Introducing The New WUWT Northern Regional Sea Ice Reference Page – With Observations

National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) – The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection – click to view at source

Image credits: (NSIDC) – The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection

By WUWT regular “Just The Facts”

We are pleased to introduce WUWT’s newest addition, the Northern Regional Sea Ice Page Sometimes lost in the Global Warming Causes Sea Ice Death Spiral rhetoric is the regional nature of changes in Northern Sea Ice, e.g. this paper, “ by Parkinson, et al., found that:

Satellite passive-microwave data for November 1978 through December 1996 reveal marked seasonal, regional, and interannual variabilities, with an overall decreasing trend of −34,300±3700 km2/yr (−2.8%/decade) in Arctic sea ice extents over the 18.2-year period. Decreases occur in all seasons and on a yearly average basis, although they are largest in spring and smallest in autumn. Regionally, the Kara and Barents Seas have the largest decreases, at −15,200±1900 km2/yr (−10.5%/decade), followed by the Seas of Okhotsk and Japan, the Arctic Ocean, Greenland Sea, Hudson Bay, and Canadian Archipelago. The yearly average trends for the total, the Kara and Barents Seas, and the Seas of Okhotsk and Japan all have high statistical significance, with the null hypothesis of a 0 slope being rejected at a 99% confidence level. Regions showing increasing yearly average ice extents are Baffin Bay/Labrador Sea, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the Bering Sea, with only the increases in the Gulf of St. Lawrence being statistically significant at the 99% level. Hemispheric results for sea ice areas exhibit the same −2.8%/decade decrease as for ice extents and hence a lower absolute decrease (−29,500±3800 km2/yr), with the ice-free area within the ice pack correspondingly decreasing at −4800±1600 km2/yr. Confidence levels for the trends in ice areas and ice-free water areas exceed 99% and 95%, respectively. Nonetheless, interannual variability is high, and, for instance, the Arctic Ocean ice extents have a positive trend 1990–1996, in spite of their negative trend for the time period as a whole.

Some of these regional changes can be attributed to natural climatic variations, e.g.:

“The “Icelandic Low” is a key to bringing a greater or lesser amount of warm air into the Arctic depending on the intensity of the system, and is part of a larger weather pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). NAO is the name for changes in the difference of air pressure between the semi-permanent low-pressure system centered near Iceland (the Icelandic Low) and a semi-permanent high-pressure system centered near the Azores Islands (better known as the Bermuda-Azores High).”

“When the Icelandic Low is strong, it forces cold Arctic air southward to the area west of Iceland and Greenland, setting the stage for increasing sea ice cover in Baffin Bay, the Labrador Sea, Hudson Bay and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. At the same time, to the east, warm air that is swept northward reduces ice extent. This warmer air contributes to the reduced ice extents east and north of Greenland, and the reduced extent of ice in the entire Arctic overall. “When the Icelandic Low is weak, it will still bring warm air northward to the east of Iceland, but not as much as when the Icelandic Low is strong,” Parkinson said.”

The strength of the Icelandic Low tended to increase from 1979 to 1990, then decrease in the 1990s. From 1979 to 1990 the ice cover to the east and north of the Low, in the Kara and Barents Seas and the Arctic Ocean, decreased, while the ice cover to the west of the Low, in Baffin Bay/Labrador Sea, Hudson Bay and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, increased.

From 1990 to 1999 the situation was reversed, with the ice cover to the east and north of the Low increasing and the ice cover to the west of the Low decreasing. “This regional pattern of reversals in the ice extent trends is highly suggestive of an Icelandic Low impact, or, more broadly, of an impact from the North Atlantic Oscillation,” Parkinson explained. NASA

It appears that a pattern of significant summer Sea Ice Area anomalies began in the late 1990’s in Gulf of St. Lawrence;

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

Baffin Bay/Newfoundland;

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

and Hudson Bay.

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

There has been an interesting pattern of precipitous summer sea declines along Russia’s Northern coast, which appears to have begun around 10 – 15 years ago, including in Barents Sea;

Kara Sea;

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

Laptev Sea;

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

East Siberian Sea;

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

and the Chukchi Sea

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

What’s makes the Russian Northern coast Sea Ice decline particularly interesting is the large Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies along large parts of it, especially in the Barents, Kara and Laptev Seas:

National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Marine Modeling and Analysis Branch (MMAB) – Click the pic to view at source

ssmi1-ice-ext

Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) – Centre for Ocean and Ice – Click the pic to view at source

According to Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University :

“The average thickness of the pack ice has fallen by roughly half since the 1970s, probably for two main reasons. One is a rise in sea temperatures: in the summer of 2007 coastal parts of the Arctic Ocean measured 7°C—bracingly swimmable. The other was a prolonged eastward shift in the early 1990s in the Arctic’s prevailing winds, known as the Arctic Oscillation. This moved a lot of ice from the Beaufort Gyre, a revolving current in the western Arctic, to the ocean’s other main current, the Transpolar Drift Stream, which runs down the side of Siberia. A lot of thick, multi-year ice was flushed into the Atlantic and has not been replaced.” The Economist

There is ample evidence to support influence of Atmospheric Oscillations on sea ice, however the fact that “summer of 2007 coastal parts of the Arctic Ocean measured 7°C—bracingly swimmable” raise and important question. Why?

It does not seem due to high Mean Temperature above 80°N;

Danish Meteorological Institute – Click the pic to view at source

or Lower Tropospheric Temperatures:

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) – Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) – Click the pic to view at source

One possible contributor is the large amount of non-CO2 anthropogenic influence/effluent flowing into the Arctic, e.g. the Mackenzie River flows into the Beaufort Sea and;

“As of 2001, approximately 397,000 people lived in the Mackenzie River basin”

“the heaviest use of the watershed is in resource extraction – oil and gas in central Alberta, lumber in the Peace River headwaters, uranium in Saskatchewan, gold in the Great Slave Lake area and tungsten in the Yukon.”

“Although the entire main stem of the Mackenzie River is undammed, many of its tributaries and headwaters have been developed for hydroelectricity production, flood control and agricultural purposes.”

“The river discharges more than 325 cubic kilometres (78 cu mi) of water each year, accounting for roughly 11% of the total river flow into the Arctic Ocean. The Mackenzie’s outflow holds a major role in the local climate above the Arctic Ocean with large amounts of warmer fresh water mixing with the cold seawater.” Wikipedia – Mackenzie River

“Oil and gas development is already extensive in the basin, primarily in the Alberta and BC portions, and much more is expected in the future. For example, a proposal to develop the vast natural gas reserves that are found in the Mackenzie Delta is currently being evaluated. This will require the development of a pipeline along the Mackenzie, which will also facilitate development of gas resources in NWT (GNWT 2007). Perhaps the most significant current fossil energy development at this time is the oil sands (also known as the “tar sands”) in Alberta, near the City of Fort McMurray (Figure 1). An estimated 300 billion barrels of recoverable fossil energy is found in these deposits (MRBB 2003). Development is proceeding rapidly. At the end of 2009, four mines were in operation, with three additional mines approved or under development. In 2008, these projects were producing 1.3 million barrels/day. Production of 3 million barrels/day is expected by 2018, with 2030 production levels reaching 5 million barrels/day by 2030 (Holroyd and Simieritsch 2009; Government of Alberta 2010).”TRANSBOUNDARY WATER GOVERNANCE IN THE MACKENZIE RIVER BASIN, CANADA – Rob C. de Loë -

It is also of note that;

“The Beaufort Sea contains major gas and petroleum reserves beneath the seabed, a continuation of proven reserves in the nearby Mackenzie River and North Slope.[12] The Beaufort Sea was first explored for sub-shelf hydrocarbons in the 1950s and estimated to contain about 250 km3 (60 cu mi) of oil and 300,000 km3 (72,000 cu mi) of natural gas under its coastal shelf. Offshore drilling began in 1972; about 70 wells were set up by 1980s[28] and 200 wells by 2000.[29]” Wikipedia – Beaufort Sea

In the Laptev Sea

“The mighty Lena River, with its great delta, is the biggest river flowing into the Laptev Sea, and is the second largest river in the Russian Arctic after Yenisei. Other important rivers include the Khatanga, the Anabar, the Olenyok or Olenek, the Omoloy and the Yana.”

“The Laptev Sea is a major source of arctic sea ice. With an average outflow of 483,000 km2 per year over the period 1979–1995, it contributes more sea ice than the Barents Sea, Kara Sea, East Siberian Sea and Chukchi Sea combined. Over this period, the annual outflow fluctuated between 251,000 km2 in 1984–85 and 732,000 km2 in 1988–89. The sea exports substantial amounts of sea ice in all months but July, August and September.”

“Most of the river runoff (about 70% or 515 km3/year) is contributed by the Lena River. Other major contributions are from Khatanga (more than 100 km3), Olenyok (35 km3), Yana (>30 km3) and Anabar (20 km3), with other rivers contributing about 20 km3. Owing to the ice melting seasoning, About 90% of the annual runoff occurs between June and September with 35–40% in August alone, whereas January contributes only 5%.”

“The sea is characterized by the low water temperatures, which ranges from −1.8 °C (28.8 °F) in the north to −0.8 °C (30.6 °F) in the south-eastern parts. The medium water layer is warmer, up to 1.5 °С because it is fed by the warm Atlantic waters. It takes them 2.5–3 years to reach the Laptev Sea from their formation near Spitsbergen.[3] The deeper layer is colder at about −0.8 °С. In summer, the surface layer in the ice-free zones warms up by the sun up to 8–10 °С in the bays and 2–3 °С in the open sea, and remains close to 0 °С under ice. The water salinity is significantly affected by the thawing of ice and river runoff. The latter amounts to about 730 km3 and would form a 135 cm freshwater layer over the entire sea; it is the second largest in the world after the Kara sea. The salinity values vary in winter from 20–25‰ (parts per thousand) in the south-east to 34‰ in the northern parts of the sea; it decreases in summer to 5–10‰ and 30–32‰ respectively.”

“Sea currents form a cyclone consisting of the southward stream near Severnaya Zemlya which reaches the continental coast and flows along it from west to east. It is then amplified by the Lena River flow and diverts to the north and north-west toward the Arctic Ocean. A small part of the cyclone leaks through the Sannikov Strait to the East Siberian Sea. The cyclone has a speed of 2 cm/s which is decreasing toward the center. The center of the cyclone drifts with time that slightly alters the flow character.” Wikipedia – Laptev Sea

“Ye et al. (2003) and Yang et al. (2004) recently studied the effect of reservoir regulations in the Lena and Yenisei basins. They found that, for instance, because of a large dam in the Lena River basin, summer peak discharge in the Vului valley (a tributary in the west Lena basin) has been reduced by 10%–80%, and winter low flow has been increased by 7–120 times during the cold months. They also reported that, because of influences of large reservoirs, discharge records collected at the Lena and Yenisei basin outlets do not always represent natural changes and variations; they tend to underestimate the natural runoff trends in summer and overestimate the trends in both winter and fall seasons. Operations of large reservoirs may also affect annual flow regime particularly during and immediately after the dam construction (Ye et al. 2003; Yang et al. 2004).Discharge Characteristics and Changes over the Ob River Watershed in Siberia

Also in the Kara Sea;

“The Ob and Yenisei Rivers in north-central Russia are among the larger rivers that drain into the Arctic Ocean, though past research suggested that they do not necessarily carry as much organic matter and sediment as other rivers. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite acquired this image of the rivers as they dumped tan sediments and dark brown dissolved organic material (DOM) into the Kara Sea on June 29, 2012.” River Outflow to the Kara Sea

The Yenisei;

“is the largest river system flowing to the Arctic Ocean. It is the central of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean (the other two being the Ob River and the Lena River).”

“The upper reaches, subject to rapids and flooding, pass through sparsely populated areas. The middle section is controlled by a series of massive hydroelectric dams fueling significant Russian primary industry. Partly built by gulag labor in Soviet times, industrial contamination remains a serious problem in an area hard to police. Moving on through sparsely-populated taiga, the Yenisei swells with numerous tributaries and finally reaches the Kara Sea in desolate tundra where it is icebound for more than half the year.”
Wikipedia – Yenisei River

“The Sayano–Shushenskaya Dam is located on the Yenisei River, near Sayanogorsk in Khakassia, Russia. It is the largest power plant in Russia and the sixth-largest hydroelectric plant in the world, by average power generation.”
Wikipedia – Sayano–Shushenskaya Dam

Another tributary, the Tuul passes through the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator while the Egiin Gol drains Lake Khövsgöl (500 km) downstream, where the 124 m (407 ft) dam built in the 1960s produces 4500 MW. The resultant reservoir is nicknamed Dragon Lake because of its outline. The tributary Oka and Iya rivers, which rise on the north slopes of the Eastern Sayan Mountains, form the ‘jaws’ and 400 km (250 mi) of the Angara forms the ‘tail’. There are newer dams almost as large at Ust-Ilimsk 250 km (155 mi) downstream (also damming the tributary Ilim river) and Boguchany a further 400 km (250 mi) downstream (not operational). Further dams are planned but the environmental consequences of completely taming the Angara are leading to protests which may prevent funding.

Angarsk, the center of the expanding Eastern Siberian oil industry and site of a huge Yukos-owned refinery, lies 50 km (31 mi) downstream of Irkutsk. A major pipeline takes oil west, and a new one is being built to carry oil east for supply to Japan from the Sea of Japan port of Nakhodka. The exact potential of Eastern Siberia is unknown, but two new major fields are the Kovyktinskoye field near Zhigalovo 200 km (125 mi) north of Irkutsk and the extremely remote Verkhnechonskoye field 500 km (310 mi) north of Irkutsk on the Central Siberian Plateau.Wikipedia – Yenisei River

The Ob is used mostly for irrigation, drinking water, hydroelectric energy, and fishing (the river hosts more than 50 species of fish).

The navigable waters within the Ob basin reach a total length of 9,300 miles (15,000 km). The importance of the Ob basin navigation for transportation was particularly great before the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway, since, despite the general south-to-north direction of the flow of Ob and most of its tributaries, the width of the Ob basin provided for (somewhat indirect) transportation in the east-west direction as well. Until the early 20th century, a particularly important western river port was Tyumen, located on the Tura River, a tributary of the Tobol.”

“The Trans-Siberian Railway, once completed, provided for more direct, year-round transportation in the east-west direction. But the Ob river system still remained important for connecting the huge expanses of Tyumen Oblast and Tomsk Oblast with the major cities along the Trans-Siberian route, such as Novosibirsk or Omsk. In the second half of the 20th century, construction of rail links to Labytnangi, Tobolsk, and the oil and gas cities of Surgut, and Nizhnevartovsk provided more railheads, but did not diminish the importance of the waterways for reaching places still not served by the rail.

A dam was built near Novosibirsk in 1956, which created the then-largest artificial lake in Siberia, called Novosibirsk Reservoir.”Wikipedia – Ob River

Anthropogenic effluent may not be too significant contributor in the East Siberian Sea which;

“is characterized by severe climate, low water salinity, and a scarcity of flora, fauna and human population, as well as shallow depths (mostly less than 50 m), slow sea currents, low tides (below 25 cm), frequent fogs, especially in summer, and an abundance of ice fields which fully melt only in August–September.”

Also “the continental runoff into the East Siberian Sea is relatively small at about 250 km3/year that makes only 10% of the total runoff in all the Arctic seas of Russia. The largest contribution is from the Kolyma River at 132 km3, followed by the Indigirka River at 59 km3. Most runoff (90%) occurs in summer; it is concentrated near the coast, owing to the weak river currents, and therefore does not significantly affect the sea hydrology.”

However, “Major industrial activities in the [East Siberian Sea] area are mining and navigation within the Northern Sea Route.” Wikipedia – East Siberian Sea “Only one Russian seaport along the officially defined Northern Sea Route is ice-free all year round, Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula. Other Arctic ports are generally usable from July to October, or, such as Dudinka, are served by nuclear-powered icebreakers.”

The largest port and city on the East Siberian Sea is Pevek, “is the most important northern port in Chukotka, although shipping levels have dropped significantly in recent years. The port is the eastern base of the northern sea route’s Marine Operations Headquarters, run by the Far-East Shipping Company from an icebreaker in the harbour, though the port is still owned by the Russian Ministry of Transport.”Wikipedia – Pevek

Additionally, “Gazprom Neft, the oil division of Russia’s state-run natural gas major Gazprom, and Royal Dutch Shell have signed a memorandum of intent to jointly explore and develop shale oil and Arctic offshore projects in Russia. The document, signed by the head of Gazprom Aleksey Miller and the head of Shell Jorma Ollila, referred to two offshore blocks: at the junction of the Chukchi and East Siberian seas, as well as in the Pechora Sea.” Russia Today

Additional Arctic regions to keep an eye on this year are the Canadian Archipelago, which is decidedly average this year;

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

and hasn’t show signs of the summer decline that has occur 6 of the last 7 years;

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

and the Beaufort Sea which is trending higher than average;

National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) – click to view at source

but that could change quite quickly as it did last year.

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

Finally, Arctic Basin Sea Ice is currently trending below average,

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

continuing pattern that appears to have begun in 2006;

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

and NSIDC Central Arctic Sea Ice Extent is trending well below the prior 4 years:

National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) – click to view at source

According to Son V. Nghiem of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a 2007 NASA article;

“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.”

In their 2007 paper Nghiem et al. found 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.”

Lastly, this 2011 paper 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.”

In addition to the Northern Regional Sea Ice Page if you have not had the opportunity to look through some of our other Reference Pages, it is highly recommended:

Please note that WUWT cannot vouch for the accuracy of the data within the Reference Pages, as WUWT is simply an aggregator. All of the data is linked from third party sources. If you have doubts about the accuracy of any of the graphs on the WUWT Reference Pages, or have any suggested additions or improvements to any of the pages, please let us know in comments below.

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57 thoughts on “Introducing The New WUWT Northern Regional Sea Ice Reference Page – With Observations

  1. “The average thickness of the pack ice has fallen by roughly half since the 1970s, probably for two main reasons”

    Stop it…..

    1. Ice had increased prior to the 1970’s
    2. They lied about it

  2. Cool, thanks for this assemblage of information. One question, many/most of the graphs have a sub-heading of ‘recent 365 days shown’, but the x-axis has 24 years?

  3. What about these humongous icebreakers?

    Since the Northeast Passage is being advertised as the se-highway from Asia to Eurome, beginning in the late 1990ies, the use of huge, often nuclear-powered ice-breakers to clear the passage early for merchand ships has substantially increased.

    I understand that an iceshelf being plowed by huge and numerous icebreakers day and night (if one may call it a night at all in the summertime north of the Polar circle…) will not neccessarily mlt, but DISINTEGRATE much quicker than an untouched, solid one.

    Has the effect of icebreakers, which constantly crush the sea ice in order to facilitate merchant shipping in the Northeast- and Northwest-passages, on the endurance and/or total extend of the sea-ice in the arctic ocean during the arctic summer ever been quantified, courious minds want to know.

  4. Oops: Thats “…sea-highway from Asia to Europe…” in my posting above. Was typing in a hurry. My bad!

  5. clipe says: August 25, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    “Introducing And Observations…?

    Inarticulate to say the least, corrected to:

    Introducing The New WUWT Northern Regional Sea Ice Reference Page – With Observations

    Thank you.

  6. mogamboguru says:
    August 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    “What about these humongous icebreakers?”

    I suggested this during the two year studies conducted by a large number of parties during the IGY (International Geophysical Year) I think it was, when there were boats all over the arctic plowing around. I was largely argued down here at WUWT in this notion but I remain convinced it is a factor of at least some unknown importance. I don’t trust these big studies conducted by government agencies whose agenda’s are well known and the commercial interests that mogamboguru points to above. The argument is that these little trails just freeze up again. However, like the ski patrols in Switzerland who know how to “cut off” an avalanche at its top and deliberately set them off, I suspect there are well known strategic slices possible in the arctic for speeding ice exit to the Atlantic. Am I being too cynical?

  7. mogamboguru, I wholly agree, icebreakers and economy expansions can be seen in many of the coastal areas when you break this down to sub-areas. Sliced and diced sea ice is not the same as it was as unbroken flat slabs, doesn’t move the same, doesn’t melt the same, partially due to angles to the solar radiation. Flat ice has an angle of less than 23 degrees. A chunk of ice turns exposing one side at a greater angle reflecting less at high incidence. How can you say this does not affect the arctic from icebreakers let alone being broken into smaller chunks. How much? You can only guess.

    I’ve written on this topic many times in the past here. As tourists, commerce and ‘scientific’ excursions increase they will effectively chop the arctic ice into broken expanses that naturally would have existed as un-broken slabs for decades. What irks me is this is mainly from the ‘scientific’ excursions that don’t follow fixed seaways and they won’t admit that they themselves are causing at least a part if not most of the decrease in extent and area of sea ice by their very presence where no man should trek in icebreakers if they care to leave nature natural.

  8. The reference to this page from the references-pages master or index page to this page doesn’t work for me. I get the URL link: wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/reference-pagesnorthern-regional-sea-ice-page. It seems to be a missing slash between the reference-pages and nothern… or something. I tried several different browsers.

  9. Love the regional stuff. Now I am hoping for three-month running averages and seasonal three-month running averages/anomalies so I can compare the data to atmospheric and oceanic data sets.

  10. Steve Keohane says: August 25, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    One question, many/most of the graphs have a sub-heading of ‘recent 365 days shown’, but the x-axis has 24 years?

    Good catch, I’ve looked at those charts countless times and never noticed that error. It seems that Cryosphere Today copied the “recent 365 days shown” language from their 1 year graph;

    Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

    over to their “all years” graphs:

    Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

    If you email them, Department of Atmospheric Sciences – Polar Research Group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, at cryosphere-data@atmos.uiuc.edu or cryosphere-science@atmos.uiuc.edu, I am sure they would appreciate a heads up on the error.

  11. Many of the graphs are titled with ‘Current’ but extend back many years.

    Confusing at first glance and I realise this not WUWT’s fault.

  12. mogamboguru says: August 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    What about these humongous icebreakers?

    Has the effect of icebreakers, which constantly crush the sea ice in order to facilitate merchant shipping in the Northeast- and Northwest-passages, on the endurance and/or total extend of the sea-ice in the arctic ocean during the arctic summer ever been quantified, courious minds want to know.

    Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009 Report;

    http://www.pame.is/images/stories/PDF_Files/AMSA_2009_Report_2nd_print.pdf

    Page 4;
    “There were approximately 6,000 individual vessels, many making multiple voyages, in the Arctic region during the AMSA survey year; half of these were operating on the Great Circle Route in the North Pacific that crosses the Aleutian Islands. Of the 6,000 vessels reported, approximately 1,600 were fishing vessels.”

    Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009 Report Pages 141 – 142;
    “The AMSA has developed the world’s first activity-based estimate of Arctic marine shipping emissions using empirical data for shipping reported by Arctic Council member states. Emissions were calculated for each vessel-trip for which data was available for the base year 2004. The 515,000 trips analyzed represent about 14.2 million km of distance traveled (or 7.7 million nautical miles) by transport vessels; fishing vessels represent over 15,000 fishing vessel days at sea for 2004. Some results could be an underestimation of current emissions, given potential underreporting bias and anecdotal reports of recent growth in international shipping and trade through the Arctic.”

    Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009 Report on Page 79;
    “A specific example of where cruise ship traffic is increasing at a rapid rate is off the coast of Greenland. As Table 5.3 shows, cruise ship visits and the number of passengers visiting Greenland has increased significantly between 2003 and 2008. For example, between 2006 and 2007, port calls into Greenland increased from 157 to 222 cruise ships. The number of port calls in 2006 combined for a total of 22,051 passengers, a number that represents nearly half of Greenland’s total 2006 population of 56,901.

    In 2008, approximately 375 cruise ship port calls were scheduled for Greenland ports and harbors, more than double the number of port calls seen in 2006.”

    Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009 Report Page 137;
    “The 2004 U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy reported that, while at sea, the average cruise-ship passenger generates about eight gallons of sewage per day and an average cruise ship can generate a total of 532,000 to 798,000 liters of sewage and 3.8 million liters of wastewater from sinks, showers and laundries each week, as well as large amounts of solid waste (garbage). The average cruise ship will also produce more than 95,000 liters of oily bilge water from engines and machinery a week. Sewage, solid waste and oily bilge water release are regulated through MARPOL. There are no restrictions on the release of treated wastewater.”

    Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009 Report Page 84;
    “During 2004-2008, there were 33 icebreaker transits to the North Pole for science and tourism. An increasing number of icebreakers and research vessels are conducting geological and geophysical research throughout the central Arctic Ocean related to establishing the limits of the extended continental shelf under UNCLOS.”

    Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009 Report Page 84;
    “Map 5.6 demonstrates the surge in vessel activity in the summer season, when all of the community re-supply takes place and most bulk commodities are shipped out and supplies brought in for commercial operations. Summer is also the season when all of the passenger and cruise vessels travel to the region.”

    and Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009 Report Page 160;
    “Spring break-up to mark the start of summer navigation will vary and, as happens now in more southerly seas, shippers eager to start work will test the limits of their vessels in ice.”

    http://www.pame.is/images/stories/PDF_Files/AMSA_2009_Report_2nd_print.pdf

    Per this Coast Guard Compass article;

    http://coastguard.dodlive.mil/index.php/2009/06/coast-guard-and-the-arctic-part-2/

    “Coast Guard Cutter Healy is the largest of the heavy ice breakers in the Coast Guard. Her ice breaking capabilities are 4.5 ft @ 3 knots continuous and 8 ft of ice when backing and ramming. Backing and ramming is pretty much what it sounds like and I don’t mean how you parallel parked a car when you were a teenager.”

    “Key sea and air lanes need to remain open as a matter of international legal right and not depend on the approval from nations along the routes, so that vessels like Healy can get where they need to go and get there quickly.”

    If you look at the icebreaker Healy’s Cruise Track for 2006;

    http://www.icefloe.net/images/HLY-06annot.pdf

    2007;

    http://www.icefloe.net/docs/HLY-07track.pdf

    and 2008;

    http://www.icefloe.net/docs/healy2008.pdf

    it is easy to see how effective a single Icebreaker can be at breaking up the ice.

    Per this report from Baltic Ice Management (BIM) on their 2008 – 2009 season;

    http://portal.fma.fi/sivu/www/baltice/BIM_Joint_Annual_2008_2009.pdf

    the chart on page 10 it seems to indicate that they had 23 icebreakers in use in just the Baltic Sea at the peak of their icebreaking season. Much of it is about opening and maintaining shipping lanes, cruise ship routes and fishing grounds.

  13. Also, for reference, the “Human population north of 60°N is in excess of 2 million with modern settlements.”

    http://www.adventure-life.com/articles/pole-comparison-180/

    here is a summary of “Northern Most Settlements”

    http://geography.about.com/od/lists/a/northernmost-cities.htm

    The heating, transportation, manufacturing, mining, damning and waste-water/effluent associated with 2 million people, must have a measurable influence on Arctic Sea Ice…

  14. NSIDC sea ice extent for September (monthly average) is now tracking to be a 48% increase over last year. Jaxa is tracking to 49% higher than last year’s daily Minimum.

  15. Thank you for the “northern interest” half of the house.

    But the threat is from the south. 8<)

    Up north, there is virtually no energy to reflect, regardless of whether the sea ice is present or absent. Even worse, the extra sq km's of open ocean lose more energy by evaporation than does ice-covered ocean, they lose more energy through continuous longwave radiation than does ice-covered ocean, and they lose more energy through convection than does ice-covered sea ocean.

    Net? The more open water up north, the cooler the ocean gets. The more water vapor to be deposited on land as ice and snow.

    Around Antarctica, the 1,100,000 additional sea ice sq km's this year ARE already reflecting additional energy, far more than that little bit absorbed up north.

  16. @ RACookPE1978 at 4:41 pm

    Ditto from me.

    The proof is in ice harvesting from lakes. Some people cut the ice then hauled it to storage. The lake would freeze over again. Heat is lost to the air and radiates to space during the freezing and refreezing process.

  17. “The average thickness of the pack ice has fallen by roughly half since the 1970s, probably for two main reasons”

    Because multi-year has been melting faster than one and two year ice. Air temperatures, sea temperatures, currents, weather, icebreakers, etc, etc can not cause this over the entire Arctic Ocean, year after year.

    The only possible cause is some property of multiyear ice, that one and two year ice doesn’t have, or has to a lesser extent. And that can only be embedded black carbon combined with a small increase in solar insolation.

    Note, how the maximum melt anomaly occurs at the end of the melt season in early September. This is when the surface exposure of embedded black carbon is at its maximum, and produces its maximum albedo effect even though solar insolation is very low at this time.

  18. Hello,

    The Arctic Sea Ice Area Extent is currently 28% greater, in 2013, than in 2012 on a same-julian day-basis; i.e. about the same area extent by day as in 2009 which was much more that 2007.

    Oh Dear! Such An Inconvenient Truth. Blood will spill, There will be blood. The AGU High Command … IS … Angry!

  19. Philip Bradley says: August 25, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Because multi-year has been melting faster than one and two year ice. Air temperatures, sea temperatures, currents, weather, icebreakers, etc, etc can not cause this over the entire Arctic Ocean, year after year.

    Why not? As noted in the article;

    “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.” NASA article

    In their 2007 paper Nghiem et al. found 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.”

    Lastly, this 2011 paper 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.”

    As such the evidence appears to support the hypothesis that multi-meter thick perennial sea ice did not in fact melt in place, but was rather transported by wind and/or currents into warmer waters where it could melt. Furthermore, this transportation process could have been facilitated by ice breakers clearing pathways/breaking up the ice, for shipping, research and oil drilling purposes.

    The only possible cause is some property of multiyear ice, that one and two year ice doesn’t have, or has to a lesser extent. And that can only be embedded black carbon combined with a small increase in solar insolation.

    I definitly agree that black carbon is a factor, i.e.:

    Particulates;

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

    especially Soot/Black Carbon;

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

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

    appear to contribute to temperature increaces and Sea Ice loss, e.g.:
    Shindell, D., and G. Faluvegi, 2009: Climate response to regional radiative forcing during the twentieth century. Nature Geosci.

    Regional climate change can arise from three different effects: regional changes to the amount of radiative heating that reaches the Earth’s surface, an inhomogeneous response to globally uniform changes in radiative heating and variability without a specific forcing. The relative importance of these effects is not clear, particularly because neither the response to regional forcings nor the regional forcings themselves are well known for the twentieth century. Here we investigate the sensitivity of regional climate to changes in carbon dioxide, black carbon aerosols, sulphate aerosols and ozone in the tropics, mid-latitudes and polar regions, using a coupled ocean-atmosphere model. We find that mid- and high-latitude climate is quite sensitive to the location of the forcing. Using these relationships between forcing and response along with observations of twentieth century climate change, we reconstruct radiative forcing from aerosols in space and time. Our reconstructions broadly agree with historical emissions estimates, and can explain the differences between observed changes in Arctic temperatures and expectations from non-aerosol forcings plus unforced variability. We conclude that decreasing concentrations of sulphate aerosols and increasing concentrations of black carbon have substantially contributed to rapid Arctic warming during the past three decades. http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/sh02500l.html

    “Jacobson found that eliminating soot produced by the burning of fossil fuel and solid biofuel could reduce warming above parts of the Arctic Circle in the next fifteen years by up to 1.7 degrees Celsius (3 degrees Fahrenheit). For perspective, net warming in the Arctic has been at least 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) over the last century and is expected to warm significantly more in the future if nothing is done.”http://www.agu.org/news/press/pr_archives/2010/2010-20.shtml

    Arctic shipping emissions inventories and future scenarios, Corbett et al.;

    Abstract. This paper presents 5 km×5 km Arctic emissions inventories of important greenhouse gases, black carbon and other pollutants under existing and future (2050) scenarios that account for growth of shipping in the region, potential diversion traffic through emerging routes, and possible emissions control measures. These high-resolution, geospatial emissions inventories for shipping can be used to evaluate Arctic climate sensitivity to black carbon (a short-lived climate forcing pollutant especially effective in accelerating the melting of ice and snow), aerosols, and gaseous emissions including carbon dioxide. We quantify ship emissions scenarios which are expected to increase as declining sea ice coverage due to climate change allows for increased shipping activity in the Arctic. A first-order calculation of global warming potential due to 2030 emissions in the high-growth scenario suggests that short-lived forcing of ~4.5 gigagrams of black carbon from Arctic shipping may increase global warming potential due to Arctic ships’ CO2 emissions (~42 000 gigagrams) by some 17% to 78%. http://www.atmos-chem-phys.org/10/9689/2010/acp-10-9689-2010.html

    Per the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009 Report; http://www.pame.is/images/stories/PDF_Files/AMSA_2009_Report_2nd_print.pdf

    Page 5 – “Black carbon emissions from ships operating in the Arctic may have
    regional impacts by accelerating ice melt.”

    Page 142 – Black carbon is a component of particulate matter produced by marine vessels through the incomplete oxidation of diesel fuel. The release and deposition of BC in the Arctic region is of particular concern because of the effect it has on reducing the albedo (reflectivity) of sea ice and snow. When solar radiation is applied, reduced albedo increases the rate of ice and snow melt significantly, resulting in more open water, and thereby reducing the regional albedo further. In the Arctic region in 2004, approximately 1,180 metric tons of black carbon was released, representing a small proportion of the estimated 71,000 to 160,000 metric tons released around the globe annually. However, the region-specific effects of black carbon indicate that even small amounts could have a potentially disproportionate impact on ice melt and warming in the region. More research is needed to determine the level of impact this could have on ice melt acceleration in the Arctic and the potential benefits from limiting ships’ BC emissions when operating near to or in ice-covered regions. The potential impacts of black carbon should also be a point of consideration when weighing the costs and benefits of using in-situ burning of oil in spill response situations.”

    And China has definitely increased their Coal Usage and Black Carbon emissions:

    In 2011, China’s coal consumption increased by 9.7%, the most year-over-year growth seen since 2005. The country also saw a substantial increase in natural gas consumption, which climbed by 12% in 2011. The figures, released this week by the National Bureau of Statistics http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/02/22/430441/coal-consumption-in-china/?mobile=nc

    “Today, the majority of black carbon emissions are from developing countries[27] and this trend is expected to increase.[28] The largest sources of black carbon are Asia, Latin America, and Africa.[29] China and India together account for 25-35% of global black carbon emissions[30] Black carbon emissions from China doubled from 2000 to 2006.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_carbon

    However, black carbon appears to a factor in versus the “only possible cause” of the decline in multi-year Arctic Sea Ice.

    Note, how the maximum melt anomaly occurs at the end of the melt season in early September. This is when the surface exposure of embedded black carbon is at its maximum, and produces its maximum albedo effect even though solar insolation is very low at this time.

    True, but it also when anthropogenic effluence has had maximum time to build up, ice breakers, freighters, fishing vessels, cruises and research vessels have had maximum time to break up the ice, and the first year ice that replaced the multi-year ice that was transported through Fram Strait, melts. All it will take is a couple years of more first year ice surviving the melt season and we again may have larger amounts of thick multi-year ice that will survive the brief Arctic melt season, i.e.:

    “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/

  20. Thanks for this new source of data. People crave the facts, “Just The Facts”

    I am likely too imaginative and prone to mistakes to be considered a true scientist or a good “source,” but I have been simply observing what is seen through the “North Pole Camera” this summer at my obscure blog, and the responce has been amazing. I’ve had more “views” with four posts about the North Pole than in all my other two-hundred-plus posts combined.

    How to explain such interest? I think it may be because there is a general awareness that the alarm-mongering surrounding an “ice free North Pole” is a sort of last gasp for Alarmists. They have cried wolf too many times. With the Pole, (in my opinion,) showing signs of switching into a cycle where ice increases, Alarmists may face an increasingly hostile public.

    People do band together and rally around a cause, giving money and making other sacrifices, when they perceive a real threat. However when people become aware the threat is not real, and that they have been duped, they want their money back. Alarmists are in big trouble, because they cannot return what they have taken.

  21. By the way, the North Pole camera is once again headed north, away from Fran Strait. The Transpolar Drift has not been functioning consistently this summer, it seems to me, and rather than ice being exported out of the Arctic Sea, the ice seems to be shunted over into the depleted Beaufort Gyre, replenishing it.

    On August 13 the buoy got as far south as 83.780°N, before wandering back north of 84 degrees for a bit, and then again starting south. It progressed by fits and starts, but by yesterday, August 24, it had made it down to 83.801°N, and I thought it might match its August 13 progress, however when I checked today it was back north to 83.882°N. Is that any way to run a Transpolar Drift?

    Another odd thing about that North Pole Camera is that it always seems to move upwind. At first I figured I must not understand the compass readings, due to the fact the Magnetic Pole is located away from the actual pole. However, unless the Magnetic Pole is due south of the Camera, a wind from 180 degrees moves the buoy south. 180 degrees is still south, isn’t it, or did they change that on me?

    Anthony, you know a lot more about wind vanes, electronics, and computers than I do. Is it possible they physically crossed wires at the site, or have a computer glitch away from the site?
    It is driving me nuts.

    I hope I’m not getting some professor and intern in trouble. I can’t say how much I appreciate guys going up there where they might be lunch for a polar bear, and setting that camera up.

    http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/the-big-chill-sea-ice-version/

  22. “the rapid decline in winter perennial ice the past two years was caused by unusual winds.

    The faster decline in multi-year ice coincides with the decline in minimum extents over a 10 year period from around 2003. You need 10 years of unusual weather for this to be a viable explanation.

    See the graph 2/3rds of the way down this link.

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/tag/multiyear-ice/

    And note multiyear (2+ years) ice has increased slightly over the last 2 years.

    And China has definitely increased their Coal Usage and Black Carbon emissions:

    I simply don’t buy this, because the increase in coal consumption co-incides with a shift from domestic burning of coal to burning coal in power stations which produces far less BC. A new study reports 80% of China BC emissions comes from domestic burning and vehicles. And because large numbers of chinese have moved into apartments over the last 20 or so years, BC emissions from domestic burning will have declined substantially.

    http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2013/08/21/Home-cooking-fires-traffic-tagged-as-pollution-sources-in-China/UPI-83471377114317/?spt=hs&or=sn

    Break up of ice by ships may play a role, but I have difficulty seeing it occurring on a large enough scale to have a major effect. I could be wrong about this.

    Thanks for your detailed response, but the numerous sources citing weather and currents as the cause of the faster melt of multiyear ice are just hand waving as far as I am concerned. Not that I am accusing you of hand waving.

    One other point is that the largest source of BC and OC in Russia is agricultural burning. Changes in agricultural burning over the last 10 or so years may have played a role but I have no data.

  23. Correction

    And note 3+ years ice has increased significantly over the last 2 years.

    This is what the embedded BC theory predicts. Older ice with higher levels of embedded BC is replaced by newer ice with lower levels of embedded BC, which is less susceptible to solar insolation melt and goes on to be multiyear ice.

  24. Philip Bradley says: August 25, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    See the graph 2/3rds of the way down this link.

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/tag/multiyear-ice/

    And note multiyear (2+ years) ice has increased slightly over the last 2 years.

    Here is that graph you note:

    National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) – click to view at source

    The faster decline in multi-year ice coincides with the decline in minimum extents over a 10 year period from around 2003. You need 10 years of unusual weather for this to be a viable explanation.

    But that’s exactly what occurred (though “unusual” is quite subjective given how brief our data record), i.e.:

    “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 other was a prolonged eastward shift in the early 1990s in the Arctic’s prevailing winds, known as the Arctic Oscillation. This moved a lot of ice from the Beaufort Gyre, a revolving current in the western Arctic, to the ocean’s other main current, the Transpolar Drift Stream, which runs down the side of Siberia. A lot of thick, multi-year ice was flushed into the Atlantic and has not been replaced.” http://www.economist.com/node/21556802

    The AO pattern during the 1990’s resulted in a significant loss of multi-year ice, which made the Arctic susceptible to the significant decline that occurred during the last decade. No need for waving hands.

    “And China has definitely increased their Coal Usage and Black Carbon emissions:”

    I simply don’t buy this, because the increase in coal consumption co-incides with a shift from domestic burning of coal to burning coal in power stations which produces far less BC. A new study reports 80% of China BC emissions comes from domestic burning and vehicles. And because large numbers of chinese have moved into apartments over the last 20 or so years, BC emissions from domestic burning will have declined substantially.

    There’s nothing to buy here, it’s just the facts, i.e.:

    Results show that black carbon emissions increased from 0.87 Tg in 1980 to 1.88 Tg in 2009 with a peak in about 1995, and had been continually increasing in the first decade of the 21 century. Residential contribution to the total BC emissions declined from 82.03% in 1980 to 42.33% in 2009 at a continuous diminishing trend, but had always been the dominant contributor in China. While contributions from industry and transportation sectors had increased notably. http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/12/4825/2012/acp-12-4825-2012.html

    Break up of ice by ships may play a role, but I have difficulty seeing it occurring on a large enough scale to have a major effect. I could be wrong about this.

    I would tend to agree, i.e. probably not a “major effect”, but likely a measurable effect. My point isn’t to argue for any of these variables, but rather all of them. If you take into account Atmospheric Oscillations, Polar Vorticity, Wind, Currents, Sea Surface Temperature, Atmospheric Temperature, Clouds, Anthropogenic Effluent, Ice Breakers, Shipping, Tourism, Fishing, Drilling, Black Carbon and several other variables, you probably have a reasonable explanation for the recent decline in Arctic Sea Ice during minimum.

  25. justthefactswuwt says:
    August 25, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    mogamboguru says: August 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm
    //////////////////////////////
    Thanks a lot for the in-depth reply to my question, justthefactswuwt.

    So it seems that there IS a measurable, if not substantial effect from shipping on the melt and/or dispersion of arctic sea ice during spring and summer.

    I wonder if any of our known climate-science-suspects has ever contemplated quantifying said effect and including it into his climate-simulations.

    Honestly, methinks not.

  26. But CNN international’s Ivan Cabrera gets a NASA scientist to claim that nowhere on the planet is ice advancing, we are loosing ice everywhere due to global warming. Must be true because the guy had a NASA badge on his shirt, and Ivan almost wet himself with glee this morning.

  27. Long-term trends of black carbon and sulphate aerosol in the Arctic: changes in atmospheric transport and source region emissions

    D. Hirdman1, J. F. Burkhart1, H. Sodemann1, S. Eckhardt1, A. Jefferson2,3, P. K. Quinn4, S. Sharma5, J. Ström6, and A. Stohl1

    Abstract. As a part of the IPY project POLARCAT (Polar Study using Aircraft, Remote Sensing, Surface Measurements and Models, of Climate, Chemistry, Aerosols and Transport) and building on previous work (Hirdman et al., 2010), this paper studies the long-term trends of both atmospheric transport as well as equivalent black carbon (EBC) and sulphate for the three Arctic stations Alert, Barrow and Zeppelin. We find a general downward trend in the measured EBC concentrations at all three stations, with a decrease of −2.1±0.4 ng m−3 yr−1 (for the years 1989–2008) and −1.4±0.8 ng m−3 yr−1 (2002–2009) at Alert and Zeppelin respectively. The decrease at Barrow is, however, not statistically significant. The measured sulphate concentrations show a decreasing trend at Alert and Zeppelin of −15±3 ng m−3 yr−1 (1985–2006) and −1.3±1.2 ng m−3 yr−1 (1990–2008) respectively, while there is no trend detectable at Barrow.

    To reveal the contribution of different source regions on these trends, we used a cluster analysis of the output of the Lagrangian particle dispersion model FLEXPART run backward in time from the measurement stations. We have investigated to what extent variations in the atmospheric circulation, expressed as variations in the frequencies of the transport from four source regions with different emission rates, can explain the long-term trends in EBC and sulphate measured at these stations. We find that the long-term trend in the atmospheric circulation can only explain a minor fraction of the overall downward trend seen in the measurements of EBC (0.3–7.2%) and sulphate (0.3–5.3%) at the Arctic stations. The changes in emissions are dominant in explaining the trends. We find that the highest EBC and sulphate concentrations are associated with transport from Northern Eurasia and decreasing emissions in this region drive the downward trends. Northern Eurasia (cluster: NE, WNE and ENE) is the dominant emission source at all Arctic stations for both EBC and sulphate during most seasons. In wintertime, there are indications that the EBC emissions from the eastern parts of Northern Eurasia (ENE cluster) have increased over the last decade.

    Northern Eurasia being primarily Russia. Other studies show a similar decline in organic carbon from Russia. This was the period when much of the Soviet era industry was shutdown causing the reductions. The reason Barrow is the exception is increasing China sulphate emissions.

    The reduction in sulphates and OC caused a reduction in aerosol seeded clouds, increasing insolation melt. The effect would be largest on the Russian side of the Arctic because this ice would have the highest levels of BC and would have had the highest levels of aerosol seeded clouds, and this is where most Arctic ice has been lost.

    Ice reforms with lower amounts of embedded BC and is less susceptible to insolation melt. So there is no real trend in multi-year ice less than 4 years old. Although a sharp reduction in 2007 with pretty much a full recovery 2 years later was likely weather.

    The general pattern is a steady decline in older multi-year ice. Not much change in younger multi-year ice, until the younger multi-year ice ages and becomes a significant proportion of older multi-year ice. At which point, a minimum is reached and multi-year ice steadily increases in subsequent years. I believe 2012 was the minimum.

    Which is not to say other factors aren’t at work. But this explains why older ice is melting much faster than younger ice, and also why ice volume has declined substantially. The oldest ice being the thickest.

  28. TOO MUCH INFO !! References for where to access it would be simpler, less complex and less cluttered. This looks like info for the sake of info.

    I found no problems with the old page, in fact, it was very good and useful for at a glance reference.

  29. 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.

    longer-term satellite
    observations show that over the past 30 years there
    has been a negligible increase in the measured ice
    area export through Fram Strait. The decrease of
    ice concentration at the strait compensated for the
    increase in the sea level pressure gradient across
    Fram Strait, resulting in a statistically insignificant
    trend in the Fram Strait area flux

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00070.1

    See fig 2.

    There does seem to be a strong correlation between ocean temperature and multiyear sea ice extent, which the paper argues as cause, but I’d argue as effect of reduced sea ice extent.

    The paper almost gets it right.

    the impact of
    enhanced upper-ocean solar heating through numerous leads in decaying arctic ice cover and consequent
    ice-bottom melting has resulted in an accelerated rate
    of sea ice retreat via a positive ice-albedo feedback
    mechanism

    As always, what is cause and what is effect in climate science is never clear cut. Is the cause solar heating of the ocean or solar heating of the ice?

    Solar heating of the ocean doesn’t explain the disproportionately faster melt of older ice, but solar heating of the ice surface does , because of accumulated embedded black carbon on the surface.

  30. I see some people are concerned about the effect of icebreakers on the ice cap. I assure you all that the effect is vanishingly small at best. The power of dimensions applies here: icebreakers’ paths are one-dimensional, the sea ice is two-dimensional (neglecting depth), and that makes all the difference.

  31. Congratulations – a very valuable compendium. Whatever you think about AGW, the reference pages on WUWT are excllent and a real public service

  32. Stephen Richards says: August 26, 2013 at 2:14 am

    TOO MUCH INFO !! References for where to access it would be simpler, less complex and less cluttered. This looks like info for the sake of info.

    I found no problems with the old page, in fact, it was very good and useful for at a glance reference.

    ? Are you referring to this article versus the reference page itself? The Northern Regional Sea Ice Reference Page;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/northern-regional-sea-ice-page/

    is just a list of title and charts, with a link index at the top. The “old” WUWT Sea Ice Page;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/

    still has links to the regional graphs, the new page just allows you to scan though all of them without having to click on numerous links.

  33. NZ Willy says: August 26, 2013 at 2:43 am

    I see some people are concerned about the effect of icebreakers on the ice cap. I assure you all that the effect is vanishingly small at best. The power of dimensions applies here: icebreakers’ paths are one-dimensional, the sea ice is two-dimensional (neglecting depth), and that makes all the difference.

    I don’t see your point, per this Coast Guard Compass article;

    http://coastguard.dodlive.mil/index.php/2009/06/coast-guard-and-the-arctic-part-2/

    “Coast Guard Cutter Healy is the largest of the heavy ice breakers in the Coast Guard. Her ice breaking capabilities are 4.5 ft @ 3 knots continuous and 8 ft of ice when backing and ramming. Backing and ramming is pretty much what it sounds like and I don’t mean how you parallel parked a car when you were a teenager.”

    “Key sea and air lanes need to remain open as a matter of international legal right and not depend on the approval from nations along the routes, so that vessels like Healy can get where they need to go and get there quickly.”

    Also,

    Atomflot, the Murmansk based home to Russia’s nuclear icebreaker fleet and a division of Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom has announced the construction of a new mega-ton generation of atomic icebreaker – the project 22220 – said to be the largest ever to put to sea. Anna Kireeva, Charles Digges, 24/08-2012

    The new ship seems to be another expensive assertion of Russia’s self-proclaimed primacy over the Arctic Sea basin and its efforts to control not only oil and gas reserved there – by military force if need be – but even transport through the region, which, if it increases could cause an intolerable burden on the fragile Arctic ecosystem.

    The vessel – which has yet to be named – will be built by St. Petersburg Baltisky Zavod shipyard beginning in 2013, and will, according to Russian news reports, have the capability of breaking through ice more than 4 meters thick through out the year, as well as quickly navigating ice fields of more than 2.5 meters thick at a speed of 1.5 to 2 knots. http://www.bellona.org/articles/articles_2012/biggest_icebreaker

    And:

    Russia will float out a new-generation nuclear ice-breaker by 2017 with two more to follow in 2020 under a government program to ensure commercial shipping along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) – a 6,000-km Arctic waterway stretching from the Barents Sea in the west to the Bering Strait in the east. Russia is the only country with a nuclear-powered ice-breaking fleet. By the early 2020s, the NSR is expected to start recouping its cost.

    The NSR is currently operational all year round. As cargo traffic increases, Russia will need more ice-breakers to cut the way for commercial ships. At present, Russia has five ice-breakers in its Arctic waters. http://voiceofrussia.com/2013_08_25/Russia-to-build-three-new-generation-ice-breakers-for-Northern-Sea-Route-9892/

    The point is that ice breakers do not just cut a path through the ice, they break up multi-year ice, which can then be moved into warmer waters by wind and currents. One icebreaker can break up a lot of ice, e.g.;

    http://www.icefloe.net/docs/HLY-07track.pdf

    a season of dozens them, likely has a measurable impact.

  34. Don’t worry, once King Obama kills the US economy, the CO2 will stop. But wait, China is burning coal like no tomorrow…….all hail, King Obama. Long live those on welfare.

  35. Anthony Please do story on the Ice breakers, I know as an ice fishermen if the ice is broken up in an area it will melt much faster then if left alone.

  36. @njsnowfan says:
    August 26, 2013 at 9:18 am
    /////////////////////
    Exactly my notion, @njsnowfan. I believe that the effect of icebreakers on the speed, as well as the scale of the disintegration of the arctic icecap during summertimes so far has been substantially underestimated.

  37. Direct heating from industrial activity has got to be a tiny effect. You’re worried about the effect of two million people over the entire Arctic Ocean. Each person has to heat 7 square km.

    By comparison, in a city like Montreal we only need to warm up 0.001 sq km each. We manage to bump the temperature up a paltry 2 degrees.

  38. During these waning weeks of sunlight the Pole Cam has revealed significant amount of cloud cover. The amount of solar heating on the snow / ice mass has been affected for sure.

  39. Nice chart which shows the temperatures over the last 90 days at Eureka Canada on Ellesmere Island.

    Well-below normal summer temps (if you can call it summer since the snow melts on July 1 and comes back in mid-August). The last several years have been well-above temps so if one wants a good explanation for the sea ice recovery this year, …

  40. Looking at the regional sea ice data. Areas adjacent to Russia are showing a strong recovery, while areas further from Russia continue to decline.

    For example

    Laptev Sea

    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02186/plots/r04_Laptev_Sea_ts.png

    Central Arctic Ocean

    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02186/plots/r11_Central_Arctic_ts.png

    Which is what I’d expect. Sea ice closer to Russia had the highest levels of embedded BC. Melts out first and hence recovers first.

  41. numerobis says: August 26, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Direct heating from industrial activity has got to be a tiny effect. You’re worried about the effect of two million people over the entire Arctic Ocean. Each person has to heat 7 square km.

    No, it is not spread “over the entire Arctic Ocean” it is localized to the coasts, where the water happens to be anomalously warm and sea ice declines more rapidly during the summer.

    By comparison, in a city like Montreal we only need to warm up 0.001 sq km each. We manage to bump the temperature up a paltry 2 degrees.

    We are not talking about the Urban Heat Island effect here. How many of these do you have in downtown Montreal:

    http://www.neimagazine.com/features/featurekola-the-arctic-nuclear-power-plant

    How about some of these;

    http://www.geochemsoc.org/publications/geochemicalnews/gn140jul09/arcticrussiamineralsandmin/

    or these?:

    http://pacificenvironment.org/article.php?id=3009

    I found this quote from the last article quite interesting:

    The altered chemistry of reservoir water affects the ecology of a diminished river for many kilometers downstream, leading to greater climactic ramifications. When the Krasnoyarskaya Dam (one of the world’s most powerful at 6000 MW) was built on the Yenisei River, its designers predicted that warm water releases from the reservoir would prevent the river from freezing for about 20 kilometers downstream. However, the unfrozen stretch of water extends 200-300 kilometers from the dam, which in the depths of the Siberian winter, causes thick freezing fog to cloud the city of Krasnoyarsk. In the remote northern areas near the Evenkiiskaya and Motyginskaya dam sites, such fog would hinder plane travel between isolated villages. In these sparsely populated regions of Russia’s far north, where road networks are underdeveloped at best, riparian communities would be robbed of vital connections to the outside world for long winter months.

    Additionally, the increased humidity and warm pockets of air caused by increased water temperature can lead to an overall increase in the surrounding microclimate’s air temperature. More research must be done to fully understand how even a minor temperature increase downstream from the Evenkiiskaya and Nizhnekureiskaya Dams in the Yenisei river system would influence surrounding Arctic permafrost.

  42. This is interesting:

    National Weather Service offices in northern Illinois and western Pennsylvania reported unexpected accumulating snows generated from nuclear power plants in their forecast coverage areas as the arctic airmass settled over the region on Tuesday.

    NWS Chicago said radar depicted two very small and narrow bands of snow moving across the Will and Kankakee county border with another area streaming northwest to southeast on cold winds near the Grundy and Livingston county border around 5 a.m. CST Tuesday.

    These bands of snow were reportedly being generated from cooling ponds from the Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station in Will County and the Dresden Nuclear Power Plant in Grundy County.

    Highly localized snowfall accumulations of one to as much as three inches fell with these bands. http://www.examiner.com/article/arctic-airmass-generates-snow-from-nuclear-power-plants-two-states-this-week

  43. Philip Bradley says: August 26, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Looking at the regional sea ice data. Areas adjacent to Russia are showing a strong recovery, while areas further from Russia continue to decline.

    For example

    Laptev Sea

    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02186/plots/r04_Laptev_Sea_ts.png

    Strong recovery? It could still go lower and even if it doesn’t, it looks to be less than 2008 and 2004:

    Sea Ice Extent is so variable that a strong storm can result in large swings on a regional basis.

    Which is what I’d expect. Sea ice closer to Russia had the highest levels of embedded BC. Melts out first and hence recovers first.

    But there’s not that much low level black carbon there, i.e.:

    To investigate how sensitive the Arctic is to black carbon emissions from within the Arctic compared to those transported from mid-latitudes, Sand et al. conducted experiments using a climate model that includes simulation of the effects of black carbon deposited on snow.

    They find that most of the Arctic warming effect from black carbon is due to black carbon deposited on snow and ice, rather than in the atmosphere. Black carbon emitted within the Arctic is more likely to stay at low altitudes and thus to be deposited on the snow and ice there, whereas black carbon transported into the Arctic from mid-latitudes is more likely to remain at higher altitudes. Because of this, the Arctic surface temperature is almost 5 times more sensitive to black carbon emitted from within the Arctic than to emissions from mid-latitudes, the authors find.

    They note that although there are currently few sources of black carbon emissions within the Arctic (the most dominant ones are oil and gas fields in northwestern Russia), that is likely to change as human activity in the region increases. http://phys.org/news/2013-08-arctic-sensitive-black-carbon-emissions.html

    Here’s the abstract of the associated paper:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jgrd.50613/abstract

    Again, I agree the black carbon is an important variable, but it is likely one of many.

  44. This is also interesting:

    An interesting new study published in Nature points out that an increase in the strength of the Arctic Oscillation between 2005 and 2008 caused winds in the region to grow more cyclonic and shift ocean currents in ways that drew more upper-surface freshwater from Russian rivers toward the Canada Basin and the Beaufort Sea. To see the shift in the animation above, look for the tightening of the wind patterns (shown in blue) over the Canada Basin that begins about 13 seconds into the video. Notice how the stream of less salty water from river runoff in Russia (shown in red) begins to loop westward toward Canada in sync with the circulation of the wind rather than continuing toward Greenland as it typically would. The purple arrows show the transpolar drift, a current that generally pushes water toward Greenland.

    Here’s the abstract of the associated paper;

    it states that:

    Freshening in the Canada basin of the Arctic Ocean began in the 1990s1, 2 and continued3 to at least the end of 2008. By then, the Arctic Ocean might have gained four times as much fresh water as comprised the Great Salinity Anomaly4, 5of the 1970s, raising the spectre of slowing global ocean circulation6. Freshening has been attributed to increased sea ice melting1 and contributions from runoff7, but a leading explanation has been a strengthening of the Beaufort High—a characteristic peak in sea level atmospheric pressure2, 8—which tends to accelerate an anticyclonic (clockwise) wind pattern causing convergence of fresh surface water.

  45. They note that although there are currently few sources of black carbon emissions within the Arctic (the most dominant ones are oil and gas fields in northwestern Russia), that is likely to change as human activity in the region increases.

    This is not the case.

    In Murmansk Region, the old diesel-fuelled public transport fleets are responsible for a major part of the region’s contribution to the disturbing Arctic pollution problem. Emissions from these and other diesel-driven vehicles, as well as from diesel-based power stations running in local villages and settlements and diesel engines operated on vessels calling into the port of Murmansk, make the bulk of black carbon emissions in Murmansk Region.

    http://www.bellona.org/articles/articles_2011/US_blackcarbon

  46. Note the population of the Murmansk District peaked in 1989 at 1,150,000, but has declined by 300,000 since. Source wikipedia.

    Murmansk is the only large population centre and industrial area in the Arctic, so it’s not surprising its the main Arctic source of BC.

  47. Hot off the Press, Evidence of Ice breaking ship near Antarctica has weakened the ice. Can see where the Ice breaker has traveled and Satellite pictures show the weak thin ice from the Ice Breaking ship.. It is winter there not summer. This is only one Ship The Arctic Region has many Ice Breaking ships.

    Ship Name

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathaniel_B._Palmer_(icebreaker)

    Ref. fig 1 http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/NEWIMAGES/antarctic.seaice.color.004.png
    Ref. Fig 2

    http://www.sailwx.info/shiptrack/shipposition.phtml?call=WBP3210

  48. One more but from Arctic Region. USCGC Healy tracks from 1-8 years. Last year they went close to the north pole area crushing the ice.

  49. The “North Pole Camera” has passed 44 degrees, heading north and west. At this rate it will never make it to Fram Strait.

    Icebreakers could crack up the ice and promote the ice flushing out of the arctic in warmer times, but in colder times they just create a “lead” in the ice, and the sides of the lead are prone to clapping shut, creating a pressure ridge where there once was open water. This would be to the detriment of the ship following the icebreaker.

    Spending so much on icebreakers suggests that some Russians have bought into the idea of a warming Pole. Other Tussians, who have spoken out against Global Warming and suggested a “Big Freeze” is more likely, may well be rolling their eyes.

    Russia spending so much on icebreakers may prove as wise as Germany spending so much on solar power, if the icecap rebuilds to Little Ice Age levels.

    By the way, no one has explained to me why, when the wind vane at the “North Pole Camera” is from i80 degrees, the buoy moves towards 180 degrees, and when the wind vane states the wind is coming from zero degrees, the camera moves towards zero.

    I am starting to be shamefully disrespectful of authority, concerning that vane.

    http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/the-big-chill-sea-ice-version/

  50. Winter has started to set in on the Russian coast. Seeing some snow showing up on cryo sat images. Also seeing a bit of fast ice forming up. We are very close to the overall NH minimum now.

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