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TenneyNaumer

OK, this is it. I am calling #FAIL on PIOMAS' volume numbers.

They're ridiculous.

Peter Wadhams has said they are not validated.

I think I'll go with that.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/05/death-on-the-ice

Neven

Tenney, I don't think the PIOMAS volume numbers can be off by much. At least, they make sense to me, in conjunction with other data. It's one of the best tools we have.

Of course, observations would be even better, but CryoSat-2 has its own problems and doesn't report during summer.

Jim Hunt

Tenney - For an alternative take on thickness/volume there is also the new DMI product:

http://GreatWhiteCon.info/resources/arctic-sea-ice-graphs/#DMIThick

For the benefit of any webmasters who might be interested they have just started producing a "most recent" image:

http://polarportal.dk/fileadmin/polarportal/sea/CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN.png

Both the DMI and PIOMAS numbers are of course merely the outputs of models. Actually measuring the thickness of sea ice Arctic wide is a non trivial problem to solve.

Neven - There are now two different flavours of CryoSat 2 thickness. The NASA version tries to get a better handle on snow depth, but as you point out neither is any use at this time of year.

http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1149.msg53595.html#msg53595

navegante

Jim, DMI shows a much greater volume decrease during June than PIOMAS does. There was a never ending discussion about that at Neven's forum.

Tenney, there you go. But don't feel very encouraged by this model if you think PIOMAS is crap, the differences of minimum volume among the last years are similar as those from PIOMAS

TenneyNaumer

Time will tell.

Kate

This is most definitely smoke haze near the pole. That brownish layer is unmistakable to an Aussie

http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/NPEO2015/2015cam2_1.jpg

navegante

MODIS has been showning smoke lingering around Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas for days, in the form of elongated traces but also tainting clouds and fog of brownish color.
I wonder if this has had to do with the discrete rates of melting right when the heat came. Cloud seeding?
SSTs have decreased in Chukchi and particularly in Beaufort just opposite than expected.

Or simply wind ceased blowing.

A-Team

>>"OK, this is it. I am calling #FAIL on PIOMAS' volume numbers."

By way of meta-analysis, I looked at the forward citations of the key Piomas papers and ordinary text search peer-reviewed articles mentioning ‘Piomas’ at both google and google-scholar.

Here I was especially looking for how scientists with alternative or competing versions of ice volume viewed Piomas. The short answer: lots of citing articles in the 2012-15 window and all of them neutral or favorable. Piomas is taken seriously and has a good level of acceptance within the scientific community.

However, that doesn't mean Piomas absolute, relative, or year-on-year differential volumes corresponds to, much less adequately characterizes, the ice encountered when a ship is out there.

Indeed, every account I've see seems to be in outright contradiction, both for thickness encountered and more importantly quality of that ice, not just for Piomas but all the ice forecasts. Some of these accounts are anecdotal but others are from heavily instrumented oceanographic research vessels and qualified observers.

Perhaps ships that observe the expected don't bother to report it. Surely ship tracks are sparse compared to satellite and not random transects. Still, reading account after account after account of flat-out contradictory observations on ice thickness and especially strength, it seems to me Piomas etc are not adequately characterizing Arctic ice.

Yes, it is difficult to find measures that characterize ice resiliency but restricting to what is observable from satellites or calculable from models is just not working. I foresee some serious surprises -- on the downside of ice persistence.

A-Team

I also took a good look at the dissertation focus, career track, ~230 publications and 40 years of Arctic field expeditions of P Wadhams. In a nutshell, quite extraordinary.

Indeed, decades of research in mathematical physics of wave-ice interaction is especially timely, given the newly extended wind reach in the late-season Arctic Ocean and consequent far-reaching swell penetration, fragmentation of pack ice and enhanced lateral melt, none of which is in Piomas or any of the others. Maybe read the articles below?

I’m very familiar with PNAS articles published by formerly distinguished but currently demented or self-deluded Academy members seeking to bask once again in the public limelight. Daft does not seem applicable here (though we're all headed there).

I see a fair amount of commentary bordering on outright ad hominem coming from programmers with zero qualifications in ice physics and no first-hand observation of the Arctic. Chasing down the worst of these, where Wadhams is quoted as saying his Arctic predictions are “not based on physics”, is quite different in full context. This is humor, intended to put modellers in a hissy fit.

There is value in expert judgement and let's face it, very few have the expertise of Wadhams.

To appreciate the unanticipated effect of swells on ice, see:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013JC009557/abstract (Implications of fractured Arctic perennial ice cover on thermodynamic and dynamic sea ice processes 2014)

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2011JC007221/full (Fracture of summer perennial sea ice by ocean swell as a result of Arctic storms 2012)

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL063063/abstract (In situ measurements of an energetic wave event
in the Arctic marginal ice zone 2015)

http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/pubs/2014/rogers2-2014.pdf (Fracture of summer perennial sea ice by ocean swell as a result of Arctic storms 2014)

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2001JC001214/full (Observations and analyses of an intense waves-in-ice event in the Sea of Okhotsk 2003)

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0485%281988%29018%3C1702%3AWPIASI%3E2.0.CO%3B2 (Wave Propagation in a Solid Ice Pack)

http://www.the-cryosphere-discuss.net/9/2955/2015/ (A prognostic model of the sea ice floe size and thickness distribution 2015)

Jim Hunt

A-Team - Have you checked your ASIF PMs recently?

More from Messrs Wadhams and Barber at:

Is Time Running Out for Arctic Sea Ice?

This year I’m going out in September in the “Sikuliaq” (University of Alaska) to do some more specific wave-ice interaction experiments [in the Beaufort Sea Marginal Ice Zone], assuming there is any ice to experiment on.

TenneyNaumer

A very good way of looking at the ice in its current context (and how it is rotten all the way to the Pole, and for 360 degrees around it) is here:

https://earthdata.nasa.gov/labs/worldview/?p=arctic&l=MODIS_Aqua_CorrectedReflectance_TrueColor,MODIS_Aqua_CorrectedReflectance_Bands721(hidden),MODIS_Terra_CorrectedReflectance_TrueColor(hidden),MODIS_Terra_CorrectedReflectance_Bands367(hidden),MODIS_Terra_CorrectedReflectance_Bands721(hidden),Graticule,Coastlines&t=2015-07-11&v=-1077153.5964562874,-1312561.2081780524,409694.4035437127,-497457.20817805245

The 100-km resolution is probably the best for initial viewing, depending on your screen.

TenneyNaumer

With regard to Peter Wadham's extreme low-extent forecast (see Jim Hunt's excellent blog post, link above):

It seems to me that there are two things thwarting it this year. One is the huge expanse of cold water in the North Atlantic coming from Greenland, which is so large that it is preventing the warmer southern waters from flowing up to the Arctic (i.e., the thermohaline circulation is now impaired in that region). This seems to be a fairly significant negative feedback.

The second is the Arctic Oscillation being in its negative mode, which also dampens sea ice melt on the North Atlantic side, especially if this occurs in June, as it did this year.

In order for the extent to have declined as much as it has over the past 6 weeks (and make up for the above-mentioned factors), a tremendous amount of heat has had to come in over land from Siberia (and earlier, via Alaska and the RRR), as well as via the Bering Strait (due to the "blob" of anomalously warm water just south of it).

But, in the end, there is very well likely to be a sort of "poof! and it's gone year" (as implied by PW's forecast).

If not this year, then perhaps next year, as the El Nino is now forecast to be strong and to persist into 2016. (According to Null School's Earth, there are spot anomalies of 5.2C in zone 4, right now, and it is only just getting started.) That's just how rotten and thin the ice is right now.

All that heat belched by the ocean into the atmosphere has to go somewhere.

A-Team

>> "a poof! and it's all gone year" or PW's forecast

That's my view as well. Swells from a bad cyclone when all the weather ducks have been in a row and it's in a sudden death spiral.

Jim, not noticed PMs, maybe better if they blinked incessantly. Right now I am tied down with peak-season Greenland. Or rather, tied down trying to get Espen tied down on one of the large floating laboratories in the fjord to sample Jakobshavn ice calvings.

I’ve added the 2009 article you cite above from your excellent web resource. Co-author MG Asplin cites this paper in both the 2012 and 2014 incident reports provided above. (I always read backwards from the most recent!)

Surely the Sikuliaq needs a press officer onboard blogging the September trip — you would be eminently well-qualified. Have you asked?

“What makes Sikuliaq unique is that it can operate year-round in first-year ice,” Oliver said, “and even some multiyear ice.” He declined to call it an icebreaker, preferring ice-capable. With half the heft and horsepower of the Healy, Sikuliaq doesn’t have the muscle to go through heavy ice packs, he said. Nonetheless, it can work in the Bering Sea in winter and in Arctic and Antarctic waters in summer. The Sikuliaq will be particularly adept at maneuvering in marginal ice zones where you have leads and broken floes, Oliver said. Enhanced maneuverability is made possible by the ship’s propulsion system (azimuthing Z-drive). “It has no rudders, no conventional shafting or screws,” Oliver explained. The system is called. [Oliver was commanding officer on the Healy.]

By the way, I applaud what you, Chris, Temmey, Scribler, Wipneus and others are doing on the web sites side, even though in a parallel troll-free universe it could simply be assimilated into factual wikipedia page updates.

Methane … the more coverage on that the better. The CO2 modellers are dead wrong here. Mocking and suppression of Shakhova and Semileto’s research, while citing bogus paleo — this has no place in science.

One of the CO2 fellow-travellers (sputniks) started a prominent article saying the Siberian tundra holes smelled like methane [which of course is odorless, just look at the formula]. How can someone at this level of incompetence even begin to model free radical photochemistry in the upper atmosphere under changing conditions?!? That’s scattering theory on top of rather serious quantum chemistry kinetics. This is by far the most difficult area in climate science.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2009GL041434/full (Perennial pack ice in the southern Beaufort Sea was not as it appeared in the summer of 2009)

A-Team

And what exactly will Wadhams do the Bering Sea this September?

At $50,000+ per day for the Sikuliaq, there has to be a plan. And that plan has to have been in a grant application. And those have be to in the public domain, this is not something that ONR fwould put on ice (classify) … Mmmm, google search could hardly miss on ‘sikuliaq + wadhams' … ok here it is, http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA590599

Wow, 57 pages, 20 co-authors, journal quality. This is a must-read for folks posting on Arctic sea ice prediction.

Sea State and Boundary Layer Physics of the Emerging Arctic Ocean

The Office of Naval Research initiated a Department Research Initiative (DRI) titled Sea State and Boundary Layer Physics of the Emerging Arctic Ocean. The central hypothesis of the ‘Sea State’ DRI is that surface waves now have a much greater role in the contemporary Arctic Ocean. Indeed, the entire Arctic Ocean in summer may soon resemble a marginal ice zone (MIZ), where waves propagate through the ice pack and affect the evolution of sea ice over large scales.

This large-scale pattern feeds back, as wave generation is controlled by the amount of open water fetch. At smaller scales, waves and ice interact to attenuate and scatter the waves while simultaneously fracturing ice into ever changing floe size and thickness distributions.

Further complicating these processes are forcing by winds and surface fluxes from the ocean to the atmosphere, which are expected to increase with heightened storm activity in the region. The marginal open seas provide new opportunities and new problems. Navigation and other maritime activities become possible, but waves, storm surges and coastal erosion will likely increase.

Air–sea interactions enter a completely new regime, with momentum, energy, heat, gas, and moisture fluxes being moderated or produced by the waves, and impacting upper-ocean mixing.

Science objectives:

• Develop a sea state climatology for the Arctic Ocean
• Improve wave forecasting in the presence of sea ice
• Improve theory of wave attenuation/scattering in the sea ice cover
• Apply wave–ice interactions directly in integrated arctic system models
• Understand heat and mass fluxes in the air–sea–ice system

The DRI will focus on arctic conditions during the late summer and early autumn, especially the freeze-up of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, to capture the strongest storms and maximum open water. This focus also complements the Marginal Ice Zone DRI (MIZ-DRI) that is studying the summer breakup and ice retreat. Field observations will be collected primarily during a cruise in the fall of 2015, supplemented by long-term moorings and autonomous platforms….

Jenny E. Ross

I'm wondering whether rotten ice is somehow accounted for in determinations of sea ice thickness and volume.

For those of you who haven't seen rotten ice first-hand, you might be interested in taking a look at these photos I obtained in the central Arctic Ocean in 2012. (Again, for the uninitiated, when ice is "rotten" it may look to be in decent or even good condition on the surface, but underneath it is riddled with holes and rapidly deteriorating.)

http://www.lifeonthinice.org/#s=43&mi=2&pt=1&pi=10000&p=10&a=0&at=0
http://www.lifeonthinice.org/#s=42&mi=2&pt=1&pi=10000&p=10&a=0&at=0
http://www.lifeonthinice.org/#s=40&mi=2&pt=1&pi=10000&p=10&a=0&at=0

What is not clear to me and I'd like to understand is this: How do the various non-modeling methods of evaluating sea ice thickness (and therefore volume) deal with the disintegrating nature of rotten ice? I've been told that the EM-Bird and EM-31 typically get fooled and tend to interpret it as solid ice. I'm unsure about other instruments and methods.

Jim Hunt

A-Team - Thanks for your kind words, and your "embedded blogger" suggestion. Now that you've put the idea in my head I will make discreet enquiries, but in practice I suspect I will be fairly busy endeavouring to "Save The Planet" via alternative means:

http://youtu.be/_6MwUwKz08U

Mind you, if the surf forecast looks good I'll be sorely tempted!

TenneyNaumer

A-Team: my thanks also, although it seems my primary role is to poke certain people with sharp sticks (no one here, of course!).

Jenny: those are incredibly information-rich photos of the sea ice -- if that type of ice is counted as being "solid" instead of like swiss cheese, well...

Also, I admire your courage in even setting foot on that stuff -- looks very dangerous.

And, last but not least, you do great work (I'm saying this as a former wannabee documentary photographer, a lifetime ago).

Jenny E. Ross

Thanks very much, Tenney. Greatly appreciated!

Jim Hunt

Jenny - Take a look at some of the Ice Mass Balance buoy information on the forum:

http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1149.msg56206.html#msg56206

I fondly imagine that the "fuzzy" signal from the bottom sounder indicates "mushy" ice, and that when the temperature profile shows the entire floe above the temperature of the water beneath it the ice bottom will probably become even mushier.

However since I've not been to the Arctic (yet!) that's probably just my hyperactive imagination, and the reality is very different.

Blaine

A-Team: The stuff about "future scenarios" on pp. 6-7 pretty much exactly mirrors a conversation I had here with Chris Reynolds a while ago. I do agree with Wadhams that we've been rather remiss in mostly ignoring the sea-ice interactions lately.

Re Buoy 2014F: I'm not sure why their graph page has stopped updating, but the data page is still working fine. For most of the period of rapid bottom melt at this buoy, there was little open water nearby and also few melt ponds. I really don't think there's any other reasonable explanation for the bottom melt there other than upwelling of heat from the Pacific Water at around 50-75m as the thermocline breaks down as it normally does in July and August. See the profiles for ITP80 and ITP81 for representative depth profiles nearby, and the time evolution of ITP 80 to see the normal seasonal weakening of the thermocline between the surface layer and the shallow Pacific Water. There's no reason for this heat upwelling to be anything close to spatially uniform, so I wouldn't apply this melting generally, and in fact we've cherry-picked the bouy with the strongest upwelling heat to discuss.

After 2007 we were well aware of the importance of the heat flux from the Pacific Water, but we haven't been worrying about it much lately, since the heat flux has been going down as the ice has been melting more. As has been pointed out already, this year is pretty much a dead ringer for 2007. The southerly wind through the Bering Straight has to be shoving record or near record amounts of warm Pacific Water into the Arctic Ocean this year. It's been shut down for a bit, but it's forecast to start up again, along with a massive long dipole pushing the ice to the eastern side.

Blaine

Jenny: The reason people still often use modelling approaches to guess the current amount of ice is because there still isn't that good of an observational solution.

The EM-induction probes are pretty much the gold standard, even with seeing melt pools as ice, but have very poor coverage.

The altimetry methods are fooled badly by snow, and depending on the method used may also see melt ponds or surface condensation as ocean, which will may cause large underestimates of the surrounding ice.

There's also an active radar absorption method which with current instrumentation is lumps all ice over 0.5m into the same category, and is also fooled by some types of rotten ice.

There's a method which looks at radar scattering brightness differences from different angles which is quite informative about thickness, but it's fundamentally a measure of surface roughness and isn't even a one-to-one map from brightness to thickness.

Even the sea ice concentration data can have significant noise from clouds and waves.

Jim Hunt

My alter ego has just simultaneously discovered that Cecilia Bitz is now on Twitter and somehow we all missed the fact that Saturday was "Arctic Sea Ice Day"!

https://twitter.com/GreatWhiteCon/status/620480365405323269

Jim Hunt

Blaine - Actually "we" hurriedly linked to a large image on the ASIF with a "mushy" bottom sounder reading. Other buoys are discussed over there also.

2014F is now floating in its drill hole:

whereas further east 2014I is not:

Click the images for a closer look.

Can you hazard an explanation for the peculiar recent temperature profiles on both buoys?

Colorado Bob

Jenny E. Ross

Great site.

Colorado Bob

Here goes Asia, which had been fairly quite -

Terra/MODIS
2015/194
07/13/2015
03:10 UTC

Smoke and fires in eastern Asia

Link

Robert S

Jenny: Amazing photos. Do you have exact locations and dates for all of those ice photos? It would be great to tie them back the the satellite imagery and other data sets to start building a qualitative imagery/data set. I'm a great believer in qualitative approaches - the human eye and mind, with enough experience, can find the critical issues and summarize the overall state in ways that are critical complements to data sets.

Colorado Bob

The Big Unchill

The Arctic ice is melting faster than ever recorded, the warmth tied to the emissions of modern life. But it is the ancient ways at the top of the world that are most at risk.

BARROW, Alaska — A mile off the coast of the continent’s northernmost city, Josh Jones gunned his four-wheeler over ridges of buckling ice and through pools of turquoise water, where normally there would be a vast sheen of ice and snow.

Escorted by an Eskimo guard toting a shotgun to protect them from roving polar bears, Jones and a fellow climate researcher were racing to retrieve scientific instruments that gauge the thickness of the ice, which they worried could be lost to the uncommonly rapid melt of the Arctic Ocean.

They were also in a race with much bigger stakes.

Link

Blaine

Jim: The thermistor strings aren't designed to give correct air temperature readings in the sunshine. Getting correct air temperature readings in sunshine requires a vented enclosure, and there's no point in bothering for a device designed to measure the temperature of ice and water which already has a co-located air temperature measurement device. For example, 2014I looks like it has some dark crud stuck on the outside of the termistor string at thermistors 6 and 7.

These two buoys really look rather normal to me, other than the water temperature being extremely high for being under ice with little open water, and the melt mostly appearing to progress from the top thermistors down on the thermistor string, which contradicts the bottom melt seen on the echo sounder. With the pictures matching the echo sounder as well, I'm fairly confident that the echo sounder is right and we're seeing the buoy rise as the ice melts.

Let me know if you're seeing some other weirdness I haven't noticed.

BryantFinlay

I couldn't but get in on the Wadham's talk going on amongst some of you. I will make a bet with those of you who think the sea ice will disappear this year or next. $20 that the Arctic sea does not disappear this year or next. In other words, above the 1000 threshold.

[Bryant Morganelli, could you please not use different names to post? Thanks; N.]

BryantFinlay

[Sure, Neven, I'll just use this one]
You guys can't have it both ways. First, you put Wadhams up on a pedestal, and then you disparage the work of people such as Gavin Schmidt and Mark Serreze. You openly criticize data such as PIOMAS while championing a man whose conclusions on methane and sea ice are questioned not only by mainstream climate scientists, but fellow observational scientists such as Ruppel, Tumskoy, Yurganov, and even Shakhova. Wadhams may be accomplished, but that does not mean he is right. NSIDC, JAXA, PIOMAS, DMI, no matter which paramater you use, all support 2015 not being a new record minimum. Even with all the heat and everything, it is very hard to believe that the sea ice extent will go below 1,000, even below 2012. And Neven would second me on that, I would guess.

Jenny E. Ross

Thanks, Jim and Colorado Bob.

Blaine, I really appreciate the detailed information you provided.

Robert S, I certainly do have dates, but I only have rough locations (e.g., north of Svalbard at about 83 degrees north). To obtain precise locations at this point, I'd have to pester a lot of scientists and ask them to go back and check expedition logs, because I wasn't recording exact coordinates myself. But now that I know the information might be useful, I'll try to retain it in the future.

Jim Hunt

Bryant,

Where are "the guys" who are either "put[ting] Wadhams up on a pedestal", and/or "disparag[ing] the work of people such as Gavin Schmidt and Mark Serreze"?

Have you ever read any of Prof. Wadhams "waves-in-ice" papers? Or any on that subject by either Gavin Schmidt or Mark Serreze for that matter?

Neven

Bryant, like Jim says, there is no 'you guys'. Please, cease the attempts at creating conflicts on this blog.

I don't expect the Arctic to go ice-free for all practical purposes this year, or any specific year to come, but I do see the contours of how it could come about. As long as volume hovers around a certain number, one might say the Arctic is open to the possibility.

Of course, it will take exceptional conditions to persist for weeks on end, like the heat we are currently seeing, but preceded by a much more intense of preconditioning (and a winter with lower volume, etc), and followed by major compaction or a big, big cyclone. It's a combination of factors that's rarely seen, but when it will be seen, the Arctic sea ice will go with a bang.

Of course, this will be a fun and fascinating spectacle to watch (if you don't think about the implications) and it will be a huge blow to the climate risk denier position, a Pearl Harbor moment, so to say. A lovely reward for all their hard work.

But a very important point is this: it's already bad. The consequences of Arctic sea ice loss are already upon us, locally and beyond. It's already worrisome enough as it is for anyone who honestly thinks it through.

All we can do, is hope that at least the mainstream position of 'after 2030' is more or less correct, and we don't see that freak year before. But if it comes, it comes.

I don't see it as a bad thing necessarily. The thought of Arctic sea ice loss informs my actions and motivates me to make changes to my lifestyle, actually improving my health and life in general and making me a better, more independent citizen, strengthening democracy.

I hope it's the same for others. There's a bright future ahead of us, if we want it. But not an easy one.

BryantFinlay

Neven, I am not trying to create conflict on this blog.
Jim, I'm talking about A-Team and TenneyNaumer in particular. This quote from Tenney: "OK, this is it. I am calling #FAIL on PIOMAS' volume numbers.

They're ridiculous.

Peter Wadhams has said they are not validated."

So he's rejecting reliable numbers because one scientist says that? That's a fairly thin argument considering DMI backs up PIOMAS to a certain degree.

And I'll quote A-Team as well:

"I also took a good look at the dissertation focus, career track, ~230 publications and 40 years of Arctic field expeditions of P Wadhams. In a nutshell, quite extraordinary.

Indeed, decades of research in mathematical physics of wave-ice interaction is especially timely, given the newly extended wind reach in the late-season Arctic Ocean and consequent far-reaching swell penetration, fragmentation of pack ice and enhanced lateral melt, none of which is in Piomas or any of the others. Maybe read the articles below?

I’m very familiar with PNAS articles published by formerly distinguished but currently demented or self-deluded Academy members seeking to bask once again in the public limelight. Daft does not seem applicable here (though we're all headed there).

I see a fair amount of commentary bordering on outright ad hominem coming from programmers with zero qualifications in ice physics and no first-hand observation of the Arctic. Chasing down the worst of these, where Wadhams is quoted as saying his Arctic predictions are “not based on physics”, is quite different in full context. This is humor, intended to put modellers in a hissy fit.

There is value in expert judgement and let's face it, very few have the expertise of Wadhams."

True, but the simple fact is that Wadhams is dead wrong on sea ice for this year, and probably the next few years as well.

Another quote from A-Team:

"Methane … the more coverage on that the better. The CO2 modellers are dead wrong here. Mocking and suppression of Shakhova and Semileto’s research, while citing bogus paleo — this has no place in science."

How does he know the paleoclimate data is bogus? I've looked it over and found it quite convincing, as have distinguished scientists. And it's not just modellers questioning Wadhams and Shakhova on methane. Fellow observational scientists such as Ruppel, Yurganov, and Tumskoy have done so as well. Ruppel has done extensive work on the Beaufort Sea and hydrates there, so she can't be as easily dismissed as modellers. And even Shakhova has been more cautious than Wadhams on methane release.

And I'll end on this note. That interview Jim cited with sea ice running out. Wadhams contradicts himself by saying discovery of methane plumes in the Laptev Sea are new with the expedition in summer 2014. Shakhova had already documented that in a 2013 study.

Chris Reynolds

Bryant,

Please remember that Dr Wadham's is a person, have a bit of tolerance and maybe consider what a person might feel were they to read comments about them.

I agree that claims of an imminent crash are very much at odds with the data, despite the prospect of a much more exciting year this year. However maybe it is best to let the ice adjudicate and educate. That way people can avoid argument that patience makes irrelevant.

Anyway, on a more positive note, it's looking really exciting now! :)

BryantFinlay

Chris,
Honestly, I meant no disrespect to Wadhams. He's a good guy who provides valuable insight, even if I do disagree with his conclusions. It's just that I get upset when people like the individuals I quoted above take Wadham's word as gospel and ignore the actual data, which does not support a crash.
Anyway, I'll sit back and let the ice decide :)

NeilT

Funny place the Arctic. As I recall "the data" didn't support any of the crashes. However the "retrospective data" supported every miss with an expected higher melt.

Whilst I don't think that 2015 will be the year that we see the crash I do firmly believe that we will see it within my lifetime.

Over what will, eventually, be seen as something like a 100 year record of events; being wrong by 3 - 5 years is not going to seem like so much of a big issue in, say, 50 years from now.

As I referred to on Jim's blog recently, what I "quaintly" refer to as "The climate trials" is my estimate of how the people will react to the massive impact of atmospheric warming inertia in a future blighted by Global Climate Change. We are, as a species, depressingly predictable as to our actions in trying to find someone to blame for our own lack of foresight.

When this bout of navel gazing, introspection and blame levelling happens; people like Dr Wadhams and Dr Barber are going to come out of it best. Because those who are doing the blaming will be insulated, by time, from the political shenanigans of today and, armed with 20:20 hindsight, will see every fault and every mistake which has ruined the world they live in.

They will not be kind.

Something worth thinking about. Those who stand up today and say "This is the world you are condemning our descendants to", will be the hero's of the hour. Not the pariah's and the ignored.... As is more likely to happen today.

Food for thought.

D

George aka Fish here. The models and the main stream experts failed to predict the extent crashes of 2007 and 2012 and the volume crash of 2010. The first thing we need when talking about arctic sea ice is a little humility. I'm a geochemist who retired early and spent 10 years body surfing in Hawaii so don't take anything I say too seriously. I certainly don't understand the physics of a 3 phase system that involves radiation physics, moving water, inversions and salinity gradients, not to mention ocean waves.

Dementia may have caught up with Wadhams but I've looked at Archer's layer cake model of the Siberian platform and it left me cold. The guy is a geochemist and he ignored the effects of salt exclusion on the behavior of clathrates (methane ices). There's no way the layer cake analysis is any damn good. Wadhams and the AMEG group may have jumped the polar bean (shark if you please) but the conventional wisdom isn't worth a damn.

Paleoclimate studies must be literally taken with a grain of salt. What's our comparison the last interglacial or the PETM?

The last interglacial involved slow changes. Human caused climate warming is like an eruption in the geologic record. It is not like slow warming events caused by orbital variations.

I'm observing and learning. This isn't my area of expertise.

The Navy sea ice model shows that there is a large area of close to zero model thickness that's going to melt out by the end of the month. Wadham's may have gone too far but the Navy model is predicting a cliff edge drop in extent over the next 2 weeks.

me.yahoo.com/a/Xs1LkmQn0_XQko.cH1qfXW.Bvo0cvQ--

"When this bout of navel gazing, introspection and blame levelling happens; people like Dr Wadhams and Dr Barber are going to come out of it best. Because those who are doing the blaming will be insulated, by time, from the political shenanigans of today and, armed with 20:20 hindsight, will see every fault and every mistake which has ruined the world they live in."

I disagree. The above is true only if society remains very static, i.e. there is no major effect from global warming. I think it is much more likely that the people in power int he future will rewrite history to benefit themselves. Who gets blamed remains matter of chance but much more likely it will be the scientists that get blamed as they (we), as a group, lack political usefulness and are likely to be sacrificed first.

Pjie2

"The Navy sea ice model shows that there is a large area of close to zero model thickness that's going to melt out by the end of the month. "

Both versions of the Navy model show an abrupt change in sea surface salinity, that is almost perfectly circular, and precisely aligned with the 80 degree North line of latitude.

I can think of no conceivable physical process which could generate this. In the absence of this, I think we have to treat both Navy models with extreme cautions, as there is likely some kind of bug in the code as it stands.

http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticsssnowcast.gif
http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/GLBhycomcice1-12/navo/arcticsssnowcast.gif

D

That circle is the central Arctic where the sea ice is thick. I certainly consider all the thickness models cautiously because they are so inconsistent with each other.

Pjie2

I know that ice is thicker in the central Arctic, I'm not an idiot.

Can you point to _ANY_ feature that might affect ice melt or ocean salinity (e.g. wind patterns, ocean depth, ocean currents, insolation, snow depth...) that aligns neatly and precisely with the 80 degree parallel, producing a sharp discontinuity?

The Navy models are currently producing profoundly unphysical results.

D

Insolation and a subsidence high over the pole come to mind as circular but honestly, I don't think the salinity is even close to a perfect circle for more than a few map times. The models may well suck, but don't discount the possibility of random weirdness. Every now and then you can see a face in a sea ice pattern.

Chris Reynolds

D,

It is not the central Arctic thick ice, that region actually covers a wide variety of thicknesses and types (evidence - PIOMAS, Drift Age Model, ASCAT).

Pjie2,

I think it is just bizarre. But looking at how it came about, there is a pattern of genesis that sort of makes sense. During peak melt season melting salinity drops as fresh water enters the ocean from melt, that forms the region of low concentration. And to the Atlantic side we have influx of warm Atlantic Waters, the drop into the Nansen Basin, where the Atlantic water falls out of contact with the surface happens in an arc around 80degN just poleward of the islands on that latitude.

So I wouldn't dismiss the model totally, it is possible that for a small period of a year such a line up happens.

But I do think it is bizarre.

Chris Reynolds

Anyway, for me sea ice is a hobby.

Is anyone else really enjoying this melt season?

OldLeatherneck

Quoting Chris Reynolds: "Is anyone else really enjoying this melt season?"

Haven't had this much fun since 2012. I keep learning how many more things I need to learn more about. I'm at the age that I'm supposed to be getting forgetful....not smarter.

Anyway, I'm struggling how to predict the September minimum while there is so much ice remaining in the Hudson & Baffin bays.

navegante

They may be forcing this temporally for good reasons, but forced it is, no doubt about it. The concentration under 80N evolves very unrealistically too, including for GLB. A pity since it had been hinting the evolution of the edge and the ice drift nicely until recently.

navegante

I wouldnt call it a hobby, that for me is playing guitar, otherwise Id open my own blog ;-) but certainly very interesting!!

NeilT

"I disagree. The above is true only if society remains very static, i.e. there is no major effect from global warming."

My take is that the above is only true WHEN there is major effect from global warming. That is the only way the Ostriches will get their heads out of the sand and looking around


"I think it is much more likely that the people in power int he future will rewrite history to benefit themselves."

In my scenario, the people in power will have been put in power by the truly frightened Ostriches and will not be slaves to the status quo.

Just ask the Greeks right now. They've been like Turkeys voting for Christmas every year and finally they voted to end it.

Only to find that it's Dec 24th and their PM is a Turkey voting them all for Christmas...

I try not to underestimate the perversity of Democratic Politics...

Chris Reynolds

Old Leatherneck,

I have forgotten writing blog posts on subjects before.

Blaine

The 80 degree circle in the Hycom model salinity definitely looks like a model artifact to me, but it doesn't look like a bug as such. It's happening only during the unstable initial formation of the salinity front. Mixing will be greatest where the salinity gradient is greatest, which will sharpen the front there, so during front formation the natural system is an amplifier for small variations.

HYCOM apparently has a grid discontinuity at 80N which results in a slight difference in grid-induced diffusion across 80N, which the model has picked up and amplified into initial front formation in a perfect circle at 80N, after which the front evolves normally. Their model doesn't have to be off by much to generate this artifact.

I'm happy that they report their surface salinity field, but I haven't been that impressed with it in general. When I check against other data, their mixed depth seems to be fairly consistently too small. Melting will freshen the surface and ice formation will make it saltier, but they seem to have too large of an effect, which indicates too shallow mixing. Perhaps their mixing parameters worked better 20 years ago.

Sam

As everyone has noted, this is a fascinating (and terrifying) melt year.

I am somewhat surprised that no one has made note of the calving of the last of the thick hard land fast ice off of Ellesmere on July 2. Perhaps that has come up in the forum.

http://1.usa.gov/1I4MEcC

The shelf that calved is almost exactly the area of the U.S. State of Delaware. It is sliding westward and quickly beginning to break up.

In the last day, there has been a sudden shift and rapid breakup has begun in the Northwest passage at both ends too.

http://1.usa.gov/1I4N2YD

And from the looks of it, the Siberian Seaway is very close to opening across its entire length. There is a lot of broken ice and ice fields still blocking the way to open navigation, but I don't see any firm ice sheets on the route.

Sam

Sam

Also, the ice all over western Greenland is looking very bad, with extensive lakes and 'rivers' feeding them.

http://1.usa.gov/1I4NCG3

Sam

D

Blaine: Your explanation of makes sense to me. -George

me.yahoo.com/a/Xs1LkmQn0_XQko.cH1qfXW.Bvo0cvQ--

Following the link by Sam: http://1.usa.gov/1I4NCG3, it appears that some of those lakes are multiple km long, at least in their longest dimension. I assume that (from topological maps with and w/o ice) that they rest on ice and are they just waiting to punch through the ice. Further, that if they punch through, the land beneath them is only 250 m or so above sealevel (at least there is probably an exit to sealevel no higher than 250 m based on [estimated?] iceless topo maps). It seems like the interior lake of water/ice at the base of the ice sheet would fill up rapidly and find a way out, at least along the perimeter.

me.yahoo.com/a/Xs1LkmQn0_XQko.cH1qfXW.Bvo0cvQ--

Sorry for the lack of name: John. It is a Yahoo or typepad thing I guess.

me.yahoo.com/a/Xs1LkmQn0_XQko.cH1qfXW.Bvo0cvQ--

Actually, reading Jonathan Bamber's article about a Grand Canyon and skimming some other articles, it is pretty fascinating stuff. I hope we never find out, but it would be fascinating to know what is beneath the ice, imagine discovering artifacts from ancient civilizations, etc. Or maybe it is like Gollum when he hid under the mountains: just darkness and wetness (and coldness).

Jim Hunt

Sam - As you surmise, I commented on an apparent weakness north of Ellesmere on the ASIF in early June:

http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1149.msg53378.html#msg53378

The NW Passage discussion is at:

http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,762.msg56793.html#msg56793

Jenny E. Ross

FYI all, there's a new study just out that is of interest and concern regarding the impact of stored heat from the summer melt season on Arctic sea ice growth in winter: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1002/2015GL064541/abstract

From the Abstract: "It is shown that the release of solar heat stored following summer 2007 was sufficient to have reduced sea-ice thickness at the end of the 2008 growth season by about 25%."

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