Arctic temperature headed below freezing

There’s a couple of indicators that at least for Arctic temperature, the numbers are headed south. First the weather plot from the drifting buoy that is connected with NOAA’s North Pole Cam:

Weather plot

After some very brief excursions above freezing, it is now averaging below freezing. See the raw weather data here. The temperatures from the buoy have been hitting -2°C regularly the past nineteen days.

Another indication is the north pole cam itself.

http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/latest/noaa1.jpg

NOAA's North Pole Cam - click for larger image

Note that there are no melt pools or leads visible. The tilt is a bit puzzling, but as the temperature did get above freezing briefly, it may be a harbinger of things to come from this peer reviewer NASA paper. The buoy has drifted with the sea ice and is now near 84.1N, but started at 89.648N, so presumably, temperatures at the actual North Pole would be colder than what is being measured and seen now.

And finally the third temperature indicator is from the Danish Meteorological Institute.

DMI_Arctic_temp_082309

The blue 273.15K line is 0°C or freezing. Of course seawater freezes a bit below that, typically at -2°C according to the US Navy.

The DMI plotting model, seen here, comprises the “daily mean temperature and climate north of the 80th northern parallel, as a function of the day of year.” Note that this year, the temperature rise got off to a late start. However the drop below freezing appears to be headed along the normal bell curve.

While sea ice extent has not seen the depths of 2007 or 2008 numbers yet, it did take a small hit to extent numbers yesterday.  Given the temperature situation, it may begin to take a turn in the next two weeks. Traditionally, we have about 20 days of melt season left from this point.

http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent.png

However, as Jeff Id noted in his sea ice video, the winds of the polar region seem to be more of a determining factor in extent than temperature, as much of the ice is being driven southward. Our NOAA North Pole Cam and its drift from 89.648N to 84.1N is an example of this movement.

The date of the turn is always interesting to speculate. I’m going to take a SWAG and suggest Sept 9th as the day Arctic sea ice extent bottoms out.

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79 thoughts on “Arctic temperature headed below freezing

  1. September 10th, 2:45PM, unless AlGore is in the S.Hemisphere in which case it would occur one day later.

  2. This is really interesting – the physical model is one of a rotating thermally inert sphere with a seasonal orientation cycle radiated by a distant heat source, and weather being constrained to the thin film of gas enveloping its surface.
    Some of us would think that there might be something wrong with the basic assumptions.

  3. I’ve been tracking the daily ice extent. AMSR-E keep changing the amount. Earlier in the day it was 5,740,625 now its 5,672,031.
    Some interesting stats. Last year the first day there was an increase in ice over the previous day was on Sept 3, then 10th Sept and finally increase all the way from 18th Sept.
    This year it happened on the 20th of August. But turned warm since then (or the wind turned)
    Minimum date September 11th and 5,100,000 sq kms minimum extent

  4. 9/9 is way too early.
    Too much heat south of 80N, where most of the melt is still taking place at still a high rate.
    I think it’ll bottom out later than normal – 9/18. So far my prediction made 2 weeks ago appears to be holding up.
    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=6734#comment-352624
    I predicted at Jeffs Id site July 29 that we would end up a tick above 2008.

  5. Those who recently predicted that 09 would finish above 05 can throw in the towel. That’s all but out of the question.

  6. Blow ye winds jolly, oh
    Blow ye winds folly.
    You can’t blow the
    Ice below Oh Seven, now.
    ================

  7. The tilt isn’t too puzzling and much less dramatic than axis flipping. Simply put, with all the poor wandering and homeless polar bears about, one of them thought either:
    1) the buoy looked delicious, or
    2) the buoy look like a good back scratcher.

  8. September 8th is my two-penneth worth, it’s my 25th Wedding Anniversary! We can have a shilling on the side.
    As for the tilt, I think it can be easily explained in referrence to your previous post about axial tilt. Clearly it is happening much faster than the experts previously thought! Either that or one of those big fluffy polar bears took a shine to it.
    Anyway back to the bbq summer in blighty. O/T, but the Met Office are really scrapigng the barrel to get sun into the weather forecasts it would seem. Every presenter has done the same thing such that despite the dreadful weather, wet geet the positive reinforcement of “over here they’ve had a fare bit of sunshine” or words to that effect, pointing to a small dot on the map! Bless their little cotton socks:-)) Time for lunch!

  9. “The buoy has drifted with the sea ice and is now near 84.1N, but started at 89.648N, so presumably, temperatures at the actual North Pole would be colder than what is being measured and seen now.”
    So we really aren’t measuring the same place. Perhaps a variation of the “How not to measure temperature” series.

  10. having been following these polar images for some time, in the weeks preceeding the tilt, there was significant melt ponding in the area. One rivulet was very close to the camera’s position. Likely, the melt water undermined one of the supports causing the camera to tilt. There have been times when it pointed at the support structure and was redirected???

  11. Well, actually Tom, they do that. Measure temperature in places where temperature is not measured, or use distant stations to measure a local temperature.
    How to leverage your anomalies: Make sure that your chosen measuring device is one that is drifting to warmer climes. That way you can claim abundant heat where none exists.
    Russia needs to ramp up wheat production in Siberia, because that place is rapidly turning into a steaming swamp. Forget the NW passage, the NE passage will be ice free while N. Canada will grow an ice sheet faster than you can thaw Al Gore’s hush puppies.

  12. As I pointed out last week in another topic, the DMI graph this year shows the shortest thaw season in the >80L Arctic since 1958.
    And no, the Polar Bears don’t wear sunglasses and drink Pepsi to quench thier thirst in the scorching arid wastelands of the Arctic. Sublimininal message rejected as crass absurdity. Clueless Marketeers and their equally stupid commericals.

  13. The AMSR-E Sea Ice Extent graph underwent a quiet change last week. The red line (this year’s) used to dip down in July a bit, then straighten out quite markedly to cross over the orange line (last year’s). About 10 days ago this was suddenly revised to where the July dip is only half what it was, and the crossover less dramatic. Seemed like someone has his thumb on the scales. Unfortunately I did not keep copies of the old graphs to display.

  14. They just had a several day rain event. Those are ponds of rain water. They had frozen over a week or so ago but it warmed up a little and rained in the past few days.
    The tilt appears to be the camera flopping around on its mount. If you go to http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/npole/ , and select this month’s pictures, you will see some where the camera is pointed more to the right and you can see the support structure that it is on. Looking at the shadows cast by the structure when there is some sun, it doesn’t look like the structure itself is leaning, looks like the camera is loose on its mounts and flops around a bit in the wind.

  15. Yet another lagging indicator of the NH “Year Without A Summer Mini-Me” and a leading indicator of early onset of NH climatic autumn and winter.
    Note also the track of Bill – that type of track is what you would have at the end of the season – i.e. between the equinox and Nov 1. Only thing is, we had that track in mid – late Aug.

  16. Questions for the Fall:
    Does it stay below freezing from here on out into Winter?
    Does the falling temperature profile follow the average bell shape or might it fall more steeply or some other anomalous fashion?
    What impact will the third spotless Fall and Winter (assuming the Sun continues to be spotless) have on temperature at the North Pole and beyond.
    What will sea surface temperatures be, coming out of this next Winter?
    And how thick will the ice be after this Winter on the North Pole.
    If the Northern Hemisphere is the primary driver of climate, and many people think it is, this Fall and Winter of continued spotless days (should it continue) will answer a lot of questions…
    Cap and Trade in the Senate?
    A dead letter…

  17. “Alan the Brit (04:59:47) :
    September 8th is my two-penneth worth, it’s my 25th Wedding Anniversary! We can have a shilling on the side.”
    Congratulations, 33 for me!
    cheers David [the Brit]

  18. I understand the upper layer of the Arctic Ocean is less salty than say your typical Bering Sea but even so, as dynamic as oceans are, it will take much cooler temps to freeze “seawater in the wild” than -2C air temp. Anecdotaly, the avg low temp in Nome, Alaska for October is -4 to an avg Dec low of -17. The sea there takes until mid-late Dec to freeze…although I do remember a little ice once around Thanksgiving Day and another time none at Christmas. Bear in mind wind and currents play with ice like a child’s toy. Except for shorefast, ice is always going somewhere.

  19. You know, at this point I don’t even care if the arctic ice extent bottoms out all the way in a tie with 2007. Algore, the American Geophysical Union and the BBC said the arctic would be ICE FREE by 2013. ICE FREE FOLKS!
    To get there, we’re gonna need some SERIOUS ice melting and record mild winters to occur for the next 48 months!!

  20. Actually, it was Professor Wieslaw Maslowski giving a speech at an American Geophysical Union meeting in Dec ’07 saying the artic would be ice-free by 2013…not the AGU itself…but I digress…

  21. This post starts with an image showing graphs of T, pressure and wind. The Y axis of the wind graph is labeled “wind (to, m/s).” Can somebody please explian how to interpret the wind direction on this graph?
    Thanks,
    Tom

  22. Victoria Gill of the BBC (her nonsense story mentioned above) needs to adjust her Polar Bear Disaster story. The latest catastrophe down to Global Warming is bird life in the Arctic.
    Yes indeed the concerns are that an unusually cold summer may decimate bird populations that nest in the Arctic: Keeping the key points above in mind, it’s easy to understand why 2009 has winners and losers. The birds are trapped by the weather, food is limited and they use up their fat stores. They absorb their growing eggs or lay their eggs only to have them freeze. And finally they head south again without nesting.
    However, this good news for bears:
    On the other hand, the polar bears bask in the cool spring conditions, feeding on seals for a month or more – longer than average. The end result is large numbers of fat and healthy polar bears, with numerous healthy cubs – and great bear watching seasons in 2009 and 2010!
    For the blog see
    http://arcticadventuretravelblog.com/blog/good-news-for-polar-bears-bad-news-for-birds/
    Of course, man-made disasters can be found everywhere (at least enough to keep you on the editorial gravy train of the BBC). All you need is to have the predisposition to see everything through the perspective that man is bad (original sin) and everything that happens is bad and furthermore the bad consequences must all be man’s fault. Amen.

  23. Ray
    From your linkj
    “In November 2007, Ban travelled to the Antarctic to observe firsthand the effects of global warming.”
    What exactly would he have seen when he went? Or more likely what would he have been told what he was seeing?
    tonyb

  24. RE:
    Tom Moriarty (11:01:24) :
    This post starts with an image showing graphs of T, pressure and wind. The Y axis of the wind graph is labeled “wind (to, m/s).” Can somebody please explian how to interpret the wind direction on this graph?
    Thanks,
    Tom
    I believe that the wind graph indicated both wind direction (relative to ? direction) and speed (meters per second) relative to the sensor. What I am uncertain of is if the direction is relative to the prime meridian or not or if the sensor can shift and rotate relative to the background as the Ice shifts and rotates.

  25. Willy (07:14:30) said :
    The AMSR-E Sea Ice Extent graph underwent a quiet change last week. The red line (this year’s) used to dip down in July a bit, then straighten out quite markedly to cross over the orange line (last year’s). About 10 days ago this was suddenly revised to where the July dip is only half what it was, and the crossover less dramatic. Seemed like someone has his thumb on the scales. Unfortunately I did not keep copies of the old graphs to display.
    Whenever the graphs don’t suite then this sort of thing keeps kept being dragged up. I can tell you after watching the graph for that period and downloading the details there was nothing of the sort. Put your tin hat away. If you want to see this in more depth go here
    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=6734
    and contribute.
    Regards
    Andy

  26. Will (09:50:32) :
    “I understand the upper layer of the Arctic Ocean is less salty than say your typical Bering Sea but even so, as dynamic as oceans are, it will take much cooler temps to freeze “seawater in the wild” than -2C air temp. Anecdotaly, the avg low temp in Nome, Alaska for October is -4 to an avg Dec low of -17. The sea there takes until mid-late Dec to freeze…although I do remember a little ice once around Thanksgiving Day and another time none at Christmas. Bear in mind wind and currents play with ice like a child’s toy. Except for shorefast, ice is always going somewhere.”
    Air temperature has little to do with cooling the ocean until it freezes, except that any precipitation that falls as ice will cool the water surface faster than that falling as water, as will also wind chill, mixing with deeper water, and radiation to space.
    Snow, hail and frozen rain can fall through air at a few degrees above zero C at the surface, cooling the water as the latent heat of fusion is taken from the body of water, not necessarily cooling the air as much as it falls. Icy precipitation will float, creating a low salinity layer on the surface, but chilling it rapidly, like the ice in my cocktail glass, as long as the ice lasts.
    With increasing wind speeds, wind chill and disturbance of the surface layers of the ocean will reduce the ocean temperature at the surface and increase the salinity through mixing, and forced evaporation.
    Still clear skies, even with the sun just above the horizon, can allow the ocean water to lose heat faster (by infrared radiation) than the sun can warm the water by absorption of shortwave radiation. A thin layer of ice may prevent radiation from the water, and reflect the shortwave, whereas thicker layers of ice not only reflect shortwave radiation, but emit even longer wave radiation at lower temperatures. During the long polar winter night, Temperatures can drop as low as the apparent radiation temperature of the zenith above if measured at the surface – about minus 60degC, and not much lower.
    Air will respond to temperature variation by convection, taking warmer air upwards, further away from the surface.
    Apparent from the first image, winds are almost non-existent between 89 and 84 degN, as they have been for most of the last five years, with little of the storminess experienced in the previous few years since 2002 by the polar drifting buoys.
    One wonders what the Caitlin crew were battling against.

  27. somebody wrote on climateaudit, that the winds are currently compacting the ie, thus reducing the extent.
    this could lead to higher volumes,
    (though volume doesn’t matter if it increases,
    like short term trends don’t matter if ice inreases,
    and 30 year trend don’t matter, if we now start seeing the refreezing part of a 60 year cyle…
    actually that would all be indisputable signs, that it is worse than expeted.)

  28. ‘Polar’ mentioned it but was ignored so I’ll mention it again –
    The comment “…as much of the ice is being driven southward.” needs to be clarified because at the North Pole, every direction is south. In the future, please include which longitudinal direction tward the south you are refering to.
    Thanks in advance,
    Jeff

    REPLY:
    I did. See the drift track map that was linked to. here it is again for your convenience
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/gallery_np_weatherdata.html#drift
    – A

  29. BTW, the data file on the site that you linked to is only current up to the last update on the 17th{Jda 229, today is jda 237}
    I suspect we may still see fairly dramatic loss of ice, possibly rivaling 07 and 08. Of course this will be claimed as justifying the alarmist position, although the evidence would indicate that winds and currents have been much more responsible for the increasing loss than temperature, primarily the dominance in recent years of the wind vector from Alaska toward the Fram which has caused the area where thick ice congregates to move from along the Canadian coast from Ellesmere island west to the Fram, where the transpolar drift current is able to move it out down the east coast of Greenland. I’ve seen a couple of studies that indicate that these changes of weather pattern occur on decadal time scales, though I don’t have the links to hand at the moment. I still think all the drama about is highly overwrought, as the period of declining ice is now decades advanced and as far as I can tell no catastrophic, or even deleterious phenomena are appearing as a result. In fact over the period of the most dramatic loss of ice the global temps have been markedly stable. One might even suspect that the increasing amount of ice leaving the Arctic to melt at lower latitudes has been a stabilizing factor.

  30. The tilt is from the sweeping vista of open water just behind the camera. It’s base is about to fall into the water, much to the joy of kayakers who have been circling about in anticipation of this moment.
    Nah, just kidding.

  31. Anyone talking about ice free artic at any time of the year is in need of serious mental treatment.
    It will never happen in our times, especially because we have arrived at what looks like to become a serious cooling event.
    From historic observations soalr minimum coincided with cold periods and there is absolutely no reason to expect that the current solar minimum will pass “unpunished”.
    It’s just a matter of time.
    Another peer reviewed scientific report will be published this week from the Oregon State University stating that we could enter a new Ice Age right now.
    Link via climatedepot.com: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/08/24/lawrence-solomon-new-ice-age-could-be-coming.aspx
    I can’t wait to read it.

  32. Frost warning for eastern Newfoundland tonight + snow in the forecast for western Labrador on Thursday!!!

  33. Tom in Florida (05:26:09) :
    “The buoy has drifted with the sea ice and is now near 84.1N, but started at 89.648N, so presumably, temperatures at the actual North Pole would be colder than what is being measured and seen now.”
    So we really aren’t measuring the same place. Perhaps a variation of the “How not to measure temperature” series”.
    Right Tom, I wonder why nobody took notice of all the partying going on next to the sensor: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_2JCfBJEzimk/RkjI21PmNJI/AAAAAAAAAok/_vNNAjcZf4c/s400/polarbearBBQ.gif

  34. Re Steve Sadlov’s posting.
    I know even less about hurricane behaviour than I do about most else on here but I know that the UK often gets the tail-end of these guys but I’ve never heard of one hitting us in August before.
    Could be wrong, of course ….

  35. Interesting publication at icecap.us:
    Warming May have Peaked. Has Western Civilization Peaked with It?
    By Joseph D’Aleo

  36. The north pole temp. heading below freezing doesn’t mean much without context. What date does it usually do that? Does the NP temp have much to do with the temp farther south where the summer melt really happens?
    Does today’s temp. at the north pole correlate with northern sea ice extent?

  37. The wind in some places is driving ice south, but not out Fram Strait and not out the Bering Strait. So I still think no melt is happening. Ice compaction is.

  38. crosspatch (08:12:29) : The tilt appears to be the camera flopping around on its mount.
    Would that be a teraflop? Or a glaciflop? We should send in the clowns Caitlin crew in kayaks to tighten the bolts.

  39. > Richard (03:32:53) :
    > I’ve been tracking the daily ice extent. AMSR-E keep
    > changing the amount. Earlier in the day it was 5,740,625
    > now its 5,672,031.
    IARC/JAXA issues an interim number each day around 0300 Z and a final number around 1400 Z. The 1400 Z number is used in the permanent record.

  40. Pamela Gray (16:28:33) said:-
    “The wind in some places is driving ice south, but not out Fram Strait and not out the Bering Strait. So I still think no melt is happening. Ice compaction is.”
    With temperatures currently as they are and sea temps there must be some melt occuring.
    Regards
    Andy

  41. The bottom out date… It should differ between ice extent and area. I guess ice can disintegrate, and flow away, at the same time as the ice area stops to shrinken and starts growing. But that’s just my hypothesis.
    So Arctic Roos’ ice area may bottom out now or 1st September and the NSIDC reported ice extent then bottoms out a few weeks later. Or am I just proving I’m in the amateur zone? 😛

  42. Bryan (12:31:40) :
    “RE:
    Tom Moriarty (11:01:24) :
    This post starts with an image showing graphs of T, pressure and wind. The Y axis of the wind graph is labeled “wind (to, m/s).” Can somebody please explian how to interpret the wind direction on this graph?
    Thanks,
    Tom
    I believe that the wind graph indicated both wind direction (relative to ? direction) and speed (meters per second) relative to the sensor. What I am uncertain of is if the direction is relative to the prime meridian or not or if the sensor can shift and rotate relative to the background as the Ice shifts and rotates.”
    The length of the line is the windspeed. 12-o’clock is the Greenwich meridian, 6-o’clock is the international dateline, left is 90 deg (Americas) and right is 270 deg (Asia)

  43. Better warn the Beluga Group flotilla sailors to put on their winter clothing.
    The 3 ships are in the process of transferring 45 heavy lift modules they carried from South Korea to the Siberian Port of Novvy onto barges, before continuing on to Europe. One of the generator modules massed over 200 tons, another 44 were over 100 tons.
    Summer time polar transits by merchant ships are becoming business as usual, although this is the first time foreign ships have had permission to sail these waters since WW II.

  44. Whew, those cute little polar bears are safe! /sarc off
    The only thing Ive heard about Polar ice and Bears this year was from the little scooners getting trapped. Apparently Polar Bears have come to beasty a couple of them while they were trapped in the ice.. hehe.

  45. Steve W. (15:55:16) :
    The north pole temp. heading below freezing doesn’t mean much without context. What date does it usually do that? Does the NP temp have much to do with the temp farther south where the summer melt really happens?

    See the temperature graph – continuously updated – immediately below the WUWT sidebar each day. This year’s trend has been pretty continuously below the average temperatures at date for the past 40 some-odd years. Going below freezing ( 273 degrees K) at just about the same time it always has.
    Be nice of that graphic allowed multiple years to be displayed. Now, only one at a time can be shown.
    Also, since the “colder months” have such incredibly wide variations with the plotted “average” putting one deviation error bars on the “average” plot would show trends better.

  46. RE: VG (07:52:19) :
    Looking at the ICE AREA, NORSEX SSM/I link – as supplied by VG
    http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/observation_images/ssmi1_ice_area.png
    I notice that two areas of rising interest i.e. return of ice to normal levels – namely early MAY and early AUGUST – each have “Unfiltered” data displayed – as if to say “but note: real data went lower”, whereas there seem to be no corresponding “but note: real data went higher” areas. Perhaps I don’t understand what “unfiltered” really means … is it just “un-integrated or unsmoothed data” ? If it is, why is it selectively shown ? Sorry if this has been resolved previously.

  47. Grumbler (09:31:41) :
    “Alan the Brit (04:59:47) :
    September 8th is my two-penneth worth, it’s my 25th Wedding Anniversary! We can have a shilling on the side.”
    Congratulations, 33 for me!
    cheers David [the Brit]
    I thank you, Sir, & congratulations to you too!

  48. Will sea ice area be above or below long term average this year ? I can only assume it will be below average

  49. So the little red ticker tape seems to be handily above the 2008 orange, but now south of the 2005 green; and basically on a ho-hum course to an eventual turning point.
    Is there sitll time to get in on a north west passage junket ?
    You have no idea how intriguing that pseudo sine wave plot is Anthony; almost as interesting as your collection of owl box pictures; but nothing could be as interesting as those.
    George

  50. The small rain pools that can be seen in front of and to the right of the “pole” buoy and wind generator are now freezing over again. Not much more than “ice puddles” really. But in any case they are freezing over and it looks like the surface is currently either skim ice or slush.

  51. bryan (10:11:15) : “Though it is currently lower than all other years but 2007 and 2008”
    Are you familiar with the calculus, maxima, minima and points of inflexion?
    Regards

  52. John Ryan (11:14:40) :
    Will sea ice area be above or below long term average this year ? I can only assume it will be below average
    Probably above 1938/9/40 when the Soviet icebreaker Syedoff was at 85ºN in open water 🙂
    daveE.

  53. I’m interested in this comment on new ice that it is only “first year ice” as if this is somehow a negative trend. What else could it be? I don’t think that ice forms as 2 year ice in it’s first year, and if it did not form at all, well should that not be even worse? As a lifelong evironmentalist I’m beginning to despair at the amount of bad science being cast about by headline hungry newspapers. I suppose the next thing I’ll see is the rust on my VW camper being attributed to global warming!

  54. I we used the same rules for Arctic ice as we use for the FTSE 100, would we have similar results? I mean if the FTSE did well over 6 months, would this still be measured against the downturn in the economy over the last year with headlines such as “FTSE continues to crash” ? Or are there different statistical rules at play ?

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