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Brian Johnson

Nice post, and noticeable restraint not calling the maximum Neven ;)


Not calling the maximum, but calling the record at least.

All those snowstorms that famously hit the northeast US tend to move up the coast and dump even harder over the land masses that border the Gulf of Saint Lawrence (NB, NS, PEI, and Nfld). So there's presumably a lot of frozen stuff to melt, not just in area but also in volume.

That said, the weather a bit further up the Saint Lawrence (i.e. Montreal) seems like it goes back to the seasonal norm starting tomorrow. It won't be long before the Gulf starts to thaw.


Have family in that area and they have had a LOT of snow. Given right conditions though that can disappear fast and cause major flooding.


I think that the video stated that it would be the second earliest maximum.

New Brunswick's largest city, Saint John, and Prince Edward Island's capitol and largest city, Charlottetown, each had their record snowiest snow season in 2014-2015 with over 14 feet and over 15 feet of snowfall, respectively.


Nfld hasn't had as much snow, but many storms packing winds in some locations over 100kph.
Indicative of the stormy weather hitting the edges of the ice pack in the last many weeks.


Should have looked more. Nfld also is generally buried. Officials are hoping for warm days and cold nights until snow is gone, otherwise Atlantic Canada Provinces could all have a disastrous spring with floods.


Okay, eastern North America got 14 to 15 feet of snow. Out West places that normally get 30 to 40 feet of snow got a couple feet(Ok, exaggerating a little for some higher elevations but areas above 6000' feet might have gotten 5' to 10' especially in Washington state and British Columbia. Wide areas that normally get 10' got less tan 2' and most of that has melted except it is snowing in most areas of Washington state above 3500' now but not forecast to last. So, all that snow in the East will not make up for what we normally get here that doesn't mostly melt until late July or early August some years.


I think that the video stated that it would be the second earliest maximum.

Yes, that's for NSIDC sea ice extent. I believe the record goes back to 1979 or something, and 1996 also had its maximum on February 24th. But it probably had a bit more sea ice than today (understatement).

I was referring to JAXA sea ice extent, that has been measured since 2002. Some data sets will have this maximum as the earliest/lowest, some as the second earliest/lowest (CT sea ice area has 2011 as the lowest). Either way, it's very early and low, but this doesn't necessarily mean anything for the melting season up ahead.


JAXA reports an uptick of 30K, difference now 107K. It's not enough, need more!


The Gulf of St. Lawrence is flushing its ice out into the Atlantic:
...so I expect you'll get your wish, Neven.


What is my wish, Cincinnatus? And your link leads to a blank page. What does it mean that the GoSL ice gets flushed out?


My apologies, it turns out that the xhtml address was not an absolute address which could be cited. I meant to point to the GoSL ice page on the Canadian Ice Service:
From that page, select the "East Coast" region and scroll down 3 pages to the GoSL map. It shows that the ice is flushing out to the south.


What strikes me is: Why not wait for another week or two, until it can be called with more certainty?

The answer of course is explained early in the above article: The media pics it up because some type of record can be claimed.

Waitt another week and perhaps there will be no record, and no media :(

So to capitalize on possible media attention it is better to practice a little premature ejaculation. Afterall - if this proves not to be the max anyway, no media outlet is ever going to correct the first story, and so the story will stick.

It is a dishonest and politicised way of reporting science.


It will be interesting to see the timing of the coming downturn in Barents relative to blips upward in Greenland and Okhotsk. The real wild card, though, is the large proportion of thin ice in Baffin/Newfoundland and what fraction of the recent melt/compaction crosses back over the 15% margin later this week.

Waitt another week and perhaps there will be no record, and no media :(

No, as I've explained in this blog post and the previous, the record is there. It's the lowest maximum in the NSIDC and JAXA SIE record. This is 100% certain at this point.

The only question now is whether it will be the earliest maximum on record as well (for JAXA, it will be a tie for NSIDC).

And like I've also said in the comment section of the previous blog post, every media article I've read, quotes scientists saying that a record low maximum in itself doesn't mean all that much in relation to the melting season. All the caveats are there.

But when the NSIDC calls the maximum and it's a record low, it's only natural that the media picks this up. You don't wait two weeks to report on who won the Super Bowl either.

And it's only normal that a paragraph or two are dedicated to the general situation in the Arctic, which isn't looking particularly good. That's what all of this is about!

The fact that you're annoyed by it, says more about you than about anything else.


I am not criticising the media. Of course they will report whatever interesting factoids they catch a sniff of. So no surprise there.

What is more concerning is an increasing tendency to publicise records early - especially when some sort of record can be announced. We have seen this trend in both global and regional temperatures previously.

And looking at the latest NSIDC charts, it seems to me it is very close and still rising as we speak, so there can still, theoretically be a new max this season.

But of course if you are right - that there is 100% certainty already, then my criticism has been unfounded in this case.


I read from CT the following seas increase in extent: Barents, Greenland, Kara and Hudson Bay. Bering and Okhotsk seem out for the count. Barents may have some shore ice increase only on its North side where sst's are said to be 0 C , so its a very slim to no chance of increase there. Greenland sea is same, no chance, sst's are too high and surface air too warm. Kara is the only place with possibility of increase where conditions are still prone to accretion. West Hudson Bay is right by a very warm western Canada and where the coldest air is to its North. Hudson Bay is tough to call, except the sun is too high in the sky to make a serious re-freeze.

Basically there is no sign of extent freezing aside from small areas loaded with ice. I'd suggest the sea ice is breaking up
and making extent appear larger, but melting
will overwhelm this illusion soon.


Looks like sea ice area and extent are creeping up. Area is now above 2007 and 2011. It was amusing seeing all the extrapolation going on by the doomers who jump on anything to promote end of the world scenarios, with projections of zero sea ice early summer.

As Neven said, an early maximum says nothing about how the subsequent melt season will play out. It looks decidedly dodgy for a while but is starting to look almost normal (i.e. heading for the now normal long term decline).

This is a good blog for finding out some of the real story on Arctic ice (and it's a worrying story, of course).


Nnnnevin ... more n's than any other network, or at least more northern nous: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9GZuT3HN6Y


Nevin, well done, you called the max incorrectly twice in 2012(?), and now you don't call the max (correctly) twice in 2015. This shows what a fine well balanced blog you run. Looking forward to an exciting season despite your well balanced comments about the possible early and low extent not being indicative of anything in particular.

Remko Kampen

Downward trend continues this not being indicative of anything in particular - did Florida just annex this blog?


JAXA has reported a small drop of 1478 km2, the difference is still 108K km2, and given the change in forecast (higher temps and changing winds in the Barentsz Sea) I think this is it. Barring a 100K+ change being reported tomorrow, of course. :-)

What is more concerning is an increasing tendency to publicise records early - especially when some sort of record can be announced.

It is perhaps concerning, but this is not an example of it. Do you have any idea how conservative the NSIDC is when it comes to things like calling the maximum?

Folks over on the Forum already started speculating about it at the start of the month, and confidence grew every day. Plenty of people called it very early, and I described the possibilities in a March 6th blog post. But the NSIDC called it on March 19th, two weeks later.

And you can be sure that they looked at the weather forecast. And even then they added the caveat that a late cold snap might make for a later max, right there in the first paragraph, third sentence.

Because by March 19th the record was already a near certainty. The only question was whether the preliminary max would remain standing. It's not a big deal, it's a record of minor importance, stressed by every scientist interviewed in every single media article.

They didn't go: A possible record, quick, let's incite a media frenzy and push AGW! The Arctic is pushing AGW. There's no need for hyperbole, as the Arctic is offering plenty of that.

So stop whining already! ;-B


Nnnnevin ... more n's than any other network, or at least more northern nous: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9GZuT3HN6Y

Don't post that kind of videos. I need to keep motivated. ;-)

Downward trend continues this not being indicative of anything in particular - did Florida just annex this blog?

If only! I could use a holiday. :-)


Being the first to call the maximum is nothing more than a speculative exercise. The maximum should not be called before it is IMPOSSIBLE that it will be overturned.
The deniers relish pointing out when the scientists are wrong so any incorrect claim is magnified in blogworld.

On the other hand speculation on the current situation is realistic and beneficial, Few on the forum claim a definite low maximum but understanding the likelihood of a new maximun is imperative.


Well the N's are experts and have more info than we imagine. Besides it forces us to focus
on the regions at hand, Bering and Okhotsk were said to have potential and nothing happened. So we learn. Historically, record low maximums give very low minimas. So it is significant. I must mention that the fascinating and important study to be have comparing 2013-14 maxima with 2014-15. They both were at the same low record point, from that moment 13-14 had more extent than 14-15 now with far less. The atmosphere turns out to be much warmer in 14-15. But there are other reasons for this disparity.


"Being the first to call the maximum is nothing more than a speculative exercise. The maximum should not be called before it is IMPOSSIBLE that it will be overturned."

I agree.


@Ostepop How do you define speculation. To someone with little to no knowledge calling today may still be speculation. To someone whose lifelong study has been this subject it is a slam dunk.
Example: You hear a funny noise in your car, you and your friend both of whom have little knowledge about cars can take a guess at the problem. That is speculation. A competent mechanic on hearing that noise can usually tell you exactly what the problem is. Why? Expertise.
Give these people at NSIDC the credit they do deserve. They did not get their degrees out of a cereal box. In fact I suspect they knew the max was in the bag at least a couple of weeks ago. They just wanted to be 99.9% certain of it before they called it. In the science field that is as certain as you can get about anything, and notice they still gave themselves a back door..


As someone who has lurked with no expertise in the relevant fields, I do appreciate that people can explain their conflicting opinions, what they see in the forecasts/projections, and I try to understand the insights as to why they think it will be this or that.

its a useful way to let information soak in, if you can sort of remain even keeled the information that is being read...

JAXA has reported a small drop of 1478 km2, the difference is still 108K km2, and given the change in forecast (higher temps and changing winds in the Barentsz Sea) I think this is it. Barring a 100K+ change being reported tomorrow, of course. :-)

An uptick of 21K has been reported by JAXA for yesterday, difference is now 88K. But today is the last chance of an uptick, so it has to be big. :-)

Al Rodger

Anybody seriously making comment and calling a maximum SIE for the year - I don't think their call really should be accused of being "speculation".
Now, I think there is a big difference between somebody like the Ns calling the maximum for the year and somebody like me. When I called it a couple of weeks back I gave my reasoning and for folks like us making such a call, that reasoning will usually have one central dominating reason. How prescient or foolhardy the call can be judged by others, and that holds whatever the outcome.
Next year, for instance, my reasoning could be shown to be foolish even though I was right this year.
The analysis of the Ns will be a lot more complex, probably having to satisfy a series of seperate analyses before the decision to call is made.


I used the word 'speculate' because even at this late stage a late surge can pass the current maximums. If we followed the path of 2010 from here it would happen.

My point was that the contrarians love it when the scientists make an inaccurate statement so why feed their unsavoury habits.

After April 1st it becomes highly unlikely as the average daily drop goes past 20K and any potential for surge should be showing up in the weather forecasts.


DR: Science does not evolve based on what has already occurred. It evolves by presenting "speculation" based on reasoning, then if it comes out correct many times then that reasoning has proven validation. If proven wrong then you change your reasoning. If all you are concerned about is people laughing at you because you got something wrong, science is not the area you should get involved with.

Al Rodger

Interestingly, you are right about 2010. Yet when I stuck my ten pen'orth in back on March 15th, the path of the rise to the 2010 maximum from that date was not enough to exceed this year's February maximum in 2015.
What has happened is that 2010 dropped between March 15th & 25th increasing the eventual late rise of that year while 2015 has risen between March 15th & 25th, reducing the required rise to top the February maximum.

Yet the significance of this year's maximum means nothing of itself. It is as part of a trend that it is significant.

And indeed contrarians do love pointing out errors made by those they oppose. What is perhaps exceeding strange is that while such denialist folk do their best to stoke up minor muddles to look like major scientific blunders, they are wholly oblivious to their own record of continual egregious error.


Re. Newfoundland and snow, you need to be aware of regions. Out here in St. John's on the eastern edge, most of the lows until very recently tracked to the west of us and we got lots of rain. The last 6 weeks we are picking up some snow, but I have shoveled a total of three times this season.

Corner Brook on the other hand...well let's just say Marble Mountain is enjoying a pretty darn good ski season!

Some parts of Labrador are getting a lot of snow, but other parts have been too cold. for giant snows.

There is a lot of ice in the Straits of Belle Isle and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Heavy pressure too. The ferries are having a very difficult time and fresh-type food is actally pretty low on the grocery shelves. Here, the ice pack was down for a bit, but sourtherly winds have driven it back north and I can see none from any point on the eastern part of the Avalon peninsula.


Thanks JG. Do realize that when it comes to weather Nfld has a great variety. That is why I was getting a little confused as to the real story.


I agree with DavidR that it would be wiser for the various sea ice orgs to hold off on calling the max. I'm not worried about the climate deniers laughing at me -- what concerns me is the mass of laypersons out there who are ignorant if not distrustful of the scientific basis behind global warming. An early call that turns out to be wrong makes the scientists seem less believable. It's important because these people are voters.

Probably the Ns are right about this year's max, but I don't see how it would have hurt to hold off a couple of weeks.

Susan Anderson

OT, should probably go on one of the fora, but given the amount of news coming in from that section (all of it bad), worthy of note as it is, after all, one planet:


"63.5°F in Antartica a Possible Continental Record; 14 Years of Rain in 1 Day in Chile"

17.5°C, fwiw

An uptick of 21K has been reported by JAXA for yesterday, difference is now 88K. But today is the last chance of an uptick, so it has to be big. :-)

Well, it wasn't big enough to break the max, but JAXA reported yet another uptick this morning of almost 30K km2. That means the difference is now 58K and one freak day of spreading ice (in the Barentsz Sea mainly) and the earliest max on the JAXA SIE record is dead in the water.

But the winds are blowing North and temps are going up in the Barentsz Sea right now, so it doesn't seem likely, never mind the momentum. Still, it's the Arctic.


We could possibly have a situation where NSIDC calls it the earliest maximum on record and JAXA the latest.


There was no freak day, and JAXA has reported a drop of 36K, and the difference is now 94K.

Al Rodger

WIth the Barentz still showing +30k a day, if that continues with a bit of coincidental stalling/upticking elsewhere, there could yet be a final icy flourish.


Al, freezing between near shore pack ice is always possible at -30!
But not over wide open water with sst's way warmer than it takes to freeze sea water. The North Atlantic heat engine broke apart, it is smaller, and carries less heat Northwards because it is too warm in southern latitudes.

At any rate a great melt is foreseen for the near future but perhaps not for the entire melt season:


More work is needed before the projections are final.


JAXA reports another relatively big drop of 72K, increasing the difference with the max to 166K. So this is now 100% over, and it's not just the lowest, but also the earliest max in the JAXA record since 2002.

I didn't really call the max, but I'm glad the forecast was more or less correct. And exciting to see how close JAXA SIE came to the max after all.

Colorado Bob

Colorado Bob

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Colorado Bob
11 mins ·

One of threads I follow -

Andy in YKD
/ March 29, 2015

It has been in the upper 40s with a high of 51 F yesterday here on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta for the past 10 days. Never had more than a few inches of snow on the ground all winter, when the average is 65″. Now the ground is mostly bare of snow, and the distant mountains are showing large areas with no snow. The night of the start of the Kuskokwim 300 sled dog race on Jan. 16 it was 34 and raining. 50 years ago this area was Zone 1 on the plant hardiness map, now it shows as zone 3b. The past several winters temps are indicative of a zone 4b or 5a.

Looking at the SPEI Drought Monitor it indicates that there is drought conditions on most of the west coasts of South, Central and North America from Southern Chile to the Arctic.

Colorado Bob

Sorry for the over paste.

Al Rodger

So why did 2015 have a February icier than March, the first since the 1990s, when the trend has been for the maximum to be later and later?
It's more like a big bite was taken out of the maximum (leaving February less bitten than March) rather than the maximum being early per se. Looking at the UH plots on the regional graphs page shows the Pacific gave the low ice levels for the season but the big bite was mainly the Barentz which peaked at the start of Feb before dropping 400k from then to mid-March before regaining half of the drop so as to provide a late March sub-maximum. The Bering had a smaller shorter bite but the big influence was the Barentz.
So what was going in in the Barentz? A random wobble? Or something new for the future?


@ARogers: Barentz had about a month there where there were between 2-3 cyclones hitting almost every single day. All of them following the Gulf Stream which means a fair amount of heat involved. Remember somes Arctic weather scientist reporting from a ship in that area stating she had never known of such a great number of large storms hitting as often and for such a long time.


Gents & ladies

Some have asked about the Barents retreat this year. Is it part of the new pattern? It may be, and I will try to explain why.

The Bering Sea remains open due to a hot North Pacific

Nares and Fram straits remain open – shifting loads of the remaining multi-year sea ice southwards

Extra-tropical cyclones feed on the temperature contrast between ice and Gulf Stream waters in the NW Atlantic and cyclones move persistently towards the Barents Sea - transporting warm and moist air towards the eastern Arctic hemisphere

Snow accumulates in the Arctic – 500-1000 km3 more than in previous years

Arctic sea ice maximum extent fluctuates around a new winter minimum despite total darkness in the Arctic Ocean

Sublimation of snow catches on despite sub-zero (degC) temperatures all over the Arctic land and ocean areas

Snow starts to melt from the south - eats away the protective snow cover - and forms melt ponds on the flat, young Arctic sea ice

Early season persistent Arctic cyclones breaks up the fragile Arctic sea ice and stirs the temperature stratification in peripheral seas

Peak insolation melts isolated ice floes and heat up waters in the Central Arctic Ocean, as well as thawing permafrost over the continents

Tropical cyclones delivers dry and warm air high in the atmosphere, which adds to the melting of the Greenland Ice sheet

The temperature contrast between the Arctic and the Tropics is so low that only one (extended) Hadley Cell can exist

Late season persistent Arctic cyclones detoriates remaining ice floes and breaks up late season halocline in the Central Arctic Ocean

Marginal seas may see some sporadic sea ice formation, but the Central Arctic will remain open

It may take more than one year to get through this shift to a new seasonal cycle, but open it will be…

Lord Soth

P-maker, this may describe things sometime in the next 20 years, but I don't think this will happen in the next few years.

I like the Oct-Apr scenario. Once we have one summer where we lose the central pack, the dynamics will change, and ice growth will start from the shore and progress outwards.

Storms will whip up the deeper warmer ice free water, and prevent ice growth in the central arctic. The arctic may skim over during calm periods, but the next storm will blow all the ice towards the edge of the pack progressing from the shore.

The big question is, will that shrinking donut hole of ice free central arctic completely freeze over. If not, expect a regime change to a ice free central arctic during the winter.


After a six-month-long night, I highly doubt that hole will survive. A catastrophic glocal warming of +30°C would be required, or worse.
Complete Certral Arctic refreezing during winter is out of the question in a realistc AGW scenario for centuries

L. Hamilton

So IJIS has declined by 30 to 70k each of the last 5 days. Looks like their lowest-max record is safe.


Neven, are you the Warden, or just the head inmate?

[Snipped some of the exaggerations/insults, but yes, I'm the head inmate, and you're the paragon of rational thought; N.]

In any event, the inmates here will be sadly disappointed when this year's melt reaches Wrangel Island, north of which the ice is 6 meters thick. Sorry guys, that will be all she wrote.

[Of course, I'll let this one stand too, for future reference; N. :-) ]


I wonder if Cincinnatus realize that he looks terribly foolish lashing out insults at very good analysis here while ignoring about all time low extent at present. He Is like what John Cleese has remarkably encapsulated here:


Pete Williamson

Sorry OT


Have people had a chance to read the full paper above. They are reporting that post-1979 ice decline has avery large internal variability component. Bottom line is 49% from Combo f Atlantic waters and arctic dipole (1979-present). And 44% from pacific waters 2001-present. I dont know how this is summed to give a total attribution to dynamical changes, but it looks very large.


Pete, I read this interesting article on CarbonBrief two days ago.


Cincinatus, I would LOVE to see 6M thick ice north of Wrangel island.

Please illuminate us with its location.


Jdallen, the sea ice thickness maps that you're looking at are based on models. There are no reliable ice thickness data, not from satellites either as it's notoriously difficult to measure. But one can deduce ice thickness from the temperature profile over the full winter, and it's been very cold there (N of Wrangel) the whole winter due to the "Siberian Express" weather pattern. So I infer 6 meters thick ice based on those cold temperatures.

And Neven, my point about you being the Warden of this Arkham Climate Asylum here was that you should exert some control over the lunacy on both sides. When people here start talking about the Arctic Ocean being ice-free over the entire winter, that should be your Rubicon where you, the Warden, exert some control over the inmates. Cheerio :-)

Kevin O'Neill

Cincinnatus - You are aware the arctic has been ice-free in the past - no? That Rubicon has been crossed before - so the only lunacy would be someone (you) implying it can't happen when it already has happened in the past.

Go research the early Eocene, you can start here: "One of the unique features of the Eocene’s climate as mentioned before was the equable and homogeneous climate that existed in the early parts of the Eocene. A multitude of proxies support the presence of a warmer equable climate being present during this period of time. A few of these proxies include the presence of fossils native to warm climates, such as crocodiles, located in the higher latitudes, the presence in the high-latitudes of frost-intolerant flora such as palm trees which cannot survive during sustained freezes, and fossils of snakes found in the tropics that would require much higher average temperatures to sustain them. Using isotope proxies to determine ocean temperatures indicates sea surface temperatures in the tropics as high as 35 °C (95 °F) and, relative to present day values, bottom water temperatures that are 10 °C (18 °F) higher. With these bottom water temperatures, temperatures in areas where deep-water forms near the poles are unable to be much cooler than the bottom water temperatures."

Crocodiles, and turtles, and palm trees in the arctic - oh my. Obvious lunacy. Except it's a fact.


Recent posting in reaction to ‘a possible ice free central Arctic’ seem to have missed a lot of our discussions on the concept of bifurcation, that describes how such tipping point behaviour could indeed create the conditions to make it happen.

I’m not going to repeat it in length, the interested can find out themselves by digging through the very informative past of Neven’s blog and Forum. Here, I’ll just postulate that it isn’t crucial for the Arctic night to get to high mean temps in the lower troposphere.

For those who make wild claims on ice growth, reveal your sources. The region around Ostrov Wrangelja had mean winter temp anomaly in the +4 - +5 dC range (NCEP/NCAR).

I suggest there’s merit in the example of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus. Go back to simple and honest gardening. Even when your main great contribution to the discussion has been filing nonsense and not an act of great value for society.


KO: Ah, the Eocene. Oh wait, it isn't the Eocene anymore, is it? Next.

Werther: The notion of "tipping points" is the problem here. In its 4.6 billion year geologic history, the Earth has already gone over every available "tipping point". There are none left, no lurking tipping points that have been waiting just to spring their surprise on us humans. Ever see the movie "The Core"? "Oh no, the Earth's core has stopped spinning!!" -- but nobody asks why it would stop just now. Why didn't it stop 100 million years ago instead? That's where I stopped watching.

And what part of "North of Wrangel" are you not understanding? But you're right, Cincinnatus went back to his farm -- a large commercial farm, not a garden. Good idea.

Remko Kampen

Climate revisionist troll there with all the typical sillies. Kick out please.


Cincinnatus wrote:

And what part of "North of Wrangel" are you not understanding?

Also Fairbanks is to the North of Wrangle Island, so you have to be more specific.

But let"s have a look at the latest Denmark Ice thickness chart, the latest being

1 april 2015

What do we (hopefully you too) see there:

1. Directly around Wrange Island the ice should have 0,75 to 2,00 m of thickness. As it is every year.

2.In a 300 km large band to (what you probably call) the Nord the ice has 1,2 to 4,00 m of thickness. As it is has been each year in the past.

3.From there then almost the entire Beaufort Sea and a limited chunck of the central arctic should be covered with more as 4,00 m thick ice. A bit unusual, but is has been like that already in the past, and nevertheless the Beaufort-ice melted away in these circomstances.

4. And now the thing hard to believe. From The North-East coast of Greenland to Canada's Prince Patrick Island, the thick multi-years ice has gone away! Partly to the Beaufort Sea, partly to the Greenland Sea where is had been chopped to pieces by the Atlantic Februar-March storms. Making it possible the Arctic coast from Greenland to Prince Patrick Island would become free of ice.

5. Moreover, the ice in Neven's beloved Laptev-bit is thin, very thin (0,75 to 1,5 m). A thinness Stretching out to the pole itself. So it's likely the pole would become ice-free this year too.

Anyway, taking in account point 2. to 5., we could reasonably assume an Arctic disastre is imminent.

But perhaps you do have a private satellite turning around the Earth giving different data? If so, please, be so kind to share your data with us.

So it's likely the pole would become ice-free this year too.

I don't know about likely, but this could definitely be an important theme this melting season. Initial conditions suggest it's possible, the weather will determine whether it happens. I'll have more on that in the upcoming winter analysis.

Cincinnatus (like your nick BTW!), this would be an asylum if everyone would topple over each other claiming the Central Arctic will be ice-free all year round by 2050. "No, 2030!" "No, this year!" "No, next week!"

But as you can see only one person suggested it might happen in the next 20 years. I don't know about timing, but it looks way too soon to me (in other words, that's what I wish to think). But if AGW-induced Arctic sea ice loss keeps continuing at this pace - let's hope some natural variability or a negative feedback puts a brake on it - and the Arctic becomes (virtually) ice-free in September, this will be the next step. And like Kevin O'Neill says: it has happened before. It's all a question of timing.

For your last and most interesting point: I don't really see how ice thickness can be higher than 6m outside that band of multi-year ice, pressed against Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago. Sure, some of it has been transported a long way towards the Chukchi Sea, and this part might on average be 4-5 m thick, but 6 m? I don't think so.

Scroll down on the Arctic Sea Ice Graphs page to the Sea ice thickness, volume & age segment and notice how broken up that MYI pack is, interspersed with first-year ice. Depending on the weather, it could weaken that whole MYI pack sufficiently for it to melt out in August/September. Some years it does, other years it doesn't.


You claim "But one can deduce ice thickness from the temperature profile over the full winter, and it's been very cold there (N of Wrangel) the whole winter due to the "Siberian Express" weather pattern. So I infer 6 meters thick ice based on those cold temperatures." without providing any source for the data.
According to ESRL http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/data/timeseries/timeseries1.pl the area 170E-170W & 70N-80N which covers North of Wrangel pretty well has just had the hottest Nov-Feb SST's on record with every month in the top 10.
So I'd be very interesed to know where you get your figures.


Time to apply Hitchen's Razor.

Cinncinatus, you infer 6 meters but present no evidence. Your assertion is dismissed.

You infer that the return of an ice free arctic is impossible, but again, present no supporting fact. Your assertion is dismissed.

Please stop wasting everyone's time, and deal with your frustrations with reality in private.


You can find everything if you aim towards the 2nd star to the right and fly till dawn.
To the topic at hand, the max is all in, the question now becomes, how much wind and in what direction, cloud, and how much undermelt will we get this year, thereby giving us an idea how much ice is left at the end of the melt season.
The other part of the equation which is becoming even more important is how much melting will happen on the Greenland ice sheet and how much more destabilization will occur.


Would someone be so kind as to inform our illustrious "Arctic Scholar" Cincinnatus to read about Thermal Equilibrium before he make claims about how thick the ice is just based on the winter temperatures. DUH, I've only been studying what's happening in the Arctic for 3 years and I believe I'm a few semesters ahead of our dear friend.


Mostly a lurker and learner. Once again thanks to Neven and all of you who share so much valuable knowledge.
A question: Is there useful data from the refreeze behaviour of surrounding seas (Hudson is likely too shallow and too far south to be useful) to indicate whether a mostly ice-free central Arctic Basin would have storms sufficiently frequent and severe as to delay/diminish refreeze by stirring up deep, warmer, water?
Thanks in advance


Voyageur, that is a matter to observe simply by looking at sea water freeze-up surface air temperatures. If the near surface water column is much warmer than present, it will be possible to have no sea ice year round because the total thermal value of the sea surface being simply too warm. I have personally observed low sun but calm sea water (without waves), persist at surface temperatures up to -16 C, because the summer season was without sea ice for months and the sun warmed the water column a great deal. The sea had enough energy stored to keep sea surface temperatures above -1.8 C. There is no freeze up possible with sst's greater than -1.8 C. So the scenario of a wide open Arctic Ocean during the dark long night will happen only with a substantial increase of Ocean surface temperatures along with a complete melt off of the Arctic Ocean sea ice during summer. Once sea ice all gone by at least June, the sun would warm the Arctic Ocean to a point where even in total darkness, with sub zero temperatures, no ice would be possible. But we first must see a rapid melt of all or most of the sea ice , this will take some unknown years difficult to judge by even with the best computer models. Suffices to observe how fast the sea ice currently disappears during summer, this is the metric which would help us determine a more precise date.


Interesting links from Neven and Kris, following are two links and my comment:


The above is the Danish Arctic ice thickness hindcast. Observe the Beaufort ice mass extending to Wrangel Island, the thickness is "4+" meters which has no upper limit, but it's model-driven only. Next we have:


This is from the Russians and is observation-based which is commendable but ice thickness is not given. The multi-year ice is seen to stretch toward Wrangel and Siberia. This is based on surface characteristics.

Note how different the top link is from the ARCC "nowcast":


Forecasts, hindcasts, and nowcasts are all we've got for ice thickness. My Cincinnatus-cast is about as good as theirs, but the point is that all will be revealed in the next 6 months. It's like the Nenana Ice competition with a larger playing field. Commenters on this site are faaa-a-a-ar too trusting of "official" maps; you'd be astonished at how they dance to make those up. Thumbs in the wind, guys, learn to think independently.


What Wayne said. Let me add, the Barents Sea may be our poster child for demonstrating what the future of the central arctic looks like. Until recently mostly covered at Arctic maximum, at high latititudes, it remains mostly ice free year round. I believe it may be revealing how storms and weather will affect ice formation or the lack thereof.

Thumbs in the wind, guys, learn to think independently.

A good cliché to end the discussion. And it will definitely be interesting to see what will happen to all that multi-year ice in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, however thick it is.

I'll do comparisons of those ice age/thickness maps in the upcoming winter analysis (2-3 weeks from now).


I was reading the Eocene entry of Wikipedia which is very well written with abundant references. Global temps. could have reached up to +15°C (even higher if average taken over Northern Hemisphere only) at some point during that long epoch, and CO2 concentrations of up to 2000 ppm.

There was a so-called equable climate state in the Northern Hemisphere, with warm temps up to the pole and little seasonal variation, while South hemisphere stayed colder. Even under these extreme conditions, models fail to explain the ice-free Arctic winters that prevailed, without adopting further conjectures.

No indication has been found of absence of polar ice cap during the 30+ million years since that epoch.

My point being: there is wide consensus that current CO2 rate of release and subsequent AGW will lead to ice-free Arctic summer very soon, along with many plausible mechanisms to explain how it will happen. However, the conditions to reach an equable climate state are very far beyond the worst predictions for T and CO2 at the end of this century, and even so, probably additional conditions would be required.

For me the most interesting fact is that the inminent ice-free Arctic in September will represent an evidence of AGW of colossal proportions.


By +15°C of global temp I mean +15 degrees relative to 20th century average (not absolute)


Cincinnatus & navegante

Inspired by your negative reactions and your harsh references to the “Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane”, I decided to follow your leads and look at both the Eocene Epoch and the concept of “Living Fossils”.

What I found was this:

Living fossils are quite unique in this world. Several definitions appear, but I liked this one in particular:

“A living fossil is an organism that has retained the same form over millions of years, has few or no living relatives, and represents a sole surviving lineage from an epoch long past.
Many living fossils alive today have bizarre, eccentric traits that make them seem more like aliens than anything from this world. They have often survived several mass extinctions, and many scientists consider them to be a rare glimpse at how life on Earth was long ago. “

A few examples are:

From Botany:

Japanese Umbrella Pine ( see http://blogs.ubc.ca/conifersubc/?page_id=66 ) and it’s Eocene amber producing relative: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sciadopitys

Chinese water fir – also known as Dawn redwood (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn_redwood) is particularly fond of wet environments

Gingko Biloba (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginkgo_biloba) , which is a living fossil favoring disturbed river side environments

Various forms of laurels (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lauraceae ) often found in moist locations in isolated stands (also known as Laurel forests http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurel_forest)

From zoology:

The Okapi (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okapi ) is a rare species living in the tropical rainforests in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Platypus (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platypus ) is a SE Australian minority species living in just three watershed in the riverbanks

The Quensland Lungfish ( see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queensland_lungfish ) is yet another species surviving drought and flooding in its own special way

Critters and below:

Finally, Stromatolites are found in coastal marine environments in NW Australia ( see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamelin_Pool_Marine_Nature_Reserve ). Apparently this particular subspecies has survived on earth for about 3.5 billion years building solid calcium carbonate structures during times of trouble.

New species also appear from time to time:

Birdie Namkheng (see http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,416.msg8891.html#msg8891 )

So, in order to sum up:

All these living fossils seem to have survived both the Eocene and the Eemian. They nearly all favor moist climates and they seem to prefer nocturnal activities. They also seem well fitted to exploit all the new opportunities of a near-future equable climate.

I was just wondering, whether there would be any similarities between contributors to the ASIB and those “Living Fossils”. Apparently we have all survived in small pockets of existence, we become active during the night, we are generally very old, and – despite spreading our seeds worldwide – our ofsspring seldom takes our civilization to a higher level.

May I propose to change the name of the ASIB to:

“Asylum of the Living Fossils”


I didnt make any negative reference about an assylum, P- maker, I just don't believe on the possibility of a ice-free Arctic all year round during the Xxi century and probably a few more, based on some knowledge of physics I got during my university years, and on what I just read in wikipedia about Eocene :-) I hope I didn't hurt anybody's feelings for expressing such an opinion. Sorry to disagree

Susan Anderson

Thanks in particular to P-Maker for several interesting comments, and though I'd hesitate to assume we are that homogeneous, I love your suggestion. But if it is fossilous to prefer the truth that is evolving to the hydra headed doubt and delay movement, then I'd rather be a fossil.

Now this is badly OT, but can anyone point me to a forum item that discussions geothermal influences on Antarctica? It's been a meme going around the denialsphere, and I'd like to be a little better informed so as not to make a fool of myself in public (any more than I can help, that being part of my normal state).


This may be the best place at the forum to start:

But it may take some time to find the info you're looking for, if it's there.

Bill Fothergill

Various people on this blog have castigated Neven (and many others) for their views on how increased CO2 levels are affecting, and will continue to affect, the Arctic.

Just for you, I dug out this little gem from exactly 5 years ago, the 3rd of April 2010.

Is this how you prefer your reporting?

The Arctic ice set 30 records in April, one for each day. According to satellite data received by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the Arctic was more ice bound each day of April than it had been any other corresponding day in April since its sensors began tracking the extent of Arctic Ice in mid 2002. Click here to see this tracking on the Japan Aerospace website, run jointly with the International Arctic Research Center.

While Arctic ice has always varied greatly, expanding and contracting during the course of a year and also from year to year and decade to decade, the expansion of the Arctic ice this decade is significant in one respect: It acts to disprove the models that had predicted that the Arctic ice in this century would not recover as it had in previous centuries.

The expansion of the Arctic ice also acts to support a growing number of reports that Earth could be in for a period of global cooling. In one recent example, on April 14 New Scientist in an article entitled “Quiet Sun Puts Europe on Ice” warned its readers as follows: “BRACE yourself for more winters like the last one, northern Europe. Freezing conditions could become more likely: winter temperatures may even plummet to depths last seen at the end of the 17th century, a time known as the Little Ice Age. That's the message from a new study that identifies a compelling link between solar activity and winter temperatures in northern Europe.”

New Scientist, a widely respected magazine that until recently had blamed human activity for the global warming, is now advising its readers that climate scientists may have had their blinders on in ignoring a dominant role for the Sun. New research, the article explains, “is helping to overcome a long-standing reticence among climate scientists to tackle the influence of solar cycles on the climate and weather.”

The new study that New Scientist refers to, which appears in Environmental Research Letters, a journal of the Institute of Physics, is entitled “Are cold winters in Europe associated with low solar activity?”

Quoting from an earlier comment critical of NSIDC calling the Max before it was physically impossible for further ice growth to occur...
"It is a dishonest and politicised way of reporting science."

Pot, kettle, black

cheers Bill F (PS Anybody care to guess the source of the bollocks I cut&pasted?)

Bill Fothergill

Bloody edjit!

I had my desk calendar turned to May.

The article I cut&pasted is exactly 4 years and 11 months old, and is from 3 MAY 2010.

Bloody, bloody edjit



apparently a source of many delusions...


I the interests of honesty I'm sure the author of your article pointed out how low the JAXA record went by the end of May in 2010 and how much lower it went in June. My records only go back to 2005 but June 2010 seems to have had record low temperatures every day in June. A salutary tale on not making rash statements.

Bill Fothergill


Yep, the author of that article was so obsessed with the need for honesty that, in May 2013, Neven allowed me to put up the following guest post...



While awaiting NSIDC's March overview-report we already can have a look at some of the

NSIDC March statistics.

As could have been expected, a new March 2015 mean minimum SIE record (minus 300.000 sq km in respect to March 2007). Into this record-minimum-extent the concentration is up 100.000 sq km compared to March 2007. And the concentration anomaly has risen to a staggering -1.000.000 sq km!

Looks very much like the hope created by April 2010 won't come true ...



Bill , Low solar activity indeed. But How to explain the summary by Kris just above?


how to explain 2014 warmest year in history despite fewer watts/m2 from the sun?

Bill Fothergill


What you are patently failing to realise is that, to some people, facts and cherries are virtually interchangeable, in that they are both there to be picked as required.

cheers bill f ;-)

Colorado Bob

Remember the story of methane craters? Here is the scientific report:


Page 68 of the pdf.


The date of
the crater’s formation is estimated to have
been in the late fall of 2013; (5) The high
concentration of methane in the hole, which
decreases in the vicinity of the hole and is
negligible far from the hole, indicates the role
of methane in the formation of the crater;


The PIOMAS graph has been updated.


Bill Fothergill

Staying on the topic of the N's...

NSIDC have now posted their preliminary monthlies for March...

Extent 14.39 million sq kms
Area 12.63 million sq kms

That puts these metrics at lowest and 5th lowest respectively in the NSIDC database.

As has been alluded to by Al, the March 2015 monthly average extent was fractionally lower than the February value of 14.41 million sq kms. Whilst this could certainly be characterised as unusual, it is far from being unprecedented, as the same almost happened in 2006.

In the NSIDC database(s), there have been 8 previous occurrences of the March average extent marginally dropping below the February value. The years in question were...

1972 16.08 vs 15.93
1981 15.65 vs 15.61
1987 16.11 vs 15.95
1989 15.56 vs 15.52
1992 15.50 vs 15.47
1994 15.61 vs 15.58
1996 15.17 vs 15.13
1998 15.77 vs 15.66

2006 14.42 vs 14.43
2015 14.41 vs 14.39

(The astute observer will doubtless have noted that the last two were significantly lower than their predecessors.)

So, what does this tell us about what's to come later this year? Not a great deal really, as the correlation between, say, March and September is pretty ropey. However, if we restrict our horizon to April, things get somewhat less murky.

The five lowest April average extents (in the NSIDC database) are...

2007 13.87 million sq kms
2006 13.97
2005 14.07
2004 14.11
2014 14.14

The lowest March - April drop (since SMMR in 1979) was 0.27 million sq kms in 1999, with 2010's 0.41 being second lowest. Last year's drop was 0.69 million sq kms, which also happens to be the mean value over the 2000-2014 period.

So, if this year equals the lowest March-April drop, then April 2015 would just fail to take 4th lowest position.

If this year's drop equalled the second lowest (0.41) drop, then 2015 would just fail to take second lowest position.

If this year's drop is within 150k sq kms of the 2000-2014 average, then 2015 would set a record low for April.

As at the 3rd April, the 5-day running value for 2015 is 0.233 million sq kms below the 2014 equivalent.

If only my crystal ball was working, I would start laying odds.

cheers bill f


How's this for a hypothesis? - In the current regime of flat, predominantly 1-2m ice, Feb-mid-April area/extent volatility in ESS, Beaufort, Chukchi and CAB cause the total volume at maximum to be larger in those core areas than it would be given continuously unbroken cover, because ice grows more quickly over open water than over an insulating layer of pre-existing, snow-covered ice. When this happens it becomes less likely that there will be open water in these areas late in the melt season, which means a larger minimum.

If that makes sense, things could be interesting this year, because it seems that the low overall minimum was realized in spite of the low volatility in the core areas, not because of it. I.e. all of the anomaly was early, at the periphery, with static area/extent at the core, leading to both the long area/extent plateau throughout March that many have noted, and lower total maximum volume in the core than would have been the case had it started the year in an already fragmented state.


This 2015 melt season looks like shaping up to be a very interesting one! I'll look forward to all the discussion here, thanks in anticipation to all you regular posters!
And Neven too of course!
So it's time to secure my front row seat by putting something in the Tip Jar.
Back to lurking.....

Susan Anderson

LennartVdl (3 April): Thanks for the forum link on Antarctica. That is some interesting material. I hope I haven't done you all a disservice by linking it where some bad actors read; hopefully they will not intrude in the forum the way they might here. Just a warning, hope I did not harm there.

The interrelationships between all these different things is fascinating, and seismic and volcanic events make them even more complex. My New York Times has an article about how Kamchatka is embracing oil. Sad.

(NYT limits people's access, but this is already OT so I will leave it at that.


Before you may read my next fearless projection about Northern Hemisphere weather/climate events (in 10 days or so) you may want to read how well I did last year:


There are fake skeptic contrarian deniers out there (mainly gossiping at WUWT) who no fault of their own, they cant help it, they must ridiculize any science endeavor. But they are the last ones to be precise in long term forecasts or predictions. This is because they ignore the good science readily available to them, very basic science at that. For those who think of following their nonsense. Find out about their prediction skills, if they have none or especially don't try, they are not worth your time to improve an understanding of Climate science.


The latest PIOMAS- data up to 31st of March 2015:
The center is 18 T km³ because the volume-loss between March and September was so big in 2010 and 2012. In the last year we saw a loss of about 15 T km³. So an ice free arctic seems to be very unlikely in 2015.

Bill Fothergill


I nearly had a coronary when I read your comment. After a bit of CPR, I realised that you were possibly using the capitalised "T" to indicate thousands.

Most people (including the SI) use the "T" prefix to indicate "Tera", or 10 to the power of 12.

Alternatively, you could have meant cubic metres, rather than cubic kilometres. But what the heck, what difference does a factor of a billion either way make?


As regards an "Ice free Arctic by 2015", Peter Wadhams went out on a pretty lonely limb when he made that ill-considered remark. (Even the considerably less bullish 2016 +/- 3 years doesn't cut the ice with too many people.)

cheers bill f


Bill, sorry 4 heart attack! :-) Indeed I used the "T" for 1000 km³. In German ( my native language) it's not unusual to use this big T for thousend :-).
And yes, this was a hint to this: http://arctic-news.blogspot.de/2012/03/rebuttal-imminent-collapse-of-arctic.html , where a scientist used a central figure with an exponential trend... with it you can also show ( by extrapolating into the past) that the arctic was also ice free at about 1935... and nobody was aware of this :-) .
Cheers Frank... with the best wishes 4 a long life... without heart attack!


I know Peter Wadhams, and he was sure about the rapid decline in sea ice by at least the early 90's. Way before most of us noticed it. Predicting its total disappearance is a matter of time, but first the Pole must be clear blue. It may have been a bad prediction, considering the subject though, the model predicting 2007 melt in year 2038 was far worse. There are reasons to overestimate melting,
one of which is the lack of projection skills, the subject is so vast,
has so many variables that it is easy to fail. We hone our skills not because it shows prowess but because it helps understand all the mechanisms of sea ice. The more precise the projection, the more accomplished in the subject, in this case the greatest peer
is not a school or institution but the future.

Bill Fothergill

Frank & Wayne

Yep, good old extrapolation, and the ice free Arctic of the 1930's or 1940's. It's a shame that none of the scientists of the time thought to mention it. However, even more remiss were those scientists in the 60's and 70's who also failed to mention that the ice had expanded beyond all recognition over the last 30 or so years.


As regards Peter Wadhams' rebuttal of David Archer's thoughts regarding methane, I remember reading that a couple of years ago. PW is a leading light in the Arctic Methane Emergency Group (AMEG), and, as such, he has some pretty sobering views about clathrates. These certainly do not make for easy bedtime reading - especially for those of a nervous disposition.

Sometimes the remarks made by Peter Wadhams get taken very much out of context. For those perhaps unfamiliar with his views, here is link a which may be useful, in that it brings together various of his musings his own words, rather than the interpretations (or misinterpretations) of a second party.


Anyone following that link will find that Neven's blog gets an honourable mention.

OK I'm going to go out on a real limb myself, but I always thought his bullish predictions about 2015 or 2016 were predicated upon the belief that the 2012 collapse represented a "new normal". Instead, it would perhaps have been more prudent to consider events such as 2007 and 2012 as outliers, albeit ones that act as harbingers for what has yet to unfold.

cheers bill f (heart still going at about 60bpm)

Tor Bejnar

My mother always writes 10,000 as 10M, using the Roman Numeral, and so, at times, I have not been certain if someone using "M" was meaning thousands or millions. Paying attention to other's usage in recent years has led me to believe that ONLY my mother uses M for thousand! Because I know some on Neven's pages may not be fully fluent in 'American', I try to avoid undefined abbreviations and usage that might confuse (such as 4/5/15 being today according to my compatriots, but 29 days from now for others).


Then of course between the US and Europe you can have either 10,000 or 10.000. In Canada where it can not decide if it is Us following or European you have both. Reason, Quebec follows French numbering system.
Scary thing about PW is that his predictions are based upon what he himself has seen in the Arctic rather then basing it on what satellites see. He has been one of the very few that has seen the ice both from on top and from underneath. Not only one or two times but many times.
There is one point though, if you had the perfect melt season, with high temps little cloud and strong wind blow out the Fram, how long would the ice that is there last? Basing on the examples of the last two seasons, likelihood is very low, but were they the norm or were they outliers of new weather?

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