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Σας ευχαριστώ Neven

Well comprehensive as well, I must point out a familiar cycle where as lowest extent in history is deja vu, but not during summer but winter,
which tends to indicate that sea ice could be lowest history in summer just as well except for the mixing it goes through by favorable for sea ice preservation persistent near quasi-stationary cyclones, the benefits from clouds reflection sun rays, which in retrospect, where partially strengthened by strong El-Nino of 2015-16 (there was never a complete deep La-Nina yet, as followed for years after 1998). The real question for summer is whether this clouds persistence will clear a bit more, which if it does, the all time lowest sea ice extent in history will likely continue with the presence of the sun.


Extent has dropped one day after it spiked to bring it back to first lowest.

Given that Wikipedia says, “January's birthstone is the garnet, which represents constancy”, I can see no other option but to refer to this event as,

“The Constant Drop”


Neven and Jim

With respect to everything important about snow cover, including detection of melt ponds, and especially the true skin temperature of snow on sea ice, this study:

Near–surface air temperature and snow skin temperature comparison from CREST-SAFE station data with MODIS and surface temperature data

written by:

C. L. Pérez Díaz, T. Lakhankar, P. Romanov, J. Muñoz, R. Khanbilvardi, and Y. Yu

Is probably an important paper, a likely contributing factor as to why skin temperatures are no longer an option by NOAA daily composites.

They have also graphs which proves that T***<=Ts snow skin temperature is always colder or equal to surface temperature (although they have a caveat), something I discovered optically many years ago.
At any rate a piece of equipment was used to accurately measure top of snow temperature even during sunshine, is good news in particular with respect to mass buoys.


James S.

Great post as always, thanks Neven!

Off topic, but I heard the following piece yesterday and thought folks here would be interested. Sonifying the data drives home the point!




Nice work incorporating the data from CryoSat-2.

And Jim, a very cool sonification. I'll be sure to bend a few other ears.


In other news:

Forget the reef, it’s dead, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/13/great-barrier-reef-tourism-spokesman-attacks-scientist-over-slump-in-visitors

<< “Don’t worry about it,... I’ll just throw another PRAWN on the barby for ya !”

(Done, get over it!)

((Were moving forward if you haven’t heard and I’m not being sarcastic... forget what you think you’ve been taught!))


really good blog.. thanks..

Jim Hunt

Thanks Wayne,

See also this new N-ICE2015 paper which covers temperature profiles and salinity of Arctic sea ice snow cover, amongst other things:

"CO2 flux over young and snow-covered Arctic sea ice in winter and spring"


"We measured CO2 fluxes along with sea ice and snow physical and chemical properties over first-year and young sea ice north of Svalbard in the Arctic ice pack. Our results suggest that young thin snow-free ice, with or without frost flowers, is a source of atmospheric CO₂ due to the high pCO2 and salinity and relatively high sea ice temperature. Although the potential CO₂ flux through the sea-ice surface decreased due to the presence of snow, snow surface still presents a modest CO₂ source to the atmosphere for low snow density and shallow depth situations. The highest ice to air fluxes were observed over thin young sea ice formed in leads. During N-ICE2015 the ice pack was dynamic, and formation of open water was associated with storms, where new ice was formed. Open leads and storm periods were important for air-to-sea CO₂ fluxes (Fransson et al., 2017), due to undersaturation of the surface waters, while the subsequent ice growth in these leads becomes important for the ice-to-air CO₂ fluxes in winter due to the fact that the flux from young ice is an order of magnitude larger than from snow-covered first-year ice."


Hi Jim

Yes, I met a scientist lady from England several years ago, doing this sort of work, forgot her name, it was the first time I heard of this, CO2 makes sense because it is likely sea water acidity at ice interface increases as the ice gets thicker, been measuring PH samples, is quite tentative, will measure some more...


Nice work incorporating the data from CryoSat-2.

Yes, I wish they would release monthly data faster, like the PSC does. As we saw last year, it's interesting to compare observations to model output, as it can tell us things about snow cover, among other things.

There's a recent paper published in The Cryosphere by Stroeve, Feltham and others: Warm Winter, Thin Ice?

In it they compare Cryosat-2 data as produced by AWI, CPOM and NASA to data from the CICE model. From the conclusion:

While CICE simulations suggest the mean thickness within the Arctic Basin in April 2017 was the thinnest over the CryoSat-2 data record, corresponding CS2-derived sea ice thickness from the three different data providers put this into question. However, the use of CS2-derived freeboards with a snow depth climatology remains problematic because it fails to capture inter-annual snow accumulation variability which remains a large source of error in current CS2 thickness retrievals.

However, they don't seem to tie this increased snowfall to the slow start of the melting season.

Jim Hunt

There are currently two powerful cyclones off Greenland, pumping heat and moisture northwards from a long way south and generating some very large waves in the Fram Strait:


There are also currently severe weather warnings in place for Svalbard for both rain and avalanches.

In the middle of January.


Is anyone else having difficulty posting on the forum?
When hitting reply, or quote, I'm shown a single line in which to reply. This line accepts nothing.
All settings were unchanged when problem first occurred and I can read new posts indicating that others do not have this problem.
Running win 10 with chrome.

Susan Anderson

@Jim Hunt, I can't help but think that's not entirely unrelated to our upsy-downsy craziness in US northeast ("bomb cyclone") which brought floods to the sidewalk outside our front door 10 years earlier than I thought possible.

@Twemoran, I'm in via Google on a Mac with browser Firefox. No problems here.

Susan Anderson

@Twemoran, Oh, sorry, on the Forum it remembers me. I think I had to log in once in the past year.


Terry, I'm not experiencing this problem either (Win 7, Chrome). Have you maybe inadvertently reduced the size of the comment window? Please, report if the problem persists.


Thanks for the replies!

A work around was found by using the [toggle view] function while attempting to input a reply.

I posted slightly more at the forum !no longer available thread.

Back to the forum & thanks again.


Either during , sea ice melting or freezing season, it would be invaluable to know when snow on top of sea ice is melting. There is a way while using either mass or ordinary weather buoys, a certainty if you like: a surface temperature reading of +0.2 C with overcast sky having low or mid layer clouds. I know this is not a rule for all sky conditions, the sun
causes havoc to top mass buoy thermistors (or any thermistor thermometer) when above 5 degrees elevation. However, cloudy conditions above the Arctic Ocean are usually the long day norm. If you study a DMI above 80 graph, the average temperature for all summer seasons barely wanders above +0.5 C. Which is a definite description of sea ice with snow on top. But DMI 80, is a model, which is not as good as a correct temperature reading. Since sea ice weather buoys easily outnumber mass buoys, we can easily know when the snow is melting while using IR and visual satellite pictures identifying cloud locations.

So +.2 C surface readings guaranties melting snow, the beginning of the melt ponds proper. As far as when sun is present +0.2 is a very conservative reasonable rule (to be improved) , only when it is above 5 degrees elevation, at the North Pole any date after April 2 till before September 10. Confirming the presence of melting snow should be a great asset.



Why does the first graph show nothing below the 2 std dev level?



Not being the first time at all that a massive cyclone system lingers or moves slowly upwards on the East coast of Greenland, but the most impressive aspect was the demolition, vaporization of CAA vortex, a vortice I rather like to write, of 2 main winter 2018 vortices within the Arctic Polar vortex, the other NE Siberia was just rebuilt. What is left of the CAA coldest center is about Disko Island on the central west coast of Greenland. To all, remember, the heat came from the Greenland sea, went South of the North Pole bent towards the South blasting the CAA with warmth in effect circumnavigating North Greenland overcoming the coldest cell in the world in a matter of days. This is news.

Jim Hunt

This is news too Wayne!

Storm Friederike has been causing havoc and fatalities across Europe:


Eight people including two firefighters have been killed in storm-related accidents as hurricane-strength winds tear across northern Europe.

Both firefighters were helping with clean-up efforts in Germany when they died.

Many of those killed, in the Netherlands and in Germany, were hit by falling trees and debris. One died in a collision when his van was blown on to the other side of the road.

The storm has now crossed to Poland.

Facing gusts of up to 140km/h (90mph), Germany's train operator Deutsche Bahn cancelled all long-distance services for the rest of Thursday.

Many regional services were also cancelled.

Flights at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam - one of the busiest in Europe - were briefly suspended and two of its three departure halls were closed after roof plates were blown off the terminal building.

Jim Hunt

Perhaps marginally more on topic?


Oymyakon is a village in the Russian region of Yakutia.

It’s named after the Oymyakon River, which literally translates to mean: “unfrozen patch of water; place where fish spend the winter.”

The digital thermometer in the village was installed last year to appeal to tourists.

However, as temperatures dwindled to -62C, the thermometer broke down because it was too cold.

The coldest temperature ever recorded in a permanently inhabited area was -68C in Oymyakon in 1933.



That has been a good example of what I observed on many occasions,
the smaller vortices within the Polar vortex tend to be extremely colder.
When one wobbles down South from the Arctic for instance, it often becomes colder than the Arctic in origin center of the same vortice. Fascinating.


We are faced with a radical circulation change as I write. Once rarer, now common, Cold air vortices within the Arctic Polar Vortex disappear quickly and reform slowly:




This is a part of the thing I have been commenting about here for quite a while now. My deep concern is that as the volume of ice declines in the arctic, that that starts a chain reaction, the result of which is quite horrible, and that clearly we should all want to bend every effort to avoid.

As the ice melts, the driving force of the atmospheric heat engine first declines, then fails. As the engine declines in power, the system becomes unstable. And as Francis and so many others now have noted, the jet streams weaken and destabilize. As that happens and as Francis has noted, the rate of oscillation slows and dramatically deepens. Hot air moves far north. Cold air moves far south.

Once the arctic ice is gone, Greenland remains as the driving force for the normal circulation. However, it is very much off center from the north pole. The result both pegs the circulation and stabilizes it to a degree, and destabilizes it by making it highly eccentric.

That doesn't much help the oceanic systems. They fail first as the falling cold waters of the arctic melt fail. With that the global oceanic circulation fails. And the oceans dramatically alter over short time periods.

Once Greenland melts, nothing remains to drive the northern half of the global atmospheric heat engine. Once that happens, the three cell atmospheric system that has driven the weather for the entirety of primate existence - fails. Rains no longer fall where they once did. The whole system changes. And with that, everything we know is thrown out the window. Our models fail. Our history fails. Everything fails.

The Earth begins the rapid conversion first to the odd semi stable system with Greenland as our only cold pole and driver, and then to an equable climate.

It seems inevitable that all human systems then fail. Billions of humans die in short order.

We should all want to avoid that future at all costs. We seem not to want to do anything to avoid that future. And so now it seems we near the beginning of one of the last chapters of the story of man. The countdown has begun to the last of the summer ice, then the last of the arctic ice, and then to the last of the Greenland ice. Can Antarctica hold as refuge to protect some remnants in the southern hemisphere. Even that now seems doubtful. If so, the last chapter will close beginning a radically different new era on an ice free Earth.


Robert S

Sam: I think your analysis of the chain of events is essentially correct, although I'm not as bleak about the future of human existence within this new, equable normal. But we certainly appear to be seeing another "warm" winter over the arctic ocean, with impacts on both extent and volume of arctic sea ice, and if this becomes a pattern the results will be dramatic over the medium term, unless the corollary turns out to be cool summers with less melt...



And the warming continues, winter 2017-18 is remarkably warmer than when there was a raging super strong El-Nino of a few years ago.
I describe here the current main features using actual measurements. I must note, in the past I compared model results with measurements and sometimes they disagrred in one region or another. So I stick to actual Upper Air Radiosonde data. .


It is a very good idea to judge the depth in strength of the Arctic Polar Vortex by coldest vortices within..
without further a do

January 25 2018 Only one Vortice at our below -30 C , in Alaska of all places, -31 C at center, Alaska was warmest area till now.

January 26 2017 3 vortices, it was considered a warm winter at least at that time, With 3 vortices: Franz Joseph -36 C, Ellesmere -33 C North Central Russia -31 C

2016 January 28 Russia's coldest was -27 , Ungava Nunavik Northern Quebec had a -35 C 700 mb vortice. Strong El-Nino was still raging: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2016/anomnight.1.25.2016.gif

2015 Close to same date, 2 vortices: North Central Russia -35 C LaGrande Nunavik -35 C , the later became a famous vortice/vortex which made the name "Polar Vortex" popular.

2014 2 vortices -33C Kamchatka Peninsula, Inukjuaq Nunavik Quebec -31 C.

So we are indeed in the presence of a warmest winter. Not even heat from the strongest El=Nino in history exceeds this winter.
Even though La-Nina is on :http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2018/anomnight.1.25.2018.gif

Known for less clouds and favoring cooling worldwide.
This is what it looks like:


John Christensen

Hi wayne,

It seems like a small low should pull out somewhat colder temps into western Baffin Bay from Baffin Island in the next 3-4 days, likely around -35C.


Hi John,

That is apparently correct, CAA cold zone is building up. Central Archipelago forecast calls for seasonal weather in 3 days.

John Christensen

Seems like 2m temps have reached -35C now in tiny spots in Baffin Bay and also near the cost of Laptev Sea.


This is remarkably mild, some people may not think so, but these are unfamiliar temperatures , especially for those use to -40 C or colder for a month.... At present CAA side is building a winter zone once again, a target for soon to devastate warm cyclone.


I looked at 3 model long term forecasts CMC, ECEDM and GFS. From what I have studied CMC seems more realistic with recent trends, if so a very early sea ice Maxima is possible. There is no change in circulation scenarios, warm air keeps coming up directly to the Arctic Ocean from both Pacific and Atlantic. Winter build up process is being continuously disrupted. With a massive oscillating warm to cold on one side of the North Pole in synch cold to warm on the other side by-continental circulation system working like clockwork.

Susan Anderson

Yes, as we await another blob of cold in North America, we know it will come at the cost of more warmth to our north.


Hi Susan

600 mb temperatures charts would be ideal because they would closely represent the average temperature of the troposphere. I like more available 700 mb charts which is close to 600 and represents the circulation of the lower atmosphere more than 500 mb. So we look here:


North Japan southern Russia border at 700 mb (only today or next few days, 31 January) has -30 C , strait north of north east Russia -9 to -10 C in East Siberia. Different Ocean East Coast same result.

Jim Hunt

The official PIOMAS January data have not yet been released, but Wipneus has worked his usual magic on the gridded thickness numbers:


Estimated from the thickness data, the latest value is from 31st of January: 17.57 [1000 km3], which is the second lowest value for that day, 2017 is lowest by a rather large margin at 16.16 [1000 km3].

Jim Hunt

Rain is forecast for Svalbard once again, as are giant waves in the Fram Strait:


The sea ice on the Arctic is in for a bit of a battering tomorrow, and for some time to come too!


Cheers Jim

The main Svalbard climate driver for the last 2 weeks has been a dominance in CAA as the Cold Temperature North Pole of the Northern Hemisphere, especially recently NE Siberia has collapsed in further cooling, at least for now. There has not been a good strong warm enough Cyclone maintaining a long dragged out position near CAA to dent this circulation picture. One must remind the position of stratospheric polar vortex


completely in synch with the tropospheric polar vortex. All models seem to implicate an exact scene to now at least for a week, not favoring sea ice extent spreading, of which yesterday's drop of -36,291 km2 is one of the most severe one since 2006 for this time of the year.
But the race drop is between 2018 and 2017, of which 2018 has the warmer weather, at least on the Eurasia and Alaskan side.

Jim Hunt

The recent cyclone has duly done its battering. Click on the animation at:


To summarise:

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