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Those radar images are awesome - especially those from Sentinel - but it's a shame that the MODIS black hole is still covering the Nares region. It'd be really cool to see the retreat in true color.

Jim Hunt

Since you mention Sentinel Neven! Here's the remains of "the arch" on February 9th:

Andreas Muenchow

Nares Strait is indeed a fascinating story with many facets. Here is one that relates to both the ice arches of Nares Strait and those of gothic cathedrals, it is a marvelous Open University video



Thanks, Andreas, that was a beautiful exposé of mechanics!

Colorado Bob

A really good piece in SA from :
Future Arctic: Field Notes from a World on the Edge,
by Edward Struzik. Copyright © 2015, Island Press.

A Stormy Arctic Is the New Normal [Excerpt]
The Arctic is changing fast

In the summer of 2000, Canadian national park warden Angus Simpson and his colleagues were camped along the north coast of the Yukon Territory near the Alaskan border, conducting a survey of archeological sites along the coast. The sea was dead calm at the time. But they could see in the inky blue sky over the Beaufort Seas the telltale signs of a storm advancing. An hour or so after they turned in that night, the first big gust of wind blew in, completely flattening their tent and forcing them to take refuge in the cubbyhole of their boat.
It was just the beginning of a summer storm that some people in the western Arctic of Alaska, Yukon and Northwest Territories remember as the worst they had seen before the Great Cyclone of 2012 ripped through the region. At the height of this gale in 2000, dozens of Inuvialuit people camped on low-lying land along the Arctic coast had to be airlifted out by helicopter. The park wardens, exposed on the same stretch of low lying tundra, were forced to make a harrowing trip through 12-foot high waves to get to the safety of a ranger station that was located on Herschel Island a few miles away.

Pete Williamson

I remembered a paper published a while back that gave some insights into variability in ice arch formation in the Nares Strait.


Even in the short length of years covered by this paper you can see in table 1 that arch formation can be very variable from as early as early December thru to April. Given that conditions can be such that arches fail to form thru most of the winter it doesn't seem that much of a stretch to think arches could form and break up within the winter season.

Actually reading more carefully in section 4 they talk about the formation of short lived arches in unusual parts of strait.

Still this years observation is interesting.

Jim Hunt

Is this the link you were looking for Pete?


Yours gives me a 403 error!


The AVHRR IR imagery has also been showing the Nares breakup and reforming through the winter. Not as good as Sentinel, but places the changes in a broader Arctic context.

Jim Hunt

Please forgive the perhaps overly melodramatic headline, but:

"Shock News! IJIS Arctic Sea Ice Extent Lowest Ever!!!"

which follows an drop of over 100k from yesterday.

Note too that:

This site will be closed on February 22, and might be unstable from February 15, 2015.

New sea ice monitor website will be coming soon. Stay tuned.


I've been eyeballing your 'Shock news', Jim. Is it the Sea of Ochotsk? Ice in the Bering Sea has been low all year, but seems to be in a slow freezing mode now.I see no other exceptional differences with recent years for the date.


Hi -

Long time follower, first time poster.

I think we can forgive the "Shocking news" headline as I remember in April of 2012 the science deniers claiming that the ice has recovered to 1983 levels thus "proving" that climate change is a hoax.Oddly enough (I guess because it was a done deal) they didn't have anything to say in September of the same year.

Thanks Neven for all you hard work. This is by far my favorite blog. I have learned so much from you and your regular posters.


Thanks, Jim. I'm looking forward to the coming melting season.


A new arch will probably form,

And going by what the eyes on the ASIF are saying, it seems that it has formed in Kane Basin and now also at Nares' North entrance (or exit, depending on which way the wind blows). It will be interesting to see when the arch breaks up come summer.

Espen Olsen

A massive calving happened between February 12 and February 19 2015 at Jakobshavn:


Jim Hunt

Werther - You don't really need visually obvious changes to achieve a record low for the time of year by a whisker. The refreeze on the Pacific side has been lagging all winter. Now the Atlantic side has taken a beating from the recent stormy weather.

Did you see the video? http://youtu.be/xmZkpURTJZs

The title is of course designed to be read with tongue firmly in cheek!

Jim Hunt

Espen's "Shock News" translated into a blog post:

Shock News - Massive Calving of Jakobshavn Isbræ

together with additional Sentinel-1A SAR and "Chasing Ice" video imagery.



You have to consider sea ice as part of an holistic system, the North Atlantic storms, battering and melting sea ice, exist stronger and more numerous because there was less sea ice at minima in the same region last year, as well as because there is a warmer Atlantic and Pacific. The result of this changes the weather in a very predictable way. WUWT base may be in California, I guess these guys have a rough winter, proving that there is no Global Warming and that sea ice extent plays no role in the greater weather systems. :)


Neven, you are not being completely clear and honest, to show Arctic and Antarctic loss and gain on one graph and then show the Arctic loss is misleading.
When to show the real situation all you have to do is show the global sea ice graph which is not too alarming.


Global sea ice


Neven, you are not being completely clear and honest, to show Arctic and Antarctic loss and gain on one graph and then show the Arctic loss is misleading. When to show the real situation all you have to do is show the global sea ice graph which is not too alarming.

Kano, like I said in the other post
dealing with this subject:

it's like saying that one billion people starving globally is not a problem, because there are one billion obese persons

The situation in the Arctic melting season is extreme, with regards to the amount as well as the speed of sea ice loss. One could increasingly say the same thing about the Antarctic freezing season, although it is not entirely clear how much the factors behind it are contributing (ozone loss, increased westerly winds, fresh water run-off from the land ice).

I find it difficult to understand how two extremes - seemingly compensating each other if you apply the neat trick I explain in the aforementioned blog post - actually convince one there is absolutely nothing going on that could pose risks if continuing unabated. My brains, weak as they are, don't accept that kind of delusive thinking.

I'd be more at ease if Antarctic sea ice remained relatively stable during winter, because that would reassure me that at least nothing is changing as rapidly on the other pole. I don't find extremes particularly comforting, especially as the scientific community doesn't know what might happen if we keep continuing emitting greenhouse gases on a business-as-usual basis.

Kevin O'Neill

kano - when do the reductions in Arctic sea ice occur and what effect does this have? Similarly, when does the increase in Antarctic sea ice occur and what effect does this have? Only someone that has not thought about the answers to these questions would attempt to equate the two phenomena.

Reduced albedo in the Arctic during the periods of highest insolation allows the earth to absorb significantly more radiation.

Increased albedo in the Antarctic during the periods of lowest insolation has a much smaller effect.

And of course there is the whole issue of geography; the Arctic is an ocean surrounded by land while Antarctica is land surrounded by ocean. The whole notion that we could look at a metric and equate them without taking either the effects or the geography into account is lazy, simplistic, and silly. It only serves to mislead and mask the significant changes occurring.

Jim Hunt

Kano - Are you sure you're commenting on the correct article?

In any event you may wish to read the following thread on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum:

Increasing Antarctic Albedo?


Global sea ice extent has been a very misleading argument favoring the "business as usual" tunnel vision gang of deniers for a long time. The Arctic is very dissimilar to Antarctic in almost every way. The Poles are incredibly different, the South Pole is a covered land mass buried by a huge amount of glacier ice and has a surface altitude of 2835 meters ASL, the North Pole surface altitude varies between 0 and 10 meters above sea level having a warm sea instead of relatively very frozen huge glacial mass just below. Moving Southwards or Northwards with respect to the Poles is even more drastically different. The well known Polar atmospheres reflect topographic disparities quite thoroughly.

So Kano, what is in any way the justification of adding these two differing regions data as one? The ball is in your court.

I suggest you start by destroying this premise,: A warming Earth will affect each region in its own way-.No , you cant posit a warming Earth will respond in a homogenous bland linear
temperature increase everywhere, the planet is not a blue marble.

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