« Beaufort and Northwest Passage videos | Main | ASI 2015 update 5: late momentum »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Allen W. McDonnell

Neven a quick question, I have been looking for information on the retreat of the Petermann ice tongue with very little success and also for information on the big tabular iceberg that broke off of Ellesmere island a couple years ago and then became grounded on the beach later that year. The graphic someone posted over on peak oil dot com looks like a big tabular berg breaking loose and drifting westward from Ellesmere. Google has not been friendly looking for these things, it keeps directing me to Jakobshaven for Greenland and Antarctica when searching for Arctic Ice Shelves. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated, TIA!

[There have been some problems since yesterday with logging in on Typepad, and so I'm doing an inline response.

Allen, if you check out this blog's Glaciers category you might find some more info on Petermann (I've written several blog posts over the years).

As for that big tabular iceberg: Are you referring to the break-up of the Ellesmere Ice Shelf that was in place for 3000-5500 years?


Jim Hunt

Allen - See also the Petermann thread on the Arctic Sea Ice Form. Andreas Muenchow is a contributor!


For more on one "ice island" in particular that you may interested in see:


et seq. and search the forum for "PII-2012"

There's also a large chunk of sea ice that's recently become detached from Northern Ellesmere:


Is that what you're referring to?

Andy Lee Robinson

I think it was the Ayles shelf

Sailwx 47554-Ayles made the news and I followed it for a while.
There's dump of its track available, but not a live one because it expired.

Jim Hunt

I didn't think my contempt for these people could sink any lower, but it has.

If there is any truth whatsoever in their latest attempt to assassinate the character of Professor Peter Wadhams then the Great British gutter press have recently been hounding the partner of the late Professor Seymour Laxon. Here are the edited lowlights so far:

Lorryless Assassination for Dummies

Disgusted of Dunchideock

Chris Reynolds


Do you deny the core of that Daily Mail story?


This isn't character assasination, it is self inflicted. Prof Wadhams needs to take a break and regain a sense of perspective.

Chris Reynolds

Using NSIDC Sept Monthly extent, which is the index upon which SIPN predictions are based. And using Wipneus's extent data, calculating Arctic Ocean extent for 24 July, Arctic Ocean being Beaafort round to Barents, Greenland, Central Arctic and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago...

I have calculated the losses from 24 July to the September averag extent value for each year, 2007 to 2014. These are then used as loss scenarios e.g. S2008 for the 2008 loss from 24 July to September average. I have then sorted theses results in with the actual September extent for 2007 to 2012 (stated as the year alone)..

The results are:

S2012 3.57*
2012 3.62
S2008 3.93*
2007 4.29
S2007 4.33*
S2010 4.54*
2011 4.61
2008 4.72
S2011 4.72*
S2014 4.80*
2010 4.92
S2009 5.01*
S2013 5.11*
2014 5.28
2013 5.35
2009 5.38

Scenarios are marked thus * for ease of reading

Broader subjective analysis of extent, area, compactness, and Drift Age Model / PIOMAS model data is in line with these data. a re-run of 2013 or 2014 is very unlikely this year due to low compactness in Beaufort round to Laptev. 2012 re-run is very unlikely due to larger amounts of MYI than in 2012 (Drift Age Model).

Regards 2012, note that in the wake of the August Cyclone extent loss from 1 to 10 August 2012 1.183 million kmsq for the Arctic Ocean (defined above), this was a 118.3 thousand kmsq per day loss, and over that period loss was 687 thousand kmsq greater than the average 1 to 10 August loss for 1981 to 2010.

Jim Hunt


The Mail quotes The Telegraph.

The Telegraph says "Prof Wadhams... told The Telegraph"

The Times says "Asked by The Times for his response to the discovery that the total volume of ice grew 40 per cent in 2013, Professor Wadhams insisted..."

Do you believe that all 3 of them are telling "The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth"?

Chris Reynolds


Who said what is irrelevant, the issue is whether Prof Wadhams said what is reported. Do you have evidence that he did not?

The Times (the orignal source?) is paywalled but starts:

"A Cambridge professor has said that assassins may have murdered scientists who were seeking to reveal how rapidly global warming was melting Arctic ice.

Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics, said he believed that he had also been targeted but had a narrow escape after a driver of an unmarked lorry tried to push his car off the M25."

I used to read The Times regularly and trust their journalistic standards on the whole. Unlike the Mail they have high standards. So I presume that what they summarise in these two paragraphs is justified by their article.

Prof Wadhams should be aware of the Law of Large Numbers, yet he links three unconnected deaths to an unconnected incident he experienced with a lorry. There is such loose paranoid reasoning throughout the internet, it usually comes from comments and pages littered with 'shouty capitals'.

Murdering three scientists? Are they the only scientists who have worked on Cryosat 2 data? No. Are they the only scientists capable of spotting something is wrong with data that has been massaged? No. Does anyone but the AMEG bozos think a catastrophe linked to Arctic sea ice is imminent within decades (of such magnitude that its imminence needs to be covered up)? No.

I'm part way into Hansen's latest paper, there are 17 authors. The first sentence is: "Humanity is rapidly extracting and burning fossil fuels without full understanding of the consequences." It gets more pessimistic from there on.

Looks like the 'assasins' are going to be rather busy.

Assasins my arse.


Also - what would the assassins hope to achieve? If Wadhams is correct, then at the very most killing people off would delay discovery of the putative Arctic collapse by... a year or so? Did any of the three people look likely to convince the world of an imminent Arctic catastrophe in the next few months?

Andy Lee Robinson

I wouldn't take any of this sideshow pantomime seriously.
The ice is still going away, independently of what anyone thinks or says. That is just a matter of time.

I'm not sure that an ice free Arctic Ocean would be catastrophic, but it would be an ugly milestone and just another candidate for marking the beginning of the end of the Anthropocene, (or anthropobscene!)
We have the ability to choose our destiny.

"The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is."

Time will tell.


Let's stick to the science. The intense El Nino this year is going to lead to a very warm north Atlantic next year according to climate models. This summer the heat has focused on melting the thickest ice the Arctic so I anticipate this year will be a lot like 2010. We will see a large drop in volume and multi-year ice without a big drop in extent. The following two years will be like 2011 and 2012 for sea ice area, but worse, IMO. The last holdout of sea ice will be blown against the Arctic shores of Greenland in September 2017.

If I get the time I will write this up on Dailykos with figures from models and analysis to back up this outline.

I think this El Nino is bringing on the next step in climate change.


"Let's stick to the science" D must be in Hawaii, clear thinking as the beautiful water there. And Jim: hurray 4 u showing shoddy journalism about our subject. I wonder what would be if we did not respond to this crap.

El-Nino is normal, the North Pacific temp anomalies appears not so.

Note NW Pacific and NW Atlantic parallel cold set zones. Stefan
on RC theorized about the N Atlantic cold patch.


I believe these are temperature imprints from recurring persistent Cyclones , after time always shading the sea from the sun. All while the NE Pacific has mostly sunny dry conditions.

These anomalies have had a significant impact on this years melt, less apparent than the weather in the regions affected.
There is no question that these set patterns are significant for TH circulation as well. El-Nino is not strong yet, but increases cloudiness worldwide, so I suspect these cold sst zones have been amplified by El-Nino very slowly gaining strength. For the Arctic,
it is still a non effect, the temperatures there are way above seasonally warmer.

Chris, your latest calculations is a good idea. Except I don't believe this years melt has a similar melt signature with preceding seasons, except for 2014 1 month early, if 2014 melt continued beyond mid-september it would look a lot like this year. Safe to say that the RRR NWE Pacific ridge has started in full from mid August 2014 onwards.


Ahhh, the Daily Manipulate....

Let's be Very Clear here because this is important to all of us at one point at another.

The DM headlines scream

"Have three climate change scientists been ASSASSINATED? The astonishing claim made by a Cambridge professor"

Now we have the word ASSASINATED in bold and we have the word claim in small text....

Then they say

"Professor Peter Wadhams insists Seymour Laxon, Katharine Giles and Tim Boyd could have been murdered by someone possibly working for the oil industry or within government forces"

Ok so what did the DM actually report?

Amongst a huge amount of dross and pictures and background there are three sentences from Peter Wadhams.

"It's just very odd coincidence that something like that should happen in such a brief period of time,"

"They [the deaths] were accidents as far as anybody was able to tell but the fact they were clustered like that looked so weird."

"I thought if it was somebody assassinating them could it be one of our people doing it and that would be even more frightening. I thought it would be better not to touch this with a barge pole."

OK so he says as far as anyone can tell they were accidents but it just looked weird because it was in such a brief period of time. He, himself, was in an incident where a truck nearly ran him off the road and then he speculates that

"IF it was somebody assassinating"

What I have read so far is someone talking openly and honestly about situations in their personal and work life which caused them to reflect. Knowing that their work is opposed by very powerful and very rich people who could be seriously financially hurt by the work of these scientists.

We talk about "just a few years" as if it means nothing. To those who control energy it is literally trillions of $ WW1 was started over less.

Anyway, back to the story. It's a typical DM sting article which screams one thing in the title and simply does not back it up with any credible evidence in the article itself.

I don't read the DM any more specifically for this issue. In fact if I see a DM article in the Google News portal I'll search for another one in any other newspaper before I read it because I assume that it will, either subtly or not subtly at all, lie to me. Almost all DM articles on climate change actually contradict the title in the body of the article. Some even totally change the entire meaning of the article.

So whilst the science is the main deal here. What is the point in the science and the foreknowledge if the majority of the world believes you are lying to them and do nothing about it?????


On another note it seems like the western Arctic is cooling again but the Northern Sea Route is, essentially, open for navigation right now.

It's funny really because there is no huge melt ponding or any other sign but the continued melt around the NSR and North of Svalbard seems to be setting itself up for a 2005 style melt back. If this is matched in the Beaufort, then things could be very interesting indeed. There are 6 weeks left now. I wonder how things will end up.

Chris Reynolds

Typepad really is thoroughly useless. First some weeks ago it forgets I've got a profile forcing me to login via Google+, now it takes multiple attempts to sign in via Google+...

Next thing I won't be able to login at all.


2015 is very like 2007, 2011 and 2012.
For this month that applies to the atmospheric set up as well.


Oh come on...


Yes, yes, we know why the Mail is spinning this, we know why the Telegraph (Torygraph) ran with it. We know why the Times probably thought a minor story was worth running with - in order; swivel eyed loony right wing bias, Conservative bias, conservative bias. (Note - Conservative refers to the UK's right wing Conservative party, and with a lower case 'c' conservative refers to a bias towards the estabilishment and the status quo.

None of this bias changes one simple thing...

Prof Wadhams seems to have said what he said! The Times are not likely to have made it up.

It's Christmas dinner, you break into a break in the conversation at the dinner table, addressing the hosts wife...

"Y'know, I often thought it strange that when your daughter was born, if you work back exactly nine months, your husband was in Taiwan on a contract. And it was about that time that there was that scandalous spate of births that the gossips attributed to the milkman we had around then."

"What? I don't know why you're getting so angry? I didn't mean to say you had it off with the milkman, I was just talking openly and honestly about the situation."

There's talking honestly and openly and there's just plane stupid. ;)

But we all know what Prof Wadhams was saying!

Chris Reynolds


Although that graph say NH Extent, it is for the Arctic Ocean and should read Arctic Ocean extent.



5 or 6 years ago I might have agreed with you. But so much is my complete distrust of the reporting of Climate Change and Climate Science in the UK press that I no longer trust them even if He seems to be going of his trolley...

If I read that in the Guardian I'll believe it because much as I completely dislike their politics, I very much admire their unwavering and direct stance on their Climate Science and Climate Change reporting.

Notably if I search for Wadhams and Guardian, all I see is "Ice free in two years"....

Says enough for me. The Times is Business linked, the Torygraph is anti any initiative which has Climate in it and the DM is howling at the moon....


On another point, Peter Wadhams has made himself vulnerable by his increasingly outspoken attitude and entries like his Search prediction.

In the political world if you find your opponent lying on the ground dying, you finish them off with a few good kicks...

I'll need a lot of persuasion that this is not what is going on.


Weatherwise it's a year with subsidence over the pole in July. 2013 had a very intense sudden stratospheric warming in January which led to a cold late spring and a stormy June in the Arctic. Stratospheric conditions are closely tied to the Arctic oscillation.

The hot "blob" in the north Pacific brought warming to Alaska and northern Canada via Rossby waves. There was a recent paper on that teleconnection that I have somewhere on my computer.

I lived in Hawaii but this year I'm suffering through a nearly surfless summer on the U.S. east coast.

Yes, anything associated with Murdoch or Tories of the U.S. or U.K. or down under varieties cannot be trusted on climate. They specialize in character assassination of climate scientists.


US east Coast is all right D. There are a few finger lakes which look tempting to visit. I worry about Murdoch alternate stupid universe science news stories, which have very complacent or lazy readers.

Chris, ya there is alot of 2012 and 2007 in this years melt, but the present look reminisces late 2014.

I wait for Wadhams to explain his predictions a whole lot more than the coincidences of tragic Climate scientists deaths. Although it sure is sad to read their stories.


I remember watching Dr Katharine Giles death in the news. I did a bit of digging as the press were going their mile about her being a Climate Scientist.

There is a real problem with Cyclists in London not understanding how a truck goes round corners. As a prior holder of a HGV license I know that the front wheels have to go a long way past the junction before the truck starts to turn. If they cyclist is sitting alongside the truck (they do that a lot) and is not looking at the indicators, they wind up in the killing zone of the back wheels before they know where they are and the driver is looking for pedestrians, not cyclists under their rear wheels.

Horrible accidents happen a lot like that.

But then again I'm not in a shooting gallery with the press and big business, I haven't seen 3 colleagues die suddenly in a short period and I'm not being alternately pandered to by the press and hung out to dry by the press.

Just because you're paranoid does not mean they are NOT out to get you....

I'm supportive of Dr Wadhams because of what he has to go through on a daily basis simply because people are too stubborn or too stupid to learn what they are doing to their environment...


In the meantime Global CO2 has peaked at 400.99ppm 2.51ppm higher than May 2014.

The ESS and the Laptev have finally lost cloud cover which seems to have dropped over the Beaufort and ice continues to melt.

More watching to do. More interesting things to happen, hopefully.


according to the telegraph article wadhams actually said: 'Yes. I do believe assassins possibly murdered them but...' (you might think I'm crazy).

he wasn't wrong

Jim Hunt

Re Peter Wadhams, I currently find myself more on Neil's side of the debate than Chris's. There are a number of "fishy" aspects to the "story" IMHO.

Ostensibly the papers were seeking comment on the recent CryoSat-2 paper with Rachel Tilling as the lead author. In which case why call Wadhams rather than Prof. Andrew Shepherd? His name's on that paper after all. He's also testified to the UK Government on the subject and in the past he's been the go to guy, certainly for The Mail, on sea ice stories:


That said, and like it or not, if Prof. Wadhams doesn't tell his side of the story soon lots of the mud recently flung in his direction is likely to stick.

It seems he's too modest to mention it himself, but the definitive reference on Arctic sea ice volume is of course Andy's "ice cube" video:


And as Ruth Mottram pointed out in another recent "Storify" of mine, according to the Polar Portal at least "Volume's back down now"!

Inside the BBC’s Arctic Sea Ice Science

As Andy points out above, "The ice is still going away. That is just a matter of time."


... come on. there's no reason why a journalist shouldn't ask wadhams for a comment - he's a high profile ice scientist who isn't afraid to give a direct answer (unfortunately, in this case). it seems pretty clear he did say what has been attributed to him, and viewed together with his ridiculously low end of melt season prediction, it fits the pattern of someone who is beginning to believe what he wants to believe rather than rigorously following the evidence. as Chris said earlier, he needs to take a break (from talking to the media, at least)


Looks like this year's final stage will start at 30th July. Then a (meteorological) depression is supposed to take in the central Arctic. Sending from 1st August a series of warm precipitations from over Wrangle Island to the Beaufort Sea and the North Canadian archipelago.

cfr the weather reanalyser.

Jim Hunt

Sofouuk - There's also no reason why an intrepid investigative journalist shouldn't ask Andrew Shepherd for a comment is there?

After all, I did. So did Carbon Brief:

Cool Arctic summer brought brief recovery in sea ice loss in 2013, study suggests

Although the jump in volume means that the region is unlikely to be ice free this summer, we still expect temperatures to rise in the future, and so the events of 2013 will have simply wound the clock back a few years on the long-term pattern of decline.

Perhaps his comment doesn't fit the preferred narrative of "Right thinking" UK newspapers though?

Andy Lee Robinson

Thanks Jim, yes perhaps I am a bit too modest, especially here among peers - I rather hoped that the graphics would help the data to speak for itself, and that people would just "get" its significance, and therefore it would go viral.
Almost happened when Phil Plait featured it a couple of times, but 100,000 views is way short of 7 billion!
Unfortunately like deer in the headlights of an approaching train, the average person doesn't get it, and the right wing media isn't going to help educate its readership for obvious reasons.


I read the telegraph article. The overriding impression was two things.

1. Putting words in his mouth
2. Did was replaced with Do

However now the impression has been set that our eminent climate scientists are totally gaga and live in a world of their own.

Job done.

So whilst the Volume continues to decline this year, it can be buried with controversy about the people who predicted the decline. Therefore it can be dismissed as incorrect, to be corrected when some "unbiased" person with all the correct qualifications "member of whattsupwiththat" comes up with a "reasonable" explanation as to why the figures are in opposition to the "known" fact that ice is recovering.

It's why I want to see the ice finally vanish in real terms. Because those who don't want to get it (Andy, it's not can't or don't understand; it's don't care or don't want to), finally see the reality of the situation.

Of course we'll have to sit through the same old BS the following winter as the "Ice recovers at a pace never seen before". It will take 2 or 3 summers of no ice to get the message through.

I feel sorry for Dr Wadhams. He should have known better but then who cannot say that from time to time.


"Volume's back down now"!

Now you see this is why I'm suspicious of PIOMAS figures.

Extent is still high. Area is still above the top 4 melt years, therefore volume should be up. OK there was extensive melt in the high volume areas, but not that extensive.

So I wonder, all over again. How did we get these PIOMAS figures for growth and loss.

I can't add it all up unless there are thickness reports and thinning reports which I haven't seen.

Jim Hunt

Whilst Prof. Wadhams may still remain silent that doesn't mean we all have to:


Lesson 1 of our "Arctic Sea Ice Volume for Dummies" series, published earlier this morning by The Guardian.

Jim Hunt

Prof. Wadhams has now spoken:

Complaint made to IPSO (Independent Press Standards Office) by Dr. Wadhams:

The writer of this article, Ben Webster, phoned me up cold in my office at Cambridge University on Thursday 23 July, saying that he was writing a piece on the retreat of sea ice in the Arctic, and whether it was increasing or not. We discussed the scientific data, then he asked who else was working in this field in the UK, in order to contact them. I mentioned that there are not many others in this field, since three of the leading figures died within a short space of time in accidents in 2013. He asked for further details.

I asked that this be completely off the record because of
(a) the sensibilities of relatives of the deceased (Prof Laxon's partner was particularly upset by the subsequent publication),
(b) my own scientific reputation (I did not want to be made out to be a crazy person),
(c) the fact that these deaths were investigated and were very clearly simply an extraordinary coincidence.

He raised the question of whether they were murdered. I agreed that for a short time I thought that they were, since I had had the experience of being run off the road at the same time by a lorry, but that it was very clear afterwards that the three deaths were individually explainable accidents.

I did not make any of the statements enclosed in quotation marks by the reporter. Webster promised that this was in confidence and that if he wanted to use it he would contact me first. The next thing I saw was the article plastered over Saturday's "Times". He had clearly done some research in procuring photographs, but did not bother to contact me, and broke his promise of confidentiality.

The publication, subsequently picked up by the Sunday Telegraph and Mail on Sunday, has substantially damaged my reputation for scientific integrity, and I believe that this was the deliberate intention.


Thanks for this, Jim. I'm glad Wadhams has spoken up about this. This is putting the story in a different light. Now I wonder what Ben Webster has to say about it.

Has Webster written news paper articles before that tend towards climate risk denial? The name sounds familiar.


Jim - to answer your questions, no and no, but I'm not sure how that relates to anything I said. never mind


Oh dear, this doesn't look good. I remember this article by Webster suggesting a conspiracy of another kind, ie scientists suppressing a paper because it had a 'damaging climate view'. This turned out to be nonsense.


Glad that I pointed out the feeling that Did had been turned into Do...

I'm sure a retraction will be given on page 99 in 4pt Wingdings...

I like a lot of Telegraph articles but I won't even use their Climate Change articles for toilet paper. I might get rectal poisoning. Of course you have to know the UK press to be able to make that judgement...

Jim Hunt

The full text of Prof. Wadhams complaint and a slideshow of the back story can now be seen at:

Professor Peter Wadhams Complaint to IPSO


Jim, smells like a Murdoch hit job though.

This said Dr Wadhams should self publish his opinions on sea ice retreat or to a reputable science or a proper newspaper (a species going extinct I am afraid). Never mind the side show.

Jim Hunt

You may well be correct Wayne, but in the latest news the Guardian now say that the Times say they have a recording of Ben Webster's interview with Prof. Wadhams, and the Telegraph interviewed him as well:


The slideshow gets ever longer!


For all who may have trouble with typepad. A while ago I had problems related to typecast not liking my email address. Got one from inbox.com and since then have not had trouble. It does seem typepad does have issues with email addresses. Could be a case the way they talk to each other to confirm addresses are real. Finding other online accounts could solve your issues.
As for Wadhad. He does have a reputation of putting himself into tight corners which journalists love. He should also have a blacklist of any paper he should not talk to. DM would be at the top of my list along with any paper Murdoch is associated with as assassination journalism is their hallmark. BTW all the attention DM article is getting is exactly what they are looking for and will continue doing it as long as they get the attention they are after.
In regards to the topic on hand, depending on how much heat has thinned out volume and how the ice that is left withstands what is becoming traditional Aug weather (very stormy), the 'thick' ice could start acting like FYI and under those conditions disintegrate into small enough pieces that very little heat is needed to make them disappear. How much is left in the end will depend on two factors. 1) Is the thick ice thick enough to withstand stormy weather, and will Aug bring enough stormy weather to impact what ice is around sufficiently to greatly influence the final extent/area numbers.
IMO I believe a) Aug will not have one big storm but a series of mid to small one that when you total the effect will be the same as one Big storm. Also I believe there is enough heat in the Arctic and around the Arctic that will get pulled into the Arctic, that the melt season could continue on into Oct. Unthinkable? Who in 2014 would have bet that max could have come as early as it did in 2015?


LRC, typepad disappears totally for hours....
Check out current remarkable Arctic warm temperatures. THe permanent pack is in for a very rough ride.

I should be able to make an early verdict on sea ice minima once Hudson and Baffin Bay is clear along with Foxe Basin. The weak cyclone now present over the Gyre area is of interest.

Jim , no surprise about A Murdoch paper recording people, either illegally (hacking scandal) or otherwise, I'd be shocked if they use notepads, apparently recording off the record comments is their speciality. I wonder why people even bother talking to them, given current freedoms to self publish. There is 0 prestige or benefits to be interviewed by slanted journalists, no matter how long the paper existed. Their like minded audience need self reinforcing dribble continuously. Otherwise the readership would vanish completely. AS long as typepad works we can sink any stink they come up with!

Jim Hunt

Wayne - Doing my best impersonation of an investigative journalist I called The Times switchboard this morning and asked to speak to Ben Webster. I didn't get very far. First I got his voicemail, then the news desk told me:


An extract from my notebook:

No, sorry. I’m going to have to go because the other line is ringing, but if you call back later he’ll be in.

All right, but that’s not very helpful, whoever you are.


If you get through don't forget to mention you have "seriously I have no recording devices whatsoever but speak slowly I take notes" :)

Now back to sea ice: 2015 is now in 4th place JAXA wise, rapidly gaining ground on recent preceding years even though Hudson and Baffin Bay still have important sea ice coverage. The effects of winter just past cold winds from central RUSSIA to Ohio lingers on. But with temperatures like these:

1-Cambridge (not UK but the real cold Cambridge Canada) 14-15 C maximums for a week

2-Arctic Bay (ikpiarjuaq the beautiful, Northern Baffin) 8-10 C all coming week.

3- Kugluqtuq (the original place of copper for jewellery making)
17-22 C all week. Near Beaufort sea.

4- Tuktuyaktuk (gateway to Beaufort sea) 10 to 17 C all week.

5- Chilly Barrow Alaska 3 to 9 C all week because other side of cyclonic flow bringing Arctic Ocean Air.

6- Murmamsk Northern Russias and Arctic largest city 12 to 23 C for the week

7-Norilsk Central Arctic Russia 18 to 24 C for 7 days

8 Logashkino (East Siberian Sea village) 3 to 9 C…. for more than a week

Bye bye coastal sea ice….


Looking at tile r04c04.2015209 on the Arctic Mosaic, through the clouds, I'm certain I see a large area of mainly open water in a triangle shape pointing at the centre of the Arctic.

It looks like it's part of a general section of disorganised and partially open ice which stretches back to the Laptev.

Hard to see with all that cloud. I had to use the 250m view and still had to zoom way in to try and see it.

Bill Fothergill


Sorry, but I'm being my normal slow self.

Regarding the temperatures you listed, are they observations for the week just finished, or predictions for the forthcoming period?


Bill, its the forecast, and I am sure these temps have been there for a while. It is very warm.

I also wonder if the dumb dumbs at WUWT -you know who you are - have figured out that some of these communities have less than 2000 people. No Urban heat Island on a huge majority of these communities. Just to stall a pre-emptive disinformation attempt.

Bill Fothergill


I thought that's what you meant, but I just wanted confirmation - thanks!

Continuing on the subject of temperatures, both NOAA and NASA (LOTI) now show 2015 with the highest June average recorded - thus far.

In fact for the first 7 months (Dec-Jun) of the current meteorological year, LOTI is averaging a frightening +0.81C anomaly above the 1951-80 baseline. By way of comparison, the 2014 met year is presently the highest in the LOTI dataset at +0.74C, just ahead of 2010 on +0.73C

Pause? What pause?

Chris Reynolds


Having read the statement from Prof Wadhams, I am still with you. WTF is 'off the record meant to mean'? In business as with the press, nothing is off the record. My sentiment is with Gavin Schmidt on another Prof Wadhams statement.

Neil T,

ASCAT, the Advanced Scatterometer. MYI shows up as more white than the grey FYI. It is not a model, it's basically a satellite borne radar system.

2012 day 100

2013 day 100

2015 day 100

See how there is more intense white covering a larger area in 2015 than in 2012 or 2013? There really was more volume this spring in the Arctic Ocean than in 2012 and 2013 at the same time. The volume increase of 2013 evolved over the summer of that year.


not much point going on about this, but if wadhams didn't think there was any evidence of foul play, there was clearly no reason whatsoever to mention the possibility. just asking for trouble, especially given who he was talking to

Jenny E. Ross

"WTF is 'off the record' meant to mean? In business as with the press nothing is off the record."

In the world of ethical, responsible, true journalism the phrase has a real and important and inflexible meaning. It means "thou shalt not publish or publicly disclose this ever." If a source or interviewee says, "this is off the record," everything said subsequently is subject to the rule until s/he says otherwise, or the journalist asks,"Are we back on the record?" and the source says,"Yes." Real journalism is VERY different from business in that regard. Unfortunately, these days there are a lot of people pretending to be journalists who are nothing of the kind. Just because someone puts one word in front of another and manages to get some outlet to put it in print or online does not mean that person is a journalist. Moral of the story: know in whom you are confiding, and be sure they are bound by true journalistic standards before saying anything you don't want to see in print.

Chris Reynolds


I know what the strict definition is. But the true moral of the story is don't say anything you cannot defend, because you don't know when 'off the record' will be 'on the record'. And don't say anything that makes you look unhinged. The best way towards the latter point is that when you find yourself thinking things the seem unhinged you take a step back, and maybe get some rest!

I am currently only using ACNFS for ice motion as it has been shown to be unreliable recently. I'll start using it fully again when I am convinced it is working properly. Prof Wadhams is in the same camp for me, since the 'baby crying' over reaction, the June defence of the 1M km^2 prediction followed by rapid backtracking, and now indulgence in wild conspiracy theories.


Yet again I am in agreement. Back to the sea ice.


at this stage of the season I do not see the area minimum being higher than 3 million and quite possible as low as 2012.



From the ASCAT Product guide.


Based on these properties, and on available in situ validation sea ice data, models describing the scatterometer sea ice backscatter signatures have been developed, which point at one key sea ice characteristic driving the backscatter response: sea ice age.

So you see, everything is modelled. It's impossible to do anything else. Reading through the ASCAT information online I read that "The antennae extend on either side of the instrument, resulting in a double swath of observations, each about 500 Km wide separated by a gap of about 360 Km"

That gap has to be closed.

ASCAT was originally designed to measure wind speed over the sea. It has been put to many other things, but not without assumptions.

I'm assuming (yes I assume too), that the information Dr David Barber was working on in 2009, to look for his old ice, was heavily influenced by ASCAT data.

His deduction was that newer ice would form between floes of old rotten ice and would change the freeboard (and therefore the backscatter), of the ice over time to mimic old ice.

This is all very theoretical and very hard to prove. However my point was one very specific point.

The first year ice growth of 2013 was insufficient to replace the MYI volume and FYI volume lost in the 2012 melt season. If the instruments and models which use that instrument input, insist that the impossible did happen, then it is time to go back and find out why the models and the instruments believe in miracles. Science should not.

That's the point I'm trying to make.

I recall that when Cryosat2 was being calibrated, they used a 3 way approach. Satellite data, aircraft overflights and physical teams on the ground with drills and measures.

As I recall they had some difficulty calibrating Cryosat2 data and, if I recall a side comment recently, these data are not to be taken "too" literally.

Which all points to the difficulty of measuring the actual volume of ice in the Arctic.

Which, to my mind, will lead to some quite startling surprises from time to time.


Nice guest blog in the Guardian, Neven:

[Thanks, Lennart. I was waiting for this to get published. Still can't log in on my own blog, which is why I answer like this; N.]

Jim Hunt

What "recovery" was that then Neven ;) A Professor from CPOM assured me it was merely a "temporary reprieve".

The Daily Mail apparently thinks otherwise, so I'm having a good old moan about that, amongst other things:

"An Open Letter to the Reader’s Editor of the Daily Mail"

P.S. Have you tried NeilT's "Press F5 after authentication" trick when trying to log in? It works for me from Facebook, eventually.


I'm still having the same login issue from time to time.

First time I just press F5. If that does not work I log in again. If that still does not give a dialog I press F5 again.

I haven't had to do more than that but I have had to do a double login with F5 afterwards.

Hope it helps.


Working now for me too! Thanks, Neil, you old hacker you. ;-)


Many years of experimentation, supporting users, developing software and architecting systems. I may be a PM now but I was not always...

You're very welcome though....


Somehow I'm guessing "melt pond" does not quite fit the description.


Looking at the location, that is significant melt.

Annoying that CT Today keeps dropping a day or 5.


Something special.

Go to the Barrow webcam and download the image to your desktop.

Open the image and magnify to full screen.

What you'll see then just in front of the horizon is “the pack” now drifting towards the beach - if wind direction would persist the entire mass would crash onto that beach.

CFR this UNI-Bremen map too.


Check out the predicted drift for tomorrow


What are the odds?


I saw that Kris. I noticed that some of the ice had already made it to the shore and was melting heavily.

It's certainly going to be interesting if it does flow that way as it will open up way more ice to heavy melting. Even if it does bump up the Extent figures for a few weeks.

Wayne Kernochan

Chris, at the risk of reviving a mercifully dead subject, let me delurk on the subject of quotes and the press. I have several decades of experience in dealing with them as a computer industry analyst (and yes, I was quoted by the NY Times and Boston Globe way back when). I have found that journalists are always on the lookout for the pithy quote involving personal "dirt", but some of them will settle for explaining the subject to them and then giving a quote that sounds pointed and pithy but actually is nuanced.

However, when the interviewer is bound and determined to say what he/she thinks is right, there's pretty much nothing you can do (except hopefully bore the guy to death before he can get there -- usually he/she has a deadline). I remember spending 15 minutes explaining a particular parallel computing innovation to the Times guy, each time saying "this is not so-and-so", and the article when it arrived said "Kernochan says this parallel computing innovation is so-and-so" -- effectively, he just took out the "not". So even though I would like to criticize Wadham for trying "off the record", I suspect that the article would have wound up the same regardless. Neven doesn't know how lucky he is to be able to write out what he's saying rather than be interviewed about it :)


It never ceases to amaze me, the number of people who can't grasp the fact that Antarctic Sea Ice is nearly all thin first year ice and as a consequence it nearly all melts away each and every year. Comparing that with the Arctic where up until 2005 over half of the sea ice was 5 years old or older is like comparing Lake Eire and the Black Sea. Yes both are large bodies of water, after that pretty much everything is different.

Jim Hunt


Here's an ethics handbook for aspiring journalists:


For those who might wish to follow the "WadhamsGate" story there's an appropriate thread on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum:

Peter Wadhams in Murder Mystery?

Back to the ice.

Bill Fothergill

Quiz of the day.

Jim Hunt has recently finished a article with the intriguing phrase...
" ... and I splash yours all over mine".

To what could he possibly have been referring?

Bill Fothergill

"... Antarctic Sea Ice is nearly all thin first year ice and as a consequence it nearly all melts away each and every year ..."

Putting some numbers (source: NSIDC) into Tanada's comment...

Mean September Extent (1981-2010) 18.79 million sq kms
Mean February Extent (1981-2010) 3.04 million sq kms

That equates to about 84% of the extent maximum melting out and then regrowing (i.e. first year stuff) by the following September.

Jim Hunt

Bill - If you had included the previous few words in your quote it would have provided the appropriate context!

Bill Fothergill


I'm looking forward to a new career on the reporting staff of the DM, and therefore context is irrelevant.


Chris Reynolds


The plots I linked to were of backscatter strength, not ice age.

Consider this plot, as linked to above.

You can find the UK? Note the bright spots, you'll find (going up the country, northwards), London, the Cardiff conurbation, Birmingham, Manchester/Liverpool conurbation, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and Tyneside, Glasgow and Edinburgh... ( and you can see the same effect with cities and conurbations across the map in plot lattitudes.)

Is all this modelled? Of course not.

So what is happening? That is a plot of the strength of radar backscatter, built up areas give an excellent return signal because of all the metal and flat surfaces on buildings. In common surface radar systems this is known as 'clutter', ASCAT is a form of synthetic aperture radar.

What then does this tell us about the sea ice? Multi-year ice is more reflective for the ASCAT radar than first year ice. Technically this is due to the strong difference of dielectric constant between the two types of ice.

The bottom line is that backscatter from the ice pack in 2015 is far greater in the Central Arctic off the Canadian Arctic Archipelago than at the same time in 2012 or 2013. This is explained by a real increase in multi year ice as shown in PIOMAS.

PIOMAS is a model, and as has been said elsewhere 'all models are wrong, the correct question is whether a model is useful'. PIOMAS continues to agree with real world observational data, and continues to be useful.

To restate the key evidence:

Radar backscatter from ASCAT on day 100 of 2012

Radar backscatter from ASCAT on day 100 of 2015

Full ASCAT data:
Full QuikScat data (the precursor to ASCAT):

Chris Reynolds

I should clarify, of course mathematical techniques are used in the processing of SAR received signals. But this does not justify Neil's baseless attempt to portray the ASCAT backscatter images as 'modelled' and therefore in doubt.


Chris it's not baseless. I've been writing software for 25 years now.

There is a difference between mathematical interpretation of the reflection quality of the sea when under the impact of wind.


The mathematical interpretation of the reflection quality of an "assumed" type of ice. We already know that pure ice reflections by radar of any kind cannot be trusted under the current ice conditions. This is a given since 2009 when the physical investigation of ice, which was defined by satellite as MYI, was in fact no such thing.

The sea acts the same way under a set of conditions in each hemisphere depending on the heat and salinity.

Ice, on the other hand, we are finding out, responds differently depending on the heat conditions in place. Both above and below the water.

How could anyone possibly use a 1979 ice model to calculate MYI, then give results with a high certainty factor, when the ice itself is in a different state?

This is what I'm saying when I say it's modelled. A model, by simple definition, uses input data plus observed, mathematical or science derived rules (or all 3), to produce a result.

If one of your observations is changing and becoming less valid, then your results are going to have a larger error factor.

That's what I'm saying.

If you read this arcticle


Where it says

Arctic sea ice has duped satellites into reporting thick multiyear sea ice where in fact none exists, a new study by University of Manitoba researcher David Barber has found.

In 2008 and 2009 satellite data showed a growth in Arctic sea ice extension leaving some to reckon global warming was reversing. But after sailing an ice breaker to the southern Beaufort Sea this past September Dr. Barber and his colleagues found something unexpected: thin, “rotten” ice can electromagnetically masquerade as thick, multiyear sea ice.

If you watch the video Dr Barber states almost exactly the same situation in 2007,8,9 that we see today. He states that satellites calculated that 2008 had a modest recovery in Volume and 2009 continued that trend, based on area recovery and satellite reports of thick MYI.

He states, explicitly, what I am saying now, that small floes of MYI, overlaid with FYI was being reported by satellites as MYI. In his full presentation at a conference he also showed that the small floes of MYI were also of poor constitution which would not impede an icebreaker. But that is not relevant to what I'm saying.

Was it not, if I recall correctly, 2010, that saw the sudden and unexpected volume crash?

Just one year after Dr Barber had basically said that the projected volume increases, identified by the Satellites, was, in fact, not there.

As we look at the breakup of the northern Beaufort sea ice, we see that the, supposedly, predominantly MYI areas are breaking down into floes with approx. 50% of the area around them being open water. Almost exactly what Dr Barber predicted. That being the case, then the satellites overestimated the MYI in that area by approximately 50%.

These are not my words. I just remember them and use them to challenge. I'm assuming that Dr Barber used ASCAT as one of his indicators of MYI he was going to observe. If I'm wrong, then I will stand corrected.


Sorry Chris I'm replying to your posts in order upwards.

Yes I recognise that with hard fixed surfaces and fluid surfaces under the influence of the wind, that backscatter would be relatively simple to calculate.

This was also thought to be correct for the calculations of sea ice and you state

"Multi-year ice is more reflective for the ASCAT radar than first year ice."

Given the observations of Dr Barber there needs to be some questions asked. Just like everything else, observations at this distance require a certain granularity. If the grid being observed is 50% MYI, does it calculate this as 100% MYI of a thinner value? After all we're calculating the density of reflected signals.

Whatever the reason, the physically observed result is different from the projected result of the satellite signal.

This will tend to produce erroneous results which end in unexpected results in the melt seasons when the non MYI, reported as MYI melts out.

That's what I'm saying. What I was trying to do was use the 2012/2013 winter max to winter max divide, after the 2012 massive summer loss of MYI, as an indicator of the errors inherent in the system.

However observation does the same. Apparently the Volume figures now say that most of the "gain" in recent years has gone. I'll wait for the PIOMAS reports for July/August to confirm.

We have about 6 weeks of the melt season to go, more heat and a week's storm coming up.

Plenty of time to keep observing and see what happens.

Chris Reynolds

You're applying Barber 2009 in Beaufort in September to conditions in the Central Arctic in April. Do you think to ask yourself why I don't use ASCAT in the summer?

Barber didn't use ASCAT.

Barber didn't say the volume increase in 2009 wasn't there.
No results for a search of volume in that text.

So, PIOMAS shows a volume increase, the Drift Age Model shows older ice, and ASCAT shows a 'brighter' backscatter signature as would be expected if PIOMAS and the DAM were correct. And this summer, despite excellent melt weather in July, Beaufort's melt has been slow.
This can reasonably be attributed to the export of MYI into that region over the winter.

Yet due to 'special conditions' all of this counts for nothing.

As we look at the breakup of the northern Beaufort sea ice, we see that the, supposedly, predominantly MYI areas are breaking down into floes with approx. 50% of the area around them being open water. Almost exactly what Dr Barber predicted. That being the case, then the satellites overestimated the MYI in that area by approximately 50%.

That may be, but don't forget that a late cracking event back in April caused a lot of open water to appear between dispersed floes, which then froze up. This thin ice melted in May and June, and because there were no compacting winds, those MYI floes remained separated.



Yep I know. It all shows MYI. well it did until this week. And, yes, the ice in the Beaufort has been melting slowly, but I did note that the temperatures at the OBuoy sensors were showing virtually 0C temps. Not quite heroic melting temps like closer to the coast. But, anyway, I'd like to see how it ends up at the end of summer.


I have thought about that and my thought is that if the ice is really large MYI floes interspersed with FYI, then cracking events are much more likely because the freeboard of MYI is higher than FYI and so the floes move in the wind. Also any kind of wave action and the MYI floes are likely to totally destroy the FYI.

Just a few thoughts on it.

I notice that the Bremen concentration map is now showing 25% open water up to 85n. A week before 2012 showed the same. But, it's likely to be melt ponds. All the same, it's not good for the ice.

It's moving faster than I expected. I did expect more of a 2006 pause and it's blown right through the 2014 stall.

Another "interesting" year.


I have a question. if we look at a MODIS image for 31st July we can clearly see a maximum of 10 (probably less) distinct floes (and largest 3 or 4 being 50km in cross section) surrounded by what to my eyes looks like a mix of much smaller material and open water. the same is depicted on the university of Hamburg red and blue more graphic depictions of the ice.
so why is it that there is an insistence on calling the blue ice melt ponds and apparently trying to down play the state of the ice?
In the NW passage it is also clear that the ice has broken up into mostly small floes which are covered in melt ponds. to me it seem clear and obvious which are melt ponds and which areas are shattered ice which may also have melt ponds. Surely if the ice is so easily shattered into small pieces it is highly likely that the claims of thick multi year ice are at the very least flawed.
I am unpleasantly surprised at how much melt there is this year I did not "expect" it for another two years.
MASIE has dropped a million km2 in the last nine days. Cryosphere today are reporting that more or less the only places with extra ice this year are in the peripheral seas. Greenland, Hudson bay and Baffin bay.
There is an awful lot more blue this year in Beaufort Chukchi and East Siberian seas . I think a nasty surprise is now possible.


Sorry I missed out some words in my last post and it does not make sense.

here is the amended first part of the post.

" If we look at a MODIS image for 31st July we can clearly see a maximum of 10 (probably less) distinct floes (and largest 3 or 4 being 50km in cross section) surrounded by what to my eyes looks like a mix of much smaller material and open water in the Beaufort sea."


If I recall correctly, once the melt ponds reach a certain depth, the satellite sensors can't discriminate them from open water. You can only tell when the temp drops and then freeze instantly as they are fresh water and not saline.

I've been looking at the Obuoy sensors for a while now. 10,11 and 12 are the best indication. Some are clearly open water and some are clearly melt ponds but still quite large.


Every year there is this sudden rapid change from open water to ice when the melt ponds freeze over. But they are a good indicator of where the melt will go if the temp rises again.

I noted that most of the dramatic melting of the last solar cycle did not happen at the peak, but started 2 years after it. We're just dropping off the peak of this solar cycle. It's going to be interesting to watch what happens in the next 2-5 years.

The comments to this entry are closed.