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Also be sure to read the latest analysis on the NSIDC website.


Neven, the SIE paragraph ends abruptly


How's that for suspense, eh? ;-)

Sometimes while I'm writing, I think of something else I want to write, do that first and forget to finish the other thing.

Thanks for checking.


Looking at AMSR2 the question is how much ice will be left south of 75N in early August and there may not be any. Scary.


There was very little snow in some regions, and a lot in others, the difference is quite confusing, especially if you have followed this years melt cycle. The regions with very little snow had thicker sea ice, the opposite holds true because of more snow depth. The two dissimilar snowfall regions gave different early melt ponds, but apparently same melt rates up to a point in time, their melt rate suddenly diverged rapidly, with the greater snowfall on top of sea ice disintegrating very fast, while the thicker more bare ice appears at present more solid and uniform. The two may be even more confusing for melt ponds, one can have water under a deeper snow layer, the other will have very little early melt ponds due to scarcity of snow water. Therefore melt ponds have partial predictive capacity depending on a full understanding of snow cover. Which lacks again in situ verification. This past winter had at least 5 "heat waves", characterized by an unusually higher Density Weighted Temperature of the entire atmosphere lasting for at least half a week or more, there is no question about last winters warmness current melt causations.

This years best example of more snow effect was Barrow Strait couple of days disintegration:


The larger and smaller gyres were also greatly energized to last and turn clockwise well after many months of anticyclonic activity in the spring:


Early open water in many regions need only sun rays to make them even warmer and effectively shaping this year to melt further.

Zorro Spacemail

Hello Neven,

The 'Arctic' MODIS Composites images (False-Colour and True-Colour) from the Canadian Ice Service has not been updated for over two weeks now, when they are normally updated every week.



There is no bulletin on their Website explaining why.

The RADARSAT Mosaics for the Western Arctic, Eastern Arctic and Hudson Bay are still being updated however.

Could you please look into this?



It's nice to see this blog paying a certain amount of attention to the chorus of highly skilled commenters who've pointed out how this year is melting out differently than the earlier extreme melt years. I challenged this blog half a month ago, and now Top 3 is no longer ruled out. Great.

Meanwhile in the CAB: We're 367k km² lower than 2012 for the date, and 15 days ahead in the collapse.

Rob Dekker

Neven said

All it takes, is relatively thin ice after a mild winter and early melt onset (similar to what we saw this year), followed by clear skies and high temperatures during May and June to get that melting momentum going

I think that hits the nail right on the head.
Remember that simple snow and ice albedo effect creates a stupendous amount of heat into the melting season.
On the forum, Tealight has quantified that and shows that 2016 is quite far ahead of other years.
And with my own SIPN work, I have noted that land snow cover, and ice concentration and ice area over June really to point at 4.0 - 4.1 M km^2 extent for September, with only 340 k km^2 SD.
That is not some wild guess.

It is an estimate based on past response of Arctic sea ice to the albedo effect, and the uncertainty in that estimate is so tight that there is really a 92% chance that 2016 will end up in the top 3, and a 66% chance it will beat 2007 and be second lowest on record.


Succinct Graph Viddaloo

The state of 2016 sea ice is clearly exposed this way.

Rob Dekker

It seems that this continued ice-dispersion due to lows in June and July has reached the limits of what the Central Arctic Basin can handle.
As a consequence : Sea ice "area" is starting its nose-dive very early this year :

That is not a good sign, folks..


and now Top 3 is no longer ruled out.

You're going to have to quote me on that, as I can't remember having said that. I have said many times now that the top 3 isn't a certainty, and going as low or lower than 2011/2015 (NSIDC September minimum) will not be easy if the weather stays as it has been for the past 6-7 weeks.

On the July poll I have voted for 'between 4.5 and 4.75 million km2' (2011 and 2015 each had 4.63 million km2).

I apologize for relying on what I have learned during the past 7 melting seasons, and for refraining from announcing The Day After Tomorrow every single melting season. I think the (long-term) situation is alarming enough without having to resort to short-term alarmism.

The 'Arctic' MODIS Composites images (False-Colour and True-Colour) from the Canadian Ice Service has not been updated for over two weeks now, when they are normally updated every week.

Could you please look into this?

I'm sorry, Zorro Spacemail, but I'm too busy. Maybe you could shoot off a mail to Environment Canada?


I used those MODIS composite images back in 2012, by the way (see here), and vaguely remember that there was some sort of archive where you could look at MODIS composite images from previous years. I can't seem to find it now, though.

It'd be interesting to compare the current ones to those of 2012.

Cato Uticensis

Neven thanks for the great update. It's difficult to disagree with all the points you've made honestly.

I fully agree it is stunning how the ice extent keeps fighting with 2012 in spite of weather conditions which have not been conductive to melting for many weeks. And I fully agree that the long-term trend is so clear that short-term considerations do not change anything in terms of the overall picture.

Short-term is exciting, though, as each one of us has his/her own view on what is gonna happen in the next few weeks, that's why we have a poll, right? :)

Regarding the next few weeks, and in spite of the quite poor performance so far, I keep thinking that 2015 will not be a top-three. Weather forecasts keep showing low pressures in action for the next 10 days, plenty of clouds and not significant temperature anomalies overall.

Considering there's just 300,000 kmq difference with 2015, and keeping into account weather conditions one year ago, I tend to believe 2015 should be an easy catch.

Regarding the CAB my personal opinion is that it has been suffering from the persistence of cyclones in the last few weeks leading to dispersion. In the next few days a HP system will form over the CAB, rather small, with not so high values for geopotential but that should lead to some compaction in the area. Do you agree on that?

One small reference to support my theory of 2016 going to catch 2015: We remember how hot was July 2015, well, up to now the temperature chart from DMI shows quite a different situation http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/plots/meanTarchive/meanT_2016.png

Of course, and as usual, only time will tell.

Cato Uticensis

"...keep thinking that 2016 will not be a top three..."


This is a good analysis of the puzzlingly high melt rates - especially on AMSR2 data - under what seem to be middling weather conditions.
As for sea surface temperatures, the current distribution seems more favorable for ice retention than 2012 or 2015. This coming week again looks to bring relatively low heat advection from Kara/Barents (except for a couple days of rain over Laptev) or from south of the Bering Strait.


If you think about it, there has been a number of storms with p ~ 990 hpa or lower. They have broken and dispersed the ice repeatedly, and it happened to be over the same band of locations, from ESS to Beaufort sea, which consequently shows low concentration. Add to this the near record retreat at the Atlantic sector. Yes, that is CAB too.
Is this leading to a collapse? Define collapse.
Ice is melting along the retreating edges, mostly.

Aaron Lewis

My guess is that global atmospheric circulation patterns have changed in the last few years. Now, some of the summer heat that conventional wisdom expects to go north, is now going south to Antarctica.

One driver of the change in circulation is the additional latent heat in the atmosphere over the Arctic allowed by water vapor coming up through cracks in the sea ice. This inhibits the kind of circulation patterns that we saw in 2007.

I think we are starting to see warm continent/cold ocean driven cyclones. In short, I think that over the last couple of years, we have seen the primary driver of Arctic cyclones change.

My view remains that sustained, warm winds are the key mechanism that will bring a blue Arctic. When we get the winds, we will lose the ice.

Ultimately, I also expect more heat transported from south to north across the equator via ocean currents. This will affect local heat balance for the North Atlantic drift and Greenland.

More heat in the system means larger heat flows, everywhere.



"We remember how hot was July 2015, well, up to now the temperature chart from DMI shows quite a different situation"


Check 2012 and see heat smashing ice to melt to an all time low extent.....:)

DMI 80N is a model calculation, in my opinion (and I have proof), over sea surface temperature model calculations are slightly too cold.

Jim Hunt

The latest storm bottomed out at 986 hPa:


Whilst it dispersed the remaining ice in the Beaufort Sea, across the Arctic as a whole sea ice area continues its decline:


Yes, I always forget to mention to sea ice model programmers:

Rem subroutine about surface temperature with respect to sea ice


end subroutine

If surface air temperature is colder than top of sea ice, Make SAT = TOSIT, run and see if that will make a difference in model outputs.
This advice comes with a price, please show your outputs before and after making this adjustment.

Hans Gunnstaddar

"It seems that this continued ice-dispersion due to lows in June and July has reached the limits of what the Central Arctic Basin can handle.
As a consequence : Sea ice "area" is starting its nose-dive very early this year:"

To your point, Rob, the Bremen false color shows a penetration into the CAB I have not seen before for this date in the melt season. There are numerous areas now of disintegration, even a small region close to the pole.

I'm beginning to wonder if this melt season will distinguish itself by breaking up the CAB into a bunch of disparate floes rather than ending with one main area.

Cato Uticensis

Wayne, I take your point and it's true that DMI 80 is just one of the many pieces of the puzzle... It's colder than in 2015, as it is obvious after the quite different weather conditions, but it's otherwise true that in 2012 it was average or even cooler than average... I'm very curious to see what it's gonna happen with the incoming modification to the synoptic pattern in the next few days...

Susan Anderson

WHOI (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute) has put out a report about the changing Arctic based on a 2015 publication. I'm not sure I agree with the drift, especially the neverending procrastination for more observation, and it is generalist rather than specific, but here it is.
"Signs of Big Change in the Arctic: A once-predictable system shifts out of balance"

Here's the opening:

For at least half a century and probably longer, the climate in the Arctic has run like a clock. As reliably as a pendulum, it has oscillated every five to seven years between two distinct self-regulating phases that shift the region’s winds, ice, currents, and other conditions.

But in a new study, scientists say the system has been stuck in one phase since 1997. The monkey wrench that’s jamming the works, they suspect, may be warming temperatures that are accelerating the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Alais Elena

Take a quick look -- today surface melt was over 40% on Greenland today:


We should remain cognizant of the fact that the entire Arctic basin could be covered with only 15% sea ice and still not show a record minimum this year.

It doesn't look good.


Bien sur Alais:


The current status of a lot of sea ice consists of a much diluted quality. I rather expect big extent drop numbers, as well as smaller ones at times, as the disintegration shattering melting process continues.


I just checked the 40% Greenland melt via Elenas link.

Is that graph saying over 50% of Greenland never melts?

Cato Uticensis

Regarding Greenland DMI is telling a rather different story http://www.dmi.dk/uploads/tx_dmidatastore/webservice/e/n/i/b/m/Melt_combine.png which obviously is related to the different period considered for the average (starting from 1993 rather than 1980). So far the season has been generous in terms of surface mass budget, with the latest days quite hot after a long period of below-normal melting. HP will tend to persist over the next few days, so more melting is to be expected, before a cooling in one week time from now.

Regarding the overall synoptic analysis, well... expect more and more cyclones. Actually I wonder what this could cause in terms of ice extension. Actually this prevalence of LP systems is starting to look rather unusual.

From the one hand lack of insulation will definitely help the ice, but as we progress towards the end of melting season, the effect of insulation itself is less and less relevant as issues like dispersion or compaction play an increasingly important role. At least this is what I have understood after a couple of years following this great blog.

In light of the more recent runs of ECMWF, GFS and other models, I keep my view of 2016 not ending up as top-three. I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't even a top-five. But this is relevant to the poll I'm going off-topic I know... ;)


@AbbottisGone: The grey area in the graph at the top of the page shows 2 standard deviations around the mean but each year obviously has its own idea about how much to conform.


50% is rare but 2011 got there, as did 2015.


El Nino and record temperatures contributed to an early spike in April. That prompted journalistic cries of "alarming", "record-smashing", even "catastrophic speed" - high expectations - but it's been a surprisingly lacklustre year as far as surface melt is concerned. Even the NSIDC article on their Greenland page talks about a "surge to rival 2012" and "extreme spikes" but, while 2016 is a bit more impressive than 2014, it's nowhere near 2012 so far.

That multi-year graph above is a bit messy but there's a clearer graph for 2012 in a fuller article on that year's melt. The peak was one spectacular day with melting even at the highest altitudes. That gave a coverage of 97%!


You can see how unimpressive the 2016 surface melt mass-balance has been on the Danish Polar Portal. It shows 2016 jumping back and forth across the mean. However, whereas the plot of the mean starts rising about now, 2016 decided to go exploring and has suddenly dropped well below. There's still time for 2016 to live up to expectations.



The larger question for 2016 as always been whether sea ice may be spared huge collapses in extent due to the lack of 2007 style dipoles caused by a change in Arctic circulation pattern reflecting sea ice thinning conditions. What most commenters tend to forget so far, is that 2 of the main sea ice melt mechanisms: compaction and export through Fram, have not played a larger role typical of a great melt summer, yet the extent numbers are very competitive with 2012. This answers one of the main questions: can sea ice simply melt away without the help of dipoles? the answer is yes, and I am sure there are further surprises ahead as the state of sea ice simply becomes more and more vulnerable.

Susan Anderson

Wayne, thanks for mentioning that. Fact is, it's warm this year. Good thing the rest of the system is holding it back. In addition, I can't help thinking about the way cyclonic activity pushes heat north. Though my lower self is wishing for some catastrophic climate events just in time for our g** d**n election to wake people up.


You mean like in my Worst Case Calendar?


Hi Susan

The Arctic is such a distant place, I doubt that a significant number of people in the US, outside Alaska, care very much about it, let alone its sea ice. I have always said that it would take a man on the moon event. This would be a simple small boat reaching the iceless North Pole. It can be this year, but no one is getting their yacht on the ready,


quote from Wayne>>>it would take a man on the moon event. This would be a simple small boat reaching the iceless North Pole. It can be this year, but no one is getting their yacht on the ready,<<<
do not be so sure that no one is getting ready. I have a friend who is planning to take a small boat south from Canada in the Atlantic this year refit in Panama and then go through the Pacific and transit the NW passage next year. I am trying to talk her into heading for the North Pole instead.
Now if I know of one person with plans and a shoe string budget you can bet that there are others with money out there. I think you can put money on someone doing that and also on a transit of the Northern and NorthWest passages in one season. Someone like Branson will do it in a power boat. If not this year it will happen next year unless I am totally wrong of course.

Susan Anderson

Wayne, thanks, in any case that is both highly unlikely and I agree it wouldn't matter to our uninformed electorate. I was thinking of Sandy. I was close to the thick of it. Honestly, since it will happen sometime in the next 2-3 years, it would be more useful this fall, and as I said it is perverse of me to hope for something so disastrous. But people do need a wakeup call.

Inasmuch as the Arctic is part of an integrated system, the disturbed circulation resulting from a diminished Arctic does seem to be to be a "player". Though floods during Brexit didn't help with that, did it.


If you're fascinated by Arctic sea ice changes like I am, the USCG has an icebreaker now nearing 75n latitude with a webcam that updates every hour.

http://icefloe.net/Aloftcon_Photos/index.php?albu m=2016


Speaking of yachts attempting to go north there is this snarky, misinformed article: http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/us/irony-global-warming-expedition-stuck-because-of-sea-ice . Interpreting the ice dynamics of the arctic remains a highly politicized endeavor. I'm grateful for this site giving a good over view of the big picture.

Jim Hunt

coyoteyogi - Here's chapter and verse on the creation of the cryoblogospheric "Yacht stuck in sea ice" meme:


In an intriguing recent development Viscount Monckton of Brenchley claims:

It’s possible, though not all that likely, that there will be no Arctic icecap for a week or two this summer:



The Viscount said that? Note the "not likely", a politician by all accounts. All words have a double meaning. I think the contrarians are bracing for an onslaught of negative feedback, although never likely admitting wrong.


Hurricane Sandy awaken the giant for 15 minutes, now captivated by Kardashian Swift feud seems like ever since. Lack of Hurricanes are an interesting bit of science though. Not as difficult as sea ice, but very hot interest for those reading the science -instead of gossip - columns

Jim Hunt

Wayne - The Good Lord recently posted an article at WUWT that did indeed say that. For good measure he added:

Even if the ice disappears for a week or two so what? The same was quite possibly true in the 1920s and 1930s, which were warmer than today in the northern hemisphere, but there were no satellites to tell us about it.

Lawrence Martin

It appears that the right-wing astroturf grassroots spin machine is erecting a strawman about an ice free arctic because they realize that this year's minimum will be one of the lowest ever observed in the satellite era.
What I find more intriguing is the fact that this has the appearance of a well coordinated effort by several players.



Wow, that says it all, hereditary Lord's can say anything and keep their title. Unfortunately for him there were communists, Stalin sent a couple of chaps to an ice base at the North Pole amongst other Arctic bases in the 30's. And there was all sorts of people throughout the Polar world, missionaries, especially Anglican missions always in sight of the Ice pack, let alone solid records from ships namely whalers who dreaded the term "Northwest passage" because there was no easy routes at the time. No sea ice would have prompted a huge "last frontier" rush, because the Arctic has enormous resources, kept safe by the bitterly cold weather throughout the year. Of Which the few near or at Arctic weather stations or trading posts kept indirect records available at the Scott Research Polar Institute or the Hudson Bay Company, data accessible to his Lordship. But his mind has created an alternate Earth historical timeline.

The man is a shinning example of the hereditary process becoming eventually incompetent.


«But people do need a wakeup call.»

As alluded to in my Worst Case Calendar for autumn, I think there are many pieces missing between A) Arctic ice record low, and B) US electorate waking up and acting decisively to avoid cataclysmic climate change. If we imagine the record is broken in October and that the US election is when, on November 8th?, then you would need to change the entire US election system and give 3rd party candidates (Green or whatever) a fair chance in the game. Plus you would need during the same couple of weeks ahead of the election, to completely revolutionise media ownership and political donation and lobbying legislation. I don't think any of this is doable ahead of November's election, Susan.


2016 vs 2012 NASA pictures animated outlook:


The weather and icescape patterns are radically different. I expected this, but not as much as what we see now. This increases predictability complexities even further. Conservative projection methods are out of the proverbial window. We are definitely in unstable prediction waters.

Rob Dekker

Thanks Wayne, for that 2012 vs. 2016 animation.
What strikes me as odd is that in 2016 there seem to be more thick persistent MYI blocks in the Beaufort than there were in 2012, despite the fact that the Beaufort opened up earlier this year than even in 2012.


Hi Rob,

In 2016 the Gyre current was slow but steady, it carried megatons of ice to melt from the CAB, therefore the illusion of less a melt. Very unlike 2012 which appears to have had a flipped current. At least during the same 10 day period. CAB ice was smooth in 2012. with that we can roughly outline in advance the melt season finale at minima. If we do the same outlining for 2016, we get a small uniform pack in a pie slice about 150 W longitude to the Pole to Fram Strait.

Rob Dekker

Wayne, I totally agree with you that the Beaufort Gyre this year has moved ample amounts of ice from the CAB into the Beaufort. In fact, I believe that ice transport out of the CAB into the Beaufort has prevented the Beaufort from rapid decline, and at the same time has torn large portions of the CAB apart, to the point where ice concentration in the CAB has declined to a state of "slushy" not seen before.

But I'm still surprised about these MYI blocks in the Beaufort, which were not there in 2012. Were they simply shoved back into the CAB in 2012 by that "flipped" current you are mentioning ?

And if so, does that mean that the CAB north of the Beaufort is currently is much worse shape than it was in 2012 ?

Jim Hunt

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

The cryodenialospheric blogger formerly known as "Steve Goddard" has just published a blog post about little ol' me!

"Is the Polar Ocean Challenge About to End in Disaster?"

It is if you believe Tony Heller, which I humbly suggest is not a particularly wise course of action at the best of times. In his umpteenth article on Northabout’s Great Adventure over the last four days he dares to take your humble scribe’s name in vain as he loudly proclaims:

“Jim Hunt Egging The Ship Of Fools On To Disaster”


"And if so, does that mean that the CAB north of the Beaufort is currently is much worse shape than it was in 2012 ?"


Correct, and if you look more carefully at animations, weather circulation is equally dramatically different. With a steady pervasive low centred North Pole in 2012, driving the entire pack counterclockwise, while cyclones whisking by the periphery in 2016.

"MYI blocks in the Beaufort"

These are forged by the metal of the greatest darkest winter, they have climate unto themselves, the slowness of the current clockwise gyre, always stalled by contrarian winds makes them more apparent and not returning quickly to the main pack.


What a good idea, but the smart yachtsman would wait for the all clear, sail to Spitsbergen for a visit and wait a little.

Contrarians keep on talking about ordinary boats at the Pole. Pre July 1969 landing buzz. Thank You don't let us down now.

Jim Hunt

Wayne - Northabout visited Svalbard last year, so I suspect that (s)he prefers pastures new this year. According to the "Ship's Log":

We are under sail, so saving fuel, and will find a small island to shelter until we get improvements.

Somewhere in the Nordenskjold Archipelago perhaps?


Next 2 weeks of scrubbing the deck and avoiding likely very starved Polar bears and we shall see if the eagle can moor at the N. P. .


Speaking of the Pole, there is mind boggling movement of sea ice North of Laptev Sea, the bite towards the Pole is not as full as it use to be:


Jim Hunt

Wayne - I did make that suggestion to the Polar Ocean Challenge team, but I don't think they were terribly keen on the idea:



Jim - If they have the luxury of time, they may reconsider, give it a few weeks or so. But the sea ice is doing movement I seldom observed, many different scenarios may happen.

Olivier Del Rio

Don't read all the comments, sorry, but to answer your answer, a bit of the answer could be warm cyclonism I think. Cyclonism this year is not like cyclonism in 2013 for example; strong, cold, baroclinic cyclonism. It's already a tad a warm cyclonism, with thunderstorms like you said before. From my experience in the mountains, rain and wind are devastating for the snow of course, and wet snow can be quite disastrous also because wet snow is really more able than snow to forced the "sucking" of energy to melt. I don't think high pressure will persist with global warming, I don't think it is realist. About the big question without any answer, what will happen when arctic is ice free. An author of sci-fi said that there will be a "monsoon" of the Great North, and I think it is the most credible hypothesis I have seen, even though it is not peer reviewed XD Rain has a tremendous amount of energy embodied within it. For example, Ostrov Vrangela saw 12 mm of rain in one day, the 09th of July, with a temperature of 2 – 3°C. It looks like it is a daily record for July, and even though it does not sound a lot for many of us we are accustomed to this amount about every other day XD for a piece of rock lost in the Arctic Ocean and normally ice-choked about every day of every year it is an astonishing total. Same story for Alert for example, the 2nd of July 10.8 mm of rain with temperatures between 0 and 2°C, etc... Water vapour also increase the downward IR, and snow&ice absorb a high amount of IR.

On the July poll I have voted for 'between 4.5 and 4.75 million km2' (2011 and 2015 each had 4.63 million km2).

I apologize for relying on what I have learned during the past 7 melting seasons, and for refraining from announcing The Day After Tomorrow every single melting season.

Don't apologise! My annual average extent app currently says "#2/[email protected] km²" — 2nd to 5th lowest for minimum extent, at 3.4 to 4.4 million km². Though I personally highly doubt that projection to be anywhere near correct. It's like this summer's extent figures are more covering up than revealing, or maybe this is a classic case of Glass Half Full / Empty? Only time will tell.


Any recent comparisons about which type of curve best models the overall sea ice volume decline?

I still worry about those discussions in both 2007 and 2012 that predicted September 2016 as possibly ice free if an exponential curve was
the best fit. Which it was on occasion.

I'll actually take some solace if most here think 2016 is no better than 3rd lowest.

That 2016 has so much melt without the type of weather one would expect to cause a big melt, makes me worry that we have passed the point of no return and the ice will melt out within a couple of years regardless of the weather. Simply too much new heat every year.


Congrats Jim Hunt on your successful trolling of the denial-sphere. Like a stopped watch they get it right about 2 minutes each day.

Keep on egging them!


Latest AMSR2 extent loss numbers are robust at a pace of 66k a week, with a huge caveat : Beaufort area ice is receiving a huge flow of CAB ice daily, most of it melts on its way westwards, but some remain and inflate Extent numbers due to 15% requirement:


There may be huge extent drop numbers in the cards. Even so,
2013 melt rates bring from now 2016 minima to 4,768,124 Km2, 6th place finish. Using latest week melt rate of about 67K a day, a modest number considering huge extent numbers potentially at play,
minima should be about 3,673,038.6 km2 2nd place finish.

Jim Hunt

Thanks for your kind words D - I intend to! See:


One small point though. According to Wikipedia at least:

In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages.

IMHO at least, my musings amongst the cryodenialistas are always on topic, not off it!


@Jim: Trolling ... inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages.

Facts and truths are inflammatory on a Denial blog. ;-)

- - -

@NickWhalenMP: Curiosity about an MP interested in Arctic sea ice (sadly, not a British one) led me to http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nick-whalen-eye-roll-1.3535248

Priceless! :-D


although JAXA has not published 25 July results, it seems obvious that the melt was big:


Today is time of the year when sea ice core temperatures become critically vulnerable. Especially near open water.


Wayne, you seem to be saying that 2012 diving again circa this time of year is a well followed pattern?



I did not imply, but it is a plausibility, 2012 and 16 have similar numbers, although the complete picture looks quite different. However, numbers diving must be dissimilar to 2012 which seemed to have had more compaction.

Jim Hunt

I'm not sure this is what you're expecting to see Wayne, but here is what AMSR2 reveals this morning:



Thanks Jim,

I don't know if it is within Beaufort area, because there was a substantial loss of small ice pans, likely decreasing the 15% per grid threshold. Perhaps to the North of Beaufort in CAB.


Storms continue to disperse the ice and pull in heat off of the continents and cloudiness has persisted. The winds are pushing ice over the warm Atlantic water and opening up more ice free water near Siberia. An uptick in the melt rate has started but it's falling behind 2012. This is a very interesting summer but the melt rate since June started has been slowed by storms and clouds.

We've had enough heat records over the past year to wake up anyone who wasn't in a coma. We don't need a sea ice minimum record and it doesn't look we're going to get one. However, with all the warm water around the Arctic the outlook for next year and the year after is very gloomy. The shift to the warm phase of the PDO will put warm water along the Alaskan coast warming the Beaufort sea in years to come. Not Good. - Fish


Hi D,

Our experience with multiple cyclones impacting sea ice is limited largely to expecting that it will be cooler over the sea ice. I blame 2013, a really surprising melt following greatest minima in 2012. But 2013 had no circulation to speak off. Very unlike 2016. There is also other factors such as storm surges, breaking up the ice not only horizontally but vertically, along with what Jim was recently studying, winds and waves. The net result was extent grids saturated with broken sea ice with much larger areas of water. The 15% extent threshold poorly represents this fact, say 25% of the ice is spread out over a grid with 75% water, consider 800 of these grids, mentally compact them, thus instead of having 90% ice extent, you'll have about 30%, about 300,000 km2 less ice than what the 15% threshold implies. Therefore using extent must be qualified with the melt potential of those little ice islands numbering in the thousands, all surrounded by warm water, they should be just about to be considered gone by mid-September just like we do for Hudson and Baffin Bay.


Picked up MODIS lurking after my holiday. Thanks for the update, Neven.

It’s a complicated situation. There are similarities to ’13, but as I concluded before my holiday, there’s hardly any mesh-grid shaped structure left. Just a few 100K’s SW of the Pole direction Greenland. With that in mind, I agree with Wayne.

In the ECMWF forecasts, Lows in the lower troposphere and in the upper level at 500Mb keep dominating Arctic weather. Summers ’13 and ’14 indicated that spread-out floes in the CAB have a good chance of survival. That’s why I think there’s not a top three minimum in the box, extent-wise. Even though there’s generally more heat around, other factors prohibit the CAB to really get into trouble.

I agree with Fish that a possible crash is in preparation for ’17. Part of that would be another weak ‘winter power’ refreeze season.


Goedemorgen Werther,

We can always study the effects from a scalpel, ie Cyclone over a small area of sea ice already weak and very fluid. 2013 had Cyclones, but none had these effects until much later if memory serves. Most who think that 2016 will not be top 3 forget our current date, with respect to present condition of sea ice, well in advanced stages of melts similar if not greater than 2012 in many areas.


John Bilsky

Wayne, I think you nailed it. Ice, being what it is, has a huge heat of fusion... almost 80 calories per gram. One gram of ice at 0ºC has to absorb a LOT of heat before it can go through the phase change into liquid water. Anyone who has ever filled their cooler with cubed ice to keep their adult beverages cold knows that cubed ice melts faster than an equivalent mass of block ice. Why? Surface area. The Arctic ice is now like the ice cubes in a cooler. It's no longer a big "block". I strongly suspect this will play a very significant role with the coming September's numbers.

Cato Uticensis

Just a few points from my side:

Temperatures over 80o keep trending below average for the period http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/plots/meanTarchive/meanT_2016.png

With the exception of Barents and Kara, positive see surface temperature anomalies have significantly decreased on the Beaufort and don't look so dramatic overall http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/satellite/plots/satanom.arc.d-01.png

Talking about weather conditions, most of the LP which have formed on the Arctic have been associated with quite modest advection of warm air from the south. Even more, as they have been centered in the CAB, they have prevented significant advection of warm, continental air.

And the cool trend is confirmed even by the latest model runs which show persistence of low pressure systems, associated precipitations and wide areas of below-zero temperatures on the Arctic. http://www.wetterzentrale.de/maps/GFSOPNH06_132_1.png

Ice extension is low, right. Let's remember where we are coming from, though. How many >100,000 km2 days have we had so far throughout this melting seasons? 5 days? 6? If it's not a record for the last 10 years we are anyway quite close to it.

There is not much heat over the Arctic. It would be quite strange if there was, actually, after two months of almost uninterrupted LP conditions, plenty of clouds and very little solar radiation. Ice is still undergoing the consequences of a record-warm winter. Let's see how much these consequences will affect September minimum.

One thing is for sure: as we are entering August with persisting cloudy conditions on the Arctic, we are gradually approaching the end of the melting season as the radiation effect will become progressively more irrelevant, compared to other factors.

I'm not able to make any sensible forecast, but honestly I cannot perceive the current condition of arctic ice as dramatic. I can obviously be wrong, and September will tell.

One more thing: unless DMI models are a pile of rubbish, there is some 3,000 km3 of ice more than in 2012: 50% more. And about 2,000 km3 more than one year ago. Doesn't really sound dramatic, does it? http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icethickness/images/FullSize_CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20160726.png

Jim Williams

Looking at SSTs in the Far North Atlantic (used to be Arctic) and the prevalence of small storms, I'm not convinced the low extent this year will be in September. Seems to me we are in transition from a desert Arctic to a humid Arctic. With H2O being the actual major Greenhouse Gas, this will have more and more significance in upcoming Fall weather patterns. The only question being which year the end of Summer Melt is pushed into the polar night.



The latest little cyclone causing such damage so easily should do some convincing.

John Blisky,

Correct indeed, the illusion of melting sea ice is similar to the easier latent heat of evaporation, placing a thermometer into boiling water leaves the temp reading unchanged at 100 C. There is a lot of heat transferred but none so immediately apparent, unless a water volume reading is done. So DMI North of 80 always has the same temperature within +.5 C great or small melt season. What is left to do is to be objective, to look ar the over all appearance of the ice in the glass? Still in cubes or broken up badly?


I follow global sea surface temperatures and ocean heat content very closely. What's phenomenal about this spring and summer is how much of the heat released by the El Niño has persisted in the northern hemisphere's oceans. In previous major El Niños warm water made it all the way to the Antarctic sea ice then was lost to melting ice and radiation to space in the Antarctic night. This time, the stronger winds and ocean currents that have tightened up around Antarctica greatly reduced the loss of ocean heat to the Antarctic.

Both the north Pacific and the north Atlantic are warm from the surface down to the intermediate water. Water vapor levels in the northern hemispheric atmosphere are high. I think that the warm-water has been maintained by the water vapor feedback which has amplified the greenhouse effect causing radiative warming of the northern hemisphere's oceans.

The storminess in the Arctic is increased by an increase in vorticity moving northward from the Atlantic as the thermal gradient on the north wall of the Gulf stream and north Atlantic drift increases. Summers with Arctic high pressure have more storminess in the Aleutians. This summer the Aleutian low is very weak and there is little subsidence over the Beaufort sea so the Beaufort high is almost non-existent.


Wayne, I agree that the state of the ice is pathetic. Much of the Arctic ocean is covered with slush and pulverized ice. The question is, how much solar heat got into the ocean under the stormy conditions? History tells us that June storminess slows melting, and so far this year does not appear to be an exception to the rule, but time will tell.

Bill Fothergill


You and I seem to have quite differently interpreted the meaning of Jim W's comment.

My interpretation: Jim thinks that, due to a combination of increased back radiation and latent heat transfer, we might see the date of the September minimum slipping back, not just beyond the equinox but possibly into October.

I personally don't think we're in that ball-game yet, but increased heat storage in the ocean should certainly begin to produce a change in the transition timing as regards the balance between continued sub-surface melt and the onset of refreeze at the surface.

@ Jim W

Perhaps you'd care to rephrase your thoughts, as Wayne and I seem to have arrived at differing conclusions as to your meaning.

Colorado Bob

Back to lighting strikes in the Arctic :

An extremely crisp shot of the Russian Tundra on fire –

06:05 UTC

Fires and smoke in central Russia



It looks like another GAC could be on the horizon, from Climate Reanalyzer's GFS forecast - a 974MB low (and dropping is forming north of Beaufort).


Potentially followed by a huge high sitting over the whole arctic. Again, GFS but the date of forecast is for the 12th August (I know, it's a very long term forecast). But a huge storm followed by massive highs would make for an interesting August.


Thanks Jim Dowling

I give an example of what very little wind can do to current sea ice spread, very little does a lot of damage, if this GFS strong Low comes through the consequences are easy to imagine, but the final layout of sea ice not so.



Hi D,

"The question is, how much solar heat got into the ocean under the stormy conditions?"

Very good question, a lot where the Highs were, but the cyclones are not entirely rich with clouds as we can often see sea ice where they linger.


Case in point today D:



So it seems that the melt is sluggish, yet only 4 days behind 2012, but numbers may be sometimes more deceiving than looks.



..... and warm sst's well inside the pack was last reported by 2012J. Near +1 C with very little wide open water around:


Jim Williams

"@ Jim W

Perhaps you'd care to rephrase your thoughts, as Wayne and I seem to have arrived at differing conclusions as to your meaning."

Not sure how what he said was in disagreement -- though he did make a synoptic reference.

I'm expecting that at some point the ice will simply go away, and I see no reason why it will do so in the heat of Summer -- even if I don't know when. I think that when it comes to climate, rather than weather, it is the SST, not the air temperature, that matters.

That was my point. (that is...weather is a lagging indicator, in my opinion)


Although a complete amateur when it comes to the Arctic sea ice, I've jotted down a few reflections:

1) Causality arrow seems changed: We now have cyclones because of low ice area.
2) Cyclones we have because of low area falsely appear to increase area (clouds counted as ice).
3) Area drops due to cyclones may lag 1–2 weeks before sunny day verification on Hamburg/Bremen maps.
4) Sunny weather may falsely appear linked to large drops, as satellites can finally see the damage done by the storms.

In general, a lack of trust in the numbers we get for the ice: Area, extent and volume. In particular, DMI volume seems to be so far off the charts it is strange they don't remove the thing (2000 km³ higher than PIOMAS for June 30 2016, or 15% off).

Rob Dekker

Despite abysmal weather for melting since early June, 2016 is still limping along with the record holders, refusing to back down. According to Wipneus' AMSR2 ratings, 2016 is still in the lead for ice 'area'

Extent: -81.6 (-141k vs 2015, -430k vs 2014, -284k vs 2013, +186k vs 2012)
Area: -134.3 (-122k vs 2015, -674k vs 2014, -416k vs 2013, -75k vs 2012)

which makes sense, since the ice pack is so dispersed by so many 'lows' over the past months.

It is still amazing that at the end of July, with lows dominating over the past months, we still cannot say for sure where this year's minimum is heading.

Bill Fothergill

@ Jim W "Not sure how what he said was in disagreement"

Consider for a moment the following statement/response pairing...

STATEMENT: "... I'm not convinced the low extent this year will be in September ..."

RESPONSE: "... The latest little cyclone causing such damage so easily should do some convincing ..."

That form of response wording, especially given the verb re-use minus the original negation, is not generally indicative of agreement. However, if you feel otherwise, then just forget it.

I spent many years writing operational instructions for use on a global comms network, and, although English was the lingua franca, it was a second (or third) language for most of the operatives. To avoid "Phuck-ups" that could be blamed on me, this necessitated a more critical analysis of phraseology than might otherwise have been required. As an ongoing consequence, I sometimes still see ambiguities where others might not.

No big deal.


@Bill: That form of response wording, especially given the verb re-use minus the original negation, is not generally indicative of agreement.

I agree.

Jim: Not sure how what he said was in disagreement

However, I also agree with this. ;-)

Jim: I'm not convinced the low extent this year will be in September. [..] The only question being which year the end of Summer Melt is pushed into the polar night.

Jim's statement is about the period in which the minimum may be found. He reckons that it will be extended to allow for an October minimum.

Wayne: The latest little cyclone causing such damage so easily should do some convincing.

Unless I'm mistaken, this isn't about the period necessarily ending in September. Whatever damage may occur due to cyclones, heatwaves or even mythical giants throwing rocks, Jim's suggested SSTs could still take that and push the minimum into October.

So, while the tone of Wayne's response is contrary, what he said isn't. Hence the polite Not sure" in Jim's "Not sure how what he said was in disagreement". My impression is that Wayne saw an assertion about the minimum itself rather than the month in which it may occur.

And still no big deal. I just find this kind of thing interesting. :-D


I agree that it was clear what Jim wrote, so long as you were on the same wavelength. However the English, in itself, was open to interpretation.

I know Jim meant, I'm not sure the minimum won't be pushed to October. But, without the preamble, it could equally have meant that it happened in August.

Anyway that's a level of pedantry we don't need, simple clarification reveals all.

Anyway, In May I predicted that the season would run like 2016. Slow melt in June, pick up in July and a sprint finish to the end in August. But, all in context of 2007 - 2016 rather than 1981 - 2006. Which means less volume, weaker thinner ice and more heat in the ocean.

Personally I believe weather trumps all and weather has been the major dominant in this season as it was in 2006. If so, then all the heat in the Ocean today won't stop a re-freeze in September if the weather turns against melt, or even simple stasis.

Time will tell. I'm still betting on 2017 being the big year like 2007 and 2012.

Olivier Del Rio

"Looking at SSTs in the Far North Atlantic (used to be Arctic) and the prevalence of small storms, I'm not convinced the low extent this year will be in September. Seems to me we are in transition from a desert Arctic to a humid Arctic. With H2O being the actual major Greenhouse Gas, this will have more and more significance in upcoming Fall weather patterns. The only question being which year the end of Summer Melt is pushed into the polar night."

I must say I agree. What you are seeing is not cold cyclonism. It is not as warm as 2007 for example, yes, but but it is cyclonism above 0°C with rain, rain, and rain. Between the 28th and 30th, daily rainfall as high as 13.4mm for Mould Bay, 2with 2 - 3°C, 20.7 mm at Rea Point ans so on have been recorded. Rain and water can be as destructive as a godd sunny day for the ice and a lot of water vapor allows for a lot of IR radiations. I don't think the future of the Arctic is high pressure areas. The very fast retreat of snow this year leads to an increase of T gradient over the arctic coast and brings this powerfull and rainy cyclones. And, knowning we really don't know what will happen when arctic sea ice is gone, the most credible future is one with warm and wet cyclonism all over Arctic and some thunderstorm. Still a long way before a subtropical storm, but who know ? Perhaps during the nex centuries it will happen. Nevertheless, I don't expect the sea ice will continue to melt due to big ridge and sunny weather.

John Christensen

Sorry for the somewhat OT comment:

On the last day of July, DMI measured a new July record minimum temperature at the Greenland Summit station with -30.7C:


The prior July minimum temperature record was from 1992 at -27,7C.


Hi I know this is an old thread, but I wonder if you can explain why the graph I link below doesn't appear to look like the sum of the NSIDC arctic and antarctic graphs.



Hi, Wilson_Energy. Why do you think it doesn't appear to look like the sum of the NSIDC arctic and antarctic graphs? And why ask on this old thread (not that I mind, just curious)?

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