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The big test of current Arctic Ocean pack ice condition will come in a few days when general circulation picture will flip around to a a major Cyclone just North O central Russia causing most winds to be opposite to current directions, I suspect some big surprises will come.

Artful Dodger

Hi folks,

JAXA's five-yr mission for GCOM-W1 (the bird AMSR2 flys on) will be complete in July 2017. While JAXA hopes the instrument will continue to provide data for some time afterward, we will be solidly into 'bonus-minutes' by the 2017 SIE minimum.

So we may not be have pole-hole issues at all, more like '89 GHz data hole' issues.

In fairness, AMSR-E operated nearly 11 years (h/t Mitsubishi Electric) until the bearings seized in the fall of 2012. So we may get lucky again (if we do, I'm buying another VCR).

Mitsubishi Electric VCR




speaking of tired old machines, I found an old red rubber band up here in the mountains yesterday that would just barely keep my charger charging the old laptop, and I was happy for a while. Until that rubber band broke, of course. Now I need to get a new rubber band up from the fjord, otherwise there will be no new graphs.

Starting to sound like them nuclear plants in the US, that I've heard still produce electricity, thanks to rubber bands and chewing gum. I'd feel so safe! :)

Jim Hunt

A heads up for fellow residents of the once Great Britain.

On September 19th the BBC Radio 4 Today programme discussed Arctic sea ice. The views of the 5th Viscount Ridley, the well known "coal baron" and "financial wizard", were reported in the absence of any balancing "science". I have registered an official complaint. Should you wish to do likewise instructions can be found at:

"Radio Four in Arctic Sea Ice Bias Shock Today!"

The powers that be at the Beeb assure me:

We aim to reply within about 2 weeks.



" The evidence comes from various sources, such as beach ridges in northern Greenland, never unfrozen today, which show evidence of wave action in the past. One Danish team concluded in 2012 that 8,500 years ago the ice extent was “less than half of the record low 2007 level”. A Swedish team, in a paper published in 2014, went further: between 10,000 years ago and 6,000 years ago, the Arctic experienced a “regime dominated by seasonal ice, ie, ice-free summers”."

In general, Northeastern Greenland is often open because in summer is far warmer place than Northwestern Greenland. Very big beach ridges can form all over the Arctic shores within less a day, I've seen a few over the years in Barrow Strait, well before Barrow Strait was a playground for huge 1100 passenger luxury cruise ships

A note when surrounding Polar Bears on an ice pan with zodiacs, Polar Bears have claws bigger than largest adult human fingers, can swim like olympians , they can jump from deep under water on a piece of ice floating 1 meter above sea level, and eat rubber (they ate part of my zodiac ) Good thing they didn't try to get close to walrus.


My latest Annual Average Volume analysis:

See the full–size graph & read the whole blog post here: http://wunderground.com/blog/viddaloo/arctic-sea-ice-collapse-21-august18-september-annual-average-volum


Jim, sorry mate

After the Brexit, you are all on your own. In the old days, in a fog situation, the "continent was isolated".

Now, you are left with your own media outlets - God Bless You - and the Yanks are flanking out with their own even poorer media outlets. I really couldn't care less.



look at Polar Bears looking at cruise ship tourists and also for the Lord or Viscount or whatever not becoming of the Royal court, fresh beach ridges!

Hans Gunnstaddar

"Or will it just morph into a "Great Flood" story to be carried along by every religion on the planet?"

That's my pick NeilT, that is until such time the science of Geology would once again be part of a higher education curriculum, and that thin layer we left behind representing a period of fossil fuel burning, nuclear proliferation, metals extraction, plastics production and all the other stuff embedded in that layer is timed coincidental with the "Great Flood" story, and people are offered the information to understand exactly how people impacted the planet to cause the great flood and the rest of what happens.

What percentage accept or deny that info. to be determined, but if people now are any indication, they will fight with each other over the findings. The intellectual battle may ensue for centuries but it will never be conclusive that humankind did any damage to the planet because it will always be 'controversial'. Fortunately, since our period consumed most of the easy to reach fossil fuels, starting up another up another CO2 emission burst will no longer be possible unless we count millions of years from now when all that CO2 will have been compacted by geologic forces, heating it up making it ready for another similar period, followed by a great flood...

Hans Gunnstaddar

Correction: ...'algae' (chalk full of CO2) compacted by geologic forces...


A challenge would be to find out differences between floating snow, grey ice and new sea ice:


See if you can tell the difference. Floating snow areas may be huge, may last long in below 0 surface temperatures. May be someone has thermal images and can differentiate better.

John Christensen

On the biblical "Great Flood" and flooding to come:

Humanity is not entirely unfamiliar with worldwide flooding events, and I am certain that one or more of the great meltwater pulses from the last deglaciation was the trigger for the "Great Flood" story.

The main pulses were:

1. 13.5 m rise over 290 years (12,200BC)
2. 7.5 m rise over 160 years (9,000BC)
3. 6.5 m rise in less than 140 years (6,000BC).

In comparison melting of the entire Greenland ice sheet would produce another 7.2 m rise.

The main difference between past and present is our dependencies on concrete structures and infrastructure, so that future flooding will have a considerably higher impact than past flooding.

But we are getting off topic here.


True we are getting off topic a bit.

My point was that Arctic ice is on a road to destruction, the only unknown is how many years it will take to get there. Once that destruction has happened the sequestered heat is going to keep it down, initially seasonally, for thousands of years.

There is little question about this and nothing being done today is going to change that path.

So whilst we watch this re-freezing season and marvel at the impact all that sequestered heat has, we need to keep in the back of our minds that "recovery" is not an option. Any time. Ever. Within human relevant timescales.

Whether it is 2017 or 2027 when we see seasonally ice free in the Arctic, it's coming and so long as we throw the CO2 balance even further out of whack there is nothing that is going to change that. Not even a 200 year solar minimum.

That's the point I'm making with my somewhat OT direction.

So the fantastic melt in a non melt conducive season, the sudden losses of ice in areas deemed resilient, the ever encroaching hurricanes and tropical storms, the El Nino and AO cycles all create more and more impact.

Now the Arctic ice is in such a weakened state with so much volume loss that it no longer has the cooling capacity to shelter the arctic from the heat around it. It lost that cooling capacity with the sudden losses of volume at the start of the 21st century.

Now we get to view cycles which have not been visible before with our measurement indices.

I fully expect that at this time next year we'll be discussing another drastic loss of arctic ice and another record low. I will be surprised if we don't even though we'll have somewhat more winter re-growth with the end of the El Nino and the advance of the solar minimum.

Right now we're at the fluctuating end of a torrid melting season, getting ready to go back into freeze. Key will be how long it takes to get back into freeze and how much heat it traps in the ocean when it does.

Things to watch in the coming months.


Interesting! Now CAB area is actually *down* for the week:

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

Ever so slightly, but still down 3 thousand km².

John Christensen

"Key will be how long it takes to get back into freeze"

What do you mean NeilT? - freezing temps have been spreading for weeks, at points into -10/-15C, and area and extent numbers have increased for the past two weeks also.

PIOMAS volume minimum in recent years has been between Sept. 2-9 and I would be surprised if this year turns out to be any different.

Jim Hunt

But I voted Bremain PMaker!

I'm now thinking of starting a new popular movement for Brythonic independence.

Would you care to become an ambassador for the Free Dumnonian Army?


I was talking about how long it will take for the freeze to spread out of the CAB and into the other regions and, eventually, out towards the pacific.

This has been taking longer and longer and this season was quite interesting. It should not have been as bad as it was. Therefore the re-freeze should also be impacted in ways we don't expect.

It will be worth watching.

I was talking about how long it will take for the freeze to spread out of the CAB and into the other regions and, eventually, out towards the pacific.

NeilT, but the CAB did NOT refreeze over the past week (see my graph above). Before CAB freeze can spread to other areas, the CAB itself needs to freeze, no?



GPS calculation of more than 6 nautical mile displacement a day:


Would suggest lack of consolidation and difficulties in differentiating between sea ice and slush. If memory serves, frozen pack ice moves on average 2 nautical miles a day when its fast.

John Christensen

viddaloo said:

"but the CAB did NOT refreeze over the past week (see my graph above)"

viddaloo; your graph shows the CAB SIA, which can go up or down although some areas have started freezing.
You will see in the PIOMAS update that volume has started increasing.


John, I'm aware my area graph shows area, but thanks anyway :D

Volume is another fortnight in the coming, but true, my PIOMAS estimate app indicates an increase, guessing based on 15%–rule JAXA extent. What *actual* volume is doing these days is of course hard to tell, with fewer buoys and almost no field research, as Wayne's pointed out many times already.

Anyhow, up here in the mountains I've now found a shoestring from some old ski–boots, keeping my Ice Machine charger charging. Thus I can bring you:

Uni–Hamburg CAB animation Sep 01–21

Big: http://i.imgur.com/kuwIdor.gif


Just to be clear. I'm not saying it has or has not started to freeze. What I'm saying is that watching the freeze this year will be interesting. Future tense was intended as I still believe we're bouncing around the bottom for a few more days.

But in a week, latest two, we'll be seeing the freeze start to take over.

My main interest is how long it takes to achieve it.

John Christensen

NP viddaloo, and happy it worked out with the shoe string and nice clip!


If the DMI Forecast model is to be trusted, it seems like cold air will be moving north out of Greenland/NE CAA, which is cold enough for actual freezing:


Then warmer air should move east from Beaufort, which probably will make DMI 80N spike upwards again.

The positive spin on this current storm is probably that it helps slow/stop the Gyre..



You will have to follow the rules. Once you’re out you’re out. However, should the Scottish people decide otherwise to leave the UK and join the EU again, the road is open for all kinds of minority fractions to join, provided the EU will allow it. But remember, it goes both ways. If a minority like the Bretons, the Basques or FC Barcelona suddenly starts to exit also, you will probably face stiff head winds no matter how legitimate your demands for EU-membership are. On the contrary, after reading some of the “walk the talk” threads, I imagine it is better to be self-reliant in SW England than to be member of a dysfunctional community.

I will promise to be an ambassador for whichever cause you may come up with, as long as it does not involve the media in your country. Once upon a time there was something rotten in the state of Denmark. Now your media outlets have decided to set the standards so low that even words are no longer adequate to describe the minimum.


Ah P-maker, you are referring to the Biased Broadcasting Corporation... :-)

I was on the other side. After 20 years of mainly living and working on the continent, having a home in France and still being a UK citizen, my vote was firmly LEAVE...

I didn't need the dysfunctional media to tell me what was true and what was not.

However here's the saddest thing for me and, perhaps, it's a message for everyone else in the world.

Some of the toughest legislation and strong actions have been brought about by the EU Commission and Council. Undemocratic, virtually impossible to sanction if they do something you don't like, but actually doing the right thing on Climate and not caring what the voters think.

Which begs a lot of thought about our current political mechanisms and how they are allowing us to, essentially, destroy ourselves...

Jim Hunt

P-Maker - Not content with lambasting the Beeb, today I'm going after Breitbart London:

The Son of the Blog of Fools Gets Arctic Sea Ice Horrifically Wrong

Now how can I put this politely? That is pure unadulterated balderdash. If Mr. Delingpole thinks that a comment on a known “snow blind” blog constitutes evidence of anything he needs one of his heads examined. Deconstructing all the mistakes in just this one article about both Northabout and the BBC’s climate change coverage will involve a series with more episodes than BBC Radio 4s!

Is it possible to sink any lower than Dellers?


Jim, I think everyone with a Nordic descent can tell with only half an eye that that ice is falling off a glacier, deffo not sea ice. Having to use that "test-run" photo as evidence we are not facing collapse, pretty much tells you we're in for a total Arctic sea ice collapse in the coming months.

BTW, great blog!

John Christensen

Having passed the 2012 minimum SIE date, we now have comparable SIE reduction rates e.g. from June 1st to minimum:

2012 summer SIE loss: 12.36 to 3.39 = 8.97 (72.6%)
2016 summer SIE loss: 11.15 to 4.14 = 7.01 (62.9%)

John Christensen

From NSIDC charctic..



Comparing 2016 extent with 2012 is a fallacy, looking at the densest areas of both respective years helps explain that. A pure concentration metric would be more proper. Extent numbers only have a value in explaining the slighter cooling more spread out sea ice may give. Even though this was the case in 2016, despite all factors favoring less melting, the numbers are big, which implies a threshold factor of needing favorable weather has been exceeded.


Extent numbers may be used when no dispersion happens, this
is not the year.


And someone should tell NSIDC that 8 X 8 is 64 not 48.......:(



So, Wayne, you are saying the tipping points of 2007 and 2012 have truly asserted themselves in this years data, perhaps?


Hi AbbottisGone

2007 and 2012 needed favorable weather on top of higher melting temperatures to be what they became. 2016 started with low Maxima, that is it, with lower maxima (when extent matters more), whatever weather happens won't mean sea ice melt variations. Ironically 2007 needed thick sea ice to cause the mega long lasting dipole. 2012 was a bit foggier, say in between 2007 and 2016 types, but needed favorable weather as well. 2016
sea ice was doomed at the onset, if low maximums are the norm the favorable weather patterns for melts will be not necessary for repeat great minima records.

John Christensen


You cannot explain away the fact that 2016 has more sea ice than 2012, and that melting this year was less than in 2012.

I did not calculate for this year, but compactness in Sept. 2012 was very low, as you see from Neven's update on CAPIE back then:

"As you can see, 2012 is lowest of all years since 2005. This means that the pack is more spread out than in those years (also explaining the rapid climbing of IJIS extent number we're seeing in the past couple of days). Imagine what would have happened with compacting winds, like were seen in 2007 (light blue line). SIE and SIA would probably have been even lower."


With more ice volume higher extent, and higher sea ice area, there is just more ice..

John Christensen

And the NSIDC Sept. average SIE in all likelihood will be in the 4.25-4.5 range, probably very close to Rob's prediction.



Look at the ice charts of September 2012, very compact, and or my latest comparisons with 2012 in the densest areas of both respective years. There has been huge dispersive weather, a reverse dipole circulation pattern during the last 2 or 3 weeks, noticed it?

John Christensen


As you see from wipneus' great compactness graph the late season cyclones really broke down the remaining ice this year, causing compactness to get lower than 2012 during the last week of August and first week of September:


Around 2016 SIE Sept. minimum, 2012 and 2016 shared the lowest level of compactness and for the past couple of weeks 2016 has been lower than 2012 again.

So with the very low compactness of 2012, how is that 'very compact'??

And the lower compactness in 2016 for the past couple of weeks still cannot remove the extra ice, as area is higher as well, and the volume..

John Christensen

At the 2016 SIE minimum on Sept. 10, with compactness equal to 2012, there was 650,000km2 more ice.


"So with the very low compactness of 2012, how is that 'very compact'??"

Look at the charts, can't help it if you don't look

"And the lower compactness in 2016 for the past couple of weeks still cannot remove the extra ice, as area is higher as well, and the volume.."

I agree, especially with the water between ice pans counted as sea ice.

John Christensen

The compactness charts that Wipneus compiles, based on NSIDC, Jaxa, or Uni Bremen data all have very low or record low compactness in 2012 in August and September, only rivaled by 2016, and around Sept. 9-13 compactness was equal for the two years.


Beyond the metrics, the amount of 'old' 'thick' ice transported eastward north of Greenland and disgorged into the Fram over the past week is stunning.

That has to bode ill for the ice next year.

Jim Hunt

A clip from a larger MODIS image of McClure Strait:


If it wasn't for the entire cryodenialosphere claiming that the Northwest Passage is frozen solid I might be tempted to think that you could circumnavigate Banks Island in a small yacht at the moment.

michael sweet


Looking at the Canada Sea Ice graph for the Queen Maude strait, it appears that ice blocks the passage north. It would be possible to go through the Fury and Hecla strait into the Foxe Basin. I think this is the first year that the Fury and Hecla strait has been open, but it may have been open in 2012. It looks to me like it will be open through Foxe basin for about another week.

Jim Hunt

Michael - Actually quite a few "small yachts" have made it through Fury and Hecla Strait already this summer, most notably David Scott Cowper heading west in Polar Bound:




lol times a million:

"If it wasn't for the entire cryodenialosphere claiming that the Northwest Passage is frozen solid I might be tempted to think that you could circumnavigate Banks Island in a small yacht at the moment."

real idiots aren't they? Or rather comedians:


Starting about 2 weeks ago a massive invasion of broken multiyear ice came through, of which you can see what they look like here:


of which if they would bother to read weather charts, we are experiencing all time high temperatures, despite this invasion, especially since yesterday, the tropopause jumped from 8.5 km to 12 .5 km with a density weighted temperature of 260 K, 10 Kelvin above average. Summer temperatures.


hahahahaha !

no its sad,

the idiots are taking internet space to propagate themselves.


Annual Average Extent yesterday was up ever so little, but significantly for the first time since March 29th of this year, signifying that *daily* extent for September 23rd was actually higher than 2015 for the same date.

The other side of the coin is of course that March 30th to September 22nd, 2016 extent was *always* lower than last year's extent. And as seen from the whole plot: 2012 & 16 is the only show in town. No other year is below 10 million. It will also most likely be a close race between the two for lowest annual extent, with a new record being booked, or not, no sooner than January 1st.

Big: http://i.imgur.com/OK0Y41A.jpg


Listen at Multiyear ice melting, from sea ice just arrived from the Arctic Ocean densest pack:


Right in the middle of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, right now......


This dispersal of sea ice of the last 3 weeks or so has been the most interesting event of the late melt season, if you thought the densest pack ice ice area would freeze and stabilize by now, you would be wrong:


Dispersion is accelerating,

There are 2 main physical players dominating this (that I know of), de-coiling momentum of the densest pack and the persistent presence of same direction winds pushing the ice Northwards away from North American side.


this is better...


Amazing! Wayne, the question is whether sea ice extent could be a *literal* cover–up as well — not by intention, of course, but literally covering up all the expanding internal leads. *Almost* as per design. Just a natural consequence of the extent definition (15% rule) collapsing along with Arctic ice, but for us close watchers of sea ice collapse it does have that effect.

I was kind of losing faith in any delayed minima this year, you know, but your breathtaking blogging convinced me we're still in the Anything Can Happen phase. Ta vare!


There is a third player which is water turning into ice


Taak Viddaloo

I don't really expect extent numbers to shrink dramatically until another method is implemented or a new satellite system is in place to measure sea ice concentration similar to Radarsat capacity of 1 meter. However I'd expect a stall in the numbers or strange variations, indicative of current sea ice action, but not descriptive.


Sure is some very thin sea ice, grey ice , floating snow, a maze of complications, one way to conceive this is by sea ice mobility. The simplified view that new sea ice is expanding after an early minima fails to be realistic, but if you understand that there is expansion of sea ice extent by dispersion you'd have a better understanding of current situation, it is complicated and requires qualifications.


When it rains it pours, recent High Arctic heat wave comes with a lot of rain , which is slimming down the 20 cm snow layer on ground, turning the sea ice tops green again, with the return of melt ponds on top of multiyear ice just arrived from the Arctic Ocean:


Some September 9 minima hey?

Rob Dekker
And the NSIDC Sept. average SIE in all likelihood will be in the 4.25-4.5 range, probably very close to Rob's prediction.
My prediction (back in June) was 4.1. In reality, I think the NSIDC Sept. average SIE will end up much closer to 4.4, which was Andrew Slater's projection, and the average of SIPN.
John Christensen

Agreed navegante,

Sea ice volume increase in the first two weeks following the volume minimum has been 300-400km3 in the past four years, which happens in the central parts of the pack, where late season melting can refreeze under slightly higher temperatures due to reduced salt content.

Initial 2-week volume increase for past years in comparison (km3):

2012 - 393
2013 - 365
2014 - 382
2015 - 317


Just how is tis volume increase calculated when there is vast expansion of sea ice in well above warmer temperatures?


I wonder?

A great segment of Perimeter is expanding 6 nautical miles a day by dispersion, easily more than 2000 nautical miles long. With a wild mix of new ice, grey ice and floating snow within. This is not an average year. I'dd expect better results when we get serious about accuracy.


I had the pleasure of acquaintance with broken up multiyear ice pans, severely eaten up on their sides by the ravages of warmer sea water and winds. They stayed in the Bay until leaving last night. While they packed the Southern Shores of Cornwallis Island, before the heat wave, they smothered sea waves, closely kept small gaps of open water, allowed freshly fallen snow to float and stay, perfect freeze-up conditions. Temperatures varied -2 to to -6 C, just like what happened closer to the North Pole (with some cooler days) . while it was colder, there was not one speck of Grey ice forming. Why? Because sea water temperatures were above -1.8 C. Looking at data further North, some spots have sst's at -1 C. Not amenable for new sea ice:


Well wished good luck to the old so artistic sea ice just gone, thanks for the lesson learned, freeze well!

John Christensen

"Just how is this volume increase calculated when there is vast expansion of sea ice in well above warmer temperatures?"

As certain as the dawn of day, I expected you would question the PIOMAS data of ice growth in September. As certain as the questioning of sea ice concentration, sea ice area, and sea ice extent.

Behold I say, a good week from now, PIOMAS will provide new data showing that sea ice has grown also this September as every other September on record, and then you can question that as well.


John ,

I don't question you or PIOMAS anymore, I leave sea ice forming in miraculous conditions to others to ponder if that is what they enjoy doing. I just report reality. It is not a surprise for me as to why many models fail, they do not start from a proper measurement in the first place, considering expansiveness as freezing for instance, not making a littlest effort to separate the 2. Sea ice is more complex than freezing because extent is growing, but at that , we leave to others more curious to consider, and for the newer to come measurement systems to reveal.

Meantime we observe:


And may be encourage a deeper effort.

John Christensen


Regarding freezing right now, I would think surface temperatures below -8C in areas where melting happened only by the late August storms would be sufficient to refreeze the surface layer, as the salt content must be somewhat reduced.
As contrast, in Beaufort we need -11C for sea ice to form due to extended mixing over the past few months.

If you look at the DMI forecast model and select 'Ice temperature', the model should show 'skin' temperature and not the 2m air temperature, where you see extend of this lower temperature:




" I would think surface temperatures below -8C in areas where melting happened only by the late August storms would be sufficient to refreeze the surface layer"

Very good, I would agree with that.

There is some freezing for sure but how much would be confirmed by MYI ice mobility vectors, sea water temperature and snow precipitation models. I think that JAXA maps underestimate sea ice when surrounded by a lot of water, and overestimates sea ice concentration when water is more scarce, this by purely comparing sat pics with their charts. Adds more sea ice when there is more ice than water in any specific grid.

John Christensen

Yes, wayne, I am not disagreeing on the limitations of the models; each have its own area of weakness and therefore limitation needed when interpreting outcomes.

Artful Dodger

Ah, come on LADS! Would Boromir quit? That's not the way into Valhalla! ;^)

Cheers, and it has been GREAT fun.



John Christensen

But back to my favorite topic; AO and seasonal outlook - from 30,000 feet and all limitations considered:

The AO index has been in a positive phase nearly uninterrupted since mid-June, and as a consequence the radiative heat reaching the larger NH has been slightly reduced:


This may have helped air temperatures in 80-90N to move down at a respectable pace, though assisted also by a well-positioned low extracting cold air masses from north-eastern CAA and northern Greenland.

What is also interesting is that the AO index is now forecasted to turn negative.
As we have passed equinox, this means somewhat enhanced radiative heat loss in the NH.

It will be interesting to follow the possible combined effect of summer positive AO followed by negative AO in the fall - if that indeed comes to pass, but overall should create more favorable conditions for sea ice than seen in the first half of the year.


Extent is bouncing back but man those temps are staying warm this year:

Forecast just has it keep going too:


Indeed Sarat,

This brings out the qualifiers, extent from dispersion at minima time, is not extent from freezing. Cyclones remaining in place without dying have an energy source. What is particularly interesting is these high temperatures, a rapid freeze-up of sea ice immediately is followed by a rapid cooling. We have not seen this quite yet, may be soon.

To recap, it is warm, Cyclones remain almost steady in place, there is a huge redistribution of shattered sea ice going on, freeze up is very slow, but mistaken as dispersion, the slowness is proven by warmer air anomalies and basic visual evaluations.

I don't have photoshop on this computer but would like to ask
anyone if they have the time and inclination , to copy and paste
2016 excess sea ice extent vs 2012:


to the gaps where 2016 has less sea ice than 2012. It looks very much like 2016 is nearly = to 2012 if done so properly. The difference is of course is sea ice density. Will have it done myself eventually.



I finally got a chance to listen to the BBC4 program, which in fact was a very short segment indeed, packed in between a pollutician and the sports "news". I believe it started at 2 hours 21 m 30 s and ended just under 5 minutes later @ bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07vjx0d

Am I correct in finding no podcast or download for the Today program?

In any case, getting only 5 minutes after sailing for months in the Arctic waters, must be pretty frustrating, just there, and of course in particular when the interviewer from the Beeb *wants* there to be a lot of ice.

Cato Uticensis

Sarat, if a big quantity of liquid water changes state into solid (ice), then a big quantity of heat is released as latent heat of solidification. This well explains a phenomenon which is apparently in open contradiction with physical reality.

Otherwise explained, the "cold" is used as latent heat to achieve the change of state from liquid to solid, rather than as sensible heat causing a decrease in the air temperature. Once the change of state has happened, air temperature will drop as sensible heat will prevail over latent.

Sorry for the quality of my English, it's not very easy for me to write in a proper scientific language unfortunately...



Sure, I get the physics, all I was pointing out that the current situation is unique, so far in 2016 you have consistently higher average temps later in the season than any year on record before it. This slower refreeze characteristic is of course correlated to lower minima but also to the warming world.

It's part of the feedback loop -> less ice -> more heat absorbed -> slower refreeze in the fall -> less ice -> so on...

The closer the arctic is to ice free the longer it will take for the temps to drop and the pack to reform.

John Christensen

"This slower refreeze characteristic"

Sarat, please share where you find evidence of slower refreeze this year.

In addition to SIE, also SIA is going up significantly (E.g. ROOS:http://arctic-roos.org/observations/ice-area-and-extent-in-arctic ), and probably also PIOMAS, if DMI volume can be at least an indicator of direction.

Cato Uticensis

Sarat, I'm a simple man. As a record recovery for ice extension in the month of September has just been achieved, it's honestly difficult for me to be convinced that this recovery is due to record-high temperatures.

What would have we said, if there had been no recovery at all? That it would have been caused by record-high temperatures. I tend to be skeptic when whatever happens is attributed to record-high temperatures. I think it would be wise asking ourselves why ice extension is increasing so quickly in September in spite of experiencing the warmest year ever or likewise.

The point is, the Arctic is quite a complex system, whose behaviour hasn't been fully understood in its entirety. Every melting season is a lesson learned, and this is no exception.

Anyways I expect an extension decrease for the next 4-5 days due to a "malignant" dipole which will lead to ice compaction...



it is indeed complex

The Danger in misinterpretation is confusing extent with freezing in an expansive system, this is forgotten or precluded by some and that is incorrect. Other metrics must be used as a consequence:

1- it is unusually warmer
2- sea ice velocity displacement
3- stability of cyclones not fading rapidly
4-ease of southern cyclones in moving Northwards
5- snowing
6- sea water temperature
7- what has mostly melted, 0 C sea ice or 1,5 C sea ice?.
8- latent heat of fusion from freezing rises in the colder air that does the freezing

What I know is here in the High Arctic, floating fresh water on top of sea water from rain or melted at 0 C sea ice will freeze easier between older multi-year pans, but has no likely accretion since just below sea water freezes at lower temperatures. You may have fresh water ice layer on top of warmer than -1.8 C sea water, and it just floats like snow, I suspect that is a lot of the new ice which has recently. Much warmer Arctic surface temperatures now exist mainly on top of open water (no latent sea ice heat) or loose packs. The comparatively minuscule areas of much colder air exist over the densest pack areas. If sea ice formed and grew a lot thicker day by day (as will occur), the colder zones would expand likewise.


.....fresh water ice on top of sea water which freezes at -1.8 C should have some accretion, with time and much lower temperatures favoring conduction to do its thing.

Jim Hunt

Vid - The BBC has recorded for posterity a number of dispatches from Northabout on her voyage of Polar circumnavigation:


However as far as I am aware the interview with David Hempleman-Adams will disappear once 30 days from broadcast have elapsed.

For more on my "conversation" with the powers that be at the Beeb on that topic see:



2012 at 3rd lowest is starting to resemble the rabbit's race in the Aesop fable against the turtle (2016):

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

John Christensen

Agreed viddaloo; if 2016 is the rabbit.. ;-)
2012 saw relatively high SIE in the March-June period, but the loss then gained momentum, hardly taking a break before late November, so as 2016 is currently taking a nap, 2012 may make it first to the finish line.

Hans Gunnstaddar

Fascinating graph, viddaloo! Should be very interesting to see how average ice extent plays out through 2017.


Hans: Thx, and I agree it's interesting. If many people feel they can already say that 2012 was lower than 2016, before September is over, IMO I have documented why it's more accurate to say 2016 was lower than 2012. It's all in that graph.

John: True! Your comment sent me thinking which year is really the turtle :D But if we assume that the rabbit was so self assured after the 2011 season (then record low) and was taking a nap until late July 2012, then 2016 more resembles the turtle, walking steadily but slowly, and thus seriously threatening the napping rabbit!


Ugh, I can be borderline incoherent sometimes, it’s my fault let me clarify my position:
I was only trying to refer to the temperature not bouncing back as fast as previous years (a common trend in the last 10 years especially oblivious in 2007/2012/2008), and I agree with Cato it will drop down once sufficient ice cover is achieved. Also yes arctic is a very complex system and temperature metric by itself does not amount to much.
All I wanted to point out is this perhaps oblivious relationship/ and extend it to make some general predictions:
1) In years that there is less ice average temperatures stay above average longer after the extent minimum is reached.
2) In the future as there is less ice this will continue and I hypothesize will see temperatures linger above average for longer periods past the minimum.
3) I understand the temperature (after the sun is no longer a factor) is a function of the heat content of the water. The heat content in the water will be a contributing factor in the speed of ice formation, and ice thickness.
Hope that is clearer and I’m not completely off with this line of thinking.
Finally yes 2016 year extent is bouncing back quite fast and my #3 prediction is not supported by extent numbers. But as everyone agrees arctic is complex, and heat content/ average temperature is just a small part of that system.


When we witness never seen before sea ice melts, they often, as they do now, become mistaken for something else, like suggested rapid re-freezing. Sea ice 2016 had massive decompression or de-coiling which came about at official minima date. At that time a "Big Bang" sea ice expansion event happened:


Which had nothing to do with refreezing, and everything to do with many geophysical factors. Fascinating.

Hans Gunnstaddar

This post is off topic intended for Colorado Bob, with a follow up article to the 2015 Northwest coastal die off of starfish, etc.


SEATTLE (AP) — A new study finds that unusually warm Pacific Ocean temperatures helped cause a massive bloom of toxic algae last year that closed lucrative fisheries from California to British Columbia and disrupted marine life from seabirds to sea lions.

Scientists linked the large patch of warm ocean water, nicknamed the "blob," to the vast ribbon of toxic algae that flourished in 2015 and produced record-breaking levels of a neurotoxin that is harmful to people, fish and marine life.

The outbreak of the toxin domoic acid, the largest ever recorded on the West Coast, closed razor clam seasons in Washington and Oregon and delayed lucrative Dungeness crab fisheries along the coast. High levels were also detected in many stranded marine mammals.

"We're not surprised now having looked at the data, but our study is the first to demonstrate that linkage," said Ryan McCabe, lead author and a research scientist at the University of Washington's Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean. "It's the first question that everyone was asking."

John Christensen

"When we witness never seen before sea ice melts, they often, as they do now, become mistaken for something else, like suggested rapid re-freezing"

This comment leaves me confused..

It is correct that the apparent rapid re-freeze has not been seen at least since 2010 so maybe the "never seen before sea ice melts (plural?)" of 2016 is a new category of sea ice melt.

I would just note that 2012 did not result in a rapid re-freeze, so maybe we could put 2012 in a separate category of "stronger than never seen before sea ice melts"?


When one with great interest in the geophysics of our planet is on this for over ten years, one starts to get some sense for the short term and chaotical variance of all processes.
What is going on since 7 September has a direct relation to the structure-loss of the complete Arctic sea ice pack. It is mobile and dispersed. The open ocean waters in between, having a thin, sweeter top layer, is soon ready to support formation of nilas and guard fresh fallen snow against dissolving.
The satellite sensors pick this up as extent growth. They did so in earlier years too, nothing new here except for the intensively broken up structure of the pack nowadays.
This extent growth doesn’t tell us much about the real state of the ice nor about the nature of the coming winter season.


Nah, I think 2012 napped for too long! :)

More seriously, Wayne's statements are more or less backed up by Wipneus' area–divided–by–extent plots, where 2016 is or has been the lowest year ever this autumn.


Very difficult obstinate Pan Arctic cloud cover often obstruct a good sight of what is going on at sea level, a slight window at 81 N 170 E gave a remarkable sight of chaotic sea ice mixed with more sea water than JAXA depiction can provide.


It is warm in a feedback loop between open water, clouds and cyclonic persistence, Perhaps there is a chance of more cooling soon if North Central Russian Pressure ridge will happen.and stay for a week or so.


Open water areas have grown substantially 81 N 170 E, despite encroaching darkness since autumn equinox. A paradox worth exposing:


michael sweet

The Northwest passage is still open through the Fury and Hecla strait Canadian Ice Chart. It will probably be closed later this week. This was the first year that route was open. I doubt anyone is still trying to get through so late in the season. Claims at WUWT that the passage is closed are incorrect.

Jim Hunt has followed this much closer than I did. Do you know how many yachts made the passage this year?

Jim Hunt

Michael - Three "small vessels" certainly made it through Fury and Hecla Strait, first and foremost David Scott Cowper in Polar Bound:


Eagle's Quest II (with a little help from the Canadian Coast Guard!) and Northabout got through heading East via Bellot Strait & Lancaster Sound:


Yvinec did likewise heading West:


I'll check on the others when I have a spare moment, which won't be for a little while I'm afraid. I'm currently following Major Hurricane Matthew very closely:


At the moment it seems highly likely that Matthew's eye will pass over western Haiti before passing close to or over Eastern Cuba and then heading in the general direction of the east coast of the United States. It's far too early to say with certainty whether Matthew will make landfall on the mainland of the United States of America, but...

John Christensen

Looks like we are heading for a significant NH big blue event in a couple of days:


Consequences of this weather change:
1. Jet stream is moving south, slowing down, becoming more wobbly.
2. Arctic winds should slow down, higher chance of clear skies.
3. Overall NH temperature anomalies to decrease, as NH equatorial areas are becoming more cloudy, while areas further north will have above-average clear skies enhancing heat loss.


Uni–Hamburg CAB animation Sep 22–Oct 2

Big: http://i.imgur.com/aA7vC0D.gif

Rob Dekker

NSIDC just published their "monthly mean" SIE for September 2016 :

2016 9 NRTSI-G N 4.72 2.81

HALLO ! 4.72 ?
That is considerably higher than expected.


Tokyo's back online.

Big: http://i.imgur.com/82ncyrv.png

Thus, we can now safely call the annual minimum extent at JAXA for 2016: It was 4,017,264 km2 on September 7th.

My point was that Arctic ice is on a road to destruction, the only unknown is how many years it will take to get there. Once that destruction has happened the sequestered heat is going to keep it down, initially seasonally, for thousands of years.

NeilT, I think you'll find that in the context of "thousands of years" or millennia, or geological time frames, the "initially seasonally" ice free state of the Arctic will be an anachronism, or a paranthesis. True, it will be seasonally at first, but how long will that really last?

When viewed from the future, it is my guess that it will be seen as essentially the same moment. Ie that ice-free first day and ice-free first year will be so close to each other that historians (I wish there will be some) will hardly make separate chapters for the two ice-frees.

In my book I'll ponder the topic closer, of course, as we are in the midst of it now, viewing it from the past. It looks like a couple decades at most, yet feedbacks may shrink that transition period significantly and surprisingly.

The Chinese used to curse one another or their enemies with the words "May you live in interesting times!". I think in any case it can be said that we are!

John Christensen


Wow, the last two weeks of the month really made a difference!


Am I suppose to be surprised Rob?


" HALLO ! 4.72 ?
That is considerably higher than expected."

Better calculations with simpler requirements would be nice to have. After all. is there a point in saying that a loss in extent in October, as reported by JAXA using conservative rules, not once but twice during the last few days, doesn't mean 20 K a day melting, although there is still some melting where the water is very warm.

Consider Volume as well, given according to some 300 or 400 km3 gain. With 1 miliion km2, admit for argument sake the new sea ice roughly 40 cm thick. out of the million would give 400 km3 more. It doesn't look that the new sea ice is 40 cm thick , and besides
does this new expanse of very thicker sea ice, by now more than 400 km3 give Towering Cumulus? :


Rob Dekker

Regarding that 4.72 number for NSIDC-monthly, or 5th place (after 2012, 2007, 2011 and 2015), I did not see that one coming.

Especially since the minimum was 2nd place (only after 2012) and average of ice extent based on daily numbers for both Jaxa and NSIDC turns out to be 3rd place :

Jaxa average extent over September based on daily numbers :

2016: 4.39
2015: 4.51
2011: 4.46
2007: 4.18

which puts 2016 in 3rd place (after 2012 and 2007).

NSIDC average extent over September based on daily numbers :

2016: 4.50507
2007: 4.26727
2011: 4.56133
2015: 4.61577

which also puts 2016 in 3rd place after 2007 and 2016.

The big difference for the NSIDC monthly number of 4.72 seems to originate from the somewhat unorthodox method of ranking each pixel by their average ice content over the month, and counting them as ice 'extent' if that pixel shows 15% average ice over the month.
So when a pixel has 100% ice concentration during only 15% of the time (5 days) of the month, it gets counted in full for that extent number. While it would only add 15% for the daily average over the month.

With the rapid refreeze, there were a lot of pixels that fit that metric and that is why the overall number pumped up to 4.72.

Rob Dekker

Of course, with the highly dispersed ice cover in 2016, the "area" number gives a better measure of the state of the ice, and that number (2.81 M average over September) is in 2nd place, after 2012.


Hi Rob

Most excellent break down as usual. The biggest event by far was
synergy between sea ice densest pack de-coiling and anti-dipole circulation dispersing sea ice grandly lasting for weeks. I did not foresee the de-coiling, didn't expect it to be so massive rapid and expansive. This is known now, should be a feature of future melts to come, the warmer temperatures at present


simply indicate that the sea ice gained since extent minima was not significant. In particular at the Pole as this temperature anomaly graph indicates more than +15 C above normal. This would never happen with significant thick sea ice in darkness , an epic Polar feat.

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