Open water at the North Pole

Remember these stories?

Al Gore’s “Reality Minions” think the North Pole is melting – except that’s NOT a photo of the North Pole

and

Follow up: the bogus ‘North Pole becomes a lake’ story

There was a lot of worry about ‘open water’ at the North Pole which turned out to be camera drift.  WUWT reader “jimbo” just found this story of open water ‘near’ the North Pole reported in 2000. The second link contains a correction but not about the main claim.

New York Times – August 29, 2000
Open Water at Pole Is Not Surprising, Experts Say

…..Dr. Serreze said an examination of satellite images from July 15 showed what looked like a large body of ice-free water about 10 miles long and 3 miles wide near the pole……

“The fact of having no ice at the pole is not so stunning,” said Dr. Claire L. Parkinson, a climatologist at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “But the report said the ship encountered an unusual amount of open water all the way up. That is reason for concern.”
http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/featured_articles/20000829tuesday.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2000/08/20/weekinreview/august-13-19-it-s-melting.html

and…

Published on Monday, September 4, 2000
Climate Change Has The World Skating On Thin Ice
by Lester R. Brown

If any explorers had been hiking to the North Pole this summer, they would have had to swim the last few miles. The discovery of open water at the Pole by an ice-breaker cruise ship in mid August surprised many in the scientific community.
http://www.commondreams.org/views/090400-103.htm

It seems that history repeated itself.

NP_submarines_1987

About these ads
This entry was posted in Arctic and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Open water at the North Pole

  1. I can’t help but wonder about all those ships smashing up the ice …

  2. A.D. Everard says:

    Yes, but they don’t like to look back when it’s inconvenient.

  3. wobble says:

    Any update on those guys trying to navigate the Northwest Passage in the ocean rowboat?

  4. Mike says:

    As I understand it (from polar expedition sites like http://www.explorersweb.com/polar/) swimming is part of any trek to the North Pole. If you start from Russia, you will likely encounter open ice at the start. If you start from Canada, by the time you get close to the pole the summer warming will create open leads that have to be crossed). As a result standard equipment includes a survival dry suit and sleds that can float.

  5. Doug Huffman says:

    About np-submarines-1987.jpg sarcasm:It’s clearly waste heat from their 100 MWth nuclear reactors:/sarcasm.

  6. Eric Simpson says:

    If you want to follow the current Arctic situation details, and I mean details in depth, the weather paterns and ice melt / build up etc, I recommend this post of Caleb’s: http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/the-big-chill-sea-ice-version/
    This was posted on August 16th, but he continues to offer daily — even twice daily — updates on the play by play Arctic developments!

  7. HalfEmpty says:

    You put three primitive NUKLEAR reactors in the North Prole WTF do you think is going to happen? Before they got there it was ice! All ice, miles and miles and miles of ice and it wasn’t rotten ice, it was fresh clean good ice.

    Also how did they get there anyway, I think this is Photoshoped, it’s just too convenient. I mean like how the hell did they get there, any NoB knows a compass doesn’t work north of Toronto… this is fake. Fake all the way..

  8. Ron C. says:

    @ Wayne
    You are right to point out the impact of icebreaking activities in the Arctic.

    More than 75 ships specially designed as ice-breakers sail the Soviet maritime arctic. Comprising this fleet are many unique arctic vessels, including such diverse types as polar, sub-arctic, salvage, river, large harbor, and research ice-breakers. Most important for arctic marine transportation are 16 large polar ice-breakers of exceptional icebreaking capability. These ships, designed for convoying commercial ships in the high latitudes, are the keys to providing virtually unlimited access to much of the Soviet North. Each of these 16 ships ranks among the largest and most powerful ice-breakers in the world.

    http://www.dieselduck.net/historical/02%20articles/russian.htm

  9. Ron C. says:

    @wobble
    News from Aug. 19:

    Just when all seems hopeless, another ice floe appears a few hundred metres offshore, heading in our direction. This one is smaller than the behemoth we tangled with earlier, but still carries enough girth to be imposing. It will be on top of us soon.

    We make a sharp effort, push off from shore, and head into the protection of the incoming ice. It becomes grounded on the seabed as we had hoped, and we take the opportunity to use it as a moorage. Clambering atop the slab, we place two ice screws and are able to rig a satisfactory anchor – in reality an ice-climbing anchor – to which we hold fast. We’re protected by the ice a short distance from shore and safely out of the wind.. .

    We’re at wit’s end, and start rowing intensely a mere metres from shore. We put ourselves on 20-minute shifts, the effort required being so high, just to keep going. Over the course of several hours, we creep along the edge of shore and discover a tiny bay partly choked in ice that will provide us protection.

    We slip in to our safe harbour, finally out of the wind and out of the storm.

    Kevin Vallely and his Mainstream Last First crew all call Vancouver home.

    http://www.vancouversun.com/Last+First+Crew+survives+Arctic+peril+close+scrape/8721299/story.html

  10. Alan Mackintosh says:

    “The discovery of open water at the Pole by an ice-breaker cruise ship”
    Dont suppose they felt guilt at breaking up the ice then…

  11. RACookPE1978 says:

    Hmmmn.

    If you have one thermometer, you know what the temperature is.

    If you have two thermometers, you know what the average of their temperatures is, but you don’t know what the actual temperature is.

    If you have three thermometers, you can only get confused about what range the real temperature might be inside of. Maybe.

    If you have three submarines, all of them parked at the North Pole, where is the actual North Pole?

  12. wat dabney says:

    The finding of areas of open water – “polynyas” – at and near the North Pole features significantly in any history of nuclear submarines; so it should hardly “surprise many in the scientific community.”

    Norman Polmar’s ‘Atomic Submarines’, for example, published in 1964, discusses the Arctic exploits of the Nautilus and other early boats at some length. The Soviets similarly reported open water near the Pole.

  13. Lil Fella from OZ says:

    I remember an Australian guy who was going to paddle through the North Pole a few seasons ago. He went real well, they had to [haul] him out before he froze to death. The water simply wasn’t there.

  14. Tim Folkerts says:

    Interestingly, there actually DO seem to be exceptionally open patches of water near the North Pole this year. Check the images from the WUWT sea ice page:

    http://home.comcast.net/~ewerme/wuwt/cryo_latest.jpg
    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/satellite/plots/satsst.arc.d-00.png
    http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticicennowcast.gif

    It will be interesting to see what happen with these this year and then into next year with these areas.

  15. If any explorers had been hiking to the North Pole this summer, ?

    What planet are these idiots on?

    Nobody hikes to the North Pole in summer. That’s why Peary walked it in March/April at the max ice extent.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Peary#The_final_1908.E2.80.931909_expedition

  16. Tim Folkerts

    I cannot see anything unusual in those images. Please show they are any different to previous years.

  17. Wu says:

    Wayne I thought about that too. I mean all that traffic must have at least some effect…. right? Anyone? I think I’ll shut up now.

  18. u.k.(us) says:

    wobble says:

    August 22, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Any update on those guys trying to navigate the Northwest Passage in the ocean rowboat?
    =================
    I really hate to wear this one out, but:

    “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread”

  19. @njsnowfan says:

    The RUSSIAN NUCLEAR POWERED ICEBREAKER SHIP 50 LET was crushing the Ice around the North Pole from July 20 to July 31 2013. Here is the Ship tracker link. Type in 1500 hours in track hours tracker and zoom out then click on the north pole area to see the ships tracks.
    http://www.sailwx.info/shiptrack/shipposition.phtml?call=UGYU
    Pict of the ship that produces enough energy to run a city and discharges enough HOT water for thousands to take a hot shower just like a ground based nuclear power plant.
    http://www.marynarz.pl/grafika/jednostki_specjalne_foty/1750letpobedy.jpg
    this video link shows the ship has been going to the north pole during the summer time for many years. No I know why the ice has been melting faster.
    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=RUSSIAN+NUCLEAR+POWERED+ICE+BREAKER+SHIP+50+LET+&oq=RUSSIAN+NUCLEAR+POWERED+ICE+BREAKER+SHIP+50+LET+&gs_l=youtube.3…44432.44432.0.45505.1.1.0.0.0.0.55.55.1.1.0…0.0…1ac..11.youtube.wdMXrF7gwPo

    I wonder if Al Gore has been having them crush the ice that can not refreeze in summer time over the past years or by some crazy scientist.

  20. nc says:

    The angels have lots of warm down. Sorry could not help myself.

  21. learnedthatinhighschool says:

    A.D. Everard says:
    August 22, 2013 at 1:38 pm
    Yes, but they don’t like to look back when it’s inconvenient.
    ————-
    That’s the truth.

  22. Jim Cripwell says:

    wobble, about the guys rowing. Try http://mainstreamlastfirst.com/

  23. tjfolkerts says:

    @ Paul Homewood

    I thought the differences were obvious, but I have been watching the polar ice images for a few years. Try this image instead, which compares this year to 2007.

    http://home.comcast.net/~ewerme/wuwt/cryo_compare.jpg

    You should be able to see where the pole is on the images. Even in the (then) record-setting 2007, the regions around the pole (out to ~ 82 N) were almost entirely dark purple & lighter purple (ie 70-100% ice covered) with bits or red (50-70% ice covered)

    This year, much of the region near the poles is red (50-70%) with significant patches of yellow (30-50%). There is even one patch near 85 N, 30 E that shows up as less than 30% ice covered.

  24. Rich Jones says:

    In the ’50s, the USS Skate was the first sub to surface at the North Pole.
    http://www.navalhistory.org/2011/08/11/uss-skate-ssn-578-becomes-the-first-submarine-to-surface-at-the-north-pole

  25. JimS says:

    Probably all the ice was picked up for Gore’s yacht to provide for his mixed drinks… well, he does have many parties you know…

  26. Jimbo says:

    It’s my pleasure Anthony. Do you want some more?

    New York Times – May 18, 1926
    Lincoln Ellsworth of the Amundsen-Ellsworth transpolar expedition told The Associated Press here today that he saw much open water at the North Pole when he and his sixteen companions passed over it last Tuesday night in the dirigible Norge.
    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70E1EFD3A591B7A93CAA8178ED85F428285F9

    And the correction in the New York Times says:

    Correction: August 29, 2000, Tuesday A front-page article on Aug. 19 and a brief report on Aug. 20 in The Week in Review about the sighting of open water at the North Pole misstated the normal conditions of the sea ice there. A clear spot has probably opened at the pole before, scientists say, because about 10 percent of the Arctic Ocean is clear of ice in a typical summer…..
    [scroll down at link]
    http://www.nytimes.com/2000/08/20/weekinreview/august-13-19-it-s-melting.html

    And it looks like they are correct. There are other references for an ice free North Pole before 1970 but I want the best.

    Nothing to see here folks, move along as usual.

  27. Billy says:

    Exactly why is that “reason for concern.”? Are we that short of things to worry about?

  28. Jimbo says:

    Was there actually an ice free North Pole in 1926? I don’t know but please CLICK HERE and assess whether it was possible. (peer reviewed stuff regarding a huge warming of the Arctic in the 1920s and 1930s with 1 report).

  29. Jimbo says:

    Like I said before whenever I see Warmist claims I instinctively look to the past and present. That’s how you catch them out. Use Google Scholar and Google News Archives. By the way isn’t Al Gore on their board? It must be the Gore Effect. :-)

  30. Tom Moran says:

    I’m color-blind but there appears to be more sea-ice today than in 2007? Is there a better picture showing max extent on record vs. minimum? 2007http://home.comcast.net/~ewerme/wuwt/cryo_compare.jpg

  31. TomRude says:

    Here is a true image of the North Pole in summer 2013: http://imageshack.us/a/img843/640/ussskateen2013a.jpg
    Enough disinformation by skeptics…/sarc

  32. James at 48 says:

    Obviously, this has drifted away from the pole, but is still at a very high latitude.

    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/NPEO2013/18.jpg

    Getting iced over so we may not see too many more images. Also, the sunset looms.

  33. Bill Illis says:

    Whatever happens in the remaining few weeks, the Arctic sea ice is going to up around 40% from last year. Yes, you read that right, 40%.

    The Cryosphere Today has the sea ice area up 43% right now from the same date last year.

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

    The September sea ice extent is coming in at about 45% higher than last year.

    http://s17.postimg.org/ft50m8x8f/NSIDC_Sept_Min_Proj_Aug21_2013.png

    And the NSIDC did a similar graph to the one I have been doing for the last month above, in their most recent August 18th Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis release. One can do the math and get the same ~40% number.

    http://s15.postimg.org/v99kkxz7v/NSIDC_Figure55.png

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

  34. Jdallen says:

    This, is not “usual” open water at the pole. Green circle, ~5km diameter.

    http://m.imgur.com/UL0t7ea

  35. geran says:

    Thanks Jimbo for this, and all the links you provide. I imagine AW, and the vast majority of readers, similarly appreciate your efforts.

  36. Jdallen says:

    @tjfolkerts – I think you have an excellent contrast in those images. All ice extents are not created equal. We may not have a new extent record, but could still possibly see a further decline in total volume. Aside from a narrow band along the Canadian arctic archipelago, the Lincoln sea and north Greenland, there is virtually no ice more than two years old. The quality of the pack is greatly diminished, if over a wide area. Most of what remains is well under two meters in thickness, if not under one. I recommend looking here…

    http://lance-modis.eosdis.nasa.gov/imagery/subsets/?mosaic=Arctic.2013234.terra.1km

    … To browse satellite imagery and here…

    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr2data/daybefore/arctic_AMSR2_nic.png

    …To see some fairly good estimates of arctic ice concentration. Do note the highly visible and anomalous hole in the pack north of 80 on the Siberian side, with the potential for a second offset towards this Chukchi Sea.

    These are not generated from models.

  37. Manfred says:

    Wu says:
    August 22, 2013 at 3:15 pm
    Wayne I thought about that too. I mean all that traffic must have at least some effect…. right? Anyone? I think I’ll shut up now.

    ————————————-

    Slicing off an Manhattan (or larger) size of ice should have no different effect as ice shelfs breaking off glaciers.

    Though the latter is much more rare und the former gets no attention by anyone.

    Wind may then push the ice mass to lower latitudes or out of Fram Strait where it eventually melts.

  38. RACookPE1978 says:

    Jdallen says:
    August 22, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    All ice extents are not created equal. We may not have a new extent record, but could still possibly see a further decline in total volume. Aside from a narrow band along the Canadian arctic archipelago, the Lincoln sea and north Greenland, there is virtually no ice more than two years old. The quality of the pack is greatly diminished, if over a wide area. Most of what remains is well under two meters in thickness, if not under one.

    And, to paraphrase a recent Secretary of Mistake (er, State) in her testimony to Congress, “What difference does it make?”

    SO, what do you fear about any particular loss of arctic Sea Ice from today’s levels? Or – phrased differently – what do you think the impact of losing Arctic Sea Ice from today’s levels be on the world’s heat balance?

    Oh. Based on today’s real world trends not your fears or projections about what “might happen” in the Arctic, how many years from now will do you predict Cape Horn and Straits of Magellan will be blocked by Antarctic Sea Ice?
    8?
    10?
    12?

  39. davidmhoffer says:

    Jdallen;
    We may not have a new extent record, but could still possibly see a further decline in total volume.
    >>>>>>>>>>

    Why is it that warmists cheer every bit of news regarding declining ice? Since their claim is that this presages the end of the world, you’d think they’d express relief when it is absent, or at least hope that it continues to be absent, instead of twisting every observation to agree with their prophecies of doom.

    They don’t just predict disaster, they embrace it.

  40. Ric Werme says:

    Tom Moran says:
    August 22, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    I’m color-blind but there appears to be more sea-ice today than in 2007? Is there a better picture showing max extent on record vs. minimum? 2007 http://home.comcast.net/~ewerme/wuwt/cryo_compare.jpg

    This is the third cite of this URL in this post. Not bad for something that exists mainly because WordPress doesn’t do FTP. (It’s a travesty – I wrote one of the first FTP clients in 1972.) That image comes from http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh

    If you go there, you can select a couple dates of your choice and get the pair of images. In Firefox and some other browsers you can right click on the image, select “View image” and get the fullsized image. I can’t help with the color and resolution, but at least Cryosphere can offer more images.

  41. jdallen says:

    @Manfred et. al. – the effect of shipping on the ice, even the huge Russian Ice breakers, is trivial. While it may temporarily create leads and do some modest fracturing of ice, but contributes virtually nothing to weaken the pack.

  42. Ric Werme says:

    TomRude says:
    August 22, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Here is a true image of the North Pole in summer 2013: http://imageshack.us/a/img843/640/ussskateen2013a.jpg
    Enough disinformation by skeptics…/sarc

    Here’s one that has nothing to do with ice coverage, but shows what the ambient lighting conditions could have been when the Skate reached near the Pole in March 1959. http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/albacore_light.jpg The stop lights help gauge the brightness of the scene. /fun

  43. jdallen says:

    @ RACookPE1978 – What I fear is the monumental changes in weather that would take place by the continued reduction in sea ice coverage of the arctic, and resultant entry of heat and moisture during winter. In addition, I’m concerned that the net reduction in temperature gradient between the pole and the equator will lead to very serious disruptions of weather. Oddly, some of the most recent study suggests we could end up with asymmetry circulation – the existing Hadley/Ferrel/Antarctic cell circulation in the south, but an extension of he Hadley circulation in the north, taking heat and moisture directly from the equator to the Arctic.

    Frankly, as a result, I find the thinning ice in the arctic terrifying.

    @ davidmhoffer – Embracing disaster? Cheering bad news?! Are you daft? I am making an observation derived from observable phenomena, and my best understanding of the literature, however amateur that might be. Your assignation absolutely does not describe my thoughts. Perhaps I am not relaxing, because I think the signals we see in the arctic are *Not* reassuring. I do not think events presage the end of the world, but I certainly think they predict great difficulties, which we are utterly unprepared to deal with; and as such, will suffer more for the lack of it.

    I disagree with the conclusion Mr. Watts makes on three grounds:

    1) The conditions he compares are not equivalent – the open water in the Arctic in 1987 shown is nothing at all like conditions presently.

    2) The assertion that there was open water north of 80N in the past does not demonstrate that current predictions by “Warmists” are unfounded.

    3) Further, without additional supporting evidence any connection between conditions at that time and the present is anecdotal. It does not demonstrate, confirm or refute any specific trend in climate.

  44. Keith W. says:

    Many people seem to think that the Arctic Ice Cap is a solid mass, like the Antarctic ice cap. It isn’t. The Antarctic cap rest on land and is solid. The Arctic ice cap floats on the Arctic ocean, and the currents of that body of water twist and turn the ice so that it breaks into pieces. One of the strongest currents is the Beaufort Gyre, a circular current near the true North Pole which effectively spins the ice round and round, grinding it into bits.

    As the ice is in pieces, the currents of the ocean carry it out through the various straits into the North Atlantic. New ice is constantly being made in the Arctic. Large quantities of multi-year ice have never really existed except in people’s imaginations. Some call especially thick ice “multi-year” because that is the only explanation they can think of to explain how the ice could get that thick.

  45. tjfolkerts says:

    @ Keith W.

    I really like the first 75% of what you wrote – well supported facts. Unfortunately you then slipped when talking about multi-year ice. Here are some facts:

    “Multiyear ice has distinct properties that distinguish it from first-year ice, based on processes that occur during the summer melt. Multiyear ice contains much less brine and more air pockets than first-year ice. Less brine means “stiffer” ice that is more difficult for icebreakers to navigate and clear. ”
    http://nsidc.org/cryosphere/seaice/characteristics/multiyear.html

    “Some” call it multi-year ice because it IS multi-year ice. It is not simply thickness that distinguishes young ice from old ice.

  46. davidmhoffer says:

    jdallen;
    Perhaps I am not relaxing, because I think the signals we see in the arctic are *Not* reassuring.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Well let’s run through a few of the “signals” and see where we are at:

    Temps – flat for 17 years
    Droughts – flat for decades
    Flooding – flat for decades
    Hurricane frequency – declining for 30 years
    Hurricane intensity – declining for 30 years
    Tornado frequency and intensity – declining for decades
    Antarctic Sea Ice – set a record last year and on pace to set a new one this year
    Arctic Sea Ice – extent well above last year and several previous years

    But what observation do you insist on calling out? Well, yeah, but volume might be up. You’re *Not* reassured. You’re looking for the storm behind the silver lining, and when I pointed it out, you claim that I’m daft and don’t know what you are thinking.

    Well you are right on at least one point, I don’t know what you are thinking. I do know what you said though.

  47. davidmhoffer says:

    jdallen;
    Further, without additional supporting evidence any connection between conditions at that time and the present is anecdotal. It does not demonstrate, confirm or refute any specific trend in climate.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    The ice, which for no apparent reason seems so important to you, disagrees:

    http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Images/ice-HS/noaa_gisp2_icecore_anim_adj.gif

  48. Manfred says:

    jdallen says:
    August 22, 2013 at 7:32 pm
    @Manfred et. al. – the effect of shipping on the ice, even the huge Russian Ice breakers, is trivial. While it may temporarily create leads and do some modest fracturing of ice, but contributes virtually nothing to weaken the pack.

    —————————————————-

    What would happen if an icebraker slices off a strip of ice say 100 km long and 10 km wide in Winter along the edge of the solid ice mass during strong southerly winds ?

  49. tjfolkerts says:

    davidhoffer, you started poorly and are now moving even further backwards.
    Put that quote in context.

    jdallen: ” Further, without additional supporting evidence any connection [made by Anthony] between conditions at that time [ie the open waters in either 1987 or 2000] and the present is anecdotal.”

    Which I find 100% accurate. Open water within the arctic sea ice is common (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polynya or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_(sea_ice). Since these are recurring features, anecdotal stories about them do not “confirm or refute any specific trend in climate”.

    The temperature reconstruction you link to — while interesting — is immaterial to jdallen’s statement. Temperature records over the last 1,000 or 10,000 years do not help understand whether the anecdotes of the last couple decades are related to any climate trends.

  50. davidmhoffer says:

    tjfolkerts;
    Further, without additional supporting evidence any connection [made by Anthony] between conditions at that time [ie the open waters in either 1987 or 2000] and the present is anecdotal.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    That the earth’s climate is cyclical, that it has been both warmer and colder than in the past, is not anecdotal. The ice core record shows this to be true, as do historical records such as viking settlement of Greenland, vineyards in Britain, crop failures and famine during the Little Ice Age and more. The record is clear on this and we have plenty of evidence in that regard. The anecdotal evidence cited by Anthony is part of a greater whole. When one takes into account issues such as continental drift, changes in the earth’s orbit, changes in solar activity, and many other factors, it would be difficult if not impossible to show that any given year conditions are substantively the same as in any other year, on any timescale.

  51. PiperPaul says:

    OT. Rich Jones: I was honoured to once meet a former navy captain who served on the Skate.

  52. Janice Moore says:

    Mr. Jimbo,

    WELL DONE. Great follow-up comments, too. The time has come, O Jimbo the Magnificent, to write a real article. You have SO MUCH to share (and do, in small doses).

    Do.

    Your loyal fan,

    Janice

  53. Someone went through the BBC archives and showed how every time a ship had traversed the northwest passage they claimed it to be the first time it had ever occurred. It’s like when Groucho would joke how he knew Doris Day before she was a virgin.

  54. jdallen says:

    @Manfred – Ice floes of that size stay in place not because it is connected to something, as much as it is because they are simply so massive, and require a huge amount of energy to accelerate. Leads open up between blocks of ice like you describe pretty constantly, and the ice doesn’t spontaneously begin to move. That takes much larger forces, which in and of themselves are powerful enough on their own to break ice (much as the fracturing events that occurred across the Beaufort Sea late last winter and early last spring.

    One general exception to that rule is fast ice – that which is grounded and connected to a shoreline. But in a case like that, the ice is typically much thicker – in excess of 5 meters – which is more than even the most robust of the ‘nuke powered Russian vessels can manage – so an ice breaker is unlikely to be able to accomplish much attacking ice of that nature.

    Another exception is when ice becomes more highly fractured and you have many, smaller disconnected floes (as exist currently in the central arctic basin). Then, wind may develop more “fetch” across open water and raise waves that both move and further disrupt ice. The smaller floes being less massive, are also easier to move and require less consistent wind to disrupt.

  55. Perry says:

    Website for the row boaters. It’s not all that informational.

    http://mainstreamlastfirst.com/

  56. jdallen says:

    @davidmhoffer who said: “That the earth’s climate is cyclical, that it has been both warmer and colder than in the past, is not anecdotal.”

    Correct, but that is not what I was arguing, and I am afraid there is no evidence your correlation (cyclical behavior) applies to this specific pair of events (Leads in May, 1987 and conditions currently as we understand them in 2013 at the pole). Your assertion is a false generalization.

  57. jdallen says:

    @davidmhoffer who said: “The ice, which for no apparent reason seems so important to you, disagrees:”

    I discuss arctic pack ice and you throw out a link about ice cores in Greenland? That is not the ice I was speaking of, but I’m quite willing to take up a discussion some time of what those cores do or do not indicate, and how they may or may not be related to global warming.

  58. Keith W. says:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/22/open-water-at-the-north-pole-2/#comment-1397802

    TJ, I don’t deny that there is some multi-year ice, but I don’t believe it was as extensive historically as some would have us think. I think many examples of “multi-year” ice were actually pieces that had been broken apart, pushed back against and under each other by the currents, and then frozen back together within the same season. The early measurement data from satellites could not distinguish between those pieces that had managed to not leave the Arctic Circle for a few years and these same year multi-layer pieces.

    The satellite process distinguished “age” based upon the “thickness” coefficient of their signal. It’s not like someone was up in the Arctic individually monitoring each berg and floe, making sure it didn’t leave. The resolution of the satellites early on was not that precise. I think that in the early years of measurement, any ice that read as being X meters in thickness was dubbed multi-year just because the early researchers could not believe ice could get that thick unless it had been there for more than just one year. As years have passed, they have gotten better, especially as they have gotten more data, but i doubt that they went back and reanalyzed their initial data with the knowledge that experience has given them.

  59. davidmhoffer says:

    jdallen;
    I discuss arctic pack ice and you throw out a link about ice cores in Greenland?
    >>>>>>>>>

    I see you have totally and completely missed the point. Here are the ice extent anomalies from the satellite era for the Arctic and Antarctic:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.arctic.png
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.antarctic.png

    One has slightly decreasing ice extent with increasing variability since about 2006 that makes it difficult to discern a trend.

    One has slightly increasing ice extent with increasing variability since about 2006 that makes it difficult to discern a trend.

    Which should I fear? The creeping doom of Global Warming emanating from the North? Or the creeping doom of an Ice Age emanating from the South?

  60. Manfred says:

    jdallen says:
    August 22, 2013 at 11:27 pm
    @Manfred – Ice floes of that size stay in place not because it is connected to something, as much as it is because they are simply so massive, and require a huge amount of energy to accelerate. Leads open up between blocks of ice like you describe pretty constantly, and the ice doesn’t spontaneously begin to move…
    ——————————

    If you consider a small ice floe of say 10m*100m, you would certainly agree, that it would be moved around by wind and ocean currents

    If it is 10km*100km and the same wind/ocean current is pushing uniformly in the same direction over its whole area it would be moved the same way.

    If the wind is very strong, it may break off anyways, but otherwise it would stay connected instead of drifting south and melt.

  61. Ed Zuiderwijk says:

    Icebreaker finds open water … behind the vessel.

  62. Caleb says:

    RE: Eric Simpson says:
    August 22, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Your recommendation of my obscure site on this worthy site resulted in 138 “views” in an hour. That’s more than I used to get in a week. I didn’t know what the heck was going on.

    A fairly large gale south of Iceland is forecast to head straight north up to a point off the northeast coast of Greenland, nearly over the “North Pole Camera,” a week from now. Hopefully the lens melts off, and we can watch what the southeast winds do.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the camera got blown north of 84 degrees latitude again. It certainly seems in no hurry to get flushed out through Fram Strait this year. I have the sense that the ice is being pushed towards Canada a lot. While this may not make the “extent” increase, I surmise it may make for a more solid ice pack next spring.

    A Note about the rather neat “Cryosphere Today” comparison maps. They don’t show the areas where the sea is dotted with bergs. The sea can be 25% ice-covered, and on the map it will look ice-free.

    I have a hunch that this time of year, when temperatures start dropping, those scattered bergs can act as sorts of “seed crystals” for new ice. Ordinarily, over truly ice-free waters, the winds can be well below the freezing point of salt water, and all it does is chill the water which then (unlike fresh water) gets denser and sinks. However if you have chips of ice and slush floating around the salt water can freeze against the floating stuff without sinking.

  63. James at 48 says:

    RE: Some call especially thick ice “multi-year” because that is the only explanation they can think of to explain how the ice could get that thick.

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

    Obviously, compressive forces can plan a significant role. This can take the form of deformation and lateral shortening, or, ice can override adjacent ice, then the two masses laminate together.

  64. jdallen says:

    @Manfred said – “If the wind is very strong, it may break off anyways, but otherwise it would stay connected instead of drifting south and melt.”

    I think you are seriously over estimating the tensile strength of the sea ice relative to the huge mass embodied by the floe size you describe – 10KMx100KM.

    The mechanism which creates leads also works in reverse – creating pressure ridges, where ice stacks up as much as 15 meters thick. (sidebar – *This* is actually one of the primary mechanisms by which really thick ice – > 3 meters – forms, as for reasons of heat flow and the insulative qualities of ice, sea ice naturally will not become much thicker than 10CM/degree C below the freezing point of salt water, or about -1.8C.)

  65. Gail Combs says:

    Wayne Delbeke says:
    August 22, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I can’t help but wonder about all those ships smashing up the ice …
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yeah, like the Russians new Ice breakers…

    Scientific American Breaking the Ice: Russian Nuclear-Powered Ice-Breakers

    … Russia argues that an undersea formation called the “Lomonsov Ridge” is an extension of Siberia’s shelf, and therefore belongs to Russia exclusively. A few years ago Russia upped the ante by sending submersibles to the seabed floor, planting a specially designed rust-proof titanium Russian flag at a 13,980 foot depth; a Russian think tank has offered an even more straightforward solution to the Arctic dispute, suggesting re-naming the Arctic Ocean the “Russian Ocean.”

    Russia is the only country in the world currently building nuclear icebreakers, and has a fleet of about half a dozen in operation, along with a larger fleet of less powerful, diesel-powered icebreakers….
    Meanwhile, Russia is pouring federal money into a vast nuclear expansion plan that includes other jaw-dropping technologies like a floating nuclear power plant–based on the icebreaker design that can handle three meters of ice bearing down on reactors. “No atomic stations but ours can survive that,” says Vladimir Galushin a scientist and international coordinator of the OKBM Afrikantov bureau who spoke with this reporter at a recent exhibit of Russian nuclear technology in Moscow this summer. His company designed the RITM-200 pressurized water reactors that will be used in both the floating plants and the new icebreaker, and would run on uranium enriched up to 20%, going up to seven years without refueling. “We are ahead, already years ahead with icebreakers” he proudly underscored….

    … a Russian think tank has offered an even more straightforward solution to the Arctic dispute, suggesting re-naming the Arctic Ocean the “Russian Ocean.”…

    But for the Russia the rewards of Arctic exploration are irresistible, from exploiting the warming Arctic’s offshore petroleum reserves to opening up new trade routes between Europe and Asia. Plus, unlike other shipping routes in warmer waters, there are – so far – no pirates.

    That might explain all that open water in the Arctic ocean near Russia. link

    For the curious the temp remains below freezing link

    And the ice within 2 std. dev. link

  66. jdallen says:

    @davidmhoffer

    “One has slightly decreasing ice extent with increasing variability since about 2006 that makes it difficult to discern a trend.

    One has slightly increasing ice extent with increasing variability since about 2006 that makes it difficult to discern a trend.”

    First off, you are trying to equivalate to very different dynamic systems, which enormously different dimensions.

    Secondly, you misconstrue the mechanisms by which antarctic extent has increased.

    Thirdly, you cut off your time series artificially to fit your conclusion, and misinterpret (particularly for Arctic ice) the significance of the observed behavior.

    I have not studied the Antarctic in as much detail as I have been following, but some reading I have done suggests expansion of Antarctic extent is at least partially tied to melting of ice sheets at depth, rather than freezing, and by way of that, increasing ice flow off of the continent. An example of that research here:

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v6/n5/full/ngeo1767.html

    In addition, the anchoring of the Antarctic ice sheet on land, surrounded by a circumpolar ocean, completely changes the heat exchange taking place, and is the absolute reverse of the Arctic – a fairly thin sheet, on an ocean, surrounded by circumpolar continents. Further, the scale of ice is immense – it is estimated the Antarctic contains 30,000,000 KM3 of ice. Greenland’s sheet contains less than 10% of that, and is land locked. The actual volume of Arctic ice, at peak in early spring currently is estimated at around 22,000 KM3, or less than 1/10th of 1% of the ice in the Antarctic.

    Regarding the the variability, in particular in the arctic, which now swings through far wider changes in extent and thickness than previously recorded, that can be at least partially explained by the extent numbers starting to “bounce along the bottom”. Since 1979, September ice volume has declined from an estimated 16,900KM2 to under 3,400KM2 in 2012. Variability has increased for the very simple reason that seasonally, there is far more sea surface to refreeze! Where as in 1979 the decrease from maximum to minimum was about 8.5 million KM2 (~16.5 million KM2 at maximum extent down to around 7.2 million KM2 at minimum). The variation in 2012 was 15.24 at maximum, and about 3.41 at minimum. By nature, as the lower bound becomes smaller, the annual variability will increase, as the maxima is not decreasing at the same rate, and is a far larger value.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=79256

    So, by cutting off your series, you cut off the data establishing the long term trend. By ignoring the change in bounds, you ignore the mechanism behind the increase in variability. By ignoring the decrease in minimum, you overlook the fact that as compared to 30 odd years ago, there is 3-4 million KM2 additional sea surface interacting with the atmosphere at the end of the melt season now, and a similar general decrease in albedo. The trend is not leveling off.

  67. jdallen says:

    Correction – this is the link for the compared 1979/2012 maxima

    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=04&fd=15&fy=1979&sm=04&sd=15&sy=2012

  68. Neo says:

    Frankly, putting the science aside, I can’t take anybody seriously about “carbon pollution” when they have a personal “carbon footprint” of a small African nation.
    Folks like Al Gore are the environmental equivalent of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. It’s all about the money .. and bad makeup.

  69. jdallen says:

    “That might explain all that open water in the Arctic ocean near Russia.”

    Not even close. Among other reasons, they’ve got no economic reason to be charging around the East Siberian Sea.

  70. Gail Combs says:

    jdallen says:
    August 23, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    “That might explain all that open water in the Arctic ocean near Russia.”

    Not even close. Among other reasons, they’ve got no economic reason to be charging around the East Siberian Sea.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Of COURSE they have a reason it is called MINERAL RIGHTS, why the heck else would they be planting a D@$& flag in the bottom of the Arctic ocean?

    …..The icebreakers are also crucial for collecting data on Russia’s continental shelf borders, needed to stake a claim to exclusive economic rights along vast tracts of the Arctic and fend off other claimants like the US, Canada, Norway, and Denmark and Iceland.

    Russia argues that an undersea formation called the “Lomonsov Ridge” is an extension of Siberia’s shelf, and therefore belongs to Russia exclusively. A few years ago Russia upped the ante by sending submersibles to the seabed floor, planting a specially designed rust-proof titanium Russian flag at a 13,980 foot depth; a Russian think tank has offered an even more straightforward solution to the Arctic dispute, suggesting re-naming the Arctic Ocean the “Russian Ocean.”…..
    Scientific American

  71. mkelly says:

    JDAllen says: Since 1979, September ice volume has declined from an estimated 16,900KM2 to under 3,400KM2 in 2012.

    Not sure I can take you seriously when you mix volume and area. Plus your 1979 start date which leaves off 5 or 6 years of satellite data which shows a low area extent. See Steve Goddard’s site for the link.

  72. Bruce Cobb says:

    jdallen says:
    August 22, 2013 at 7:56 pm
    Frankly, as a result, I find the thinning ice in the arctic terrifying.

    Wow, “terrifying”. Really? The phrase “climate bedwetters” comes to mind.
    Your fear is as unwarranted as it is amusing to us Skeptics. But, I think david was right; you people revel in your fear. It is all part of your CAGW religion.

  73. jdallen says:

    @Gail Combs – there is a great deal of difference between claiming mineral rights and actual exploitation of them. I’m not aware of that happening, any more than it is on the US/Canadian side. Further having ships does not equate to their being out of port. They are rather expensive to operate, and the activity necessary to open the East Siberian Sea as you suggest would need to be positively frenetic, and be rather noticeable in other ways – such as activity reports in the media – which are absent.

    @mkelly – thank you for pointing out my typo. I do hate it when that happens. I’m afraid I can’t find the referenced images you are speaking of on Goddard’s site. Could you direct me a bit more?

    @Bruce Cobb – descending into name calling? Rather uncivil of you.

  74. RACookPE1978 says:

    jdallen says:
    August 24, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Thank you for your time here: I too disagree with the apparent “confusion” between minimum area and minimum volumes you used above.

    In particular, there are many million sq km of “Arctic sea ice” that the NSIDC includes that will always melt every year, and have always melt every year. Your 16,000,000 includes the Bering Straits, Bering Sea, Hudson Bay, and Chukchi Sea that will always freeze, and will always melt every summer. Rather, you cannot extend or compare any “maximum” Arctic sea ice trend unless you acknowledge the utter maximum of only 14,000,000 sq km’s of the Arctic ocean itself. Thus, any comparison of “sea ice trends” needs to be consistent: if the maximum Arctic Ocean size is 14,000,000 sq km’s, then what happens to sea in for example the Baltic is irrelevant to the north coast of Alaska, Siberia, or the north pole itself six months later.

    And, likewise, the impossibility of of any sea ice “loss” past today’s 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 minimums is impossible. Make sense?

    Arctic sea ice CANNOT continue to decrease below zero, so – at most, at its most extreme effect, we cannot lose more than what is already melted at mid-September last year. Since, a record low of sea ice last year did NOT cause any additional melting this year (rather the reverse happened!) nor did it cause any increase in sea water or air temperature this year (rather, the reverse happened) your “fears” of any additional Arctic sea ice loss are wrong. They are not “arguably wrong, or debateably wrong” or conceptually-theoretically wrong. They have been proved wrong in the real world.

    You may, for example, examine a decline of 1,000,000 from today’s minimums. Or a decline of 2,000,000 from today’s minimum Arctic sea ice extents. But that’s it: It can’t go any lower from last year’s 3,500,000. Ever. There is an absolute lower bound to your nightmare. There is NO upper bound to my concern about Antarctic sea ice extents growing.

    Therefore, I ask again: What do you fear about any potential or probable or continued loss of Arctic Sea ice?

    Do your calculation, a real calculation about location and latitude, day-of-year, time-of-day, area of sea ice lost that shows what you fear. Just how much energy do you fear will be added if your nightmare occurs?

    Show, by your calculations, that there can be an “arctic death spiral” if sea ice loss continues.

    My numbers of the complete thermodynamics of sea ice in the high Arctic, all based on real-world measurements in the arctic from your much-praised “peer-reviewed literature”, show that as more sea ice is lost from the Arctic under today’s real-world conditions, the more the Arctic region will cool.

    Further, as the DMI data at 80 north shows for all years from 1958 through 2013, the high Arctic IS getting cooler as more sea ice is lost.

    And worse, as more Antarctic sea ice expands at both minimum and maximum extents, the cooler the southern hemisphere gets.

  75. Caleb says:

    It is good to see the exchange of ideas going on here. My personal view is that a lot less is known about the arctic than many think. We have seen a little over half of what seems to be a sixty year cycle, and while our knowledge of factors involved with decreasing ice levels is decent, our knowledge of factors involved with increasing ice levels is poor, simply because we haven’t had a chance to watch it with all the neat satellite gizmos and gadgets, and various buoys measuring water at different depths, that we now have.

    One interesting concept is that when there is no ice or slush at the surface, then the entire column of water from the surface to the pycnocline, roughly 400 feet down, must be chilled to the freezing point of salt water before ice can form, whereas when ice is at the surface only the water touching the ice needs to be chilled to that degree. It therefore follows that an ice-free ocean could get far colder than an ocean that was fully or partially ice-covered to begin with. It’s ice might be thinner, but the following spring its water would be colder all the way down to 400 feet. That may explain this summer’s colder temperatures.

    Secondly, we may be witnessing the processes that rebuild the ice in the Beaufort Gyre, this year.
    The ice simply is being pushed that way, and not flushing out through Fram Strait as much as usual. (You can see the reduced extent south of Fram Strait, along the east coast of Greenland, in the “Cryosphere Today” comparison maps.)

    It would be a pity to be a know-it-all, at a time when there is so much new to see and learn from every day.

  76. tjfolkerts says:

    RACookPE1978,

    Why should “last year” be the lower limit on ice? The exact same argument could have been made in 2008. 2007 was a new record low, and 2008 showed a rebound. But since then, the trend as once again continued toward less ice extent, area and volume, with a new record set 5 years later. If that is the pattern, then a rebound this year … followed by continued decreases in the next years would be a quite plausible hypothesis.

    Also you claim that the Arctic is getting colder. A quick look at the DMI data suggests that the summer temperatures are getting slightly cooler, but the winter temperatures are getting significantly warmer. Thus the net trend seems to be overall warming.

  77. RACookPE1978 says:

    tjfolkerts says:
    August 24, 2013 at 4:24 pm (replying to)

    RACookPE1978,

    Why should “last year” be the lower limit on ice? The exact same argument could have been made in 2008. 2007 was a new record low, and 2008 showed a rebound. But since then, the trend as once again continued toward less ice extent, area and volume, with a new record set 5 years later. If that is the pattern, then a rebound this year … followed by continued decreases in the next years would be a quite plausible hypothesis.

    Absolutely. Yes, there is absolutely NO reason why last year’s minimum is the lowest possible. The trend THIS YEAR is -1,000,000 (or so) sq km’s of sea under the “average” sea ice levels on any given date, so there is no reason why this deficit would not continue.

    To be honest, I think you misunderstood my point: Not only might this deficit continue, but it might get worse! Thus, the focus of my question: It could get NO worse than 2,000,000 lower or 3,000,000 sq km’s lower! See, there is no possible way that a current Artic sea ice extents minimum of 3,500,000 sq km’s can get lower than 0. And, last year, it was already down to 3,500,000 and there was no effect this year. ALSO, there is NO possible way for a sea ice area of 2,000,000 could get lower than that 2,000,000.

    Further, regardless of when or why those 0.0 sq km’s of sea ice got to 0.0, the area will re-freeze the next weeks (in October and November and early December.) Thus, the heat and thermodynamics calculations need to be valid for a “more reasonable” loss of just 1,000,000 sq km’s from a reasonable point in early September.

    Thus, the question I asked: IF 1,000,000 sq km’s were lost in the Arctic for two weeks in September, what is the total heat impact on the planet?
    IF 1,000,000 sq km’s were added to the Antarctic at minimum Antarctic, and at maximum Antarctic sea ice extents, what is the heat change on the planet? It does not matter whether the NSIDC or Meier or NASA-GISS “wants” to ignore the Antarctic sea ice gain or not. It does not matter whether they are assigning it the right “percent improvement” or not (and they are not, for “sum” reason.) That Antarctic sea ice gain IS THERE, and IS affecting the climate.

    Hence, my question: What is the net effect of both changes?

  78. RACookPE1978 says:

    tjfolkerts says:
    August 24, 2013 at 4:24 pm (replying to)

    RACookPE1978,

    Also you claim that the Arctic is getting colder. A quick look at the DMI data suggests that the summer temperatures are getting slightly cooler, but the winter temperatures are getting significantly warmer. Thus the net trend seems to be overall warming.

    Your statements are true, but your conclusion is exactly opposite what you intend.

    See, the “fear” of an loss of Arctic sea ice is Sereze’s “arctic death spiral” of positive feedbacks.

    Sea ice melts, “dark” ocean water replaces it, dark ocean water absorbs more heat, gets warmer, melts more sea ice, exposes more “dark” ocean water, absorbs more solar energy, melts more sea ice, … And Al Gore and Hansen start claiming the waters will boil.

    But. The numbers show the opposite. When you run the real numbers for real sea ice albedo, real water albedo of real ocean water with waves and wind and sea leads and clouds and diffuse radiation for the “real world” of where the edge of the sea ice really is melting at each hour of each day at the latitudes where the sea ice is melting … You find NONE of that happens.

    Yes, the Arctic winters may be getting warmer. BUT there is no solar radiation up where it is getting warmer. There is NO open ocean up where it is getting warmer to serve as a feedback for the no solar radiation that is not present to melt any sea ice that is not melting!

    The ONLY time of year when the feedback could happen is the summer, and the ONLY time of year when there is a positive solar radiation effect is during the summer at high latitudes – which is where it is NOT melting. There are essentially NO sea ice leads in the high arctic where the solar exposure is large for many hours of the day. Even dropping an extra 2 million sq km’s will not bring the edge of the sea ice melt region “up” to where the sun is that high.

    Solar absorption heating is instantaneous; what impacts the open ocean at 2:01 PM heats the water immediately at 2:01:01 PM. What heat is lost to long wave radiation to the night sky at 1:21 AM is lost immediately. There is no “lag time” nor 6 months delay between increased heat absorbing and when it shows up as “higher air temperatures” in the winter. Now, be careful in your calc’s also: While heat gain is immediate each mid-morning for a few hours, the increased heat losses are 24 hours per day. yes, the Arctic gets a lot of energy into the sea ice, but only limited areas get that very high solar angles for long periods of time. A “midnight sun” only 3 degrees above the horizon transmit no heat to the sea cie, nor to the water.

    Solar absorption heating changes hour-by-hour as the sun moves across the sky. Most days, there are few hours of positive solar absorption energy (low albedo and high sun elevation angle means more energy is absorbed than lost through increased evaporation losses and greater long wave radiation losses (the open ocean is warmer than the sea ice top, and so radiates mroe energy to the sky), and more energy is lost when the insulation between the ocean top meter and the cold air meet.

    Thus, ONLY the arctic summer days when the DMI temperatures are above zero permit “arctic amplification. And, since 1958, those summer temperatures are steadily going down.

    In fact, since 2003, there have only been 21 “spikes” ABOVE the DMI long-term average.

    Yes, in 10 years of summer days in the high Arctic since 2003, there have only been 21 times (40 to 60 days!) when the temperature at 80 north has even got “up” to “average.

  79. Jeff Allen says:

    RACookPE1978 – you’re dragging together a rather large number of vaguely related pieces of information without clarifying how you think they are related.

    First off, let’s consider this:

    http://supais.com/external/chido-mercancia/wp-content/themes/eGallery/epanel/page_templates/js/arctic-temperature-i6.JPG

    From this, the implication is that the over-all heat entering the arctic is increasing (or perhaps… more correctly the loss is decreasing…), even though the
    average above zero C has decreased… slightly. This has particularly serious ramifications for both the production of ice, and the net energy captured and contained in the arctic. Increased winter temperatures mean that less of the previous season’s heat is lost, meaning in net, the energy required to start melt is reduced.

    I’d hypothesize in addition that the decrease of temperature above zero “c” may be very directly tied to increased ice-free sea surface. Water has more than 100 times the heat density of atmosphere, so transfer from atmosphere to sea water would result in reduced temperature, while at the same time suggesting net increases in enthalpy. It is devilishly complex. We are well advised to keep a firm grasp of scale and physics as we try to understand exactly what the temperatures we see indicate.

Comments are closed.