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Robert S

Great summary, Neven. We really are in terra incognito...


These non-stop low pressure systems in the Arctic ocean increase the flow of warm water from the Atlantic into the Barents and Kara seas, then into the Siberian seas of the Arctic ocean. On the other side, the flow of water through the Bering Strait has been reduced to a minimum by the wind, pressure and sea surface height patterns.

Years with maximum melt like 2007 and 2012 had a strong flow of Pacific water through the Bering Strait. The effects of Atlantic water are generally seen in later years because most of the warm water comes in at depths below 100 meters. This year warm surface water is being driven into the Siberian seas so there's likely to be an immediate impact in that area.


Kevin Boyce

The JAXA power cuts are annual, so I doubt there's a second one. It seems to be a requirement for all Japanese companies and agencies to do some kind of isolation and continuity tests on the power system once a year. It plays merry hob with any cryogenic spacecraft instruments you might happen to be working on, I can tell you.

r w Langford

Thanks Neven. Great post. What an amazing meteorological event we are witnessing. We really have awakened a dragon. The implication for the jet stream and northern climates are huge.


Very well done Neven,

I am quite sure that 2012 will have a run for its money. The mini dipole will not help an already dangerously precarious circulation favouring flushing. We ain't seen nothing yet!

Susan Anderson

Those poor Japanese. Two typhoons and another (Lionrock) on the way. "142 additional inches of rain" (! even if this is exaggerated, that's outrageous)

But this is a nice view of your dipole:

To my amateur eye, that's a weird set of connections/disconnections in the northern hemisphere.

Susan Anderson

Do zoom in on that nullschool. Amazing stuff imho.

Rob Dekker

CNN said ""142 additional inches of rain""
I'm pretty sure that is 142 mm of rain.

Olivier Del Rio

I agree with wayne, it is looking more and more like the arm of low sea ice concentration will not sustain this final assault. Despite the seasonal cooling, there is no cooling at all in the eastern part of Siberia with record for so late in the season :



20° and gust to more than 100 kph in Arctic in the last day of August... Weird. And it is taking place right over the thiniest part of the pack.

Olivier Del Rio

P.S. : And Andryushkino bottom out at 969.3 hpa in synoptic data, so probably even a bit lower for the lowest pressure reading.


Jim Hunt

Environment Canada had the cyclone's MSLP at 967 hPa earlier this morning:


Hamburg Uni high res AMSR2 area is already below the 2015 minimum. If the anticipated compaction materialises perhaps extent will catch up quickly?



There is no way that these cyclones are a mere creation of temperature differentials, Siberia has very similar temps to the Arctic Ocean. I see the same pattern up in the Arctic or in the Gulf of Mexico.
They use to come from the Atlantic or Pacific, usually to die, but now have longer lifespans ready to merge with the next turbulent wave. Thicker Sea ice is very much like land, not a place for cyclones to thrive.

Is AMSR2 2016 data really neck and neck with 2012? Is this data from the same JAXA satellite?

Susan Anderson

Thanks Rob Dekker, that explains it. 142 mm is 5.6 inches. Bad enough, and shame on CNN. Waiting with heart in mouth and watching this:

Jim Hunt

Wayne - The numbers are all from the same satellite/algo. This is area, but I wouldn't describe it as "neck and neck with 2012" at the moment:

The gap is currently wider for extent.


Jim: You are on extent & Jaxa stopped delivering new data...

Jim Hunt

The last extent reading via ADS was on August 23rd:


However the University of Hamburg are still happily producing AMSR2 concentration data, from which Wipneus calculates both area and extent, including a regional breakdown:



Plus a somewhat lower resolution version gets built up gradually swath by swath on EOSDIS Worldview.


You can use that to compare different products and days.

Hans Gunnstaddar


Looks like that stretched out limb of ice is suddenly giving up the ghost - vaporizing on today's Bremen.

Robert S

There have to be some major wave impacts occurring across a wide swath of the ice, and from EOSDIS it looks like major portions of the ice are simply disappearing. Perhaps wave action at this point in the season is another major factor that we should add to our key factors, along with temperature, melt ponding, etc.


Thanks, Neven. And thanks for mentioning MASIE (thanks to other commenters on the last topic, also). Seems like MASIE is better to reference if you're planning on sailing through those waters and it is a higher resolution. MASIE is still showing 2016 as below 2012, but only just.


Indeed Hans

Further analysis places 2016 again trailing but seriously catching up with 2012:


Thanks Jim, area has the same pitfalls as extent with the 15% per grid. Did you ever wonder why? How about compensating by using 1 km grids or up to capacity of the equipment?

Rob Dekker

Hans, yes, the Wrangel Arm was first split in two (two weeks ago), most likely because of bottom-melt due to an ocean current that runs exactly along the middle.

Of the two arms, the eastern part is now disappearing from the AMSR images. The western part is stronger, but we see a significant reduction in concentration even there. TT posted a GREAT animation of the developments there in the forum :

Remember, you can't see bottom melt, which is what make this happen.

I don't think that that second half of the Wrangel arm will survive the melting season, which almost certainly means that we will see significant extent reduction over the week ahead. Probably not enough to catch up with 2012, but likely enough to beat 2007.

Rob Dekker

Sorry, I had "eastern" and "western" mixed up.
For the remaining (strongest) eastern part of the Wrangel Arm, Jim Hunt presented a compelling picture of the wave action in that area :
That is not good news for that remaining part of the Wrangel Arm.

Jim Hunt

Robert - For plenty of historical data on "major wave impacts... at this point in the season" see:


They should certainly be considered as "another major factor", IMHO of course!


Current strong cyclone 974 mb centre is very near the Pole, this should return a wider opening of sea water there, more than last time since Canadian side of N.P. sea ice is equally in poor shape, a rare event if not a first:



Clouds cleared a bit, so yesterday's area drop in the CAB of 145 thousand km2 was the greatest since the heyday of GAC 2012, where August 8 saw a drop of 160 k km2. In both cases giant cyclones had clouded up the CAB for days, so these latest two major drops were a large part improved visibility for the satellite, and a smaller part actual ice melt. In 2012 the next day saw a drop of 122 k km2, but whether we'll see a similar follow–up drop today, of course, depends entirely on current weather.

Big: http://i.imgur.com/YBgWsuO.png

Also, on Saturday 2016 average extent went below 11 million km2 as the first year on satellite record to do so in August.

Big: http://i.imgur.com/DtrsnHV.png

2012 is 5th, so that year also has one or two things going for it. Maybe it can have a nice 4th place at the end of the year?

Jim Williams

Anyone know of a good long term graph of Absolute Humidity (Dew Point) in the Arctic? I suspect that would do more to explain what is going on here than anything else.


Now that 3rd place in minimum extent is secured, the satellite images coming through, those without clouds, show a sad state of affairs for sea ice.


You're right, Wayne. Any ship with a strengthened bow and some motor power could cross the 'Laptev-arm' North of Frantsa Yosefa right up to the N Pole.


For a long time i've been following this wonderful blog. Now it seems we're entering the final years and stages of summer sea ice. It really has been a privilege reading all those very well informed and nicely formulated :) comments here , thank you for that.
Now i have a question: on the NOAA en DMI SST anomaly charts it seems that water temperature anomalies are getting bigger and bigger the last couple of days. Anyone can comment on this? Is this an artefact? Or are winds stirring up the water, also bringing up deeper layers? That would mean real trouble for the icepack, would't it.


Thanks for the kind words, Kaixo. As for your question: I think it has to do with the baseline. Where the anomalies are now getting redder still, there used to be colder water on average, or ice probably. And so even if current water temperatures don't change much, the anomalies get larger.

The other possibility is, as you say, that the waters are getting warmer still, either through mixing and Ekman pumping, etc. Or because warmer waters have been brought in from outside (via Bering Strait, and Barentsz/Kara), in other words Ocean Heat Flux.

Which would also perhaps partly explain that second kind of momentum we have seen this year, compensating for the lack of melting momentum through preconditioning/melt ponding. A pre-preconditioning, you might say.

I'll have a special Mega-Dipole update tomorrow.

C Marq

Maybe a bit off topic, but this is worrisome (http://squall.sfsu.edu/scripts/nhemjetstream_model.html). Calling the jet stream 'wobbly' feels like a gross understatement... this appears to be chaos.

Artful Dodger

Hi folks,

If you thought this melting season was finally grinding to a close, there may be at least one more surprise in store for Arctic watchers.

Huricane Gaston is now tracking N. on our favorite Env. Cda N. pole synoptic WX charts (out in the Atlantic at the lattitude of Georgia/N. Carolina as of 18z).

Today's 12z GWS model run has the hurricane stalling briefly in the N. Atlantic before coalescing w. the deep low S. of Iceland, then blowing right over top of Reykjavik and N. through the E. Greenland sea to Svalbard. It's still a 10 day forecast though, so YMMV.

Could be worse: Yesterday's GSW has Gaston brushing the coast of Norway, blowing overtop of Novaya Zemlya (radiation anyone?) before finally making landfall on the Taymyr peninsula. And then dissipating in the Laptev sea. Ugh.

But as always with Arctic amplification and U.S. elections, "objects in (the) mirror are closer than they appear". I'm hoping a record late October minimun shakes loose some votes in the Senate.



Lodger, and just look at those winds from Russia to Canada! I don't think that looks normal.

Artful Dodger

Hi Nick,

Well hmm, say approx. 35 kmh winds with a 1200 km fetch, over 72 hrs? What could possibly go wrong?

Reminds me of this scene from LOTR: The Pass of Caradhras. "This will be the death of the Hobbits".

By which of course I mean that I hope all the sea bears came ashore early this year in the Beaufort sea. Mortality rates for any mothers with cubs will be appalling during a relentless 2+ week Arctic cyclone.

Even big male bears would find it tough to survive a 600 km swim in these conditions.




Yes, with a good capable sea ice faring captain, not so many of them around.


Wow another hole at North Pole miss:


Susan Anderson

Seems to me it might be a little early to project Gaston's path but I'm just guessing. Tropics are pretty insane at the moment, Lionrock making landfall at Japan & lots else.

Gaston is bright red ball in Atlantic, and the rest identifiable, one view here:

dat's mighty lot of stuff! I don't know how all those engine cogs interact with Arctic circulation, but it's fascinating to look at.


Lodger, in Australia I know why our Prime Minister called the election early: and guess what- they only just scraped back in and the opposition guy knows the topic of Climate Change will cause him unrelenting grief.

I know some of the guys giving the relevant ministers the unread paperwork and the whole public service has been laughing at how undercooked they have been for the last term. They only got in because global mining incorporated pulled the strings and that is the full deal.

The water cooler conversations down here mention 'multi-year sea ice' and 'possibly this year' a lot..

** I want my clever-country back!

Bill Fothergill

@ Lodger "... blowing overtop of Novaya Zemlya (radiation anyone?) ..."

I'm pretty sure there will be some fallout from that type of remark. ;-)

Yep, the Czar Bomba and all his little friends.



Anyone know of a good long term graph of Absolute Humidity (Dew Point) in the Arctic? I suspect that would do more to explain what is going on here than anything else.

Aside the reanalysis or including the NCEP / NCAR reanalysis ? ^^ I only know the graphs of the reanalysis which are probably quite good if we ignore values in the 40s an 50s (great overestimation) and we weight down a bit values in 60s and 70s http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/data/timeseries/timeseries1.pl All in all, 2016 was probably one of the wettest and rainiest summer in Arctic with 2012, 2010 and 2006. This is being corroborate by record rainfalls all the summer; the most extraordinary achievement being probably Grise Fiord with record three day rainfall for at least canadian Arctic, if not the whole Arctic : http://climat.meteo.gc.ca/climate_data/daily_data_f.html?hlyRange=2007-11-21%7C2016-08-28&dlyRange=2007-11-01%7C2016-08-29&mlyRange=%7C&StationID=46568&Prov=NU&urlExtension=_f.html&searchType=stnName&optLimit=yearRange&StartYear=1840&EndYear=2016&selRowPerPage=25&Line=4&searchMethod=contains&Month=8&Day=29&txtStationName=Grise+Fiord&timeframe=2&Year=2016
But yes it explain a lot, water vapor is a powerfull greebnhouse gas, and rainfalls can bring a lot of energy.


Thanks for posting these local weather data and their context, Olivier. It's something I always wanted to do, but never had the time for. Not to find all the sources for the various weather stations, let alone checking them daily.

Rob Dekker

There have been very few buoys operational in the Arctic over this epic 2016 melting season, but one that did produced an amazing 'picture' of what has just happened. And that is Obuoy14.

I recommend everyone to watch the movie of what this buoy recorded since its deployment in 2015, and the most interesting part at the end (August 2016) of this spectacular recording from "just" north of the Beaufort :


Note how it early on becomes situated on a ice ridge.
And how there is not much surface melt until July 2016.
And most interesting, how there are two storms in July that actually cause melting ponds to freeze over (adding credibility to Neven's assertion of limited melting "momentum" this year.
And then witness how in August, the ice gets torn apart quite spectacularly and Obuoy14 ends up drifting among bottom-melting floes.

I think the main message from this video is that this year, traditional melting (top-melt through the ice, and subsequent disintegration) played only a minor role.
The main melting force in the area of the Beaufort/CAB came from bottom-melt the ocean water, which has been warming ever since it opened up early in April 2016.

And since you can't see bottom-melt until the floes go "poof", and bottom-melt due to warm water will still be continuing for at least a month, especially for the lower latitude ice in the Wrangel Arm and the Laptev, 2016 will still have a couple of tricks up its sleeve.

Because of this, I suggest a late "minimum" this year.

John Christensen

Did anyone notice that DMI has 'moved' the 2016 extent graph, so that it is now closer to 2015?


I will ask them if this is a correction or possibly will be adjusted back again.

Jim Hunt

Yes John:


As I put it there:

The revised DMI graph does look much more plausible:

A prompt explanation for the sudden change would be nice though.

Rob Dekker

On August 31 I said :

Because of this, I suggest a late "minimum" this year.

Man, was I wrong about that one..

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