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Annual spring projection done:


I was late because 'big blue' event is on going, extremely strong and consistent, the Beaufort Gyre High repulses all cyclone comers, it is also quite rare when cloudy here. This year is by far the worst case scenario since I've been doing my website in 2001. There is a huge difference with the last 'big blue' 2008, we have less sea ice and the winter past was extensively warm . Here we we go, yet again, another summer of nail biting awaits.
I see only one thing saving the ice, if circulation goes as foreseen, the Arctic Islands will keep some from melting further South.


The average SST in the Arctic (67N+) has varied between -29 and - 22.5 degC for the period Jan to Mar over the last 68 years according to NOAA. This year the average was 20.5.

In the high Arctic (80N+), the range has been -37.4 to -27.6, This year -24.5. Global sea temperatures have jumped by a similar outlandish amount. The previous range was 12.8 - 13.6 this year 14.0.

Each of these measures is at least one standard deviation above the previous record and three above the mean.

The effect all this heat will have on the summer melt remains to be seen but it certainly doesn't bode well.


Figures above should be read as:
Arctic Range:: -29.0 : -22.5 :: 2016 -20.5
80N Range :: -37.4 : -27.6 :: 2016 -24.5
Global Range:: 12.8 :13.6 :: 2016 14.0


I enlarged and animated the six years of February Cryosat-2 that Neven posted above ...



This sea ice portal (http://www.meereisportal.de/en.html) is quite well done and very effective at serving Cryosat-2 data either as graphic or as underlying data. The netCDF format can be opened in with free Panoply with no need for matlab or command line.

The originals for these graphics are quite generous, 3747 3747 pixel pngs. They crop quite nicely to a more manageable 1400x1400 for the Arctic Ocean. It is easy to make a black landmask by subtracting two images.

I would suggest to them an opt-out for the lat,lon graticule overlay. These are few people who do not already have access to a globe. Better to provide mouse-over lat,lon as done on so many other sites.

Erstaunlicherweise ist die Palette ganz falsch für wissenschaftliche Zwecke: the bins do not correspond to metric divisions and it does not drop to a linear grayscale. This is only 6-bit data (64 bins) after all.

It is far better to be able to explore time series data intuitively as graphics. Later you can go back and repeat the useful manipulations in netCDF numeric arrays.

Bill Fothergill


I'm not sure where you're picking up the SST data, but I suspect there's a bit of a hiccup involving Fahrenheit <<>> Celsius.

In your comment, you say that the Jan - Mar 2016 Global SST given by NOAA is 0.4 degC above anything seen prior to this year. However, the NOAA State of the Climate Global Highlights states that...

"The year-to-date globally-averaged sea surface temperature was 1.48°F above the 20th century average. This was the highest for January-March in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous records of 2010 and 2015 by 0.38°F and surpassing January–March 1998, the last time a similar strength El Niño occurred, by 0.49°F."


Arguably, the northern hemisphere SSTs for the most recent 12 months or so will have a much greater bearing on how things play out in the Arctic. NOAA provide a really nice little app which allows one to tailor various parameters, as can be seen on this link...


With the parameters set as in the above link, this gives...
12-month NH SSTs running Apr-Mar from 1880 - 2016.

It also shows the 1976-2016 trend.

I certainly agree that the latest numbers are way in excess of even that +0.14 degC/decade trend.

NB These NOAA figures are in reasonably good agreement with the equivalent HadSST values. However, prior to this year, Hadley had the 1998 and 2010 Jan-Mar global SST anomalies in a statistical tie (+0.460 degC Vs +0.462 degC), with 2015 a little behind (+0.423 degC) This year raised the bar to +0.677 degC - quite a hike!


Bill Fothergill


I had two NOAA charts open, one for 12 months (Apr-Mar) and one for 3 months (Jan-Mar) and managed to link the wrong one.

The trend on the 12 month chart (1976-2016) is +0.18 degC/decade, not +0.14 degC/decade - that's the trend over the Jan-Mar periods.

Greg Charles

I'm curious about the February CryoSat graphs towards the end of this article. The earlier years show the Hudson Bay ice free with just a thin bar of ice running near to the meridian, but not exactly on it. It looks like a measurement artifact of some kind. The more recent years show the Hudson full of thin ice. Is there an actual change in the ice there, or was it just not measured correctly before?


It looks like it wasn't counted for some reason or other in previous years.

As Hudson Bay completely melts out every year, ice can't get much thicker than 2 metres there (unless there's lots of ridging due to wind).


Fish Here.

There's a strong correlation between JFM global temperature data and open ocean in the Arctic the following summer and fall. You can see it easily in the NASA GISS data.

The GFS model continues to bring much above normal temperatures to the Beaufort sea for the next 10 days, right where the ice is at a record low thickness for this time of year.

Not good.

This melt year is already ahead of 2012 according to JAXA and the weather is favorable for well above average melting.

Colorado Bob

Melt Expanding into East Antarctica as Nansen Ice Shelf Crack Produces 20 Kilometer Long Iceberg

Ever since 1999 a gigantic crack has been growing in the Nansen Ice Shelf in East Antarctica. By 2014, expansion of the crack accelerated. As of early 2016, the crevice had grown to 40 kilometers in length. Flooded by melt along the Ice Shelf’s warming surface and weakened by the heating of ocean waters from below, on April 7th, according to ESA reports, this East Antarctic Ice Shelf produced an immense 20 kilometer long iceberg. A towering block of ice covering an area larger than Manhattan floating on out toward the world’s shipping lanes



I am using the data available from NOAA at


It is in Celsius but is not the same as the figures provided intheir monthly reports. It does however allow me to draw out figures for 67N+ and 80N+ which is where the other figures come from.

Either way it's a whole lot hotter than previous years.


Bill, It appears there are at least two seperate NOAA datasets, the esrl.noaa data set and the ncdc.noaa data set. The ncdc data covers the entire period of the GISS temperature record back to 1880, the esrl data only covers the period from 1948. Their daya collection methods must be different as they return different data.


"I'm curious about the February CryoSat graphs towards the end of this article. The earlier years show the Hudson Bay ice free with just a thin bar of ice running near to the meridian, but not exactly on it. It looks like a measurement artifact of some kind. The more recent years show the Hudson full of thin ice. Is there an actual change in the ice there, or was it just not measured correctly before?"

Greg, the CryoSat-2 sea-ice thicknesses are partially based on a snow depth climatology (Warren99). It is available as a quadratic fit for each month and was only ever intented for use in the central Artic Ocean. In some month and regions the quadratic fit results in grossly wrong results and the regions are consequently excluded. Hudson/Baffin Bay is on of these regions, others are e.g. the Barents Sea in November.

Merging CryoSat-2 and SMOS sea-ice thicknesses actually helps a lot in this respect.


Fish, if you take the CT SIA graph


Then remove all years but 2006/2012 and 2016, you see that 2012 was much higher are than 2006 at this time. They converged about day 148 and 2012 was on it's way to history about day 160.

I know that ice conditions are totally different now than they were in 2006, but I do recall reading, somewhere which I can't find now, that the weather was influenced by the heat energy and moisture released by the exceptionally early low ice conditions.

Which is why I'm cautious about what might happen this year.

The arctic is currently running In around 5 year cycles. If you add one more year to that mix, 2011, you see that it very closely matches both 2006 and 2016 at this time. In 5 year cycles, 2006 preceded the 2007 loss, 2011 preceded the 2012 shock and 2016???

We shall have to wait for that next instalment..

Bill Fothergill


Before I queried your source yesterday, I had wondered if you were talking about the NCEP reanalysis. I therefore had a look at that site prior to commenting, but could not see anything for Sea Surface Temperatures.

For whatever reason, the full expression must have been uppermost in my mind, and the abbreviation SST just simply failed to register when I was looking at the drop list. (Getting old is a pain in the arse.)

What's even worse, is that I think it may have been you who introduced me to the NCEP reanalysis page several months ago.

mea culpa

P.S. I've emailed the ESRL Physical Sciences Division and asked if they could help explain the differences.

Bill Fothergill

RE: Crack on the Nansen Ice Shelf

Before it parted company with the remainder of the Nansen Ice Shelf, that growing crack was the subject of a recent NASA Earth Observatory article.


I don't know if you followed the link in Mr Scribbler's blog, but the free-access GRL article about grounding line retreat at Pine Island, Thwaites etc., is worth a morbid look.

Yesterday (25th) the European Space Agency launched Sentinel 1B, and part of its remit will be to track activity on Thwaites & PIG. It will also be looking closely at 4 huge Greenland glaciers: Jakobshavn, Petermann, Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden and Zacharae Isstrom.




2012 had a late increase in area and extent that happened when changes in wind direction caused the ice pack to spread out. Thickness in the Beaufort sea was very low in 2012 but this year it is even thinner after weeks of cracking and blowing from the Alaskan side to the Siberian side of the Arctic. There are semi-cyclical oscillations in the strength of the Beaufort high but I wouldn't count on a precise repeat time like 5 years.

Moreover the GFS model continues hot clear high pressure over the Arctic ocean for the next 384 hours. Heat keeps on pumping into Alaska and the Beaufort sea as long as the model goes out in time.

And to make matters worse the Bering sea will be ice free very soon so Pacific summer water will soon be entering the Arctic ocean way ahead of schedule.

A cool, cloudy stormy June like June 2013 could stop the train wreck but I have seen no indications of a reversal in the tendency for very high pressure over the Arctic ocean. It might happen, given that there's about a 6 week oscillation between high and low pressure over the Arctic ocean. There's still hope that we won't see a crash in sea ice this summer but the conditions in the Beaufort are not good.


D, there is no "6 week cycles" at all this year, but rather now a 8 week big blue event of never ending sun over the Gyre area. With solar rays 30 degrees elevation the melt has started.

Wherever the -cryo- is left in our sphere dictates whether there
will be anticyclonic activity. It takes cold air, clear skies, a cold geographic base, a warm upper air and favorable circulation to ensure a big blue. Which unfortunately allows more solar radiation to melt the ice earlier. Usually ice crystals and widespread fog slow the start appreciably at this tine, but when it is also warmer from a weak build up of winter, the temp dew point spread narrows less. To top it off, the North Atlantic and Pacific
have lost a lot of steam for cloud making.


Agreed, Wayne, that the heat is on and JAXA shows that this year is melting out ahead of all the others. The southerly expansion of the jet stream that El Niño brought on has deepened the Aleutian low and intensified the Beaufort high. As we move into summer subsidence over the Beaufort is likely to continue as land heating causes warm air to rise up over Alaska and what comes up goes back down over the Beaufort.

There's also subsidence that comes down from the stratosphere over a broad area around the Aleutians that may enhance the Beaufort high.

As you've noted before, Wayne, ice covered areas tend to have high pressure in the summer because of the cooling effects of the ice.

It looks to me like its going to be a record low for sea ice this summer.

Colorado Bob

: Bill Fothergill

A morbid look indeed.

Colorado Bob

Coalition Of Scientists Takes Novel Approach To Grading Accuracy Of Climate Change Coverage

A group of scientists from around the world is using new web-based technology to assess the accuracy of media coverage of climate change, and the organization spearheading these efforts is looking for support to take its work to the next level.

The organization, known as Climate Feedback, uses what’s known as web annotation technology to layer scientists’ comments directly onto articles and opinion pieces, so that readers can easily understand whether — and to what degree — the pieces are consistent with scientific understanding of climate change. Climate Feedback then assigns a credibility score known as “feedback” to each media piece, which serves as an overall guide to its accuracy — or lack thereof.
The result looks like this:


Indeed, because the challenge is so great, Climate Feedback is ramping up its efforts via a crowdfunding campaign this week. The aim is to raise enough funds to hire a scientific editor and build a “Scientific Trust Tracker,” which will aggregate the group’s ratings to assess the overall credibility of various news sources. According to Vincent, the new tool “should provide a healthy incentive for more accurate science reporting,” because “building trust is essential for news sources and scientists’ endorsements can help journalists with integrity to get ahead.”
Climate Feedback: A guide to reliable climate news


Colorado Bob

" If climate change is the shark, water is the teeth. "



(->trust me, there's a song about sharks on here somewhere: great excuse to listen to the whole thing! They don't make 'em like this anymore!!)


For those hard core sea ice students:


There may be a first Optical prime rule, very practical for navigation and or especially for understanding sea ice thermal physics.

Colorado Bob

Siberian erosion, river runoff speed up Arctic Ocean acidification

As Siberian permafrost thaws, crumbling Russian coastlines and big rivers flowing north along eroding banks are dumping vast loads of organic carbon into marine waters there, causing much quicker acidification than had been anticipated and signaling future danger for the entire Arctic Ocean.

So says a newly published study by a team of scientists from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Russian Academy of Sciences and other institutions in Russia and Sweden.



Fish here. Bob, it took you a few days to find that article. You're slowing down on us. Note that the source article is open access.

Acidification is only half of the story on the effects of that organic matter. Obviously, the additional organic matter will lower oxygen levels in the sea water. In areas where there's a large organic matter input, the water will become anoxic.

Thus methane that forms or is released, in those regions will not be oxidized before it gets to the atmosphere.

So this increased organic matter runoff is actually a triple whammy on the environment.

Yes, I should write it up but I'm writing about something that's even more urgent. And I need to get out.

Colorado Bob

Fish -

" triple whammy "

More like Pandora's ice chest without a lid.

Researchers from St. Petersburg State University (SPbU), and the Institute of Physico-chemical and Biological Problems of Soil Science, have revived several species of pre-historic amoebae discovered in the Arctic permafrost.

This research was conducted from 2012 to 2016. A team of researchers investigated samples of different ages and locations in the Arctic, in total finding 26 strains of viable amoebae. This included two new species belonging to the Flamella genus. Eight of the isolated strains are still impossible to classify with certainty. The age of the microorganisms is estimated at 30,000-60,000 years.


Bill Fothergill

@ Bob & Fish

I wonder if the inexorable decrease in the amount of permafrost makes it easier, or more difficult, for a certain Emeritus Professor at Fairbanks to keep his head firmly buried in the sand?



Jim Hunt

What with one thing and another I've recently produced an animation using the new version 3 Arctic sea ice age data from the NSIDC. As far as I'm aware it's not possible to embed videos in Typepad comments, so it can be perused at:


See if (unlike some people) you can spot the multi-year ice melting out in the Beaufort and Greenland Seas over the last 5 or so years.


Jim, what I did notice is that the gyre and successive melt years have almost totally broken up that solid 5+ year band of ice which effectively blocked 2012 from much further melt.

Another year the same as 2012 again and the impact will be much higher.

Colorado Bob

Zack Labe ‏@ZLabe

Daily record low #Arctic sea ice extent records were broken every single day this April (JAXA, last non-min -> 3/29)


Colorado Bob


Yeoman's work there .

Nothing says sound science like Dorthy and Toto.

Colorado Bob

Arctic Sea Ice is Falling off a Cliff and it May Not Survive The Summer

Near zero sea ice by the end of melt season. The dreaded Blue Ocean Event. Something that appears more and more likely to happen during 2016 with each passing day.

These are the kinds of climate-wrecking phase changes in the Arctic people have been worrying about since sea ice extent, area, and volume achieved gut-wrenching plunges during 2007 and 2012. Plunges that were far faster than sea ice melt rates predicted by model runs and by the then scientific consensus on how the Arctic Ocean ice would respond to human-forced warming this Century. For back during the first decade of the the 21st Century the mainstream scientific view was that Arctic sea ice would be about in the range that is today by around 2070 or 2080. And that we wouldn’t be contemplating the possibility of zero or near zero sea ice until the end of this Century.



And the day after Robert Scribbler's post went up, the University of Bremen map looks like something straight out of June. Huge cracks in green and blue are everywhere, apparent melt north and east of Svalbard, Nares Strait has a huge pool of open water, Hudson's Bay is opening up, the CAA has pockets of melt and open water. Amazing. I know that map can shift day by day, but many of these features have been visible for several days now. I fear we are in for an interesting summer.


The Beaufort cracking event has really spread into more central regions in the last 1-2 days. (When viewed on Lance Modaps) Could the entire region become unstable?


At some point the entire ice pack starts cracking, and you get this mush of ice floes of variable sizes. That's spectacular, but normal, I'd say.

I don't know if this year is (much) earlier than the last couple of years. It's hard to determine something like that.

May has started, so what we look out for now, is melt ponds. A signal of this happening, is when the colour on the LANCE-MODIS Arctic Mosaic switches from white to a bluish hue.

Wayne Kernochan

@Neven thank you for reminding me yet again to keep these things in perspective. You may be amused by the following story:

In the American TV series Get Smart, an agent of the evil organization KAOS is sneaking up on Our Hero with a submarine, intent on nefarious deeds, when the submarine springs a leak. "Should we panic?" asks his henchman. "No!" says the agent in a dreadful German accent. "Ve at KAOS don't panic for just anything, you know."

Later, the level of the water in the submarine has reached their necks. "All right!" announces the agent. "It's time! PREPARE TO PANIC!!!!!"

I have always appreciated your ability to convey when it is indeed time to panic :)

Colorado Bob

Lance Modis Rapid Fire. Tonight it was clear off the East Coast of Greenland , notice all the sea ice has shattered near the top of the image. Go down to 250 meters and look at this.


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