Sea Ice News: rapid re-refreeze of the Arctic in October, 40% faster than normal

From NSIDC: A rapid freeze-up

Arctic sea ice extent increased rapidly through October, as is typical this time of year. Large areas of open water were still present in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas at the end of the month. The open water contributed to unusually warm conditions along the coast of Siberia and in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

map from space showing sea ice extent, continents
Figure 1. Arctic sea ice extent for October 2011 was 7.10 million square kilometers (2.74 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. —Credit: National Snow and Ice Data CenterHigh-resolution image


Overview of conditions

Average ice extent for October 2011 was 7.10 million square kilometers (2.74 million square miles), 2.19 million square kilometers (846,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average. This was 330,000 square kilometers (127,000 square miles) above the average for October 2007, the lowest extent in the satellite record for that month. By the end of October, ice extent remained below the 1979 to 2000 average in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas and in the Barents and Kara seas. Extent was near average in the East Greenland Sea. New ice growth has closed both the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route.

graph with months on x axis and extent on y axis
Figure 2. The graph above shows daily Arctic sea ice extent as of October 31, 2011, along with the lowest ice extents in the preceding decades, 1984 and 1999. 2011 is shown in light blue. 2007, the year with the record low minimum, is dashed green. Purple indicates 1999 and light green shows 1984. The gray area around the average line shows the two standard deviation range of the data. Sea Ice Index data. —Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image

Conditions in context
Arctic sea ice extent increased rapidly through October. Ice extent during October 2011 increased at an average rate of 114,900 square kilometers (44,360 square miles) per day, about 40% faster than the average growth rate for October 1979 to 2000. On October 30, Arctic sea ice extent was 8.41 million square kilometers (3.25 million square miles), 226,000 square kilometers (87,300 square miles) more than the ice extent on October 30, 2007, the lowest extent on that date in the satellite record.

During the month of October, the freeze-up that begins in September kicks into high gear. The rate of freeze-up depends on several factors including the atmospheric conditions and the amount of heat in the ocean that was accumulated during the summer. However, each decade, the October extent has started from a lower and lower point, with the record low extent during the 1980s (1984) substantially higher than the record low extent during the 1990s (1999), which in turn is substantially higher than the record low extent during the 2000s (2007).

graph with months on x axis and extent on y axis
Figure 3. Monthly October ice extent for 1979 to 2011 shows a decline of 6.6% per decade.
—Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image

October 2011 compared to past years
Ice extent for October 2011 was the second lowest in the satellite record for the month, behind 2007. The linear rate of decline for October over the satellite record is now -61,700 square kilometers (-23,800 square miles) per year, or -6.6% per decade relative to the 1979 to 2000 average.

graph with months on x axis and extent on y axis
Figure 4. This map of air temperature anomalies at the 925 hPa level (approximately 3000 feet) for October 2011 shows unusually high temperatures over most of the Arctic Ocean (yellow shading) and unusually low temperatures over the eastern Canadian Arctic Archipelago and Greenland (blue shading).
—Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image

Atmospheric conditions
In recent years, low sea ice extent in the summer has been linked to unusually warm temperatures at the surface of the Arctic Ocean in the fall. This pattern appeared yet again this fall.

Air temperatures over most of the Arctic Ocean for October 2011 ranged from 1 to 4 degrees Celsius (1.8 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) above average, measured at the 925 millibar level, about 1,000 meters or 3,000 feet above the surface. However, over the eastern Canadian Arctic and Greenland, temperatures were as much as 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) below average.

These temperature anomalies in part reflect a pattern of above-average sea level pressure centered over the northern Beaufort Sea, and lower than average sea level pressure extending across northern Eurasia. This pattern is linked to persistence of the positive phase of the Arctic Oscillation through most of the month. These pressure and temperature anomalies tend to bring in heat from the south, warming the Eurasian coast, but they also lead to cold northerly winds over the eastern Canadian Arctic Archipelago. However, along the Siberian coast and in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, warmer temperatures came primarily from the remaining areas of open water in the region, as heat escaped from the water. These effects are more strongly apparent in the surface air temperatures: average October temperatures in the region were 5 to 8 degrees Celsius (9.0 to 14.4 degrees Fahrenheit) above average.

graph with months on x axis and extent on y axis
Figure 5. The top panel of this figure shows the number of open water days for the approximate 75 kilometer (46.6 mi) coastal zone along the Beaufort Sea (data for each year and linear trend). The bottom panel shows the average annual coastal erosion rate for three periods, 1979-1999, 2000-2007 and 2008-2009.
—Credit: NSIDC courtesy Irina Overeem, CU Boulder
High-resolution image

Sea ice loss and coastal erosion
Declining sea ice in the Arctic has led to increasing erosion rates along the coast of the Beaufort Sea over the past fifty years, according to a new study led by Irina Overeem of the University of Colorado Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR). Their study used a wave model driven by sea ice position and wind data.As the period of open water on the coast of the Beaufort Sea has increased, so has the mean annual erosion rate, the study showed. From 1979 to 1999, the average erosion rate was 8.5 meters (27.9 feet) per year. The average rate over the period 2000 to 2007 was 13.6 meters (44.6 feet) per year, while the rate for the last two years of the record, 2008 to 2009, was 14.4 meters (47.2 feet) per year.

With a longer open water season, ocean water warms more and waves eat away at the coastline. The sediments comprising the coastal bluffs are locked together by permafrost—hard frozen ground with a concrete-like consistency. As the waves lap at the permafrost, they also help to thaw it, making the ground much more vulnerable to erosion.

Further Reading

Overeem, I., R.S. Anderson, C.W. Wobus, G.D. Clow, F.E. Urban, and N. Matell. 2011: Sea ice loss enhances wave action at the Arctic coast. Geophysical Research Letters, 38, L17503, doi:10.1029/2011GL048681.

Serreze, M.C., and R.G. Barry. 2011: Processes and impacts of Arctic Amplification: A research synthesis. Global and Planetary Change, 77,85-96.

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94 thoughts on “Sea Ice News: rapid re-refreeze of the Arctic in October, 40% faster than normal

  1. The ice extent at this time of year is most famous not for what it is but for when it is. We’re within days of every other data point. I don’t see what the worry is. The rate of change, regardless of the when, is rather constant year after year. What I see is the start/stop of the seasons is variable. So? Why the hell wouldn’t it be variable?

    Additionally the absolute area of the ice extent after sea currents, wind, and climate get finished with it changes continually. Why wouldn’t it? What is missing is a trend that is walking off the charts. It just isn’t there. The recorded history is short. We don’t know what the situation will be or should be. We don’t understand it. What we do know with laser accuracy is that what the current extent is is exactly what the current context demands it be. And damn if the extent isn’t what it is as a result. Somebody post a note when you really understand the changing complexity of the context.

    This annual variability and drift is what I consider to be the bracket limits of what the current climate allows (climate being the framework within which weather happens). You can take this to the bank – it will be different next year and while anyone can guess what it will be, none of you knows what it will be. If you do, place a bet equal to or in excess of your next 12 paychecks. Anyone think Team BEST is up to it?

  2. Of course ice growth was faster than normal, there was more water available to freeze because of the high melt in August and September.

  3. All of Beaufort Sea’s coasts eroding away at 47 feet per year? Don’t you see the bright red bars NSIDC has supplied? Enjoying being warm tonight in your home, huh? Well it’s all your damn fault that our world is washing away!!! ☺

    Knew they would get something like that in there somewhere. Why is it always at the bottom? And, anyone have some confirmation of this from some sane locals up north? Sorry, but I so distrust any such information from any such government science site anymore. My trust is gone.

  4. That chart in Figure 2 doesn’t show data through Oct 31, more like Oct 15th. The rapid increase isn’t really shown.

    Nice to see the ice growing quickly this winter. It sure looks like it’s going to be a cold one if November is any indication. We’ve been setting records down here in San Diego this weekend including lowest high temp today.

  5. There seems to be a mistake in Figure 1 (NSIDC/Oct. sea ice extend). According to it, Gulf of Finland is frozen. It certainly isn’t and it does not usually freeze completely until, say, late January. In some mild winters it does not freeze completely at all.

  6. Of course there was a relatively rapid refreeze. If you have a record low at the end of the melting season there is much more sea surface to refreeze.

    No mention of global sea ice area about to hit the lowest max on record?

    REPLY: Gosh Günther (or should I say “Neven”?), you really are a pathetic whiner aren’t you? I post the NSIDC report, and you blame me (rather than them) for not posting an obscure graph that I’ve never seen and few people have heard of and actually hasn’t reached the peak yet. If there’s news when it does reach the peak, I’m sure both NSIDC and I would mention it.

    Of course previously, you were whining that I didn’t post something from NSIDC:

    Günther Kirschbaum
    Submitted on 2010/12/06 at 2:17 pm

    NSIDC has just updated. Lots of interesting stuff that Anthony Watts won’t cover. His analysis consists of copypasting a few graphs and reporting ‘recovery’ when the trend line is over the others a bit.

    Now you are whining that I did post NSIDC, but didn’t include something they didn’t. LOL!

    This is a new low for you Gunther, and quite frankly I’m tired of your constant barrage of attacks. I’m still waiting for an apology for your last baseless accusation, where you accused me of leaking somebody’s personal info when in fact they posted it themselves as part of a movie promotion. Since I’m not likely to ever get an apology due to your overbearing, condescending, and hateful nature, and because your contributions here are nothing but off topic snark, I’m giving you the honor of permanent troll-bin status. Be as upset as you wish. – Anthony

  7. A big summer melt and resultant big “re-freeze” act like a radiator releasing more heat out to space. The latent heat released during the phase change from liquid to solid at these late times of year goes where…straight out to space.

  8. The loss of ice at the North Pole is a worrying sign, my understanding of an ice age is a 160 metre drop in sea levels and an ice free summer at the pole. The cold and ice move into the north of America and the southern part of south America , Africa and Australia.

    Ice loss it would seem is a colding problem and not a warming one. It would seem people colonized the Arctic regions and walked to the American continent in ice ages. The last thing this world needs is cold, it is bloody cold enough already. Double CO2 and add 4C to the temperate zones we would have paradise.

  9. I wonder if the warmer conditions in Siberia have contributed to larger than average snowfall in Asia.

    This could be a positive feedback loop so that less ice causes more snow (due to increased evaporation) and this then causes lower latitudes of asia to get snow they normally wouldn’t, thus reflecting incoming sunlight :o

  10. I’m not seeing “death spiral” here. 127,000 square miles added in a month is nothing to sneeze at.

  11. Both the winter maximum and summer minimum are falling, but the summer melt minimum is falling faster than the winter maximum for Arctic sea ice.
    Therefore it is inevitable that the autum re-freeze will be faster than in the past because the absolute difference between winter and summer extents is increasing.

  12. Gator on November 7, 2011 at 2:53 am said:
    Why are we still using a 1979 to 2000 ‘average’? This is absurdly stupid.
    ———
    Because a fixed baseline is need for comparison purposes. If you change the averaging period the baseline changes and you don’t want that if you want an honest comparison,

    Or maybe you do if you want to deceive people into believing no change is happening when it actually is.

  13. Wayne says
    Knew they would get something like that in there somewhere. Why is it always at the bottom? And, anyone have some confirmation of this from some sane locals up north? Sorry, but I so distrust any such information from any such government science site anymore. My trust is gone.
    ———
    Maybe you’ll trust Exxon or BP then. They have been doing deals with the Russians to gain access to the Arctic.

    Exxon won and paid 15% of the company on the assumption that the Arctic is becoming ice free.

    So who do I believe? You skeptic guys or BP and Exxon? Such a hard question to answer.

  14. What I am noticing is the large amount of snow already on the ground compared to 2007. I look at the sea ice page daily and snow started early and covers a lot more ground than 2007. That is a lot of reflected sunlight and heat.

  15. LazyTeenager says:
    November 7, 2011 at 4:26 am

    Wait, I thought they were paying us to be sceptical and deny things so they could make a profit. Now you suddenly want to believe everything they say? What’s up with that?

  16. “Because a fixed baseline is need for comparison purposes. If you change the averaging period the baseline changes and you don’t want that if you want an honest comparison,

    Or maybe you do if you want to deceive people into believing no change is happening when it actually is,”

    Thanks for the reply LT, but an ‘average’ utilizes the data from all years, unless you are picking cherries. What would happen to the average if we were to include all years? The curent data would look very avergae. And the alarmists will not have that.

  17. One thing to take into consideration when looking at sea ice extent is the limits imposed by the coastline. If the prevailing wind blows the ice that has formed out into open water, the sea ice extent will increase. The same temperatures and amount of ice, but with an onshore wind, and the extent will not increase. This is why I suggested in tips a while back that a graphic showing wind strength and direction in the Arctic could be a useful addition to the sea ice ref page.

  18. LT says…

    “Exxon won and paid 15% of the company on the assumption that the Arctic is becoming ice free.”

    No, it’s like what Wille Sutton said when asked why he robs banks, “Because that’s where the money is”.

    Massive amounts of oil are found in the Arctic, and that’s why they want to drill there. It’s where the money is. Noone in their right mind believes the Arctic is about to be ice free.

    Take a logic class, or three.

  19. Ah, the NSIDC’s decade’s long fascination with the “Arctic Death Spiral” of ice-loss positive feedbacks.

    Now, just how is that supposed to happen? Their assumed “physics” doesn’t match the world’s actual geography up there.

  20. Were the October temperatures unusually low in the Eastern Canadian Arctic? The average temperature in Pond Inlet for October 2011 was -9.0°c … the October average for that location from 1979 to present is -11.0°c (S.D.3.1). Pond Inlet is located at the northern end of Baffin Island (72° 41′ 22″N 77° 58′ 08″W).

    ref: http://www.climate.weatheroffice.gc.ca/climateData/dailydata_e.html?Prov=NU&StationID=47488&timeframe=2&Month=10&Year=2011&cmdB1=Go&Day=6

  21. @- Gator says: November 7, 2011 at 5:16 am
    “Thanks for the reply LT, but an ‘average’ utilizes the data from all years, unless you are picking cherries. What would happen to the average if we were to include all years? The curent data would look very avergae. And the alarmists will not have that.”

    If you changed the average every year by including that year within it then the ‘average’ would fall as the ice extent dwindles and as a comparison it might look less dramatic, but it would no longer be a comparison with a fixed value but with a moving parameter which fell with the value you are wanting to compare. Not ideal even if less ‘alarmist’.

    However whatever ‘tricks’ you play with averages it would NOT make the percentage decrease per year of ice extent in ALL months change, and that IS alarming.

  22. “Exxon won and paid 15% of the company on the assumption that the Arctic is becoming ice free.”

    Lazy Teenager….. I’m going to indulge you in your choice of nom de guerre and provide you with a little bit of information. Here…..

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904199404576540350519892620.html

    read the article.
    Get back to us when you discover any mention of the Arctic becoming ice free. Take time to understand the profitability of exploration and excploitation of a much in demand resource such as petroleum – even in very cold [ icy ] conditions. You might want to ask your parents to help you with some concepts such as research, evidence based decisions, and the trustability of agenda poltics.

  23. More open water releasing heat and moisture into the atmosphere leading to rapid refreeze. I wonder how come there’s more open water? Hmmmm…..

  24. For Gawd’s sake people, the only thing constant about this planet is change. The climate is cyclical, it goes through warming and cooling stages. Does mankind affect it? Of course but it’s the extent that is arguable. Are we all going to die? Yep, guaranteed. Is the planet going to burn up? Yep, that’s pretty much guaranteed too – when Sol reaches it’s end of days. Right now we are in an interglacial period and there will be WARMING and we will see ice melt and guess what? Mankind is adding to the effect by such a miniscule amount it just doesn’t matter. All you Al Gore acolytes need to take a basic science class and try to wrap your brains around the facts.

  25. The Article says:
    “This map of air temperature anomalies at the 925 hPa level (approximately 3000 feet) for October 2011 shows unusually high temperatures over most of the Arctic Ocean (yellow shading) and unusually low temperatures over the eastern Canadian Arctic Archipelago and Greenland (blue shading)…..”

    Where the heck did they get the temperature measurements from? As I recall the global avg temp do not actually use temps in the Arctic but smear lower latitude measurements into the area.

    Are these REAL temperatures are model generated temperatures???

    GISS Swiss Cheese: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/26/giss-swiss-cheese/

    GISS Deletes Arctic And Southern Ocean Sea Surface Temperature Data: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/31/giss-deletes-arctic-and-southern-ocean-sea-surface-temperature-data/

    DMI: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/28/giss-arctic-vs-dmi-arctic-differences-in-method/

    …As has been well covered by Steve Goddard on WUWT, the “interpretation” of Arctic conditions by NASA/GISS is based on astonishingly little data north of 80 degrees latitude, which is to say no data at all…..

  26. Obviously, the warming is worse than we thought. Imagine how little ice we would have if it wasn’t so damned warm! Curse you, carbon dioxide!

  27. So basically, what the alarmist “run-for-your-lives-the-ice-is-melting” head guy is saying is that weather pattern variations appear to be driving the ice melt patterns. And this has to do with global warming how? He must be up late at night, his head pounding with that question, trying to come up with the “global warming is the key” report without it being laughable.

  28. H.R. writes,
    “I’m not seeing “death spiral” here. 127,000 square miles added in a month is nothing to sneeze at.”

    You’re confusing changing seasons with climate change. Ice area is growing rapidly right now because it’s winter up there, and at the end of the near-record summer melt, there was a lot of open water to freeze. The NSIDC graph compares Octobers with Octobers instead of today with yesterday, and the climate change stands out strongly there. This October had the second-lowest measured average, and is well below the trend of linear decline.

  29. Gator writes,
    “Thanks for the reply LT, but an ‘average’ utilizes the data from all years, unless you are picking cherries.”

    If you look at any climatology data, including hundreds of examples on this site, you’ll see that they almost always use a baseline comparison period, and not the “data from all years.” For example, see Roy Spencer’s post about October mean temperatures just a few days ago.

    “What would happen to the average if we were to include all years?”

    Then the anomalies would all change with every new data point. Think about it, would that make sense?

  30. J Bowers, did you not read the entire article? It clearly says what is likely to be the cause of open water. Read it again. What has yet to be done by IPCC, BCDD, and EFGG is to mechanize a relationship between well known weather pattern variations (those that occur frequently and those that occur less frequently) with a CO2 driver strong enough to overcome natural drivers and sustain an unusual pattern.

    I cannot take alarmism seriously until that mechansim can be shown and well-reasoned to be the culprit.

  31. Pamela Gray writes,
    “So basically, what the alarmist “run-for-your-lives-the-ice-is-melting” head guy is saying is that weather pattern variations appear to be driving the ice melt patterns. And this has to do with global warming how?”

    Weather and climate. Weather drives the short-term variations, as NSIDC carefully describes. Climate drives the 32-year decline, which they show in their graph. Or, in their own words,

    “During the month of October, the freeze-up that begins in September kicks into high gear. The rate of freeze-up depends on several factors including the atmospheric conditions and the amount of heat in the ocean that was accumulated during the summer. However, each decade, the October extent has started from a lower and lower point, with the record low extent during the 1980s (1984) substantially higher than the record low extent during the 1990s (1999),which in turn is substantially higher than the record low extent during the 2000s (2007).”

  32. LazyTeenager says:
    November 7, 2011 at 4:26 am
    Wayne says
    Knew they would get something like that in there somewhere. Why is it always at the bottom? And, anyone have some confirmation of this from some sane locals up north? Sorry, but I so distrust any such information from any such government science site anymore. My trust is gone.
    ———
    Maybe you’ll trust Exxon or BP then. They have been doing deals with the Russians to gain access to the Arctic.

    Exxon won and paid 15% of the company on the assumption that the Arctic is becoming ice free.

    So who do I believe? You skeptic guys or BP and Exxon? Such a hard question to answer.

    Did Exxon or BP release data on the ice refreezing? Did I miss that announcement, or are you just being an ass again?

  33. Gneiss … the baseline period from 1979-2000 represents only 21 years of data. Do you feel that this is statistically representative of the population mean?

  34. LazyTeenager says:”Exxon won and paid 15% of the company on the assumption that the Arctic is becoming ice free.”

    Arctic offshore exploration is primarily conducted in the winter. Ice Islands are formed by pumping seawater on top of the ice and allowing it to freeze, until the ice is so thick that it sits on the bottom.
    Does that sound like Exxon is betting on global warming?

    Do your homework LazyTeenager

  35. 30 day animation — lets see if Hudson Bay freezes on schedule this year. Its been running about 2 weeks behind which appears to be what all the hubbub is about. Comparing Octobers seems misleading.

  36. Jon, a climatology baseline is not meant to represent a “population mean.” It is meant to give a numerical level for comparison. Scientists usually are careful to explain what their baseline is, and other scientists can read and understand that. Confusion sometimes arises when non-scientists see graphs or numbers, and think the use of a baseline must somehow be tricky. It’s not.

    Ideally, you’d want to choose as baseline an earlier period when the trend was reasonably flat. We don’t have such a period beyond a few years in the ice record, but 1979-2000 comes closer to this ideal than, say, 1979-2010 would. The most dramatic feature of sea ice time series has been their steeper than linear decline after about 2000. That decline would have exactly the same steepness no matter what baseline you chose.

  37. Hey Gneiss! I was a climatology major for a time, geology is my background, so I am more than familiar with the ways data have been displayed. But that does not make it right.

    Batting averages, grade point averages, temperature averages, etc… are judging current performance against all known relevant data. This is how an honest assessment is made. However, if you want people to believe that a certain period is ‘normal’ or ‘average’, you just start speaking in those terms and pretty soon it is established ‘fact’. Orwell warned of this.

  38. gator69, I have a hard time seeing how this statement,
    “Hey Gneiss! I was a climatology major for a time”

    fits with this one,

    “Batting averages, grade point averages, temperature averages, etc… are judging current performance against all known relevant data. This is how an honest assessment is made.”

    Have you really looked at climatology data? Have you tried applying your idea that anomalies should be calculated from “all known relevant data” to real time series that are constantly changing?

    In any event the decline graphed above is real, and does depend in any way whatsoever on choice of baseline. Using a more recent (lower-ice) baseline won’t do anything to hide the decline.

  39. “fits with this one,”

    Hey Gneiss! Yes we see you have issues deprogramming.

    If you want a ‘baseline’, then have one. It sounds more like someone needs a BSline. But if you really want an ‘average’, and we are observing changes in sea ice, then we need to include all years. Anything else is stupid, dishonest, or both.

  40. Gneiss … we know very little about historical fluctuations in Arctic ice cover … what I am trying to say is that the baseline does not really tell us anything … other than there has been a decrease in ice cover over the short term. We know nothing with respect to the real “mean” and associated variance.

  41. dp says ice is “famous for when it is”

    This is something that’s always bothered me. The impression is always given that ice is missing but as dp correctly notes, regions with missing ice at this time of year are a function of it forming a few days later than the mean. For example, the Laptev sea ice this year formed late but could only be considered missing or in decline if you stop time (since it is now totally iced over).

    Calling ice in decline when it is still forming strikes me as just a little bit dishonest. Untill the maximum extent is reached, the worst you can really say is that ice is late.

    I guess telling everyone that ice is a few days late doesn’t have the same scare as ice is declining or missing.

  42. I am in the group that doesn’t agree with the 1979-2000 average as a baseline…

    Every AGW promoter site/post/research states that you must have at least 30 years worth of data to show a climatic “trend” or shift. We now have 30 years worth of satellite ice data (1979-2009), why is this not now the baseline by which future years are measured?

    21 years of data makes no sense what so ever as a “baseline”…

  43. There is far too much sea ice in the Arctic (7.1 million km2). This is a constant reminder, that we are still embedded, within the current ICE AGE. Why do some people think that an ice age is a good thing (Izen?). Ice ages are a curse for the planet.

    I once thought, that I might witness, the end of the current ice age, with the removal of summer sea ice from the Arctic. Now, I see that it was just a warmist pipe-dream. Oh Well, I did get to see the first man walk on the moon! GK

  44. Gneiss:
    “Weather and climate. Weather drives the short-term variations, as NSIDC carefully describes. Climate drives the 32-year decline, which they show in their graph.”

    Climate drives nothing. It is a historical compendium of weather data to determine trends over time.

  45. Eric says:
    November 7, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I am in the group that doesn’t agree with the 1979-2000 average as a baseline…

    Every AGW promoter site/post/research states that you must have at least 30 years worth of data to show a climatic “trend” or shift. We now have 30 years worth of satellite ice data (1979-2009), why is this not now the baseline by which future years are measured?

    21 years of data makes no sense what so ever as a “baseline”…
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    It is quite dishonest to use the 21 year base line since the AOO is a five to seven year oscillation.

    Arctic Ocean Oscillation Index (AOO): interannual and decadal changes
    of the Arctic climate

    ABSTRACT
    The analysis of modeled sea levels and ice drift patters indicated that wind-driven motion in the Arctic Ocean alternated between anticyclonic and cyclonic, with each regime persisting for 5-7 years. Anticyclonic motion in the central Arctic appeared during 1946-1952, 1958-1963, 1972-1979, and 1984-1988, and cyclonic circulation dominated during 1953-1957, 1964-1971, 1980-1983, and 1989-1993….Interestingly, the anticyclonic circulation regime that persisted through 2008 lasted at least 12 years instead of the typical 5-7 years discussed above. In 2009, the wind-driven circulation regime was characterized as a cyclonic but in 2010 it changed back to an anticyclonic type of circulation.

    http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2011/EGU2011-7850.pdf

    Also it catches a decade of low North Atlantic temps and the lower half of the temp rise of the next cycle.
    North Atlantic Sea Surface Temps: http://i53.tinypic.com/2v1ukg5.jpg

    This means the “Baseline” represents “Lopsided data” and is not a “Baseline” at all.

    How about we start over with a 1930 to 1960 baseline???? That is 30 years.

  46. Gneiss says “Ideally, you’d want to choose as baseline an earlier period when the trend was reasonably flat”

    This is totally unscientific!

  47. I’m curious, why was the full post not shown, i.e. the part that discussed the recent GRL paper on coastal erosion? The plot is shown but not the accompanying text. It’s a very interesting paper and I encourage anyone with access to GRL to read it.

    btw Gator69 and Gail, if we had a consistent data record that went that far back, we would be using a longer baseline. There have been many discussions at NSIDC about changing the baseline, and I think it’s time to change it to 1979-2010 since we now have another decade of observations. The worry has always been comments such as what happens on this blog, that we are deceitfully changing baselines to make an alarmist view point. No matter what we do, someone will say we are manipulating data/results/etc.

  48. Hey Julienne! I would aplaud an update to the ‘average’. It would be a meaningful gesture to those of us who still have a love and deep respect for science, as it is meant to be practiced.

    I do not have as large an issue with interpretations of ice levels as I do with the alarmism that is normally attached. Ice melts, big deal.

  49. We are nearing the end of the interglacial. Look at the sea ice behavior versus persistent cold air dome over Greenland and NE Canada.

  50. When the AMSR-E satellite instruments shut down in early October, that shut down the IARC-JAXA sea-ice extent data. Is there an alternate daily ice-extent data source online? When I say “data”, I mean a text file with daily data. not a pretty little picture.

  51. Now, now people – we all know that our CAGW friends would NEVER use an “anomalous” weather event to drive their agenda…NO WAY. They are in it for the money science.

    Special reminder to CAGW-warmist friends here at WUWT:

    In honor of Thanksgiving, please go cold turkey and DO NOT USE ANY PETROLEUM PRODUCTS or ENERGY DERIVED FROM PETROLEUM OR COAL! NONE. ZERO. Thanks.

  52. The idea behind using an “anomaly” vs absolute amounts is to analyze something which changes with a regular pattern (such as temperature) and thus to provide a seasonally adjusted number. However, an “anomaly” is an artificial statistical construct that can only be based on comparison to some other number – such as the mean from a longer time-frame.

    The issue with ice extent is that we are showing absolute amounts on a graph and comparing years directly so there really is no need to include a mean for this, except to make some point or other about a long-term trend. Therefore, you pick your mean to best illustrate your point and whichever mean you use will be justified only by the point you are trying to make. Call it cherry-picking or whatever you like, but it is basically just chartmanship and has no bearing on the actual data. For NSIDC to stick with showing the 1979-2001 mean as a line on their graph is as justifiable as picking any other time period to calculate the mean, there is just no point in using a mean for this figure as one is not needed to present the information

    If you were going to actually plot anomalies in ice extent, then you have to have a baseline period to compare against. Not sure I have seen it plotted like that anywhere, but the calculation of extent is fraught with so many measurement issues in the first place that it would appear to be even less useful than the ‘global mean temperature’ statistic that gets us all so hot under the collar.

  53. Gail, you might want to read up on reanalysis data sets. There are several products out there and they vary, particularly for variables that are not directly observed. But they work on the same basic framework: they assimilate any available data (satellite, station, radiosondes, buoy, etc.) into a numerical model to map atmospheric variables on a global grid. Reanalysis products are used extensively in climate research and services, including monitoring current climate conditions, comparing with those of the past, and preparing climate predictions. Information derived from reanalyses is also being used increasingly in commercial and business applications in sectors such as energy, agriculture, water resources, and insurance.

  54. “There seems to be a mistake in Figure 1 (NSIDC/Oct. sea ice extend). According to it, Gulf of Finland is frozen. It certainly isn’t and it does not usually freeze completely until, say, late January. In some mild winters it does not freeze completely at all.”

    From the NSIDC Website:

    Please note that our daily sea ice images, derived from microwave measurements, may show spurious pixels in areas where sea ice may not be present. These artifacts are generally caused by coastline effects, or less commonly by severe weather. Scientists use masks to minimize the number of “noise” pixels, based on long-term extent patterns. Noise is largely eliminated in the process of generating monthly averages, our standard measurement for analyzing interannual trends.

  55. Gneiss says:
    November 7, 2011 at 7:08 am
    H.R. writes,
    “I’m not seeing “death spiral” here. 127,000 square miles added in a month is nothing to sneeze at.”

    “You’re confusing changing seasons with climate change. […]”
    ===================================================
    ?????????? Seasons? Climate?
    I’m just looking at the whole graph… and I don’t see Mark Serreze’s “death spiral” since 2007.

    And 127,000 square miles of ice in a month? In SI units, that’s about 5,530 Manhattans or 15.83 Wales’. Nothing to sneeze at, eh? (I apologize for not using SI units in my original post.)

  56. Very interesting about the frequency of the 5-7 shift in winds, and the choice of a baseline that may make for a reference line that is either low, high or correct.

    If the frequency averages 6 years, then 5 x 6 = 30 years so 1970-2000 would be a better choice.

    Using 6 x 3.5 = 21 years is 3.5 cycles which pretty much guarantees that the reference line is wrong, or rather, misrepresentative. In fact the additon of a decidedly unrepresentative 1/2 a cycle should raise eyebrows when the wave pattern is well recognised.

    Good measurements from 1982-2004 would be a better reference period because a) it starts mid cycle so it has a representative commencement point and b) it is 6 x 3 = 18 years which is 3 typical full cycles. An alternative would be 1982-2011 or 1976-2004 which are 4 full cycles but the pre ’79 data might not be up to par.

  57. Anthony, where were you in September? When are you going to admit that your reader poll submitted to the Arcus forecast was a pathetic display of ignorance or wishful thinking, at best.
    You go ahead and block Günther. Go ahead and block me.
    The prolific amount of disinformation you’ve spread over past years has had its effect. You will be judged for it. Get yourself a good team of lawyers and a private island.
    I’m a peaceful and forgiving person but many people of my generation won’t be as kind once they realize what people like you have done.
    Go ahead and block any person who has ever come close to opening your eyes to the reality of human-caused, catastrophic, climate change.
    Keep denying. You are digging your own grave.

    REPLY: Seriously? Digging my own grave? Typical alarmist claptrap from a person who not only wears blinders, but advertises how good they are to everyone else.

    Here’s the facts:

    1) I used to be proponent, just like you, but then in fact my eyes were opened.

    2) I submitted ARCUS forecasts all summer, including one for September. Of course you are incapable of recognizing or referencing those, I’ll provide them for you here for your enlightenment:

    Final 2011 sea ice outlook submitted to ARCUS

    August WUWT Arctic sea ice outlook submitted to ARCUS


    Sea Ice News – July ARCUS forecast published

    Sea Ice News – June ARCUS forecast from readers submitted

    So explain how doing all of these is “denial”, try very hard, because quite frankly your claim is nothing more than bogus ranting.

    3) Note that back in May, I said when we first started doing forecasts that “My choice for my own personal vote was 4.9 to 5.0 million square kilometers.”

    4) Note that others who submitted forecasts, HAD HIGHER VALUES THAN WUWT and higher than my own personal forecast in May of 4.9,

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/18/the-arcus-june-arctic-sea-ice-outlook/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/07/14/sea-ice-news-july-arcus-forecast-published/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/17/arcus-sea-ice-august-forecast-online/

    But I’m the crazy one, yeah, that’s it.

    Go FUD yourself. – Anthony

  58. Gniess..

    How about we use the running average from 1700 through 2000?? oh yeah we cannot but I believe if we could we would find that your term of “near record summer melt” would not apply and the alarmism would be put in the deep freeze
    BDH

  59. I looked at all the Daily Mean Temperatures in the Arctic 1958 – 2011. The amount of open water stablizes the temperatures during the summer months. Interesting the 2007 summer temperature appears to be lower than average. However; every summer is barely above freezing. My point is there are other factors that play into how much ice “coverage” there is.

    Polar air circulation moves the ice. The huge changes in the temperatures during non-summer months are an indication of how much the winds are changing. Also, ice breakers help the wind to pile up ice that otherwise would remain a continuous sheet. Wind velocities play a big part in how far and fast the ice will travel. The thickness of the ice is another variable. Then there is the PDO. What impact does that have on polar ice formation, polar wind patterns, clouds, etc.???

  60. LazyTeenager says:
    November 7, 2011 at 4:26 am
    Wayne says
    Knew they would get something like that in there somewhere. Why is it always at the bottom? And, anyone have some confirmation of this from some sane locals up north? Sorry, but I so distrust any such information from any such government science site anymore. My trust is gone.
    ———
    Maybe you’ll trust Exxon or BP then. They have been doing deals with the Russians to gain access to the Arctic.

    Exxon won and paid 15% of the company on the assumption that the Arctic is becoming ice free.

    So who do I believe? You skeptic guys or BP and Exxon? Such a hard question to answer.

    Whatever made you believe that the oil companies are skeptics? Are you starting to believe your own rhetoric?

  61. Not exactly central to the issue, but of interest (to me anyway) nonetheless:

    Figure 4. This map of air temperature anomalies at the 925 hPa level (approximately 3000 feet) for October 2011 shows unusually high temperatures over most of the Arctic Ocean (yellow shading) and unusually low temperatures over the eastern Canadian Arctic Archipelago and Greenland (blue shading)

    How were air temperatures obtained at 3000ft over Greenland, when for the vast majority of the island this would be under at least a mile of ice? It might not be difficult to convert ‘measured’ surface air temp to 3000ft temp through lapse rate, but do they make it explicit how/whether this is done for land areas greater than 3000ft altitude?

    To be slightly OT again, Anthony, was anything published regarding the final September ice extent forecast poll? I don’t know if I’ve managed to go through everything, but I can’t find anything in the ARCUS site archive.

    Back on track; well, it’s all a bit of a game at the moment isn’t it? Our records are too short to draw any conclusions about long-term trends or what can be considered to be ‘normal’. In this light, sticking to a 21-year baseline is bizarre, seemingly done purely on the premise that including 2001-2009 (or making the baseline 1981-2010) won’t reflect a climatological ‘norm’ because recent years have been contaminated by AGW (analogous to GISS’ outdated baseline in published monthly/annual anomalies. Why not go for 1891-1920, or 1921-1950?). This is nonsense, because it can’t possibly be known or even confidently surmised, as the period of remotely-reliable data is just too short.

    Was the extent lower in the 20s or 30s? How about other decades inbetween? We don’t know. Anecdotes suggest that it’s certainly possible, so why the reluctance to use a typical climatological 30-year baseline when it is available? It’s self-reinforcing rubbish, and can only be done as a method to accentuate an apparent ‘deficiency’ of ice.

    Mark Serreze, tell us in 30 years or so when we’ve at least got an AMO cycle in the bank, and then we can consider even the possibility of something out of the ordinary happening.

  62. BDH writes,
    “How about we use the running average from 1700 through 2000?? oh yeah we cannot but I believe if we could we would find that your term of “near record summer melt” would not apply and the alarmism would be put in the deep freeze.”

    1. The term “running average” does not mean what you think it does.

    2. If we did know and use the actual average from 1700 to 2000 as our baseline, that would not change the steepness of the recent trend in the slightest. You could use your birthday as a baseline, the slope will still be the same.

    3. The “we would find…” statement is just making up data to suit your beliefs, isn’t it? There have been a number of recent studies of past ice conditions. I know of no evidence in any of them for sea ice coverage in the past 300 years being lower than it’s been in the past 5. Their actual data, incomplete though it is, supports an opposite conclusion.

    4. I’m not alarmed or alarmist, there you’re just name-calling.

  63. Remember that you are talking about sea ice extent — how many sq. miles of the Arctic are covered by ice. The data presented shows that the loss is significant as measured September to September.
    Ice is also measured in age. There has been a dramatic decline in ice age with very little ice more than three years old.

    Ice is also measured in thickness. The thickness of Arctic ice has also dramatically declined. This too provides data that, as many ice researchers have stated, that Arctic ice is in a death spiral.

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2011/080311.html

    I glad that you are smarter than all of the honorable scientist that have devoted their life to studying the Arctic.

    What threat does science pose to your political views?

  64. Already relclimate in their latest fairytale suggests very seriously that 75% of global warming occured since 1980… so Figure 5 from NSIDC is now suggesting that really the key shoreline erosion occurred since 2000…

    I cannot wait when they’ll tell us that global warming happens from june to december in the northern hemisphere and from january to june in the southern one due to the lack of wealth transfer between wealthy northern nations and their southern poorer neighbors…

  65. Walter Dnes says:
    November 7, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    When the AMSR-E satellite instruments shut down in early October, that shut down the IARC-JAXA sea-ice extent data. Is there an alternate daily ice-extent data source online? When I say “data”, I mean a text file with daily data. not a pretty little picture.

    Hi Walter,

    To my knowledge, there’s no other daily extend data available. You have monthly options from NSIDC and NANSEN. Obviously, you can get good estimates from digital analysis of the produced daily plots from a variety of sources.

    However, there is one other daily ice data set readily available, though it is area and not extent. And that is Cryosphere Today’s data. You can get it here:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/timeseries.anom.1979-2008

    Note the columns are date, anomaly relative to 1979-2008, area, and average area for 1979-2008. Generally, I’ve found this daily data to be quite useful.

    Hope that helps,

    -Scott

  66. Getting Warm says:
    November 7, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Ice is also measured in thickness.

    Only in a select few places until CryoSat2 really gets humming. Otherwise, ice thickness is modeled. And while I think the model is getting it qualitatively right, I’m cognizant enough of the difference to be wary of any claims and trends.

    -Scott

  67. Is the northern waters sea ice extent a leading or lagging indicator of the various climatic conditions in the immediate vicinity of the polar region?
    I expect that the answer is “a little both ways” but that broadly ice extent laggs the changing climate by a considerable period of time.
    Any counter views?

  68. Getting Warm says:
    November 7, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    What threat does science pose to your political views?

    Well…since Climate Science’s CO2 = CAGW hypotheses have not managed to generate even one relevant empirically correct/confirmed prediction, I assume you must be a conservative? In other words a pre-Postmodern individual who employs real scientific method and principle science?

  69. Getting Warm says:
    November 7, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    ‘I glad that you are smarter than all of the honorable scientist that have devoted their life to studying the Arctic.

    What threat does science pose to your political views?’

    Ah, the good old appeal to autority, good place to start although I’m guessing Anthony and others like to check facts for themselves rather than blindly repeat the sermon.

    Death spiral, OAP ice, thickness. ad boredom.

  70. And while I am here:
    “Latest News At Cypress Mountain
    CYPRESS MOUNTAIN OPENS TOMORROW – Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
    We are absolutely stoked to have the EARLIEST OPENING DAY IN OUR HISTORY and to be the FIRST SKI AREA IN BRITISH COLUMBIA TO OPEN for the 2011/12 Snow Season! ”

    This is the same mountain that had some snow brought in to cover some areas for the 2010 Olympics. The same mountain that David Suzuki was alarmed about.

  71. I propose a “simple cause” for the melting and baseline problems. We are measuring at the peak of the “1650 until now” warming cycle. A look at

    shows the Pacific Ocean heat [east of Japan]. This heat is the result of the last El Nino driven by the peak Sun in 2001. As this heat dissipates into the Arctic, the Arctic will grow colder. The La Nina that is in process will then produce less heat for the next cycle.

    Only something as big as the Sun and the Pacific Ocean could drive the giga-watts required to freeze/unfreeze the Arctic. Look to obvious data, not to the model driven CO2 pseudo data.

  72. As good a place as any for this I suppose.

    The 30-day arctic sea surface temperature chart from NRL in the Sea Ice reference pages – http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticsst_nowcast_anim30d.gif – contains a forecast for the next week. Clearly this uses some sort of model to, one would imagine, extrapolate based on recent changes and weather forecasts. Thing is, something rather odd happens:

    Currently, the coldest waters in the analysed area are about -2.5C and the warmest waters are about 22.9C. When the model kicks in to forecast the next week, this minimum and maximum change to -1.9C and 27C respectively, with a warm band suddenly appearing in the Atlantic.

    Now I don’t have any buoys in the Atlantic myself, but if I did I would be surprised if they showed an instantaneous and sustained 4C rise across the full longitude of the Atlantic in November (or any other time). Does anyone know what model is used by the NRL? Whatever it is, it seems to give less weight to current temps and sensible natural bounds, and more weight to some hypothesised norm which is clearly warm-biased. If the model used has broader application, what other products or analyses are similarly biased?

  73. The problem for Neven and his ilk is that their null hypothesis started in 1979, maybe age will bring him some wisdom and humility…

  74. The rapid re-freeze from sub-normal Summer Sea Ice just means that the conditions that make the ice are alive and well.
    The sub-normal ice in Summer/Fall means that precious heat energy is travelling North to the Arctic, where it doesn’t do hapless Earthlings any good. It’s wasted escaping into space.

  75. Getting Warm said “This too provides data that, as many ice researchers have stated, that Arctic ice is in a death spiral.” “Death spiral” does not sound very “scientific”. Would care to predict when the lower asymptote will kick in, or do you simply believe that summer ice extent will go to zero? IOW, how much steeper will the downward slope get? It looks to me like the steepest part is in the past and the rate of decline is starting to slow.

  76. Along with Julienne (at 11:52 am) I’m curious about the omission of the coastal erosion paper especially given the Alaskan coast along the northern Bearing and southern Chukchi Seas has a forecast of force 12 winds and 30+ foot waves Tuesday night. Kivalina, the “poster child” for coastal erosion due to lack of shore ice during early winter storms is squarely in the path.

    To be fair, this storm is earlier enough in the year that the protective ice that adsorbs wave energy may not have formed yet several decades ago. But you can see from the chart that ice is far, far away despite the “rapid re-refreeze”.

    REPLY:Some sort of cut and paste error is all I can figure, fixed now -Anthony

  77. Anthony,

    Thanks.

    Also, I meant to leave a link on the storm.

    http://www.adn.com/2011/11/08/2160346/powerful-storm-aims-at-western.html

    The paper that NSIDC references deals with the coast somewhere within the boundaries of NRPA, west of Barrow, on the Beaufort Sea and not where this storm is occurring though it looks to be heading northeast after smacking the central west coast of Alaska. It’s forecast to provide some “action” in the papers study area on Thursday, but winds will be onshore and the storm’s low won’t be at ~950 as it is now, and into Wednesday.

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