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Jim Hunt

Thanks for yet another comprehensive update Neven. I too am taking a keen interest in the current sequence of Arctic cyclones.

The connection may not initially be apparent but I am currently in the midst of organising an Arctic basin (fantasy!) big wave surfing competition for next week:

The Arctic Surf Forecast For Late August 2014

The relevance is, of course, that what's very good for the surf at Point Barrow is very bad for health of the sea ice in the Beaufort Sea Marginal Ice Zone

A pulse of swell is heading in that direction even as we speak:


Another thorough and thoughtful summary. With its lack of pressure gradients and attendant ice transport, "the year of in situ melting" is a good capsule summary for 2014.
btw under SIA I think you mean "...that massive melt pond refreeze on the Atlantic side of the Arctic..."

Lewis Cleverdon

Neven - to what extent does the pronounced cold patch east of Spitzbergen in the SST Anomalies plot reflect a lack of penetration by the Gulf Stream ?

Here in Britain we had a very warm summer until the start of August, so there should presumably have been plenty of heat heading north.




The momentary opening of a narrow channel through the northwest passage appears to have become clogged and reclosed.




Le Manguier going west to east has been sailing and waiting along the east coast of Prince of Wales Island to a point further north than the Bellot Strait ... S/V Arctic Tern has almost reached Bellot as well ... Looks like S/V Catryn is also heading south of Port Leopold on the way to Bellot Strait.

It will be interesting to see how they do on the west side of Bellot Strait when they get into 9+/10 concentration with 2/10 big floes of Multi-year ice in it (see chart below). When the tide is running there is a phenomenal amount of pressure at the west end of Bellot. They will need icebreakers and luck...


btw under SIA I think you mean "...that massive melt pond refreeze on the Atlantic side of the Arctic..."

No, I did mean Pacific, East Siberian Sea to be specific. There was a huge amount of yellow and green two weeks ago, signalling low concentration (I think melt ponds because of insolation and warm winds). This then turned purple and pink again, ie higher concentration. I think it's one of the main reasons CT SIA stalled despite all of the action.

Neven - to what extent does the pronounced cold patch east of Spitzbergen in the SST Anomalies plot reflect a lack of penetration by the Gulf Stream ?

Very good question, Lewis. I'm wondering the same. I don't know to what extent sea surface temperatures say something about what happens lower down.

But the relative cold, SST as well as SAT, in the Barentsz and Kara Seas have also been a defining characteristic for this melting season. Quite a change from previous years.


Sam, is the winds, and the channels will concentrate the ice on one side or another, it does not mean that its closed to traffic, which by the way, if these ship mates read me or followed Neven's ASIB would have left later!! Sailors are a hardy bunch following their instincts, but rarely if ever seeking advice about sea ice conditions, they just go into the fog.
"Inadiman" Norwegian style. The only one seeking advice was none sailor Ousland who circumnavigated the Pole for a rousing reception back at his home.

Neven, Ice is never boring unless the scotch is all gone. :)

So far a very interesting year, and the melt pond excuse is very tenuous, now that its a bit colder you'd think CT would stall in ice area loss. I gave up on trying to understand CT results , although very interesting, there is something fishy about Extent loosing less than Area as per right now. Extent overlaps the area, already more compact than last year. The mathematics does not make any sense, unless the melt ponds have melted in colder surface air. I scratch my head, it is still nevertheless intriguing…..
but weird…..

More open water invites cyclones, already making their return felt, Now is the time when they may disperse ice in wide open water.


With the AO switching to positive after a long negative period, the cyclonic activity and bouy chart information, it looks like there will be a short-lived 'Fram Flush', pushing the sea ice southwards for it to disperse and melt. This should accelerate the melt for a bit. How much would depend on the duration of the event and the strength of the winds and currents.
For this reason i suspect 2014's minumum will be a little later and a little lower than 2013's, though I have given up on the nid range of my June prediction...


Hi Neven

Thank you for the weekly updates and the good work again this season. I haven't been contributing too much to the site this season, but i am still checking the ice on the daily basis. "Un-eventful" rather than "boring" is how I would describe the 2014 melting season. Nothing is boring about nature! I think this is the "rebound" we all sort of expected, but we might be in for nasty surprises in the coming years!

John Christensen

Lewis, Neven,

"Neven - to what extent does the pronounced cold patch east of Spitzbergen in the SST Anomalies plot reflect a lack of penetration by the Gulf Stream ?

Very good question, Lewis. I'm wondering the same."

Let me help: The cold patch on the Atlantic side of the Arctic is caused by the NAO being near neutral much of this summer.

I have referenced the NAO data for prior summers a number of times, so will not repeat this, so let me instead refer to DMI in their analysis of the record melt in Greenland in July 2012:

"In 2012, as in recent warm summers since 2007, a blocking high pressure feature, associated with negative NAO conditions, was present in the mid-troposphere over Greenland for much of the summer. This circulation pattern advected relatively warm southerly winds over the western flank of the ice sheet, forming a ‘heat dome’ over Greenland that led to the widespread surface melting. Both sea-surface temperature and sea-ice cover anomalies seem to have played a minimal role in this record melt, relative to atmospheric circulation."


So if you want to know more about the Atlantic side of the Arctic, you need to know about the NAO.. ;-)


Jim Hunt the ice prophet:

"The relevance is, of course, that what's very good for the surf at Point Barrow is very bad for health of the sea ice in the Beaufort Sea Marginal Ice Zone"

But its not only the waves Jim, but rather sea and ice higher temperatures combined with a Low pressure system in the mix.



wow, a follow up of my preceding would be North Pacific and Atlantic temperatures, despite a weak or undeclared El-Nino. The minima should be quite delayed because sst's are really very warm.


Yes it means also much warmer weather everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. Of which our best friend, the under studied sea ice is the only thing cooling things down along with winter. Perhaps even El-Nino has trouble starting because the South Pacific is remarkably cooler, and you know who is the cause of cooling over there.

Jim Hunt

Wayne - Whatever the combination of causes, here's an AMSR2 animation revealing the disappearing Beaufort sea ice in August 2014:

Note that the dates are UK style, and the pulse of swell I highlighted at the top was on August 24th.

L. Hamilton

Off topic for this thread but of wider interest, NOAA has just updated their global ocean heat and salt content data.

I've updated the annual/three month graphs for 0-700 meters

and 0-2000 meters

Jim Hunt

Thanks very much Larry. Most interesting, and only very slightly off topic! I've taken the liberty of embedding your graphs:

I hope that's OK?

L. Hamilton

Thanks, Jim. On my screen the images are slightly truncated at right, but click and you see the full series.

Y'all are welcome to make use of these graphs if they're helpful.

Jim Hunt

Thanks again Larry! Your suggestion provided me with the inspiration for:


I hope that's OK with you too. Please let me know ASAP if not!


comedy central:-


anyone for some cherry picking?

Jim Hunt

Shock News Philip! I thought I'd get my retaliation in early this year:


N.B. Perhaps entirely coincidentally we currently seem to be suffering from a DDoS attack. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible!

Jim Hunt

We've moved to CloudFlare, and penned some purple prose of our own, not to mention a stiff note to Rose's editor at the Mail on Sunday:


michael sweet

The Queen Maud area of the North West Passage has melted dramatically in the past two or three days. See Canada Sea Ice Graphs. Last week I thought it would not clear this year and now it looks like it will clear enough for the yachts waiting there to make it through.


2014 MINIMUM extent: 5,215,532 sqkm on August 30 ?

May be or may be not, but likely very close to it! This would put 2014 in Number 8 position, the highest minimum since 2006.

Entropic man


We don't seem to have reached the minimum yet.

NSIDC show a continued downward drift.

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