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We live in interesting times.


" ... see the dark red line on the right side of the graph which should be fairly easily to spot):"

Now look how much lower it is on the left! In both graphs.

David Nemerson

Could you add the global volume graph that Wipneus posted on the forum?


David, I'll mention it in the next PIOMAS update.

Hans Gunnstaddar

Anyway to add Jan. 2017 to get the most up to date view?


Looks bad with the numerical data, visually speaking even worse,(I will have something on this on the 19th). With extent hovering below 2012 many times near 1,000,000 km2. Wipneus was on the right course, September minima looked expansive for untrained eyes. There was a massive dispersion event as I reported, this new generation area calculation seems more accurate.


2017 so far is there on the left hand side of the graphs, Hans. Unless you mean the volume chart, for which we won't have a January figure until feb


How low do we think it's possible for area to go? With maybe 2 million to lose in Antarctica, and not much to gain in the Arctic with the storm that's coming, I wouldn't be surprised if it went below 13 million myself.


Robertscribbler has a post up with lots more info: The Human World Has Never Experienced A Time When Global Sea Ice Was So Weak and Reduced

Elisee Reclus

Could someone answer a question?

I understand how a loss of sea ice in summer, when the sun is in the sky for hours at a time, can cause an increase in the heat content of the ocean as sunlight is absorbed by the wine-dark sea, rather than being reflected back into space off the icecap.

On the other hand, in winter, the ice must help insulate the warm water below, preventing heat from escaping. I would expect low ice coverage in winter would cause the polar sea to lose heat energy to the atmosphere. These two effects must counteract each other throughout the year.

No doubt there are other factors at work, such as release of water vapor (a greenhouse gas) which may complicate things. Could someone please bring me up to date on how all these factors interact.

Does low ice cover have a different effect on the polar climate in winter than it would in summer?


I think part of the answer is clouds. Here's an interesting article someone mentioned at the ASIF recently:

Clouds and Sea Ice: What Satellites Show About Arctic Climate Change

"There's no cloud response in summer to melting sea ice, which means it is likely that clouds are not slowing down the Arctic climate change that is happening—clouds aren't really providing the expected stabilizing feedback," Taylor said. "The fact that you are melting sea ice and uncovering more ocean and the fact that clouds don't increase during summer means that they are not buffering or reducing the rate of the warming, which implies the Arctic could warm faster than climate models suggest."

Clouds are a two-edged sword when it comes to climate change. They have both cooling and warming effects not just in the Arctic but across the entire planet. During the day, white and bright clouds reflect part of the sunlight hitting the planet back into space. At night, however, they act as a blanket that doesn't completely allow day-accumulated heat to escape into space.

This "blanket" mechanism is evident in just about any place on Earth.

"If you think about cold winter nights, normally the coldest ones we get have clear skies," Taylor said. "But if you have winter nights that actually have clouds, those tend to be a little warmer."

In the Arctic, this warming effect of clouds could influence sea ice during fall and winter, when the sun disappears for months and darker skies overlie oceans and land that spent an entire summer absorbing sunlight.

Although further research needs to be conducted, Taylor said the increased clouds he observed in the fall seasons could slow down the process of refreezing sea ice through the winter. Slow refreezing could translate into summers with less and thinner sea ice -- something NASA satellites have already detected.

It's a feedback loop.

"That's what my results imply," Taylor said. "More clouds in the fall may delay or slow down the refreezing of sea ice, and that can lead to a thinner or more susceptible ice pack that will melt more quickly when spring and summer come around."

Taylor also said one thing that is becoming more evident, thanks in part to his research, is that sea ice isn't controlling cloud behavior in the Arctic as much as previously thought. His study shows that different meteorological conditions like temperature, humidity and winds may be influencing Arctic clouds almost 10 times more than sea ice.


It will be coupled with a strong high in the Eurasian side and another one in Greenland. Very strong winds

John Bilsky

Very strong winds; very weak ice. This isn't gonna turn out well IMO. The Belmont Lake Effect.
"And so it goes."


There is a very high level of attention being paid to this in the forums.

Consensus there agrees with consensus here. Weak ice, high winds, big trouble.

Now we wait and see how it plays out this weekend.


-FishOutofWater here -

Open water on the Atlantic side of the Arctic allows warm water to get very close to the pole. There's a staggering thermal gradient right now between Greenland and the warm waters in the subarctic seas. This gradient helps make a storm track that moves heat and clouds into the Arctic in the dark winter months. Thus heat does not escape efficiently to space from the open water region on the Atlantic side.

Heat escaped efficiently in January through March 2013 when high pressure dominated over the pole and kept skies clear. A sudden stratosperhic warming in early January apparently increased the normal subsidence pattern over the Beaufort sea and north pole.

Thus after the open water summer of 2012 there was a strong recovery, but don't expect one this winter because of the ongoing storms.


Elisee Reclus wrote:

On the other hand, in winter, the ice must help insulate the warm water below, preventing heat from escaping.

You do have it wrong here. To correct, replace "ice" by "snow". Snow is a mixture of much air and tiny little ice granulates, hence a rather good insulator, due to the incorporated air.

As an example, for the "ice hotels" (Canada, Finland, Sweden) on the river(s) there is a day-to-day and thorough snow scrape off, in order to obtain thick and very dense solid ice (= less of air present). Where the snow hasn't been scraped off, the ice has at least 1 meter less of thickness, end of February.

Now, this winter so far the Arctic almost everywhere has been struck by intense snow flurries. Thus together with the extremely high temperatures we are alas heading right to an Arctic catastrophe.


Over on the ASIF, Wipneus reports that Global sea ice extent is now record low as well.

That's the lowest value on record since satellites have started monitoring sea ice.
And it's not over yet. It could go quite a bit lower.


Along these same lines...

As the recent El Nino years developed, a pool of very warm ocean water dominated in the northeastern pacific. It was tied to the ridiculously resilient ridge. The question of which of these drove the other, or wether some other factor drove the creation of either or both remained unresolved. The general belief in the research community was that the RRR caused the warm ocean.

As the El Nino faded and near La Nina conditions developed, a long band of abnormally cool water developed from the central north pacific to the northeast pacific ocean. This cold water allowed and possibly encouraged storms to flow from the Pacific into the Pacific Northwestern US. This is the opposite of what happened with the El Nino conditions. Then the storms were shunted north into Alaska and Canada and far south to Baja California. The northern branch distorted (or was distorted by, or jointly ...) the polar and continental jet streams. This in turn led to serious incursions of cold from the arctic down through the eastern US and extreme drought in California.

As the El Nino is fading, the cooling of the northeastern pacific seems to be going with it.

My question for all of you is this - How is this or how has this impacted oceanic flows into or out of the Arctic on the western side? And, how is this impacting the arctic conditions and flows?

I suspect it has either had a large effect, or its large effect has been involved in driving events in the northern and northeastern pacific, with wide ranging ecosystem impacts in addition to the weather and climate impacts.

As an added note, I have watched this region since the early 1990s. In the early 1990s, when El Nino's developed, a band of cold water developed in this area and in its twin in the southern hemisphere. When that shifted to La Nina, the equatorial Pacific went cold, and these two bands went warm. The oscillated in opposition to the equatorial temperature oscillation.

In the mid to late 1990s, this all changed. The northern band shifted to match the equatorial band (warm and warm, cold and cold). The southern band stayed as it was. The northern part of this pattern seems to be intensifying in that seeming correlation of warm to warm and cold to cold.

I don't know that that has any meaning at all. These may be unlinked events and separate oscillations. It is still curious none the less.



Has everyone seen: https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/enso/your-eight-minute-speed-date-pacific-meridional-mode ?

I think the increasing PMM and AMM are the result of convection resulting from a warmer and moister Arctic atmosphere.


The storm has begun. 957 hPa atm.

Al Rodger

So the storm intensity is as forecast (959 hPa atm).
JAXA is showing a lot less ice than ever recorded for the time of year, 0.75M sq km below the 2002-15 average, an anomaly much bigger than any seen before in winter. How far will this storm impact that figure?

Jim Hunt

Al - Here's how a couple of similar storms affected the Arctic:


This one has spent less time over the North Atlantic than those two however, but looks set to generate quite a bit of Fram Strait export over the next few days. Whilst I don't see the strong winds doing the area numbers any good it's conceivable that extent will increase on the Atlantic side of the Arctic. See for example the latest ACNFS forecast:



Hi Jim,

The biggest story is not the storm (a stand alone great event) , but sea ice drift velocity beyond 26 km/day below top cyclone winds. And especially looking away from it, 13 km a day within the traditionally densest pack. A few years back, I would of thought these speeds unbelievable in mid January. 4 km a day was considered very fast.

Hans Gunnstaddar

I'm still looking for a global temperature average above pre-industrial for 2016 to compare with the three previous record setting years 2013-2015, however haven't found it yet. How long does it take to crunch the numbers now 2016 is in the books?


1st 2016 1.3C above pre-industrial
2nd 2015 .9C-1.1C " " "
2nd 2014 .74C " " "
3rd 2013 .66C " " "

The global average temperature graph at the above link show 2016 at 1.3C above pre-industrial and that same graph also shows 2015 at about 1.1C above. However the numbers on the graph and the numbers listed in the text at the above link are in conflict for 2015, so I'm seeking to clarify these numbers. If anyone has a better link please post, thanks, Hans.

Hans Gunnstaddar


1st 2016 1.3C above pre-industrial
2nd 2015 .9C-1.1C
3rd 2014 .74C
4th 2013 .66C


Hi all, long term lurker making one of my rare appearances in the comments!
Just some (hopefully interesting) observations on NSIDC Arctic sea ice extent (5 day average) numbers.
We've all been watching in horror during recent years as extent has been trending lower and lower.
I know that there are lots of graphs that show what's happening, but none-the-less, I just want to share my own observations with you (under the theory that there are never too many ways you can tell and important story!):
The following is a tally of number of days (inclusive) that the NSIDC Arctic sea ice extent (5 day average figure) has recorded a value of >2 standard deviations below the 1981-2010 average, by year. (year, total no. of days, then number of consecutive days are shown when a new record has been set for number of consecutive days under 2 std deviations).

1979 to 2003, 0 days
2004, 2 (new record, 2 consecutive days)
2005, 15 (new rec, 12 consecutive days, 37-48)
2006, 82 (new rec, 30 cons days, 74-103)
2007, 151 (new rec,122 cons days,188-309)
2008, 11
2009, 4
2010, 52
2011, 167
2012, 167 (new rec,164 cons days,163-326)
2013, 13
2014, 29
2015, 118
2016, 307
2017, 16 so far….
Also, here is a list of the top 5 periods of consecutive days under 2 standard deviations:
1. 164 days (2012, days 163-326)
2. 122 days (2007, days 188-309)
3. 101* days (2016-2017, days 281 – 16*)
4. 99 days (2011, days 163-261)
5. 94 days (2016, days 113-206)
*to date, as of day 16 2017.
It’s interesting to see that the current 101 day period is the first large period of consecutive days that has occurred in the northern winter. All the other big records were in the melting season.
Also, the last time extent (5 day average figure) was OVER the 1981-2010 AVERAGE was day 119, 2012!
Will 2017 get a 100% run under 2 standard deviations?
I know there are increasingly important other measures for the health of the ice pack, (like volume) however I still think these figures are interesting (and worrying).




Also, we know 2012 got all the headlines for record minimum extent, but look at that figure (307) next to 2016!


A video that may be of interest... Jennifer Francis on how there is a new positive feedback in the Arctic, with Arctic amplification resulting in a wavier jet stream that brings more heat and moisture from the mid latitudes, increasing the melting, and with moisture leading to increased cloud cover in the Fall and Winter, resulting in a greater cloud greenhouse effect.


Timothy Chase

Sorry, I am odysseus. I should have signed in using Facebook. Not sure why I showed up with that name although I have used that handle in the past.

Bill Fothergill

@ Kris & Elisee Reclus

Kris wrote in response to ER...
"On the other hand, in winter, the ice must help insulate the warm water below, preventing heat from escaping."

"You do have it wrong here. To correct, replace "ice" by "snow". Snow is a mixture of much air and tiny little ice granulates, hence a rather good insulator, due to the incorporated air."

Actually, Elisee is perfectly correct. The thermal conductivity of sea ice is less than that of sea water, and therefore the formation of sea ice does provide insulation and consequently reduces the energy transfer from the ocean to the atmosphere.

Please see...

However, Kris is also correct in pointing out that snow is a much better insulator. Consequently, when snow falls on thin (i.e. new) ice, this serves to inhibit ice formation, as there is little scope for losing the necessary latent heat of fusion.

Hans Gunnstaddar


"2016 Hottest Year Since Good Record Keeping Began in 1880, Says NOAA and NASA"

Ok, the 2016 temperature information is finally here:

"During 2016, the globally-averaged land surface temperature was 2.57°F (1.43°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest among all years in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record of 2015 by 0.18°F (0.10°C). ...

During 2016, the globally-averaged sea surface temperature was 1.35°F (0.75°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest among all years in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record of last year by 0.02°F (0.01°C).

During 2016, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.69°F (0.94°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest among all 137 years in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set last year by 0.07°F (0.04°C). The first eight months of the year had record high temperatures for their respective months. Since the start of the 21st century, the annual global temperature record has been broken five times (2005, 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2016). The record warmth in 2016 was broadly spread around the world."

Ok, so separate temperatures for land & sea then they combine both. The bottom line is we have had 3 consecutive years of record breaking temperature rises above the 1880 baseline. Will we have 4 years in a row? If the arctic ice its the Gunnstaddar fifth year with a predicted new minima record, will that coincide with yet another new record high global temperature? Suppose the tale of the tape is what happens, but should be interesting with what is happening with arctic ice this winter.

Jim Hunt

Hans - See also today's Met Office press release:


The global temperature series shows that 2016 was 0.77±0.1 °C above the long-term (1961-1990) average, nominally a record since at least 1850. When compared with the 1850 to 1900 baseline – which is indicative of pre-industrial temperatures – the 2016 average global temperature anomaly was around 1.1 °C (see below). For comparison, 2015 was 0.76±0.1 °C above the long-term (1961-1990) average.

The NASA/NOAA slides have a section on the Arctic:


Bill Fothergill

To the records mentioned by Hans, one can now also add the Hadley Global SSTs.

With an anomaly of +0.416 deg C, 1998 had stood as the record holder for about 15 years, and then this happened...

2014 +0.477
2015 +0.592
2016 +0.612

Hans Gunnstaddar

Thanks for the link, Jim. Glad there are still temp. differences being compared to the pre-industrial, but wonder why the goalposts are being moved to compare to the 1961-1990 period. Sure hope in future years the pre-industrial doesn't get eliminated, substituted by the more recent time period to help make the changes seem less of a concern, more politically advantageous as they help the populace perceive temp. increases as minimally incremental.

In this case the perceived temperature increase declines dramatically from a 1.1C higher than pre-industrial vs. a .1C from the 1961-1990 time period.

We all know in science it's fine to compare to different time periods as statistical analysis goes, but in my opinion we should all be aware there may be an underlying attempt to shift perception, i.e. in future years we may see the pre-industrial temperature base called obsolete and no longer quoted in mainstream articles. I hope that isn't my own paranoia, but stranger things have happened to control people's perception. For example how many times has methodology to compute GDP or unemployment been redefined?

Hans Gunnstaddar

Bill, thanks for posting those record setting stats. Remember when the conjecture by the denialsphere was the Earth was cooling because all years after 1998 had lower average global temperatures? Where are those people now? Probably waiting for a cooler year than 2016 to claim the world is once again cooling - lol!

Bill Fothergill

@ Hans

"Where are those people now?"
Well, some of them are now desperately waiting for Solar Cycle 25 - the same ones that were desperately waiting for the current Solar Cycle 24.

"Probably waiting for a cooler year than 2016 to claim the world is once again cooling - lol!"
Jim Hunt and I were at an event in Exeter University perhaps 8 months ago, and that's exactly what Jim said would happen as soon as the then extant El Nino fizzled out.

"... wonder why the goalposts are being moved to compare to the 1961-1990 period."
Until the fabricated controversy regarding AGW gained traction, it would have been quite normal to advance the 30-year base period in decadal steps. However, NASA, NOAA and the UK's Met Office (and the CRU at the University of East Anglia) have all "frozen" their base periods. The intention was to avoid any confusion about what the value of the anomaly meant before/after any transition from one baseline period to another.

Unfortunately, these organisations have all adopted different base periods. The UK global datasets (HadCRUT, CRUTemp, HadSST) are predicated on 1961-90, whereas NASA's Gistemp numbers are based upon 1951-80

NOAA does it differently again, with their global products being based upon a 20th Century average, whilst their continental US figures are based on 1910-2000.

UAH base their satellite derived figures on 1981-2010, but (I believe) RSS use a 20-year baseline 1979-1998.

Bill Fothergill

Going back to global sea ice records, and the two NSIDC derived diagrams at the top of Neven's post, here are some related stats from the NSIDC monthlies database which rather sum up 2016 in numbers...

Monthly GSI extent ranking positions (1 = lowest)
J(3) F(2) M(4) A(8) M(1) J(1) J(2) A(5) S(2) O(1) N(1) D(1)

Monthly GSI area ranking positions
J(1) F(1) M(3) A(6) M(2) J(1) J(2) A(1) S(1) O(1) N(1) D(1)

The ranking position for the rolling 12-month averages ending in each of the months during 2016 were as follows...

Rolling 12-month GSI extent ranking positions
J(90) F(69) M(64) A(40) M(26) J(15) J(10) A(11) S(9) O(3) N(2) D(1)

Rolling 12-month GSI area ranking positions
J(83) F(69) M(58) A(43) M(20) J(16) J(11) A(7) S(4) O(3) N(2) D(1)

The January numbers for both the Arctic and Antarctic will be depressing. There's nothing I can see to suggest February will be much better.

Hans Gunnstaddar

Fascinating info. on baseline time periods, Bill. "UAH base their satellite derived figures on 1981-2010, but (I believe) RSS use a 20-year baseline 1979-1998." The goalposts are definitely shifting away from the earliest kept records.

On a different metric, GDP; a couple of years ago the US began adding an estimated amount for illegal street drug sales. Italy added that plus estimated sales in the red light district. As we can see there are all sorts of ways to alter numbers and perception.

Hans Gunnstaddar


"Above the 80 degree North Latitude line, temperatures were fully 4.9 degrees Celsius above average for the period of an entire year."

After reading Scribbler's latest on world temperature rise via 2016, I was looking at the extent and false color graphs. If it wasn't for the Atlantic side it would look pretty normal for this time of year. Of course that being said...



'Trump begins with call to kill climate action plan'

"For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule," reads the top issue brief on the new president's White House website.

Well, I guess that's no surprise.

Wade Smith

We've probably gone past some sort of critical limit in order for the global numbers to get that much worse all in one year.

Bill Fothergill

@ Wade

It is not letting up either. Since my last post on this thread, the NSIDC monthly global sea ice extent and area records have been broken for January, February and March. (The April area and extent figures will be out round about May 2nd or 3rd, and they will both be new monthly records.)

The rolling 12-month average for extent has dropped from 22 million sq kms (Jan - Dec 2016) to 21.7 million sq kms (Apr 2016 - Mar 2017).

The rolling 12-month average for area has dropped from 16.47 million sq kms (Jan - Dec 2016) to 16.3 million sq kms (Apr 2016 - Mar 2017).

To put this in context, the average annual extent (1979-1999) was 24.18 million sq kms, and for area was 18.82 million sq kms.

That's a 10.3% reduction in extent, and, more worryingly, a 13.4% reduction in area.

However, there was some "low hanging fruit" - especially in the Antarctic - which made it easier to break records. Last year's Antarctic numbers from April through to August were nothing special, so global records over that period are on the cards - even without any spectacular losses in the Arctic.

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