Sea Ice News: Arctic sea ice extent making a sharp right turn

Over the past few days, Arctic sea ice extent has braked dramatically in the daily loss rate and now has made a sharp right turn, which is rather unusual. Here’s the JAXA extent:


And here is a close up view, note the 2011 red line:

That turn is unique to the record since 2002. Note that in 2007, there was also a turn, though brief, and then melt accelerated.

It is also showing up in the NSIDC plot:

But what is really most interesting is the plot from DMI, which show not only a turn, but a reversal:

What does this mean? The short answer is, probably nothing. When we approach the minimum, and the ice pack becomes more fractured and scattered, it also becomes more susceptible to the vagaries of local and regional wind and weather.

WUWT regular and contributor “Just the facts” suggested in comments that:

One factor appears to be the Greenland Sea, where sea ice began to grow on July 15th and has been trending above average since then.


Source: ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02186/plots/r07_Greenland_Sea_ts.png

On the other hand, looking at the most recent comparison with 2007, the Arctic ice cover looks a bit more soupy in 2011:

Air temperature is above freezing throughout the Arctic….

…as is fairly normal for this time of year:

Clearly, at present, air temperature in the Arctic is not in any way climatologically abnormal, so the reasons for the current extent being low and making erratic turns must lie elsewhere. Wind, soot deposition/albedo, ocean currents, etc. all factor in.

So, while we may have temporarily avoided a new record minimum (as many in the “Serreze death spiral” camp said we are headed to) there’s still the possibility that the plots will turn to the left again, and resume or even accelerate. It all depends on the weather, and the outcome could go either way at this point. Historically, we have about 7 more weeks before the turn upwards as the Arctic begins the slow re-freeze.

Still, it makes for interesting observation and discussion. The WUWT sea ice page has all the latest stats, updated as soon as they are made available.

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UPDATE: Bill Illis runs his own database, and offers this interesting view in comments.

The last 21 days are the lowest melt since 1973 in my database over the same period. The total ice extent is still well-below average but there are very few periods in the record where the trend is so different than normal for an extended period of time like the current period is.

Matching up a few different datasets back to 1972.

UPDATE2: In the meantime, while extent loss slows, the NSIDC “death spiral team” tries to make a case for a record low average for July, while at the same time admitting that On July 31, 2011 Arctic sea ice extent was 6.79 million square kilometers (2.62 million square miles). This was slightly higher than the previous record low for the same day of the year, set in 2007.

Arctic sea ice at record low for July

Arctic sea ice extent averaged for July 2011 reached the lowest level for the month in the 1979 to 2011 satellite record, even though the pace of ice loss slowed substantially during the last two weeks of July. Shipping routes in the Arctic have less ice than usual for this time of year, and new data indicate that more of the Arctic’s store of its oldest ice disappeared.

map from space showing sea ice extent, continents
Figure 1. Arctic sea ice extent for July 2011 was 7.92 million square kilometers (3.06 million square miles). The magenta line shows the 1979 to 2000 median extent for that month. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole. Sea Ice Index data. About the data.
—Credit: National Snow and Ice Data CenterHigh-resolution image


Overview of conditions

Average ice extent for July 2011 was 7.92 million square kilometers (3.06 million square miles). This is 210,000 square kilometers (81,000 square miles) below the previous record low for the month, set in July 2007, and 2.18 million square kilometers (842,000 square miles) below the average for 1979 to 2000.

On July 31, 2011 Arctic sea ice extent was 6.79 million square kilometers (2.62 million square miles). This was slightly higher than the previous record low for the same day of the year, set in 2007. Sea ice coverage remained below normal everywhere except the East Greenland Sea.

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201 thoughts on “Sea Ice News: Arctic sea ice extent making a sharp right turn

  1. “What does this mean? The short answer is, probably nothing. When we approach the minimum, and the ice pack becomes more fractured and scattered, it also becomes more susceptible to the vagaries of local and regional wind and weather.”

    Well said – although I’d expect the usual “victory lap” from those that will try to seize on this as evidence that we’re not seeing longer term changes….

  2. Seems that ice export through Fram Strait has come to a halt for the past few weeks. That, and a change in weather over the Beaufort Sea.

  3. Yes- sharp right turn. The first sites I check each morning are IJIS and DMI, both linked above. IJIS reports a ‘smoothed’ graph and DMI shows more pronounced daily input data. This is all just ‘interesting’ to me, as I don’t see anything in all of science which might indicate total Arctic sea ice loss in future, despite CAGW howling to the contrary.
    All the heat’s down here in Oklahoma and Texas.
    Will trade Arctic ice for a cool front here.

  4. Hmmm, interesting, but this has got to be a weather event, it is waaaaaay to soon for the melt to be over… Right?

  5. It’s been a very “cold” summer where I am (the Balkans), probably the coldest in ~40 years. The trend for the last ~10 years is definitely COOLING.

  6. I love it when it upticks just to annoy warmistas of course it means absolutely nothing the whole concept is just drivel. 90% ice is in antarctica and its being normal for the past 300000 years! BTW Prof Plimer has given a very interesting recent short talk check it at you tube.

  7. Anybody else see that as a left turn? I picture it as if driving down line, you turn left. I guess Anthony looks at it as the line curves toward the right side of the graph…

  8. Is it really normal that we have a large area of below freezing temperatures over the arctic already at this time of the year?

  9. Look, I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t, from a “driving” perspective, headed left, from looking at which direction the data is headed looking at the plot normally, headed right. To each his or her own.

    But if complaining about left/right is the best commentary you can muster, save it.

  10. Ice extent is interesting this year as we get more surprises – but when i look at 2007 the ice looks more dense in terms of the colour of the purple…. what is ice volume doing? A few years ago there was some debate over PIPS and PIOMAS being better, how did that all turn out?

  11. A couple months don’t mean much, but in an electronic context I’d say the wave is changing phase, maybe indicating an increase in frequency.

  12. kb says:
    August 3, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Anybody else see that as a left turn? I picture it as if driving down line, you turn left. I guess Anthony looks at it as the line curves toward the right side of the graph…
    ___________________________________________________
    Thanks! I needed that.

  13. The last 21 days are the lowest melt since 1973 in my database over the same period. The total ice extent is still well-below average but there are very few periods in the record where the trend is so different than normal for an extended period of time like the current period is.

    Matching up a few different datasets back to 1972.

  14. It’s just a jump to the left
    And then a step to the right
    With your hands on your hips
    You bring your knees in tight
    But it’s the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane,
    Let’s do the Time Warp again!

  15. A new study shows that penguins quit farting because of the lack of sunspots so their metabolism is not that active therefore less greenhouse gas is present in the atmosphere, oh my a new ice age is coming we need to force those penguins to eat beans…or Al Gore hahaha

  16. Is it time to panic yet?

    Long term natural warming from the LIA: click

    Arctic warming is still far below the freezing point of water, indicating that the reason for the recent decline in Arctic sea ice is due primarily to changes in regional ocean currents and wind, along with other possible [but minor] factors such as ice breakers.

    CO2 is well mixed in the global atmosphere, so it cannot be the cause of Arctic ice decline. Otherwise, Antarctic ice would be experiencing a similar decline.

  17. Roy says:
    August 3, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Wind.
    ==============================================
    Yep, isn’t this the time of the year when the winds calm down….
    …then pick up again later

  18. LoLs…. Perhaps you shoulda used nautical terms Anthony….. Avast ye scurvy dogs… Tis ta port I be sayin’ to ya’s…… Harrrrr….;-)

  19. Smokey says “CO2 is well mixed in the global atmosphere, so it cannot be the cause of Arctic ice decline. Otherwise, Antarctic ice would be experiencing a similar decline.”

    That is a non-scientific statement Smokey – these are distinct regions and behave differently.

    The Antarctic is in some ways the precise opposite of the Arctic. The Arctic is an ocean basin surrounded by land, which means that the sea ice is corralled in the coldest, darkest part of the Northern Hemisphere. The Antarctic is land surrounded by ocean. Whereas Northern Hemisphere sea ice can extend to roughly 40 degrees north, Southern Hemisphere sea ice can extend to roughly 50 degrees south. Moreover, Antarctic sea ice does not extend southward to the pole; it can only fringe the continent.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/SeaIce/page4.php

  20. Two weeks ago, sea ice extent was running over 250,000 sq km BELOW 2007. As of today it is over 300,000 sq km ABOVE, which only goes to show how darned unpredictable the whole shooting match can be, especially in the short-term.

    Based on recent years melting between 2nd August and mid-September, a final figure close to 4.75m sq km looks most likely, but I am going to quote an uncertainty of +/- 0.5m sq km, so I don’t wind up wiping egg off my face (:-

  21. (Anthony, I hate to point this out, but if the observed turn of the curve is said to be right by us, it will be claimed as left by the “scientists”.)

    From my limited knowledge of physics, and what I observe, if the arctic makes the northern hemisphere cold, what makes the arctic cold? Loss of heat? Is it possible that the loss of heat (and subsequent cooling) of the arctic is underestimated by the models, and our observations aren’t sufficient to catch it?

    No matter what, it’s a most interesting blip in the trend.

  22. from the Rub-a-dub-dub, eight men in a tub polar rowboat team came this yesterday about the wind:
    “Since OLD PULTENEY departed from Resolute, the support boats have been ever at hand. They’ve provided great company for the first leg of this ocean rowing journey. Fingers crossed they’ve got some great images to bring back to Resolute and share with you all. From now on thou, we are on are own. The support boats have turned around and are sailing back to Resolute.

    “We don’t envy their trip home. We’ve been hammered by strong winds all day. It’s got up to 26 knots (31km/hour), which is mighty gusty. We’ve been pinned into the Bay, having made almost no progress since the morning. Similarly the support boats made it a few coves south, where they took shelter. A good decision too, as winds near Resolute are forecast to hit 70km/hour. Everyone’s using two anchors tonight.”

    http://www.rowtothepole.com/

  23. The most important question is clearly:

    What does this mean for the Row to the Pole expedition?

    /sarc

  24. It’s great fun anyway you look at it. Over at Real Climate, they were wetting themselves over the prospect of a new summer minimum. And this turn (right or left) has spoiled all their fun.

    BTW, early August in 2007 saw huge loses (on the order of 100,000k) every day.

  25. “What does this mean? The short answer is, probably nothing. When we approach the minimum, and the ice pack becomes more fractured and scattered, it also becomes more susceptible to the vagaries of local and regional wind and weather.”
    —–
    Gary says:
    August 3, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Just when you thought it was safe to bet your quatloos over at Lucia’s site this happens…

    Current odds at Intrade on there being more ice this year than in 2007: 86%. Overconfident? I think so.

    https://www.intrade.com/v4/markets/contract/?contractId=744206

  26. Watching very short term changes in Artic sea ice is like zen buddist meditation. Or maybe not.

    John

  27. As you say: “soupy”. Could be a setup for a crash, it’s still a ways to go to the belly of the curve.

  28. I weep for all the drowning polar bears but rejoice that all the Arctic row boaters had a wonderful July of ice free exploring.

  29. Driving in the UK is on the left hand side of the road. That is on the right side. If a driver should find himself on the right hand side, he would be on the wrong side. The reverse is true for the US.

  30. Hopefully its gods way of stopping those loons from rowing to the magnetic pole, if only there was some way of telling them.

    And Jim G, we in the UK drive on the correct side of the road, its the rest of you who got it wrong.

  31. Bystander responded to my comment: “Is it time to panic yet?”

    Obviously Bystander is in panic mode, while scientific skeptics know the natural variability of the Arctic is the null hypothesis, which has never been falsified. CO2 has nothing to do with Arctic sea ice, which is far below freezing. But everyone is entitled to their opinion, no matter how strange it is.

  32. I have some questions.

    Suppose you have a single piece of ice which has a surface area of one sqare mile, and then suppose, without melting, it fractures into many small pieces, which spread out until they cover an area of five square miles. If you add up the surface area of the many small pieces, the sum remains one square mile.

    My questions are:

    How would the above change change the area graph?

    How would the above change change the extent graph?

    One last question that often comes up.

    Can the satellite tell the difference between open water and a large, deep puddle on the surface of the ice?

  33. Smokey says:
    August 3, 2011 at 9:21 am

    “Looks like its turning upward.”

    No! It’s a new ice age! It’s now everyone’s duty to generate as much CO2 as possible in order avert this disaster!! (I’ll do my part by increasing my running mileage this week ;^).

    /sarc-iceage

  34. Warm,

    Why are you linking to July? That’s old news. This article is updated to August.

    Anyway, the Arctic is just experiencing regional variability. There’s nothing to panic about. It’s happened many times before, and it will naturally happen again.

  35. “http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ . . . “Arctic sea ice at record low for July”

    Simplified English translation

    “The sky is falling, the sky is falling”

    – provide at no charge of course.

  36. Smokey says:
    August 3, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Arctic warming is still far below the freezing point of water, …

    Arctic sea ice mostly melts from the bottom up. The ice can lose half its thickness but you won’t be able to tell just by standing on the surface (you have to drill a hole).

  37. Ah yes. Ye olde right-the-right-side-of-the-wrong-road controversy.

    Lettuce remind all reader (and a few writers) that the Brit’s are right in being properly left out of the road controversy. (Unless one is discussing the good drovers of AuZ or NZ or SA or the Falklands Isles. Robert notes that British influence down under must be a function of gravity … since the southernmost parts of every continent seem to attracts the UK’s left-over-road drivers. (Which brings up the side-of-road issues for the northern end of Antarctica, but that is a whole ‘nother subject.))

    Down under, on the wrong side of the equator, as they cling desperately to the ground lest they be fling centripetally into the hopeless obscurity of higher latitudes, we who are attracted to the center of earth’s well-being should take a moment to pause and reflect on their difficulties. They are not only trying to drive on the wrong side of the road (when viewed from the opposite direction at least) but doing so while upside down. Yes, gravity is a mean beast, it is so self-centered. Note too that the wrong side of the road controversy seems least critical on the few metalled roads of the Falklands, where internet driving recommendations all stress more the need to stay in the middle of few roads are present, rather than emphasizing which side of the road one can drive.

    More to the point of the graph, if the view is from the direction of the progress of the line, then one would have to conclude that the line is curving left and Anthony’s critics are dead right!

  38. It’s called DIVERGENCE. When the ice is concentration is low in a wide area (or “soupy” as Anthony called it), and the winds and currents are right, the ice can spread out or diverge, causing these very sudden and radical turns in extent. In fact, considering that temperatures have not been extremely cold, the only physical explanation for this sudden turn is divergence. Right now, the only direction for the ice to diverge is pretty much in to open warmer waters futher south. We’ve been seeing a lot of open water early in the season and had record warmth these areas, such as the Beaufort sea. As the ice diverges into these areas, it will melt. Expect an equally sudden turn downward in extent in the next week or so, and it could be especially sharp if high pressure, a stronlgy negative AO, or a stronger dipole anamoly sets up.

    BTW, this entire discussion watching of sea ice extent (and area) is interesting, and can give us a rough metric (and sometimes very rough) of how the sea ice is doing, but by far the best metric is one that measures total volume. And since we are still using models for this (though with CryoSat 2 it’s getting better). We still need an accurate guage of long-term trends in sea ice volume.

  39. Smokey says CO2 has nothing to do with Arctic sea ice”

    This is another non-scientific statement Smokey – the make-up of the atmosphere clearly impacts climate. It is impossible for there not to be an impact – the question is now much as the composition of the atmosphere changes.

  40. In order to understand the ups and downs of the Arctic sea ice numbers you need to understand that depending on the site they do not count any areas that have less than 15% or 30% ice coverage. What also needs to be understood is that the sea ice can be blown about by the wind. This ignoring of ice that does not meet the 15%. 30% criterion means that with a little wind concentrating the ice, it looks like more sea ice has formed,or in reverse it looks like the sea ice has melted.
    The swing upwards is more about the wind moving ice around and being counted than more ice forming.
    kent

  41. As I understand it [or not!] Ice extent is determined by :
    [1] Wind blowing ice in to the Atlantic and Pacific
    [2] Solar heating, directly and indirectly
    [3] ‘Global Warming’ via melting by heat from the atmosphere.

    Has anyone done a guesstimate of how much additional ice could be melted by global warming based on thermodynamic principles?

    For example, if you have cubic metre of ice at -1C in a perfectly insulated container, how many cubic metres of air at +2C would be required to melt the ice? Air temperature varies with height so the amount of air above freezing will be limited. Calculate the amount of air available above freezing in the Arctic and work out how many cubic metres of ice could be melted.

    This is where the problems start. All the air would now be at freezing point and would need an external energy source before more ice could be melted. The wind could blow in warmer air from elsewhere, but would cause cooling in the source area. However I would have thought that the most likely source of heat would be the sea water heated by the sun, with the wind transfering the heat to the ice, so would be part of the solar heating input, not ‘global warming’. Air is a poor store of heat so I am dubious as to how much effect it could actually have.

    Thinking about it, solar heating seems complicated. As the albedo of ice is so much greater than water I would have thought the melting by the sun would be slow until fractures appear. At this point the water will absorb a larger amount of heat and accelerate melting at the fracture points. As the gaps grow wider then the wind would, as mentioned, transfer heat from the water to the ice.

    Hopefully you get the jist. Can anyone quantify this?!

  42. I would surmise that telekinetic effect of a lot of people all concentrating to steer it to the left is at least as influential as CO2 steering it to the right.

  43. I’ve been looking at it for the last few days – and I also noticed that the temp plot wasn’t showing as many (none actually!) spikes through the summer so far….compared to what I remember from last year…

  44. Bystander, let me put it in the form of a hypothesis: CO2 is not causing the decline in Arctic sea ice. Do your best to falsify that statement. Models do not apply; models are tools, they are not evidence. Provide empirical, testable evidence, according to the scientific method, showing that it is CO2 causing the decline. That would falsify my hypothesis.

    Contrary to your assumption, that is scientific. The ball is in your court. Falsify my hypothesis – if you can – or admit that you can’t. And don’t forget to provide testable evidence. Without empirical evidence, all you have is a conjecture; a baseless opinion.

  45. Right turn? Left turn? Right turn? Wrong turn? I suppose it depends on whether you’ve got your radar configured “north up” or “head up”.

    A commenter – I think it was on this blog – observed that this “wiggle watching” was “like watching TV through a microscope”. I like that well enough to repeat it even though I can’t credit it properly. Good one, whoever said it!

    A turn towards “more ice” or “towards Ice Age” is great if we just want the warmists to be wrong. For human wellbeing, a turn “away from Ice Age” might be better.

    If the Arctic became ice-free, and I didn’t “read about it in the paper”, how would I know it had happened? What dire effect would I notice first?

    See you in September!

    Best,
    Frank

  46. With the greatest respect, Anthony – and nobody has more respect for you than I have – I think your “But if complaining about left/right is the best commentary you can muster, save it.” remark is a little harsh. I don’t think it was a complaint. I think it was a “really wanting to know” comment, which I too was about to make, until I was beaten to it. I’m sorry if this too causes you to be angry with us, but some of us are mere mortals, and I think we are entitled to ask about something which confuses us. Just my point of view – no offence intended. :)

  47. anticlimactic: The energy to melt the ice comes from the sea, not the atmosphere. The atmosphere can be well below freezing and the ice will still get thinner. In fact, the ice is making the air warmer not vice versa. For the 1052nd time, arctic sea ice melts from the bottom up.

  48. We keep thinking of 2007 as the death-bed of Arctic ice extent. I wonder what the minimum was over the past 150 years? Being 300,000 over the 2007 level isn’t reassuring if one believes 2007 really was a “bad” year for Arctic ice (unprecedented).
    @R Gates. If ice volume is the important metric and if Arctic ice really is the canary in the coal mine of global warming and we (the world) can’t be bothered to measure Arctic ice volume, well doesn’t that say a lot about our real perception of the urgency of this “problem”?

  49. anticlimactic says:
    August 3, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Here is support for your hypothesys: http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php
    Note how summer air temperature never exceeds +3C in the records going back to 1958.
    I asked the question some time ago; to raise global sea levels by 1 metre by 2100 some 400,000 cubic kilometres of land ice must melt. Since you can’t depend on sea water for this, how can the air carry enough energy to melt the ice in the forecast time scale?

  50. Hm, don’t make too much of it yet. Remember it is about ice surface. Perhaps the winds have changed a bit lately. Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to spoil your joy. Let’s see where we are in September. If it is well above the mean by then, we could make a feast, perhaps.

  51. The Truncated Row to the Old Magnetic Pole site takes comments. They’re so goofy-gushy I had to counterbalance:

    Davy Jones awaits … His growlers are filing their teeth.

    Btw, the actual current Magnetic North Pole is about 480 miles NNW of the 1996 location you’re headed for. It’s in the middle of the ocean, not onshore any more.

    I’m so ashamed.
    Sorta.

  52. I don’t see what’s so unusual about this. Last year, there was also a period of a few weeks when the melt rate decreased (albeit a few weeks earlier), only to resume a faster rate later on. Exactly the same thing could happen this year. It ain’t over ’til its over.

  53. Bystander says:
    August 3, 2011 at 11:29 am
    This is another non-scientific statement Smokey – the make-up of the atmosphere clearly impacts climate. It is impossible for there not to be an impact – the question is now much as the composition of the atmosphere changes.
    Yep, you’re right – yours is about as unscientific as they get. “The make-up of the atmosphere” – is that the latest Alarmospeak for “carbon”?
    “Impossible for there not to be”, meaning your most fervent wishful thinking. Any “impact” is likely to be exceedingly small, such that it gets lost in the noise. It’s like saying that a flea on an elephant’s back “impacts” the elephant’s forward motion by virtue of its mass and extra wind resistance.

  54. R. Gates says (August 3, 2011 at 11:28 am): “As the ice diverges into these areas, it will melt. Expect an equally sudden turn downward in extent in the next week or so …”

    No room for a positive ice albedo effect to amplify the ice gain in your reasoning?

    Would be interested to hear why a positive ice albedo effect might be one-sided in favour of ice loss.

  55. Could get a cracking view of events unfolding from Cam 2 of NOAA’s floating ‘pole’ cams next week. Not of the ice, but of the Perseids meteor shower…

  56. Gary says:
    August 3, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Just when you thought it was safe to bet your quatloos over at Lucia’s site this happens…
    ######
    ya i was all set to bet a couple weeks ago, but it was clear that weather was gunna dominate what happened. I wish you could bet two numbers cause one would be 4.5 and the other would be 5+.

  57. a little fun

    —————-

    Ships Log of the virtual ice extent vessel JAXA in the Artic. Captain AMSR-E commanding.

    @ 09:oo 31 Jul 2011
    Captain AMRSE says: Helmsman, report.

    Helmsman says: Captain AMSR-E, Sir, we have been on a heading of southeast @135 degrees for about a week. Ice is soupy and winds fair. No dead polar bears sighted, Sir!

    Captain AMSR-E says: Very good helmsman. Prepare for change of course.

    Helmsman says: Prepare for course change, aye Sir.

    Captain AMSR-E says: Port your helm 45 degrees to a new heading of due East @ 090 degrees.

    Helmsman says: Make new heading off the port bow at 090 degrees, due East, aye Sir.

    Helmsman says: Now bearing due East Sir!

    Captain AMSR-E says: Very well helmsman. Attention radioman, send a signal to the blog WUWT reporting our change of heading. Lots of good mates there love this kind of info.

    : )

    John

  58. I can see very similar turn in 2010 data just about one month earlier and it didn’t mean anything – there may be less ice melted but more about to melt. I still think we’re going to get record low or close second.

  59. Another factor may be thicker ice during the winter has made the ice cap a little more resistant to melting preserving the extent value as we see now.

  60. “the Arctic ice cover looks a bit more soupy in 2011:”

    Even if temps do not indicate a strong melt, there can still be lots of potential for compaction. As many have said, time will tell, place your bets and sit back.

  61. It is the 3rd of August 2011 and we still have some ice left in the arctic.Could it be that Joe Bastardi was correct with his prediction for this year?

  62. I have been watching these little turns for a long while now and can nearly predict them well from sunspots. When the number and darkness of the sunspots goes up the TSI goes down and the sea ice extent at both poles turns toward more ice. When the sun clears up the TSI goes up and the sea ice extent lines both turn toward less ice.
    Also if the solar wind speed and density are low the turn is toward more ice(different to TSI).
    So now with a higher than recent sunspot count we have lower TSI and the ice extent lines turn toward more ice. Solar wind speed is falling but the density is up a bit. The sunspot count went down just a bit so the turn maybe just a bit back from the last few days but still toward more ice for the next few days.
    Does TSI or solar wind change the wind(air) at the poles?

  63. From Knuts on August 3, 2011 at 10:52 am:

    And Jim G, we in the UK drive on the correct side of the road, its the rest of you who got it wrong.

    Nah, not quite. Right-side driving is more correct for practical and scientific reasons.

    Humans are predominantly right-handed. As is normal and practical, the driver is positioned next to the center of the road, thus in the US they sit on the left side. The left hand operates simple controls like turn signals and headlights, while the right hand operates the more complex controls traditionally found near the center of the vehicle like originally the shifter, later on the environmental and sound system controls, these days even the GPS. Thus right side of the road driving, when considering control placement, is aligned with what is normally expected in human body orientation (right-handedness).

    Also, with that normal body orientation, the left arm is normally used for defensive motions, the shield arm. By placing the left arm against the door, in the case of a side impact it is far more likely the left arm will be injured instead of the right arm. Normally the right arm is far more important for dexterity and general functionality; if you’re right-handed and had to choose which arm to lose, you’d choose the left arm. The right arm, normally the more-important arm, is better protected by being near the center of the vehicle.

    Thus, given standard driver placement near the center of the road and the expected right-handedness of humans, it is more practical thus more correct to drive on the right side of the road.

  64. I’m curious.

    It has been established that soot has a significant role in ice melt. Is anyone trying to track or measure this in any way? If not, why not?

  65. lowercasefred says:
    August 3, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I’m curious.

    It has been established that soot has a significant role in ice melt. Is anyone trying to track or measure this in any way? If not, why not?
    _________________________________
    fred, melt via soot is counter- meme

  66. Could it be due to sensor tuning? As someone who’s worked extensively with sensors, I know how difficult they can be to keep calibrated, so that year to year data is good. I’m sure calibrations and adjustments are made, and data corrected, and this could lead to strange trends. Sensors tuned to match sensitivity in one range (i.e., 80% cover) ice can be low in another range (i.e., 100% cover), which is one possibility (of many!) in explaining the recent zag.

  67. I hate to toot my own horn, well really I don’t, and if I don’t who will? This is from last weekend.

    Dave Wendt says:
    July 30, 2011 at 3:44 pm
    Brian says:
    July 30, 2011 at 1:33 pm
    It looks like 2011 could be headed for a record Artic melt:

    http://news.yahoo.com/2011-headed-record-arctic-melt-214206330.html

    The fact that CT’s Greenland Sea sub region graph is the only one of fourteen that has been showing a positive anomaly for more than a month now, suggests to me that whatever may be occurring with regard to Arctic Sea Ice is likely based once again on factors not related to AGW.

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.5.html

    BTW, I just scanned the graphs on the Sea Ice Reference Page and it would appear that most are showing this year’s decline curve flattening in relation to 2007, with some significantly above 2007 at this point. As the old song goes I guess we’ll “see you in September”.

    Those of you who have, perhaps quite sensibly, been studiously avoiding reading my comments, be aware of the font of nearly infinite wisdom you have been denying yourself access too.

    Sorta sarc I guess…maybe

  68. Ladies and gents, I think you’re all being awfully un-scientific about this whole left-turn/right-turn thing, and the whole UK/USA thingy…

    Anthony has got it right because the JAXA graph shows only the Northern Hemisphere ice and as we all know, Coriolis effect means that moving objects (ie the line) are deflected to the right in the NH. Had the graph been displaying Antarctic ice, the same graph would be described as a left-turn because of Coriolis. Simples!

    ps:
    kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    August 3, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    ["Also, with that normal body orientation, the left arm is normally used for defensive motions, the shield arm."]

    Nah, that’s just the USA citizens being defensive! In the UK, we prefer to be more offensive, hence we would have our sword (as opposed to shield) arm ready for use in case we need to scythe down unsuspecting warmists or chavs… Actually, it would more likely be a case of making rude gestures easily without having to lean across the missus!

    :)

    Arfur

  69. I would have to agree with R Gates that the area of “soupier” ice looks set for a big area decline as minimum approaches. But to what extent is any of this due to AGW? We know from various scientific papers (eg. http://climateresearchnews.com/2008/10/winds-are-dominant-cause-of-greenland-and-west-antarctic-ice-sheet-losses/wind-induced circulation changes in the ocean as the dominant cause“, http://wattsupwiththat.com/2007/10/03/nh-sea-ice-loss-its-the-wind-says-nasa/wind patterns that compressed the sea ice.. and then sped its flow out of the Arctic.. When that sea ice reached lower latitudes, it rapidly melted“) that the main factors affecting ice loss are winds and ocean currents. We know that the predicted AGW warming is now not detected in the upper parts of the ocean (top 700m??), so it isn’t combining with ocean currents to melt ice. The only reasonable conclusion, it seems to me, is that whatever the Arctic ice does this year, it isn’t due to AGW.

    And I think Smokey was in fact right when he pointed to Antarctica and its failure to lose sea ice as being significant. When Bystander quoted NASA “The Antarctic is in some ways the precise opposite of the Arctic.“, there doesn’t appear to be any suggestion in the NASA item that AGW would not affect Antarctica in the same way as the Arctic over a period of years, ie. after allowing enough time to override “noise”. Sea Ice in Antarctica is also affected mainly by ocean currents and winds, and AGW would AFAIK have the same sort of effect in Antarctica as it would in the Arctic. The fact that Antarctica has performed so differently to the Arctic throughout the satellite age surely suggests strongly that AGW is not the major influence, and that something quite different is happening. It could be worth revisiting Henrik Svensmark’s explanation – http://www.space.dtu.dk/English/Research/Research_divisions/Sun_Climate.aspx – “Evidence that the Earth’s climate really responds to variations in cloud cover comes from Antarctica. When the rest of the world warms up, the southern continent tends to cool down, and vice versa (diagram 2). This contrary behaviour is predictable, because clouds have an unusual warming effect over Antarctica.“.

  70. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    August 3, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    *Right-side driving is more correct for practical and scientific reasons.*

    If I might be so bold as to disagree, using your own arguments.
    The most critical thing in driving is vehicle control, which is primarily through steering control. In a right hand drive vehicle most of the ancilliary controls are operated with the left hand, meaning that the right hand (the strongest and most dexterous hand) rarely or never leaves the steering wheel. Maximum control is maintained. To use the best hand for the minor actions and the weaker hand for the most critical is not sensible.

  71. When looking at this graph from Bill, the only similar u-turn (swing right) occurred with the highest minimum recorded (1980) and the least decline after during the entire data set.

    Not suggesting we will have highest minimum of course (5.0-5.1), but if this repeats could have one of the least declines in Arctic ice over the next several weeks. To balance this up there seems large areas with 60 percent or less ice cover compared with 2007, so if this were to quickly disappear (who knows, not impossible, but unlikely) then dramatic melt in ice could yet still occur.

    What happened during 1980 that made this trend unlike any other at least so far?

    The AO dominated positive around this period after with frequent low pressures around the north pole and very cold air at times for the time of year demonstrated below.

    This prevented very little further melt in the Arctic above 75N+.

  72. I suspect we are seeing the effects of ash from the eruptions in Iceland to a certain extent. They have some interesting stuff coming out about the thickness of ash vs melt.. plus atmospheric variables that go with any eruption. But the fat lady has not sung, so who knows how short or long term the trend would be. I think it would be rather interesting if it continued to the right.. but it really wont matter, even if it completely froze over months early,, that too would be “climate change”. You just cant win, because the climate is always changing.

  73. I have been following the sea ice discussions the past few years but have not really delved into the issue in depth. As I understand it, the satellite record seems to be the primary benchmark, but that only extends from 1979. Do we actually have any solid data of Arctic sea ice extents over say the past 200 years? Or is it merely anecdotal? Given that from what I’ve read the 70s were apparently a time of increasing ice extent in the Arctic, what evidence is that this was not an unusually positive anomaly? How is it known that the current sea ice extent is worse than the norm for the past 200 years? Apologies if this has already been covered and I’ve missed it.

  74. If the flow of warm water into the arctic from the Atlantic has shut down, it may be a repeat of 1980-the increased ice off the east coast of Greenland toward the source of this warm water shows that the warm water is shutting down in its flow toward the arctic. The melt for this year may be about finished and it may flatline till freeze-up. As far as Cryosphere Now indicating it being soupy-the Canadian map contradicts it and shows a 90 percent concentration of sea ice where the Cryosphere Now chart shows only 60 percent concentration. Side with the Canadian being more accurate, and the slowdown in the melt seems to verify this. Also the Crosphere Now chart shows much more ice this year than 2007-we are nowhere near 2007 right now-do not believe the figures on some of these charts that show us neck and neck with 2007-there is some fudging going on.

  75. I never really “got” this Arctic sea ice obsession thing. To me it’s a lot like watching ice melt. I have better things to d– Oh, look, “The Day After Tomorrow” is on the comedy channel!

  76. From Richard of NZ on August 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm (referencing my previous post):

    If I might be so bold as to disagree, using your own arguments.

    Feel free. It would be unscientific to refuse a reasoned rebuttal.

    The most critical thing in driving is vehicle control, which is primarily through steering control. In a right hand drive vehicle most of the ancilliary controls are operated with the left hand, meaning that the right hand (the strongest and most dexterous hand) rarely or never leaves the steering wheel. Maximum control is maintained. To use the best hand for the minor actions and the weaker hand for the most critical is not sensible.

    These days power steering is the standard, at least in the US, so strong/weak hand considerations are less critical. Ideally you’re supposed to have both hands on the wheel anyway. Also, as revealed by new research (for those who didn’t realize it from mere common sense), distracted driving is a major cause of accidents. So the best thing is to do quickly whatever control fiddling is needed so you can sooner return your attention to the road and get both hands back on the wheel. This is best accomplished with your most dexterous hand, which is normally a person’s right hand. So right side of the road driving remains more correct.

  77. Additional food for thought care of the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). They provide “real-time nowcast/forecast results from the 1/12° Arctic Cap Nowcast/Forecast System (ACNFS). ACNFS is a coupled sea ice and ocean model that nowcasts and forecasts conditions in all sea ice covered areas in the northern hemisphere (poleward of 40° N).”

    Ice Concentration:

    Ice Concentration 30 Day Animation:

    Ice Concentration 365 Day Animation:

    Ice Thickness:

    Ice Thickness 30 Day Animation:

    Ice Thickness 365 Day Animation:

    Ice Thickness and Drift:

    Ice Thickness and Drift 30 Day Animation:

    Ice Thickness and Drift 365 Day Animation:

    Ice Speed and Drift:

    Ice Speed and Drift 30 Day Animation:

    Ice Speed and Drift 365 Day Animation:

    Sea Surface Temperature:

    Sea Surface Temperature 30 Day Animation:

    Sea Surface Temperature 365 Day Animation:

    Source Page:

    http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/arctic.html

    Background on the Arctic Cap Nowcast/Forecast System (ACNFS):

    http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/prologue.html

  78. @ Richard of NZ

    I might also add that if you are driving a RHD car it is easier to use your right hand to make appropriate gestures to other drivers.

  79. I think these temporary blips cause people to overstate their case no matter which side they are on and this is no exception. I would look for a rather rapid decline sometime soon followed by a slow upturn shortly after that and then a more rapid upturn by November. See, you all got that info for free and I bet it proves correct :)

  80. The extent graph is subject to significant fluctuations due to ice getting packed together or scattered by the wind.The area graph is more stable and may be a better predictor of the future:

    The upturn there, while much less dramatic, is more encouraging to me.

  81. RACookPE1978 says:
    August 3, 2011 at 11:22 am

    “… if the view is from the direction of the progress of the line, then one would have to conclude that the line is curving left and Anthony’s critics are dead right!”

    Of course Mr. Cook, but why be so literal? On a graph of this nature, one might see a left turn as one that would favour the leftist expectation, and a right turn … well, you get the idea.

    BTW, I appreciate your dissertation on centripetal gravity. Now I understand why I often feel as though I’m hanging by my fingernails.

  82. Just a satellite anomaly, we should have it corrected shortly. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programs.

  83. One tries. 8<) (One is trying?)

    Still, 'tis interesting to consider that the web is so sadly lacking in such basic things as to whether one drives on the right or wrong side of the road in the Falklands, and just it emphasizes just how few of the streets of the Falklands actually have two lanes upon which to drive? (Should the late war have gone the other way, would the Argentines been forced to convert their tanks? What would the Germans have done if their invasion had begun back in '40? Got lost at the first wrong-way round-a-bout?)

  84. kadaka, Arfur has the right of it!
    In countries with a bit of history you would pass the rider coming toward you on the left so that your sword was between you and him (very few habitually carried shields). To do otherwise is just to succumb to a consensus of convenience.

  85. This looks like a decline in the rate of decline to me. Watch out that Tricky Mike doesn’t try to hide it.

  86. From Phil’s Dad on August 3, 2011 at 8:31 pm:

    In countries with a bit of history you would pass the rider coming toward you on the left so that your sword was between you and him (very few habitually carried shields). To do otherwise is just to succumb to a consensus of convenience.

    There’s the problem right there, thinking about swords when assuming a proactive defensive stance (weapons drawn). This is the modern age. In a car or truck, in America, the right-handed would be pulling out a handgun and holding it with their right hand. It’s tough to get the hand next to the door into a proper shooting position, often involving having the arm sticking through the open window, outside the vehicle where it’s more exposed. With a right-handed driver, being seated on the left makes it easier to get off a clean shot through the open window of the driver’s door while using the better hand and while keeping all of your body inside the relative protection of the vehicle.

    Also, to mention it, semi-automatic handguns normally eject the spent cases towards the right (looking from the rear of the weapon). Assuming one is holding with the hand nearer the center of the vehicle, a driver seated on the left would have the cases flying towards the windshield. If seated on the right, the hot brass would be flung towards their face.

    Again, driving on the right side of the road just makes more sense.

  87. I don’t know if this is a statistical fluke or what, but I’ve discovered an “August 28th leading indicator” for IARC-JAXA data. The rule is that however the August 28th IARC-JAXA values are ranked by year, so too will the minima be ranked. E.g. 2003 has the #1 (i.e. highest) August 28th value, and the highest overall min. 2004 has second highest August 28th and overall values. For what it’s worth, here are the numbers. I’m looking forward to 1400Z August 29th for the IARC-JAXA August 28th value, to see where this year slots in.

    Year Overall Overall
    Year Min Value Rank Value Rank
    2003 6032031 1 6353125 1
    2004 5784688 2 5971563 2
    2006 5781719 3 5966406 3
    2002 5646875 4 5957656 4
    2005 5315156 5 5771250 5
    2009 5249844 6 5554219 6
    2010 4952813 7 5342656 7
    2008 4707813 8 5163125 8
    2007 4254531 9 4724844 9

  88. Jigs and jogs aren’t all that unusual. The lines tend to cluster together most of the time, and geographic constraints result in significant autocorrelation. Anything could happen. Well, anything but Serreze retracting his death-spiral cant.

  89. Kadaka,

    To perpetuate this bit of fun…

    If you had historic castles in the US you would know that the castle turrets were designed to have a clockwise orientation so as to afford the right-handed swordsman defender a greater advantage over the right-handed swordsman attacker who would be baulked by the wall. Ergo, in true warmist logic, we in the UK have it right! Of course, left-handed swordsmen would have been fine, but unfortunately they were all burned as witches for being weird.

    Usual PC caveats apply… no offence meant to either warmists or lefties, etc…:)

    Arfur

  90. Mods said:
    [snip - policy violation - trying to advertise a website on art prints]

    Sorry – that was definitely not the intent. Lesson learned.

  91. @Caleb

    I remember you predicting this some weeks ago: an above average melt followed by an unexpected early flattening out.

    Something changed in the Cryosphere today image data this year, it shows larger day to day variability in colour pattern. I would take it with a pinch of salt.

  92. SandyInDerby says:
    August 3, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Correct – illustrating what happens when one posts in haste and has a poor memory! My bad! When I checked the archive sometime later I realised my mistake! I guess I was remembering that there were several years with significant summer temp variation and my brain was essentially ‘noting’ that this year the graph seems to have closely follow the mean line…

    I suppose, if air temps are fairly ‘normal’ then any melt acceleration must be related to ocean heat/currents, etc.

  93. Hmm, is that tick left turning or anti clockwise?

    Only joking.

    Last few days on JAXA are

    -23281
    -22969
    -34687
    -18594
    -2500
    -25938

    so not very big at all, certainly not compared to the start of July when it was 100 00+. Maybe it will pick up again though. The AO seems to be turning once again more negative and the pattern of High and Lows up there may revert to looking like start of July again. Certainly the warm southerly winds from the Russian side have not been blowing of late and assisting the insitue melt and compaction, if they start again it should pick up as it looks pretty crumbly on that side.

    Andy

  94. Ed Mertin says:
    August 3, 2011 at 7:09 pm
    As I recall Pamela called this last week. Well done, Pam!

    Actually she said the opposite, if the AO gets more positive then ice extent loss will increase, when actually it has decreased. That is because she is of the opinion it is mainly wind driven.

    Andy

  95. commieBob says:
    August 3, 2011 at 12:26 pm
    anticlimactic: The energy to melt the ice comes from the sea, not the atmosphere

    Then how do melt ponds occur and why does the snow around Barrow dissappear in summer?

    Andy

  96. If its responding to the somewhat lazy sun already, it could even bottom out above 6Mkm3.
    I doubt it very much, but if you continue the curvature, that’s where it ends up !!

    Anyone want to start guessing values for December ??
    How would AGW bletheren feel if it was above 12Mkm3 in December ;-) That would be fun to see !!

  97. Has any of this ‘early melting’ to do with the recent nearby volcanic activity on Iceland? And I think I recall there has been recent underwater volcanic activity around the Arctic itself. Has anyone done any comparisons to see if there is any relationship between the two?

  98. SandyInDerby says:
    August 3, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Kev-in-Uk says:
    August 3, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Kev,
    the DMI has graphical data on the Artic temperature back to 1959 here.

    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

    The summer temperature seems to be pretty stable over the years where as the rest of the year the temperature can vary quite a lot. It is as if there is a ceiling that the temperature can not rise above?

  99. Anthony I know you blokes over in America drive on the wrong side of the road, I have driven in America on a motor cycle and did have a few problems.

    This arctic ice gives me a clue as to my driving problems, if you were on the red line traveling from west to east and did a right turn you would be headed south. This graph is heading north.

    This explains my driving problems, your right turns are my left turns, riding a harley in California with these differences, I count my blessings.

    My take on this arctic ice turn is that the ocean under the ice has lost its heat. I have said before that the melting of the ice is the start of a cooling. Melting Ice takes a lot of heat and open water in the far north dumps a heap of heat to space.

  100. RE: phlogiston says:
    August 4, 2011 at 12:33 am
    “Something changed in the Cryosphere today image data this year, it shows larger day to day variability in colour pattern. I would take it with a pinch of salt.”

    I’ve sensed the same thing. I find it irksome, for I tend to think in pictures. If I can’t get a clear picture, my thinking is fuzzy.

    I have great respect for the great brains who post on this site, and marvel over their math, and am humbled, for, compared to them, I’m a math moron. However, to pump my ego back up, I use the following analogy:

    Suppose you are coaching a baseball team, and you have two outfielders, one who has an IQ of 160 and a second who has an IQ of 60. When you hit a fly ball to the genius he whips out a calculator, does calculations with amazing speed, and comes up the answer just as the ball bounces off his head. When you hit a fly ball to the moron he watches it go up, runs to where it will come down, waits, and catches it.

    In terms of math, I’m the moron, but if I get a clear picture of things I sometimes can figure out where the ball is going to land. Therefore I wish I could be more certain I was getting a clear picture from Cryosphere today.

  101. Caleb

    I agree with your baseball analogy. Climate is complex with many factors combining in unknown ways. Being too mathematical with climate can lead you up the garden path – CAGW is an example. In biology with even more complex systems, mathematics plays only a peripheral role.

  102. @R Gates

    Quick to call “divergence” when extent increases (relatively speaking) but when extent falls we don’t hear much from you about “convergence” (wind packing the ice closer) – then its all about the catastropically warming Arctic. Anyway we’ll see if your prediction of an early responsive fall in extent happens or not…

  103. RACookPE1978 says:

    quote
    (Should the late war have gone the other way, would the Argentines been forced to convert their tanks?
    unquote
    The Argies demonstrated their consideration for the inhabitants of their new colony by immediately enforcing a drive on the right policy. They left a nice lot of Merc jeeps, all LHD, for us to drive after they’d legged it. And, oddly, they sh*t on everything, even going so far as to trowel the stuff into a house fusebox. But I digress.

    kadaka (KD Knoebel) wrote

    quote
    Also, as revealed by new research (for those who didn’t realize it from mere common sense), distracted driving is a major cause of accidents. So the best thing is to do quickly whatever control fiddling is needed so you can sooner return your attention to the road and get both hands back on the wheel. This is best accomplished with your most dexterous hand, which is normally a person’s right hand. So right side of the road driving remains more correct.
    unquote

    You have created in this post a model which, if we are to trust you, must be testable to see if your hypothesis is correct. You have made a common error by not showing your data.

    Your model shows that countries with the steering wheel on the left will have a lower accident rate than those with RHD. What does the data say?

    BTW, not all cars have power steering — my Midget is completely free of all mod cons. Mind you, it was built in 1967.

    (See, Anthony, even distractions can give valuable insights into GW science! And if you’d like another description of what that line is doing, it’s turning widdershins.)

    JF
    Maybe I should have been a teacher….

  104. I’m sticking with my under 4.5 guess. If 2007 was wind-driven, then a repeat of strong winds in August should flush a lot of ice from the Arctic because it looks a lot less concentrated than it was in 2007, plus the NE passage is open already and never did open in 2007. It just seems like it’s set up to be easily flushed this year if the winds are right.

    Note that the area graphs keep falling at a decent clip, indicating that melting is going on at a more or less normal pace, but I don’t think the winter build up was as good as previous years so there’s less to melt this year. With melting still continuing and the ice spread out like it is, it seems to me like it would just melt faster in place and be even more prone to a faster flushing when (or if) the winds finally pick back up.

  105. phlogiston says “In biology with even more complex systems, mathematics plays only a peripheral role.”

    That is factually incorrect. In fact one of the major initiatives by pretty much all of the major firms is to spend more time modeling and doing analytics across their R&D portfolio.

  106. Been watching this every day. If you look at the arctic air temperature anomaly, it is sharply negative, which is what is driving the trend. I would bet that we are near the bottom for 2010 ice.

    If this is true, the Western USA is in for one HELL of a winter. Temps in the bay area are barely breaking 70

  107. Okay, Andy, I’ve been known to be wrong when my thinkolator is fried. It doesn’t take long to bake a gourd in Ft. Smith, AR at 115°F (new record) & McAlester & Atoka, OK at 113°F which is where I was at the time. Baking it some more in Schulenburg, TX… at least the trees are green. In Oklahoma everything is various shades of brown.

  108. Dennis Wingo says:
    August 4, 2011 at 9:55 am
    Been watching this every day. If you look at the arctic air temperature anomaly, it is sharply negative, which is what is driving the trend. I would bet that we are near the bottom for 2010 ice.

    _____
    Ice melt is now being driven more by water temps than air temps, and water temps in and around the Arctic remain quite high. We are far from the bottom. I expect a dramatic downturn soon. 2011 will certainly be lower than 2010, and its far too early tell about winter weather, but the association between sea ice extent and harsh winters in lower latitudes is more inverse…with warmer Arctic weather and less sea ice more closely associated with harsher weather further south.

  109. phlogiston says:
    August 4, 2011 at 4:46 am
    @R Gates

    Quick to call “divergence” when extent increases (relatively speaking) but when extent falls we don’t hear much from you about “convergence” (wind packing the ice closer) – then its all about the catastropically warming Arctic. Anyway we’ll see if your prediction of an early responsive fall in extent happens or not…

    _____

    I call it like I see it. When ice is compacting, I’ll say it is. Early in the melt season, April-May-June, the ice is still to concentrated to really diverge or compact too much. It is really later in the melt season July-Aug-Sept that we can start to get big divergence and compacting of the ice as the concentration is lower and weather systems can diverge or compact all that “soupy” ice more easily. Overall, the long-term trend of year-to-year Arctic sea ice extent, area, and volume is clear to all but the most hardened of skeptics…and it’s down.

  110. An “unusual” sharp right turn.

    Sharp turns are undoubtedly going to be more common due to global climate disruption. /sarc

  111. R. Gates says:

    Ice melt is now being driven more by water temps than air temps…

    …as opposed to times when water temps are not the primary driving force? If you want to be taken seriously, you should acknowledge that water temps are always a greater driver than air temps, regardless of whether you meant it relatively speaking, The greatest factor that the atmosphere has going for it is the wind effect, which you might mention, as that is “driven” by air temps.

  112. Daniel M says:
    August 4, 2011 at 11:44 am
    R. Gates says:

    Ice melt is now being driven more by water temps than air temps…

    …as opposed to times when water temps are not the primary driving force? If you want to be taken seriously, you should acknowledge that water temps are always a greater driver than air temps, regardless of whether you meant it relatively speaking, The greatest factor that the atmosphere has going for it is the wind effect, which you might mention, as that is “driven” by air temps.

    ______
    Don’t know what you mean “greatest factor the atmosphere has going for it”. Certianly, wind can be viewed in some regards as a “macro” temperature effect, if one views temperature from a statistical thermodynamics perspective as being a measurement of average kinetic energy of the molecules. When masses of air rush around, that’s a lot of kinetic energy, which can move ice and melt ice, and of course wind in general is yet another form of the net energy budget of the earth, and therefore wind is of course at least partially another form of solar energy.

    And yes, since most of the volume of sea ice is under water, most of the melting by volume also must occur there as well, but there are times when air temps play a greater role relatively speaking.

  113. Dave Springer says:
    August 4, 2011 at 11:32 am
    An “unusual” sharp right turn.

    Sharp turns are undoubtedly going to be more common due to global climate disruption. /sarc

    ____
    Though of course you are being sarcastic, you probably are more accurate than you know. As Arctic sea ice thins in general, it should see many seasons of rapid swings up and down. We saw this after the 2007 low, when the extent grew rapidly again in the fall, and then again in 2008, when it plunged from a higher level very rapidly, though didn’t get to the 2007 low.

    As sea ice volume declines, it will be much more subject to sharp turns, especially later in the melt season as the “soupy” ice can get pushed around by the wind and currents far more readily, leading to divergence or compactification, depending on the wind directions.

  114. This up-turn is actually very unusual. Over a two week period, the melt rate in 2011 is by far the lowest in the record going back to 1972 (a sensor glitch shouldn’t be ruled out).

    We have just passed the peak per day melt period and 2011 is now only 50% of the average 2 week melt rate.

  115. If some of the Alarmists keep wish-casting the ice below 2007, then it might actually come true eventually.

    In all seriousness, its been hilarious to watch their reactions as the ice loss flattens out the last week. Until the pattern shifts dramatically up there, the ice will continue a general slower than average melt.

  116. Dennis Wingo and R Gates – you both draw a link between Arctic temperatures and temperatures further south. DW http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/03/sea-ice-news-arctic-sea-ice-extent-making-a-sharp-right-turn/#comment-712036 expects the cold Arctic to lead to cold further south, RG http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/03/sea-ice-news-arctic-sea-ice-extent-making-a-sharp-right-turn/#comment-712055 thinks that cold further south tends to be associated with a warmer Arctic not cooler. I have no idea if either of you is right, but is there any evidence to support one view vs the other?

  117. After looking at whats transpired over the past 2 weeks and reviewing the sea ice concentration 30 day animation on Cryosphere Today, as much as it pains me, I have to agree with R Gates on what we might expect for the remainder of the melt period.

    Dispersion of the ice is very clearly behind the current low rate of extent loss. This has left a massive area of ice with concentrations below 60% which will be exceedingly vulnerable to melt over the next 30 days.

    I think we should expect to see a number of days where the extent loss is well in excess of 100,000km2 per day and a minimum in the 4.5-4.7 million km2 range.

  118. I don’t want to get into the game of guessing what might happen next. Except to say that the ice sheets are demonstrating an ability to spring surprises and the ensuing discussion reveals a lot about doom and gloom predictions.

    For those who expect a sudden loss of ice because it may be thin, why is it that ice albedo effects are being ignored? Surely some of the AGW rhetoric would acknowledge that the extended ice cover will deprive the water of sunlight and therefore the heating that is argued to amplify ice loss. Doesn’t the same argument indicate amplification of ice gain?

  119. Kelvin Vaughan says:
    August 4, 2011 at 3:32 am

    cannot disagree with you there – the interesting point being that if summer melt is generally consistent (by the surface air temps being similar) then the ice pack extent and thickness must be dependent on some other factor…obviously if air temps are above freezing, ice cannot form (except perhaps by wind chill factor?) so during subzero temps, other effects must play a major role – ergo, ice formation cannot be primarily affected by surface air temp?

  120. I would suspect that ice albedo arguments are a more long term effect. If water temp is more of a driver than air temps (in combination with wind and ocean currents) then it stands to reason there would be a lag in seeing impacts from any albedo effects.

  121. No, air temperatures during the Arctic “summer melt season” – up where the ice actually is! above 80 north – are very steady at +1.0 degree C. Very seldom the past 60 years do temp’s go above +1.5 degrees, very seldom do the air temp’s go below -1.0 C.

    Melting of the sea ice is most strong from below, from the water – at +2 to +4 degrees C melting out the ice. (Obviously, if the sea ice breaks up, individual floes and areas go further by wind and current drift much further south into warmer air, warmer water, and more solar insolation. ALL of those three melt out the ice even faster.)

    Right at mid-Sept, Arctic air temps drop below freezing, and stay there at -25 degrees until the next June. That period – when the very cold Arctic air IS freezing the sea water into sea ice – is when the ice extents begin recovering and return to their maximum extents the next Feb-March. So, right now, right between mid-July and early August do the “highest” water temperatures AND highest air temperatures AND highest amount of solar insolation combine that ice melt rates are the greatest. So, since every day now, the sun is lower in the sky, and since day further more energy will be absorbed by the atmosphere before it reaches the surface, and since every further day now more energy will reflect off the ice and water surface, there is little reason to suspect loss rates will increase substantially. Losses will continue most certainly, but the physical effects causing those losses to occur are decreasing now, and will continue to decrease.

  122. R. Gates says:
    August 4, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Directtions: Shake contents vigorously before spraying can of CO2 Barbecue Red.
    Warning – contents under pressure.
    Flammable – keep away from ignition sources.
    Toxic – Use only in well ventilated area.
    Keep away from pets and children.
    35 years ago, the can was labeled Cyrogenic Blue.

  123. RACookPE1978 says:
    August 4, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    agreed – which begs the question – is arctic sea ice loss a direct consequence of global warming (even more specifically CO2 related warming) – based on the knowledge of historical NW passage travel, etc – surely, the variation of arctic sea ice is far more ‘natural’ than the warmists would have use believe?

  124. “Kev-in-UK says:
    August 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    obviously if air temps are above freezing, ice cannot form (except perhaps by wind chill factor?)”

    When the temperatures are above freezing, such as 2 C, humans experience a wind chill factor during high winds since our body temperature is 37 C. However ice experiences the opposite effect during high winds and 2 C. If the temperature is 2 C, the ice melts much faster the windier it is. However despite this, I think that the sun shining down, especially if there is a lot of soot on the ice surface, causes far more surface ice to melt than the slightly warmer air temperature.

  125. To attach any meaningful importances to sunshine in the Arctic at this time of the year, you need W/M^2 at each latitude, starting at 65N.

  126. Sort of: Every year, all the sea ice melts in most areas of the Arctic: Sea ice extents basically drops from 14 million km^2 to between 5 to 6 millon, now trending towards 4+ million. Regardless of anything anybody wanted to believe above earlier years, sea ice will always melt each summer, then always re-freeze as temperatures begin to drop down towards -20 degrees C (or less) beginning the first week in October as the sun drops lower and lower.

    However, you can very closely approximate that 4.0 million square km of ice as a circular cap centered on the pole, extending south to 79.8 degrees latitude. Use 80 north latitude. (80 north latitude skims across a little bit of north Greenland – and that isn’t sea ice, and the actual center of the “real sea ice” is centered about 83 north latitude at 180 longitude 180 west.) There is almost no sea ice below 65 south at any times of the year, and none significantly measurable during any part of the summer melting season when the sun is up for substantial parts of the day at substantial elevations.

  127. Well, according to NSIDC (I know), ice loss for July set a new record, beating out `07. And they are claiming old ice is still declining.

  128. “On the other hand, looking at the most recent comparison with 2007, the Arctic ice cover looks a bit more soupy in 2011:”

    Thats cause for concern. That soupy ice could disappear in a hurry, and area and extent could start dropping like an elevator.

  129. “It’s great fun anyway you look at it. Over at Real Climate, they were wetting themselves over the prospect of a new summer minimum.”

    Nothing would please them more than an ice free Arctic.

  130. Here’s a serious question : Why are we watching Arctic ice extent so avidly? We know that over each Northern summer it’s driven primarily by winds and ocean currents, so one season’s about as irrelevant as it can get to global warming.

    Now I’ll answer the question : Because it makes headlines. As Dave said earlier of RC, they were wetting themselves over the prospect of a new summer minimum, ie, a figure they can blast into the headlines.

    It seems that every time you think the wacky world of climate science just can’t possibly sink any lower, it proves you wrong.

  131. RACookPE1978 says:
    August 4, 2011 at 4:21 pm
    “….and since every further day now more energy will reflect off the ice and water surface, there is little reason to suspect loss rates will increase substantially.”

    I don’t think this takes into acount extent measurement which is a combination of ice melt and dispersion. I think this season differs to previous seasons for which we have JAXA data in. In previous seasons there was still a degree of compaction in the remaining ice to limit the impact of ice melt on extent loss. 100% sea ice concentrations will not display as much extent loss for the same rate of ice melt as 50% sea ice concentrations

    Certainly the extent loss for 4th August has jumped back up to over 80,000km2 demonstarting that in terms of the extent minimum we may still have a way to go.

  132. ” I think this season differs to previous seasons for which we have JAXA data in. In previous seasons there was still a degree of compaction in the remaining ice to limit the impact of ice melt on extent loss. 100% sea ice concentrations will not display as much extent loss for the same rate of ice melt as 50% sea ice concentrations”

    Exactly. And there is very little 100% compaction left even compared to `07 at this time. And we still have at least 7 weeks left in the melt season.

  133. Werner Brozek says:
    August 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    you have set me thinking now! – and to be honest I am too busy at work to check up on my likely poorly remembered ‘facts’, but isn’t there a wind chill effect/factor – on the basis of latent heat of evaporation at the ice surface? if the ice melts, the surface water will be evaporated by the wind thereby causing a cooling? my brain hurts just trying to remember this stuff from many years ago……….but I just seem to recall that a wet surface exposed to wind will cause the surface to be cooled as the moisture evaporates……….and I am now wondering if the energy for the evaporation simply all comes from the wind itself……….argh, how embarassing – why can’t I remember this stuff?

  134. Mike Jonas says:
    August 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm
    Here’s a serious question : Why are we watching Arctic ice extent so avidly?

    I think one reason is because one of the alarmist theories is that once the Arctic is ice free we will reach some sort of “tipping point” where warming will then accelerate.

    While I doubt that will actually happen (and I wouldn’t mind seeing a couple of years of an ice-free Arctic as confirmation), some support for their tipping point position comes from the DMI temperature graphs. Temps during the winter are all over the lot, ranging from 20 degrees above trend to 20 degrees below trend at various random times. During summer though, anyone can forecast the DMI temperature within one degree just by stating the long-term average.

    I view this as the ice controlling the air temperature. As long as there’s ice, air temps are constrained by the ice taking energy from the air for melting. But once the ice is gone, what will happen to air temps? Tipping point?

    I doubt it (very much), but like I said I really wouldn’t mind a real-world experiment happening so we could put the nonsense to rest (or move to higher ground.)

  135. Everyone’s spacial awareness ability took a sharp left turn after the economic downturn. Or was that a right turn? I’m sure an answer will turn up.

  136. “While I doubt that will actually happen (and I wouldn’t mind seeing a couple of years of an ice-free Arctic as confirmation),”

    I would`nt. The Arctic controls weather patterns over North America. The less ice there is, the more havoc it will cause for farmers/agriculture.

  137. R. Gates says:
    August 4, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Don’t know what you mean “greatest factor the atmosphere has going for it”.

    Well, you pretty much ran with the point I was trying to make – that wind is likely a greater “driver” in Arctic ice melt than air temperature alone. And no, I’m not discounting atmospheric heat in the production of that wind, just as SST should not be discounted in that same wind production. But ultimately, as you appear to eventually acknowledge, ocean heat “drives” ice melt moreso than the atmosphere.

  138. DMI (Aug. 5) showing a deep decline towards `07 levels again. Even the `07 ice on this date was much healthier than it is now. Much more compaction over a much wider area. I`m afraid the “soupy” ice that is left is going to disappear like mist over a lake after the sun rises.

  139. Two big days after the run of low ice loss days on Jaxa have made the graph go off it’s small ledge

    AO looks set to be below zero for next 2 weeks. High pressure at the moment over the central arctic.

    Andy

  140. Something seems to have happened to the Bremen Antarctic Sea Ice Extent graph as is took a sudden nose dive today and went straight down on us. Maybe their attention was focused on the Arctic and they haven’t seen it yet? ;)

  141. Or perhaps a huge iceberg the size of New Zealand has broken off and is now heading for New York ( only to meet it’s ultimate demise at the hands of Bruce Willis armed with a hair dryer)

  142. Not surprising that the Greenland Sea ice coverage is higher – the strong currents southward carry a large load of sea ice. It is extremely doubtful that the sea ice extent in the Arctic is making a rebound, as suggested by the headline to this blog. From the NSDC:

    “Ice loss slowed towards the end of July as a high-pressure cell centered over the northern Beaufort Sea broke down and a series of low-pressure systems moved over the central Arctic Ocean. This change brought cooler conditions and likely pushed the ice apart into a thinner but more extensive ice cover.”

    What’s important to look at is the volume of sea ice! And, as usual, this blog cherry picks. You guys must be blind not to see what is happening.

  143. High pressure back over the main Arctic ice region, so only going to aid further melt.

    Not suprising since the AO has become quite negative again over recent days.

    Now forecasting rather negative AO period over at least the next week, so good sign for significant melting in areas especially less than 60 percent ice cover.

  144. From wolfheinl on August 6, 2011 at 7:37 am:

    What’s important to look at is the volume of sea ice! And, as usual, this blog cherry picks. You guys must be blind not to see what is happening.

    What’s important to note is the loss of Arctic sea ice really doesn’t matter much. Read this February 9, 2011 post:
    Arctic “death spiral” actually more like “zombie ice”

    The Arctic Ocean is where the planet sheds a lot of heat into space. When more sea ice is lost in the summer, more heat is lost into space from the open water. If we do get an “ice-free Arctic” in the summer then we’ll lose a whole lot of heat until the insulating blanket of ice reforms in the winter, and the Arctic will recover within 2 years due to this extreme heat dumping. If you’re worried about “runaway global warming” then you should be glad there is less ice as that means the planet is getting more cooling.

    Of course natural systems tend to have lag times that we short-lived humans find irritating, on the order of decades to far longer. Overshot tends to be the norm. The Arctic Ocean is dumping lots of heat, but the evidence is mounting that we are in global cooling, the “heat reserves” are getting dumped. But still, it’s not the runaway global warming so you should be happy with it. Right? ☺

  145. From Julian Flood on August 4, 2011 at 5:02 am:

    You have created in this post a model which, if we are to trust you, must be testable to see if your hypothesis is correct. You have made a common error by not showing your data.

    (BTW Sorry for the delay, stuff happened.)

    For such human-scale interactions, it is to be expected that theory follows real-world observations and the resulting “common sense” view. From my driving experience I can testify to how distracted driving leads to increased accidents and near-misses, and how “both hands on the wheel” is best. From the local TV news, by the reports of accidents involving use of a cell phone (including texting) it can easily be inferred that such increases the dangers of driving. Other reports, usually mentioned in conjunction with “no cell phones while driving” laws, confirm the hazards of talking on a cell phone are equivalent to control adjustments like with the sound system, while others have confirmed that hands-free and hands-on phone use are about the same as they both are distractions.

    Your model shows that countries with the steering wheel on the left will have a lower accident rate than those with RHD. What does the data say?

    Actually Wikipedia says RHD was shown to be safer, but the data is old, they say it’s from 1969 research. Examining the source reveals the work was started in 1961, thus using data 50+ years old. It was noted:

    Leeming acknowledged that the sample of left-hand rule countries he had to work with was small, and he was very careful not to claim that his results proved that the differences were due to the rule of the road. He thought, however, that they indicated a need for further research.

    No research using more-current data is known, and vehicles have changed greatly since then, with power steering as noted, increased use of automatic transmissions (no shifting while driving), more and more-complex center-mounted controls, the US slowed down (55mph national speed limit in the 1970’s), etc. Further research needed, indeed.

    BTW, not all cars have power steering — my Midget is completely free of all mod cons. Mind you, it was built in 1967.

    Rare to find a new vehicle on the American market without it though, at least among those with more than three wheels. ;-)

  146. About the “soupy” ice, and whether it will all melt away in the next few weeks: I had a look at 2007, and what happened between this time of year and the sea ice minimum, which in 2007 came fairly late in September.

    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=08&fd=07&fy=2007&sm=09&sd=25&sy=2007

    It looks like there was more consolidation than melting, as a significant part of the ice appears to have thickened up in the lead-up to minimum.
    So fears (?? why “fears” ??) that the remaining ice will melt away may possibly be misplaced. If it behaves as in 2007 then this year’s minimum might not be all that low. As always, I suspect, it will depend on the winds and currents.

  147. @Mike Jonas

    I don’t know Mike. It appears 2007 was really a wind-driven event. This year the freeze up was very slow and the thawing in place looks very significant compared to recent years. I watched those thin spots disappear last year and once they start going, they go fast.

    We’ve gotten near 100K extent drops the past 3 days now and I don’t know how much was wind-driven, but the ice looks to be in worse (thinner and more distributed) shape for this time of year than any other year I can find on Cryosphere. Plus, the DMI surface temps are running right at the average, instead of below average as in the past decade or so, and temp anomalies are high across most of the Arctic.

    I think the in-place melt over the next month is going to be significant. I’m one who thinks all this global warming baloney is just that, baloney (political baloney, mostly), and that the world is probably cooling, but this ice is not in good shape compared to prior years. Not at all. I’m sticking with under 4.5, my guess in all three polls in here.

  148. ” but the ice looks to be in worse (thinner and more distributed) shape for this time of year than any other year I can find on Cryosphere. ”

    Yup. It looks absolutely horrible compared to other years. It`s going to go very, very fast. I don`t believe in agw either, but nonetheless the Arctic ice cap is in terrible shape.

  149. re NW Passage: check out the St. Roch (wikipedia):

    St. Roch was constructed in 1928 at the Burrard Dry Dock Shipyards in North Vancouver. Between 1929–1939 she supplied and patrolled Canada’s Arctic.

    In 1940–1942 she became first vessel to complete a voyage through the Northwest Passage in a west to east direction, and in 1944 became first vessel to make a return trip through the Northwest Passage, through the more northerly route considered the true Northwest Passage, and was also the first to navigate the passage in a single season. Between 1944–1948 she again patrolled Arctic waters. In 1950 she became first vessel to circumnavigate North America, from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Vancouver via the Panama Canal. Finally in 1954 she returned to Vancouver for preservation. In 1962 St. Roch was designated a Canadian National Historic Site at the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

    Judging from the current ice coverage images, the NA side of the Arctic Ocean is heavily iced, but the Russian side is wide open. Russians are more trouble and more dangerous than ice flows, I guess!

  150. Almost -1,000,000km2 from your prediction of 5,750,000km2.

    REPLY: And many others of that time period, see updated predictions on WUWT (and many others) from ARCUS.My personal prediction at the start was 4.9 – Anthony

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