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Am I right in saying volume trends don't exactly match extent trends?

This would seem to mean that plotting the correlation values between extent versus volume in a time series should yield a possibly interesting result, should it not?


ChrisReynolds plotted arctic sea ice extent vs arctic sea ice volume in one of the graphs in his blog post here:



Neven, I beg to differ with your comment "so nothing much has changed on the average sea ice thickness graph". The evolution of thickness so far in 2016 is absolutely peculiar in its reduced growth compared to the rest of the years, for either of the two metrics you show.
Anyhow, thank you for your great post as always.


Correction, there are a couple of years (especially 2014) that show similar thickness evolution, but that's pretty much it


Yes, Piomas sea ice calculation should be thinnest, as observed optically on March 7 and 9.


It is the thinnest ice, and therefore warmest ice core on record ever captured since spring measurements started in 2010.

Under ice First Melt happened March 7 over the NW passage, the earliest observed beating 2012 by 10 days. Hold on to your fur hats, this thin sea ice will rock the world to look up Northwards.

Neven, I beg to differ with your comment "so nothing much has changed on the average sea ice thickness graph". The evolution of thickness so far in 2016 is absolutely peculiar in its reduced growth compared to the rest of the years, for either of the two metrics you show.

Correction, there are a couple of years (especially 2014) that show similar thickness evolution, but that's pretty much it

I was referring to the change during February (I had noted a more visible change in last month's PIOMAS update). But the thickening of the 2016 ice pack has indeed been one of the smallest so far:

Of course, this doesn't tell us that much about the state of the ice. 2009 thickened less than this year so far, but still it gained 929 km3 more ice volume during January and February, ie the ice was spread out over a larger area (in 2009 sea ice area was more than 1 million km2 larger than now).


Fish here - If you take the meteorological winter months DJF instead of just JF I think you will find that this winter had the lowest growth of sea ice volume. I haven't done the numbers but that's what it looks like on the charts.

Arctic Nev

I just had a look at the numbers, Fish. 2015/2016 DJF is second lowest with 8489 km3, behind 2006/2007 with 8323 km3.

Aaron Lewis

I would cheerfully bet a yellow snow cone that this year's sea ice is the weakest and most rotten in the record, and thereby it tends to float higher, thereby distorting the volume estimate. I also expect that there has bee more snow fall this year, so some of what is considered sea ice is actually snow.

Thus, I expect a sudden drop in volume as the melt season begins.


Fish again- 2006-2007 was when the bottom dropped out. That's bad company.

One thing to note this year is the near normal sea of Oshkosh where the cold air has been flowing off of Siberia. Last year the warm Pacific water made extent and thickness there very low. That means, by default, this year the damage on the European side of the Arctic is very severe.

Jim Hunt

Here's Andy Lee Robinson's "Arctic Death Spiral" updated to February 2016:


Bjørge Jansen

Arctic Death Spiral - and it looks like Antarctica - weird!


Looks like we are in for a very interesting 'ride' this year. I keep thinking of Maslowski's supposed '2016 +/-3 years' quote even tho' I realize this was not quite the case.
Neven, you are going to be kept v busy here. Must be time for me to lob another token into your tip jar.
Thank you & to all the commentators here.
Clare in NZ

james cobban

Sorry for going OT, but Joe Romm has just posted an entry over at ThinkProgress about February hitting a new peak global temperature anomaly:

"It was so hot that February had the single biggest recorded monthly temperature anomaly (deviation from the 1951-1980 average temperature) — a whopping 2.4°F (1.35°C) above the average temperature for the month. The previous record deviation from the average — 2.0°F (1.13°C) — you may recall, was set in January."

My question, which I'm sure many people here can answer, is this: If February was 1.35C above the 1951-1980 average, then how much was it above the pre-industrial 1880 average? I seem to remember that we must add an additional .35C or so, which would make February an astounding 1.7C warmer than pre-industrial times. Can this be so? Can we have already blown so far past the 1.5C limit that the world's leaders just agreed to do their best to avoid reaching? And how long before we reach 2.0C - maybe the next big el Nino will blow past that milestone in five or ten years.

Joe Romm's article is here:


james cobban

Well, I found the answer to my own question in a post by Jeff Masters at Wunderground:

"Drawing from NASA’s graph of long-term temperature trends, if we add 0.2°C as a conservative estimate of the amount of human-produced warming that occurred between the late 1800s and 1951-1980, then the February result winds up at 1.55°C above average. If we use 0.4°C as a higher-end estimate, then February sits at 1.75°C above average. Either way, this result is a true shocker, and yet another reminder of the incessant long-term rise in global temperature resulting from human-produced greenhouse gases. Averaged on a yearly basis, global temperatures are now around 1.0°C beyond where they stood in the late 19th century, when industrialization was ramping up."

So although February was a 'true shocker', the yearly average global temperatures remain 'only' around 1.0C above 1880 values. Still, that's a pretty fearsome monster of a monthly anomaly.

Jeff Masters post is here:


Rob Dekker

James said

So although February was a 'true shocker', the yearly average global temperatures remain 'only' around 1.0C above 1880 values. Still, that's a pretty fearsome monster of a monthly anomaly.

Well, the real shocker is that that 1.0C above 1880 is an ANNUAL anomaly. The MONTHLY anomaly (Feb) is 1.55-1.75 C according to Jeff.

Not to mention that the Arctic anomalies (both annual and monthly) are a multiple of that.

Rob Dekker

About the Arctic, this quote by Jeff Masters is telling :

Daily temperatures (in Celsius, °C) for the past year at the Longyearbyen Airport, Svalbard, Norway, located at latitude 78°N. The black line shows the seasonal average; blue and red traces show the day-to-day readings. The darker blue and red line shows the 30-day running average, which was 10.2°C (18.4°F) above normal in February.

And THAT is what we would call a "monster of a monthly anomaly".


James said:
"Can this be so? Can we have already blown so far past the 1.5C limit that the world's leaders just agreed to do their best to avoid reaching? And how long before we reach 2.0C - maybe the next big el Nino will blow past that milestone in five or ten years."

Unfortunately if you check the GISS data at: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v3/GLB.Ts.txt you will find that the Northern Hemisphere anomaly was 1.9 dC which puts it about 2.15 dC above pre- industrial levels.

With the current El Nino we can expect record level temperatures to continue for several months although Feb will probably be the peak as it was in 1998.

Bill Fothergill

@ James Cobban

DavidR and myself were discussing this last week on the Mad Max 2: Arctic Warrior thread.

The surface datasets (HadCRUT, Gistemp Loti, NOAA NCEI and BEST) having been spewing up all-time highs for a few months, but February did indeed eventually see both RSS and UAH join the club, and also hit all-time record levels. (They both had been setting monthly records over the last few months: since October for UAH and since November for RSS.)

The rolling 12-month averages for both these satellite datasets will almost certainly rise in March and April. What happens after that depends on the ongoing El Nino and the lag in the corresponding atmospheric response.

Bloody scary

james cobban

Thank you for the replies Rob, David and Bill.

David said:

"you will find that the Northern Hemisphere anomaly was 1.9 dC which puts it about 2.15 dC above pre-industrial levels."

So if I understand this correctly then it can truthfully be said that we are already living in a climate regime that has exceeded the 2C limit over pre-industrial times, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, during winter, and while in the midst of a large el Nino. Yet even with those caveats, shouldn't this be front page news? It's rather like Miami being flooded. At first the water only makes new inroads deeper into previously unflooded areas during king tides, which are the harbinger of things to come, just as a NH February during el Nino is a foretaste of the not-too-distant future climate.

To go even more off-topic, el Nino-related weather patterns caused it to snow here in the central Mexican Sierra Madres (around 21 North lat.)two days ago for only the second time since 1978. Killed about 11 million monarch butterflies.

Colorado Bob

Climate change could speed up groundwater seepage

Ge said she zeroed in on the subsurface flow phenomenon by observing stream flows during the year’s coldest months when inflow from rain or melting snow is negligible. Somehow though, Ge and her research team observed the volume of water increasing in the streams as they ran downhill, suggesting they were being fed by some other source of water.

It turns out it was subsurface groundwater seeping into the water channels.

It’s not just the headwaters regions of the Rockies where this pattern is becoming apparent. In Canada, there are more than 20 locations where streamflow is increasing in the fall and winter and a similar phenomenon is occurring among the six largest Eurasian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean, Ge said.


Colorado Bob

Degrading underground ice could reshape Arctic landscape

Posted: Monday, March 14, 2016

Rapid melting of ice and Arctic permafrost is altering tundra regions in Alaska, Canada and Russia, according to a new study released in the journal Nature Geoscience. Ice-wedge degradation has been observed before in individual locations, but this is the first study to determine that rapid melting has become widespread throughout the Arctic.

Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®) provided time series and change detection analyses of high resolution remote sensing imagery acquired over several Arctic sites as part of this study. An international team of 19 researchers analyzed and compared these results with field data and climate observations to understand how degradation of ice deep underground is affecting surface topography and hydrology.

"The analysis clearly shows dramatic changes to this landscape, especially during relatively short periods in unusually warm summers in recent years," said Dr. Marius Necsoiu, a principal scientist in SwRI's Geosciences and Engineering Division.

If this trend continues, it will lead to widespread draining and differential subsidence of the landscape, having long-term effects on plants and wildlife across the Arctic.

"It's really the tipping point for the hydrology," said Anna Liljedahl, the lead researcher and an assistant professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Water and Environmental Research Center.


Al Rodger

Colorado Bob,
Northern snow cover is the Cinderella of the Arctic AGW. We are already experiencing spring & summer anomalies that were projected by the IPCC to happen decades into the future. This dramatic snow loss sits alongside a smaller increase in the (far far more variable) snow cover over the autumn & winter.
Mind, we are this year seeing large negative winter anomalies although these are not unprecedented (even in recent years). With the large temperature anomalies presently over NH land, these negative winter anomalies may (and this could all disappear under a change in the weather in coming weeks) stick around into April (but no signs of them going so far) and that may give the spring snow cover a run at a stonkingly-big new record. My snow graphs are numbers on Vc and Vd on this site. (I'm conscious that I'm plotting decadal values with annual values on Vd which is a bit wrong given the winter wobbles. I'm thinking of adding my annual graph to rectify that.)
(I should perhaps also add given comment up-thread that in my view NH snow cover and global temperature both are no more scary than they were last year, or the year before.)

Remko Kampen

"Can we have already blown so far past the 1.5C limit that the world's leaders just agreed to do their best to avoid reaching?"

Yes, we have.
It will be the new 'hiatus' value.
+2 should be feasible with a Niño by half or end of next decennium latest.

Too much consensus in IPCC to meet reality.

Colorado Bob

Al Rodger -

Thanks, but as to the 2 links I posted , I was thinking about all the fresh water that is now being reintroduced back into the system as the tundra thaws. This water has been locked up for a very long time, and is now back in the game. Plus all the nutrients coming along for the ride.

And the rapid reshaping of the surface features in the Arctic.

Colorado Bob

Antarctica’s ice is being carved up from below

It appears to be slowly carving deep channels into their bases, cavities ranging from 50 to 250 meters in vertical extent.

These channels appear to be formed as the warm water that hits the grounding line then bursts upward in a plume, combined with meltwater, and cuts into the ice shelf from below, Alley said. “They’re kind of like upside down rivers, or streams. Instead of the water flowing downhill, it’s flowing uphill, because it’s buoyant,” she says.

The channels are so large that, even though they are occurring on the underside of a very thick sheet of ice, they can be measured from satellites from above, because they cause depressions on the ice surface itself. Here’s an example, in an image from the Landsat 8 satellite sent by Alley:……..


Colorado Bob

Global warming levels masked by aerosols: study

There was a silver lining to the sulfur pollution in our atmosphere late last century – it offset some of the warming effects of greenhouse gases. And now we're cleaning up our act, the Arctic has suffered. Amy Middleton reports.


james cobban

Alone among major media outlets, AFAIK, the Guardian has seen fit to classify the recent crossing of the 2C threshold as front page news. Commenting on February's temp anomaly:

"Regions of the Arctic were were more than 16C warmer than normal – whatever constitutes normal now. But what is really making people stand up and notice is that the surface of the Earth north of the equator was 2C warmer than pre-industrial temperatures. This was meant to be a line that must not be crossed...

But what’s even scarier is the political, economic and social reaction to these landmarks in climate change...

Have you heard any political speeches referring to these recent climate change records?...

How was the stock market this morning? It appears febrile enough to lurch from euphoric boom to catastrophic bust on the basis of bland statements from central bankers but proves remarkably deaf to evidence that the entire industrial and financial system is headed for disaster...

Know what’s trending on Twitter as I write? A photoshopped giant dog, the latest Game of Thrones trailer and Kim Kardashian’s naked body."

full story:


Colorado Bob

When I saw this , I immediately thought of the blow outs in Siberia, not the Bermuda Triangle.

Gas Craters Off Norway Linked to Fringe Bermuda Triangle Theory

Scientists in Norway have caused a stir with their announcement this week of giant craters in the Barents Sea, which they believe were formed by exploding natural gas. The scientists have even suggested the phenomenon could explain the mysterious Bermuda Triangle—a highly controversial concept.

Researchers at the Arctic University of Norway have described craters off the coast of the country that are up to a half mile (0.8 kilometer) wide and 150 feet (45 meters) deep. They appear to have been caused by the explosive release of methane, also known as natural gas, that was trapped in the sediment below.


Susan Anderson

Lurking as usual. But this horrifying note brought me up all standing:

"Killed about 11 million monarch butterflies"

They were just recovering (snow in Mexico, posted 14 March by James Cobban)

I don't care if it's off topic. Tears (and for us all), dude!


Not trying to be off-topic but the subheading does mention March atleast:

I heard March wasn't looking so good....


It took about 15 years for the 97/98 Nino temperatures to be locked into the normal temperatures. We also know that the heat between that Nino and 2013 did the massive damage to the Arctic ice.

So if we take the 2015/16 Nino as the next step change, we can only expect to see total disaster between now and 2030... By then we should have exceeded the 1.5C on average and be pushing 2C on high years....

What this will do to the Arctic ice is not something nice to contemplate.


I also note that the Barrow landfast ice seems to have just about stopped growing at 3/4 of a meter. Which is well below normal. Given the warm water upwelling there most of the winter I think we can expect a record early breakout.

The snowfall about a week ago seems to also be insulating the ice and retarding more growth.


Interesting stuff NeilT, thanx.

Can I ask why snow retards sea-ice growth however?

George Phillies

To freeze more ice, the heat of freezing must go someplace, namely into the frigid air. Snow insulates, reducing heat loss from the sea into the colder air above. However, there is also a sunlight issue.


"However, there is also a sunlight issue..."

Exactly, George. Now is the time when sufficient insolation returns to high latitude to balance radiative loss. In short, where you have sunlight, you no longer have low enough temperatures to produce serious refreeze. Across most of the arctic, leads which open now will not produce more ice.

The energy balance is now in favor of melt.


Thanx for that: you're talking about this idea of 'latent heat' I gather?

I never really got all that in chemistry class... Not getting one thing means you can't get all the rest,... Or perhaps it was a broken dream that never really started as AUSSIE CRAWL would say: who knows?

Hey, it's Friday and by explaining all that you've put me in a good mood!

Have a good'un guys, cheers 😜


Check this out:


Question: shouldn't this graph be trending down anyway?

If so then how does this graph tell us there is a problem?

John Christensen


'Most of the Arctic' still has temperatures of -20C to -35C, so leads will certainly freeze over, irrespective of the sunlight.

John Christensen


Both Navy Hycom and DMI are showing the landfast ice at Barrow at 3-4 meters, not 3/4 meters.., or do you have a reading of 0.75 meters to share?


I just checked the weather forecast and agree with the warmer temperatures starting this weekend, there will be no further ice growth near Barrow at least in the coming week, but rather melting.

Jim Hunt


See the Barrow ice mass balance buoy graphs:


John Christensen

Got it, thanks Jim - I was looking at the ocean-side sea ice, which is being deformed by wind and currents and therefore is much thicker.

I see from the Uni of Alaska website that the ice mass balance buoy was deployed in January 2015:

"The Mass Balance Site was deployed on landfast sea ice in the Chukchi Sea at Barrow, Alaska on January 15-16, 2015. At the time, ice thickness was 0.4 to 0.5 m (about 15 in) and snow depth was 0.06 m (about 2 inches)."

So the ice is thicker now (March necessarily having to be thicker than January), but would you happen to have any historic data from this area prior to 2015 for comparison?

Jim Hunt

Yes John,




John Christensen

Hi Jim,

Those buoys are in the open sea, which is different from truly landfast ice buoys, since landfast ice is steady and does not get compacted.

If you compare with landfast ice in southern Greenland (Tunulliarfik), the ice was 60cm thick on January 29th and grew to 70cm by March 12th, which shows how slowly non-compacting ice grows.
Link in Danish:

Therefore, with this type of ice, the difference between a cold and a warm winter is measured in cm's and not m's, and without more data it is difficult to tell if 75cm is low for the landfast ice in Barrow.

John Christensen

Remember also that the ice of the fresh water lake in the North West Territories, where the truck fell through was 100-120cm, again due to the ice being steady and therefore growing slowly.

John Christensen

And just to clarify: I made the mistake of mixing coastal ice with landfast ice in my first remark above to NeilT, as I believe others did as well.

Evidently it would not be reasonable to compare the 3-4 meters coastal ice with the 3/4 meter landfast ice there.


John, the site doesn't seem to have historical data although I'm sure if you email them they will give it to you.

However the last 8 years of so of watching has had a clear trend. Deploy in January with about 1M thickness and growth to around 1.5M before melt onset begins.

This is the lowest I've seen it but it does not mean it's the lowest ever seen. It could have been lower in the record.

However 2015 was a very early breakout. I don't remember if it was before 2004 (see graph)

But it was either before or very close...

Rob Dekker

John, Neil,
Jim's page DOES show Barrow's Mass Balance for 2014, which shows that at this time Barrow's land-fast ice was about 1.1 meter thick.

More historic graphs here :
March 2010 : 1.1 meter thick :
March 2011 : 1.3 meter thick :

March 2012 : 1.4 meter thick :

So, current ice thickness of 75 cm is much thinner than normal.

And yes, you can blame that on the warm winter, and it does not bode well for the state-of-the-ice in the Beaufort either.


Thanks Rob, my perseverance was unusually lacking...

Colorado Bob

PHOTOS: Is climate change wiping out Iceland’s glaciers?

South-East Iceland’s Breiðamerkurjökull glacier – which runs into the country’s iconic Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon – has lost a massive 600 m in one year.

Tour guide Einar Rúnar Sigurðsson of Local Gui­de of Vatna­jök­ull recently took Morgunblaðið photographer Ragnar Axelsson (RAX) on a visit to the stunning ice caves of the region, to see just how much the ice has receded in recent times.


Colorado Bob

Navy Submarines Arrive in Arctic for Ice Exercise 2016

CEX 2016 is a five-week exercise designed to assess the operational readiness of the submarine force while also continuing to advance scientific research in the arctic region. The Navy's Arctic Submarine Laboratory, based in San Diego, serves as the lead organization for coordinating, planning and executing the exercise involving two submarines, multiple nations and more than 200 participants.

"Our Arctic Submarine Laboratory, led by Larry Estrada, continues to be the world leader in Arctic undersea operations," said Rear Adm. Jeff Trussler, commander, Undersea Warfighting Development Center.

Submarines have conducted under-ice operations in the Arctic region for more than 50 years. USS Nautilus (SSN 571) made the first transit in 1958. USS Skate (SSN 578) was the first U.S. submarine to surface through arctic ice at the North Pole in March, 1959. USS Sargo (SSN 583), which the temporary ice camp is named after, was the first submarine to make a winter Bering Strait transit in 1960.


Colorado Bob

Bat shit crazy –
Nuuk, Greenland
30F . in the dark.
Yesterday in Greenland –

Narsarsuaq, Greenland

Friday, March 18, 2016

Max Temperature 56 °F average – 36 °F record – 53 °F (2006)


Colorado Bob

It's warmer in Greenland than Texas tonight.

Colorado Bob

Nobel Peace Prize winners call for halt to Arctic drilling

In a letter, six female Nobel laureates urged Arctic countries to put a stop to drilling in the region.

“We urge you to seize this moment, to set a high standard for multilateral climate leadership, to protect the Arctic Ocean from the dangers of fossil fuel extraction, and to lead as the world builds the safe, clean, and renewable energy future we need,” the letter reads.


Colorado Bob



Interesting Bob, I notice that the average daily high temperatures there in June are 15C and that's as high as it gets.

Changing to weekly view it seems to have been a 3 day warm spot starting on the 17th and dropping back on the 19th.

Average hot temperatures for March should not be above 0 really.

Hardly surprising the Ice is not growing...

Colorado Bob

Ice breaker: US nuclear submarine bursts through frozen Arctic ice (VIDEO)


Rob Dekker

As PIOMAS shows, after such a warm winter, the volume of ice in the Arctic appears to be close to record lows for the day.

But also the volume distribution of ice in the Arctic is interesting.
Here is the 28 day average as measured by CryoSat 2 :

Note especially the Beaufort.
Contradicting the Hycom and DMI volume simulation products, but supporting PIOMAS, ice in the Beaufort is thin and fragile according to CryoSat 2 radar measurements.


From the look of that image, most of the thick(ish) ice is just queuing up to flow out the Fram strait.

Noticeable also the lack of ice around Svalbard and west of NovaZ looks like all that heat that has been getting absorbed by the oceans is flowing with the gulf stream back into the arctic and hitting the growth of winter ice.

With so big a head start on melting in the area this year and dark water ready to absorb sunlight will we sea open water at the pole this years?


Oops that should of course be "see open sea water at the pole"

Remko Kampen

"Is climate change wiping out Iceland’s glaciers?"

I just got absolutely sick, literally nauseated from this imagery, Colorado Bob.
In 1991 that glacier kissed the cape of land it has now receded a total of 4km from. I was there.
OMG what a disaster is unfolding.

John Christensen

Thanks for sharing Rob!

The ice in Beaufort seems to be underestimated given the temperatures of -20C to -30C in the area, but let's see: Spring is coming, and ice of 2m or less seems to typically melt away entirely, so we will know no later than by September.

Remko Kampen

' and ice of 2m or less seems to typically melt away entirely' - Hm, combine with Rob Dekker's post (and chart) above, and you have a prediction of the summer minimum this year.
It would equal or slightly surpass 2012.

John Christensen

Hi Rob and Jim,

Thank you very much for the additional data on the landfast ice buoys in Barrow!

I agree from the data that the ice thickness has increased very slowly this year compared to prior years (since 2010).
It seems a bit odd, as the air temperature readings for 2016 have been centered around -20C as for prior years, but maybe the water was warmer initially, or the underlying water is still warmer, so is it possible to compare the water temperatures from the different years?



Recent Barrow mass buoy equipment seems to be giving a renewed effort in measuring air and snow temperatures:


I dont see the crazy snow warmer than 0 C readings for March 20. And on top of that the sea ice core temperature is very warm!
As I have observed over Barrow Strait. But I don't think they have snow and surface temperatures quite right yet. Its better but not accurate. My observations clearly make it that snow and top of ice temperatures should be equal or colder to air at this time of the year. Its close but no cigar.

John Christensen

Hi wayne,

You may have been tricked like me at first; the temperature is around 0F, not 0C..


Relevant to this discussion on PIOMAS might be to point at actual temperatures as they happened this winter.
I enhanced visibility on this NCEP/NCAR graph by colouring the range from 0 to -30dC in 5dC steps:
 photo 1000Mb Temp mean 0110 to 19032016 small_zpsrerzppt7.jpg
Though the Beaufort Sea hasn't been the most remarkable anomalous region, there's big difference between -25dC mean and -15!


"Though the Beaufort Sea hasn't been the most remarkable anomalous region, there's big difference between -25dC mean and -15!"

You very much have a handle on it, Werther. The problem isn't the temperature itself - which is quite cold enough to freeze sea water. The problem is the gradient in the temperature, which wasn't high enough to draw heat out of the arctic. My thumbnail calcs (shared on the forum) suggest that 25-35% less heat was transferred out of the arctic this year because of heat imported in from lower latitudes. I think the differences between this years ice thicknesses and others is direct evidence of that.


Hi John,

No, but look carefully at this graph:


The temperatures are jagged mostly within water and air.
Very hard to accept that this is correct. The temperatures above the ice vary enormously within one meter. That is also the stuff of papers , usually air temperature above the ice varies very little with surface temperature. Make a calculation of one trend dropping or increasing 5 C per .25 meters. that means 20 C/m lapse rate or 20,000 C/km!

Rob Dekker

John said :

The ice in Beaufort seems to be underestimated given the temperatures of -20C to -30C in the area,

Normally, it would be -30 C in the area for Jan/Feb.
But wasn't it more like -20 C this year ?
Makes a big (30%) difference, which leaves a mark on the ice, which would explain the Barrow fast-ice measurements and the CryoSat 2 measurements...

John Christensen

Hi wayne,

Again, I am not too well versed in the landfast buoy measurements, but the jagged temperature chart to me seems to indicate the maximum and minimum temperatures within the 24 hour period at different heights; for the water, the ice, and the air.

Still, it seems incredible that the water under the ice should reach -5C in the night and then about -1,8C in the daytime, while the difference in 10 degree in air temps between night and day are reasonable against the weather forecast.


I agree that the temperatures across the Arctic Ocean have been significantly higher this year, but comparing the mass balance buoy air temps of this year to prior years, (Jim's links above) the difference does not seem quite as significant for this place, which is why I was suggesting that part of the reason could be warmer ocean water, causing later and slower freeze.

Jim Hunt

John/Wayne - It looks like there's a problem with the SIZONet thermistor string this year. Alternating sensors have wildly different readings, whereas in previous years there was a much smaller (albeit still visible) difference between odd and even numbered sensors.


Right Jim,

Hope that they can work at it some more, it is very valuable information, lost, especially at this crucial time. I would suggest checking the string or thermistors in and above snow in situ, a temperature change of 1 C in 2 meters is a huge event! Remember this is winter, not road asphalt but snow, I suspect a proper above snow sequence would vary .1 to .3 C with respect to surface temperature. Underwater is also so important, there seems to be a lot of progress needed yet. Which buoy is the best -state of the art - ? in your humble opinion :)

Also how dependent are systems, say the models, with buoy data?

Robert S

Southward ice flow in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait has been impressive over the last week. The leads are still refreezing, but that won't last long!

John Bilsky

Rob Decker....
You wrote:

"Normally, it would be -30 C in the area for Jan/Feb.
But wasn't it more like -20 C this year ?
Makes a big (30%) difference, which leaves a mark on the ice, which would explain the Barrow fast-ice measurements and the CryoSat 2 measurements..."

Your math would be correct IF IF IF the temperatures were measured in Kelvin (the absolute temperature scale). However since the temps are in ºC one must add 273º to convert to Kelvin. Thus you must compare 243º K and 253ºK. You will get a smaller percentage. It's an easy mistake to make especially when we are as enthusiastic about the subject as we are.

I'll go back to lurking now. Keep up the great work one & all.


@John Bilsky

Ah, but we are evaluating the difference in temperature against Zero "C", not Zero "K". The key is FDD's and heat exchange which permits the freezing of H2O, not H2 ;)

Bill Fothergill

@ John Bilsky

As mentioned by jdallen, the concept of FDDs is pretty fundamental to one's understanding of the thermodynamic processes at play.

May I suggest having a look at...


This may be the melt season when the worse case scenario happens, a lot depends on ENSO turning La-Nina fast, and there seems to be some strong evidence so:

1- The maximum peak to melting trend is stalled
2- Less clouds over the Arctic
3- High pressure anticyclone hangs up over the ocean gyre

What is to come if these trends continue

1- A rapid drop in Extent right after solar warming becomes prominent
2- Many melt ponds appearing at an accelerated rate
3- And a greater flushing of ice through Fram Strait

Remains to be seen whether we will have an Arctic dipole,
there is always a possibility of cyclonic persistence when sea ice main pack shatters open.



I wasn't sure where to send this request but on mobile devices/browsers the ASIG pages for forecast and daily graphs doesn't allows the browser to scroll horizontally meaning two sets of graphs are cut off from being viewable and the webcams link isn't clickable either.

Oddly this problem isn't present on the alternative forecasts page https://sites.google.com/site/arcticseaicegraphs/forecasts2

Hopefully this will help you debug the problem.


Thanks for letting me know, Sifright. I'll see if I can solve it, although I have limited control (as it's a Google Sites thing) and knowledge.

Colorado Bob

Unaccounted for Arctic microbes appear to be speeding up glacier melting

The research, led by Dr Arwyn Edwards from Aberystwyth University, focuses on a grainy, soil-like substance found on the surface of Arctic ice known as cryoconite, which is made of dust and industrial soot glued together by photosynthetic bacteria. Working on Greenland's ice sheet, the team showed that cryoconite darkens the surface of the ice, causing it to melt and make small water-filled holes. The bacterially-made granules self-regulate the depth and shape of these holes to maximise their exposure to sunlight, which in turn further melts the glacier's surface ice. In summer, cryoconite holes pockmark the surface of the biologically productive region of the Greenland ice sheet, an area ten times the size of Wales (200,000 square kilometres), which is expanding as the climate warms.

Read more at: Link

John Bilsky

@ jdallen & Bill F.

D'oh! (slaps head) Of course. FDD's!!!! The difference between -30ºC and -20º C is not 30% from the standpoint of absolute temperatures which is how I interpreted Rob's comment, but when Freezing Degree Days are thrown into the mix, things take on a different flavour. Situational dependency. :-) NOW... back to lurking, which is what I do best. ;-)

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