« Aerosols and Arctic sea ice loss | Main | Circumnavigating Greenland »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

John Christensen

Thank you for another great update Neven!

And yes; it will be very interesting to observe the next couple of weeks - the heat brought from Laptev due to the combined low and high in Siberia definitely scorched the ice on that side for some days.

Seems like the bland weather now allows a slight cooling in the highest north.

Rob Dekker

Neven said :

If there's a cliff of sea ice loss in the ESS, and the 2018 trend line can somewhat keep up with 2016 on the CAB graph, this year's minimum may end up in or close to the top 3. Personally, I think it will be a top 5 position.

NSIDC puts the expected annual minimum a little higher (between 4th and 9th place) :

Following the 2005 to 2017 average rate of change between August 15 and the minimum, the extent is projected to drop to an annual low of 4.55 million square kilometers (1.76 million square miles), with a standard deviation range of 4.32 to 4.78 million square kilometers (1.67 to 1.85 million square miles).

If sea ice extent continues at the rate of ice loss seen in 2008, the fastest recorded, the minimum at the end of summer would be 4.20 million square kilometers (1.62 million square miles), or the fourth lowest minimum in the satellite record. If sea ice extent continues with the rate for ice loss from 2006, the slowest recorded, the minimum would be 4.90 million square kilometers (1.89 million square miles), or the ninth lowest in the satellite record.

We will see what the remaining weeks have in store, but considering that ice concentration is still anomalously high, and temps are already starting to drop below freezing, I expect a bit of a stall in the weeks ahead. And thus I expect a finish closer to the high end (4.9, and ninth place) than to to low end (4.2, and fourth place) of NSIDC's assessment.


The stronger argument for 2018 sea ice being in a terrible state can't be measured strictly by 16 km square 15% extent rule. The 4 km grid proves so. The sea ice is extremely fluid, everywhere with winds:


Furthermore extraordinary opening of the entire CAA coast just happened:


an area easily in excess of 100,000 km2, it is a continuation of Northern Greenland and Ellesmere new found vast areas of open water,
the simple geophysical explanation is as follows: sea ice Central Arctic Basin sea ice pack is lighter, still with ridging and older sea ice which gather traction with the winds. Furthermore it is excessively difficult to assess all this given JAXA map being out of service and excessive cloud coverage, fluidity means vast scattering of thousands of small ice islands , when winds change direction , the melt appears to stall, so it is very improbable to make exact assessment of minima extent without these vital bits of info.

John Christensen

Hi Rob,

I agree with your assessment in large and expect the minimum NSIDC SIE to reach 4.5 - 4.8 MKM2 - or even 4.9 if little compaction will take place.

If so, the Sept average extent that we have been projecting for, should be within assessed range, where I had listed 4.85 - 5.35 back on June 8th.

John Christensen


Hold on to your hats!

From Tropical Tidbits it seems like considerable amounts of warm moisture is moving up fast through the Atlantic and converging into a massive cyclone about a week from now.

The forecast could still change, but if this will occur, it would be the worst time possible with sea ice at minimum and SST at maximum. A lot of slush in the making it appears - and possibly a 'GAC2018'..


I declare 2018 to be a fully recovered year thanks to the sea ice graphs page.

What could possibly happen from here? Any news on that potential GAC2018??

Jim Hunt

Since you ask. Possibly there'll be some significant swell!


Here's the current Arctic big wave forecast for August 31st:


Very interesting Jim

There is a whole lot of warm surface water where the red is....

I rather think that winds will do similar action on the Pacific side of the Pole:




Perhaps your new found Atlantic swell is current workings of planet Earth making final touches to it's current top of the world ice sculpture:


What is left of 2018 sea ice looks strangely familiar.......


Wayne, what exactly do you mean by the last comment in your last post?



take a look at the link :)


The arctic sea ice looks like Antarctica?


So, Wayne, if you are saying the poles are looking remarkably similar then what is your cryptic point?

Their conditions are so dissimilar that any visual comparison must be carefully interpreted! Sure, graphical trends are trends but are you perhaps saying there was a trend toward this more direct visual similarity or what exactly are you trying to say?


..and why?


Hi Another

drphilosopher's question is right, like clouds we can visualize meaning in sea ice shapes, some wind swept bergy bits may look like a polar bear.

From space we can imagine the same, as with every sundisks sunrays at sunset are a work of art, planet Earth is an mega artist machine. The Poles need more attention is my impression of this temporary sculpture....

The shape of sea ice pack mimics the shape of Antarctica, it is an a publicity stunt from nature itself :), better that than horrible extreme weather events current and to come, which always get more publicity without attribution, while vanishing sea ice is caused directly from AGW...


Another WOW moment was caught by NASA EOSDIS on the 27th,
wide open water well to the North of Northernmost Ellesmere Island, 140
Nautical miles North. This was never seen in the lifespan of the remote sensing era.


Rob Dekker

It looks like Arctic Sea Ice Extent indeed started to stall, as I predicted two weeks ago

We are now at 7th place for extent :


Rob Dekker

This kind of makes sense, since the Arctic was particularly white earlier in the melting season. Here is the prediction from June :


Now, I don't think that we will end up with 5.19 M km^2 for the NSIDC September average, but we may get pretty close.

Hans Gunnstaddar

Before June, RD, you were asked what your prediction was for the 2018 melt season and you replied you would have the necessary information for that prediction in early June. On 6/6, your prediction was 4.84, then after some posts by Wayne you adjusted it down to 4.5. Then in July you raised it to 5.19.

If your formula has the necessary inputs to determine a prediction in early June, then that's your prediction and it remains at 4.5.

Rob Dekker

Hi Hans. Couple of clarifications :

That 6/6 prediction was based on May data, and my method does not work very well there yet. It's only sightly better than a simple linear decline. It had to be adjusted since NSIDC changed the way they calculate the monthly averages of area and extent.

The July prediction (using June data) of 5.19 is much better with 380 k km^2 standard deviation over the residuals. That is decent but still not very accurate.

So overall, I'm still not happy with this method, and I'm looking for ways to improve it. This will be the second year in a row that I'm predicting too high, and both years the preceding winter was very warm, which suggest that the ice was thinner than 'average'.
Still looking for ways to incorporate ice thickness into the method to see if that improves the accuracy of the prediction.

In short : It's a work in progress.

Hans Gunnstaddar

I understand, DK. That said, you have been very close two consecutive seasons, at least by my standards. Good luck on adjustments to the formula.

John Christensen

Hans and Rob,

Yes; as we enter September we will see how the predictions meet with reality. Based on the recent slowdown and unless extreme weather sets in, I would think Rob's prediction of 5.18 with the gut feeling that this should be the high end, will be quite close.

I entered 4.85 - 5.35 on June 6th and still have good faith that the Sept NSIDC avg. SIE will be found in this range.

Jim Hunt

John - Does this count as "extreme weather"?


All the seas between Greenland and the New Siberian Islands are awash with swells with a period of 8 second or greater. This is most unusual, to put it mildly!

John Christensen

Hi Jim,

Yes, I noted this 'GAC2018' also in the forecast back on 8/23.

It seems like we have seen the worst and that it will dissipate in the next days. So far, the impact does not seem severe, but agree that due to increased mixing we could see further drops - or more likely that the mixing will retard the onset of freezing of surface waters..

Rob Dekker

2018 just surpassed 2008 and dropped from 7th to 8th place :

Juan Garcia just posted the latest sea ice observations on the ASIF :

September 2nd, 2018: 4,749,726 km2, an increase of 16,253 km2. 2018 is the 8th lowest on record.

John Christensen

On the Northwest Passage:

It seems the passage has not opened this year - if not that might be a first in this decade?

Jim Hunt

For GAC fans everywhere, I reckon this is as close as you're going to get for the foreseeable future:


However there are still several significant swells sloshing around north of Russia.


Hi Jim

Note the Arctic Low hugs warm open water, feeds on it like a hurricane.

Surprise Is what making 2018 season special, if you look very carefully at 2012 minima, the form of 2018 ice morphology is extremely slowly approaching the same profile, at turtles pace until last few days which had significant drops. The lack of clear air over the main pack during last mid summer was not favorable for melting at all, but these same clouds over the Pole prevent the usual fall deep cooling which has slowed the arrival of maxima date. The actual state of sea ice is horrendous in all quads,
clouds with loose pack are joined at the hip, and the ever slight but systemic year by year sea ice thinning continues despite unfavorable weather caused by mainly pervasive summer clouds. All expected of course, now is the course of the damage done, how long till maxima given great air moisture columns, swells to demolish anything and likely record warm sst's?

current observations fascinate


Yes the NW passage

Seen it bad from last April

Sank a sailboat even:


Of course the very calm anti-alarmists ever so misinformed polluting loving people at WUWT saw this as no sign of Global Warming:


But alas it was what tricks and trips Watts and gang, it can be cold in one area , even of the Pole, but the ice keeps on thinning.. Read all preceding EH2r.com especially from April onwards , if you want to know why......


another 55 K drop and 2018 will be in 5th place...... Regardless, the state of remainder sea ice is terrible...


Finally one station extreme NE Russia was +21 C at 00z just past, with Wrangle Island +11 C, area having extensive clouds but clouds, not quite extreme freezing time... Wide open Arctic Ocean warm water would do that....

Jim Hunt

Hi Wayne,

One sailboat seems to have made it safely through the CAA this year. The aptly named Thor?


He's just made it safely into Alaskan waters:


Hi Jim

I did wrote it will be partially open, is not that hard if you expect sea ice, it may take 2 or 3 years in the past beyond 25 years ago or so, but congrats to the Asgardians! On the other sailor hand, for recent years, the NW passage was particularly wide open during summer, some might have used the theory of persistence, which is really good for about a day, not a season let alone years but this year was not obstructed only by local colder vortex, , but rather by fluid sea ice, the glue holding the pack together during summer, countless thousands pans of old sea ice spanning dozens of miles are practically extinct...


Well another 17 km2 less, without resolution bumps caused by differing wind regimes, and 2018 will be 6 th place ongoing with very significant daily drops very late not seen since 2012. As I wrote before, the East Siberian Peninsula sea ice is practically gone, although it lingers on maps largely because of 15% rule, this means that it seems to melt faster now,
but if you consider a grid with 16% sea ice counting as 100%, a 2% melt of same brings down the extent by 85%, but that is how extent is officially calculated:


As long as we know that this is happening is OK, but I dare not explain this to the un-initiated!


17,000 km2 less, and not 85% but 100%...

John Christensen


You know they created the sea ice area metric specifically for those, who cannot get their arms around the sea ice extent metric.. ;-)

John Christensen

A nice view of current sea ice area compared to 2012 sea ice area is found here:


Seems like the sea ice area is about 25% larger than six years ago.


Ja John

Using a standardized metric, with best resolution possible, for maps and numerics would help in analysis tremendously, meantime that 25% figure stands, but how to translate when there is confusion baked in the system?

John Christensen

I guess I don't see the confusion:

Sea ice extent:

With the 15% rule is a simplified metric, created due to the limited ability to accurately measure sea ice cover by satellite during summer months caused by extensive cloud cover.

Sea ice area:

Calculates sea ice cover with e.g. a measured 50% cover in a grid resulting in 50% counted as covered.
This measure provides a number closer to the 'actual' sea ice cover, but is less reliable during sommer months with heavy cloud cover.

That said; the cloud cover has now eased, and I prefer using the SIA metric for the non-sommer period, as it provides a number closer to the actual sea ice cover.


"With the 15% rule is a simplified metric, "

ikke rigtig John

I see it as an old way of describing sea ice at the perimeter of one huge massive Arctic block, which it was for as long as humans knew about it, convenient to foretell that 15% of sea ice may sink your boat, which it did, but now it is hollowing from within.

Current sea extent official extent is a shade off 6th place, I do remember rob talking about 8th or 9th? Some may be surprised :)
The key is warmer than 2012 sst's amongst other matters....


Pacific side of the Pole has nothing stopping further melting, which is actually observed,


SST's super hot and air is warmish for the Arctic, the only ingredient missing for further dramatic extent reduction is a significant Gyre synergy event of high winds and waves which will occur but partially during next few days.


Small area of absent clouds permitted a capture of still rapid melting as late as today,


Minima delayed once again....

John Christensen

Hi wayne,

You may not have noticed, but the ROOS sea ice area has been increasing over the past couple of days..


Extent drop during sea ice area increase is consolidation, not melting, and with the sun headed south there is no turning back to significant melting that could bring 2018 anywhere into the vicinity of 2012.
Not even by a far stretch of imagination.


Not so fast John

I have shown ample evidence of melting , and it continues, as said in a dipole fashion, One sector is covered with snow (Atlantic) the other sector has slow methodic melting, where there is some compaction but never gets a chance to get organized as much as it should to be significant, the winds vary too much from day to day.. At present, 2018 morphology looks like 2012, the similarity between the two seasons ends there, 2018 is a mess in fluid ice movement, 2012 (melting and mixing in place) is the culmination of the old thick ice circulation regime which permanently collapsed, less sun radiation during every subsequent summer since:.

What is the resolution of this ROOS system?

The late onset of 2018 minima should interest and reveal the complex nature of this subject:

Suggest you look at this:


The different last phase change of sea ice indicates melting of different small packs each one of them having a chance to say "goodbye"


Want a whole lot more proof about current melting?

Even on the Atlantic side?


chalk delay one more day before minima

John Christensen

wayne - when the sea ice area is increasing, then the area of ocean surface covered by sea ice is increasing..

Being mid-September it is quite normal that some melting still takes place at the outer boundary of the ice pack, while smaller lanes and melt ponds are starting to freeze over at the center of the pack.

This is why the sea ice area minimum is reached earlier in September than the sea ice extent minimum.

This is also how the Arctic sea ice cover typically grows in September to November/Dec until the SST and air temps at the ice pack boundary get low enough to cause in situ freezing at the boundary of the pack.

Being situated in the Arctic I am surprised you have not noticed yourself..



Did you read the evidence presented? I am confused by your assertion that minimums occur in September, snot always on the same date, some come later some come earlier, this year is later, may be you did not notice?

The comments to this entry are closed.