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Thank you Neven!

Wow, maybe I have not paid much attention to the Farm Straight transport before, but it sure does look like ice is being pushed out hard right now. Especially with that high forecasted to stay for some time.


Protege Cuajimalpa

What concern me most is the graph that shows the age of the ice, because it can be seen that the cracks affects all types of ice (old and new). It will be great to see this graph updated, with the status one or two weeks from now.
Great post Neven!


Two other features worth mentioning here regarding weather. Along with the persistent high over the Pacific side of the CAB, we have not as strong but somewhat persistent low pressure over the Barents and Bering - something which has been true for several days and will continue to be a feature.

Both are the product of low pressure systems running NE along the continental margins and then stalling over the (comparatively) warm peripheral Arctic seas.

The effect is to amplify air movement - two dipoles if you will - which are boosting the power of the 1040-ish high pressure system, and which also steer winds westward along the N Alaskan coast, and SouthWestward across the CAB towards the Fram and Victoria island gaps.

Export into warm Greenland and Barents Seas water is going to be very high over the next few days - on the order of 100's of thousands of KM2. What will replace that exported ice will be very thin, and disappear within weeks, exposing central portions of the basin to significantly reduced albedo.

As Neven said, hope for clouds and cool weather. We will need them.

Colorado Bob

Conditions Promoting the Arctic Sea Ice Collapse Are Exceptionally Strong This Spring

It didn’t take long for Arctic sea ice to start to respond to a fossil-fuel based accumulation of hothouse gasses in the Earth’s atmosphere. For since the 1920s, that region of ocean ice along the northern polar zone has been in a steady, and increasingly rapid, retreat. Rachel Carson wrote about the start of the Northern Hemisphere ocean ice decline in her ground-breaking 1955 book — The Edge of the Sea.


Eli Rabett

Always learn something here. Thanks Eli


Excellent! As was said, the 2013 theories about the overall effect of the cracks will be put to the test if/when sun and heat come to the Pacific side of the Arctic.

Colorado Bob

Neven , you and Scribbler. Link up ,you both are flea free.

That's why your threads are so productive. And his as well.
You throw the bums off.

That's why you have readers.

That's why we don't get dragged a debate about farm dealerships in Greenland.

Dean B

Bit off topic, I assume that the cryosphere today graphs are based upon faulty readings lately, or has there been an amazing recovery of ice. If its faulty data, why are they updating the graphs with the faulty data?


Hi, Dean. Yes, the data is faulty due to a failed sensor (see here). The reason those CT graphs are still being updated, is perhaps that they haven't noticed, as these things are usually automated. Or perhaps they just let things continue until the matter is resolved by their data provider.

Interestingly, some people, like Judith Curry, thought for a while that global sea ice area was making a remarkable comeback. :-D


No recovery Dean. There's considerable discussion of the satellite problems over on the forums.

The NSIDC has in fact retracted it's April data, and is working on building from other satellites of the same mark.

The IJIS numbers, which use a completely different device show no recovery.

Neven , you and Scribbler. Link up ,you both are flea free.

That's why your threads are so productive. And his as well.
You throw the bums off.

Thanks, CB. There aren't that many bums really, or at least, not that kind of bums.


Forgot the link:



Also it's quite clear from eyeballing the Bremen AMSR-2 maps that there is early onset and quite significant melting happening already.

The Barrow mass balance site is showing some loss already and even snow loss at -10C. Although it does look like it's been affected by some ridging.

The webcam is showing melt ponding in the -5C to -10C range due to the clear skies and strong sunlight.

Whatever happens it's going to be an interesting year, but that interest is not going to be in any kind of rebound...


Whilst I remember did anyone notice the Feb/Feb year on year CO2 growth for 2015/16 was 3.6ppm???


Roger Boyd

The increase is actually 3.4ppm (403.28-399.88). During the last "super" El Nino of 1997/98, it was the second year (when it peaked and declined) that was the worst for the increase in atmospheric carbon. So a bigger than 2015 jump may be expected this year. Perhaps to do with the lag in heat transferring from the southern ocean to the northern hemisphere. I have seen 6 months stated for this, which would make the northern summer very hot (have to remember the reference), not good for arctic ice melt.

Hopefully the first half of April's Manua Loa readings are not a harbinger for the global ones as they have jumped into the 408-9 range.


from wiki:
“...delayed winter ice formation allows for more efficient coupling between the ocean and wind forcing.”

Does this mean the Beaufort Gyre increasing in strength is a harbinger?


May I also ask as to why ice formation is delayed in the Beaufort Sea?



What does this mean: "Perhaps to do with the lag in heat transferring from the southern ocean to the northern hemisphere."



Ah yes, must have done something wrong when I typed it into the spreadsheet.

However it comes on top of a 2015 annual 3ppm rise. The annual rise in 1998 was 2.82

It seems that the growth continues even though the Nino is fading. I'm wondering what the year will bring at the end, because the 1990's, of the other super Nino, averaged 1.5ppm, the 2000's averaged 1.9ppm and, so far, the 2010's have averaged 2.3ppm.

Which would explain to me why such a low solar output cycle could continue the decay of the arctic ice and provide the huge losses we have seen in area and volume in the 2010's and the 80N heat records we are seeing.


This graph looks very scary is the rapid drop validated by other data?


Zenightowl, all the graphs that rely on passive microwave data provided by the SSMI/S sensor are in error (see this previous comment for a link to the NSIDC explanation). The only source of correct passive microwave data is the one based on AMSR-2, like JAXA, Uni Hamburg and Wipneus.

At some point those other data sets will receive data from another sensor (hopefully SSM/I again), but it can take a while. Fortunately, the melting season hasn't kicked into a higher gear yet. The NSIDC, CT, etc, have until the end of May, as far as I am concerned.


Ouch !@?... the animation below shows the details that are actually available from Lance-Modis for day 106 of this year at their top 1 km resolution true color (after some processing). The second frame flashes in cloud cover taken from bands 367. You may have to click over to the forum link and click again on the static picture to see at full size.

Beaufort day 103 2016



The Barrow webcam is showing lots of ice floating by from the East.


Roger Boyd

Tp AbbottisGone: There is a lag between the warmth in the N3.4 equatorial region in the Pacific, and the sub-tropical and extra-tropical areas. This paper covers some of the proposed mechanisms:



Neven, the legend to the graph I posted says that it is bases on AMSR-2... http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr2/


Nice work Neven!

Snow on Alaska's North shore is particularly effective if it is freshly fallen, not old standing battered by the sun, there is a huge difference between the two. I have captured this a few days ago. Will do something on this perhaps tomorrow.

The Beaufort Gyre High usually repels incoming Cyclones, they last a while near the Arctic coastal shores, it usually snows when present there. Without fresh snow falling, the melt would accelerate very fast. A fluffy snow layer is incredibly effective in stopping any warming or melting.

Neven, the legend to the graph I posted says that it is bases on AMSR-2..

Indeed! I'm sorry, Zenightowl, I assumed you were talking about SSMI/S based graphs.

I don't know what's wrong with this one (and for some reason or other the JAXA graph has disappeared from the ASIG, although the HTML is still there, as is the graph), but it definitely can't be real.

Here's to hoping there's nothing wrong with AMSR2!


Looking at the Uni Bremen sea ice concentration map, it seems one swath is missing. This happens occasionally, so let's wait and see what happens tomorrow.


The same goes for the JAXA SIE map on ADS-NIPR.

Again, let's hope there's nothing wrong with AMSR2!

Jim Hunt

Wipneus's processing fills in the missing AMSR2 values from the previous day. Yesterdays numbers confirm that, as predicted, sea ice area in the Beaufort Sea has increased somewhat, whilst area in the Chukchi Sea is now taking a premature nose dive:


OSI-SAF also seem to have transitioned to DMSP F-18 successfully:


Thanks, Jim. That's good news.


Bob Grumbine writes in at WUWT:

Data outage 1600 UTC on April 15th to 0740 UTC on the 16th. And apparently this graph doesn’t respond well to data voids.
Jim Hunt

Neven - I tweeted Bob earlier:


Several of his, yours and my comments seem to be languishing on the WUWT cutting room floor:


Wayne Kernochan

NeilT: You should also note that 3 weeks ago the Mauna Loa weekly average hit 405 ppm for the first time ever; last week the average hit 406 for the first time ever; and the first 5 days of this week are averaging about 408.7 ppm, with one day at about 409.4. - w


I just looked at the U Bremen website and the Arctic graph shows a big drop. there is no equivalent "error" on the Antarctic plot so it may be real.
Missing swath second day but different area.

Jim Hunt

Which "Arctic graph" are you referring to Philip?

Here's ours based on University of Hamburg AMSR2 data:


A steady decline is visible, but not what I would call a "big drop".

Bill Fothergill


I think Philip may have been referring to this chart...

Yesterday morning (our time) it showed a ludicrous overnight drop of approx 1 million sq kms. It has since then been corrected.

Wayne Kernochan

NeilT: It's official. This week's value is 408.69, which is 4.59 ppm above last year at this time, and about 4.5 ppm above the maximum weekly value last year. Afaik, this is the first time the year-to-year increase in weekly ppm has ever topped 1%.


Wayne, every time I see this I think.

"Wasn't the goal of Kyoto and Every Single Summit after it, meant to _reduce_ the increase in CO2"

Maybe I got it wrong.

Tom Zupancic

Regarding the potential impact of the current fragmentation event in the western Arctic, I think it is useful to factor in potential effects from solar irradiation. The sun is currently shining on the Beaufort Sea. Albedo here has been reduced. It would appear that this solar irradiance is currently adding anomalous energy to the system.

Bill Fothergill

@ Wayne K & NeilT RE: ML CO2

This is indeed worrying, but, as the time scales (i.e. daily/weekly) are so short, it could just about be down to chance variation. If the monthlies look the same.... gulp.

A big question then becomes, is this down to...
a) increased emissions, or
b) reduced uptake of atmospheric CO2 by land/oceanic sinks, or
c) oceanic outgassing (due to reduced CO2 solubility in warmer water)

@ Wayne K:
About 2 days or so after you had to educate me on the word "grok", I was watching a BBC programme called University Challenge. The format is that each team attempts to be first to answer a starter question (10 points). If they are correct, they then are asked three bonus questions, each for 5 points.

On one of the rounds, the first bonus question was
who wrote "Stranger in a Strange Land"?
The second was...
what was the four letter word coined by Heinlein in this book, and meant to indicate "establish a deep understanding intuitively"?

I nearly fell off my seat. (However, I did have enough residual honesty to admit that I had only learned about "grok" approximately two days earlier on the ASIB)

Roger Boyd

The 1997/98 and 2015/16 El Nino's are a very close match, both in peak temperature for N3.4 and the month of peak, plus lagged relative atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature anomalies. See page 10 and page 21 at:


From a year over year increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide content (at Manua Loa), they are quite close. In a couple of weeks in September 1998 the year over year change was above 4.5ppm! So we may have even higher numbers coming later this year.


Relative global temperature anomalies in the first few months of 1998 and 2016 also seem to match. The northern hemisphere anomalies, versus global, are much higher though this year than in 1998 - by between 0.3 and 0.4 degrees. In 1998 the high temperature anomalies kept going through August, so could be a pretty hot northern melt season.

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/ (scroll down and open up the global mean monthly psv file, then the northern hemisphere mean psv file).

At the global level CO2 levels increased 1.96 ppm in 1997 (from 1.08 the previous year), and 2.82 in 1998. As the increase was 3.00ppm in 2015, could be over 4ppm in 2016?


Post 1998 the CO2 and temperature anomalies regressed to the trend. If this is all just noise in the trend, do we get a new "hiatus" for the deniers to trumpet a few years from now?

Colorado Bob

Floods in Russia

Over the last few days, Russia has been plagued by numerous floods in central and northern parts of the country. The bad weather has also accelerated the thawing of ice in many rivers.


Video showing the Russians blowing up ice dams on one river.


Fortunately, that particular flood is headed towards the Caspian, which can use the water. There were Colorado-style flash floods down near the Black Sea as well - 30-40CM of rainfall in 24 hours.


It *is* reasonable to conclude that there is a lot more moisture being carried north, and what we see here is a side effect of that.

I'm not finding a lot about what's happening in northern drainage basins to the Arctic, but if what we see here is any indication, it won't be good.

Roger Boyd

Climate reanalyzer is forecasting intense heat anomalies over Greenland and the Kara Sea, building from April 23rd onwards.


An area from the Kara Sea out to Severnaya Zemlya and Franz Joseph Land, plus Baffin Bay next to Greenland, will have air temperatures above zero.

Wayne Kernochan

@Bill: First, thx for the "grok" reference. I must admit that I was a programmer for nearly 13 years before 1990 and never heard it used once. But it did show up in the New Hacker's Dictionary, which is a marvelous read for anyone who can find it.

About the "anomalies": I must admit the scale of the jump last week is unprecedented in my memory, and I've followed CO2 ML since about 2010. Otoh, iirc, both Feb. in the global scale and Mar. in the ML scale showed about a 3.5 ppm increase; so this is clearly above even whatever happened in 1998. I can't rule out some extraneous effects nearby in Hawaii, although why they would surface now and not any other time in recent memory is beyond me.

Re what's causing it: I am trying to write a blog post about it. I view effects from either oceanic upgassing or ocean/land capacity-reaching as less likely. CarbonTracker, I think, attempts to size these effects, and the effects it finds have been pretty stable for the last 15 years at least -- why should both not only change but change sharply at this time?

Yes, the el Nino clearly is having an effect. But why should it have an effect that seems greater than 1998, and why does the effect linger when reports indicate that this el Nino has been no stronger than 1998 at its strongest, and has been weakening for at least 2 1/2 months?

Finally, you have to take into account the fact that our best estimates of fossil-fuel pollution aside from CO2 ML and the like are done by the IEA based on self-reporting by national governments. It takes no conspiracy theory to figure out that the IEA estimates, which report ff pollution as flat over 2014-2015, are probably underestimating the rate of growth of ff-derived atmospheric carbon. Also probably the underestimate is increasing over time.

Part of that self-report is from local governments, part from businesses, and the IEA does not track pollution during production of the fossil fuel. There is a natural tendency for such reporting to capture less as methods change and to avoid the job of reporting. Increased fracking is probably a cause of increased underestimation, since independent studies have shown large amounts of post-wellhead "flaring" (resulting in large methane/CH4 emissions). Heating/electric infrastructure has been shifting away from well-reported Euro and US zones towards China and India, and these also typically have less efficiency in electricity and heat usage than Europe/the US -- it's not clear whether the IEA deals with that problem adequately. NOAA's estimator shows that fossil-fuel pollution's positive carbon-pollution contribution measured at the marine surface grew from 9.14 ppm in 2011 to 9.78 ppm in 2014 -- there doesn't seem to be much of a slowdown in that in 2014.

Putting together all this, if I had to guess, and I do: The IEA figures are wrong. European efforts are having an effect, but are counteracted by increases in China and India -- which are in turn caused primarily by US/Europe business investment. CO2 growth is real, and is caused partly by el Nino, but more by higher ff pollution and by feedback-loop effects in which, for example, exposure of the Arctic translates to increased black carbon on melting snow and possibly heat driven south that makes us use more electricity-based cooling (less efficient than heating).


The most glaring thing about the whole CO2 and Nino impact we are seeing today is that it only took 15 years to make the 97/8 Nino temperatures "normal". But also the knock on impact during that time were the 2005/7/ and 12 shock ice losses.

This does not bode well for 2016 to 2031!

Also if countries are "doing a VAG", namely simply lying because they can't/won't reduce emissions, then things are going to go off the rails pretty quickly.

None of which bodes well for the next few melt seasons.

Personally 2016 is beginning to shape up like 2006, where the exceptional melt early in the season was damped down by extensive moisture cover which halted the melt.

Leading, of course, to 2007. But it's warmer again now so that's debatable.

Wayne Kernochan

Sorry, I wrote this before seeing Roger's excellent research. I stand corrected on the equivalence of this el Nino and the 1998 one. - w

Artful Dodger

Hi folks,

The thing to remember about Mauna Loa CO2 measurements is that they are naturally noisy over the short term. The Lab where the measurements are taken is about 30 miles from the Kilauea summit caldera, which emits about 10,000 tons of CO2 per day.

So when then trade winds are just right (or when "Pele" is especially angry), you will see elevated CO2 measured downwind.


But, as we all know, CO2 is a well-mixed gas in the troposphere, and the readings will even out over time.

The thing that matters most is the long-term trend, and we can see decade-by-decade that trend is accelerating.

That's the rock-hard fact, not the hot basalt tossed into the Pacific. Undeniably.


Roger Boyd

Thankyou Wayne - some of the numbers are worrying. The year over year change for the first 3 months is 3.32ppm in 2016 vs only 2.29ppm in 1998 - so seemingly a bigger CO2 response to the same scale and timing of the El Nino. Also, the temperature change between the two El Nino events (handily removing the ENSO variability) works out at 0.25 degrees C per decade. Of course, still early days in the year.

Bill Fothergill

@ Lodger

On his post on the 18th, Roger linked to this NOAA page...

That relates to global CO2 levels, not just from Mauna Loa. The equivalent ML info is accessed by one of the tabs on that page, and has been updated with March data. (Unlike the global page, which is still on Feb.)

ML does not show the horrible upward spike that is clearly evident in the global data - and this will get only higher when the March and, to a lesser extent, April data gets incorporated.

However, I'm still hoping this can be explained by noise - otherwise it's very worrying. Wayne K has suggested that there is an element of under-reporting of emissions - and at least that could partially account for any genuine increase in the rate of increase.

I thought China was already approaching the culmination of their coal-power plant extravaganza, but India is in full flow. (That was one of the things they - India - wanted out of CoP21, financial assistance so that they could go down a path less dirty than coal.)

Over the next hour or three, I'll try a few quick and dirty energy calculations to see what this looks like in megaWatt hours.

Bill Fothergill

@ Wayne

As far as this sudden CO2 hike is concerned, I don't think we can lay the blame on any recent increase in coal-powered generation.

A 1ppm(v) increase in atmospheric CO2 equates to something like an extra atmospheric loading of ~2.2 gigatonnes of Carbon, which in turn equates to the emission of an additional ~ 4.9 gigatonnes of Carbon (in the form of about 18 gigatonnes of CO2).

I used this Scripps Institute link for the various sink ratios...

To get some numbers for energy/tonne of coal, I used this US EIA link, and assumed the coal grade was near-anthracite - but I was probably being generous there...

Burning the amount of coal necessary to cause a 1 ppm(v) hike would roughly equate to an energy release of some 10 trillion kiloWatt hours. (Multiply that by 3.6 million to convert it into Joules.)

Over the course of a year, that's roughly equivalent to a continuous power output of some 1.2 million megaWatts. By way of comparison, the biggest coal station I'm aware of is at Taichung (in Taiwan), and this has an installed capacity of about 5,500 megaWatts. (The average running load is typically going to be about half of the max installed capacity.)

Therefore, whatever it was that has lead to this CO2 spike (and I'm still hoping it's a statistical blip) we can safely say that it's not down to additional coal-fired power stations coming on line within the last year. (Although every coal-fired station brought on line is another nail in the coffin.)

(N.B. That was pen & paper stuff, so I could have cocked-up the calculations, but I think they're sound.)

Wayne Kernochan

Thx much NeilT, Roger, Bill, and AD -- all very good stuff. I should really bring this back to the Arctic, as Neven has been especially forbearing to let this discussion unrelated to the Beaufort go on this long.

A few final notes that hopefully add to the discussion: (1) There's a fascinating movie under the NOAA site/CO2 emissions showing the spread of fossil-fuel-emission CO2 in the atmosphere from its original ground sources over the period 2011-12. The reason I think it relates is that it shows that strong Chinese emissions are carried by the trade winds across the Pacific in "flares" that occasionally cross Hawaii. It is possible that some of the ML anomalies over the course of a few days, in particular, are caused by intersection with a Chinese (or even Indian) flare. Note also that lesser hot spots in the US East Coast and Western Europe likewise flare across the Atlantic to Western Europe and China, respectively. I can't think why China would have such an outsized effect on ML right now, but it might explain why the ML upsurge has continued for more than a week.

(2)I looked at the four years before and after 1998, and in fact CO2 growth rate was slightly larger before than after. It isn't until 2002 that CO2 growth rate kicks up to a decade-long 2-2.5 ppm/yr average growth rate, from a 1.5-1.9 ppm/yr growth rate before then. And so, given that the first half of this year should show outsized growth rates, I think it will probably be around 2019-2020 that any permanent increase in the growth rate will begin to be clear.

(3) Many of my conclusions about the IEA data are reinforced by my experiences following the computer industry. For example: In the last 10-12 years, there was a massive shift in investment towards "developing countries" at IBM and other places -- primarily China and India, as well as the Philippines to some extent. These could offer much lower labor costs and theoretically a similar product. However, the infrastructure there -- electricity, heating, cooling -- did not have the capacity to support this and did not have the quality/efficiency standards that the US and Europe had. Therefore, the government had to rapidly increase capacity and use the existing inefficient infrastructure as a base with which to do so. To put it in a nutshell: Moving to developing countries showed up as increased profits in global businesses, but also increased CO2 compared to the same investment in developed countries. Moreover, these same businesses found it much more difficult to track their emissions in developing countries. Afaik, that was why, when Microsoft laudably committed to full tracking of its emissions and a goal of carbon neutrality a couple of years ago, it committed only to tracking and neutrality within the US.

Now let me try to relate this back to the Arctic. The CO2 Emissions movie suggests that increases in CO2 at lower latitudes of the NH get transmitted first around the world at those lower latitudes, and then in a somewhat more delayed fashion to upper latitudes, i.e., the Arctic. So I would, as a swag, guess that increased heat over the Arctic due to the trailing edges of el Nino plus ff pollution would not only continue until fall, it might actually intensify, in the Beaufort as elsewhere -- and we might see what happened to temps in Greenland as the result partly of a "flare" from lower latitudes. It is even possible that this will result in an increase in the temperature gradient at the end of this fall, reducing the likelihood of extreme cold in the US/Europe the first part of next winter.

Artful Dodger

Hi Bill,

I'm specifically referring to the "noisyness" in this graph, the Weekly Mauna Loa CO2 measurements, which recently showed daily readings of 408 to 409 ppm: (click image to see full-screen)

Mauna Loa Weekly - 1 yr CO2

These daily departures are typical for MLO data, as you can see by the wide spread of daily readings (the black dots on the graph) plotted over the year.

As a intimated above, these daily jiggles in the data are the peeps of an Apapane, while the accerating decadal trend in CO2 is the tail slap of a bull Kohola.

annual mean growth rate of CO2 at Mauna Loa

Bottom line: growth in CO2 has doubled in the 40 years from the 1960s to the 2000s. That's a slap in the face we can't ignore.

But we all knew that here at Neven's hangout, didn't we? It's all about our choices going forward now, isn't it? ;^)



Is it my faulty memory or do I really remember a discussion somewhere about how the CO2 impact would be felt in the Arctic more visibly in the winter than in the summer?

In terms of raised winter temperatures which might be significantly more dramatic than the temperature raise in summer.

Also that the damage done in winter would lead to increased summer melt regardless of whether the summer conditions were right for melt or not.

Just something playing around the edges of my memory.

Wayne Kernochan

I can speak to the first question, although I can't remember if I read it in Hansen's Storms of My Grandchildren or a Joe Romm post. Rising CO2 is reflected in rising heat that will occur more in winter than summer, more at night than during the day, and more in northern latitudes like the Arctic than near the Equator. It appears that this picture has been complicated recently by research suggesting that the resulting decreased temperature gradient has compromised the strength of the jet stream, leading to colder temperatures from the Arctic driving down more towards the temperate zone and lasting there for a longer time period before a new front arrives.

Jim Hunt

The ECMWF forecast is for the current high pressure area to keep the Gyre spinning for a few more days at least:


Based on that prognosis the US Navy's ACNFS suggests the entrance to McClure Strait will be cleared of old ice just as the flow of (comparatively!) warm water from the Mackenzie River into the eastern Beaufort Sea starts to increase:

Bill Fothergill

@ NeilT and Wayne K

Re: Differential winter/summer heating

This kind of effect is also referred to in the SkS Guide to Global Warming Scepticism. (Sorry, I refuse spell it with a "k".)

The part which specifically relates to winter/summer heating is "Human Fingerprint #6".

Bill Fothergill

Staying firmly on topic for a change, anyone wishing to avail themselves of some fascinating background information pertaining to the Beaufort Gyre should spend some time browsing through this treasure trove...


The people at Woods Hole have spent some time recently tidying this up, and it has improved considerably since I last had a decko there.

@ Jim H Under the "History" tab, there is a wealth of background material covering both the Soviet and the US Drift Stations.

Aaron Lewis

This group likes to watch real time events. The real time event that NOBODY is talking about is CH4.

In real time, CH4 is the equivalent of 86 units of CO2. With CH4 now around 1.8 ppm, that means for this summer's melt, it is the equivalent of 154 ppmv of CO2, and adding in the real CO2, we have something over 558 CO2 ppmve.

Talking about CO2 at 409 ppmv, or rising by 3, or 10 ppmv per year, or per decade, misses the full physical reality of greenhouse gases affecting the Arctic Sea Ice in 2016.


Aaron Lewis - we are aware of CH4 and its effects, but that's off topic for this post. I suggest you take your self over to the forums for discussion.

In particular, you might find good discussion *here*:



Aaron, we mustn't talk about methane, no matter how bad it gets nor how easily it could be reduced (leaks, beef, rice), or we risk a good spanking from the C02-only narrative enforcement. (humor?)

There was a group at MIT that was totaled up all the greenhouse gases, not just carbon dioxide and methane. I've misplaced the link and don't recall if they update it in real time.

There were some interesting items in there, like illegal fluoro refrigerants still widely manufactured in a large country located between Pakistan and Bangladesh.


At the EGU press conference I was at today, there was also a scientist who explained how Arctic sea ice loss would lead to increased wavy activity and thus more coastal erosion in the second half of this century.

I hesitated for a while during the Q&A, but finally said: Maybe I shouldn't ask this, but what will increased wave activity do to the East Siberian Arctic Shelf and the methane clathrates therein.

I almost felt ashamed asking about it! ;) :D


Great press conference, I like the way she explained that internal variability (like weather in summer) makes very difficult for models to predict sea ice loss over the years with less uncertainty.

Bill Fothergill

@ Aaron
"... The real time event that NOBODY is talking about is CH4.

In real time, CH4 is the equivalent of 86 units of CO2 ..."

There has been plenty of discussion - not least on this site - concerning clathrate destabilisation.

The figure you quote of X86 CO2 equivalent needs to be tempered by the atmospheric residency time of CH4. The exact numbers invariably vary (couldn't resist that combination) depending upon the source one uses for reference, but anyone uncertain about this should familiarise themselves with the concept of Global Warming Potential.

For starters, one could do worse than looking at...

Alternatively, there is the EPA take on methane...

A GWP (not GWPF!!!) value for methane that used to get tossed about was X23 CO2 equivalent. On a lighter note, a couple of years ago, some journalist asked if this meant that CH4 would break down into 23 molecules of CO2.

I honestly don't know where they get these people from.

Wayne Kernochan

I'll weigh in only to add some facts or guesses at facts not discussed last time. The reason afaik that different folks tend to come up with a different "multiple of CO2" value for methane is that when methane is at low levels it has a half-life of about 10 years, while when it is far greater it has a much longer half-life. The reason iirc is that when you have too much methane in the atmosphere, there's not enough oxygen to split off the hydrogen atoms as water (H2O) plus CO2. So a steady level of methane at today's levels may be equivalent to 20 times the effect of an equivalent amount of CO2, while 10 times today's amount might double methane's half-life in the atmosphere and have around 80 times the effect of the equivalent amount of CO2 (these are vague recollections of the CO2 equivalents given at the time, not exact figures).

The question is, how much methane does it take to extend its half-life. Scientists at the time usually tended to believe we were nowhere near the threshold (I hate the term "tipping point"). Moreover, James Hansen et al in a draft paper a couple of years ago found that in the last two episodes of global warming (55 and 155 years ago) methane had a minimal effect. Instead, what supplemented CO2's direct effect were things like black carbon.

Now, there are two things these analyses can't speak to. First, nobody knows just how much of permafrost melt will be released as methane, and how much as CO2. The former is worse in the short term, while the latter is actually worse in the long term (under certain assumptions).

Second, no one really knows how our incredible acceleration of global warming will affect such things as what Neven cited, methane clathrates on the Arctic Ocean seafloor. A study someone cited at the time said flatly that methane clathrates there might melt, but the methane would be released as bubbles (i.e., go directly to the atmosphere) only at a depth of 10-60 feet, and those bubbles would be small (less than 10 meters in diameter. I am skeptical of this conclusion, as the Russian woman scientist who has been reporting Russian sampling over the last few years announced at one that they were seeing bubbles of more than 100 m in diameter in an area that seemed to be more than 100 meters in depth.

My net so far is that methane appears right now to have too many hoops to jump through in order to do more than double, and therefore worrying about methane is probably less important than worrying about carbon emissions, from fossil fuels and the permafrost. But I do hope Neven finds out something new. I still do worry about it.


Talking about wave action Neven, wasn't it DR Barber who was researching how far wave action could penetrate into loosely connected thin and broken pack as opposed to solid thick pack.

To try and stay on topic, does anyone know of a study describing how this would impact the gyre with the storms we're currently seeing there? I.e. wave action on the open water that has already been created then penetrating further and further into the pack due to the inability of the pack to resist the wave action.

Once it's all broken up, then the gyre can shift it around much more easily.

Jim Hunt


You may wish to peruse my own research into the effects of "wave action" on Beaufort Sea ice?

Sea Ice and Swells in the Beaufort Sea in the Summer of 2014


Jim, in August 2015 it was even worse, those gale force winds over the wide open seas of Chukchi and Beaufort raised 5 m waves IIRC. Surely you know better.

Jim Hunt

These ones you mean navegante?


The cause of the flooding that is all too visible is a cyclone that’s been whirling around in the Chukchi Sea for a while. A swell 4 to 5 metres high with a period of 10 seconds heading directly towards Barrow Beach.

Huge, wind-whipped waves crashed onto the shore at Barrow on Thursday, forcing the closure of a nearby road. Westerly winds were gusting up to 50 miles an hour, pushing waves up to the top of the beach and causing some erosion, the National Weather Service said.

One cannot help but wonder what would happen should a swell with a period of 15 or even 20 seconds develop in that part of the world?

Bill Fothergill

@ Jim,

Your "sea ice and swells" link had a very interesting video clip from the Applied Physics Lab at Washington U. (It certainly looked more fun than the bloody Charpy Impact tests that I had to play with!)

At times, intuition can be a poor servant in science, but one would certainly be forgiven for intuitively expecting the ice margin to act as a form of "low-pass filter" as regards the propagation of different frequency waves. It was therefore pleasing to see that intuition would have been right on the button.

Another intriguing aspect was the eclectic make up of the research team. In particular, the US Office of Naval Research and the US Naval Postgraduate School.

Bloody tree-hugging commie bastards trying to create a one-world government and fleece us of our tax-dollars in order to make up their grants!!!!!

Bill Fothergill

@ Wayne K
"...the last two episodes of global warming (55 and 155 years ago) methane had a minimal effect..."

The 55 mya event would be the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), but I'm not aware of anything similar at 155 mya. (The end-Permian "Great Dying" was about 250 mya.)

To be honest, I'm not convinced either way by the "it was methane" and "it wasn't methane" arguments. What isn't really up for argument was the fact that sediments laid down around the time of the PETM display a very pronounced negative excursion in the delta C13.

In English, that gobbledegook really means that something caused the C12/C13 isotope ratio to go walkabout, and the only meaningful contender is some biological source. Buried biological material which has broken down in a largely oxygen-free environment would tend to produce methane, and would certainly tick some of the boxes.

However, as you rightly point out, some (many?) think that the C13 negative excursion had a non-methane genesis. (I'm sitting firmly on the wall.)

David Madsen

Unless fossil fuel emissions soon drop significantly below current levels, I expect CO2 levels will surpass the 450 mark by around 2035 and the 500 mark around 2065.

"Barring some major breakthrough that allows excess CO2 to be scrubbed from the air, it is currently an impossibility for us to reach the target of 350 ppm that many consider the threshold of dangerous climate change effects. I expect it will take at least 1,000 years before CO2 drops again below 350 ppm."

– Ralph Keeling, director of Scripps CO2 Group


Dr David Mills was on YouTube years ago saying 440 ppm was locked in.

Arnold Schwarzeneggers most famous comment is that governments follow: THE PEOPLE LEAD!

Hands up who had kids for no reason ! The witches wand of Holloywood is the illusion of Mara and only the sword of wisdom can cut those strings attached to our ephemeral hearts!

(..now let us break out the techno music and say: build the wall,... Build the wall,.. Build the wall)

We've gotta button down the hatches folks because,.. You know: I like to win,.. I'm a taker but now I wanna take FOR the children!


[😜 am I being sarcastic? I don't even know anymore!!!]

Jim Hunt

The latest Beaufort Sea ice area plot suggests that the large polynya created by the winds from the continuing high pressure system is no longer refreezing.

(Click the image for a larger version)

The winds are forecast to have died down by the end of April, by which time above zero temperatures are forecast to have arrived!


Neven,some were downplaying this, but spot on when you saw this coming twenty days ago. Per the graph posted by Jim Hunt above, Beaufort sea has lost a 20% of its extent, and probably will lose soon another 20% that is covered right now by mush or very thin ice. Big extents of Chukchi sea ice are thin as paper. We'll see if/how the resulting albedo is amplified during May and June. The timing of land snow melt will be important too.


(Albedo is not amplified; Heat absorption is. Agh can't edit the post :))


Thanks, navegante. I'll be doing another update after the weekend.

Jim Hunt

As the Great Arctic Anticyclone of Spring 2016 slowly fades I ponder the effect of waves in the Beaufort Sea where sea ice would normally be in April:

Wind Waves in the Beaufort Sea in April 2016

Whilst Jason 3 won’t be watching waves in the Arctic Ocean it looks as though the European Space Agency’s Sentinel 3A satellite will be providing wave height data for the Beaufort Sea in the not too distant future.


JIm ,

We will see many anticyclones over the Arctic Ocean not necessarily as steady because open water "attracts" cyclones.
GFS and ECMWF has anticyclones every day there.

Did u check out 2015l thermistor 31 amazing measurements?


Looking at the forecast for a stuck high in the arctic, seems like it's going to move to a more central position over the arctic ocean in the next few days (by May 4th). Curious as to is this better or worse for the ice export?

May 8 forcast:

Also it will be very interesting to see upcoming POMAS volume for April.


Looks like upcoming great export of sea ice through Fram Strait not counting extra sun rays hitting the ice surface when Arctic Ocean should be almost completely covered by clouds, ice fog and ice crystal showers.


Thank you Wayne, that’s about what I expected, thought maybe there was something good about it shifting more central, i.e. less export, no dice.


oops Jim

did u check amazing discovery about 2015l thermistor


this time I suspect it fully functional within correct specifications.

Wayne Kernochan

One final note re CO2: It's official. April 2016 atmospheric carbon measured at Mauna Loa reached a level of 407.42 ppm, 4.16 ppm above April of last year. This marks the first month ever above 405 ppm, above 406 ppm, and above 407 ppm. So far in May (5 days), atmospheric carbon is averaging about 407.6 ppm.

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