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FishOutofWater here. Not the other D. I would like to Steve to report on any changes in the ocean circulation in the Arctic and into and out of the Arctic. Also, anything about changes in the rate and pattern of subsidence of stratospheric air in and around the poles would be appreciated. The warming climate has sped up the circulation of air from the tropics into the stratosphere and back down near the poles. This may be affecting sea ice and triggering some of the weird weather we have seen in the past decade.

About the BBC report - you can't make a trend from noisy data with just 5 years of observations. This fall much volume was in an area where it is now being blown out the Fram strait. We'll see how it develops but so far it looks like it's moving down from the big recovery year of 2013.


The article appears reasonable although it seems to imply a trend when the researchers have specifically warned against doing this.Much worse was the headline I heard this morning on the radio: something like "Arctic sea ice nothing to worry about. No ice loss in the last five years" - nearly choked on my cornflakes! Didn't hear any item on the story so don't know if this was put into context when discussing in depth. Worryingly the BBC seems to have taken a sharp turn into skeptical/denial territory in the last few months. Not good.


What Tilling and colleagues see in the data is a very strong link between autumn thickness and the degree of melting in a year.

"You might think, for example, that wind conditions would be important because they can pile the ice up and make it less susceptible to melting, while at the same time exposing more water to freeze," the University College London researcher explained.

"But we've looked at this and other factors, and by far the highest correlation is with temperature-driven melting."

Am I following this correctly? If there is a lot of melt during spring & summer then autumn thickness tends to be thin. Err, yes I think I would expect that not only for the obvious reason but also because lower ice at maximum tends to cause more melt. Presumably there is something a little more subtle than that she is trying to get at?


The recovery meme is still strong, but, I'd hardly call a year over year drop of 1300KM3 reassuring.

More what it suggests is high volatility. I think the last two seasons we escaped as a result of changes in circulation *driven* by the melt and heating up to this point.

The heat is still going somewhere, and Fishoutofwater, I'm keen as you are to get some sense from the researchers how the circulation has changed; currents and increases in oceanic heat interest me in particular.

Steve Bloom

Short on time, so I'm just leaving this as a comment rather than attempt a first-time post. I'll have more time this evening and should be able to add some details about posters/talks.

This morning I'll be getting in a little late and will be attending "Enhanced Climate Changes at High Latitude" in Moscone West
3005 from 10:20 to 12:20. After that I'm not sure where I'll be, but immediately afterwards definitely would be a good time to meet up for anyone who wants to do so.

My phone cell number is 510 blah 393 blah 7233 (blahs to hopefully avoid harvesting). Probably text is best.

I'll make a point of checking in here after the morning talks (i.e. in four or five hours) to pick up any further suggestions.

Once again, the scientific program can be found here. My suggestion is to use keyword and author searches to find what you're interested, and once there have a look at what else is in that session.

Yesterday following the registration process (thanks again to Larry for facilitating this), I spent the entire day doing posters. The unfortunate thing about this conference is that even within a relatively narrow range of interest there are always at least a couple things going on at once, so much is necessarily missed.

The poster hall is huge (well, this was one of two huge poster halls -- I haven't even seen the other one yet), with many subject matter sessions packed in cheek by jowl. I would have liked to look at some of the others, but doing partial justice to just cryosphere and paleo took me the whole day. I learned a lot and gathered lots of material for potential posts, so that was good.

I was quite tired and distracted, so managed to miss Larry's talk (apologies). I'll be in touch with him to catch up on that since it definitely deserves a post here.

Fish, those circulation changes are probably my primary focus in terms of current climate, so I'm already on it. Unfortunately, as confirmed by conversations with a number of scientists yesterday, the relative lack of Arctic region ocean current data, especially for the deep ocean, makes that part tough. My main priority at the conference is the atmo component, especially the research growing out of Jennifer Francis' ideas, and in particular Judah Cohen's big troll for attendance, er, that is, important announcement. Hopefully he hasn't oversold it!

I hadn't previously thought about the acceleration you mention, although it sounds like a natural consequence of polar amplification. I'll see what I can see on it, especially as regards any sea ice impacts. One thought -- if the polar cell is accelerating, wouldn't that tend on average to increase pressure at the descending branch and decrease it at the ascending branch? In any case, I'll ask about this even if I don't see anything specifically on topic.

Finally, everyone here will be pleased to know that I caught an Arctic specialist carelessly using the r-word yesterday and got prompt agreement from him (with a couple colleagues listening in) that using it is bad, bad, bad.

Steve Bloom

Well crap, not time to say much tonight. It was a very long day and I need to be there early tomorrow so I don't miss Judah Cohen's 8:00 AM talk.

It is truly a firehose of information there. I've missed so much but even so probably have enough material/contacts/ideas for a couple dozen science posts. Maybe I'll do more than the six or so I was planning on, but if so they'll have to be considerably spread out in time. Anyway, we'll see.

There were all sorts of science specifics I won't mention, but one thing that really crystallized for me today is how obsessed those scientists are with getting more and better data and how much effort they put into it. It's kind of amazing, really. Ironically Anthony Watts managed to spend his week there last year and never seemed to notice. How did that happen...

OK, just one science thing: It may have been mentioned here before although if so I missed it, but there's a very interesting new proxy, IP25, that basically uses the diatoms that live in the sea ice (those I had heard of at least) to track the location of the ice edge going back in time. That definitely gets a post.

I should also mention, in case folks missed it, that there was a big Greenland ice sheet melt press conference earlier in the conference which I didn't attend since I expected it would get extensive coverage (and has). Summing it up, on top of the recent news that the WAIS is melting like crazy, the GIS is also melting like crazy. Imagine that. Tad Pfeffer, where are you now?

Finally, tomorrow will be an even longer day for me since the Pliocene mafia have invited me to come to dinner with them. I am given to understand that Secrets Will Be Revealed.

Again, any coverage ideas are very welcome. Tomorrow's starting to look pretty blocked out, but Thursday and Friday are wide open.


That's great that the Arctic Sea Ice Blog can send a reporter to AGU 2014.

Reporter Steve Bloom is quite right -- any time 22,000 attendees hold forth at a 3-4 day meeting, there will be a firehose of information (pumping out meltwater in this case).

The AGU youtube channel is below. These are no real substitute for the ppts used in actual talks. These are in the public domain in some meaningless sense but good luck getting ahold of them.


The Greenland news conference featured two very recently published papers that we've discussed over on the forum. These are both available as free full text. The PNAS one is at:


Adam Ash

'Arctic sea ice may be more resilient than many observers recognise.'

Yeah, rite...
From those two data points a straight line gives:
Year October Vol
2013 8800
2014 7500
2015 6200
2016 4900
2017 3600
2018 2300
2019 1000
2020 -300

2020 she's all over rover!

Then to say '... there is no evidence to indicate a collapse is imminent.' 2020? Not imminent. OK.

Obviously its not quite as simple as that, but the statement rather smacks of a degree of cognitive dissonance, no?

Jim Hunt

A couple of videos of AGU press conferences.

Walt Meier et. al. on the correlation between "CERES absorbed solar radiation" and "Microwave sea-ice fraction":


along with discussion about the 2014 Arctic Report Card:


More on that topic over at NOAA:


who also provide a brief video of their own:


The NOAA's headlines?

Rising air and sea temperatures continue to trigger changes in the Arctic. The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of anywhere else on Earth.

However, natural variation remains, such as the slight increase in March 2014 sea ice thickness and only a slight decrease in total mass of the Greenland ice sheet in summer 2014.

L. Hamilton

The SEARCH Sea Ice Outlook post-season report is just published, with input from the Sea Ice Prediction Network (SIPN) project:



This quote from the BBC article caught my eye:

"The spacecraft observed 7,500 cu km of ice cover in October when the Arctic traditionally starts its post-summer freeze-up.

This was only slightly down on 2013 when 8,800 cu km were recorded."

Since when is 1,300 cu km "slightly" down? That's almost a 15% decline! Disappointing.

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