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Forgot to mention: Professor Eli Rabett posted about this last week (check Zack Labe's Twitter animation). But over on the ASIF we have good eyes as well. We like carrots too.


About Eli, I don't recall Neven writing that this melt season was boring at all, It may have been on the forum? At any rate, old on to your hats....


So far my perceived difference between 2018 and 2012 season is the utter unfavorable weather conditions imposed on 2018, but there is a great deal of mixing, which at first glance appears as a melt slowing mechanism, but may very well be a almost imperceivable gradual destructive process,. 2012 had sudden drop in extent mainly by a strong cyclone mash up of already much melted sea ice having had more sun exposure, as opposed to 2018 which had no prolonged sun but intensive mixing mainly in the Pacific sector of the Pole:


We are seeing the final stages of perineal sea ice, whereas eventually it will be like Antarctica, seasonal winter events.

John Bilsky

I totally agree Wayne. This mixing the ice is going through is absolute hell on the integrity of already weakened ice. Many moons ago I called it TBLE ... The Belmont Lake Effect. Just to refresh a few memories this is how it got it's name:

"The Origin of TBLE: It was a mid-spring day and the ice on Belmont Lake was rotten but still covering the entire lake save for plenty of room along the shoreline for a row boat. Dad wanted to go fishing in the worst way. Well, to make a long story short, the wind kicked up, started to push the ice around and within 20 minutes we witnessed 2 miles of 6" thick rotten ice get smashed to oblivion. It was literally all gone when it piled up on the far end of the lake. Obviously the Arctic is just a wee bit larger than a several hundred acre lake ... but the PROCESS has to be the same. Mechanical destruction & dispersal after a major weakening, spells "doomed" in my estimation. Sure, the scale is different but both RC airplanes & jumbo jets fly because of the same principles. My 2¢ and I'm sticking to it."

It's only a matter of time now and I suspect the extent that will be lost is going to be astonishing. The fat lady may not be singing but she may be humming loud enough to hear. One month to go.


Hi John

Lakes are not at all bad place to study sea ice, your experience is fitting
and timely, I read NSIDC extent drop 130 K 2 days in a row, as well as JAXA increasing numbers, the latest 987 mb cyclone may be enough to finish off the remnant sea ice it is over, more quickly.....


NSIDC 4 km resolution says so:


Jim Hunt

Great minds think alike Neven! Or should that be fools seldom differ?

Snow White is working on a similar article as we speak, albeit "her" title includes the word "Northabout".

Meanwhile Snow and I are pleased to be able to reveal that Great British physicist and oceanographer (and BBC TV star!) Helen Czerski recently reached the North Pole aboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden:


John Christensen

Thank you for sharing Jim!

One commenter is asking about the ice thickness and your entry also has the "reaches the north-pole all too easily" title, so I just wanted to comment as well.

As shown on the DMI ice thickness chart ( http://polarportal.dk/havis-og-isbjerge/havisens-tykkelse-og-volumen/ ), we have this year a narrow band of thin ice heading north to the west side of the pole from the Fram Strait. The Oden followed this narrow path of thin ice enabled by today's great ice charts. Any straight line course would result in heavy ice encounters, which may not have been possible for the Oden.

And was the ice really thin all the way to the pole?

As Helen commented:

"We kept going north, and yesterday morning, we woke up just 5.5 nautical miles from the North Pole, with very heavy ice between us and the pole. That’s apparently well within the official limits for having visited the pole, so the crew lowered the gangway and we were allowed out on the ice for the first time…..
We were standing on a metre-thick surface shell,.."

So clearly, while the ice is getting evermore fragile and an increasing number of stronger icebreakers cut the ice from spring/early summer when it cannot freeze up again, the navigation is getting easier overall, but it certainly helps that they have much better ice charts available today than in the past, so they do not get trapped and need assistance from more icebreakers.

Jim Hunt

Thanks for your kind words John!

Helen also commented on August 11th:


We weren't really aiming for the pole, just to find a good ice floe as far north as possible. But we haven't found an ice floe yet and it looks as though I'll wake up tomorrow morning at the North Pole.

And please don't get me started on those DMI "thickness" maps! A certain Mr. "Goddard" is flashing those around with gay abandon at the moment, together with the resurfaced "submarine" meme:


'Nuff said?

John Christensen

Hi Jim,

Fully agreed, I am in no way trying to compare with old days with any claims of ice conditions being similar. From the Fram voyage in the 1890's I recall reading that ice around the ship at times reached a thickness in excess of 30 feet and that in summer they could sail in the melt ponds, which were vast and deep, but did not leak due to the thickness and robustness of the ice during summer months also.

We are very far from that reality today..

All I wanted to say was that Oden wanted to sail as far north as possible and hook up with a floe there for research purposes and in fact stopped a few miles from the pole due to ice thickness, probably assessing that the effort to go the last miles was not worth the effort. A week ago Oden similarly made slow progress, as the sea ice was thicker than anticipated.

However, please do not side my comment with the fake stories that circulate in denier circles, as that was not at all my intent.

Jim Hunt

Sorry John - I guess my bone dry Anglo Saxon humour partly passed you by? It was not my intent to place you in the (un)RealClimateScience box.

I was however intending to imply that I personally don't have a lot of faith in those particular DMI thickness maps.


Nice to read you back Jim

just on time for all kinds of complex sea ice happenings....


" in summer they could sail in the melt ponds"

That, is scary. Very scary.

Jim Hunt

It's certainly exciting times in the Northwest Passage at the moment Wayne! Did you by any chance spot Amundsen recently?

Rather later than last year, "Snow White's" detailed analysis of the Northwest Passage prospects for the small yachts endeavouring to sail (or more likely motor) through the Northwest Passage this summer:


The central section between Bellot Strait and Gjoa Haven and/or Cambridge Bay is still chock a block.....

Meanwhile the Canadian icebreaker CCGS Amundsen has sailed past Arctic Bay and Resolute.

I cannot help but wonder what vessels might be closely following in his wake?

John Christensen

No problem Jim - just wanted to reconfirm in any case.

John Christensen

"That, is scary. Very scary."

Hi Ethon,

I am not sure where you see the scary part about sailing in a melt pond on top of sea ice..

Jim Hunt

Presumably Eli/Ethon was thinking of the contrast between how thick the ice must have been then and how thin it is now?

John Christensen

You are probably right Jim - these days we should probably be content with getting a paddle board floating in the ponds.. ;-)

Jim Hunt

With a set of reasonably clear MODIS images in the bag "Snow White" is proud to present "her" own musings on assorted Arctic circumnavigations:

Could Northabout Circumnavigate Greenland in 2018?

If she put her mind to it could Northabout circumnavigate Greenland in 2018?

Here's another thought to ponder as well. I don't suppose it's in the Alfred Wegener Institute's PS115 mission plan, but do you suppose Polarstern could circumnavigate Greenland at the moment?

Jim Hunt

"Snow White" posted much the same story on Twitter, as a result of which she has attracted quite a lot of scientific "likes" and skeptical "foolishness".

Ruth Mottram commented on Neven's original article:

Hah, interesting!

Neven is pretty well spot on in his analysis here I think - one thing not picked up on and which reinforces view that winds are crucial is Kap Morris Jesup recorded a new record high temperature 3rd August of 17.4C in similar føhn wind.

"Snow" begged to differ!


Hi Jim

It was actually a cool summer:


Even with that, the NW passage is opening up more than I anticipated, this is largely due to thinner accretion over past winter, not the "tropical" temperatures cited. SST's are equally very warm everywhere despite cooler temps about CAA.

How much winds will be a factor at this time of the year? Causing big waves for the rest of Central basin, I note the CB sea ice is beginning to be completely surrounded by water.

Jim Hunt

Hi Wayne,

"It was actually a cool summer"

FYI "Snow" has been indulging in some idle banter with Judah Cohen on Twitter:


According to Judah:

I didn't realize that someone was running Andrew [Slater]'s sea ice model, I know that he was very proud of it and it looks like for good reason. I can see an early end to the sea ice melt season. The mostly positive AO seems to have helped retard sea ice melt this summer.


Not quite so Jim

Is always good to have a different opinion:


Even from SKY news showing some sea ice specialists! I can only wish the Daily Fail would be likewise.....

No it is not going to be an early freeze up because, amongst other reasons, surface air temperatures have finally warmed over the Arctic Ocean!


Once you expose a great deal of open water, especially on the Atlantic Front at 83 degrees North,,,,, what does that do to atmospheric circulations?


A quite spectacular event took place during the past two weeks, and if it had continued for a while longer, I'm sure it would've been reported widely.

Good to see that this event got reported, after all, on several news outlets.


Does anyone have more information about the cyclone over Hudson Bay? Is it moving northwards? Any chances it could reach the Arctic basin?



John Christensen

"Any chances it could reach the Arctic basin?"

javimozo: It will reach the Arctic basin after a counter-clockwise circumnavigation of Greenland:



"Good to see that this event got reported, after all, on several news outlets."

Indeed Neven

There is a lot of garbage talk about those who create fake news criticizing main media organizations as fake news. But the main media org's must focus more on real event stories affecting the entire planet, more emphasis on reality, for instance sending reporters where all this open water is, placating these images in the minds of billions of people, would in the long run, make a difference, as all good reporting usually does.

Has anyone seen yesterdays extent drop? A mere 45K when it looks like a whole lot more, sea ice present condition reminds me much like the worst melt years, our measuring techniques need some tweaking:


must remind often that we are dealing with a subject having very little ressources dedicated to it, the current effort in measuring and sharing visualizing the subject does not represent it's seriousness at all.

Russell McKane

The Ward Hunt Ice Shelf on Ellsemere Island has collapsed in last few days. See image on the Image of Day section of arctic Sea Ice


Hi Russell

Ward Hunt (Island) was not only a huge Northern Hemisphere ice shelf, but the starting point to nearly all major expeditions to North Pole, further destruction was only a matter of time, especially exacerbated with this years coastal wide open water expanses...

Again JAXA map appears catastrophic:


While extent numbers are not so dwindling quickly.


In hindsight much to do about nothing on the larger scale and interested to find out why it happened on the microscale. The unusual NAO? Or winds or whatever? Good to find out why and how often it happens.

On the macroscale this year has been average for the 2010s or slightly higher up in the Antarctic.

More interestingly the Antarctic is still low since the flip in 2015. Nobody so far has explained this.

Finally. the last year had a very low Arctic maximum but average lowest extent in the summer. So we still cannot link winters to summers on one season.

What happened to all the melt ponds to help melt?

I still think there might be a bit of late season melt in this year.

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