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At the recent Royal Society Arctic meeting, Jinlun Zhang had a slide that read, "If the current Arctic warming trend continues, by ~2025 Arctic sea ice volume could be expected to be ~ 1/6 of mean Arctic sea ice volume 1979-2012."



The best hyperbolic fit (with a horizontal asymptote to the left and an oblique asymptote to the right) to the September average volumes from 1979 to 2014 intersects volume = 0 at year number 2021.89, with a whole number year representing September of that year.

The equation of this hyperbolic arm is

V = 571.971 - 0.278866 Y - SquareRoot(0.0777662 Y^2 - 310.144 Y + 309231)

where V is in 1000's of km^3, and Y is the year number, with a whole number representing September of that year.

The hyperbolic fit assumes that the trend of decline is approaching linear, but I think that it is more likely that trend of decline is or will be slowing, in which case we could expect an ice-free September to be years or decades later that 2022.

Chris Reynolds

Thanks for the post Neven, and thanks for the recommendations.

David Appell,

Thanks I wasn't aware of that meeting.

Average volume for all days 1979 to 2012 is 20.47k km^3, 1/6 of that is 3.41k km^3. Summer is a bit hard to pin down (does it include September?), JJA average volume for 2012 was 10.00k km^3, JAS average was 5.96k km^3. So the scenario painted is a sort of super 2012 situation.

However in a model experiment involving PIOMAS that Dr Blanchard Wigglesworth asked for a reduction of early spring ice thickness by 1m resulted in a very aggressive spring melt, and the remnant thicker ice off northern Canada surviving through the summer. So it looks like such a situation. The extreme low volume not implying totally ice free in September, but a rapid spring loss followed by a reduced late summer rate of volume loss.

The following is a screenshot of the presentation.
Left column is 'control' typical behaviour for recent years. Right column is 'experiment' the result of the artificial thinning of ice. Months from June to September go down the columns.

From here:
Hat tip to Crandles. :)

Andy Lee Robinson

After 2 days of rendering, here's an updated "Ice Cube" visualization for 2014:

Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Volumes 1979-2014

Robert S

I can believe the two days of rendering, Andy! Nice work!

Entropic man

Gone very quiet here.

Is anybody there? Answer yes or no.

K Stabenow

Yes. Quite quiet indeed.


I'm still here. Sorry for not putting up any blog posts since the minimum. I'm in the final stages of the house building (much later than anticipated, of course). We hope to move in before Christmas etc. That's to say, I hope we will, because my wife said she'll kill me if we don't. It will get really, really quiet then. ;-)

Another reason for the blogging silence is that the Arctic Sea Ice Forum is also taking up a chunk of my time. It's not so quiet there.

I want to be more active next melting season again. There is so much that needs to be gotten to the bottom to (grammar?)!

Tor Bejnar

I'm delighted not to be reading "I can believe …" each time I check for new posts (nothing wrong with what you wrote, Robert S). But now I'm 'stuck' with "gotten to the bottom to" (which I would have written "gotten to the bottom of"). Ahhh, saved by my own ego. (Please, somebody, don't leave my post the last one in.)

I'm delighted to be able to keep up with the Forum threads I find interesting. When I can't read 'everything' in a thread, I wonder if I should post anything, because I might have missed something crucial.


Darn it, wrong again. :-B

Artful Dodger

"But now I'm 'stuck' with "gotten to the bottom to" (which I would have written "gotten to the bottom of"). Ahhh, saved by my own ego. (Please, somebody, don't leave my post the last one in.)"

Not to worry, Tor. Ah jolly old England, where the rules of grammar are as stable as an iceberg, just before it tips... ;^)

In this case, I think we would properly convert the prepositional phrase (the "get to the bottom of" part) into a verb phrase. Ergo, "We need to get to the bottom of so much".

And remember, the keel of the iceberg is 90% of it's total (pio)mass. So there's a lot of "bottom". :^)


Leslie Graham

In jolly old England we don't say 'gotten'.
We say 'got'.
Though, oddly enough, it's one of the few words that has kept its originaly form in the US but changed in England.


It did change in slang usage: "I ain't got nobody...."

Anyway looks like nothing especially post-worthy so far during the refreeze season. The 80* temperature anomaly has been rather high, but I suppose that's not so unusual in the post-2007 ice era.

Kevin McKinney

Ah, English grammar and usage! I'd have chickened out with "There is so much that needs to be investigated," FWIW.

Anyway, thanks, Neven, and good luck with the building. We're still looking for professional design help, and so far not finding it. I hope I don't' have to do everything myself, or we'll be finishing up just about the time we're too old to live there anymore.

But back to the topic at hand: what I'm seeing here is something that merits the term 'recovery.' I've avoided the "r-word", as it has been misused so intensively by denialists, and I still don't much like it, as one connotation easily attached to it is one of semi-permanence, of an actual change in the long-term trend.

And that is not the case here--we've been through a period of accelerated ice loss that surprised everybody, and most of the modelers cautioned us about over-interpreting that. Now their caution looks pretty good. But they are also, of course, the folks who are expecting an ice-free minimum some time in the 2030s, and almost certainly by mid-century. So, no reversal of the long-term trend.

But if we were to say "temporary recovery", or "short-term recovery", I'd find it hard to disagree. It does look as though people's perceptions and expectations have shifted.

Of course, the caveat is highly appropriate that "it's always good to remember that the Arctic and the word 'likely' don't get along very well." No-one anticipated 2005, 2007, or 2012, either, and I wouldn't bet our retirement house on Maslowski's 2013-2019 window being wrong--not yet, anyway.

Kevin McKinney

This is currently at the top of the news feed in the side-bar, but perhaps is worth highlighting in connection with Neven's comment that:

I also can't stress enough that the consequences of Arctic sea ice loss do not start when the Arctic becomes ice-free for all practical purposes. These consequences are most probably already with us…


Steve Bloom

Hi Neven, I am possibly willing to attend the AGU fall meeting and write posts on the sea ice-related material if the blog meets the qualifications, and of course if you're willing. These are the science blogger requirements (from this page):

"Includes writers for recognized, editorially-independent blogs that have been in existence for at least one year, have a readership of at least 3,000 unique visitors or sessions per month, and regularly produce original news content in the Earth and space sciences. Blogs should have editorial freedom from advertising sponsors and sponsors must be clearly identified. Corporate-owned blogs and personal blogs are ineligible for press credentials.

"Must present evidence of three (3) bylined news posts in the Earth and space sciences in the past year and a screen shot of blog analytics covering the period of the past year (i.e. Sept. 2013 – Sept. 2014) showing the number of unique visitors or users per month. (Click here for an example.) AGU’s Public Information Office may, on a case-by-case basis, weigh a bloggers’ social media following in determining eligibility for registration."

On the plus side I think I'm up enough on the science to know what sessions to prioritize and which questions to ask, plus I wouldn't have any expenses since I'm local.

On the minus side I'd be blowing an entire week on this, which is why I'm a little hesitant. I've also never written posts as such, although plenty of long comments. But on the whole I'm sure it would be an interesting experience.

Let me know what you think.

Chris Reynolds


Sounds like it may be pushing the strict definition, but Neven's appearance at the SIPN conference, and the use of graphs published here by commenters may swing the decision should Neven want to nominate you (given that he's on another continent.

If you were to go I'd look forward to your posts. And I agree you're grounded enough in the science to do a good job.


Steve, that sounds like a great idea! Thanks for considering it.

On the minus side I'd be blowing an entire week on this, which is why I'm a little hesitant. I've also never written posts as such, although plenty of long comments. But on the whole I'm sure it would be an interesting experience.

I wouldn't worry about that. Your comments are always top notch and very informed. Just write long comments and post them as blog posts. :-)

Must present evidence of three (3) bylined news posts in the Earth and space sciences in the past year and a screen shot of blog analytics covering the period of the past year (i.e. Sept. 2013 – Sept. 2014) showing the number of unique visitors or users per month.

The screenshot won't be a problem as I have stats and everything in Google Analytics, but I don't know what they mean with "three (3) bylined news posts in the Earth and space sciences in the past year". Do they mean three blog posts?

Maybe you could send me an e-mail through the e-mail button at the top of the page, and we can discuss further.

Steve Bloom

I'm pretty sure that what they mean is blog posts analyzing breaking science news, which obviously won't be a problem to demonstrate. I suspect the purpose of this requirement is to exclude aggregators.

I'll email you later.

Thanks much to both for the compliments!


Steve, that would be fantastic if you could attend. I'm thinking of swinging by myself.

They don't seem to be providing live or archival session video even though the Moscone Center is well set up for that. I'm not seeing presenter slides or posters yet but it may be too soon for their posting.

I expect them to approve your application without any fuss but we could even pass the paypal hat for a normal attendee fee. (If I donate even a penny to that, I would expect you to summarize the 23,000 submitted abstracts and run between all the Greenland sessions even if concurrent.)

Regular: Full Meeting $425
Senior (65): Full Meeting $215
Additional friend guest $35
+ AGU membership $50 (some full text journal access)

Actually, the AGU has a very fast and effective search tool and I have already read through all 454 Greenland talks (ditto the Chamonix conf). This was very worthwhile and I recommend it to everyone for their areas of interest.

Please note many of these abstracts will never result in a published paper. Some will be, but changed unrecognizably. A few are already old news. However on the whole, this will us a fantastic head's up on what is the works for 2015 publication.


Please do not clog up the forums merely pasting abstracts. We can all go to the AGU site. Please post only if you can 'add value' in some way.

Steve Bloom

There was a bunch of live and archived video last year and my understanding is that they were planning on expanding that this year. Probably it's just too early.

I too have been working through the abstracts and AFAICT there's tons more cryosphere material than last year. For one such topic (I forget which one exactly) there are seven poster sessions, and I don't recall seeing more than four before.

Even if I limit myself to sea ice past present and future, which I won't because the ice sheets and circulation changes are more interesting and more important, there's a vast amount of material, so it's clear I'll have a hard time covering things.

I'd also like to do a few full-up interviews of scientists, mainly focused on where they think things are headed. Once I can confirm who's actually going to be present and is willing to be interviewed, perhaps we can develop questions on the blog.

I'm starting to get the feeling I may not be able to actually write much during the conference other than daily updates of the high points, but as it's a slow time of year for ASIB it seems like it should be fine to string out the posts over a couple weeks.

A-Team, if you do show up hopefully you can uncloak long enough to say hello. Your secret identity is safe with me. :)

L. Hamilton

Steve, this is a great idea. I'll be there and would be happy to help with introductions to SIPN and SEARCH folks if you'd like.

Steve Bloom

Cool, Larry, thanks so much.

L. Hamilton

FWIW I'll be presenting some new survey research, building on earlier work that Neven wrote about:

The new stuff for AGU includes surveys of public knowledge & beliefs as recently as this month. It has a bland title and abstract in the program but the presentation could be spicier, "Polar facts in an age of polarization."

This at a session with papers about the human impacts of Arctic Change, Monday afternoon.


Hi Nevin,

Hi Nevin: an off topic question, but it is off-season, I guess... I did try asking this on the forum under the thread about interesting construction but I couldn't register, my problem not the forum's.

I live in the Italian Alps and we just bought a house with a diesel boiler which we want to remove. In the future we will do solar (we are building a set of solar tracking mirrors i.e. small pv powered with Arduino tracker to reflect light onto solar heating) but for the moment, we are looking at some sort of biomass: wood, pellets or general biomass as a source of fuel.

Did you ever consider biomass or pellets and why not?


Hi funky fu.

I did consider biomass and pellets, in the sense that I looked into it. Biomass like wood is still an option for us if we're not happy with electrical heating (through infrared emitting panels) or if it's too expensive. If this is the case, we will install a wood oven that transfers 80% of its heat to a warm water boiler (to relieve the heat pump). 100% heat transfer to air would make our house much too hot, as it's so well-insulated.

We haven't done this yet to reduce initial building costs, as the whole thing including stainless steel chimney would come in at about 4000-5000 euros.

Cost is the main reason we didn't go for wood pellets. Yes, you have more control on the amount of heat that is emitted (which you don't have with big wooden blocks), but the ovens are expensive, you need room for storage, you're dependent on the pellets being supplied, and I heard that they use some stuff to bind the wood pellets that isn't so clean when burned, although I have to admit I never looked into that one, so maybe it's not true.

We hope to move in before the end of the year, and then we can start experimenting straight away, as January and February are generally the coldest months around here. I hope we don't freeze. ;-)


Ours is an old contadini house, complete with stalls in the basement and still a meter of hay in the attic. Insulation is nil, or possibly negative (it seems like). However, the radiators and associated plumbing are now in order and we are desperate for heat. Our choice to make it through the winter is, given that we don't want to use methane, diesel or electricity, is pure wood, pellets or biomass.
I was ready to sign off on pellets but I like the idea of burning our scrap biomass, and there is the cost difference. I just don't know anything about how efficient biomass stoves are when switching between fuels of different qualities, how to control them from overheating and so on. Unfortunately I don't have time to learn really. Anyway, I'll log onto the forum from another computer and do the discussion there as I learn more.


People might know more on the forum. Although we originally planned to buy an old farm and renovate it (that's one of the most ecologically useful stuff you can do when it comes to owning your own house), we decided to build as we couldn't find a good place. So I don't know all that much about old contadini houses and how to heat them efficiently.

A friend of mine has an old farm too, with a big wood stove in the kitchen, with all the radiators attached to it to heat the rest of the house. In the bathroom they have a separate small stove with a boiler tank on top of it to heat the shower water.


I originally intended to log in on the forum but the computer at work doesn't mesh well for some reason.

I am not sure I agree with you about renovating old houses versus new houses. Old houses are basically a rough draft of a house design and you have to pretty much rip them down and start over or else pay in various ways for the for inefficiency, awkwardness of design and an endless list of honey do items. Hopefully it will be worth it but if my wife hadn't loved the house, I would would have preferred to level the thing and start over, reusing the stone and timber admittedly.

Jai Mitchell

New building designs with high thermal mass, excellent insulation and low thermal shorts can maintain an excellent internal temperature using only body heat and passive heating from the sun. These also remain very cool in the warmer Summer climates. Older houses have a much more difficult time of it as they are usually designed to be drafty, with low or no insulation and high numbers of areas where heat can easily escape from inside to outside.

Generally the best retrofits involve attic insulation (either bats or blown-in cellulose), the repair of air infiltration seals (doors, windows, ventilation ducts) and then the higher cost items such as double or triple pane windows, wall insulation and a wholescale renovation with a significant concrete or other high mass subfloor).

Still, the lack of structural insulation material on wall/roof joints will produce significant thermal shorts to the outside so a "passivehause" design would involve significant renovation (i.e. removing the roof and rebuilding the wall joints)

Heating with wood is an economical and mostly carbon neutral resource as long as not too many people do it and the harvesting of firewood is done sustainably.

Artful Dodger

Hi all,

Steve, Larry, awesome that you're going to the AGU Fall Meeting. You'll do our 'blog proud. :^)

Neven, time for that first sign of Winter, Open Thread No. 1?



Just a suggestion Neven: Create a header for the Forum among the headlines at the top of the page.

As it is now, it is hard for newbies to even know the forum exists, never mind finding it...


Hi Jai,

Since the blog seems a bit slow... we know about the insulation, that is our first step actually. We've help off because our soon to be neighbor is a contractor who builds bio houses (e.g. all 'biologically neutral' products like wood fiber, lime, wood, etc. and he was going tocome over and take a look-see and advise us. As it's been the 5th warmest October in 75 years here, we've been lucky.

We got a bunch of double paned insulated windows from an elementary school restoration that sort of fit: nice thing about knowing you are going to knock down a lot in a few years, you can take your sawsall to pvc window frames and make them fit between stones. Then there is rock wool for the rest of the holes.

And i think we finally decided on a pellet stove (probably Attack), 30 kw with at least a 1000 liter puffer. The fun part is that I am mounting an arduino or raspberry pi based set of solar powered reflectors in yard and on the hill above us to add 100% natural, renewable heat. Not to mention it brightens up the house incredibly.


uh, that would be 'held off'.


Just a thought:

1. Global temperatures are having a pause.

2. Arctic sea ice maximum has turned a decade ago.

3. There are signs that Arctic sea ice minimum has also started on route towards expansion.

So - could it be that the pause in global temperature is now starting to have an effect on the Arctic sea ice? First on the winter maximum, but to an increasing extent also on the summer minimum?

It certainly seems so.


You back again regurgitating disinformation and sloppy conclusions again, Ostepop1000?

Global temperature increases have not paused.

Arctic Sea Ice at Maximum is not increasing. There is no turn around.

Arctic Sea Ice at Minimum is not increasing. There is no turn around.

Please stop.

Kevin McKinney

Since this thread seems to be functioning more or less as an open one, let me throw out the fact that UAH for October is now on preview at Dr. Spencer's website. The monthly anomaly clocked in at .37 C, which ties 2012 for warmest-ever. Continuing toasty…

While I was over there checking the temps, I noticed that there's a very cool video up--an ISS-eye view of cyclone Nuri, which Spencer expected to hit the Bering Strait area today with (IIRC) a central pressure of 924 mBar, which is, as many here know, the sign of a pretty darn strong storm.

It's probably already under discussion on the Forum, but I thought it deserved a mention out here on the 'front page.' The link to the video:


Kevin McKinney

To clarify my last comment, I should have said that last month tied 2012 for warmest-ever *October*.

Carry on...


Dude. We are seing the bounceback. The big one.

The ice is back.

The recovery.

Roald Amundsen driftet across the polar basin.




Do not be afraid.

There is someone who thinks he or she knows much better than you somwhere in the vincinity.

Neven, time for that first sign of Winter, Open Thread No. 1?

Absolutely, Lodger. I just want to squeeze the next PIOMAS post in, and then I'll open the first open thread.

1. Global temperatures are having a pause.

Ostepop, there is one thing I don't understand. If global temperatures are having a pause, how is it possible that 2014 will probably come in among the warmest (if not the warmest) years on record?

And in the absence of an El Niño, it seems. With an inactive Sun. With negative PDO/AMO (or just one of the two, I don't know). And with the BRIC countries still emitting large amounts of aerosols.

How on Earth is this possible? I don't get it.

Remko Kampen

"... how is it possible that 2014 will probably come in among the warmest"
It will. November and December have to rank only tenth, but will probably both go for gold.

The 'pause' refers to the pause in non-recordbreaking months. Annex the language and turn it back on the plunder ideologists.

L. Hamilton

The Sea Level Research Group at University of Colorado has just updated their satellite-based sea level time series, through August 2014.

Sea level is still rising, consistent with independent observations of ocean heat content and glacier/ice sheet attrition.

A simple graph of the CU sea level series is here:

The Sea Level Research Group page has details:


Peter Wadhams' presentation at Arctic Circle Assembly - he projects an Arctic ice free month in 2020. Wipneus' statistcs may be on track.

See: http://a4rglobalmethanetracking.blogspot.com/2014/11/arctic-circle-assembly-2014-wadhams-no.html

Susan Anderson

Nuri headed for Alaska, with possibly the lowest pressure ever recorded:

FishOutofWater has a good one too:

(h/t Tenney Naumer)



I think that Wadhams has been using an exponential fit in the past. This fit is inappropriate. A hyperbolic fit projects to an ice-free September in 2022 as I noted above. (This assumes that there isn't a deceleration in the trend of decline, but I expect one.)

The hyperbolic fit is better than linear, better than quadratic, better than cubic, and better than exponential.


It's about time.


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