Update on Arctic sea ice melt – “Ice pockets choking Northern Passage”

First let’s get a look at the current NSIDC graph:

Courtesy National Snow and Ice Data Center

Courtesy of the National Snow and Ice Data Center

and now the JAXA graph:

Courtesy of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

There’s an interesting news article from Canada that talks about what is being seen in the northwest passage areas.

Ice pockets choking Northern Passage: officials
By Randy Boswell, Canwest News ServiceAugust 1, 2009

excerpts:

Despite predictions from a top U.S. polar institute that the Arctic Ocean’s overall ice cover is headed for another “extreme” meltdown by mid-September, the Environment Canada agency monitoring our northern waters says an unusual combination of factors is making navigation more difficult in the Northwest Passage this year after two straight summers of virtually clear sailing.

“In the southern route,” Canadian Ice Service officials told Canwest News Service, the agency “has observed more ice coverage than normal. This is partly due to the fact that the ice in the Amundsen Gulf consolidated this past winter, which is something it didn’t do in 2007 and 2008.”

The result, the agency said, is that ice conditions “are delaying any potential navigability of the Northwest Passage this year. This is opposite to what Environment Canada observed in the last week of July in 2007 and 2008.”

Scientists believe the ongoing retreat is being driven by several factors, including rising global temperatures associated with human-induced climate change, and the associated breakup and loss of thicker, multi-year year ice that is being replaced only seasonally by a thin layer of winter ice that disappears quickly each summer.

============

Read the complete news article here

What they still don’t seem to be mentioning is wind patterns.

For example, watch this superb animation done by Jeff Id of The Air Vent:

Here is another video I posted on You Tube last month which shows the flow of sea ice down the east coast of Greenland. Clearly there is more at work here than simple melting, there is a whole flow dynamic going on.

Then read what NASA research has determined. It could explain a lot of what is observed from the news article published by Canwest.

NASA Sees Arctic Ocean Circulation Do an About-Face

PASADENA, Calif. – A team of NASA and university scientists has detected an ongoing reversal in Arctic Ocean circulation triggered by atmospheric circulation changes that vary on decade-long time scales. The results suggest not all the large changes seen in Arctic climate in recent years are a result of long-term trends associated with global warming.

Scientists used measurements from Arctic Bottom Pressure Recorders
Click for Larger image

It certainly would be nice to see this reported when stories on summer ice melt occur.

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143 thoughts on “Update on Arctic sea ice melt – “Ice pockets choking Northern Passage”

  1. It looks like the graph has made “the turn” and the slope of the line is beginning to level off. This looks earlier than normal and appears to me that it should track with 2005 and 2006 fairly closely.

    In other words: no new record minimum….

  2. The Southern route of the NW Passage is blocked East of Cambridge Bay. Likely a West wind pushed the ice there and only an East wind, a storm or an icebreaker is going to get the sailboats through there this year. At least three sailboats are stuck in Tuktoyuktuk waiting for the ice to clear.

    And if they get through there the Western end is plugged up with old ice. The old ice was blown in there by the wind. Not looking good for an open NW Passage at this point.

    Then there is the story of the Resolute, the ship the famous Whitehouse desk is made of. Abandoned in the NW Passage it floated out as a ghost ship the next Summer.

  3. One needs to remember that the current NSIDC director, Mark Serreze, says that Arctic ice is in a “death spiral”. Kinda makes one question the validity of the data since the agency now has a stake in seeing the ice disappear.

    We shall see.
    I’ll take the Canadians on this one.

  4. Not so surprising as the Dakota-pulling-radar voyage by German Polar Institute showed much thicker ice “than scientists expected”. Catlin freezing their a** off, carbon-free-powered ship crew saved by oil tanker (priceless!) and recent Greenpeace ship freezing into 6m thick ice were also quite amusing events. Imagine all those long faces if the ice hits 2005 bottom: “worse than expected”, “unseasonably thin ice”, “now we all die!”

  5. Those are unfortunate color choices for that bottom picture on changing ice conditions. In the picture yellow is a neutral color but is generally taken as, and used as, a color to indicate warming. Thus the overall perception is one of more warming than is the case.

    MikeEE

  6. On Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch” in one of the late episodes of the 2009 season it was mentioned that the Bering Sea ice came farther south than in any of the previous five seasons of the program.

    Helen Fields wrote on the Discovery Channel’s web site for Deadliest Catch:
    “The Bering Sea, where the boats of Deadliest Catch do their work, is not known for toasty warm weather. But still, some years are colder than others. The last two winters have been particularly chilly — and they’ve been huge years for ice. The last time the ice came this far south was in the early 1970s, when scientists first used satellites to monitor the ice.”

    Haven’t seen that report on ABC, CBS, NBC, or the AGW blogs.

  7. Ocean currents pulled a lot of sea ice out of the eastern entry to the NW Passage over the winter. Based on this, one would have expected the Passage to open this year but there is no melt in the central region or ice break-up on the western exit so it is not going to open this year.

    Any ships parked off Baffin Island waiting for the go signal should just head home.

    There is a great cloud-free satellite pic of the NW Passage (sideways) from MODIS from a few hours ago and one can really see what is going on.

  8. From my latest work, my guess is that sea ice will level off and have greater extent than 07 or 08. The weather patterns aren’t the same as the past two years and the remaining ice is thicker.

  9. I have a question, and my apologies if it has been asked before, which I’m sure it has. why is it that the period of 1979 to 2000 is taken as the average for sea ice, and I think for average global temperatures? I can see no significance to the dates apart from coinciding with the year I first got married and the year the divorce was finalised !

  10. Pieter F (07:59:45) :

    Now that I think about it, the last map up there, the yellow/red one, does have some circles on it. Is this where Anthony set his pots? ;)

  11. why is it that the period of 1979 to 2000 is taken as the average for sea ice, and I think for average global temperatures?

    1979 is the first year of reliable satellite measurement.

  12. Anthony

    Whenever I see the video’s of ice movements in the Arctic basin I’m always left with the the impression that movement of water through the Bering Straits into the Arctic basin cause an outward movements of cold water and ice down both sides of Greenland so here is a hypothesis:-

    The movement of water through the Bering Straits caused by the PDO into the Arctic basin results, because of the shape of the basin, in cold water being displaced southward past the east coast of Greenland and down the Cabot Strait passed Newfoundland. This displacement of cold water in the melt period pushes the boundary layer between warm and cold water in the North Atlantic southwards – ice builds up near Newfoundland, ice on the east coast of Greenland and ice bergs in the North Atlantic. This influences the jet stream ( boundary layer between cold and warmer air). As a result the jet stream responds by also moving southward causing it to pass across or to the south of the UK. The result is cooler wetter periods in the UK and northern Europe in general.

    In summary the variation in the Pacific ocean conditions c

  13. Oops!

    Missed the lats scentence.

    What I meant to say was:

    In summary climate changes in the north pacific couple cause changes in the North Atlantic resulting changes in the weather and climate in the UK and Europe.

  14. Looks to me like NW Passage will be more icy this year but the NE Passage will be clear soon.

    Looks to me that 2009 ice may start to track 2005 ice extent, which would imply that the 2007 minimum was just that and that return to less extreme melts may slowly be occurring.

    Does the PDO influence ice melt at all? Or are these decadal-scale factors in this article thought to be key in this arena?

  15. However, I saw, yesterday, at Discovery, a program made by the BBC, which said that, for the first time in history, polar bears were drowning because of the lack of ice.

  16. I, too, wonder why the U. of Illinois’ Cryoshphere Today uses a 1979 – 2000 base since nearly a decade has passed since 2000.

    If they were to use a base of 1979 to, oh say, 2008, this year’s polar ice extent anomoly would probably show well above normal and…oh, I guess I just answered my own question.

  17. DMI have arctic ice extent exactly on the 2008 limit http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php and let us not forget that the Antarctic paints a different picture with sea ice extent being above the 1979-2000 average. http://www.nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/S_timeseries.png (and that is NSIDC) so overall there does not seem to be a worrying acceleration of ice smelting here on mother earth. At the current rate of arctic smelting it is doubtful if Messrs Gore and Hansen will be able to visit the north pole in a sailing yacht in 2014 or thereabouts. I also wonder if Steig ever looks at the NSIDC antartic ice extent and pontificates over how this increase can happen considering his recent paper. He must ponder how he can make reality comply with computer modelling.

  18. Question: The AMSR-E graph shows a consistent tick at the beginning of June where the method for measuring the ice extent is changed to take into account melt areas on top of ice. Where is the corresponding blip when the method changes back for the winter?

  19. Climate normals are set by international treaty to be an average over 30 years with the last year ending with a zero. After 2010 there will be updates.

  20. Jim Watson (08:52:57) :
    I, too, wonder why the U. of Illinois’ Cryoshphere Today uses a 1979 – 2000 base since nearly a decade has passed since 2000.

    If they were to use a base of 1979 to, oh say, 2008, this year’s polar ice extent anomoly would probably show well above normal and…oh, I guess I just answered my own question.

    Since CT gives priority to the actual areas rather than anomalies your suggestion is without merit! Since their anomaly plot only shows two periods of lower anomaly than present between 1979 and 2008 it clearly would still not show above normal in any case.

  21. I tend to like this graph better as it puts the current year in context with other recent years.

    So we aren’t far off from 2005/2006 ice amounts.

  22. Usually conditions up there are described based upon how much is open, not how much is closed. I wonder about the choice of language, and how the Northwest Passage ice cover numbers from this year compare to previous years.

  23. Mark Nodine 9:25
    Because the tick is a change in calculation methodology specifically to account for meltwater on top of the ice. There is no equivalent event at the end of the melt season that would need a methodology adjustment.

  24. On average sea ice melt doesn’t start leveling off until August. Another 10 or 12 days to go.
    Personally I think we will end up 0.4 million sq km above last year. So you choose the headline:
    1) 3rd lowest level on record!
    or
    2) The most sea ice in three years!

  25. However, I saw, yesterday, at Discovery, a program made by the BBC, which said that, for the first time in history, polar bears were drowning because of the lack of ice.

    Of course, they won’t tell you that polar bears are very good swimmers or that polar beat populations have increased. I read a long time ago, somewhere, that this whole polar bear myth was based on an environmentalist claiming the polar bear looked sick, therefore it was sick even though this person had no veterinary training to make such a judgment. It would make sense, because facts are a climate change advocate’s worst nightmare. Facts don’t scare people.

  26. evanmjones (08:20:49) :

    1979 is the first year of reliable satellite measurement.

    Which is every bit as ominous as the invention of the telescope ( leading to sunspot observations) just prior to the onset of the Maunder Minimum.
    Hook, line & sinker.

  27. “What they still don’t seem to be mentioning is wind patterns.”

    The article says “the ongoing retreat is being driven by several factors”. It’s a newspaper article, not a science paper, so expecting a full description of all of them is a little bit unrealistic.

    “Arctic ice driven by the wind not global warming”

    This is deeply flawed thinking. The ice responds not to one stimulus, and one stimulus alone. Clearly, it is affected by wind. Equally clearly, that does not mean it somehow stops being affected by the ambient temperature.

  28. Matt N
    I think this is only a temporary left turn. The Arctic is warmer than normal and is expected to stay that way for the next week.
    1. http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php
    2. http://wxmaps.org/pix/temp2.html
    But as you can see in no. 2, the Arctic will be averaging below freezing in a week or so. Not that air temperatures play a big role in sea ice extent. I think it’ll track roughly parallel 2008, 400,000 sq km above. Two weeks and we’ll know a lot more.

  29. MikeEE (07:45:39) :

    Those are unfortunate color choices for that bottom picture on changing ice conditions. In the picture yellow is a neutral color but is generally taken as, and used as, a color to indicate warming. Thus the overall perception is one of more warming than is the case.

    MikeEE

    Have you ever noticed the colors that the MSM News uses for their forecast maps? Since when did 70F constitute a RED color? Anything over 80F is almost BLACK. It has gotten so ridiculously stupid that the colors mean nothing anymore. They have actually gone beyond “spooky colors” now. Its just stupid…

  30. To get a better feel for annual trends of max and min artic ice extents, I would like to have Jeff Id release a time lapse video with snap shots of just these events – or allow one to choose which month to annualy loop over.

  31. ” Halfwise (09:51:36) : ”

    It isn’t just “melt” ponds. Over the summer rain collects on top of the ice, too. The only way to really verify that accuracy of these estimates are to take a submarine under the ice and check to see if the concentration numbers match actual observations. There was such an event in early July at the “pole” cam where they had a significant rain event. As of today the website is still showing the July 29 picture but those ponds were starting to freeze over.

  32. Satellite data seem on the other hand to indicate a crubming NW pasage (not to mention the NE which is almost open already)

    It should be emphasized also that a similar “slowdown” was observed in 2007. IMO, such a change is observed when the Hudson bay gets completely ice-free, which occured recently. We should wait and see… without forgetting that an area of 4 million km2 would already be a confirmation of the long trend decrease.

  33. Pierre Gosselin (10:25:09) wrote:

    “…. The Arctic is warmer than normal and is expected to stay that way for the next week.
    1. http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php
    2. http://wxmaps.org/pix/temp2.html
    But as you can see in no. 2, the Arctic will be averaging below freezing in a week or so. Not that air temperatures play a big role in sea ice extent. I think it’ll track roughly parallel 2008, 400,000 sq km above. Two weeks and we’ll know a lot more.”

    The more I read, the more I get the idea that air temperatures have indeed very little to do with polar ice melting in summer. Instead it is how warm the water is and how fast it flows under the ice, right?
    ((Plus the wind breaking up the ice and pushing it south).

    My question: what is the temperature of arctic water right now, and how fast does it move under the ice? Is somebody measuring that?

  34. For a real up close look at what’s happening in the Northwest passage right now, take a look at;

    http://www.aroundtheamericas.org.

    This is a group of guys sailing, as the name implies, around North and South America. They are currently in the arctic ocean, near Tuktoyatuk in Canada’s Yukon territory. They’re more or less AGW believers, though they seem to be amicable people, and it’s kind of interesting to watch their progress . . . . even as I quietly root for the ice.

    I wish them godspeed, and hope they safely return, but I hope the ice is non-cooperative nonetheless. The daily log contains quite a bit about the arctic communities and sailing, and they don’t tend to pontificate on climate issues, so it’s an interesting read.

    Anyway, my two cents.

  35. Using already archived satellite data, it should be possible to estimate the volume of Arctic ice flowing out around both sides of Greenland. Simple subtraction from the area/extent numbers should give us a good value of the annual melt.

    That graph would be far more relevant to global warming debate than the ones above, which don’t differentiate between melt and transport.

  36. From the above excerpts:

    “.. an unusual combination of factors is making navigation more difficult in the Northwest Passage this year .. observed more ice coverage than normal .. delaying any potential navigability of the Northwest Passage this year .. ”

    Abnormal conditions are blocking the Northwest Passage? When the BBC reported this back in 2007, navagability was reported to be abnormal and linked to global warming:

    “The most direct shipping route from Europe to Asia is fully clear of ice for the first time since records began, the European Space Agency (Esa) says.
    Historically, the Northwest Passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans has been ice-bound through the year. But the agency says ice cover has been steadily shrinking, and this summer’s reduction has made the route navigable .. Scientists have linked the changes to global warming which may be progressing faster than expected. ”

    (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6995999.stm)

  37. evanmjones (08:20:49) :

    1979 is the first year of reliable satellite measurement.

    Arctic Monthly Sea Ice Concentrations: 1870 – 1998

    If only the recent 1979 – 2000 data is trusted what is the point of
    Walsh and Chapmans Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Data Set 1870 – 1998.

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/guide/Data/walsh.html#descript

    Is it not also around the time the PDO flipped to its warm phase.
    With the sun at its most active in 11,500 years and the PDO in its warm phase is it any wonder there might be a degree of melting.

  38. A few weeks ago, the warmaholics made a great deal of fuss, because the 2009 graph crossed the 2008 one. People postulated that this trend would continue, and there would be less ice at minimum this September than there was in 2007. Now, I expect complete silence fromn the warmaholiucs when, on August 5th/6th, 2009 crosses 2008 again, this time the other way. If 2009 continues tracking like 2005, then minimum in 2009 will be about 600,000 sq kms more than 2008, and 1,000,000 sq kms more than 2007. Meaning more multiyear ice in 2010, and a further recovery of the sea ice in the Arctic Basin.

  39. Mike Nicholson :

    “I can see no significance to the dates apart from coinciding with the year I first got married and the year the divorce was finalised !”

    Global warming causes divorce?!

  40. July (month end averages) NSIDC

    1980 Southern Hemisphere = 16.1 million sq km
    1980 Northern Hemisphere = 10.4 million sq km
    Total = 26.5 million sq km

    2008 Southern Hemisphere = 16.6 million sq km
    2008 Northern Hemisphere = 9.0 million sq km
    Total = 25.6 million sq km

    2009 Southern Hemisphere = 16.6 million sq km
    2009 Northern Hemisphere = 8.8 million sq km
    Total = 25.4 million sq km

  41. Why isn’t the average 1979-2007?

    I don’t have a definite answer, but a reasonable rationale for this. The average is meant to give a reference of what is “normal”. It simply doesn’t make sense to change your reference every year. It is my guess that in the long run they’ll adopt a scheme similar to WMO standards: take the average of the last three completed decades, e.g. the 1961-1990 period used by Hadcrut or 1951-1980 by GISTEMP. Trouble is, we do not have that much data so far, so they take two completed decades of observation as the “normal period”, just like RSS and UAH.

  42. I don’t see a problem with taking 1979 to 2000 as the ‘average’. If you take any range within that range you do come out with a fairly consistent range of averages. That is, although it is arbitrary, there does need to be some base line average to compare it to.

    The problem arises when people assume this ‘average’ is normal. It may well be, but there is no statement to that fact – it is simply the average of the years 1979 to 2000. As long as the comparisons are consistent, there isn’t any foul ball.

    I have also been watching this ice coverage issue for a while. I have also noticed that the AGW crowd often move the goal posts; “well, it’s not ice coverage which is important, now, but ice volume”, or distract with other observations “the amount of second year ice is greatly diminished” (well, duh! 2007 was a low year for ice – saying the same thing but in a different way).

    Even so, the majority of people have no clue that 9 million odd square kilometers of ice ‘disappears’ every year based on this new phenomenon called summer…

  43. A new Catlin Expedition? http://www.aroundtheamericas.org

    “With Cambridge Bay roughly 1050nm (nautical miles) due east and still blocked by ice in Amundsen Gulf. We’ll make several stops along the way while waiting for the forecast mid-August breakup.”

    “This crossing is testament to the warming of the Arctic Ocean and the global climate changes that the expedition is observing.”

  44. “I think this is only a temporary left turn. The Arctic is warmer than normal and is expected to stay that way for the next week.”

    Pierre, I don’t know how you can read that graph and see “warmer than normal”. I see the ENTIRE summer in the Arctic being at or below normal. The whole thing.

  45. If you go to the polar webcam site, click to the current data and scroll down to the station drift map you’ll see that the station has moved to lat 85 along the zero azimuth line or about 300 miles. If you look on the current ice extent maps at the Bering sea side of the ice mass and measure from the lat 70 line that comes very close to following the western circumference of the Arctic ocean , except for the small triangle of ice back to the narrows, It appears that the receding front has moved very close to same distance. This would seem to indicate that the whole mass has moved toward Greenland and that melting along the periphery is probably minor contributor to the expanding open water.
    The second video definitely shows the power of the wind to move the ice around, but the year to year consistency of the drift paths of the polar webcam stations still leads me to suspect that the transpolar drift current may be the main factor in moving the ice out. There seems to be quite a bit of disagreement about what the actual paths of the various Arctic currents are, but a couple of plots I’ve seen show the TPDC following a path from the narrows of the Bering Strait to just north of Greenland on an arch that lines up quite well with the recurring drift path of the stations. If this path for the current is correct it might also support a potential PDO influence. Of course, I’m just spitballing on most of this and I haven’t even convinced myself yet so like all free advice you should take it for what it’s worth. I forgot to mention, for those of you looking for graphics and animations on this, the DMI webpage has some interesting things including one set that shows vector arrows for the drift patterns in the ice.

  46. Ice floats. Disregarding for the moment oceanic currents, what ice is above the water acts as a sail. It goes where the North wind goes till it gets shoved up against something that doesn’t move so much with the wind. It also goes where the South wind goes till it gets to waters and sunlight that melts it, or it gets to an ice plug and jams up against it. So when the wind blows the ice around instead of out to sea along the Eastern Greenland passage, the ice can jam up and get very thick. All in the space of one season, not multi-year seasons.

    This year the jet stream, which is very much a part of the PDO, kept much of the ice stationary where it melted in place (sometimes slowly and sometimes rather quickly), or blew it towards the pole, where it eventually jammed up against the Canadian coastline. There was very little wind that had a southerly direction to it. So here is my take. Thick ice can form not only during the winter, but during the summer as well, resulting in a very thick seed bed for further ice to build on. Therefore, thick ice can return as rapidly as it leaves. If the jet stream remains weak and results in winds pointed towards the pole instead of out of it, the ice will track closer to 2005 or thereabouts, and ice will build like a bugger this winter.

  47. Has anyone ever wondered about the choice of years for averages or normals of climatic variables? In case you have but haven’t found the answer, here is one:

    “Climatologists define a climatic normal as the arithmetic average of a climate element such as temperature over a prescribed 30-year interval. The 30 year interval was selected by international agreement, based on the recommendations of the International Meteorological Conference in Warsaw in 1933. The 30 year interval is sufficiently long to filter out many of the short-term interannual fluctuations and anomalies, but sufficiently short so as to be used to reflect longer term climatic trends. Currently, the 30-year interval for calculating normals extends from 1971 to 2000.”

    http://www.aos.wisc.edu/~sco/normals.html

    Also, here: http://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/26747.pdf

    ps: I re-post this about once a month, or something similar, see above at (09:29:43).

  48. If you want to follow the ice and understand its behavior, overlay the jet stream wind pattern animation over the ice animation. There is a one to one correspondence. Where the wind goes, the ice goes, as long as it is not obstructed from going there.

  49. Since recent scientific research indicates that winds are a much larger driver of polar ice melt than previously understood, then is the current cold summer jet stream that is pumping cooler air into the US Midwest over the Hudson Bay a factor in why the polar ice melt increased during the last two months? The Pineapple Express seems to me to be pushing the warmth northward over Alaska from Hawaii, which is setting up the omega jet stream pattern that is pushing the colder northern air masses southward towards Chicago, IL. Now that the US jet stream pattern is finally breaking the omega pattern that has been in place unusually for almost the entire summer, this will allow the record heat of the US West to slide eastward into the US Midwest. When this happens, I predict a) cooler temperatures in the US West, warmer temperatures in the US Midwest , and c) colder temperatures in northern polar regions that will slow down the 2009 polar ice melt. Notice that I did not include any CO2 factoring into my modeling ; ).

  50. I’m not quite ready to pop the champagne cork yet on a 2009 tracking closely to 2005. Even tho I’ve been predicting exactly that for almost a year now. I’d like to see another two weeks first to confirm the trend of the last couple days.

    When pointing the finger of blame at wind/tide, and I mean this when either side does it (AGWers or NatVar types), I think one has to be careful to not be overly facile about it. Wind/tide is better able or less able to have its way with the ice pack depending in part on how healthy the ice pack is in the first place. There is a degree of co-dependancy there.

  51. What’s that spike at the beginning of June?

    I wonder how that line would have looked like during the Ice ages…straight line?

  52. >>>Scientists believe the ongoing retreat is being driven
    >>>by several factors, including rising global temperatures
    >>>associated with human-induced climate change

    Sorry, do I read this right?

    Open water sailing in the NW Passage in 2007-8 was caused by rising global temperature associated with human-induced climate change. Whereas the NW Passage being completely blocked by ice in 2009 is caused by rising global temperature associated with human-induced climate change.

    Is it just me??

    .

  53. Some day someone is going to ask “what is that spike at the beginning of June” and one of the staff will explode messily all over the intertubes. ;)

    It’s an algorithm adjustment artifact having to do with a seasonal adjustment to the algorithm they use to do the tracking. It has to do with when the melt starts and there is a layer of shiny water on top of ice.

  54. Let me say this again. The wind patterns have been blowing ice together towards the pole and up against the Canadian/Greenland coast. On the few occasions when the wind went South it lasted but a couple of days or was in areas that created ice jams as the ice tried to leave the Arctic. The ice is THICK!!!!! The summer wind has consistently blown it into piles that will not melt quickly. It is not anywhere near being thin. And it probably has not melted all that much. The ice extent and area is measured with the assumption that the ice went South or melted in place. It is my firm belief that it didn’t melt as much as it moved NORTH and created thick jumbled piles, thus taking the extent and area with it. Take a fluffy snowball and compact it. Same amount of snow, just a smaller, harder ball of it. We are near the end of the melt season and we have a compacted ball of ice. That hard ball of ice up there ain’t gonna melt so fast.

  55. >>>However, I saw, yesterday, at Discovery, a program made
    >>>by the BBC, which said that, for the first time in history,
    >>>polar bears were drowning because of the lack of ice.

    The BBC is a complete joke nowadays – it is called the Biased Broadcasting Corporation. One day, their tax-lifeline will be cut, and then we will all cheer wildly as they sink from sight in a mass of red ink. Even then, they still won’t understand.

    Raymond Baxter must be turning in his grave.

    .

  56. Pamela Gray-wha tmakes me a bit nervous is the Polar Jetstream when westerly, tends to dip more southerly-especially in the Boreal winter.For some reason I do not think the Pac NW is going to be as warm and dry this winter a some think….

  57. Gary from Chicagoland (15:04:39) :

    Since recent scientific research indicates that winds are a much larger driver of polar ice melt than previously understood, then is the current cold summer jet stream that is pumping cooler air into the US Midwest over the Hudson Bay a factor in why the polar ice melt increased during the last two months? The Pineapple Express seems to me to be pushing the warmth northward over Alaska from Hawaii, which is setting up the omega jet stream pattern that is pushing the colder northern air masses southward towards Chicago, IL. Now that the US jet stream pattern is finally breaking the omega pattern that has been in place unusually for almost the entire summer, this will allow the record heat of the US West to slide eastward into the US Midwest. When this happens, I predict a) cooler temperatures in the US West, warmer temperatures in the US Midwest , and c) colder temperatures in northern polar regions that will slow down the 2009 polar ice melt. Notice that I did not include any CO2 factoring into my modeling ;

    Gary, have a look at this article from Jeffid, Air Vent anbout the Arctic Sea Ice Center of Mass: http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/08/01/arctic-sea-ice-center-of-mass/

    Forget about the CO2 because it’s not a factor.

  58. Scene: NSIDC offices, October 2, 2008…The 2008 Autumn Arctic Ocean freeze-up has begun.

    “Ok, it’s obvious now. It’s not going to happen.”

    “Look, we said “greatest chance.” Relax, we’re covered.”

    “Hey, we said “ice free” in June.

    “Noooo, we said “distinct possibility.” Ok, we didn’t get that, so go with volume.”

    “Ya, but you know we never cited volume in either the 2005 or 2007 press releases about record low ice. I mean, we didn’t even go there in 2006. In fact, we’ve always based our press releases on extent.”

    “Come on, everyone can see the coverage, but who’s going to argue with the depth? Besides, it’s our data, our methods, who’s gonna prove us wrong?”

    ‘They’ll say you can’t measure the depth of 4.5 million square km of ice.”

    “I don’t care. We need it. Otherwise we sound like alarmists. Besides, ABC’s hacked. They need a headline to cover that stupid June, shill story they did.”

    “But we told them “possible”, “chance.” You said that’s enough!”

    “Are you kidding? With all those fanatic deniers out there? I don’t have to remind you this financial crisis is drying up all the funding. This is crunch time.”

    “Good point (typing), r-e-c-o-r-d l-o-w v-o-l-u-m-e.”

    “Aah! Aah! LIKELY record low volume. That keeps us going for a few months at least. Write that up. I’ll look at it after I get back from my golf game.”

    “You can’t. It’s snowing.”

    “What! In early October!”

  59. This may be off topic but it could also work into the discussion of Arctic ice. I continue to follow ENSO forecasts. The written spin is different than the graphs. To wit and I quote from the weekly NOAA update :

    Outlook•A majority of ENSO models indicate El Niño (SST anomalies greater than +0.5°C) will continue to intensify during Northern Hemisphere summer and last through Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.•The models disagree on the eventual strength of El Niño (+0.5°C to +2.0°C), but nearly all of the dynamical models predict a moderate-to-strong episode.

    But this is what the models really say:

    There are 14 dynamical models (kind of like AGW models that take a lot of computing power and are based on hypothetical theories). All of them predict an El Nino EVENT (5 consecutive overlapping three month averages of .5 or better SST anomolies). We just had 4 but then we went down to two consecutive overlapping three month averages that were neutral. So we get to start over again. That means that MJJ, JJA, JAS, ASO, and SON must be at .5 or above in order to change from El Nino “conditions” to “event”. So much for the dynamical models demonstrating any predictive ability.

    There are 8 statistical models (simple models based on what has happened before). 3 out of the 8 predict neutral conditions, while the others predict an El Nino event.

    The July series and especially the last week of SST’s for July demonstrates a weakening of SST warm temps along the equatorial Pacific. This means that the statistical models, especially the ones that negate an El Nino through the winter, are winning the lottery so far. If I were among the scientists at NOAA and there was a lottery pool on this outcome, I would bet a week’s salary that El Nino conditions are on their last legs.

    Winter will be average to cold. Arctic ice will continue to recover. Snow will add to glaciers already on the rebound.

  60. geo (15:11:45) :
    tide is better able or less able to have its way with the ice pack depending in part on how healthy the ice pack is in the first place. There is a degree of co-dependancy there.

    I don’t know if you’ve seen the quikSCAT animation at DMI that I linked above, If not you will probably find it quite interesting. It’s an ice thickness animation that covers the period from Sept 07 to June 08. What it shows is the for the most part thick ice that remained at the 2007 summer minimum was actually greatly reduced in the process of the freeze up

  61. Sorry I was moving something and accidentally moused the submit button before I was done. As I was saying the thick ice was reduced during freeze up and between Feb and the remainder was torn apart by the Beaufort so that by June there was virtually none remaining. They don’t indicate when an update will be available with the 08-09 sequence, but it should be quite interesting to see what it shows.

  62. Pamela Gray (14:30:44) :
    Ice floats.

    Yes Pamela, on a fluid a 1000x denser than air and with 9x more volume below the surface than above.

    Disregarding for the moment oceanic currents,

    Not very wise!
    what ice is above the water acts as a sail. It goes where the North wind goes till it gets shoved up against something that doesn’t move so much with the wind. It also goes where the South wind goes till it gets to waters and sunlight that melts it, or it gets to an ice plug and jams up against it. So when the wind blows the ice around instead of out to sea along the Eastern Greenland passage, the ice can jam up and get very thick. All in the space of one season, not multi-year seasons.

    This year the jet stream, which is very much a part of the PDO, kept much of the ice stationary where it melted in place (sometimes slowly and sometimes rather quickly), or blew it towards the pole, where it eventually jammed up against the Canadian coastline. There was very little wind that had a southerly direction to it. So here is my take. Thick ice can form not only during the winter, but during the summer as well, resulting in a very thick seed bed for further ice to build on. Therefore, thick ice can return as rapidly as it leaves. If the jet stream remains weak and results in winds pointed towards the pole instead of out of it, the ice will track closer to 2005 or thereabouts, and ice will build like a bugger this winter.

    I know you favor the jet stream but I don’t think that’s very relevant to the seaice flow (it’s too high for one thing). You’re mistaken in thinking that there wasn’t much outflow this year, in fact there was so much flow out of the Fram that this spring there was less multiyear ice than last year. Also note the drift of NP 36 which was set up at 82.5N, 174.9E on 7th Sept 2008 and is now at 86.2N, 328.5E having passed close to the pole at 88N, drifting at ~8.5 km/day. The station was set up near the furthest edge of the multiyear ice and yet it is on pace to exit the Fram this fall after drifting ~3000km.

  63. Just a random question, has there ever been a study of the effect of icebreakers on ice levels.

  64. im Cripwell (12:33:41) :
    A few weeks ago, the warmaholics made a great deal of fuss, because the 2009 graph crossed the 2008 one. People postulated that this trend would continue, and there would be less ice at minimum this September than there was in 2007. Now, I expect complete silence fromn the warmaholiucs when, on August 5th/6th, 2009 crosses 2008 again, this time the other way. If 2009 continues tracking like 2005, then minimum in 2009 will be about 600,000 sq kms more than 2008, and 1,000,000 sq kms more than 2007. Meaning more multiyear ice in 2010, and a further recovery of the sea ice in the Arctic Basin.

    Actually you have it backwards, from about mid-April to June the ‘anti-warmists’ (or whatever you call them) were jumping up and down here proclaiming for example: “Mayday – May Day!” because the extent was exceeding the recent years in the AMSR-E record etc.. Once the current year’s data dropped back below the recent years’ they quietened down now you appear to be heralding their reawakening.

  65. Bill Illis (08:04:17) :

    Thanks for the good photo Bill. I always appreciate your photos and videos. You bring out things in photo, video, and in comment too, we would not otherwise see. Thanks for that!

  66. Scientists believe the ongoing retreat is being driven by several factors, including rising global temperatures associated with human-induced climate change

    Note, the wording.

    ‘Associated with’, not ‘Caused by’

    No mention of CO2 or greenhouse gases, because they know the primary human-induced effect on Arctic ice is soot and aerosols.

    So this decodes to – Soot associated with burning fuels which produce CO2 is melting the Arctic ice.

    Climate scientists must take special courses in deceptive and misleading wording.

  67. Phil, am I to assume that you have not watched the animations I suggested? The ice does anything but follow the currents in and around the pole. And I only omitted ocean currents so that the Jet stream could be understood. The jet stream is what sets up several wind patterns at the pole from surface to jet height. When I refer to the jet stream, I am referring to the entire wind pattern shown at:

    http://squall.sfsu.edu/crws/jetstream.html

    When you watch the 30-day ice animation shown at:

    http://squall.sfsu.edu/crws/jetstream.html

    and then overlay the 30-day ice animation, you will clearly see the connection between wind and ice, not currents and ice. That is not to say that the currents have no affect. But it is less than that of wind.

  68. Google “wind strength in the Fram Strait” for more information on how wind is a very significant factor in sea ice extent, thus area.

  69. On the subject-somewhat OT- of ENSO and SST’s note 8/3/09:

    and then 7/27/09:

    Is it me,or does the apparent Nino appear to be weakening?

  70. Rick W (13:40:19) :

    A new Catlin Expedition? http://www.aroundtheamericas.org

    “This crossing is testament to the warming of the Arctic Ocean and the global climate changes that the expedition is observing.”

    Maybe someone should tell them that we get global climate changes twice a year and it’s all quite normal. The northern half gets warmer over the period from March to September and the southern half colder and then vice versa.

  71. John F. Hultquist (14:31:22) :

    Has anyone ever wondered about the choice of years for averages or normals of climatic variables? In case you have but haven’t found the answer, here is one:

    “Climatologists define a climatic normal as the arithmetic average of a climate element such as temperature over a prescribed 30-year interval. The 30 year interval was selected by international agreement, based on the recommendations of the International Meteorological Conference in Warsaw in 1933. The 30 year interval is sufficiently long to filter out many of the short-term interannual fluctuations and anomalies, but sufficiently short so as to be used to reflect longer term climatic trends. Currently, the 30-year interval for calculating normals extends from 1971 to 2000.”

    30 years is also the probably the average length of a politician’s career…

  72. The older satellite images are even worse. The pixels now compared to back then are like HDTV compared to rabbit ears. This is especially true around the edges where water/ice meets land/snow.

  73. evanmjones (08:20:49) :

    why is it that the period of 1979 to 2000 is taken as the average for sea ice, and I think for average global temperatures?

    1979 is the first year of reliable satellite measurement.

    In my opinion, unless colored maps include the whole data , i.e. the present year too, they are just a public relations tool pushing warming/melting/etc subliminally. If we are talking of the satellite data, then take the whole interval into account. Only in this way will the plots be unbiased and show the highest/lowest variations rationally.

    Few people go to the trouble to look at the scales and figure out what is neutral what is dominant. They go with the alarmism implied in the red .

  74. to Declan (16:58:24) :

    If canada (which recently
    floated several new icebreakers)
    currently needs to use 2 or 3 icebreakers
    in relays
    to smash through sea ice along the Northwest Passage,
    to enable hotties to “prove” that
    the passage has been cleared of ice by warming–
    then canada is, instead,
    proving that there currently exists more sea ice now in the passage than existed in the passage
    in 1941 to1944 when WITHOUT ANY ICEBREAKERS
    the canadian RCMP was zipping back
    and forth all the way through
    THE ICE FREE PASSAGE FROM PACIFIC
    TO ATLANTIC OCEANS
    WITH A LEAKY OLD SCOW–

    http://www.vancouvermaritimemuseum.com/modules/vmmuseum/treasures/?artifactid=86

    http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=globalwarming&action=display&thread=346&page=81#25960

    Also, in winter, at minus30 C air temp,
    the mixing effect of the
    icebreakers in stirring broken cold ice and
    wind blowing colder air
    into the exposed warmer sea water could possibly
    create thicker surface ice, because once a layer
    of thinner ice is originally formed, if undisturbed,
    it tends to
    insulate the warm sea water beneath from the
    cold air–you know–like eskimos
    protected by an igloo.

    For security reasons, canada does not reveal
    its icebreaker activitieS in assisting warmers.

  75. RE:

    ” Squidly (10:35:52) :

    Have you ever noticed the colors that the MSM News uses for their forecast maps? Since when did 70F constitute a RED color? Anything over 80F is almost BLACK. It has gotten so ridiculously stupid that the colors mean nothing anymore.”

    I am so glad you mentioned this; I’ve been harping on the same thing for a few years now. Great to find a friend.

    Wonder what the marketing firm who picked the new colors got paid? Great work if you can get it!

  76. So much for the dynamical models demonstrating any predictive ability.

    I’d noticed that about the ENSO/El Nino models as well. They have little or no predictive value.

    I haven’t seen anyone do an analysis of this. And of course the model developers gloss over the fact their models are useless by issuing new forecasts every few weeks using current conditions as the new baseline for predictions.

  77. Hi Anthony, I got interested in the global warming hoax after I found out about the taxing scam. Even though I’m new to this I believe you are not reading the graph right.
    The ice this year was thinner due to the volume lost during the warming trend of 1979-2000 period, NASA made a big deal out of this. However this year the melting season began rather late, so late that during early May the ice levels almost reached 1979-2000 levels. Why would it take longer for this thinner than average ice to begin heavy melting compared to that of thicker one (1979-2000)? Simply because the enviroment is cooler. We can see the ice started to melt fast once it was well into summer, but this was the thin ice. The remaining thicker ice now is melting at very slow pace and it will hit minimum at 2000-2006 range. I’m confident it will also begin growth season a couple of days earlier than average. The NSIDC graph supports global cooling not global warming.

  78. Robin Kool
    Perhaps someone has already answered your question.
    I try to get clues from the SST maps available.
    This one shows cold water up north with warm pockets:

    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.html

    And this one from the NOAA shows big hot spots:

    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/climo&hot.html

    I’ve grown distrustful of the NOAA graphic (example: see the hot spot near Norway – it’s been there for months!)
    I agree with you that air temps are likely a minor factor, with water and wind being the big melt drivers. It would be nice to see a chart with wind directions and strengths for the Arctic. Maybe someone can give a link to one?

    MattN
    I wrote the Arctic IS warmer than normal (not has been) and WILL remain that way for at least a week. That you can see on the predicted anomaly map for the Canadian Arctic:

    http://wxmaps.org/pix/temp2.html

    But these are air temps, which, as everyone will probably agree, play a lesser role in driving ice melt.

    But so far, at least today, your suspected sustained left turn continues. (Honestly speaking, I’d be the first to cheer if you were right. Than we’d be spared hearing all the silly doom and gloom from the warmists).

  79. anna v (21:14:56) :

    The colored National Security warning lights were never green, and never red during the heightened scare yeares after 9/11. After a while, they turned into a big joke. People catch on after a few years of alarmist barrage. They don’t buy it any more. And when they’ve heard enough of it, they find place like this.
    Just wait until this winter follows hot on the heels of brief summer.
    The screaming will begin shortly.
    Bet on it.

  80. ralph ellis (15:34:07) :

    “The BBC is a complete joke nowadays – it is called the Biased Broadcasting Corporation. One day, their tax-lifeline will be cut,”

    Not while they keep saying what the politicians want said.

    But the politicians are a joke too.

  81. Flanagan (11:33:22) :

    “It should be emphasized also that a similar “slowdown” was observed in 2007.”

    See a straw and clutch at it…

  82. Phil. (17:29:38) :

    Get a sense of humour, why don’t you?

    You have a tragic case of Cognitive Dissonance pal, but don’t worry too much. We’re used to your sad, quasi-religious sarcasm and when you are ready to drop it, many shall welcome you to the sunny uplands of authentic scientific knowledge.

    Until that blessed moment of self fulfillment, you are destined to stumble about, within the imprisoning confines of Gorespeak & Hansenhyperbole.

    When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, Sir? J. M. Keynes

  83. In general sea ice loss from August 4th to the minimum in mid September averages about 1.5 million sq km.
    Using that, we should end up at about 5.3 million sq km.
    But the recent years have shown more.

    So we’ll end up at about 5 million sq km. More than last year.
    No matter what statistical method one applies, that seems about where we will end up. The odds of reaching a new record low are growing longer each passing day. We’re talking 25 to 1 and over odds. Real long shots.

  84. Halfwise (09:51:36) :
    Mark Nodine 9:25
    Because the tick is a change in calculation methodology specifically to account for meltwater on top of the ice. There is no equivalent event at the end of the melt season that would need a methodology adjustment.

    There is, when they switch back to the ‘winter’ algorithm on Oct 15th.

  85. Has anyone ever plotted the sum total of both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice areas and plotted how the total area changes over the period of a year and since 1979 or whenever? Would this not be a better metric?

    If this has been done, does anyone have a plot?

  86. ” Jimmy Haigh (07:53:43) :
    Has anyone ever plotted the sum total of both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice areas and plotted how the total area changes over the period of a year and since 1979 or whenever? Would this not be a better metric?
    If this has been done, does anyone have a plot?”

  87. “Arctic ice driven by the wind not global warming”

    This is deeply flawed thinking. The ice responds not to one stimulus, and one stimulus alone. Clearly, it is affected by wind. Equally clearly, that does not mean it somehow stops being affected by the ambient temperature.
    ———

    True, but if you live in an area where snow accumulates – like Chicagoland, where I live – you notice that certain things have WAY more effect than others. I’ve been watching the parking lot icebergs and what causes them to melt. They can survive above-freezing temps for quite a while. Rain does them in at quite a rapid rate, and wind (depending on the velocity of course) is also very good at melting them. We had one berg at work that was on the shady side of a parking garage and shielded from the winds. After a particularly windy day, all the bergs in the open were gone, that one was only slightly affected.

    I don’t have time to look it up now, but Alton Brown (Good Eats – Food Network) did a segment on thawing frozen food. Slow running cool water worked much faster than a 200 degree F oven. I’m not sure how that scales to arctic sized ice, but the key is heat transport. Moving water and moving air do that more efficiently that static air at even higher temps.

    My take away is that when big chunks of ice melt abnormally fast, there’s more to it than a small bump in ambient temperature.

  88. Thank you, Pierre Gosselin (01:56:17), for the map with water temperatures and you, Pamela Gray, for your enlightening posts: (14:30:44) and (15:32:36) on the influence of the wind.

    Pamela Gray (15:32:36) wrote:
    “Let me say this again. The wind patterns have been blowing ice together towards the pole and up against the Canadian/Greenland coast. On the few occasions when the wind went South it lasted but a couple of days or was in areas that created ice jams as the ice tried to leave the Arctic. The ice is THICK!!!!! The summer wind has consistently blown it into piles that will not melt quickly. It is not anywhere near being thin. And it probably has not melted all that much. The ice extent and area is measured with the assumption that the ice went South or melted in place. It is my firm belief that it didn’t melt as much as it moved NORTH and created thick jumbled piles, thus taking the extent and area with it. Take a fluffy snowball and compact it. Same amount of snow, just a smaller, harder ball of it. We are near the end of the melt season and we have a compacted ball of ice. That hard ball of ice up there ain’t gonna melt so fast.”

    The picture I get is that
    1. polar ice melts mostly at the bottom, and
    2. the wind does it’s thing and that is usually the determining factor.

    The wind can blow the ice to the Atlantic Ocean where it melts fast (like in 2007),
    or keep it in the polar region where it melts slower.
    And even make it pile up so that a smaller bottom surface area is exposed to the water, which greatly diminishes the total volume if ice that melts per given time unit.

    With air temperatures overall close to normal or below average and arctic water maybe a little warmer but not a lot, the wind is again the determining factor.
    If, as you say Pamela, the wind has piled up the ice, that explains why the surface area of polar ice suddenly diminished so fast from May15 until July20, after being so resistant to melting until May15. (That really puzzled me).
    Now we may reasonably expect the slow down in melting that started July20 to continue. (unless the wind turns?).

    This is all so exciting.

  89. On a somewhat related not, I read at Icecap that the South Pole set a new July record low for the month with an average temp of -86.8F, breaking the July record set in 1965. I cannot find any news articles on this or any other confirming data. Anyone confirm/deny this report? If true, might be a fine question to ask Steig….

  90. Now that I get how the wind determines how fast the ice melts, I finally get the significance of the geography around the North Pole.
    The polar ice is Almost completely locked in by land: Siberia and Scandinavia on one side and Alaska and Canada on the other.
    Warm water can reach it only from the Pacific through the narrow and far from deep Bering Strait and (much more) from the Atlantic, left along both sides of Greenland.

    Sorry, I am just a layman, but slowly catching up – and having a great time.
    I love science.

  91. Mike Odin (21:52:18) :
    Thanks for your reply. I don’t have a clue about these ships, how many, where they operate or when they operate.

  92. When the ice extent in 2008 melt season proved to be 9% greater than 2007 despite alleged warmer ocean water, I wrote to NSIDC when they in their analysis were going on about the demise of arctic summer ice over the next year or so and suggested that, if we now were starting from cooler water plus 9% more ice in 2008, that there was a reasonable probability (one that would change to a high probability if we had another rapid freeze-up like we had for fall-winter 2007) that we would increase the ice again. I made a prediction of adding 15% more ice to the summer survival extent for 2009 plus adding a year to the age of the existing ice. I was reacting to the commentary that seemed to ignore this probable case. Now, understanding since the “movie” of the 2007 clear out under the wind that this could happen again (and probably had umpteen times over the centuries) I lowered my probability estimate to 60%, eventhough we did have a very rapid freeze-up that fall and probably (at the time) a very cold winter in the offing. I’m bravely going for 15% more than 2008, emboldened by the number of “expert” forecasts that I beat using a complex model that everyone has in their heads. I know the theoretical physicists will chide me that I wasn’t aware and hadn’t considered some number of climate/weather effects and that my prediction would just be lucky. Gee, this just tells me that all the sophisticated models brought to bear so far haven’t had the blessing of science or luck. Oh and I’m predicting a return to “normal” extent in 2010 and surpassing “normal” for the next number of years.

  93. So 2007 was the year of the great record arctic ice melt; ergo global warming.

    Not so. In the TV Documentary, “The Deadliest Catch”, about the hazards of the Alaskan King Crab commercial fishery; the program documents the story of the fishing fleet based in Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians; and these crab ships head about west north west of Dutch Harbot out into the Bering Sea; they never get into the Arctic Ocean. The further north in the Bering, they can get to lay their crab traps, the more crab they can catch; but the ships eventually ice up with frozen sea spray, and the crew has to knock ice off to stop the ships capsizing from top heavy icing.

    In 2007, the year of the greatest Arctic Ocean sea ice melt in the entire recorded history of this planet; going back to around 1979, this documentary records on film that one of the crab ships became locked in floating sea ice in the Bering Sea. The video clearly shows that the sea ice cover was in the range of 90% total surface coverage or more. They had to abandon their trap set, and head south to escape from the ice and the bitter cold storm.

    All that floating sea ice, had been blown into the north Bering, from the Arctic Ocean; and it was in the much warmer waters of the north Pacific (or Atlantic) that all that 2007 ice finally melted; not in the arctic ocean.

    I believe it is well documented, that the 2007 sea ice got blown away by a hurricane like storm, and melted in the warmer oceans; not in the Arctic Ocean.

  94. i have been a captain ,fished the bering,grand banks,alaska,etc….this is more scare-tactics for the conceited who think they observe and therefore control weather patterns and/or anomalies…..read your history,preferrably before 1950 data stats….

  95. Pamela Gray (20:24:01) :

    Douglas, see my earlier post 16:22:43
    Noted-missed it.

    capted3126 (13:04:29) :
    You’ve been there-done that.At the very least, we are at a Pre-1950 state if not a
    pre Dalton state.As a former professional pilot, one of the things that i have noticed in North American aviation,(I still keep up with it) is the incidence of airframe icing. I’ve challenged the Cascades more than once(sometimes in equipment that was,shall we say marginal.) .Flying Icing is as much an art as science.I fear the pilots trained in the 90’s haven’t experienced icing as bad as the 70’s and 80’s and before.-but will again.I hope I’m wrong…

  96. to Declan (16:58:24)

    Canada has been talking about
    new ice breakers for years, and 3 years ago
    in a burst of patriotic fervor the funding was approved–
    but that now appears to have been all deceptive hype
    (which I foolishly believed)–
    Those icebreakers I mentioned have not been built,
    or even contracted –apparently
    because the usa vehemently opposes an independent Canada presence in the arctic which might monitor usa military activities(and canada has little choice but to toe
    the usa arctic line)–
    the whole situation appears shrouded in secrecy and misinformation–

    maybe pm harper is just playing dumb, secure in
    some secret knowledge that the incipient 4 metre thick
    arctic sea ice will soon eradicate all arctic forays
    (including by high priced icebreakers).

    http://www.thestar.com/article/674949

    http://www.thestar.com/article/672721

    http://www.thestar.com/article/672104

    http://www.thestar.com/article/672719

  97. Alexej Buergin (09:41:14) :

    Smokey (10:00:56) :

    Thanks guys. So 2006-2007 really was something different.
    It’s quite good fun watching the red line on the AMSR plot every day!

  98. Shawn: if you read carefully your own link, you will note that in 1944 Larsen had to go back to Greenland in July because there was too much ice around Frobisher Bay, which this ear has been ice-free for weeks. Then he went to Pond Inlet by mid-August. All these regions have been ice-free for weeks now.

    Larsen then went through the Parry channel and turned south in the Prince of Wales strait, but this part of the trip was done at the end of August/beginning of September. So let’s wait before comparing.

    In any case, I wonder how you extrapolate the situation of a single strait to “the Arctic sea ice has increased”?

  99. @Flanagan

    Well if the Arctic has been thawing under the spell of AGW ever since Larsen made his voyage from Halifax to Nova Scotia in 86 days it would be very easy to follow his path. But the route Larsen took is iced over and will remain so this Summer. After 60 plus years of global warming?

    That’s the common sense part I referred to.

  100. if you read carefully your own link, you will note that in 1944 Larsen had to go back to Greenland in July because there was too much ice around Frobisher Bay

    He sailed around the ice. Once more a matter of common sense.

    Something todays science community could use a good dose of.

  101. What good is it to plot 2009 against a 1979-2000 average? Shouldn’t that be a 1979-2008 average? Isn’t that the whole point of tracking an average? Would these last few years not be bringing down the average, thus demonstrating that we are not currently deviating far from the average?

    Continuing to cherry pick start and end dates for averages is dishonest at best, but pretty much what I have come to expect from the agenda-driven warmists.

  102. CodeTech (20:04:39) :
    What good is it to plot 2009 against a 1979-2000 average? Shouldn’t that be a 1979-2008 average? Isn’t that the whole point of tracking an average? Would these last few years not be bringing down the average, thus demonstrating that we are not currently deviating far from the average?

    Continuing to cherry pick start and end dates for averages is dishonest at best, but pretty much what I have come to expect from the agenda-driven warmists.

    And what would be the point of that exercise? By your method the average would change from year to year, so comparing the 08 anomaly and 09 anomaly wouldn’t be possible because they would be wrt a different average!

  103. Pamela Gray (15:32:36) : Thank you for your discription of wind caused artic ice buildup, an excellent word picture.

  104. Phil… that makes absolutely no sense. Yearly comparisons are still relative to each other no matter what you call the “anomaly”. It is wrong to continue the fiction that this “average” line is anything other than a specifically cherry-picked value.

    Look at the first chart. 2007 is way down low, and 2009 has this vague appearance of diving down there to join it. Meanwhile, way up high is the fictional “average” specifically chosen to represent a higher value. The whole point of that exercise is to frighten people into believing that “normal” or “average” or “where it should be” is that higher value.

    My point is that it is dishonest to even use the term “anomaly” which implies “out of the ordinary” or “abnormal”, especially when your data is being used to frighten people into “action”. Heck, 1979-2000 is a completely meaningless 22 year period, barely even paying lip service to the alleged “30 years” that climate alarmists like to use.

  105. With apologies, I will use non-science lingo here: How are artic winds divorced from total climate change? It appears that by trumpeting a hiccough in scientific understanding of artic ice processes we may undermine the global leftist industrial suppression strategy; however, the conclusions reached in the study aren’t earth- (or in this case, ice- ) shattering.
    One thing that does make me happy is the increased detail of research in Earth processes. Hooray!

  106. Hi all-

    Once again, it is very strange to me how people here on WUWT can look at that graph, which clearly shows that 2009 is below the average of previous decades in ice extent, and see good news. There are also thousands of similar measurements, of animal migration patterns, sea level rise, and global temperature measurements that clearly show that global warming is happening.

    Regarding ice volume and some sort of conspiracy to “move the goalposts”, doesn’t this argument ignore the simple fact that if ice volume is indeed below average, and may be at a minimum, this is yet another measurement supporting the “warmist” viewpoint?

    It’s all very strange.

    This is not an abstract debate, with no consequences for being wrong.

  107. Leland Palmer (08:06:15)

    “Once again, it is very strange to me how people here on WUWT can look at that graph, which clearly shows that 2009 is below the average of previous decades in ice extent…”

    Wrong as usual, Leland. Actually, I’m surprised you’re back after the hard spanking you got last time from several posters when you were here making similar, easily disprovable statements: click, click, and click.

  108. Of course he is right. But where did the ice go? It didn’t come out of the strait. It wasn’t warm enough to melt where it was that quickly. But it sure was windy. Just like in 2007 and less so in 2008. But this time it blew in the OPPOSITE direction. Back in to the Arctic. So if ice can be blown out of the Arctic, ice can be blown and compacted in to the Arctic. Did it melt as much as in 07 and 08? I don’t think so. In fact, I think this Summer was one of those Summers that ended up making the ice thicker by compacting it and piling it up, instead of relentlessly spreading it out the strait.

  109. Colin Aldridge,

    Check out click 3 again. [Going back to 1970 is irrelevant, since satellites weren't in operation until '79.]

  110. Smokey – right I meant 1979 and you are right that total sea ice extent has not declined.. I was assuming that leland meant NH ice which is below its 1979..2000 average while SH ice is above.. all of which, IMO is due to wind/oceanic currents and nothing to do with polar air temperatures

  111. Re: Leland Palmer (08:06:15)

    To say there is evidence we have global warming contributes little to the debate here. The point is that the warming, what little there may be of it, is not proven to be caused primarily (if at all) by man.

    I have no problem with warmth. Warmth is GOOD. Come on global warming! Let’s go El Nino!!

  112. The past is prologue. It is unclear to me whether the arctic ice melt from 1979 to 2006 was due to unusually high average solar activity over that period or increasing industrial pollution.

    As solar activity has gone into an unusually long slumber, beginning in 2008, and, so far, has not shown any sign of recovery, this change should be the reference point to settle the issue. If we see a continued accelerating ice-melt in the face of the recent reduction of solar activity, then I think we can make a good case for man-made pollution being the cause. On the other hand, if we see a solid ice re-growth trend developing in the years to come, then I believe we must assume that solar activity has been driving our climate.

  113. ” If we see a continued accelerating ice-melt in the face of the recent reduction of solar activity, then I think we can make a good case for man-made pollution being the cause. On the other hand, if we see a solid ice re-growth trend developing in the years to come, then I believe we must assume that solar activity has been driving our climate.”

    So if we throw the witch in the lake and she floats then she’s a witch??

    You watch this Northern Hemisphere winter, it’ll leave no doubt ;)

  114. I have seen convincing, but not fully verified arguments that the whole issue of man-made climate change might be a fear-funded research stampede perhaps energized by over-inflated self-guilt for planet modification.

    As we appear to have experienced a recent signal reduction in solar activity — the sun often going day-after-day without a single sunspot for the last 30 months, we have a unique opportunity to find out if human pollution really is the driver of our changing climate. As yet, for me, the jury is still out. The Arctic ice extent variations since 2008 still seem to be within the range of weather related effects. (At best it might be said to be ‘leaning solar.’)

    We like to think of the sun as constant and unvarying. The record of solar flares and sunspot activity shows something quite different.

  115. The reason that Polar Bear populations are increasing has nothing to do with sea ice and everything to do with them now being a protected species. Hunters are no longer allowed to blast away and get cool rugs. Canada has had The Polar Bear Protection Act since 2002 which has helped tremendously in increasing the polar bear population.

    The summary of the act reads: “Hunting, killing, or capturing polar bears is unlawful and punishable by law except in special circumstances when a license is issued to capture them. A special circumstance might be a “legitimate scientific, educational or conservation purpose, or another purpose prescribed by regulation.”

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