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Hans Gunnstaddar

"4.6 million square kilometers in 2011"

That's been my prediction since late April.

My prediction for next season is slightly less than 2007's 4.3

2016 prediction: 3.5 (new record)

John Christensen

Based on weather in the past couple of weeks, low temps/cloud cover plus outlook for AO and NAO, I would no longer be surprised, if 2014 Sept extent and area will be in tight competition with 2013.

I find it unlikely that Sept extent should be less than 5.0M KM^2 at this point.

Chuck Mollica

As an avid reader of the blog and holder of two science degrees; neither of which is in meteorology (botany and occupational therapy), I'd like to make a prediction.

SIE for September of: 4.6 million km2,
with Sept 2015 being less than 2 million km2
due to the vastly increasing ocean heat this year. Potentially, so very sad.

Chuck Mollica

One other rationale for the 2015 prediction: the demise of the polar jet partition. Polar air just can't seem to stay where it used to reside.


Such a nice thing to do may be helpful in understanding how the sea ice actually survives. But I am not inclined to agree with the median projection. Sea ice becomes rotten at this time of the year, its like a house of cards, it may hold up on a table until one card fails and then the fort appears to be made of straw. Buoy 2014b amazes, the only thing that makes the buoy stand on its ice appears to be the temperature of the sea itself. But in here lies the deception, rotten ice may survive the summer, as if nothing happened, but one blow on the cards so stacked fragile, and we have a whole new outlook to consider, a more solid forecast would be to consider sea, ice and air temperatures, mixed with so many other important parameters, it is very complex. Next few days will be very interesting, in now the peak summer temperatures which will determine how much sea water will appear, especially since pressure patterns return to a more dipole like arrangement. Certainly Beaufort sea Northwards is to be watched closely. But I think we are seeing a glimpse of a totally open Arctic Ocean weather pattern. The cyclones linger where there is more open water, which is basically everywhere.


Consider the conservative estimate following Sea ice Areas as all gone at minima:

barents 20,000
kara 200,000
lapte 270,000
east Siberian 100,000 (with great potential for much more)
Chukchi 100,000
Beaufort 100,000
Baffin 20,000
Hudson Bay 20,000
Greenland sea 20,000
Total: 850,000
currently there is 5,227,000 Km2

If all melted 437,7000 Km2 is left

not counting Arctic Basin and the vast areas of East Siberian. So I know already that this year has a significant melt. Remains to be seen if a dipole kicks in. Now is the times when weather dynamics matter, and compaction plays a significant role.


There's a cruise starting from Iceland in two days from now, on July 28, which will make its way up the west coast of Greenland and through the North west Passage:


They will be entering the passage at August 10, and hopefully the passengers and/or the cruiseline have baought insurance anagainst adeverse sea ice conditions.

It might not be possible this year.

The area had one of the colders winters in memory, and plenty of time to build thickness.

At the moment the ice looks pretty solid throughout. Few melt ponds, solid even at the edges. Hardly any easy ice left.

Unless we see some unusually melt-conducive weather soon, we will see a september minimum above last year.

With normal weather we will see a higher extent than last year.



"The area had one of the colders winters in memory"

who's memory? I live in the Arctic, it was a mild winter permeated by sub-Arctic cold spells. The thicker sea ice in the archipelago was largely the result of colder sea water from the very cloudy summer of 2013. It gave an earlier start to winter, but not at all the coldest.


The predictions made at the beginning of July were made when the extent was falling rapidly. It wasn't until after that that the weather turned colder and the melt slowed.

I suspect the reason most of these predictions went up is because they didn't predict the slow extent loss in early June and therefore corrected for it in their July predictions.

It will be very useful at the end of the season to compare the fortnightly updates Neven is providing with the original extent predictions in my own assessment.


There have been exceptional Arctic outbreaks down throughout canada to the Great lakes all through this winter.

You may not have noticed, but the ice formation of the Great Lakes have been exceptional compared to several decades of the recent past, the highest extent in 20 years.

The candaian Archipelago also froze early and has amassed ice in greater volunmes than what we have seen for years.

My guess is that the NW Passage will not open this year.


The current wind pattern, carrying large amounts of smoke, is not being kind to your prediction. I hope the link shows you what I'm seeing


Hans Gunnstaddar

"Total: 850,000
currently there is 5,227,000 Km2
If all melted 437,7000 Km2 is left"

Wayne, shift the comma: 4,377,000 Km2

If that came to pass it would be close to 2007 and yes, significant. I'm leaning towards 2011's 4.63 which will still take some catching up to hit.


Ostepop, I'll politely disagree with you.

I'd put the odds of someone sailing through the NW Passage as pretty good.

Lancaster Sound is open all the way to Barrow Straight/Cornwallis Island. The stretch from there to the Beaufort currently looks like this:


The southern portion of the passage (Bellot straight past the south side of Victoria Island to Amundsen Sound) is already open. I think you are a tad over-optimistic about the solidity of the remaining ice.


Perhaps, jdallen. Perhaps.

But there were problems last year, boats getting stuck, and this year there's been even more volume growth, at least in places.

The Cruise ship charging 20 000 dollars a person per trip through the NW Passage might have problems this year, or not.

I think it will.


@Ostepop, if I had the money that would be an awesome cruise, stuck or not :)

Chris Reynolds

Osteopop said:
"The area had one of the colders winters in memory, and plenty of time to build thickness."

NCEP/NCAR JFM average surface air temperature for a grid box 60N to 80N, 240E to 300E, covering the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

So only one of the coldest years in living memory if you're under 16 years old.

Meanwhile, for the whole Arctic (north of 65degN), in NCEP/NCAR 2014 was the warmest JFM winter since 1948.

So how thick was the ice in April 2014? According to PIOMAS it started off about the same as the last four years.

The CAA is only just entering the period where, historically, loss rates pick up. I have no opinion on whether the NW passage will open up this year.

Jim Hunt

jdallen - I'll politely disagree with you, if I may. I wouldn't fancy navigating the stretch from Bellot Strait to Dease Strait just at the moment:

By the time the National Geographic Explorer gets there the pale blue bits might well be gone though.

Kate - Hapag-Lloyd are offering a cruise through that bit of the Northwest Passage this year:


If you're feeling flush they're even doing one along the Northern Sea Route too!


Of course the NW passage will be open as Jim points out, the much larger passages later.

Osteopop1000, odds are your predictions will fail because you don't interpret the past correctly. The "polar vortex" outbreaks of winter 2013-14 really originated from the sub-arctic, which had the coldest air over Central Quebec forcing downwards a steady Arctic flow (a vortex has a counterclockwise circulation), which even if warmer is still quite cold comparative to the South temperate zones.


For those inclined to believe this year as a melt lesser than 2013 look north of Beaufort:


even if extent is larger now, a great collapse is imminent, so I wouldn't bet at the prediction network median. For those following the entire process closely, there was a time when the sun battered this area for a prolonged period preceding and influx of cyclones which slowed compaction. This sun ray energy never left planet Earth and is eating away solid ice to its present very fragile state.
The more favourable dipole like weather should likely finish off what strength is left of it (the [ask appears as one sheet but it is a deception), or will it be another cyclone like August 5 2012 do the job?


Also usually the yachts sailing the passage traverse the Cambridge Bay-Gjoa Havn-Resolute leg in late August, plenty of time for that to clear by then.


Everyone, I just accidentally deleted the latest PIOMAS update. Will try to restore it (hopefully, need TypePad's help). Sorry for the inconvenience.


@Jim Hunt - thank for the correction. That said, the ice in Bellot will undergo a serious challenge over the next few days.

John Christensen


Having following the entire process closely the past 4-5 years, I do not see in comparision between this year and last year at this date that an imminent crash is likely.

Look at CT for 7/24 for '14 and '13:


You see that the Beaufort was equally disintegrated last year, while Chuckchi, ESS, and the triangle between Laptev, the Pole and Franz Josef Lands all was more disintegrated a year ago.

Yes, it was saved by the bell last year, which a significant low spreading the remaining ice, and low temps preventing that huge crash, which otherwise seemed likely. A reason why the crash did not happen, was that SST was quite low, relatively.

Right now we have about 400K km^2 more ice area than 12 months ago, and with similar temps (dmi 80N), I would suspect most of the difference to be due to an increase in compactness of the ice, although the disintegrated ice pack last year probably also supported relatively few melt ponds - as direct consequence of the disintegration.

The forecast has a larger and stronger cyclone moving to near the Pole this week, which will keep temps down, but should cause additional disintegration of ice at border areas, so agree that it will be interesting to watch to what degree the near-coast warm waters will mix with ice and cause rapid melting. The higher compactness of ice centrally in the CAB this year, however, should cause less mixing with top-water, so reduced melting in the CAB.

Let's see..


Hi John


As you can see, Beaufort is not quite the same as last year. Equally interesting is the large ice area extending from Pole to East Siberian. Both occurring 2012 and 2013.

More importantly ECMWF forecasts a strong anticyclone over the Beaufort for days:


Moreover the gyre clock has not been turning back seriously counterclockwise like last year. It will be interesting, wait a week and see if your projection remains unchanged. I do not like estimating on present extent and area numbers, I think they are flawed in their own ways, they do not consider many other factors influencing a melting season. I rather would read extent and area without the 15% threshold. Just pure ice or no ice resolution of say 1 meter per grid.



"@Ostepop, if I had the money that would be an awesome cruise, stuck or not :)"

I agree.

Getting stuck in the ice through the winter would probably be a lot more interesting than sailing right through.



As an anthropological field study of:

"The Cult of Man Made Global Warming"

And adherents.


I appreciate the presence of adherents of other cults, as long as they stay polite.

William Hughes-Games

At some point we should start to see large storms in the fall as the freezing of water and the giving out of latent heat keeps the air above the ocean relatively warm, relative to the land that is rapidly cooling off. Large Storms are generated by pressure differentials and in the tropics require water temperature above 25 degrees C. This is because over an open ocean, all the pressure differential is generated by the storm itself. In the Arctic, they require sufficiently high pressure over land relative to the pressure over the sea. I suspect the storm of 2012 was such a storm. It is likely that this year there is not enough open water to generate a mega storm.

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