideration to the immediate vicinity of the Arctic Ocean, 18 to 30 June has been quite reminiscent of 2007, more like that year than any since.

A lot depends on how much thinning has happened in this June. May thickness (PIOMAS) in Beaufort, Chukchi, and the East Siberian Sea was of the order of 50cm down from May 2012 and May 2013. Add the fact that the weather is far more conducive to melt than it was in 2013, and seems likely to remain so for at least another week (it may become the pattern typical of July and August), and I think concluding that area failing to drop below past normals is risky.

My 2014 CT Area prediction was made using the long term average losses from June 20 to minimum and the deviation from that average for the 2007 to 2012 period. It worked last year, against the expectations of many. This year I suspect it may fail. If I had to bet on it I'd say that Area will start to drop faster than the bseline average (I use 1980 to 1999), as we get further into July.

My heuristic prediction for CT Area is 3.3 to 2.9M km^2, I've lowered the bottom end of the range because current information suggests to me that 2014 could easily match 2007 and 2011.

Weather-wise this is not 2013, and CT Area anomalies continuing level (as they have been for the last week) suggests a 2013 finish to the season. This is not, in my opinion, realistic.

Chris Reynolds

Sorry Henry,

When I said 'impossible to call' I should have clarified. Without PIOMAS data and without knowing whether the highs (that are predicted to re-assert will continue all summer), I am finding it impossible to say whether 2012 is totally unobtainable.

As can be seen from my earlier comment - I don't think a re-run of 2013 is at all a realistic prospect.


Thanks for the response Chris.

I just do not see a reason why we should expect a drastic fall and for your prediction scheme to fail this year.

I am too intrigued by the extent loss vs area, but digging deeper into it, we aren't seeing the big concentration drops on the periphery like previous big years. My hypothesis is we had some good pressure patterns for compaction but this was not seen in the form of warm temperatures too like 2007 was. Didn't June come in even colder than last year despite the higher pressures?


The piomas May data is an interesting argument, but I would have expected that to show up by now in the form of ice getting obliterated in the East Siberian Sea. But it has been stubbornly holding at very high concentrations. Maybe it was very thin but the June temperatures were just too cold to take advantage of it.

My hunch is that it won't be 2013 at the end either, but I am also not thinking it is 2007. I would guess closer to the former.


Chris, as a better illustration of perhaps the temperature argument, I subtracted 2007-2012 mean June temperature anomalies from 2014.


My opinion is that the colder temperatures have easily offset the thinner ice profiles. The ice compacted for extent loss, but it did not melt as much which kept the area much higher.


This is slightly OT, but has anyone heard from Jim Pettit?


You can find him on the Forum, in the extent and area thread.

Colorado Bob

The last ice age

A team of scientists has discovered that a giant ‘burp’ of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the North Pacific Ocean helped trigger the end of last ice age, around 17,000 years ago.
A recent study, led by Dr James Rae of the University of St Andrews, found that changes in ocean circulation in the North Pacific caused a massive ‘burp’ of CO2 to be released from the deep ocean into the atmosphere, helping to warm the planet sufficiently to trigger the end of the ice age. …………………………………………………..Dr Rae concluded:
“Although the CO2 rise caused by this process was dramatic in geological terms, it happened very slowly compared to modern man-made CO2 rise. Humans have driven CO2 rise in the atmosphere as large as the CO2 rise that helped end the last ice age, but the man-made CO2 rise has happened 100 times faster. This will have a huge effect on the climate system, and one that we are only just starting to see.”

Tor Bejnar

From the Healy thread:

[quote] Lessons from the recent voyage in the Arctic: Dallas Murphy’s blog post on July 1, 2014: http://arcticspring.org/dispatches/closing-circle]http://arcticspring.org/dispatches/closing-circle">http://arcticspring.org/dispatches/closing-circle">http://arcticspring.org/dispatches/closing-circle]http://arcticspring.org/dispatches/closing-circle
"Then it snowed, barely an inch. Hitherto, no one expected that a slight late-season snowfall could raise the albedo high enough to forestall the formation of melt ponds. So we learned considerable new lessons about the penetration of light through the pack ice before the onset of melt ponds." [end quote]

If there was a late snow across the Central Arctic Basin, this could explain the lack of melt ponds. If June PIOMAS for the CAB shows a lack of thinning, this may be the cause.

On the other hand, if the CAB lost a lot of thickness in June, I presume this would be largely bottom melt from an apparently warmer sea.

Chris Reynolds


May was just as cool in 2014 as in 2013.

Yet as in 2013 PIOMAS volume anomalies dropped.

That being the spring volume loss, which has started to be more aggressive after the 2010 volume loss. That this spring loss happened in 2013 despite much cooler temperatures indicates that ice state is the dominant factor.

In this blog post...
I have looked at ice state and atmosphere as candidates for the increase in seasonal area/extent loss since 2007.

Despite the change of weather in 2013, losses between months were still predominantly greater than the 1980 to 1999 average (as seen in anomalies from that average).
CT Area.
NSIDC Extent.

Which implies that while 2013 had an effect, ice state in the post 2007 situation was the dominant factor.

Looking at Wipneus's area and extent data based on NSIDC gridded concentration, I think people (not just you) are expecting too much of the ESS in June. For the East Siberian Sea (ESS), the 1980 to 1999 average loss of extent from 1 June to 30 June was 10.45k km^2. 2014 saw an increase, not a loss, of 9.03k km^2, whereas, for example 2012 had a loss of 12.3k km^3. For comparison, average July losses for the ESS from 1980 to 1999 were 150k km^2, even 2013 lost 212k km^2, 2012 lost 274k km^2. In 2007 July saw a loss of 618k km^2. So I think it is too early to draw conclusions about the rest of the season based on June extent or area losses in the ESS. Especially in view of the May ice thickness from the ESS through to the Beaufort Sea.

It is worth pointing out that while June 2014 losses in Kara are small (73k km^2 vs avg loss from 2010 to 2013 of 342k km^2), next door in Laptev June losses have been the greatest on record (since 1979), at 150k km^2 they dwarf the 50k km^2 losses in June of 2012.

In a nutshell, I still think that reading too much into the season from June state isn't sound, and that we will see ice state play a strong role this melt season as in 2011 and 2012. Neither of those years was really good melt weather. Yet 2011 was a tie with 2007 (considering all indices of extent & area), and 2012 was a large new record. PIOMAS will give an indication, but without that June data - I expect thinner ice this year to give enhanced ice area & extent loss over what one would expect for the pre 2010 period.

I guess I'm betting on a melt rate similar to 2011 and 2012. If I apply the day to day losses of extent in those years from 4 July 2014 and caculate the minimum, applying 2011 gives a minimum of 4.33M km^2, applying 2012 gives a minimum of 3.71M km^2. This rules out 2013. 2007 and 2011 are within that range, and 2008 and 2010 are close to the upper bound. 2012 is close to the lower bound - but I suspect (the literature is somewhat split on this) that the August Cyclone had a role in the 2012 low being as low as it was.

So I'm saying that something in the region of 2007 or 2011 is very likely this year, as long as the weather doesn't turn 2013ish. I don't expect that to happen, I think this year's summer average SLP will be more like the 2007 to 2012 average than 2013.

Sorry for another long winded reply.

Chris Reynolds

Sorry Henry,

Another clarification:
"I still think that reading too much into the season from June state isn't sound"
should have been written as:
"I still think that reading too much into the season from June state extent or area isn't sound"

John Christensen

Causes and Effects..

From obervations this season, it seems to me that many commenters are looking at the effects of underlying causes rather than the causes in order to explain current ice volume, cover and to predict Sept. minimum.

It would seem reasonable to consider 'Sea Current' and 'Movement of Airmasses' as main causes in determining what happens during a specific melt season - i.e. irrespective of longterm downward trend:

Sea Current:
We know that currents such as the Irminger Current show some pattern in periodic changes both in strength and temperature of the current - and that there is a link between this current and the AMO, which was negative from early 1960's until the mid-90's, and has been positive since:


I would argue that the AMO in the positive phase in general delays autumn freeze and increases bottom melt, allthough I have not found many articles studying the AMO.

Movement of Air Masses:
Movement of air masses; Arctic air decending into mid-latitude regions, warm/humid air entering the Arctic, etc. is to a very considerable degree governed by the AO and the NAO.

If you look at the NAO for main summer months since 2000 you have:
Negative NAO (Atlantic air moving north into the Arctic): 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012
Neutral NAO: 2003, 2004, 2006, (and 2014)
Positive NAO (Atlantic air moving primarily east into Northwestern Europe): 2002, 2013
It is no wonder that the type of summer caused by negative NAO has become our expectation..
Combining this with the AO, you will see that e.g. 2007, 2008, and 2009 also had AO in the negative phase, which combined Arctic high pressure with inflow of warm Atlantic air masses - not good for sea ice.

Then take 2013 and 2014 in contrast:
2013: Positive AO and positive NAO
2014: Positive AO (leaning towards neutral) and neutral NAO

Given these oscillation indices you can derive the rest for 2013: Massive cloud cover, low temps and few melt ponds.
For 2014: Mixed/good cloud cover, low temps, few melt ponds.

Especially, it is noticable how the temps are low between Svalbard, Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya, due to reduced inflow of warmer Atlantic air masses, even keeping the CT Arctic Bassin SIA above normal.

We are nearly halfway through the main summer months, and with both the AO and NAO trending for near neutral conditions, I would expect temps to stay near or just below average, no major high to develop and therefore that the ice will do fairly well in the coming weeks, especially as the central pack is in a better shape than a year ago from the northern coast of Franz Josef Land to the northern edge of the Beaufort Sea. And 'fairly well' IMHO would be around 2009 lines and therefore below 2013.

John Christensen

Just to moderate the comment above:

It is probably impossible to determine any ultimate 'cause' of weather events in the 1-3 months range, as also the AO and NAO indices are influenced by the placement of ridges, blocking highs, SST in both the Pacific and Atlantic, etc., but at least indicators like the 80N temp, existence of melt ponds, cloud cover, etc. will have a strong correlation from the phase of AO and NAO..


Ran across this study which seems to indicate Arctic temps higher then thought on average.
Report: http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0115-hance-gap-arctic-temps.html
Study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/qj.2297/pdf

John Christensen


Agreed, that 'ice state' has changed, and more specifically that this would be the age of the ice: The turnover of the ice pack has increased post 2007, so that a higher percentage of the ice is created and will melt again in each season - FYI with higher salinity.

The higher volume losses post 2007 are therefore to some degree (while of course not fully) mirrored by higher volume gains in October, November and December for these last six years compared to the 80's and the 90's.


Thanks for the reply Chris, though you only gave me temperature in May for above 80N. My temps have much of the arctic basin warmer than 2013 in May. A lot of the cold this year was shoved out into the Atlantic side or onto mainland Siberia. Visual graphic here:


I don't disagree with you re:extent. It is a hard metric to predict. Area has higher correlation further out in time. I think an area below 3.0 this year is quite unlikely. We'll need to see almost record area loss from this point forward to achieve it. I'll bet against that. You mentioned 2011 and 2012 for extent. Well if you take 2012 losses in area from this point, we end with an area of 3.13 million sq km. If we take 2011 losses from this point in 2014, we end with an area of 3.41 million sq km. I suppose that means you assume that extent will track like those years but area will decrease at near or above a record pace from here on out.

Also thanks for the info on the East Siberian Sea. I did know that usual June melt there wasn't huge, but didn't know it was as low as you listed. But I would still think there is some truth to my assertion that something should be showing up there by now if the ice was in that serious trouble in 2014. My hunch is it will start getting torn up soon, but that the colder June cost us a chance to see it retreat as far as years like 2012 or 2007. I believe even 2011 had an extension of ice still in the East Siberian Sea at the end.


Day 186 brought a good bright day over an important part of the CAB. The part North of CAA and Greenland that 'holds' te mesh-pack.
The good view stretched North of Svalbard into the Frantsa Yosefa region. There was a band of good visibility right through to the Laptev Bite. And The Beaufort Sea was well in view.
So what?
Well, the 'mesh-pack' looks replaced, almost fitting tile r04c03 (N CAA) but pretty sliced up by broad leads. The Lincoln Sea ice is melting; it's all blue. The Beaufort is heavily melting. Melt ponds are visible almost everywhere (grey shades)and the fragmented floes in the Siberian side of the CAB are slowly making place for more 'holes'.

From a quality point of view, this season is on track for considerable damage.

Chuck Mollica

John C: Since May 20, the AO has been mostly negative, with 5 days below -1 sd.


John Christensen

You are right Chuck - thanks for the correction.
I normally look at the standardized 3-month mean value, which is not the same:


I should have double-checked as it is also clear on the DMI 60N weather view that we have had a few broad highs in the past 4-5 weeks.

Even on the AO site, there seems to be disagreement, whether it will stay near neutral (e.g. on the 14 day forecast) or will turn considerably more negative as indicated in the top chart.

Of the AO and NAO, I would think the NAO often has stronger impact on ice conditions, but will be interest to see, how the summer unfolds.

Chris Reynolds


I used May temperatures north of 80 because most people here use the DMI Arctic Temperature plots, and they're north of 80 too. Here's a plot of temperature north of 70 (grid area weighted), which covers the Arctic Ocean, but takes in more of the surrounnding land.
Plot from here:

Your calculation with regards losses from a date to the end of the season applied to the same date this year is something I keep an eye on. However as I've said on the forum several times: The period of largest summer losses is 2007 to 2013 - that's the dataset we can reasonably draw comparison with for the 2014 melt season, due to the massive changes since 2007. This is a short period and I am far from convinced that it shows us all of the potential variability of the thinned ice after the volume losses of 2007 and 2010.

My spreadsheet used for the SIPN prediction I made in June, using May PIOMAS data, is now ready for the July prediction, using June PIOMAS data. If I assume that in 2014 the May/June PIOMAS volume loss is the same as in 2013, the resulting prediction is:

Upper.. 4.848
Central 4.311
Lower.. 3.774

And "<" indicates previous minimae within the prediction bounds.

2007, 4.300 <
2008, 4.730 <
2009, 5.390
2010, 4.930
2011, 4.630 <
2012, 3.630
2013, 5.350

Now that is only a prediction, it suffers from the same issue of the limited number of years available (post 2007) as does the method of subtracting previous summer losses from current extent/area.

The advantage I claim for my prediction technique, limited though that may be, is that it use volume. Volume/thickness governing the effectiveness with which open water can be produced by a given thinning during the melt season. I've only used 2007 to 2012 data to 'train' the method, using 1979 to 2013 data to derive the basic relationship between volume early in the season and September extent. And in all the years 2007 to 2012 the hundcasts are successful - by definition because I've used the stats for the 2007 to 2012 period to 'train' the method.

It may turn out that 2014 is another 'muted melt' year like 2013. But the weather (SLP) so far has been close to the 2007 to 2012 average, not like 2013.

r w Langford

There is an article today in the Guardian regarding the extensive ice loss caused by particulate matter (dark snow) causing melting.

Chris Reynolds

John Christensen,

Average summer SLP anomaly 2007 to 2012 (this overlaps the anomaly period but the same calculation, without overlapping makes a similar pattern).

Average summer SLP anomaly for 2013.

Average SLP anomaly for 18 June to 3 July 2014.

This year, after the shift on 18 June, is looking like another summer typical of 2007 to 2012. Where it is not typical is over the North Atlantic through to Europe, we'll see how that shapes up, but so far 500mb geopotential height has not been unusually large over Greenland.

And what has been happening from 2007 to 2012 is not the Arctic Oscillation / North Atlantic Oscillation. It just looks like it because the loading pattern picks up similar features, notably the high over the Arctic.

Here is the summer (JJA) SLP anomaly for years prior to 2007 with an AO index of less than -0.2.

Here is the summer SLP anomaly for years after 2007 with an AO index of less than -0.2.

Note the lack of deep low tendency over Asia in the post 2007 data, note the close ring of responding lows around the Arctic high. Note the more intense shift over Greenland and the deeper low tendecy over the UK and Western Europe post 2007.

That UK low is due to the jet being steered by the Greenland ridging that has been anomalous in recent years. James Screen has examined European summer rainfall and compared the atmospheric pattern associated with wet European summers and loss of sea ice. In the following graphic 'observed' is the pattern due to wet summers, 'simulated' is the pattern simulated in response to loss of sea ice.
If you didn't know which was which could you tell, I couldn't. Image from this paper.

I mentioned anomalous Greenland ridging, this can be seen in 500mb Greenland geopotential height.

Here is the monthly correlation of gridded SLP north of 20degN with the summer pattern for average SLP summer (JJA) 2007 to 2012, the 'summer pattern correlation'.

And here's a comparison of summer pattern correlation and summer AO index.

The two are not the same. I maintain that we have a new pattern that looks like the AO, but is not, and is due to sea ice loss.


The SLP pattern has definitely not been like 2013, and more like 2007-2012. The biggest difference though for 2014 compared to 2007-2012 is the colder temperatures over the arctic. I suspect (but am not sure) this is because of the subtle differences in the pressure pattern even though 2014 is more similar to 2007-2012 versus 2013 for SLP pattern.

2014 since 6/18: http://s1.postimg.org/kul28r7ov/compday_N6m_Hp5v_No.gif

2007-2012 mean summer pattern: http://s1.postimg.org/5kudt1qy7/y_Owh_LB9_Z6_N.png

The high pressure system through years 2007-2012 is displaced to the south and southeast over Greenland. This is traditionally a warmer pattern for the arctic. The classic -NAO. The high in 2014 is over the central arctic and even skewed slightly on the Asian side.

This has made the 2014 temperatures more similar to last year versus the mean of previous 6.

james cobban

A ray of hope that the MSM might be thinking of pulling its head out of the (tar) sand, from dailykos:


BBC Will No Longer Give Climate Change Deniers A Platform

Finally; the tide appears to be turning against the clowns who think that their 'beliefs' trump science. According to The Daily Telegraph (in a story amusingly headlined 'BBC staff told to stop inviting cranks on to science programmes '):

BBC journalists are being sent on courses to stop them inviting so many cranks onto programmes to air ‘marginal views’

The BBC Trust on Thursday published a progress report into the corporation’s science coverage which was criticised in 2012 for giving too much air-time to critics who oppose non-contentious issues. The report found that there was still an ‘over-rigid application of editorial guidelines on impartiality’ which sought to give the ‘other side’ of the argument, even if that viewpoint was widely dismissed.

Some 200 staff have already attended seminars and workshops and more will be invited on courses in the coming months to stop them giving ‘undue attention to marginal opinion.’

“The Trust wishes to emphasise the importance of attempting to establish where the weight of scientific agreement may be found and make that clear to audiences,” wrote the report authors.


Re: Henry1 and ChrisR

It is only a single observational point, but with several years of watching the AO during summer I can back up that this year is different. In past years, when AO was strongly negative then it has been v. wet in the UK (which makes sense because you would expect lower pressures to dominate at this latitude). The correlation got to be so strong that the AO prediction could be taken as a rough weather forecast for 5-7 days in advance. This year, the AO has mainly been negative but the UK has had a lot of quiet weather with relatively high pressure so far this summer. Once again the climate/weather has thrown up something different.

Chris Reynolds

PIOMAS data is out, my prediction for 2014 has leapt up. It is now 4.6 to 5.1M km^2 September sea ice extent. Some quick reasoning is given here:

Rob Dekker

Thanks Chris,
On the forum, you mention that you withdraw that projection, due to an error.
Do you have a corrected projection based on PIOMAS data ?

Also, you mention that due to time constraints you are "on the verge of retiring my blog".

Let me just say that this would be a significant loss for us ice watchers. Your thoughtful insights here on ASI sustained by evidence on your blog are an inspiration and a valuable resource for all of us.

As the Arctic never stops to amaze, I hope you can find time to continue in the discussions with your valuable insights and perspective.

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