SMOS Satellite imagery suggests NE passage to open soon – ‘primarily attributable to the wind’

From the Alfred Wegener Institute:

Sea ice thickness in the Laptev Sea at the end of the previous winter (April 20, 2012): The sea ice thickness was determined with the SMOS (Soil Moisture Ocean Saliniy) satellite that can resolve ice thicknesses up to 50 centimetres. The black line shows the mission’s flight track. SMOS-data: Lars Kaleschke, KlimaCampus, Hamburg University

 

North-East Passage soon free from ice again? Winter measurements show thin sea ice in the Laptev Sea, pointing to early and large scale summer melt

Bremerhaven, 8 June 2012, The North-East Passage, the sea route along the North coast of Russia, is expected to be free of ice early again this summer. The forecast was made by sea ice physicists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association based on a series of measurement flights over the Laptev Sea, a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. Amongs experts the shelf sea is known as an “ice factory” of Arctic sea ice. At the end of last winter the researchers discovered large areas of thin ice not being thick enough to withstand the summer melt.

“These results were a great surprise to us“, says expedition member Dr. Thomas Krumpen. In previous measurements in the winter of 2007/2008 the ice in the same area had been up to one metre thicker. In his opinion these clear differences are primarily attributable to the wind: “It behaves differently from year to year. If, as last winter, the wind blows from the mainland to the sea, it pushes the pack ice from the Laptev Sea towards the North. Open water areas, so-called polynyas, develop in this way before the coast. Their surface water naturally cools very quickly at an air temperature of minus 40 degrees. New thin ice forms and is then immediately swept away again by the wind. In view of this cycle, differently sized areas of thin ice then develop on the Laptev Sea depending on wind strength and continuity“, explains Thomas Krumpen. (See info charts)

However, the expedition team was unaware of just how large these areas can actually become until they made the measurement flights in March and April of this year. In places the researchers flew over thin ice for around 400 kilometres. The “EM Bird”, the torpedo-shaped, electromagnetic ice thickness sensor of the Alfred Wegener Institute, was hung on a cable beneath the helicopter. It constantly recorded the thickness of the floating ice. “We now have a unique data set which we primarily want to use to check the measurements of the earth investigation satellite SMOS“, says Thomas Krumpen.

The abbreviation SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) is actually a satellite mission to determine the soil moisture of the mainland and salinity of the oceans. However, the satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA) can also be used to survey the Arctic sea ice. “The satellite can be used above all to detect thin ice areas, as we have seen them, from space“, explains Thomas Krumpen.

The SMOS satellite measurements from March and April of this year confirm that the thin ice areas discovered by the expedition team were no locally restricted phenomenon: “A large part of the North-East Passage was characterised by surprisingly thin ice at the end of the winter“, says Thomas Krumpen.

The new findings of the successful winter expedition give cause for concern to the scientists: “These huge new areas of thin ice will be the first to disappear when the ice melts in summer. And if the thin ice melts as quickly as we presume, the Laptev Sea and with it a part of the North-East Passage will be free from ice comparatively early this summer“, explains the sea ice physicist.

In the past the Laptev Sea was always covered with sea ice from October to the end of the following July and was navigable for a maximum of two summer months. In 2011 the ice had retracted so far by the third week of July that during the course of the summer 33 ships were able to navigate the Arctic waters of Russia for the first time. The North-East Passage is viewed by shipping companies to be a time and fuel saving alternative to the conventional Europe-Asia route. The connection from Rotterdam to Japanese Yokohama via the Nord-East Passage is some 3800 sea miles shorter than taking the Suez Canal and Indian Ocean route.

###

General information on the SMOS satellites may be found on the ESA website at http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMB4L4AD1G_Germany_0.html and on the sea ice thickness measurements of the satellite at http://www.esa.int/esaLP/SEM361BX9WG_index_0.html

The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic and Antarctic and in the high and mid-latitude oceans. The Institute coordinates German polar research and provides important infrastructure such as the research ice breaker Polarstern and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic to the national and international scientific world. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the 18 research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

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84 thoughts on “SMOS Satellite imagery suggests NE passage to open soon – ‘primarily attributable to the wind’

  1. OH great…I get to be FIRST UP! ANYONE want to make any WAGERS that there will be at LEAST one MEDIA outlet that will confuse this with the “Northwest” passage being open, and go on to declare that this is unprecedented, AND (of course) a sign of Gorebull warming???

    Max :)

    PS: It might be considered a “fool’s errand”..

  2. Surprised they called it the North East Passage, mostly it is referred to as the Northern Sea Route which causes some confusion, not that Eli did not make the same mistake early on. Be that as it may, this is another one of those things where you have to use AND instead of OR. It is not just the winds, or that the ice near the Russian coast was unusually thin, in other words both. The thinned ice pack due of the past two decades only needs unfavorable conditions to become the very, very thin and smaller ice pack. Natural variability is not always your friend,

    This simply shows that the large surface coverage in the Arctic during March and April was a chimera, very thin, very susceptible to rapid melting.

  3. Unfortuantely, the broad basis of this looks to be correct. It looks like it will be a huge melt this year and pretty low, low.

  4. Satellite images now are showing open seas to the northwest of (Canada’s) Banks Island … far earlier in the year than has ever been known before … it used to be that the northern shores of Banks Island commonly remained ice-bound all-year-round.

    For thrilling adventure combined with plenty of interesting Arctic science, see T. H. Manning’s Narrative of an Unsuccessful Attempt to Circumnavigate Banks Island by Canoe in 1952. Adventures like this earned Manning the nickname “The Lone Wolf of the Arctic”.

    As for the 2012 Arctic ice-melt, it seems very likely that new records will be set on both the Russian and Canadian sides.

    • • •

    [So today you are "A fan of *MORE* discourse"? What happened to "Evil D*ni*r" or "R Kcin" or "Marcella Twixt", etc? You are wearing out your welcome here by flouting site Policy. Use one screen name or your comments will be deleted. ~dbs, mod.]

    [Agreed. You have been using anonymous proxy servers and a throw-away e-mail address, as have a number of your other alter-egos. Get honest or go away. -REP]

  5. Eli Rabett says:
    June 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm
    Surprised they called it the North East Passage, mostly it is referred to as the Northern Sea Route which causes some confusion, not that Eli did not make the same mistake early on.

    It might be a translation issue, the original german press release referred to: ‘Die Nordost-Passage’.

  6. “, it pushes the pack ice from the Laptev Sea towards the North”

    …and that makes thick multi year ice

  7. ‘primarily attributable to the wind’

    The Russian scientists have always said Arctic sea ice area variation had much more to do with wind patterns off Siberia, rather than air or war temp variation, or salinity, etc.

    .

  8. well, duh.
    If you have thinner ice ( lower volume ) the wind will do what it does to thin ice.
    As Eli notes it’s not a question of OR ( wind or AGW) it’s a question of AND.

  9. clipe says:
    June 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Not sure why, but this subject reminds me of…

    Ah! Just remembered. Lots of Canadian stations not reporting.

  10. Steven Mosher says:
    June 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    well, duh.
    If you have thinner ice ( lower volume ) the wind will do what it does to thin ice.
    As Eli notes it’s not a question of OR ( wind or AGW) it’s a question of AND.
    ———
    I don’t see where you or Eli get the AGW connection…..
    They said minus 40, and wind blowing it away rapidly…..said it would freeze rapidly at -40 and the wind would blow it away, only to freeze again and repeat……

    “”Their surface water naturally cools very quickly at an air temperature of minus 40 degrees. New thin ice forms and is then immediately swept away again by the wind””

    ..Well, where did the wind blow it away too? Somewhere it ended up piled up and thicker……..

  11. I’m not surprised. Julienne Stroeve of NSIDC warned about the thin ice back in March:

    Julienne Stroeve says:
    March 5, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    The recent uptick in the daily ice extent comes primarily from growth in the Bering Sea and Baffin Bay/Davis strait that both gained more than 80,000 sq-km of ice between 2/29/12 and 3/4/12. The February monthly mean ice extent was the 4th lowest in the modern satellite record, and since 2004, every year has had a February monthly mean ice extent below 15 million sq-km except for 2008 (15.01 million sq-km). The trend in winter sea ice extent is small (-3% per decade), but it is statistically significant. Regionally, there are statistically significant (95% confidence) negative trends in winter ice extent everywhere except the Bering Sea which has a positive trend (though not statistically significant).

    Regardless of February being the 4th lowest during the 1979-present data record, or the recent uptick in extent, Mr. Johnson should know that it has little to no bearing on what will happen this summer as these southerly regions melt out every summer anyway. More interesting is the distribution of the perennial ice and its thickness. Given the positive AO throughout most of this winter, there was good export of mulityear ice out of Fram Strait, such that this winter there was a larger amount of 3+ year old ice exported than in the last 4 winters (the amount was similar to the amount exported during the 2006/2007 winter). This helps to precondition the Arctic Basin to ice loss, since thinner ice melts out easier.

    The surge in Arctic sea ice extent around the end of February, as seen on the IARC-JAXA graph, was largely illusory, a late freeze of thin ice. In more realistic terms, the ice is closer to 2011 and the 2000’s average than anything better. I try to not pay attention to the squiggles this early, but June is showing a sharp drop.

    I did before predict 4.7 million sq km, perhaps less. For some weeks now I’ve been reconsidering what number corresponds with “low but not abysmally low”. I’m restating it now as 4.5 mi sq km, perhaps less.

  12. “The black line shows the mission’s flight track. SMOS-data: Lars Kaleschke, KlimaCampus, Hamburg University”
    ===============
    If the mission was to fly over the thinnest ice, the track flown would seem to the best to accomplish the goal.
    Or did I miss something ?

  13. I figure things will change when the AMO shifts from warm phase to cold phase, but it is very interesting watching what goes on up there. These is a good Navy site on the “Sea Ice Page” that shows the speed and movement of the ice. It is :

    You can also get 30-day and 365-day animations. It gives you a pretty clear idea of how the ice up there gets rammed together and then spread apart, forming pressure ridges and open leads, whether it is coldest winter or mildest summer.

    Also on the “Sea Ice Page” is the “North Pole Camera.” I’ve been watching that for years. Last year the camera tilted early, and I developed a crik in my neck as time passed. This year there seemed to be a lead of open water in the far distance for a while, however more recently that has been replaced by what I think is a pressure ridge in the far distance. Either that or fifty tents have been set up.

    The wind has been blowing away from Russia towards the Pole a lot recently. The ice at the pole has seemed to get thicker, with a few areas of 80% extent vanishing, as the ice at the Russian Coast got thinner, with areas of more than 80% extent all but vanishing. Now that the wind is shifting, it will be interesting to see if the ice drifts back down towards Russia. I wouldn’t be surprised if the “extent” graphs everyone watches so anxiously had a few odd up-ticks this summer, as the ice moves around. It was a windy winter, and I imagine there must be more piled-up pressure ridges. When these dissolve and fall apart, a small area of 100% extent can spread out and become a larger area of 15% extent, and, because the 15% extent is the one everyone watches, there are lible to be headlines, and fuss enough to keep us all happy.

  14. This was the route of the WWII Murmansk Run? Was the ’40s an unusual ice-free time?

  15. Steven Mosher says: June 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    well, duh.
    If you have thinner ice ( lower volume ) the wind will do what it does to thin ice.
    As Eli notes it’s not a question of OR ( wind or AGW) it’s a question of AND.

    Can you present any evidence to support your AGW supposition? Here is all of the info I’ve collected thus far that support the influence of wind and Atmospheric Oscillations:

    In this October, 1 2007 NASA article;

    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/quikscat-20071001.html

    Son V. Nghiem of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said that “the rapid decline in winter perennial ice the past two years was caused by unusual winds. “Unusual atmospheric conditions set up wind patterns that compressed the sea ice, loaded it into the Transpolar Drift Stream and then sped its flow out of the Arctic,” he said. When that sea ice reached lower latitudes, it rapidly melted in the warmer waters.

    “The winds causing this trend in ice reduction were set up by an unusual pattern of atmospheric pressure that began at the beginning of this century,” Nghiem said.”

    This 2010 Guardian article states that;
    “Much of the record breaking loss of ice in the Arctic ocean in recent years is down to the region’s swirling winds and is not a direct result of global warming, a new study reveals.”:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/22/wind-sea-ice-loss-arctic

    This 2011 paper submitted to The Cryosphere by L. H. Smedsrud, et al. “used “geostrophic winds derived from reanalysis data to calculate the Fram Strait ice area export back to 1957, finding that the sea ice area export recently is about 25% larger than during the 1960’s.”

    http://www.the-cryosphere-discuss.net/5/1311/2011/tcd-5-1311-2011-print.pdf

    This 2007 paper “Rapid reduction of Arctic perennial sea ice” by Nghiem, Rigor, Perovich, Clemente-Colo, Weatherly and Neumann states that;

    “Perennial-ice extent loss in March within the DM domain was noticeable after the 1960s, and the loss became more rapid in the 2000s when QSCAT observations were available to verify the model results. QSCAT data also revealed mechanisms contributing to the perennial-ice extent loss: ice compression toward the western Arctic, ice loading into the Transpolar Drift (TD) together with an acceleration of the TD carrying excessive ice out of Fram Strait, and ice export to Baffin Bay.”

    http://seaice.apl.washington.edu/Papers/NghiemEtal2007_MYreduction.pdf

    This 2004 paper “Variations in the Age of Arctic Sea-ice and Summer Sea-ice Extent” by Ignatius G. Rigor & John M. Wallace, states that;

    “The winter AO-index explains as much as 64% of the variance in summer sea-ice extent in the Eurasian sector, but the winter and summer AO-indices combined explain less than 20% of the variance along the Alaskan coast, where the age of sea-ice explains over 50% of the year-to year variability. If this interpretation is correct, low summer sea-ice extents are likely to persist for at least a few years. However, it is conceivable that, given an extended interval of low-index AO conditions, ice thickness and summertime sea-ice extent could gradually return to the levels characteristic of the 1980′s.”

    http://seaice.apl.washington.edu/

    2004 Science Daily article,” Extreme changes in the Arctic Oscillation in the early 1990s — and not warmer temperatures of recent years — are largely responsible for declines in how much sea ice covers the Arctic Ocean, with near record lows having been observed during the last three years, University of Washington researchers say.”

    “It may have happened more than a decade ago, but the sea ice appears to still “remember” those Arctic Oscillation conditions, according to Ignatius Rigor, a mathematician with the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory.”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041220010410.htm

    This 2010 paper, “Influence of winter and summer surface wind anomalies on summer Arctic sea ice extent” by Masayo Ogi, Koji Yamazaki and John M. Wallace, published in Geophysical Research Letters states that;

    “We have shown results indicating that wind‐induced, year‐to‐year differences in the rate of flow of ice toward and through Fram Strait play an important role in modulating September SIE on a year‐to‐year basis and that a trend toward an increased wind‐induced rate of flow has contributed to the decline in the areal coverage of Arctic summer sea ice.”

    http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d2/masayo.ogi/2009GL042356.pdf

    This 2001 paper, Fram Strait Ice Fluxes and Atmospheric Circulation: 1950–2000
    by Torgny Vinje found that:

    “Observations reveal a strong correlation between the ice fluxes through the Fram Strait and the cross-strait air pressure difference.”

    “Although the 1950s and 1990s stand out as the two decades with maximum flux variability, significant variations seem more to be the rule than the exception over the whole period considered.”

    “A noticeable fall in the winter air pressure of 7 hPa is observed in the Fram Strait and the Barents Sea during the last five decades.”

    “The corresponding decadal maximum change in the Arctic Ocean ice thickness is of the order of 0.8 m. These temporal wind-induced variations may help explain observed changes in portions of the Arctic Ocean ice cover over the last decades. Due to an increasing rate in the ice drainage through the Fram Strait during the 1990s, this decade is characterized by a state of decreasing ice thickness in the Arctic Ocean.”

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0442%282001%29014%3C3508%3AFSIFAA%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    “The decreases in recent decades, which are also partially due to circulation-driven ice export through the Fram Strait between Greenland and Svalbard (Vinje, 2001), have coincided with a positive trend in the NAO, with unusually high index values in the late 1980s and 1990s. During this period, the variability of ice motion and ice export through the Fram Strait was correlated strongly with the NAO; r∼ 0.86 for the ice area flux (Kwok and Rothrock, 1999) and r∼ 0.7 for the ice volume flux (Hilmer and Jung, 2000), although the relationship was insignificant (r∼ 0.1) before the mid 1970s (Hilmer and Jung, 2000). Deser et al. (2000) analysed a 40-yr gridded data set (1958–97) to determine the association between arctic sea ice, SAT and SLP, concluding that the multidecadal trends in the NAO/AO in the past three decades have been ‘imprinted upon the distribution of Arctic sea ice’, with the first principal component of sea-ice concentration significantly correlated (r∼−0.63) with the NAO index, recently cause-and-effect modelled by Hu et al. (2002). None the less, our calculations and those of Deser et al. (2000) indicate that, even in recent decades, only about one third of the variability in arctic total ice extent and MY ice area (Johannessen et al., 1999) is explained by the NAO index

    ” The decadal-scale mode associated with the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and a low-frequency oscillation (LFO) with an approximate time scale of 60-80 years, dominate. Both modes were positive in the 1990s, signifying a prolonged phase of anomalously low atmospheric sea level pressure and above normal surface air temperature in the central Arctic. Consistent with an enhanced cyclonic component, the arctic anticyclone was weakened and vorticity of winds became positive. The rapid reduction of arctic ice thickness in the 1990s may be one manifestation of the intense atmosphere and ice cyclonic circulation regime due to the synchronous actions of the AO and LFO. Our results suggest that the decadal AO and multidecadal LFO drive large amplitude natural variability in the Arctic making detection of possible long-term trends induced by greenhouse gas warming most difficult.”
    Igor V. Polyakov and Mark A. Johnson, 2000

    http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/Decadal.pdf

    “Hilmer and Jung (2000) note a secular change in the relationship between the Fram Strait ice flux and the NAO; the high correlation noted by Kwok and Rothrock (1999) from 1978 to 1996 was not found in data prior to 1978. We expect our overall results to be more robust given the strong relationship between the AO and SIM over the Arctic, as compared to the weaker relationship between the north–south flow through Fram Strait and the AO. Even if one ignored the effect of the AO on the flux of ice through Fram Strait, the divergence of ice in the eastern Arctic would be still be ;50% greater under high-index conditions than under low-index conditions, and the heat flux would be ;25% greater.”

    ” We have shown that sea ice provides memory for the Arctic climate system so that changes in SIM driven by the AO during winter can be felt during the ensuing seasons; that is, the AO drives dynamic thinning of the sea ice in the eastern Arctic during winter, allowing more heat to be released from the ocean through the thinner ice during spring, and resulting in lower SIC during summer and the liberation of more heat by the freezing of the ice in autumn. The correlations between the wintertime AO and SIC and SAT during the subsequent seasons offers the hope of some predictability, which may be useful for navigation along the Northern Sea route.”

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/Response-of-Sea-Ice-to-the-Arctic-Oscillation-2002-J-Climate.pdf

    I look forward to seeing the body of evidence that you’ve based your opinion on…

  16. …In his opinion these clear differences are primarily attributable to the wind:…

    Yes, but it the warm wind which has been warmed by global warming.
    /sarc

    The North East Passage has been gone through before.
    The Central Arctic Ocean has been ice free before.
    The polar bears are still here and increased in numbers since the lat 1950s
    There are former Greenland farms under permafrost.

    Nothing to see here folks, move along nicely.

  17. Sorry, I think I should have said the
    The North WEST Passage has been gone through before.

    Too many beers tonight.

  18. “If you have thinner ice ( lower volume ) the wind will do what it does to thin ice.
    “As Eli notes it’s not a question of OR ( wind or AGW) it’s a question of AND”

    Really? This ice off Siberia is really broken up and can get pushed around? It’s not about above freezing temps and wind movement? If you need a “duh” example, blowing breath no hot soup?
    Duh.
    Steve, that’s your jump the shark moment.

  19. ..Well, where did the wind blow it away too? Somewhere it ended up piled up and thicker……..

    Indeed. If wind is the cause and as ice is an effective insulator, the net result will be more ice and more heat lost from the climate system.

    The trend in winter sea ice extent is small (-3% per decade), but it is statistically significant. Regionally,

    Most of the reduced Arctic sea ice results from increased summer melt. Yet, Atmospheric GHG warming is predicted to be, and as far as we can tell, is predominantly in the winter.

    GHG atmospheric warming is unlikely to be the primary cause of reduced sea ice. The obvious, and likely the main cause, is increased solar insolation in summer. There being no solar insolation in the Arctic winter. This also explains why multi-year ice is melting faster than new ice. Its dirtier and has a lower albedo.

    Which is not to say weather patterns don’t play a significant role in sea ice melt.

  20. I find two things amusing about this thread:

    1. There continues to be amongst the alarmawarmists this notion that less ice is a bad thing.
    2. Joshua Halpern continues to post under Eli Rabbett, referring to himself in the third person.

  21. I liked the tone and tenor of the abstract. The Russians seem to practice science. Go get data, archive it, interpret it and publish.

    Two thumbs up from me.

  22. Steve Mosher and Eli Rabett;

    It isn’t about wind and temperature!

    It is about wind and temperature and humidity and precipitation and oceanic currents and debris fields and, and, and….

  23. Whatever the reason(s), the rapid ice melt is way ahead of schedule and my prediction of 4.125 may be too high. For the record, I do not think the “alleged” Global Warming caused by CO2 has anything to do with it.

  24. This caught my attention. The scientists never indicated and emotion, as far as I can see, in any of their comments, yet felt that they were ‘concerned’ about the trend.

    The new findings of the successful winter expedition
    give cause for concern to the scientists:
    “These huge new areas of thin ice will be the first to disappear when the ice melts in summer. And if the thin ice melts as quickly as we presume, the Laptev Sea and with it a part of the North-East Passage will be free from ice comparatively early this summer“, explains the sea ice physicist.

    The scientist(s) never says he(they) is(are) concerned. The reporter seems to assume he is concerned. Not based on the quotes. This type of nonsense has become a cancer. Concern to the scientists the reporter claims is because ice gets blown around the Arctic? I kinda doubt it. This is no real revelation. Wind can move ice.

    I think the real benifit of this work is to give a comparison, and perhaps verification, to the satelite data.

    One has to wonder, what is the concern expressed specifially? Scientifically speaking?

  25. Just The Facts says:
    June 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm
    ======================================

    Thanks for the comment. I have bookmarked it. Do not expect Mr Mosher to dialogue. He is a hit and run specialist, and certain he KNOWS, so he does not care to DISCUSS.

  26. An ice free Arctic Ocean would open up a vast area of commerce between Europe, Asia and North America not previously available. It would open up huge areas of natural resources not previously available. Every country that borders the Arctic Ocean would see huge economic advantages.

    Yet, the IPCC sees this as something to be feared. People not connected with the IPCC might actually make some serious money. Large areas opening up for settlement for the first time in 1000 years. What we are seeing is the next “New World”. The land of opportunity for those willing to take the risk.

  27. Doug Proctor says:
    June 13, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    This was the route of the WWII Murmansk Run? Was the ’40s an unusual ice-free time?

    =====

    No. Murmansk is further West and apparently is normally ice free even in Winter. However, the Soviets started making Summer trips through the Northern Sea Route in 1934 and even sailed part of their Baltic Fleet through to the Far East in 1935. As far as I can tell the key to use of the Northern Sea Route was more the development of ships that could make the long trip without coaling stops than ice per se. What most of the discussion seems to be about is whether the ice clears completely and early enough to allow commercial vessels to confidently make the trip without an accompanying icebreaker to get them out of trouble if things go awry. My impression is that unlike the Northwest Passage, there are essentially no people along most of the Arctic shore of Asia. You get your freighter in trouble up there, and you are in real danger. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Sea_Route

  28. Been keeping track of ice area and extent with COI, IJIS, and Arctic-Roos. All 3 show area and extent nosediving. Looks like this summers melt will easily shatter the 2007 record minimum. Not good at all. And there is so very little multi-year ice left, the downward spiral will continue summer after summer after summer.

  29. “The new findings of the successful winter expedition give cause for concern to the scientists: “These huge new areas of thin ice will be the first to disappear when the ice melts in summer. And if the thin ice melts as quickly as we presume, the Laptev Sea and with it a part of the North-East Passage will be free from ice comparatively early this summer“, explains the sea ice physicist.”

    The expression of “concern” is strange in this context. First it’s the wind, then it helps shortening sea travel and has helped so for decades. No information what the “concern” is about.

  30. Max Hugoson says: June 13, 2012 at 2:30 pm
    OH great…I get to be FIRST UP! …

    Been there, done that. Trust me, fame is fleeting.

  31. This simply shows that the large surface coverage in the Arctic during March and April was a chimera, very thin, very susceptible to rapid melting.
    ————————————————————————————————–

    Yup. A lot of people don’t realize they are looking at little more than a ghost,,,nothing substantial.

  32. I often refer to my old encyclopedia, the ‘Book of Knowledge’ by Waverley printed in the early 1950’s. It’s amazing how history gets written and re-written.

    Looking up the ‘Arctic’ I read that the Russians established a trading route along the northern coast in the first half of the 20th century and established townships which grew flax and sugar beet which used this route to export.

    I’m old enough to know from personal knowledge that this route closed down completely by the end of the 1950’s when ice returned with vengeance.

    Looks like we may have come full circle and the Russians will be able to open again. Question is: for how long this time?

  33. Richard Carlson;
    Looks like this summers melt will easily shatter the 2007 record minimum. Not good at all.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>

    1. The historical record shows that this has happened before and hence is natural.
    2. What could possibly be wrong with less ice? Can you grow food on ice? Do fish thrive with ice covering the water? What?

  34. OK, until someone makes any of these passages;
    under sail, and without a map or a satellite phone/com.
    I remain unimpressed, as to the theory of the Arctic being more benign.

  35. Richard Carlson says:
    June 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm
    “Been keeping track of ice area and extent with COI, IJIS, and Arctic-Roos. All 3 show area and extent nosediving. Looks like this summers melt will easily shatter the 2007 record minimum. Not good at all. And there is so very little multi-year ice left, the downward spiral will continue summer after summer after summer.”

    Say, what brand of crystal ball are you using? Does it have good predictability track records or is it one of those old cheap extrapolation models?

  36. Richard Carlson:
    Or is it one of those models that just follows the wind? I’ve tried those before and they just don’t work. I’d save your karma.

  37. primarily attributable to the wind

    Global temperatures certainly do NOT seem to be responsible. The May anomaly for RSS came out today at 0.233. With this anomaly, the average for the first five months of the year is (-0.058 -0.12 + 0.074 + 0.333 + 0.233)/5 = 0.0924. If the average stayed this way for the rest of the year, its ranking would be 16th. This compares with the anomaly in 2011 at 0.147 to rank it 12th for that year. (1998 was the warmest at 0.55.) As well, RSS show a slope of essentially 0 since November 1996 or 15 years, 7 months (goes to May).

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1995/plot/rss/from:1996.83/trend

    P.S. There was a typo in the diagram: “Ocean Saliniy” should be “Ocean Salinity”.

  38. Here’s a nearby town:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiksi

    Quite interesting climate. All time max. temp ever in 1991 of 93°F, high avg. of +46°F in August. Snows 2/3 of the days throughout all of the winter months. Minimum avg. in winter of about -26°F December through March. Population high of 11,649 in ’89 but less than half now.

    Seems a question is, did the higher population cause the peak in temperature in the early ‘90’s? Was it the large airport there?

    Here’s some nearby scenic pictures:

    http://www.lhnet.org/lena-delta/

    Best to keep in mind that most Russian rivers flow north to exit into the Arctic Ocean and they do carry the exhaust heat from power plants and civilization far south with the flow. Wonder how much that might influences the ice thickness there? Takes only 2 watts per square meter there to raise the temperature one degree celsius in the winter.

    Seems civilization has move into the Arctic in the last few decades! Tourism is blossoming.

  39. They have been calling them the northeast passage and northwest passage for how long? Gee could that be because ships have sailed through there before?? Or do we get to reinvent that past too? And it seems to me anyone believing in AGW should revel in ice melt, afterall the melting and freezing takes energy.. maybe thats where all their missing heat has gone.. heheh. Meanwhile the icebreakers are busy saving stupid people, good for the economy and all that. /sarc off

    Maybe global warming can fix that pesky tilt too. /oksarc really off

  40. “Richard Carlson says: ”

    Richard – have you looked at the Navy link (http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil…) listed above.

    1. The majority of the ice is at -2C temperature or less.
    2. The western ice is above the historic average, only the eastern ice is below average (because of the winds).
    3. All the old ice is on the Canadian side, the Russian ice is all newer thinner ice.
    4. Over 1/2 of the ice appears to be 100% coverage. Less than 10% appears to be below 50% coverage.

    The ice on the east and along Russia is going to melt But it isn’t clear with the wind patterns and the ice conditions how fast the remaining ice will melt.

    The 2+ meter thick 100% coverage western ice is going to be tougher than the eastern ice that is currently melting.

  41. In Khatanga, on the Laptev Sea, roughly in the middle of the Northern Sea Route, it is now 26 C, or 79 F. This is warmer than Paris is going to get today, or probably all week. You can see the current condition by click on stations on this map

  42. Latitude says:
    June 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    ..Well, where did the wind blow it away too? Somewhere it ended up piled up and thicker……..

    Sometimes, but sometimes it gets pushed out to sea in the Bering Strait and the wider passage between Greenland and Norway. This is what happened in 2007 (esp. Bering as Eli seems to recall, you could look it up), and did not happen as much in 2009-2011. Of course, it is not just the winds but the ocean currents that move the broken up ice, but the melt is needed to break the ice pack up, and the ice is melting places where it never has before.

    Oh yes, one of the drivers of changes in wind pattern is human influences on the climate. A perfect storm.

  43. The NE passage is frequently open every summer because there are few islands to block wind blown ice movement. Unlike the NW passage. Ice melts every year and it is solar input that dictates by how much. The MWP had very little if any ice during summer.

  44. davidmhoffer says:
    June 13, 2012 at 7:36 pm
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Probably the most concerning aspect of reduced ice cover is that it assists the cooling of the globe: ice acts as a blanket restraining heat loss from the Arctic Ocean.

  45. pkatt says:
    June 13, 2012 at 11:42 pm
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    In the past when ships sailed through these pasages they did not have the benefit of satellite imaging nor GPS positioning. The significance of this should not be underestimated since these modern navigational aids make a huge difference in that they identify where the open channel is, and they assist the ship plotting a route to and within the open channel.

    It is therefore likely that in past when ships manged a successful transit (without such navigational aids) that the ice conditions then encountered if anything were less harsh than the conditions being encountered today.

  46. “Amongs experts the shelf sea is known as an “ice factory” of Arctic sea ice. At the end of last winter the researchers discovered large areas of thin ice not being thick enough to withstand the summer melt.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    “LOS ANGEL.ES. May 30.— A mysterious warming of the climate is slowly manifesting itself in the Arctic, and in the Antarctic ice regions and the major Greenland ice cap should reduce at the same rate as the present melting, oceanic surfaces would rise to catastrophic proportions, and people living in lowlands along the shores would be inundated, said Dr. Hans Ahlmann, noted Swedish geophysicist to-day, at tbe University of California’s Geophysical Institute.”
    This is 1947.

    http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/62904258?searchTerm=climate%20change&searchLimits=

    “Scientific Documentary: The Russian icebreaker North Pole maps out a sea route from Murmansk to the most western sea port of Russia. North Pole moves through the Barents, Kara, Laptev, East Siberian, Chukchi and Bering Seas mapping a route and taking scientific samples of the ice and sea bed, checking the ice drift and the atmosphere of arctic region.”
    Newsreel also from 1947.

    http://archive.org/details/gov.archives.arc.44539

  47. Eli Rabett says: June 14, 2012 at 1:53 am

    Oh yes, one of the drivers of changes in wind pattern is human influences on the climate. A perfect storm.

    Can you present any evidence to support your supposition?

  48. Eli Rabett says:
    June 14, 2012 at 1:53 am
    ===============================
    good grief
    And it’s knows as the “ice factory” among experts…….because it produces ice like an assembly line

    …and the melt..and the ice is melting……blah blah blah
    it’s -40, they are not talking about melting….they are talking about wind making it an assembly line

    ice factory

  49. Eli Rabett says:
    June 14, 2012 at 1:14 am

    “In Khatanga, on the Laptev Sea, roughly in the middle of the Northern Sea Route, it is now 26 C, or 79 F. This is warmer than Paris is going to get today, or probably all week.”

    If it were global warm then Paris would be much warmer.

  50. “In 2011 the ice had retracted so far by the third week of July that during the course of the summer 33 ships were able to navigate the Arctic waters of Russia for the first time.”
    ****************************************************************************************************
    1936 “saw a spectacular increase in activity along the
    Northern Sea Route; a total of 160 ships travelled parts of the route (the bulk
    of them from the west to the mouth of the Yenisey and back), while 16 vessels
    made the through-passage, 14 from west to east, and 2 from east to west, the
    latter being Vuntsetti and Iskru homeward bound to Leningrad (Belov, 1969).
    The ships heading east included the first Soviet warships to utilize the
    Northern Sea Route, the destroyers Voykov and Stulin, escorted once again by
    Fedor Litke (Burkhanov, 1959; Zinger, 1948; Belov, 1969).”

    http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic33-1-3.pdf

    It got colder again the following year, trapping Lenin’s convoy in the Arctic Sea. He wasn’t too happy about it, having named himself after the River Lena.

    Quoting the Great Russian Encyclopedia on the Laptev Sea, Wikipedia states: “The ice sheet starts melting in late May-early June, creating fragmented ice agglomerates on the north-west and south-east and often revealing remains of the mammoths. The ice formation varies from year to year, with the sea either clear or completely covered with ice.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laptev_sea

  51. Imagine a new cult religion. It’s believers would carry out bizarre rituals and lifestyles in the the vain belief that they are controlling Arctic sea ice. Their goal would be to have the Arctic always covered with ice. When this is accomplished they would attain salvation and eternal life in paradise.

    No. Who would believe that?

  52. “Eli Rabett says:
    June 14, 2012 at 1:14 am

    In Khatanga, on the Laptev Sea, roughly in the middle of the Northern Sea Route, it is now 26 C, or 79 F. ”

    Alert is 1°. Thule, Tiksi, etc. are in the 4-6°C range. Khatanga is the odd man out but it is only 21°C. The area around Khatanga has to be getting pretty slushy.

  53. richard verney says:
    June 14, 2012 at 3:26 am
    “Probably the most concerning aspect of reduced ice cover is that it assists the cooling of the globe: ice acts as a blanket restraining heat loss from the Arctic Ocean.”
    *************************
    This has to be the silliest bit of sciency-sounding nonsense I’ve heard on this site.. Richard Verney, do you understand the concept of “albedo”?

  54. Are we absolutely sure about the “disappearance”

    Since we lost the AMSR-E instrument on Aqua and while we are waiting for the new data from AMSR2 on GCOM-W, the current batch of Satellites can at best be described as patchy or flaky. Take a look at this http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/cgi-bin/seaice-monitor.cgi?lang=e the current source data is from Windsat and is not patch on the coverage we used to have from Aqua. Great big holes in surface coverage day after day affecting the area seen/measured. At this time of year JAXA used to apply a tweak to the results as the ice surface began to melt changing its characteristics in it’s response to the Radar. What are the odds that this carefully calibrated 6 monthly modification hasn’t been/cannot be applied appropriately to the WIndsat data stream?

    I look forward to the results coming in from the AMSR2 instrument on the GCOM-W Satellite once it has completed its commissioning/testing phase.

    And then we will be able to see if Al’s prediction of all gone in Summer by as soon as 2014 (Check out his Nobel Peace Prize winning speech) is true or just plain hogwash.

    Dave

  55. “Peter says:
    June 14, 2012 at 9:58 am

    richard verney says:
    June 14, 2012 at 3:26 am
    “Probably the most …”

    Dear Peter:

    The average solar input at the north pole is 40-50 W/m2 and until the sun

    Let’s look at heat transfer at the north pole. The average solar input is 40-50 W/m2. The average arctic output is 150 W/m2. What do you call something that exhausts energy? Hint: look at the front of your car. Yes, it is called a radiator.

    The tropics receive 330 W/m2 and exhaust 250-270 W/m2 for 50-80W/m2 gained. What is the heat source on your car? Yes – the engine.

    Now, if you took heat transfer in engineering school you would look up the thermal conductivity of ice and note that it is approximately 2.2 W/(m.K). Since the average arctic ice is 2 meters thick we will use that as our standard. Cardboard is has a conductivity of .12. So in theory we would need about 3 inches of cardboard but we will say the AGW people are right and reduce it to 1.5 inches.

    Put 1.5 inches of cardboard in front of your radiator. Note that the cardboard blocks convection and evaporation much like ice does and has about 1/2 the R value (a sop to the AGW people).

    Take a trip of about one hour and report the result.

    Remove the “ice” and repeat the trip.

    Note that our simulated ice makes your car run warmer.

    Albedo only affects available radiation. There isn’t much. Seawater albedo is dependent on angle. The sun can only get 23 degrees over the horizon and it has to exceed some critical angle (6 ?) before most of the radiation is absorbed.

    However, at -40 °C winter temperatures, open water will lose 120 Watts/m2 (3 W/m2*K) through convection and 200 W/m2 to evaporation and if a polynya forms it will be unimpeded by ice (those are rough numbers). The heat loss through 2 meters of ice is about 1 W/m2. For our AGW friends that’s 1 meter of ice and 2 W/m2

  56. Just The Facts says: June 14, 2012 at 4:23 am
    Eli Rabett says: June 14, 2012 at 1:53 am

    “Oh yes, one of the drivers of changes in wind pattern is human influences on the climate. A perfect storm.”

    “Can you present any evidence to support your supposition?”

    Well somewhat upside down, but here is one obvious example (pay careful attention to the comments and the links the bunnies have provided) of how human actions are affecting wind patterns, but perhaps more to the point, here are a couple of papers (one, two)

    Just google Hadley cell climate change for more.

    Best

    NOTE: Eli Rabett is actually Joshua Halpern of Howard University

  57. Just a correction – for 2 meters of ice and 40 K of heat differential the heat transfer is 20W and for 1 meter it is 40W – thermal conductivity is W/(m2*K) – so the conductivity has to be multiplied by the absolute temperature difference.

  58. “Eli Rabett says:
    June 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Just The Facts says: June 14, 2012 at 4:23 am”

    This could be the start of a useful conversation.

    The question is, does human warming which urban focused (to the extent of 10 *F heat bubbles around major cities):
    1. Amplify existing weather patterns or
    2. Disrupt existing weather patterns.

    Don’t know the answer and haven’t given it enough thought to model it.

  59. The first ship traverse of the Northeast Passage was in 1877. That event had to await the construction of suitable iron ship hulls, which could resist the action of floating ice. This ain’t no big deal!!!

  60. Eli Rabett says: June 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    “Can you present any evidence to support your supposition?”

    Well somewhat upside down, but here is one obvious example

    http://rabett.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/eli-is-evil-bunny.html

    “Goes like this, springtime ozone depletion over Antarctica blows a hole in the belly of the ozone column. That means that there is a lot less ozone over the pole in the stratosphere. Eli has been at this game long enough to have heard every possible joke about sunburned penguins and more serious thoughts about this not doing good things for the phytoplankton upon which much of the oceans food chains depend, but it does something else that is obvious, it causes a strong, local (over the pole) cooling of the stratosphere, because the ozone is not there to absorb the sunlight which is flooding in as the sun rises in the spring. Such a cooling moves the tropopause upwards. Let us stress that this is both a local effect and and a short term one until the ozone hole heals in the late spring/summer”

    Firstly, it’s not a “hole”, “The word hole isn’t literal; no place is empty of ozone. Scientists use the word hole as a metaphor for the area in which ozone concentrations drop below the historical threshold of 220 Dobson Units.”

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WorldOfChange/ozone.php

    Secondly the ozone surplus that exists outside of the “ozone hole”;

    is likely a dynamical effect of the stratospheric polar vortex, i.e. “The walls of the polar vortex act as the boundaries for the extraordinary changes in chemical concentrations. Now the polar vortex can be considered a sealed chemical reactor bowl, containing a water vapor hole, a nitrogen oxide hole and an ozone hole, all occurring simultaneously (Labitzke and Kunze 2005)”

    http://books.google.com/books?id=B93SSQrcAh4C&lpg=PA283&ots=d0-uBRjmyI&dq=%22water%20vapor%20hole%22%20polar%20vortex&pg=PA283#v=onepage&q=%22water%20vapor%20hole%22%20polar%20vortex&f=false

    Polar Vortices “are caused when an area of low pressure sits at the rotation pole of a planet. This causes air to spiral down from higher in the atmosphere, like water going down a drain.”

    http://www.universetoday.com/973/what-venus-and-saturn-have-in-common/.

    “A polar vortex is a persistent, large-scale cyclone located near one or both of a planet’s geographical poles.” “The vortex is most powerful in the hemisphere’s winter, when the temperature gradient is steepest, and diminishes or can disappear in the summer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_vortex

    “The ozone hole is in the center of a spiraling mass of air over the Antarctic that is called the polar vortex. The vortex is not stationary and sometimes moves as far north as the southern half of South America, taking the ozone hole with it.”

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/factsheets/HALOE-Ozone.html

    This article and associated graphics help to demonstrate the dynamical effect of the polar vortex on Venus’s south pole:

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/09/venus-polar-vortex/

    how human actions are affecting wind patterns, but perhaps more to the point, here are a couple of papers (one, two)

    Based on a review of the “one” paper you cited “Change of the Tropical Hadley Cell Since 1950″ by Xiao-Wei Quan, Henry F. Diaz, and Martin P. Hoerling:

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/people/quan.xiaowei/PDF/HCpaper.pdf

    I find no reference to “human actions” “affecting wind patterns” and their most pertinent conclusion that;

    “The time history of the southward overturning Hadley cell during the Southern Hemispheric winter lacks a trend, though it does exhibit strong decadal variations.”

    appears to directly contradict your supposition that human caused “ozone hole” has caused atmospheric changes. The “two” link you provided is broken, but I don’t expect that we’re missing much…

  61. would someone please answer the “skeptic” magazine article on how to answer global warming deniers. The four irrefutable points they cited: 1) CO2 is increasing, 2) the icecaps are breaking up, 3) glaciers are receding, 4) the oceans are rising – see this month’s issue

  62. Firstly, it’s not a “hole”, “

    Depends on how you look at it. In the vertical profile the ozone does pretty much go to zero at what normally was the maximum of the concentration. That is a hole in the mid-stratosphere ozone distribution, but you might prefer mountain top removal as a simile. It is significant. More later perhaps

    NOTE: Eli Rabett is actually Joshua Halpern of Howard University

  63. John McNeil:
    1. True 2. Not true, especially in the Antarctic 3. Only SOME glaciers are receding while some are advancing 4. Not true

  64. [SNIP: Site policy requires a valid e-mail address in order to comment. Submit a valid e-mail address and your comments woll be approved. -REP]

  65. Eli Rabett says: June 15, 2012 at 3:32 am

    Firstly, it’s not a “hole”, “

    Depends on how you look at it. In the vertical profile the ozone does pretty much go to zero at what normally was the maximum of the concentration. That is a hole in the mid-stratosphere ozone distribution,

    I am not going to argue the definition of a hole with you, the graphic below shows the ozone distribution and the likely result of the coalescing of a stratospheric polar vortex on ozone concentrations:

    but you might prefer mountain top removal as a simile. It is significant.

    When I’m hiking, and I come across others litter, especially those mylar balloons that find themselves to the most pristine of spots, I pick them up and walk them out. How about you?

    More later perhaps

    We await it with bated breath…

  66. You may unbait your breath. As Eli said, this has an effect on the circulation in the Southern Hemisphere, and there is quite a bit of literature on that including
    ————————
    Polvani, L. M., D. W. Waugh, et al. (2011). “Stratospheric Ozone Depletion: The Main Driver of Twentieth-Century Atmospheric Circulation Changes in the Southern Hemisphere.” Journal of Climate 24(3): 795-812.
    The importance of stratospheric ozone depletion on the atmospheric circulation of the troposphere is studied with an atmospheric general circulation model, the Community Atmospheric Model, version 3 (CAM3), for the second half of the twentieth century. In particular, the relative importance of ozone depletion is contrasted with that of increased greenhouse gases and accompanying sea surface temperature changes. By specifying ozone and greenhouse gas forcings independently, and performing long, time-slice integrations, it is shown that the impacts of ozone depletion are roughly 2-3 times larger than those associated with increased greenhouse gases, for the Southern Hemisphere tropospheric summer circulation. The formation of the ozone hole is shown to affect not only the polar tropopause and the latitudinal position of the midlatitude jet; it extends to the entire hemisphere, resulting in a broadening of the Hadley cell and a poleward extension of the subtropical dry zones. The CAM3 results are compared to and found to be in excellent agreement with those of the multimodel means of the recent Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3) and Chemistry-Climate Model Validation (CCMVal2) simulations. This study, therefore, strongly suggests that most Southern Hemisphere tropospheric circulation changes, in austral summer over the second half of the twentieth century, have been caused by polar stratospheric ozone depletion.
    —————————–
    but also others.

    Now some, not Eli to be sure, might point out that you pretty much made his case. In that figure there is a hole in the vertical distribution between 20 and 15 km altitude where the concentration pretty much goes to zero.

    NOTE: Eli Rabett is actually Joshua Halpern of Howard University

  67. Eli Rabett says: June 15, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    “studied with an atmospheric general circulation model, the Community Atmospheric Model, version 3 (CAM3)" "The CAM3 results are compared to and found to be in excellent agreement with those of the multimodel means of the recent Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3) and Chemistry-Climate Model Validation (CCMVal2) simulations.”

    That doesn’t count, it’s just a bunch of models, i.e. all guesses no facts. Current general circulation models cannot accurately duplicate or reproduce observations of polar voticity and the polar stratosphere, i.e.:

    “Many atmospheric general circulation models (GCMs) and chemistry–climate models (CCMs) are not able to reproduce the observed polar stratospheric winds in simulations of the late 20th century. Specifically, the polar vortices break down too late and peak wind speeds are higher than in the ERA-40 reanalysis. Insufficient planetary wave driving during the October–November period delays the breakup of the southern hemisphere (SH) polar vortex in versions 1 (V1) and 2 (V2) of the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) chemistry–climate model, and is likely the cause of the delayed breakup in other CCMs with similarly weak October-November wave driving.”

    “In the V1 model, the delayed breakup of the Antarctic vortex biases temperature, circulation and trace gas concentrations in the polar stratosphere in spring. The V2 model behaves similarly (despite major model upgrades from V1), though the magnitudes of the anomalous effects on springtime dynamics are smaller.”

    “Clearly, if CCMs cannot duplicate the observed response of the polar stratosphere to late 20th century climate forcings, their ability to simulate the polar vortices in future may be poor.”

    http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2009/EGU2009-651.pdf

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2010JGRD..11507105H

    “It is unclear how much confidence can be put into the model projections of the vortices given that the models typically only have moderate resolution and that the climatological structure of the vortices in the models depends on the tuning of gravity wave parameterizations.

    Given the above outstanding issues, there is need for continued research in the dynamics of the vortices and their representation in global models.”

    http://www.columbia.edu/~lmp/paps/waugh+polvani-PlumbFestVolume-2010.pdf

    Now some, not Eli to be sure, might point out that you pretty much made his case. In that figure there is a hole in the vertical distribution between 20 and 15 km altitude where the concentration pretty much goes to zero.

    I am sure some would, but I think most would see your statement, that “ozone depletion” “blows a hole in the belly of the ozone column.”, as uninformed alarmist rhetoric…

  68. Why is their open water, NNE of Alaska and North of Canada, on the west side of all the islands that make the east part of the Northwest Passage interesting.

    I know this post is about the Northeast Passage, but that open water baffles me.

  69. Caleb says: June 15, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Why is their open water, NNE of Alaska and North of Canada, on the west side of all the islands that make the east part of the Northwest Passage interesting.

    I know this post is about the Northeast Passage, but that open water baffles me.

    Hmmmm, if you zoom in on the area on this satellite image;

    http://www.arctic.io/observations/

    there do seem to be some odd green areas, that don’t seem to appear anywhere else in the Arctic.

    The green is also viable in this satellite image, even though it is mostly obscured with clouds;

    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/imagery/subsets/?subset=Arctic_r05c02.2011212.terra

    it is a zoom from this Arctic satellite image;

    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/imagery/subsets/?mosaic=Arctic.2011212.terra.4km

    The 3-6-7 band shows the ice more clearly;

    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/imagery/subsets/?mosaic=Arctic.2011212.terra.367.4km

    but the zoom doesn’t appear unusual:

    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/imagery/subsets/?subset=Arctic_r05c02.2011212.terra.367

    Recently “a group of U.S. scientists has discovered enormous blooms of algae growing in an area of the Arctic Ocean that they never thought could support the phytoplankton: below the sea ice.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/06/07/sci-phytoplankton-blooms-arctic.html

    Thus is is possible that this is the cause of the coloration, but it certainly bears watching…

  70. Beaufort Sea Ice Area has been anomalously low every summer since 2007:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.11.html

    and this year is currently the lowest:
    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02186/plots/r01_Beaufort_Sea_ts.png

    Also of note;

    “Shell plans to drill new wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in 2012 and 2013. The company has invested billions in Arctic leases since 2005 but ran into opposition from environmentalists and native Alaskan groups. Last August, however, Shell received a Bureau of Ocean Energy Management conditional permit to explore for oil in the Beaufort Sea, east of the Chukchi. In October, the EPA issued a final air-discharge permit sought by Shell to drill in the Beaufort Sea. With that air permit, Shell can use its Kulluk rig for 120 days a year in Arctic waters, the agency said. In mid-December, BOEM conditionally approved a revised, Shell plan to drill six, oil-exploration wells in the Chukchi Sea next year.
    Together, the Beaufort and Chukchi seas could hold 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. In comparison, 17 billion barrels of oil have flowed out of Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay fields in the past 30 years. ”

    http://www.marinelink.com/news/exploration-arctic-awaits342119.aspx

    “The Nordica is one of two Shell-contracted icebreakers owned by the Finnish government. It is heading to Alaska to join its sister ship, the Fennica, to support the Kulluk and Noble Discoverer, the two drilling vessels en route to the north coast of Alaska to drill five exploratory wells for Shell in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas later this summer.

    Shell has said it intends to begin drilling in the two neighboring seas on or about July 10 and continue until just before ice forms this autumn. ”

    http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/may2012/2012-05-01-01.html

    “Icebreaker, support

    Good ice management is necessary to enhance station-keeping performance of arctic drilling units, Shell stressed to OGJ. The company has contracted two Russian icebreakers and two Finnish and Swedish-flagged anchor handling-ice management vessels to accompany the two drilling units.

    The I/B Kapitan Dranitsyn, owned by the Russian Federation and operated by Murmansk Shipping Co., is the primary icebreaker assigned to the Discoverer drillship. The conventionally propelled ship was built in 1982 at the Wartsila Shipyard in Helsinki, Finland. It was remodeled in 1994, upgraded in 1999 and received a passenger vessel certificate.

    The anchor-handling vessel and secondary icebreaker for the Discoverer drillship is the Finnish-flagged Fennica, owned and operated by Finstaship. Built in 1993, the Fennica is 116 m long, 26 m wide, and draws 8.4 m. This vessel has reamers on the hull, which improve turning in ice, break a wider channel, and reduce rolling and midship friction.2

    The anchor-handling tug supply (AHTS) M/V Vladimir Ignatjuk is the primary icebreaker assigned to the Kulluk platform. The ship is owned by the Russian Federation and operated by Murmansk Shipping Co.

    Gulf Canada built this Canadian-designed vessel in 1982 at the Victoria Yard of the Burrard Yarrrows Corp. in British Columbia. It was originally named the Arctic Kalvik when it worked in the Beaufort for Gulf Canada. It has an overall length of 88 m, breadth of 17.5 m, draft of 8.3 m, and accommodates 23 crew members. The Vladimir Ignatjuk is classified by Lloyd’s Register of Shipping as a 100 A1 icebreaker tug and LMC ice- breaking tow, ice class 1A super.

    The anchor-handling vessel and secondary icebreaker for the Kulluk is the Norwegian-built AHTS M/V Tor Viking. This KMAR 808 vessel was built in 2001 and is owned and operated by Viking Supply Ships AS, based in Kristiansand, Norway, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kistefos AS. The Tor Viking is 83.7 m long, with a breadth of 18 m, and draft of 6 m.

    In addition to the redundant icebreakers that protect the two drilling units, Shell has committed to three other vessels as part of its oil spill response (OSR) system, including the Affinity, an ice strengthened arctic oil tanker; the Arctic Endeavor barge with Point Barrow tug; and the Chouest Nanuq, a new, ice-strengthened resupply vessel.”

    http://www.ogj.com/articles/print/volume-105/issue-37/drilling-production/shell-alaska-readies-ice-class-drilling-units-for-beaufort-sea.html

  71. Jut the Facts said
    —————–
    That doesn’t count, it’s just a bunch of models, i.e. all guesses no facts. Current general circulation models cannot accurately duplicate or reproduce observations of polar voticity and the polar stratosphere, i.e.:
    —————–

    which kinda of reminds Eli of what Box said about models, all models are wrong, some are useful.

    There are two uses of models, one, IEHO the least useful part, is to predict, the other, the more useful part, again IEHO, is to provide understanding of underlying causes, which is what the reference that Eli provided up above does. In that particular case the second use of models was actually the driving force because if you don’t use models how are you going to understand how changes in the thermal structure of the atmosphere change wind patterns.

    FWIW there are a large number of papers using different models which come to essentially the same conclusion about how global warming has changed wind patterns

    NOTE: Eli Rabett is actually Joshua Halpern of Howard University

  72. Eli Rabett says: June 16, 2012 at 3:23 am

    which kinda of reminds Eli of what Box said about models, all models are wrong, some are useful.

    There are two uses of models, one, IEHO the least useful part, is to predict, the other, the more useful part, again IEHO, is to provide understanding of underlying causes, which is what the reference that Eli provided up above does. In that particular case the second use of models was actually the driving force because if you don’t use models how are you going to understand how changes in the thermal structure of the atmosphere change wind patterns.

    FWIW there are a large number of papers using different models which come to essentially the same conclusion.

    I am not saying that we shouldn’t model, I am saying that models that cannot reproduce observations are erroneous. Furthermore, regardless of how many papers, based on how many different erroneous models, all arrive at the same erroneous conclusions, they provide no support for the assertions you’ve put forth.

    FWIW there are a large number of papers using different models which come to essentially the same conclusion about how global warming has changed wind patterns

    First you were attributing changed wind patterns to “ozone depletion over Antarctica blows a hole in the belly of the ozone column” and now to “global warming”. What’s next “pollution” or maybe “climate wierding”? How about you admit that you’ve lost this argument and we move on with our lives…

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