By Steve Goddard
Summer has come to a premature and frosty end at Santa’s workshop.
It has been the coldest summer on record north of 80N, and temperatures have dropped below freezing ahead of the average date.
The entire ice covered region is now below freezing.
It also appears that the summer melt season will be the shortest on record. The maximum was reached very late in March, and it appears likely that we are headed for an early minimum.
As the climate warms, the summer melt season lengthens …”
Mark Serreze of the center forecast the ice decline this year (2010) would even break 2007’s record.
Another interesting fact is that we are almost certain to see a large increase in the amount of multi-year ice (MYI) next year. The reason being that almost all of the 1-2 year old ice (turquoise) in the NSIDC map below will become classified as MYI next spring.
We have seen a remarkably rapid recovery from the 2008 low volume.
PIOMAS continues to report record low volumes of ice, despite all evidence to the contrary. The image below shows in red how far off the mark their August 15 forecast was. Their modeling error will get much worse over the next two weeks – because they model much of the thick multi-year ice in the Beaufort Sea and Arctic Basin as only a few tens of centimetres thick.
With the cold temperatures, ice area loss has almost stopped.
However, ice extent continues to drop – because the Arctic Oscillation has turned negative and winds are compacting the ice towards the pole. This bodes well for continued growth of ice in 2011.
PIPS shows average ice thickness increasing, due to the compression of the ice.
There has not been a lot of ice loss during August. The modified NSIDC image below shows in red, areas that have lost ice since August 1. Note that the Greenland Sea appears to have lost ice. This is due to the fact that there has been very little transport out of the Arctic Basin through the Fram Strait, which again bodes well for ice gain in 2011.
The modified NSIDC image below shows ice gain since 2007.
NSIDC maps continue to show more gain (16%) than their graphs (10%.) I have not been able to get a satisfactory explanation from them about the cause of that discrepancy. DMI shows a 25% gain in 30% concentration ice over 2007.
My forecast (dashed line below) minimum of 5.5 million (JAXA) continues to look conservative. It all comes down to what the winds do over the next few weeks. If the winds keep compressing the ice, the minimum may go a little below 5.5. If the winds quiesce, the minimum may come in a little above 5.5 – which is looking like a pretty good number right now. Some people at NSIDC started out with a 5.5 forecast this year, but seem to have backed away from it since.
Academic theories about the Northwest Passage becoming a commercial shipping opportunity appear pretty clueless.
“The plans that you make can change completely,” he says. This uncertainty, delay, liability, increased insurance and other costs of using the Northwest Passage are likely to deter commercial shipping here. A ship with a reinforced hull could possibly make it intact through the passage. But if it got stuck, it would cost thousands of dollars for an icebreaker like the Amundsen to come to the rescue. So even if the Northwest Passage is less ice-choked than before, the route may not become a shipping short-cut in the near future, as some have predicted.
The South Pole will almost certainly set a record for most sea ice this season. It is almost there, and there are still several months of growth remaining.
As seen below, the symmetry between the North and South Pole is impressive through the satellite record. They always seem to move opposite each other and produce an approximately constant amount of sea ice. It would be nice if the experts focused on solving this relationship rather than making up forced explanations like the “Ozone Hole” – which has just started forming for the year and will be gone before Christmas.
UIUC North/south anomalies overlaid on top of each other.
(Note to posters and ice experts. Before you embarrass yourself making comments about how seasons are out phase at opposite poles, remember that this is normalised data and the period is in excess of 30 years.)
The “long term trend” (30 years) in Arctic ice continues to be downwards, and would be even if the ice minimum was a record high this summer. But the three year trend shows strong growth of extent, thickness and age. Meanwhile, Antarctic ice is blowing away the record books. Yet the press continues to spread massive disinformation about the state of ice at both poles. Who could possibly be responsible for that?