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Nightvid Cole

CAPIE is biased high due to the 2 or 3-day lag of CT data, right?


Well, there is no more lag now that Wipneus pre-calculates CT data based on NSIDC extent data. But I divide SIE numbers by the SIA numbers on the same date. CT SIA dating is a bit confusing so there might be a 1-day offset.

Wipneus' compactness graphs are superior, because of lower resolution and SIE and SIA coming from the same provider.


It's been pretty cloudy and foggy over the Beaufort Sea for the last ten days or so. Otherwise the Arctic ice map would be showing a truly scary 2012-ish shape.


It's getting more and more of that heat now. The Bremen maps show continuing melt despite the cloud cover and a tendency to an early Northern Sea root being open fairly soon.

Much more interesting season this year storms or not...

Joe Wentrup

I'm intrigued with the Beaufort Sea. With the thin ice melting away the embedded chunks of MYI are becoming increasingly surrounded by water. This way the shoreline of the Beaufort ice is becoming almost infinite. It will be interesting how that influences the melting process there.


I think that there are at least two variables which are not being considered when trying to correlate June melt pond fraction with September area/extent.

The first is snow cover, - one might speculate that snow changes in volume more quickly than ice, allowing voids to form on top of lower-lying areas of the ice surface, which can fill with water to become ponds. This prompts the question "what if there isn't any snow?" (as was the case with much of the anomalously low June melt-pond area depicted for 2015)

The second is the ice surface topology. Most of the ice which had anomalously low melt-pond fraction in June is FYI which formed is Sep/Oct/Nov/Dec last year - it therefore has a relatively uniform surface with no ready-made depressions in which liquid water can accumulate.

Considering the above it seems to me very likely that the June melt-pond fraction won't be a reliable prognosticator this year...

...and I think that this is starting to become evident even from just eyeballing EOSDIS/worldview. E.g. Look at the current state of the CAB north of Laptev at around 85 degrees N - there's a large area which looks similar in condition to fast ice in the southern laptev just before it dissolves into nothing. There's a slightly less dramatically rotten, but huge, area along a 100 mile long strip running E-W north of Greenland - just above the boundary between MYI & FYI.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, we know that this year weather has strongly favored melt across much of the arctic. We can't see it but that doesn't mean it's not happening. We don't have direct instrumentation over most of those areas - and none in FYI. We rely instead on proxy observations, such as melt ponds - but this might cause us to be misled because they are only reliable if we've considered all the variables.

Just going by the weak winter (over the CAB, at least), and the strong summer, and the evident mixing of air and water between the northern and southern latitudes, conditions have been just about perfect for creating a huge surprise for anyone who relies on estimates of ice formation and melt progress which were validated in an earlier era. Unfortunately, that's all of them.

So as seems to have become a habit of late, I'm not saying it's this year it largely goes poof - but I haven't yet seen anything to rule it out...


the ice in the north end of the North West passage seems to be breaking up quite dramatically at the moment the fixed ice front has moved south by about 200km in the last week or so.


sorry poor wording, I mean the edge of the unbroken ice has moved south by 200km and it looks as though there will be more breaking up in the near future significant cracks even further south.


i do not often comment as I do not have any expert knowledge to impart but I think that it is worth observing that this year will not be the next new record minimum that title will probably go to September 2017.
I think that too much emphasis is being placed on the three most common metrics for measuring the state of the ice in a time when they are no longer as important as they once were. I think that focusing on these things tends to blind people to the real world. since a significant part of all sea ice is now first year ice which breaks up easily exposing any chunks of older ice to nice warm water is it not likely that the Beaufort sea will melt out more or less completely. Look at its visibly shattered state rather than thinking about its theoretical thickness.
Sea ice area is going to drop to 3.1 million km +/- a margin for a weather event with an appropriate extent to match. here is today's AMSR2 graphic.


if you compare this with the same graphic for similar dates for the last 2 years this year is significantly more blue.
It is my opinion that there is an approximately five year cycle superimposed on the downward trend in sea ice extent/area.This is what my brain sees when I look at graphs of recent years.
I would put money on 2017 being the next record unless it is interrupted by a weather event, such as that which created 2014.



shows how much both 2013 and 2014 were weather events and not long term climate. both had an anomalous long pause in the melt beginning at about day 200. this has not been seen in any other year in the satellite era if my reading of the graphic is correct.


Is the ARC-HYCOM ice thickness map trustworthy in general? Although the other values (ice volume, area, extent) point to another rebound or at least remaining at 2013/2014 levels, the map shows less ice that's thicker than 2 meters (some of that had just thinned drastically in the Beaufort). If thick ice is waning, wouldn't that mean the arctic still becomes more vulnerable to weather events?

Jim Hunt

AmbiValent - See this exchange on the HYCOM forum:


and the related ASIF thread:

What's wrong with HYCOM?


Ambivalent, I have no ambivalent feelings about this year's minimum extent well below rebound years'. The devil is on the details.


Calling 2013 and 2014 rebound years implies a reversal of climate please point to one single piece of evidence that supports that idea.
there is clear evidence that this was in both cases a weather event superimposed on the ongoing trend.
why is it that so many people go charging off searching for unicorns when there is a bloody great elephant in the room?


I don't agree, Philip. A rebound is not the same as a recovery. It is 'normal' for sea ice to rebound after a record, especially after record smasher 2012 (which, of course, was also a weather event on the ongoing trend, if we're going to look at it that way).


I (for myself) was not implying that a reversal of climate had happened before.

If I understood well, calling for a reversal of climate would take like 30 rebound years.

10 would make one slightly suspicious of something
15 would make one say like what the hell is going on
30 and that's it, the sun or whatever is saving our skin

:-) kidding obviously, I don't have a clue on what would take for scientists to call for a climate reversal, but surely two or three years of cooler Arctic doesn't make it.


Weighing in on the discussion, I’d say that MODIS now ‘s reflecting pretty much 2012 features. As Baffin fast-ice is now collapsing, Hudson Bay is discharging it’s ice cover within the next ten days, extent data should rapidly line up with the record years.
In the Pacific sector, ice quality is deteriorating at a freightening speed. As it is, ECMWF forecasts a lingering dipole config for about a week. After that period, Lows should take over reign in the CAB. Some stability might re-appear then.

Nevertheless, extreme Pacific SST’s are making their call in the Arctic. In the line of my earlier thought, there’s a perfect fit for this season. It is paving the way for continuation of the fast downward trend and maybe a ‘black swan’-event in ’17. It might even be ’16.

There’s not much solace in any news, these days…


Personally when talk of "rebound" or "Pause" or anything else is going on about the Arctic Ice, I tend to go back to this link pop it up to normal size then run it from left to right.


I think it would be better to rename "rebound" to "Return to the long term trend".

Because, as this chart shows, that is exactly what it is doing.

Also another salient point to note with this chart is that the trend is from 1979 to 2008 and the anomaly is measured from that trend.

Were the trend to be 1979 to 2000, then the result would be a hell of a lot more alarming...

That tape also, very clearly, shows 2012 as the outlier it really is.

Another thing I like to note with that anomaly chart is where it enters -1 and where it exits it again for the year. This, to me, is important because that is where the majority of the energy is sucked up by the sun.

Notably there is a clear departure from previous years/decades at 2007 and onwards. I shall be watching it again this year. But I won't be expecting much, I will be willing to be surprised.


An illustration to my post last night on the rapid line-up with 2012:

 photo NCEP NCAR 0107 to 1607 2015 small_zpsyybfqyx4.jpg

The > +4dC anomaly North of Ellesmere through July hurts where it is worst. In this 350K km2 the heart of the remaining MYI is losing volume at freightening speed. The well known structure, large rhomboid floes up to 1600 km2 within broad leads, is gone. It has taken on the form common in more peripheral parts of the sea ice over the last years. It is desintegrating into loose floes in large debris fields. And these are blue with melt ponds and even taking a brownish hue, like in the Chukchi Sea days before complete melt out.
This weather pattern and location hasn’t occurred before. I’d call the ‘black swan’ event if it were 2017…


The critical factor we know nothing about at this time is the late summer heat.


2012 was the hottest year across the Arctic from Jun to Sept by a considerable margin of about 0.5 degrees Celsius. The melt ponds came early and the heat only dropped near other years in August. Comparing it to other years on the DMI graphs shows only 2007 had similar late heat above 80N.


This year June temperatures recovered from a very cool May to be very close to warmest in June. DMI suggests July has continued this trend.

If the El Nino has any impact by holding temperatures high from now to the end of September we could easily see extent drop down between 2007 and 2012. Currently an average season would take us near 4.4 M Km^2 if we accept that the Hudson/Baffin bay anomaly will disappear soon.


Hi DavidR,
I agree in larger terms with your posting. Still, although 2012 shows some warmer anomalies in the end July-end August period, the challenge is not that big. 2015 only has to continue some +1-+2dC anomaly over the CAB. That doesn’t seem to be a difficult benchmark to keep up to, given world-wide higher temp and a probably extreme ENSO event.
On top of that, the present two-three weeks spell of +4dC anomaly is located exactly over the ‘last stand’ of MYI.
Further, the ‘killer’ for ’12 was the GAC2012 storm between 5-10 August that year. The somewhat higher temp anomalies weren’t enough for the record minimum on a stand-alone basis.


Of course we do have to remember that the state of the MYI at the beginning of 2015 is somewhat different to the MYI state at the beginning of 2012.

Which should, if all things are even, produce a different result with similar input...


Does anyone have a list of dates for when the Northern Sea Route has gone ice free? I don't have a source handy but IIRC the first time in recent history it opened up a completely ice free passage was 2007 and the pattern has repeated in some of the years since then but not all. It looks to me as if an ice free pathway is about to open and I wish to compare dates over the last decade for when this has taken place.

Jim Hunt

Tanada - How do you define "ice free"? Whether the NSR is navigable depends upon the ice class of your vessel and whether you have assistance from the likes of "50 Years of Victory" or not.


I'm not aware of any "official list", but here's some handy links plus videos of ice movement along the NSR from 2012 onwards:



Jim I was thinking in the context of standard hull cargo ships being able to pass through with an ice breaker escort that doesn't have to break them a pathway at any point in the journey. I think it would be foolish to take a standard hull ship through without an escort and if you go around that side Russia demands an escort be along in case of trouble. Not too long ago China, South Korea and Japan were exploring regular transits as a way to save time and money on shipping to Europe. China even went so far as to send their own icebreaker through the passage to gain real world experience.


2012 was 0.6 dC higher than the next hottest year in June and September across the Arctic circle and 0.3 dC in July. This may not seem like a lot but in both cases the next 7 hottest years were all within 0.6dC of the second place getter.

The hottest August was 2007 which was 0.3 dC warmer than 2012.

If July and August are both 'hottest on record' this year, then we could end up anywhere (low).


Jim Hunt wrote:

...depends upon the ice class of your vessel...


Back in 2012 [IIRC] there was some commotion when from June on the Russian government introduced a regular traffic of mammuth tankers from Murmansk to the East, over the North-East route of course. Tankers escorted, preceeded, by the atom ice breaker Jamal. Moreover, from 2017 the traffic will be continued all the year around when a new atom ice breaker will be ready, an atom ice breaker custom builded to the job.

Other than that, already in 2009 the Jamal escorted two German cargo ships over the North-East route to the Bering Strait.

Bottom line, this isn't even an issue anymore.

Incidentally, some of the Russian mammuth tankers are ice breakers as well, and we really don't know what they are doing all the time, do we? :-)



My confidence grows day by day, 2015 exceeding 2012 record low minima should happen, will not wait much longer to make a non official declaration in advance, the only thing to stop this from happening would be massive clouds coverage from now on.

Rob Dekker

I don't think 2015 will break the 2012 record. The melting season simple started too late and progressed too slow during June to break that record.

But there is so much fragmented ice at the ice margin and lower elevations, that it seems pretty clear that area and extent will be going down pretty steeply for quite some time.

This (low concentration in the ice margin) is also apparent on the low resolution observations as we can see from Wipneus' concentration graph :

So I don't think there will be any slow-down over the next couple of weeks, as we saw with 2013 and 2014.


Rob Dekker wrote:

... simple started to late and progressed to slow during June to break that record.

Still to early to call. Remember, in 2012 mid July we had about the same situation as it is now, with the difference now the Beaufort side is even more fragmented.

Remember, in 2012 the turning point came with “the storm” in early August, a cyclon which scattered the entire Arctic apart.

So, “to storm or not to storm, that is the question.” And to be sure we'll have to wait till August as usually only then this type of cyclons can enter the Arctic.


Kris, a Cyclone similar to August 5 2012 is likely, but its the pre- existing ice conditions which matter.

"So I don't think there will be any slow-down over the next couple of weeks, as we saw with 2013 and 2014."

2013 was very special Rob,

there was a huge melt in place with literally no compaction, 2014 had a blitz melt later in August which was very impressive. I have added and collected the evidence:



and here it is as was in 2014:


and here


However, there is no indications for 2015 to go down significantly below 2012, there was a substantial consolidation and strengthening of sea ice over the main pack during the winter just past at about the Arctic 90 degree longitude region. Remaining sea ice appears to be still quite potent, and can literally replenish itself by stimulating favourable weather patterns. When weather won't matter anymore then a yearly melt season "crash" will occur.

George Phillies

A new James Hansen Analysis

I have not seen this mentioned before, but apologize if I missed it.

There is only press reporting, not the article.


The assertion is that the sea level rise for the next 50 years is likely to be ten feet or more, not one foot. Your mileage may vary.

George Phillies

A new James Hansen Analysis

I have not seen this mentioned before, but apologize if I missed it.

There is only press reporting, not the article.


The assertion is that the sea level rise for the next 50 years is likely to be ten feet or more, not one foot. Your mileage may vary.


Wayne, the way you put it, robust ice induces preserving weather, so next season even more robust ice.

I think very warm weather sustained during a season may bring the crash one of these years because the Earth climate is getting warmer and warmer. So bad warm weather is most important for the crash (and I mean weather, caused by warmer climate).

I no longer believe in the "ice is so thin that weather does not matter" as I used to before 2014.


I no longer believe in the "ice is so thin that weather does not matter" as I used to before 2014.

I assumed this was the case because of events during the 2011 and 2012 melting seasons. This depends, of course, on initial ice thickness. But preconditioning plays a very important role after that.


Yes, I admit I am following your current of thought because it makes sense to me.


Navegante: "robust ice induces preserving weather, so next season even more robust ice."

Not quite, the extent of very resilient thick sea ice matters,
so say 2015 minima beats 2012, the holistic effect of sea ice as part of Earth's climate system will be less important as a result. Size matters.


George Ph notes: "A new James Hansen paper with 12 co-authors... Lots of press reporting, not one person links to or quotes from the article.'

Because no one has seen the article. They screwed up royally by sending out the press release without an embargo contingent on article release. It is not available at Hansen's scholarly publication sites nor at ResearchGate.

It is supposed to be released sometime "this week" at ACPD; by then the media cycle will have moved on, way on. We'd all be hollering foul play if the Southern Corp does this with Willie Soon's Nov 2015 paper.

The link to the paper should be:



That's a great paper, even if it reads more like several different but related papers. The have exponential extrapolation of freshwater input in a way consistent with modern measured values and Eemian sea levels leading to flat global temperatures at the current time, which later turn downwards. This is due to high heat flux to the oceans. The warming at the base of Antarctic glaciers makes it potentially self-consistent.

Rob Dekker

I agree, Blain. What a wonderful read.
For the record, here is the paper in full :


What I find especially important about this paper is that it addresses several issues that have been points of contingencies in discussions with 'sceptics'. Such as :

"There is evidence of ice melt, sea level rise to +5–9 m, and extreme storms in the prior interglacial period that was less than 1 ◦C warmer than today. "

Which points out clearly that if we worm our planet a bit more than we already have, that there will be serious concequences.


"Our climate model exposes amplifying feedbacks in the Southern Ocean that slow Antarctic bottom water formation and increase ocean temperature near ice shelf grounding lines, while cooling the surface ocean and increasing sea ice cover and water column stability. "

which clearly addresses the issue of why Antarctic ice extent appears to be increasing while Antarctica (and the planet) is warming.


" We focus attention on the Southern Ocean’s role in affecting atmospheric CO2 amount, which in turn is a tight control knob on global climate.The millennial (500–2000 year) time scale of deep ocean ventilation affects the time scale for natural CO2 change, thus the time scale for paleo global climate, ice sheet and sea level changes. "

Which explains why CO2 is lagging behind temperature in the paleoclimate record (an issue which was brought up time and again in discussions about Al Gore's movie), while emphasizing that CO2 is the control knob on global climate.


"This millennial carbon cycle time scale should not be misinterpreted as the ice sheet time scale for response to a rapid human-made climate forcing. Recent ice sheet melt rates have a doubling time near the lower end of the 10–40 year range."

Which re-states that we should not expect the same "millennial" timeframe delay in climate change now that we are increasing CO2 levels directly, and instead we should expect an exponential (doubling time of 10-40 years) increase in ice sheet melt, going forward.

and finally the statement that Earth's energy imbalance is crucial in what we can expect to happen in the near future :

"We conclude that 2 ◦C global warming above the preindustrial level, which would spur more ice shelf melt, is highly dangerous. Earth’s energy imbalance, which must be eliminated to stabilize climate, provides a crucial metric."

And that was just the abstract. Massive amount of evidence in the paper itself.

Rob Dekker

An epic paper if you ask me.

Chris Reynolds

At 121 pages this is going to take me a while to get through, reflect upon and consider before I can offer opinion.

One problem I have always had with using past rapid sea level rise events is that the Laurentide and Eurasian ice sheets (+Greenland + Antarctic) were far more extensive than just Greenland and Antarctic now. So there may have been an increased opportunity for rapid sea level rise by virtue of that, and drawing direct analogy may not be sound. I don't recall that being addressed in the past Hansen papers on this issue, I haven't read enough to say whether it will be in this (page 10 and I have some other work to do).

Rob Dekker

Antarctica is quite a bit larger than the Laurentide ever was.
And in the paleo-climate record, Antarctica's ice sheet seems to be mostly regulated by CO2 levels instead of insolation.

So Hansen has a point that Antarctica's ice sheet may be subject to exponential melt, not inhibited by the millennial delay that used to regulate ice sheet decay, now that CO2 levels are way above where they ever were during the Eemian.

Either way, the nice thing is that this is a "discussion" paper, and several comments have already been posted :


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