Latest admission from NSIDC on forecasting sea ice extent is a far cry from ‘Arctic death spriral’

Remember the famous claims about the ‘Arctic death spiral‘? It seems their language is a bit more realistically moderated now that they’ve blown a couple of forecasts.

Seasonal Arctic summer ice extent still hard to forecast, study says

An image of an area of the Arctic sea ice pack well north of Alaska, captured by the MODIS instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite on Sept. 13, 2013, the day before the National Snow and Ice Data Center estimated Arctic sea ice to have reached its minimum extent for the year. A cloud front can be seen in the lower left, and dark areas indicate regions of open water between sea ice formations. —Credit: NASA

Will next year’s summer Arctic ice extent be high or low?

Can ship captains plan on navigating the famed Northwest Passage—a direct shipping route from Europe to Asia across the Arctic Ocean—to save on time and fuel?

A new study says year-to-year forecasts of the Arctic’s summer ice extent are not yet reliable.

 

Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), University College London, University of New Hampshire and University of Washington analyzed 300 summer Arctic sea ice forecasts from 2008 to 2013 and found that forecasts are quite accurate when sea ice conditions are close to the downward trend that has been observed in Arctic sea ice for the last 30 years. However, forecasts are not so accurate when sea ice conditions are unusually higher or lower compared to this trend.

“We found that in years when the sea ice extent departed strongly from the trend, such as in 2012 and 2013, predictions failed regardless of the method used to forecast the September sea ice extent,” said Julienne Stroeve, a senior scientist at NSIDC and professor at University of College London. Stroeve is lead author of the study, published recently in Geophysical Research Letters.

“That downward trend reflects Arctic climate change, but the causes of yearly variations around the trend are harder to pin down,” said Lawrence Hamilton, co-author and a researcher at the University of New Hampshire. “This collection of forecasts from many different sources highlights where they do well, and where more work is needed.”

Arctic sea ice cover grows each winter as the sun sets for several months, and shrinks each summer as the sun rises higher in the northern sky. Each year, the Arctic sea ice reaches its minimum extent in September. Scientists consider Arctic sea ice as a sensitive climate indicator and track this minimum extent every year to see if any trends emerge.

Multi-channel passive microwave satellite instruments have been tracking sea ice extent since 1979. According to the data, September sea ice extent from 1979 to 2013 has declined 13.7 percent per decade. The recent years have shown an even more dramatic reduction in Arctic ice. In September 2012, Arctic sea ice reached a record minimum: 16 percent lower than any previous September since 1979, and 45 percent lower than the average ice extent from 1981 to 2010.

Long-term predictions of summer Arctic extent made by global climate models (GCMs) suggest that the downward trend will likely lead to an ice-free Arctic summer in the middle of the century. GCMs are in overall agreement on loss of Arctic summer sea ice as a result of anticipated warming from the rise in greenhouse gases this century.

Shorter-term forecasts of summer ice extent are harder to make but are now in high demand. The shrinking ice has caught the attention of coastal communities in the Arctic and industries interested in extracting resources and in a shorter shipping route between Europe and Asia.

Many of the forecasts analyzed in the study focused on the state of the ice cover prior to the summer melt season. According to the study, including sea ice thickness and concentration could improve the seasonal forecasts.

“It may even be possible to predict sea ice cover a year in advance with high-quality observations of sea ice thickness and snow cover over the whole Arctic,” said Cecilia Bitz, co-author and professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

“Short term predictions are achievable, but challenges remain in predicting anomalous years, and there is a need for better data for initialization of forecast models,” Stroeve said. “Of course there is always the issue that we cannot predict the weather, and summer weather patterns remain important.”

The study analyzed forecasts from the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) Sea Ice Outlook, a project that gathers and summarizes sea ice forecasts made by sea ice researchers and prediction centers. Contributors to the SEARCH Sea Ice Outlook project employ a variety of techniques to forecast the September sea ice extent, ranging from heuristic, to statistical, to sophisticated modeling approaches.

The National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research supported the study.

 

Information

Download a copy of the study here.

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59 Responses to Latest admission from NSIDC on forecasting sea ice extent is a far cry from ‘Arctic death spriral’

  1. stewart pid says:

    All of Gore and Obozo’s climate action obviously worked!!

  2. Steve Keohane says:

    from 2008 to 2013 and found that forecasts are quite accurate when sea ice conditions are close to the downward trend that has been observed in Arctic sea ice for the last 30 years.

    I translate as: As long as reality matches our linear forecasts with a negative slope, we make quite accurate forecasts.

  3. Brad R says:

    “forecasts are quite accurate when sea ice conditions are close to the downward trend that has been observed in Arctic sea ice for the last 30 years. However, forecasts are not so accurate when sea ice conditions are unusually higher or lower compared to this trend.”

    So, forecasts are accurate when conditions are close to the forecast. And forecasts are not so accurate when conditions are higher or lower than the forecast. Do I have that right?

  4. fhhaynie says:

    Area is a better measure of changes in energy than extent. Plotting the annual cycles of area shows that there was a change in the rates of freezing and thawing in 2007. That produced a break in the trend line so future “predictions” should be calculated based on the data after 2007.

  5. Caleb says:

    I think a lot of the melting comes from beneath. What they really need is a way to measure the water temperature and salinity at various levels under the ice, especially the top 300 feet. It’s not so easy. We can measure levels of the atmosphere just by releasing weather balloons, but how can you measure various levels of the Arctic Sea with ten feet of ice in the way? Can a buoy be built that can survive being bulldosed by a thicker, 500-acre sheet of sea ice?

    There are all sorts of dynamics going on beneath the ice that are not properly understood, just as the upper atmosphere was not properly understood before we sent up weather balloons.

    Just for one example of many: What happens when arctic rivers discharge fresh water into the salty sea? Right now the fresh water is nearly at freezing. Let’s just say it is at 32.1 (F). It runs into salt water below the freezing point of fresh water; let’s say at 29.5. The fresh water must want to instantly freeze, but that releases latent heat. So…what actually does happen?

    A lot we now are dealing with is learned speculation, but we could use more actual data.

  6. Rob says:

    Yes Steve,

    That’s exactly what they said – and quite one of the dumbest comments I have heard! They have just admitted that they have done nothing more with their forecasts than follow the trend line! That isn’t a forecast – that is extrapolation. Are they supposed to be scientists?

  7. Tom In Indy says:

    If there exists a natural cycle in sea ice from peak to peak, or trough to trough, then their models are conditioned on a downtrend that in reality is half a cycle. If we are near the trough now, then their downtrend based models will become systematically less accurate over the coming years.

  8. FerdinandAkin says:

    They have defiantly discovered a remarkable scientific revelation. Namely:

    Extending a trend line into the future is not a prediction.

    There may be some small glimmer of hope yet.

  9. rbabcock says:

    Wonder how their forecasts are working with Antarctic sea ice? Starting the cycle this year where it left off.. near record (from when records have been kept) ice coverage (800K sq km above “normal”). I would think since Antarctica is totally surrounded by oceans and is pretty much isolated down there from continental influences, they could get this one right.

  10. JJ says:

    Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), University College London, University of New Hampshire and University of Washington analyzed 300 summer Arctic sea ice forecasts from 2008 to 2013 and found that forecasts are quite accurate when sea ice conditions are close to the downward trend that has been observed in Arctic sea ice for the last 30 years. However, forecasts are not so accurate when sea ice conditions are unusually higher or lower compared to this trend.

    Soooo … the forecasts of declining sea ice are accurate when the observations are close to the forecasted decline in sea ice, but not so accurate when the observations are either higher or lower than the forecasted decline in sea ice?

    Are civilian employees like Julienne Stroeve eligible for military ranks? If so, she has certainly earned an immediate promotion to Captain Obvious.

    We may be burning less coal now than we were before, but the tax dollar bonfire continues to grow.

  11. C.M. Carmichael says:

    Stroeve said. “Of course there is always the issue that we cannot predict the weather, and summer weather patterns remain important.”

    Of course short term regional forecasts are hard, but long term global forecasts are easy. The short term forecasts aren’t good enough for private companies to bet a few ships, but the long term forecasts are good enough for the worlds governments to bet their economies?

  12. Psalmon says:

    The Arctic Ocean north of Alaska (Beaufort Sea) is covered by old 10 and 15 foot sea ice this year due to the winds. Further they claimed multi year ice would hardly recover. That’s the walk back. They know it’s all about winds and circulation patterns which break up ice and dump ice into the Atlantic. The odds are not in their favor this year, so no bold predictions.

  13. richard says:

    I have a high regard for Russian science, a shame Stalin had so many put away or killed in the purges. But leave it to the Russians to give us a clue as to what the Arctic has in store for us.

    http://rt.com/news/world-biggest-icebreaker-russia-275/

    “The Arctic will be granted the highest ice class – 9, meaning the ship will be able to break ice in the Arctic area all year round”

  14. jauntycyclist says:

    inter glacial warming period has ice melting shock

    if change causes you fear
    just drink more beer

  15. Bob B. says:

    A broken clock is still right twice a day.

  16. Latitude says:

    “Short term predictions are achievable, but challenges remain in predicting anomalous years, and there is a need for better data for initialization of forecast models,” Stroeve said.
    ====
    What a load of fresh horse manure….
    They haven’t been doing this long enough to get a long term forecast.

  17. Mike Maguire says:

    Tom hits the relevant nail on the head.

    Without question, there is a powerful natural cycle that is around 60 years in length(30 years from peak to trough, then another 30 or so back to the peaK)

    Without question, this is seen in the PDO. Since we started monitoring Arctic ice closely when the PDO had just switched from negative (-PDO) to a +PDO, with most of the monitoring done while under a +PDO regime.
    A +PDO clearly contributed to global warming based on the strong correlation going back over 100 years(warming from roughly 1915-45, modest cooling for around 30 years, then strong warming for close to 30 years and now……….stalled warming)

    So we know what happens in the high latitudes with the natural cycle featuring a +PDO present.
    Since we are early in the latest -PDO part of the cycle, it will be interesting to see what happens.

    I could speculate that the spike down in Arctic ice in 2012 marked a clear low point, as 2013 recovered and my meteorological observations over the past 30+ years are telling me that the weather patterns the last couple of years are looking more and more like the 1970’s again vs what was a much different regime in the 80’s/90’s.

    Specifically, I have noted this Winter and the Winter of 76/77 as being similar.
    As well as the Southern Hemisphere having some extreme anomalies that I’ve not seen for at least 20 years(record cold/snow in Argentina/Brazil in July/August 2013) and the past Summer over Antarctica, a huge extreme cold anomaly sat in the same place, surrounding and including the South Pole for months…………sort of like the Arctic was in the Summer of 2013..

    Something significant has taken place to cause these extremes and its not likely to be coincidence that in 6 months, the same extremes flipped to the opposite hemispheres/poles. Maybe this will not repeat again this year or the next few but there is a physical reason.

    The PDO link and recent switch to negative again is something to watch. Changing magnetic fields on the earth and sun are worth an intriguing investigation because of the way the area around the north and south pole seemed to be effected most and flipped exactly 6 months later.

  18. Cam_S says:

    We’re still doomed!

    “Long-term predictions of summer Arctic extent made by global climate models (GCMs) suggest that the downward trend will likely lead to an ice-free Arctic summer in the middle of the century.”

    Quote from “Seasonal Arctic summer ice extent still hard to forecast, study says”
    http://nsidc.org/news/press/2014_seasonalseaice_PR.html

  19. Jimbo says:

    So much for Arctic amplification. I hope someone has told Wadhams that it is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.

    The Scotsman – 12 September 2013
    Arctic sea ice will vanish within three years, says expert
    “The entire ice cover is now on the point of collapse.

    “The extra open water already created by the retreating ice allows bigger waves to be generated by storms, which are sweeping away the surviving ice. It is truly the case that it will be all gone by 2015. The consequences are enormous and represent a huge boost to global warming.”

  20. highflight56433 says:

    “Short term predictions are achievable, but challenges remain in predicting anomalous years, and there is a need for better data for initialization of forecast models,” Stroeve said. “Of course there is always the issue that we cannot predict the weather, and summer weather patterns remain important.”

    First sentence is stating more money is needed for models that don’t work. The second statement says weather is unpredictable. Is that a contradiction?

  21. Jeff says:

    “According to the data, September sea ice extent from 1979 to 2013 has declined 13.7 percent per decade.”

    If one backcasts using the linear trends in Arctic sea ice extent published by NSIDC, it can be seen that the entire water area of the northern hemisphere was covered by solid ice year round as recently as about 1000BC. However, I can not find any historical accounts that verify the Earth was a perpetual snow ball at that time.

    How can anybody calling themselves a scientist publish this linear trend nonsense? Any open minded person looking at the actual data published by NSIDC can reach no other conclusion but that the trend in arctic sea ice extent was flat from the beginning of the data set to about 2000, decreasing from 2000 to about 2007, and has been flat since 2007 until now. It remains to be seen what it will do in the future, but there is no justifiable rationale for making predictions on the basis of extrapolating from a linear polynomial curve fit over the span of the existing data set.

  22. richard says:

    its getting hard to find new information, was going to bang on about the Russians first using the NE passage commercially in the 19th century,

    in the end just a repost will do,

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/13/was-the-northeast-passage-first-navigated-in-1660/

  23. Jimbo says:

    So if Arctic sea ice extent starts trending up then most of the forecasts would be inaccurate? That will be the time of great fun, when most forecasts start predicting increased extent to to an upward trend. What will the climateers say then?

  24. richard says:

    I wonder what will be the tipping point when they completely loose credibility, they must pray their socks off that the temps rise and the arctic disappears.

    or

    whatever happens can they still keep the charade happening, now that is frightening.

    repost off Icegrow,

    “Just watching news here in UK,” says Reezeh.

    The reporter describes Ban Ki Moon and C4 reporter visiting Greenland. (7pm, C4 news 27th March.)

    Reporter asksed an Inuit child what he thought about things.

    Child replied, “I’m freezing!”

    Priceless!

  25. Arno Arrak says:

    One of their problems is that they are basically ignorant of what causes Arctic warming. I clarified that in my article you will find in E&E volume 22, issue 8, pp. 1069-1068 (2011). First of all, Arctic warming is a very recent thing, having started only at the turn of the twentieth century. Before that there was nothing but slow, linear cooling for two thousand years. Having started, it promptly stalled in mid-century for thirty years. It then resumed in 1970 and has been active ever since. And It is not greenhouse warming either as these dopes still think but was caused by a change in the flow pattern of North Atlantic currents that started bringing warm Gulf Stream water into the Arctic Ocean. That thirty year pause in mid-century was not merely a cessation of warming but an actual cooling at the rate of 0.3 degrees per decade. Its probable cause was a temporary return of the previous flow pattern of currents. But what has happened in nature before can happen again. Looking at the warming history, it started with 40 years in early century, was followef by 30 years cooling and after that came another 44 years of warming. But what has happened in nature can happen again. Warming history so far has been a see-saw and if I were concerned about using the Northwest Passage, I would sure be watching for the return of another cold spell like the one we had in mid-twentieth century. Watching, and preparing for it, because the potential is there but we cannot tell whether or when it will happen.

  26. majormike1 says:

    It seems their forecasts are great looking fifty years ahead, but not so hot for next year. But isn’t fifty years from now the end point of 50 “next” years? 20 years ago the IPCC had certainty at the 95% level that it would be 0.6 degrees Celsius warmer now, but still at the 95% level are forecasting an increase of 3 degrees Celsius for this century. Certainty just ain’t what it used to be.

  27. Joel O'Bryan says:

    Basically it’s an admission that a monkey throwing darts at a prediction board has as much ice forecasting skill as the NSIDC forecast. If they get it badly wrong, as they did the last two, they just claim the “anomolous year” excuse. Stroeve’s dependence on the GCMs all pointing to ice free summers is a lot like the What We Know alarmism, its based on models that didnt predict the 17+ year pause, and refusing is accept that failure.

    In cognitive dissonance theory, there are 3 resolving behaviors: acceptance, denial, and deflection. Denial is where Stroeve is best described on the model failures.

  28. James at 48 says:

    The maxima are reasonably tightly grouped because the main constraint is the available area due to the shorelines. Whereas the minima are all over the map because a small difference in wind, precip, cloud cover and air temperature prior to and during late summer can manifest as a large change in the minimum area.

  29. Anything is possible says:

    The alarmists seem to think (they certain imply it) that the Arctic Ocean is somehow supposed to be remain frozen solid all-year round…..

    ..except that wasn’t even true during the last Ice Age :

    .http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379103003494

  30. SIGINT EX says:

    LOL !!! ;-D

  31. William Handler says:

    Interestingly, the sea ice extent looks like a convolution of the temperature record with a gaussian, rather than a linear fall off. If the global climate changes that were observed, barely, are explained by energy release from the ocean to the atmosphere, and we really have a step function in the atmospheric temperature due to that, then any effect on the arctic could well be delayed by some mixing time giving that kind of shape.

    Pure speculation. But I am not planning on buying real estate in Hudson’s Bay.

  32. John F. Hultquist says:

    Arno Arrak says:
    March 28, 2014 at 10:55 am
    “. . . the flow pattern of North Atlantic currents that started bringing warm Gulf Stream water into the Arctic Ocean.

    This makes me think of the phrase ‘you can’t do just one thing’.
    If Gulf Stream water is newly redirected into the Arctic Ocean, what else happened? Maps show a North Atlantic Current (NAC) and a Norwegian Atlantic Current and not much else flowing into the Arctic.
    Some maps show the “Gulf Stream” (GS) transitioning into the NAC. Satellite views of the North Atlantic show the warmth of the GS not much north of Boston, MA and not much east of Saint-Pierre, NL.
    http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/reports/wxfacts/Gulf-Stream-image.htm

    Also, items #2 and #5 here:
    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2004/0415gyre.html
    [just using this for the graphics, not asking about their text]

    It isn’t clear to me what changed, or why, and how this is reconciled with the “can’t do one thing” proposition.

  33. TheLastDemocrat says:

    Laugh all you want.
    I am gonna kayak to the North Pole this year, for sure. The real North Pole. Just you watch. We’ll see who’s laughing then.

  34. dikranmarsupial says:

    Sea ice volume is rather easier to predict though. While extent is highly variable from year to year, the long term trend is pretty clear, and ultimately that is what is most relevant.

  35. Mark Bofill says:

    dikranmarsupial,

    Sea ice volume is rather easier to predict though. While extent is highly variable from year to year, the long term trend is pretty clear, and ultimately that is what is most relevant.

    Most relevant to what?

  36. dikranmarsupial says:

    The future Arctic sea ice extent, obviously. Variation from year to year has no long term effect, a long term trend on the other hand does.

  37. Oldseadog says:

    The Last Democrat:
    Sure you can.
    Put wheels on the kayak, spikes on the bottom of each paddle blade and off you go.

  38. Gary Pearse says:

    Still pretty warmist a report. The question – will the NW passage be navigable? With 5m+ thick ice barring the western end and a lot of 4m ice in the channel, it doesn’t look too promising.

    http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticictnowcast.gif

  39. rogerknights says:

    It’ll be interesting to see what the owners of the yachts trapped last summer do this summer. Will they back out or try to push through again? Will their crews be willing to show up for another go?

  40. burnside says:

    Anthony, they’ve underscored their anticipation of a summer Arctic free of ice and described their problem in projecting conditions as quite good under most circumstances, the few exceptions needing additional work.
    I don’t know what article you read.

  41. Svend Ferdinandsen says:

    The Arctic is more or less limited by land, so the maximum extend is confined to the water between the landmasses. In that way it is no big deal if it eventually more or less disappears in the summer. The Antarctic is very different in that way as it has no upper limit.
    Anyway it is more about wind, current and seatemperature, and not so much about any Global Warming.

  42. JB says:

    I am curious about the predictions made by WUWT and how they compare to the scientists.
    Looks like WUWT got it wrong in 2012 and 2013 too, just like the scientists did. In 2013 WUWT
    reported 4.8 but the real value was 5.35. In 2012, WUWT said 4.6 but the real extent was 3.61.
    But WUWT also got it wrong in 2011, their guess was 5.5 but the actual value was 4.61, but now scientists did ok.
    So even though the study (if I’m reading it right) says that predictions do well if the observed value is consistent with the long-term trend, WUWT predictions don’t do well no matter what the ice does.
    I for one am happy no one can predict what the ice does, that would make for a boring summer of guessing the minimum each year. Any one want to make guesses for this year?

  43. John F. Hultquist says:

    JB
    If someone paid me $150,000 per year I would try harder to help the WUWT average improve beyond the WAG I usually supply (actually, I use the mean of recent years – “regression to the mean” being a reasonable assumption. My guess for the 2014 minimum will be done in the same way. And, it will be wrong again.

  44. Katherine says:

    No mention whatsoever that the 2012 minimum was due to a storm that broke up the ice and flushed it out. And they expect to be taken seriously? Ho-hum.

  45. kwinterkorn says:

    “Scientists consider Arctic sea ice a sensitive indicator…”

    Do they consider Antarctic sea ice a sensitive indicator? If not, why not?

    How about global sea ice as a sensitive indicator? (since the topic is global, not regional climate change)

    Perhaps the trends in Antarctic and global sea ice are inconvenient to the “truth” they are seeking.

  46. rogerthesurf says:

    Here is a criticisim of Environment Canda and their weather reporting. Can the IPCC, UN and their cronys (NGO’s) be any better than this? Well at least its laughable.

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

  47. Snow White says:

    Re: rogerknights says:
    March 28, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Which “yachts trapped last summer” were you thinking of Roger?

  48. Steven Mosher says:

    Caleb.
    Some melt happens from below during the bottom melt
    Portion of the season. The water temp under the ice
    Is sampled with bouys.
    Some melt happens from above.
    And some ice is exported to warmer areas.

    The causes of ice melt are varied. But one thing
    Is clear. When the planet warms ,as it did in the
    1930s ,as it did in the holicene,it warms more in the
    Arctic than it does in the rest of the world.
    That increase will over time melt ice not create
    Ice. Year in and year out you will see wiggles.
    But as we know from the Holocene as we know from
    The mwp as we know from the the 1930… a warmer planet
    Means less ice in the north. Warmer planet. Less ice in the north. Its not that mysterious.

    What is mysterious is the rate of loss, the role other
    Factors play, and the year to year wiggles.
    The other mystery is why the south pole patterns do
    Not follow the north pole patterns.

    So we know a warmer planet means less ice in the arctic.
    Beyond that. Lots of details to argue about.
    There is no evidence that a warmer planet leads to
    More ice in the arctic.

  49. dp says:

    They are laying in on climate change as the reason for declining sea ice but they don’t provide the air temperature data to back that up. I think sea water is the culprit and the cause is far away in the non-polar Atlantic and farther south. I also think it is a temporary thing. This all becomes obvious when you look at the maps to see where the coverage deficits are.

    Some things I’ve observed: The rate of ice growth and shrinkage (the slope) each season is fairly constant over the record. What changes each year is when this happens, and that is seen as a very clear trend. If climate were to blame the seasonal rate of change would change dramatically. The problem then is not that there is too much heat in the arctic air, but that the sea currents are drawing ice out and leaving the bare spots. That implicates ice breakers, too.

    Finally, there is nothing sacred about the sea ice coverage in 1979 and the years following. The record is not long enough to say that period is above or below average, and we don’t have adequate sea and air temperature records to point to climate as a cause. “Arctic Death Spiral” is a political term that is intended to affect tax revenue and to micromanage humans.

  50. John says:

    A warmer planet means less ice in the arctic ??? The UsNavy seems to agree on that

  51. Surely the rowers will make it this year, since the ice all melted exactly as predicted in 2008.

  52. Retired Engineer John says:

    “John F. Hultquist says:
    March 28, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Arno Arrak says:
    March 28, 2014 at 10:55 am
    “. . . the flow pattern of North Atlantic currents that started bringing warm Gulf Stream water into the Arctic Ocean. ”

    This makes me think of the phrase ‘you can’t do just one thing’.
    If Gulf Stream water is newly redirected into the Arctic Ocean, what else happened?”

    You might want to read this article about the rubber ducks that washed overboard. When you see that they made their way through the Arctic Ocean; you might want to consider what the warm pool from El Ninos and La Ninas does to the Arctic Ocean and how it affects the melting of Arctic ice.

    http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/what-can-28000-rubber-duckies-lost-at-sea-teach-us-about
    In 1992, a shipping crate containing 28,000 plastic bath toys was lost at sea when it fell overboard on its way from Hong Kong to the United States. No one at the time could have guessed that those same bath toys would still be floating the world’s oceans nearly 20 years later.

  53. Snow White says:

    Re: rogerthesurf says:
    March 29, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    I rather assumed that’s what Roger #1 was referring to. The truth was of course rather different:

    http://econnexus.org/the-northwest-passage-in-2013/

    I don’t suppose either Roger can supply an up to date list of all the “yachts trapped last summer” in the North West Passage, can they?

  54. ES says:

    Can ship captains plan on navigating the famed Northwest Passage—a direct shipping route from Europe to Asia across the Arctic Ocean—to save on time and fuel?

    Northwest Passage shipping hopes cooled by transport minister. All the enthusiastic talk about shipping through the Arctic will remain mostly just that — talk — for the foreseeable future, says Transport Minister Lisa Raitt.

    There are too many problems for now, including shallow passes and a lack of navigational markers, Raitt said. Any time savings offered by the shorter route would be negated if a ship got stuck, she added. She bluntly offered a list of concerns — including from insurance companies who, she said, are the ones really calling the shots about what ships would be allowed to pass through the area.

    Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/economy/Northwest+Passage+shipping+hopes+cooled+transport/9659329/story.html#ixzz2xTjuHnbo

    It comes down to insurance. They don’t want a repeat of this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Sea_Adventurer

  55. tty says:

    As far as I know four got stuck at Cambridge Bay:
    Arctic Joule
    Gitana
    Empiricus
    Fairmont’s Passion

    One at Gjöa Haven:
    Reve de Glace

    And one at Paulatuk:
    Le Manquier

    About six others turned back, one (Babushka) got carried out aboard a russian icebreaker and about six made it through the passage, most with icebreaker assistance, Not surprisingly the larger boats/ships were most successful.

  56. rogerthesurf says:

    Snowwhite,

    The accounts given in each of our linksare quite in accord with each other.
    Note in your account, the writer questions if anyone got out/through without outside help and list some who got through with ice breaker assistance. ” the catamaran Libellule and the steel hulled Traversay III made it through some ice at the western entrance to Bellot Strait a few days ago, albeit with a modicum of assistance from the CCGS Henry Larsen.” and “Will anyone cover the entire Northwest Passage unaided this year? ” etc. etc.
    The only thing suspicious there is that the accounts match up so closely. Reporting in my experience is not usually that good.

    Would you care to explain what your problem is? After all I assume both our understanding of the situation is totally reliant on the media rather than first hand experience.

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

  57. Snow White says:

    tty – To clear up one or two evident misapprehensions, the only “vessel” on your list that might be said to have been “trapped by ice” was Babouchka, which never went anywhere near the NW Passage proper. Her planned route was to sail/slide from Barrow to Svalbard via the North Pole!

    http://econnexus.org/arctic-voyages-2013-update-2/

    Arctic Joule is a rowing boat, and the Rêve de Glace team were in a kayak. Le Manguier always intended to overwinter in the NW Passage. The others didn’t “get stuck at Cambridge Bay”. They decided the prudent course of action was to stop there rather than pressing on and possibly “getting stuck” further North.

    Roger – As I’ve hopefully explained to your satisfaction by now, no yachts “were trapped last summer” as originally suggested by the other Roger. There certainly weren’t “20 yachts left ice bound” as suggested in your Mail on Sunday link!

  58. Eric Sincere says:

    “We found that in years when the sea ice extent departed strongly from the trend, such as in 2012 and 2013, predictions failed regardless of the method used to forecast the September sea ice extent,”

    I predict that all coin flips will land heads-up and for the ones which landed heads-up, my predictions were 100% accurate!

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