Arctic sea ice melt appears to have turned the corner for 2009

It appears Arctic sea ice has bottomed out and is now on the growth rebound. The NANSEN Arctic ROOS website shows that in terms of area, sea ice appears to have turned the corner as of Sept 13th data. While that is just one data point, it turned the corner about this time last year, and the year before.

NANSEN Sea Ice Area - click for larger image

NANSEN Sea Ice Area - click for larger image

More data and graphs from NANSEN Arctic ROOS are available here.

Many WUWT readers have been watching JAXA’s sea ice extent graph closely, so have I. Typically JAXA updates the graph twice a day; once around the start of their business day (in Japan), and then a second update that contains the corrected data (after going through processing and QC) a few hours later. Tonight (9/14) about 11:30PM PST JAXA updated their Sept 14th AMSRE data with this new number:

5,269,531 km2

UPDATE: JAXA updated the number again and it now stands at 5,276,563 km2

That is a gain of almost 20,000 26,719 km2 from the Sept 13th value of  5, 249, 844 km2 which may very well turn out to be the minimum extent for 2009.  Here is the Sept 14th chart and the data from JAXA:

AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent_091409-2

JAXA AMSRE Arctic Sea Ice Extent Sept 14, 2009 - click for larger image

Source: IARC-JAXA Sea Ice page

Here is the tabular Arctic Sea Ice Extent data for September 2009 with the minimum highlighted in blue. A CSV data file for Excel is available here.

9 1 2009 5423750
9 2 2009 5398281
9 3 2009 5379844
9 4 2009 5387969
9 5 2009 5363438
9 6 2009 5345156
9 7 2009 5328906
9 8 2009 5330469
9 9 2009 5315938
9 10 2009 5295313
9 11 2009 5278594
9 12 2009 5259375
9 13 2009 5249844
9 14 2009 5276563

For 2008 the value reached minimum on September 9th, rebounded slightly, shrank again, and then turned the corner and started rebound again on September 17th.

9 1 2008 4957656
9 2 2008 4924219
9 3 2008 4927031
9 4 2008 4868906
9 5 2008 4825625
9 6 2008 4808281
9 7 2008 4739844
9 8 2008 4715469
9 9 2008 4707813
9 10 2008 4729688
9 11 2008 4751563
9 12 2008 4745156
9 13 2008 4742344
9 14 2008 4747188
9 15 2008 4731875
9 16 2008 4726250
9 17 2008 4718594
9 18 2008 4736406
9 19 2008 4745000
9 20 2008 4752500

Of course it is entirely possible nature has other plans, but the appearance of a change in direction is there and the time is about right historically. If this holds it will put 2009 542,031 km2 above 2008’s Sept 9th low extent, making it the third lowest extent in the AMSRE data set and the second year of increasing ice extent since the historic low in 2007 of  4,267,656 km2

The signs are right, and Nature will let us know in the next few days if we have indeed turned the corner and will be headed upwards.

UPDATE: Commenter Dave points out that the DMI extent graph, shown below, does a better job of illustrating the uptick.

click for a larger image Source: Danish Meteorological Institute

click for a larger image Source: Danish Meteorological Institute

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159 thoughts on “Arctic sea ice melt appears to have turned the corner for 2009

  1. It is interesting to note that the figure of 5,269,531 km2 is 23% higher than 2 years ago.

    Doesn’t seem to stop the “it’s worse than we thought”, “…decreasing at an accelerating rate”, and “xxx shipping route open for the first time” headlines, though.

  2. “……making it the third lowest extent in the AMSRE data set and the second year of increasing ice extent since the historic low in 2007 of 4267656 km2”

    Sorry to nit pick but do you mean …….of increasing ice extent since the historic low, since records began in 1979, of 4267656?

    REPLY: No the AMSRE data set does not go back that far. – A

  3. Funny this

    The NSIDC pictorial version shows that the NW passage area has been rapidly ‘melting’ in the past week and I don’t see any rapid growth elsewhere to compensate.

    Also, their graph of sea-ice extent appears in the last day or so to be turning down slightly more steeply than the steady decrease of September.

    Any comments from those who really know?

  4. The minimum sea ice extent has been increased by 11.3 percent compared to last year.

    If this ‘unprecedented’ rate of growth continues, the minimum extent in September 2030 will be almost 40 million square kilometres… I have to admit that the current situation is ‘worse than we thought’. :-)

  5. It will be interesting also to follow the refreeze. The last years it has been pretty rapid, more rapid than the 79-00 average.

  6. I wonder how many more years we will have to wait before those who panicked in 2007 admit that their reaction may have been disproportionate (putting it charitably).

  7. It’s cold up there, again. This looks like a clear trend and the doomsdayers said there would be no ice in the arctic this year. Hmmmmm. Maybe something is not wrong but normal with our climate.

  8. Anthony, please check 9/9/08 for minimum!

    REPLY: Yes while Sept 9th was the numeric minimum for 2008 in the JAXA AMSRE data, it was not the date that sea-ice turned the corner and started the rebound.. But I’ve made some changes in the article to reflect this. Thanks – Anthony

  9. WOW

    There is almost 1 million square kilometers more than in 2007. That is around 1.4 Texas (a american area unit, I learnt that watching Armageddon, the Bruce Willis movie)

    Also, isn’t the Y-axis a bit misleading? It should start from 0, in my humble opinion.

  10. AMO index for August is out, being 0.205. Looks like it is going down now, possibly going neutral/negative around winter time like it did last winter. European folks, get your snow blowers ready.
    AMO relates to arctic ice quite well:

    From the chart it is visible, that the ice recovery started in 2006 and only extraordinary weather conditions in Arctic 2006/2007 caused the summer ice extent drop; 2008 suffered from it as there was more young thin ice, but 2009 looks like the recovery goes on.

  11. The lowest extent for 2008 was on 9th September (4,707,813 sq. km.). This equalled the earliest date for the minimum since JAXA started their site in 2002. The latest was 24th Sept. 2007. The average date for the minimum is 14th Sept, so if there are no more large decreases, this year is just about on schedule.

  12. Actually the low point of 2008 was September 9th at 4,707,813

    REPLY: Yes while Sept 9th was the numeric minimum for 2008 in the JAXA AMSRE data, it was not the date that sea-ice turned the corner and started the rebound. But I’ve made some changes in the article to reflect this. Thanks – Anthony

  13. “Climate change is happening now and nowhere is it more evident than in the Arctic,” said WWF’s head of climate change, Keith Allott.

    And which way is it changing, Keith?

  14. Switching between the September 13 and 14 photo of the arctic, one sees that the ice is indeed growing.
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/cgi-bin/seaice-monitor.cgi

    Concerning ocean temps and recent reports that an El Nino is in the works, I have a hard time seeing the signs for this. The images provided by Unisys over the last few weeks show the equatorial Pacific is cooling and that the Bortheast Pacific is solidly in the negative PDO mode.
    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.html

  15. Just in time for Copenhagen – so the MSM will of course, now point out the last two years of arctic sea ice extent recovery…

    P.s. how long before someone questions the “Arctic ice thickness” on this blog?

  16. This years provisional minimum of 5249844 sq km is a full 23% greater than the modern historical minimum, i.e. almost a quarter increase. I wonder how many column inches will be given to that statistic in the warmist camp, or for that matter, in the general media. More likely they will report that this has been the third smallest extent in history, the other two lower extents also being in this century.

  17. Yep – Arctic sea ice extent from DMI appears to have turned up also. They use area with >30% concentration (others use >15%). Sorry, but I can’t locate the numeric data on the DMI site.

    Michael

  18. Actually it turned on the 9th last year.

    9 9 2008 4707813

    REPLY: Yes while Sept 9th was the numeric minimum for 2008 in the JAXA AMSRE data, it was not the date that sea-ice turned the corner and started the rebound.. But I’ve made some changes in the article to reflect this. Thanks – Anthony

  19. It looks like the 2008 minimum occurred on the 9th Sept and not the 17th Sept? It’s a big ol’ jump lets hope for another big jump next year!

  20. To put this type of increase in to perspective, this years increase is just slightly less than the land area of Manitoba, Canada (Ice Increase, 531250km^2 . . . Land in Manitoba, 553556km^2) . The two year increase is about the land area of British Columbia, Canada (Ice Increase, 982188km^2 . . . BC land area 925186).

    It’s much worse than we thought. The average increase per year is 491094km^2, if this trend continues the surface of the earth will be completely ice covered in only 1038 years! We must act now!

  21. Must be some mistake! Everyone knows the Arctic will be ice-free in just 30 years! I mean it was in the papers and everything……

  22. Scene: NSIDC offices Colorado, The 2009 Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Appears Imminent

    “Well, it’s happening again. What are we going to say this time?”

    “Relax we’ve got it covered.”

    “Relax! It looks like double-digit growth AGAIN this year. How are we going to hide that?”

    “Easy. First, we always compare to a 1979-2000 average.”

    “But that’s not the real average if you’ve been measuring for 30 years!”

    “Nobody even notices. Besides, most “average” people can’t even calculate an “average.” Second, we did that little pre-acknowledgement that it won’t be a record, so people aren’t even paying attention. I’ll take credit for that one, thank you.”

    “Pre-Surrender you mean.”

    “Third, the Kaufman stuff was perfectly timed a couple weeks ago. What a headline, Arctic Hottest in 2,000 Years. Brilliant.”

    “Ya, but all they did was look at pond scum, ice cores and tree rings. If you look at ACTUAL temperature measurements over the past century it’s all bogus.”

    “Hello? Hellooo? Who got the headline? Besides they just did what every cost cutter in business does, shows there should have been a trend so flat means something happened.”

    “I hope somebody doesn’t do that to us.”

    “Fourth, we’ve got a lot of good data on our side.”

    “You mean the Caitlin measurements?”

    “God no! They almost froze to death and misrepresented data on their website. The only thickness there was their skulls. No, I mean WIND.”

    “Ohhhh, you can’t use that. Don’t even. I mean people will say…”

    “Hear me out. We say the wind is causing extent to INCREASE, and…”

    “…that the wind COMPRESSED extent in 2007. I mean, when extent doesn’t work for you last year, you switch to volume, when the Germans fly over the Arctic this year and show thickness growing, you go to wind? People will never buy it.”

    “You have to learn to be more audacious. Sure. Blame the wind in the headline. Then, we’ll call it the “Third Lowest Ice Extent.” Great headlines both. CNN will wet themselves. Throw in that August to August graph with misleading scale set so it starts at 5 M square kilometers, and we’re golden.”

    “Boss. What if the sunspots don’t come back?”

    “You’re so negative! Look, I got to catch a flight to Seattle. Doing some camping on Mt Rainier this weekend.”

    “Dress warmly, I heard it’s snowing early in the Cascades.”

    “In early September! Not again!”

  23. While any intelligent person who understands science should know one data point usually matters little in the big picture, this is nice news to hear. I may trot this factoid out the next time I hear someone scream “OMFG, SAVE TEH POLAR BEARS!”

  24. I await with baited breath for the corrected, up dated, homogenized, staticalized and regurgitated NSIDC data.

    Bill Derryberry

    PS I am not looking for agreement.

    PPS Google spell check seems not to be working this morning.

  25. yeah…my guess is that we have seen the bottom. even if we have another down day it is difficult to imagine it being for almost 20,000. i guess we could if we did 2 in a row, but with each passing day that becomes less likely, not to mention our down days were averaging less than 20,000. in fact, we have only had one day of more than 20,000 loss since the 3rd of September 11 days ago. i am going to be dogmatic and say that regardless of another melt day or not, we have already seen the bottom on the 13th and i am HAPPY to report that it was 2 days earlier than my prediction and 100,000 square kilometers ABOVE my prediction. (that is if my dogmatic pronouncement is correct).
    here are some other interesting facts:
    with today’s large jump upwards of 20,000 square kilometers we MAY already be past the minimum. however, another week of ups will confirm that. IF we have already reached the minimum, this year showed a 542,000 square kilometer increase over 2008’s low of 4,707,813 square kilometers, which showed a 453282 square kilometer over 2007’s historical low of 4254531. All in all, we are looking at 995,000 square kilometers of regrowth within 2 years. next year will be very pivotal.
    Now, 2 years is hardly a trend worth mentioning although this one is admittedly fairly dramatic. But if we see a similar growth next year, then we will have a year with more ice than most of the past 8 years and a bit of a better argument could be made towards actual regrowth. all that can reasonably be said at this point is that the melting arctic has at least taken a 2 year respite from it’s dramatic downturn. we are currently only 65,312 below 2005’s low…..so any serious recovery next year would put us dramatically above years 2005-2009, but this year is still 782,187 below the minimum of 2003’s minimum of 6,032,031 so we still have a ways to go!

  26. It will be interesting to note the reaction of the main stream media to what is undoubtedly good news, whatever side of the debate you are on.

    For those of us sceptical of the anthropogenic global warming theory this bolsters our contention that what we are seeing are natural cycles in climate.

    For the warmists this should be encouraging because it suggests that the Arctic ice cap is not disappearing as they feared.

    However, I doubt that this will be given much coverage at all and instead will we continue to be bombarded with inaccurate predictions of doom.

    Still, for me, this is good news.

  27. So much for there not being any ice in five years. Now lets see if the refreeze moves along quickly as it did last year.

    How about all that talk about the thin ice melting. Turns out that the ice was thicker than last years.

  28. Well, I predicted 5.1M at RC right after the 15 experts NOAA asked ranged to a high of 5.0M. So I guess to my shame I’ll have to be lumped with the warmists, as I was still low! :)

  29. IF, (please note the word IF), the annual arctic sea ice continues to increase, will AGWers:

    a. breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their beloved Arctic will not fall victim to climate change?

    Or

    b. will they be angry because they were wrong?

  30. rbateman (06:24:53) : “The DMI Explorer shows today’s temp to be several degrees Kelvin cooler than this day in 2008.”

    Isn’t this the instrument that has drifted south? So were the locations the same?

  31. JamesG (02:01:52) :
    Will this make everyone happier and more optimistic about the future?
    ———————————–

    I think not. There are many out there with careers and paychecks linked to saving the Arctic ice. Perversely, they BS about saving the ice but, in reality, they desperately want it to disappear. I suspect that those people are more pessimistic about their future.

  32. It strikes me as a little odd that y’all are taking this minimum so much in stride–sure, it’s higher than the last two years, but only four years ago ice extent this low would have been–and, well, was–startlingly low. Have our standards moved so far, so quickly, that what was an unprecedented meltdown in 2005 is now somehow good news? Take a look at this in context: the following data is for August, not September, but it’s still very relevant.

    The little upturn on the right side of the graph is our current “recovery;” note that we’ve had similar “recoveries” in the past–1990-1992, for example–that still did pretty much nothing to the overall downward trend. Just…keep that in mind, to those of you who haven’t noticed this, and apologies for insulting your intelligence, those of you have.

  33. Its time again to recall the now famous words of former Cousteau quill-master, commenter Jeez, who in 2008 posted this marvelous description at ClimateAudit (should be read with an empathetic french accent)-

    “The baby ice is lost, confused, but will find its way home.

    Seemingly plunged into a downward spiral of accelerating destruction, the baby ice cautiously and at the same time playfully relies on instinct, not courage to survive to another season.

    It is this instinct, carved and molded by generations of ice that came before, that protect and sustain the baby ice throughout the treacherous long summer season.

    After beating back the solar onslaught, the now exhausted baby ice crawls slowly towards the safety and comfort of the long winter nights, finally to rest, to heal, to strengthen, and thus to perpetuate nature’s glorious ice dance of the seasons.”

  34. “Have our standards moved so far, so quickly, that what was an unprecedented meltdown in 2005 is now somehow good news? ”

    Very much so, since it is rock solid proof that ‘runaway melting’ of the arctic was and is childish tosh.

    The healthy recovery represents a strong indicator that the concept of a ‘trend’ in climatology is intrinsically flawed and that any apparent ‘trends’ are simply part of a larger cycle/drunkards walk.

  35. Go baby ice, Go!!!

    It turns out that the “thin, weak, salty” baby ice is actualy strong.
    Imagine that, the Ice experts underestimated the baby ice’s strong will to live!!

  36. Boudu: for me this is not good news. This is further proof that any global warming that might be or have been occurring is limited and is reversing.

    What’s not to like about a warmer planet??

  37. Similar profile to 2008 but with a less radical time constant and clearly a higher minimum that it’s asymptotic to.

  38. “Have our standards moved so far, so quickly, that what was an unprecedented meltdown in 2005 is now somehow good news?”

    Actually, this is the new “standard” in arctic ice reporting:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/08/09/tech/main5228298.shtml

    Aug. 9, 2009
    Vast Expanses of Arctic Ice Melt in Summer
    Scientists Watch for Possible Record Low of Polar Ice Cap

    (AP) The Arctic Ocean has given up tens of thousands more square miles of ice on Sunday in a relentless summer of melt, with scientists watching through satellite eyes for a possible record low polar ice cap.

    __

    The new “standard” is for government scientists to make ridiculous claims in the media and then not take responsibility for their claims when they don’t pan out. Please let me know when the AP or CBS publishes an “Arctic Ice Extext Higher Than Expected” news item. Maybe they’ll even cover the rapid refreeze this November, December – or the peak ice extent in March [cue crickets chirping…]

  39. Tyler (05:33:16)
    “Well, it’s happening again. What are we going to say this time?”
    Great irony!

    Bill W

  40. Boudu (06:13:39) :

    It will be interesting to note the reaction of the main stream media to what is undoubtedly good news, whatever side of the debate you are on.

    I would submit that it is inappropriate to refer to them as the Main Stream Media any more. If you look at the readership or viewership numbers for the former mainstream media, like ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and the major papers like the New Your Times, they no longer have a legitimate claim for being mainstream in any sense.

    Their coverage of major events have been so spotty and defective for so long that the viewer/readers have been abandoning ship as fast as they can load the life boats for several years.

    Based on their market share, FOX is the mainstream media right now along with the web blogs like this one. The others have devolved into niche media that cater to an ever smaller audience and we should not give them credit for being movers and shakers in their field when they have obviously lost their way and are themselves in a death spiral melt down of their own.

    Perhaps it would be more appropriate to refer to them as the “old line media”, or the “elite media”, or some other term that proper captures the fact that they are no longer journalistic benchmarks, and power players in their field but have made themselves into laughing stocks and caricatures not unlike the grocery store scandal sheet news papers like the National Enquirer. In fact they no longer qualify as “media” in my view, but rather entertainment and comedy outlets.

    That said the DMI Daily Mean Temperatures North of 80 degree North data :
    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

    Has gone into a nearly vertical free fall the last few days, so If I was inclined to make a wager it would be that refreeze this year will be as dramatic as last year.

    Larry

  41. Russia already has quite a fleet of nuclear powered icebreaker ships with more being added for the expressed intent to open shipping between Western Europe and the Pacific. Despite news coverage, the recent “historic” Arctic transit of two commercial ships really had nothing to do with global warming but with a focused effort to get foreign currency by operating a virtual ‘Arctic canal’. Enabling tourist cruises to the north pole looks to be lucrative as well.

    http://www.nti.org/db/nisprofs/russia/naval/civilian/icebrkrs.htm

  42. “sure, it’s higher than the last two years, but only four years ago ice extent this low would have been–and, well, was–startlingly low.”

    FWIW, the 2009 maximum extent in March/April was well above average. (The maximum isn’t as reliable as the minimum–but it’s not nothing, either.)

  43. Standby for deafening silence from MSM and RC types…or, more likely headlines along the theme of “3rd/4th lowest ice in recorded history” spin.

    Can you just imagine the screaming hysteria that would be being bandied about if the last two years had seen a reduction of ~500,000 sqkm per year…

    Cheers

    Mark.

  44. With some luck it will cut the 2005 ice extend the next two weeks.
    It will be interesting to watch the speed of the refreeze and the temperatures this season.
    Anyhow, it’s nice to know there is nothing wrong with our world and all is well within
    normal parameters, including the Arctic.

    Even the current Solar Minimum is nothing special.
    According to scientists the sun spends 20% of the time “inactive”.

    We have to be patient to see if the solar minimum is going to effect global temperatures because it takes about five to six years for the effects to kick in.

    Eye witness reports from the times of the Maunder and Dalton Minimum report Northern Light events observed over London and Central Europe and even Crete, extreme weather events, droughts, hail storms and extreme winters.
    The big question is what mechanism caused all of this and what part of the events could be described to the frequent volcanic eruptions that took place during these times.

    This is quite a nice read about the subject and it’s available for free:
    “The Maunder Minimum and the variable sun-earth connection”
    By Willie Soon, Steven H. Yaskell
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=HfdG-HPiBdMC&pg=PA33&lpg=PA33&dq=weather+during+the+maunder+minimum&source=bl&ots=LcJ3R1P0E9&sig=ZvwHQEIP-suygtWe1rcSKvKQqE8&hl=en&ei=guKuSseMOoGangOerqm5BQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4#v=onepage&q=weather%20during%20the%20maunder%20minimum&f=false
    14 09 2009

    The fact that the sun does not show any sunspots does not mean that there is no activity.

    Spaceweather today reports the following:
    SOLAR ACTIVITY: Today, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is monitoring an enormous prominence on the sun’s southeastern limb. Behold three hours of fiery action:
    The prominence has been growing for more than a day. As it towers higher and higher above the surface of the sun, the odds increase that it will erupt and come crashing down–a must-see. Readers, if you have a solar telescope, train your optics on the sun’s southeastern limb.

  45. Sandy (07:54:24) : “…any apparent ‘trends’ are simply part of a larger cycle/drunkards walk.”

    Izzat wha’ my ol’ buddy Aaal Gore means when he saysh we’re headin’ fer a tippling point?

  46. Juraj V. (02:21:42) :

    AMO index for August is out, being 0.205. Looks like it is going down now, possibly going neutral/negative around winter time like it did last winter. European folks, get your snow blowers ready.
    To compare:

  47. There were two previous low points in September, one on the 3rd and one on the 7th. In each case there was more ice on the following day, but the ice diminished again after that. Whether the 13th is indeed the bottom for the year remains to be seen. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. I’ll stick with my tradition of only making after-casts.

  48. Ron de Haan (08:30:39) :
    SOLAR ACTIVITY: Today, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is monitoring an enormous prominence on the sun’s southeastern limb. Behold three hours of fiery action
    If there are no WATTS around nothing will happend :-)

  49. Wow… 20,000 km^2 would correspond to a freezing speed of about 5.89 km/h if it was a cube… that is about the speed of a walking person.

  50. It has been adjusted UPWARDS another 7,000 so we had a 27,000 gain yesterday. Looks like I missed my prediction by a day. I had predicted September 8 for the minimum on another blog.

    But we are seeing a continued recovery from the 2007 wind-driven anomaly. There is also the possibility of a recovery of a different sort.

    If the period 1979 to present (the period over which we have satellite data) represents a time of warm PDO and if we have slipped into a longer term cool PDO phase, we could recover beyond the 1979 to 2000 mean in a few years time. In other words, 1979 to 2000 might represent the mean during a warm PDO and might not be the mean over an entire PDO cycle. 30 years is simply not enough data when we have muti-decadal cycles at work.

  51. More of the new “standard” in arctic ice reporting, from the AP and none other than Mark “the arctic is screaming” Serreze:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090911/ap_on_re_eu/eu_germany_arctic_passage

    2 German cargo ships pass through ‘Arctic Passage’

    By MATT MOORE and SETH BORENSTEIN, Associated Press Writers Matt Moore And Seth Borenstein, Associated Press Writers Fri Sep 11, 2:35 pm ET

    FRANKFURT Two German merchant ships have traversed the fabled Northeast Passage after global warming and melting ice opened a route from South Korea along Russia’s Arctic coast to Siberia.

    “We are seeing an expression of climate change here,” said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. “The Arctic is warming; we’re losing the sea ice cover. The more frequent opening of that Northeast Passage is part of the process we’re seeing.”

    “The Arctic is becoming a blue ocean,” Serreze told The Associated Press.

    For the last few years, including this year, navigator Roald Amundsen’s famous Northwest Passage has been navigable. Then in 2007, the more crucial deep water channel called McClure Strait opened up and now the Northeast Passage, Serreze said. The passage “is the traditional choke point,” Serreze said.

    This year is shaping up to have the third lowest amount of Arctic sea ice on record, just behind the worst year set in 2007 and in 2008. But just because 2009 is slightly up from the past two years, it is not an upward trend or a recovery, Serreze said. It reflects a change in local weather patterns that occurred in August, he said.

    “It’s certainly part of the overall decline of sea ice that we’ve been seeing,” Serreze said.

  52. Mainstream Media? I have come to think of them as “The clowns and monkeys of the Mainstream Media circus.” Just useful as entertainment now, and poor entertainment at that.

  53. I know everyone will be angry at me, but it IS indeed much worse than predicted

    Moreover, the extent is about 300 000 km2 below the linear projection of the decrease based on measurements since 79. So, believe it or not, it will actually make the trend even MORE negative than it was last year. A system where the derivative continuously decreases can be qualified as “accelerating”.

    REPLY: To be fair, at what point will that reverse if we keep having rebounds like the last two years? – A

  54. Hotrod,

    Click over and check out the arctic temperatures during last year’s re-freeze. In fact it looks like the air temperatures in the autumn of 2008 had quite a number of peaks that were “warmer” than average (though well below freezing.)

  55. Hotrod,

    Click over and check out the arctic temperatures during last year’s re-freeze. In fact it looks like the air temperatures in the autumn of 2008 had quite a number of peaks that were “warmer” than average (though well below freezing.)

    This did not seem to slow down last year’s re-freeze at all. WUWT?

    If this year’s arctic temperatures continue colder than last year’s, I wonder if the re-freeze will be faster.

    It would be interesting to read a well-written article describing all the factors that go into the speed-of-re-freeze.

  56. Ron de Haan (08:30:39) :

    Don’t get your hopes up too much, Ron.
    That “Prominence” is the old 1024 region that re-started Sept 9th, and rotated off Sept. 11
    see here:

    It could get snuffed before it shows up on the SOHO.

    I would have a current CEIT image for today, but there is a 3-day delay (at least) in the release of EUVI 171 and 284 images from STEREO.
    I have contacted Joe Gurman at NASA about it, and am awaiting a reply.

  57. I enjoy watching the ice, but I often wonder…if the ice cap disappears in the summer, so what? What cataclysmic event will happen? Science shows on discover channel clearly show the arctic was ice free for millions of years at a time dozens of times through the planets history (of course the disclaimer that this time it is because of man is always added).

    The only downside I can see from an ice free arctic is that huge quantities of energy get sucked out of the ocean and lost to space, accelerating global cooling.

  58. From the JAXA graph it almost looks like the 2009 bottom is very close to 2005, but the finer plot with the uptick shows 2005 still quite a bit above 2009.

    As to Flanagan’s comment on the possibility of a rapid refreeze; my recollection is that in 2008 when the refreeze started, it grew back at around 58,000 squ km per day for some 10 day’ss traight; maybe that was 2007 after the disastrous minimum and maybe it was 58,000 squ mi/day.

    But more to the point, I would expect the refreeze to proceed rapidly, seems par for the course to me.

    Take a look at the high arctic temperature plot; which is now in free fall and maybe at about -7 C right now.

    So consider the ocean water temperature dropping below zero, but not freezing, since the freezing point of normal sea water of about 3.5% salinity, is around -2.5C. Once freezing does start at around -2.5 C, the segregation coefficient forces the salts out of the forming ice, into the boundary layer between the solid and the liquid, forming a briny soup, which can also become entrapped in voids in the ice which is essentially fresh water ice.
    The increased salinity of this boundary layer of brine, forces the freezing point even lower, so the freezing process is inhibited by the increasing salinity, which keeps moving the temperature target. But as we see, the local temperature is now dropping quite rapidly so the atmosphere over the (fresh) ice is now much colder than ice, and the now frozen ice, can also start to drop in temperature, losing heat to the atmosphere.
    Eventually the temperature gradient between the plummeting air temperature, and the slower falling freezing point of the briny boundary layer has increased significantly and the water temperature has fallen to where even the salinity of the brine can no longer delay freezing. At that point freezing can progress with a much steeper temperature gradient to suck the heat out of the ocean water.

    I would conjecture that if there existed in the same area, a large fresh water lake, the freezing would start at a higher air temperature, and the temperature gradient between the air and the freezing lake water, would never reach the level it does with salt water.

    So the delay of the freezing caused by the salinity drop in freezing point, results in a bigger driving temperature gradient over sea water; so once the freezing dows get underway, it is almost regenerative, and proceeds rapidly.

    Given how low the temperatures can go in that area, I would expect the temperature gradient to ultimately reach the same value over fresh and salt water.

    Well like I say, it is a conjecture; but I believe that the rapid refreeze is quite normal for the arctic ocean.

    George

  59. Juraj V. (02:21:42) :

    AMO index for August is out, being 0.205. Looks like it is going down now, possibly going neutral/negative around winter time like it did last winter. European folks, get your snow blowers ready.

    I’ve got enough firewood and candles and recently invested just under £6,500 ($10,000US) in a Land Rover. Forward planning!

  60. Roger Knights (08:19:33) :
    “sure, it’s higher than the last two years, but only four years ago ice extent this low would have been–and, well, was–startlingly low.”

    FWIW, the 2009 maximum extent in March/April was well above average. (The maximum isn’t as reliable as the minimum–but it’s not nothing, either.)

    Wait, it was? http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20090330_Figure2.png This doesn’t look very above average to me, although since I’m not too familiar with sea ice maxima, and whether or not they’ve been decreasing over time along with minima, I’ve no clue whether or not that’s significant. I really need to look into that…

    Sandy (07:54:24) :
    “Have our standards moved so far, so quickly, that what was an unprecedented meltdown in 2005 is now somehow good news? ”

    Very much so, since it is rock solid proof that ‘runaway melting’ of the arctic was and is childish tosh.

    The healthy recovery represents a strong indicator that the concept of a ‘trend’ in climatology is intrinsically flawed and that any apparent ‘trends’ are simply part of a larger cycle/drunkards walk.

    I’m at a risk of misunderstanding you, I think. The “recovery” this year, in area at least, is still far below the average minimum sea ice extent–and isn’t really distinguishable from any other “recoveries” in the past that ended up being nothing more than brief blips in a continued downward slope. I can’t see any reason why this “recovery” will end up being any different, or why it means that the downward slope in sea ice extent that’s been going on for the past three thirty years is about to cease. That’s my interpretation. What mistake am I making?

  61. @ Ronan (10:55:55) :

    I think, Ronan, that you may be at risk of misunderstanding everything and the mistake that you might be making is that you seem to have no idea that arctic ice may be making a serious recovery as we go into an extended period of cooling. I believe that we should wait and see…..

    All the best
    Michael

  62. Ronan (07:38:58) :

    It is not realy fair to compair extents with several years ago. The real indicator is the delta from the previous year. Even if the climat got colder by 1.5C (twice the aleged warming), the arctic sea ice extent would not spontaniously become a record high. It would likely start to get larger and larger each year until is was a record, but not spontaniously in one year.

    The point of this article is to show that the increase year over year for the last two years is very large (largest ever?). Even this does not prove cooling. Just

    In 2007, when the record was set for minimal extent, the “melt” was cause by wind pushing ice out of the Arctic into the Atlantic. Most (or possible all) of the increased loss (“melt”) was not due to increased melting. Similarly, the increases of the last two summers may or may not be related to increased cold. But it does help refute the Warmies “OMFG The arctic is melting; we are all going to die” rants.

  63. MartinGAtkins,

    8830? Geez! Wasn’t there a comparison between Wilkins and Manhattan some months ago? How much times is this 2009 ice buildup compared to Wilkins? Easy 500/14=35 times

    Ecotretas

  64. By clicking on the ‘DMI polar temperature tab’ then loading each year then clicking the back arrow on the browser you get a kind of blink comparator/moving image for temperature changes going back years, very interesting to look at how they vary over the years.
    The 2009 chart seems to be compressed more than the other years though.
    The cyclic nature of polar temperatures shows clearly and you have to wonder at the fuss and alarm when the actual evidence shows little sign of any supposed tipping point.

  65. Flanagan, if the model runs did not predict the actual observations, wouldn’t that tell you that the models are wrong? And if the models are wrong, wouldn’t you be looking at the inputs to see why? So what do you think could be the “why”? What is missing or miscalculated in the models?

  66. Mr. Green Jeans
    I thought the Polar Bears had already all drowned. I saw the Al Gore video and all the ice they tried to climb up onto all breaks in half.
    Thanks
    William

  67. Anthony, it is cheering to see that so many readers corrected your initial phrasing of the 2008 minimum. It reflects how many of your readers pay attention to the numbers rather than blindly accepting the chatter. There are too many readers elsewhere who don’t question what is written… or who aren’t allowed to have their questions published.

  68. Come on people! Don’t count your ice cubes before they freeze! There could still be negative days between now and the end of the season. 2005 and 2007 both had downticks over the next two weeks. 2005’s min was on the 22nd and 2007 on the 24th. We’re near the bottom but maybe not yet. It does look like it’s below the linear trend but above 2008 and all of the projections.

  69. So I post on a snowmobile web site everyday. I have this MMGW argument everday with this group of guys. So now they have once again moved the goal posts on me. Now they are saying the ICE isn’t as think as it used to be. It’s so frustrating!!!

  70. Flanagan,

    Good point (i.e., it was clear and truthful) regarding linear trends (though I don’t agree with the assumption). For example, if 2010 min extent is at the 20 yr average, the linear trend will still be negative. I won’t repeat the arguments made on multiple occasions here regarding the application of linear trends to non-linear systems. But, clear presentation of truthful data regardless of assumption should be applauded.

  71. Since I am in the telecommunications industry where no one, except the Sultan of Brunei*, has enough money to simultaneously replace everything in the installed telecommunications equipment base, we always have to deal with suboptimal/residual/under-performing equipment that remains in the network. This is referred to by the somewhat denigrating term “legacy” equipment.

    I think the companies previously known as the “Mainstream Media” could be referred to in the future as the “Legacy Communications Media.” We could shorthand it to “Lamestream Media.”

    Just a comment apropos of nothing.

    *The Sultan of Brunei ordered a total replacement of ALL of the existing equipment in their public switched telecommunications network. It was amazing to see load after load of equipment being pulled out of the network facilities, some less than 10 years old, and replaced with brand-new equipment. Since all of the old stuff was taken away in dump trucks we created the term “Dump truck Upgrade” to differentiate the process from the more customary piecemeal upgrade.

    Regards to the fellow voyagers on Planet Earth.

    John

  72. I know it’s way up there now, but I just wanted to compliment the post by Tyler (05:33:16). Most entertaining parody :D

  73. OT, but I thought Anthony might get a kick out of this article:
    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=1996351

    “EDMONTON — Activists from the environmental group Greenpeace say they have seized a giant dump truck and shovel at Shell’s Albian Sands open-pit oilsands mine north of Fort McMurray.

    A news release from the group says about 25 protesters from Canada, the U.S. and France entered the mine site at 8 a.m. and blockaded the truck and shovel by chaining together pickup trucks.

    Two groups of activists then scaled the machines and chained themselves down while a third unveiled a giant banner reading: “Tar Sands: Climate Crime.”

  74. Flanagan (09:23:13) :

    To be really fair, your models have been wildly inaccurate, substantially overestimating the minimum extent for some time.

    There’s no way to see a trend in two years of data, so anything else is just conjecture, but to claim that we’re much worse than the models is really a condemnation of the value of those models, not a commentary on climatic conditions.

  75. Since all of the old stuff was taken away in dump trucks we created the term “Dump truck Upgrade” to differentiate the process from the more customary piecemeal upgrade.

    In the networking world, we refer to that as a “forklift” upgrade. That’s when you come in and remove everything wholesale and replace it. That is most often done when someone decides to change equipment vendors or have an old installed base that gone “end of support” with the vendor.

  76. Ronan wrote:

    Roger Knights (08:19:33) :

    “FWIW, the 2009 maximum extent in March/April was well above average. (The maximum isn’t as reliable as the minimum–but it’s not nothing, either.)”

    Wait, it was? http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20090330_Figure2.png This doesn’t look very above average to me ….”

    Oops–What I should have said was, “It’s above the average in the second chart on this thread, for the years 2002 thru 2009.”

  77. To: George E. Smith (10:44:56)

    I strongly doubt that the seawater freezing mechanics are quite as simple as you describe. Water becomes more dense as either salinity increases or temperature drops, so I would expect tiny convection currents to immediately set up underneath the ice, effectively transferring the increased salinity downward and bringing heat upward.

    When you put a cube in a glass of iced tea, you can see clearer melt-water swirling down from its underside. Granted, the temperature difference in the glass is likely greater, but I would expect the principle to hold.

  78. Jason (11:56:15), ice one inch think or one foot thick still reflects sun light with the same albedo as ice 20 feet thick does it not (or pretty darn close)? That is the main worry is it not, that the Sun light will not be reflected and heat up the water melting more ice? Is one year old ice really significantly different than ten year old ice or 5,000,000 year old ice in this regard? All will reflect sun light! Unless of course the laws of physics have changed since I lived in snow bound Edmonton as a youth. As I recall a one inch blanket of snow on the city was just as reflective as when there was five feet. The same goes for the ice sheets that we used to call roads and skating rinks.

  79. Two groups of activists then scaled the machines and chained themselves down while a third unveiled a giant banner reading: “Tar Sands: Climate Crime.”

    I bet if they just ignore them they will decide to unchain themselves in a few days rather than be frozen to the machinery.

    Larry

  80. Frank K. (09:18:21) :

    “More of the new “standard” in arctic ice reporting, from the AP and none other than Mark “the arctic is screaming” Serreze:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090911/ap_on_re_eu/eu_germany_arctic_passage

    2 German cargo ships pass through ‘Arctic Passage’

    By MATT MOORE and SETH BORENSTEIN, Associated Press Writers Matt Moore And Seth Borenstein, Associated Press Writers Fri Sep 11, 2:35 pm ET

    FRANKFURT Two German merchant ships have traversed the fabled Northeast Passage after global warming and melting ice opened a route from South Korea along Russia’s Arctic coast to Siberia.

    “We are seeing an expression of climate change here,” said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. “The Arctic is warming; we’re losing the sea ice cover. The more frequent opening of that Northeast Passage is part of the process we’re seeing.”

    “The Arctic is becoming a blue ocean,” Serreze told The Associated Press.

    For the last few years, including this year, navigator Roald Amundsen’s famous Northwest Passage has been navigable. Then in 2007, the more crucial deep water channel called McClure Strait opened up and now the Northeast Passage, Serreze said. The passage “is the traditional choke point,” Serreze said.

    This year is shaping up to have the third lowest amount of Arctic sea ice on record, just behind the worst year set in 2007 and in 2008. But just because 2009 is slightly up from the past two years, it is not an upward trend or a recovery, Serreze said. It reflects a change in local weather patterns that occurred in August, he said.

    “It’s certainly part of the overall decline of sea ice that we’ve been seeing,” Serreze said”.

    We have a rat infestation Frank,
    You will find rats in the Government, the UN, the World Bank, NASA, NOAA and many other places.
    Their plot will kill more people than the bubonic plague and influenza put together and we have to smoke them out whenever we have the chance.

    Fortunately we have the science and nature at our side.

  81. RE: “30 years is simply not enough data when we have muti-decadal cycles at work.”

    Correct, need at least 60 or 70, ideally 100 years, to really get a good sense.

  82. It is still the third lowest in record.

    And we still doesn’t have the THICKNESS data.

    Between 1980 and 2008, 80% OF sea ice VOLUME in summer is gone.

    In winter, 30-40% of the ice VOLUME is gone.

    If the weather conditions were like in 2007, the melting would have been a lot bigger than in that year, because the ice has THINNED a lot in just two years.

  83. *************
    commonsense (14:18:29) :
    It is still the third lowest in record.
    And we still doesn’t have the THICKNESS data.
    **************
    We also don’t know if there are more bubbles in this year’s ice – it could very well be less dense. There also might be less tritiated/deuterated water – that would make a difference, too! And let’s not forget the mass is also increasing due to the more dense gas, CO2 which we know to be rising in concentration.

  84. ” commonsense (14:18:29) :
    And we still doesn’t have the THICKNESS data.
    Between 1980 and 2008, 80% OF sea ice VOLUME in summer is gone.
    In winter, 30-40% of the ice VOLUME is gone.
    If the weather conditions were like in 2007, the melting would have been a lot bigger than in that year, because the ice has THINNED a lot in just two years.”

    How can you know that the volume has gone if we do not have the thickness data?

  85. How good were the experts in prognosticating?

    We have to define a limit that is the same for everyone. I propose to give each group a wiggle room of ONE HALF MILLION square kilometers.

    That would mean that nobody had a correct prognosis even in August (they estimated the September mean, not the September minimum). But maybe we will have another dip as in 2005.

  86. Flanagan (09:23:13) :
    I know everyone will be angry at me, but it IS indeed much worse than predicted

    Moreover, the extent is about 300 000 km2 below the linear projection of the decrease based on measurements since 79.

    … and who says the trend has to be linear?

    Models say the projections are linear.

    Nature shows periodic trends.

    Models —> Epic Fail.

  87. “”” commonsense (14:18:29) :

    It is still the third lowest in record. “””

    Gee that record goes all the way back to 1997 I believe; which I seem to recall, was not at all typical; in fact 1997 was just about the greatest amount of sea ice in all of recorded history; just check from 1997 to 2009, and I doubt you will find a higher sea ice pileup than happened in that disastrous year of 1997; there was so much sea ice, thousands of Walrusses got crushed against the rocks in Alaska, threatening this endangered species with extinction.

    In any case I believe the record of 2007 shows that in fact much of that missing sea ice got blown by the great storms of 2007 into the north Pacific, and north Atlantic, where currents took it south to tropical waters where it melted. So it wasn’t really an “Arctic” ice melt was it; and what they call “sea ice” is actually up to 85% open water, so it is no sweat for winds to drive the small chunks of ice all over the place, and out of the arctic basin.

    Now given that the earth has been cooling ever since about 1995, and for all of the 21st century at least; that would in the normal scheme of things mean less evaporation and precipitation (and California droughts); so there would be a lot less precipitation of snow up there on that arctic ocean ice; and that would contribute (negatively) to the lack of build up of the ice mass, even if it is of greater extent. And remember that a greater surface ice extent, means less open ocean water to sbaorb sunlight so it would naturally cool more with more surface area; so ocean surface coverage is far more important than volume. The atmosphere over the sea ice, is quite oblivious to the ice thickness and mass; so acreage is where the action is.

    George

    PS and yes you can check the records of the Alaskan Crabbing Industry out of Dutch Harbor, for the heavy losses of that stormy 2007 summer/fall season.

  88. “”” MikeW (12:53:53) :

    To: George E. Smith (10:44:56)

    I strongly doubt that the seawater freezing mechanics are quite as simple as you describe. Water becomes more dense as either salinity increases or temperature drops, so I would expect tiny convection currents to immediately set up underneath the ice, effectively transferring the increased salinity downward and bringing heat upward.

    When you put a cube in a glass of iced tea, you can see clearer melt-water swirling down from its underside. Granted, the temperature difference in the glass is likely greater, but I would expect the principle to hold. “””

    I don’t believe I implied anywhere in my post, that seawater freezing mechanics were that simple; in fact as much as anybody posting on this site, I have constantly affirmed that the reality of this planet is simply far too complex for us to explain; so please don’t infer, something I did not imply.

    And your ice cube in iced tea image doesn’t wash. In your example, the water is warmer than the ice, warm enough to melt it and set up the convection you obseve.

    In the arctic ocean the sea water is colder than the floating ice, and the principal heat loss is to the atmosphere above, so the heat flow is upwards, and not downwards as in your iced tea picture. Then it is well knbown that the briny interface layer persists, and indeed gets trapped in voids in the ice; and the shrimp (kril just love that briny invironment right at the ice underside.

    I don’t doubt that over time the salts are convected out of the interface region as you suggest; they better or else the reaction would come to a screeching halt.

    In a physical reaction such as a phase change, it must be possible to bring the reagants to the reaction interface, and also remove the reaction products (effluent) from the interface, or the reaction dynamics will stop. In this case the products of the freezing reaction, are the expelled salts, that must be removed from the interface to let the reaction (freezing) continue (a consequence of Le Chatalier’s Principle).

    But don’t get me wrong; I’ll be the first to admit, that my explanation is simpler than reality. As Einstein said; in science theories must be as simple as possible; but no simpler.

    I will await your more detailed in depth analysis of the arctic ice freezing process; I can always stand to learn something new.

    George

  89. commonsense (14:18:29) :

    It is still the third lowest in record.

    Third lowest in Satellite based record — meaningless in the the grand scheme of things. It is like saying I made less money on Wednesday than any day this week.

    The average person who does not watch this sort of thing will assume that 3rd lowest on record is from some time series that goes back 50 -150 years. That phraseology without qualification is a classic example of intentional misrepresentation by omission.

    Larry

  90. Addendum.

    Fresh water (without salts) however is more dense than ice, at least up to 4 deg C temperature, so putting an ice cube in fresh water or iced tea, will melt some of the ice, forming a boundary layer that is warmer than zero deg C, and is therfore less dense than the warmer water, so it will convect upwards and only when it reaches about 4 deg C will it be denser than the surrounding water, and start to sink, so the water will cool down as it gives up latent heat to the melting ice, till it cools to around +4 and sinks to the bottom, so the water will eventually be at about 4 deg C from top to bottom, and only then will the upper layers start to cool down below 4 deg C,a nd they cool down from teh bottom up, because of the density convection in fresh water.

    That process doesn’t happen in salt water, which if greater than 2.47% salinity, has no maximum density before the freezing point; and on average sea water is 3.5% salinity, so it never has a maximum density.

    George

  91. we still haven’t seen evidence that climate change would even be considered some kind of normal thing. there is no doubt that industrial pollution affects the weather, but obviously this post proves that no data is consistent one way or the other.

  92. And in the mean time, from the other graph, the temperature in the Arctic is really dropping down… we might get a really early winter boys and girls. At the same time last year it was warmer…

  93. Based on the early onset of climatic autumn in a number of NH locations, an early onset of winter is a distinct possibility.

  94. As much as I like to think that cooling has commenced, note that Cryosphere
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/
    shows a slight up tic in the NH and a similar down tic in the SH. This almost always reverses itself in a few days.

    Remember, if the Earth has warmed (and it has…) the excess heat has to be rejected, and most will go out thru the Arctic.

  95. If this item is correct you will be amused. Illustrates and documents some of the scam about Arctic ice.

    First image is
    “The significance of the picture is that it was taken in 1984 when the 20,000-dwt ship made the first of several shipments of pipes from Japan to the Ob’ estuary via the “impossible” Northeast passage. It was following exactly the same route, to exactly the same destination as the much-lauded Beluga Fraternity and Beluga Foresight. Furthermore, the ship made the journey without an icebreaker escort.”

    Beware strong language on the web site, a four letter word some do not like, nothing I can do about that.

    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2009/09/pictures-tell-story.html

  96. lace wigs (15:41:55) :

    You haven’t seen any evidence pointing to natural variability?

    You haven’t seen any of the ‘science’ blaming man for the warming to be shown wrong?

  97. Flanagan (09:23:13) :

    I know everyone will be angry at me, but it IS indeed much worse than predicted

    Moreover, the extent is about 300 000 km2 below the linear projection of the decrease based on measurements since 79. So, believe it or not, it will actually make the trend even MORE negative than it was last year. A system where the derivative continuously decreases can be qualified as “accelerating”.

    It’s a good thing the models were not making predictions of profit – or else their authors would be out of a job.

    At what point will you have sufficient understanding of the natural forces operating on the arctic ice extent to actually make reliable predictions?

  98. “”” Jim in Florida (15:52:57) :

    As much as I like to think that cooling has commenced, note that Cryosphere
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/
    shows a slight up tic in the NH and a similar down tic in the SH. This almost always reverses itself in a few days.

    Remember, if the Earth has warmed (and it has…) the excess heat has to be rejected, and most will go out thru the Arctic. “””

    Actually I would think very little of that excess heat will go out through the arctic. The equatorial tropical deserts are as much as ten times more efficient at radiating excess heat than are the polar regions, especially Antarctica, whcih can be 12 times lower than the mid day deserts.

    The polar regions are not where the earth is losing heat.

    George

  99. Some of the changes in Arctic Sea Ice this year according to JAXA sea ice data:

    First week January – lowest for the 8 years.
    End of January – in the middle of the pack again.
    Early May – highest in 8 years.
    Early July – melting fast and back to middle of pack.
    Middle July – melting fast and second only to 2007.
    Mid September – heading back towards the middle of the pack again.
    November 2009 – 8 year record low? 8 year record high? Middle of pack again? You tell me….

  100. Robert Wykoff (10:35:48) :

    The only downside I can see from an ice free arctic is that huge quantities of energy get sucked out of the ocean and lost to space, accelerating global cooling.

    My hypothesis is that the ice is one of the thermostats of the Earth. Receding when we get too warm & advancing when we get too cool. Ice is a good insulator.

    DaveE.

  101. MikeW (12:53:53) :

    To: George E. Smith (10:44:56)

    I strongly doubt that the seawater freezing mechanics are quite as simple as you describe. Water becomes more dense as either salinity increases or temperature drops, so I would expect tiny convection currents to immediately set up underneath the ice, effectively transferring the increased salinity downward and bringing heat upward.

    Except you failed to not that water is at its most dense about +4ºC, that’s how we know the temperature at the ocean bed.

    This gives us a paradox…

    Water above the bed must be both above and below ~4ºC

    DaveE.

  102. “My hypothesis is that the ice is one of the thermostats of the Earth. Receding when we get too warm & advancing when we get too cool. Ice is a good insulator.”

    Like it lots. The poles receive heat obliquely from the sun but radiate away normally, so ice-free poles are losing an awful lot more heat than nice cold ice-caps.
    I guess a fairly major equator to pole ocean current would be needed to keep the poles ice-free (supply all the heat to radiate away) so one can see how continental drift causes ice-caps.

  103. Some always use Month to talk about trends and records. “Compare January 08 to January 05 and I can prove [fill in the blank]!” But when did the Earth care what month it was in? The Earth can adjust forwards or backwards without regard to date. The Earth does not know date. And it only gives passing acknowledgment to seasons. There are other ways to more accurately describe the passing of time, and that has to do with the degree of tilt relative to the Sun. Even then, if one were to compare conditions at the exact moment that the same degree of tilt occurred over time, one would be impressed by the degree to which weather does not care about tilt. It does not know tilt.

    This is why I heartily approve of the way in which the El Nino data set is reported. They have determined that overlapping averages across three months’ time is a more realistic representation of trends and takes into account that the Earth does not know date and weather does not know tilt. I agree. Maybe all such CO2/climate/weather/cryosphere data should be so presented. Meaning that we would be talking about averages in this way: JFM, FMA, MAM, AMJ, MJJ, JJA, JAS, ASN, SND, NDJ, DJF, JFM. It seems to me that if the hypothesis that oceanic conditions are the true driver of both weather and climate changes, it would be worth examining data sets by using the same way of averaging across time.

  104. Tyler (05:33:16) :

    Brilliantly funny and well-written post.

    You should be a screen writer. Your audience would be rather limited as to getting the esoteric humor.

    That does not mean its not funny. I would watch it!

    You hit the nail on that head…and did so in a very blankety blank creative way.

    Thanks for that. Combining good science with a sense of humor…that’s what I’m talking about.

    Cheers, mate.

    CHRIS
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  105. kingtekno (18:52:39):

    “So is Al Gore wrong, or right?”

    He’s wrong about almost everything. Just like Elmer Gantry was.

    But Elmer Gantry made it rain!

  106. JAXA Sept 15th preliminary Arctic sea ice extent = 5,287,500 (and the final figure is larger almost all the time). It’s risen almost 38k. That’s a substantial 2-day rise but don’t get cocky kid.

    In 2003 the Sept 11th figure was 6,041,250. By Sept 13th it had risen to 6,180,313. That’s almost 140k up. But the minimum was 6,032,031on Sept 18th.

    We’ve probably seen this year’s min but don’t bank on it.

  107. Interestingly, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska’s weather is starting to shift to colder and snowier.

    Forecast here: http://www.intellicast.com/Local/Weather.aspx?location=USAK0197

    I also noticed last Fall that Prudhoe Bay’s weather turned wintry right when the Arctic sea ice started its seasonal increase. Not long after, snowy weather started hitting the U.S. with early snow in MT and WY and in the Great Lakes.

    The peaks of Breckenridge Ski Resort and surrounding peaks have been getting dustings of snow recently, and Mt. Lincoln and Mt. Bross, two 14ers in Park County, CO picked up a good 3-4 inches of fresh last night.

  108. GLOBAL WARMING IS A MYTH. FOR POLITICAL GAIN. DONT BE FOOLED. THIS IS A NATURAL CYCLE WE ARE EXPERIENCING. BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN WE SHOULDNT KEEP THE EARTH CLEAN AS POSSIBLE AND FIND ‘RE-NEW-ABLE’ ENERGY SOURCES IF THEY PAN OUT IN THE POCKETBOOK. ALL THE DATE PROJECTIONS ARRE ALSO FALSE REMEMBER ‘GARBAGE-IN-GARBAGE-OUT’

  109. Hi again,

    so yes the models clearly underestimated the Arctic sea ice loss – though they are not linear, contrary to what some say. The linear projections is more a “guide to the eye”, a reference if you like to see whether the trend is grossly speaking increasing or decreasing.

    As Anthony points out, it would be interesting to push this trend a few years in front of us (not too long of course, it’s a linear approximation) to see what the extents should be to make it less negative. The linear trend projected 5.65 this year I believe, so it should be around that.

  110. It may be the case that Beluga Fortitude and Beluga Fraternity are the first German merchant ships to transit the Northeast Passage but they are not the first German vessels to do so. The armed raider Komet passed through from West to East in August/September 1940 with, as in the present instance, assistance from Soviet icebreakers: not Soviet this time of course.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_auxiliary_cruiser_Komet

  111. DaveE (18:30:32) :
    MikeW (12:53:53) :

    “To: George E. Smith (10:44:56)

    I strongly doubt that the seawater freezing mechanics are quite as simple as you describe. Water becomes more dense as either salinity increases or temperature drops, so I would expect tiny convection currents to immediately set up underneath the ice, effectively transferring the increased salinity downward and bringing heat upward.”

    Except you failed to not that water is at its most dense about +4ºC, that’s how we know the temperature at the ocean bed.

    That’s only true for freshwater, saltwater has a maximum density at its freezing point (which depends on salinity).

    “As the ocean temperature nears the freezing point, the water density increases and the water sinks. Warmer water that replaces it must also be cooled, so more than just the ocean surface needs to reach the freezing point. Once ice begins to grow, it acts as an insulator between the ocean and atmosphere. Heat from the ocean must be conducted, or pass through, the sea ice before being emitted to the atmosphere. Ice growth slows as the ice thickens because it takes longer for the water below the ice to reach the freezing point.”

    From: http://nsidc.org/seaice/processes/thermodynamic_growth.html

  112. “”” Phil. (09:32:41) :

    DaveE (18:30:32) :
    MikeW (12:53:53) :

    “To: George E. Smith (10:44:56)

    I strongly doubt that the seawater freezing mechanics are quite as simple as you describe. That’s only true for freshwater, saltwater has a maximum density at its freezing point (which depends on salinity).
    >>> <<<
    “As the ocean temperature nears the freezing point, the water density increases and the water sinks. Warmer water that replaces it must also be cooled, so more than just the ocean surface needs to reach the freezing point. Once ice begins to grow, it acts as an insulator between the ocean and atmosphere. Heat from the ocean must be conducted, or pass through, the sea ice before being emitted to the atmosphere. Ice growth slows as the ice thickens because it takes longer for the water below the ice to reach the freezing point.”

    From: http://nsidc.org/seaice/processes/thermodynamic_growth.html """

    I have no disagreement with ANY of that; BUT it seems to me to be not the point. It certainly relates to the process of ice thickening; but not to the more important point of surface coverage increasing.

    The increase in surface coverage, must be mainly due to totally new ice forming on open water, and surface extansion at the perimeter of existing pieces of ice.

    In other words, the processes that I have been alluding to, and offering as (possible) mechanisms, apply strictly to the interface between the very water surface, and the atmosphere, so there isn't any insulating ice layer in the regions where my postulated process is occurring.

    The atmosphere at the surface must be cold enough to suck energy out of the water by conduction, as radiation would have to be a minor cooling process, nad it would be easier for new surface ice to form attached to the perimeter of an existing ice floe.

    A colleague who spent a great deal of time in those waters courtesy of the US NAvy's underwater fleet, and subsequently as an oceanographer (Scripps educated) working for an oil exploration company; describes the process, as being one where large expanses of open water suddenly become very mushy; as he describes it open water could disappear in minutes; but then just as quickly the mush vanishes, only to reappear, and eventually persist.

    This to me, would be the period, when the evicted salts, are resisting the freeze by lowering the interface freezing point.

    So what he describes having watched happen on numerous occasions, is not like a front moving acroiss a surface, but a large area of surface suddenly change its phase. The period of instability before the freeze takes hold, he suggested was somewhat dependent on the degree of surface wave action; calmer water was less finicky about freezing.

    But yes once the surface water is replaced by ice, and pushed above sea level by its buoyancy, then the impediments to thickening you mention would come into play. I was only talking about the appearance of ice out of nowhere, rather than mass increasing once ice is present.

    George

  113. So I just looked at Phil’s NSIDC link, and it is clear they are talking about the growth of existing ice; and not the nucleation of new ice, out of nowhere.

    All that stuff about the density increasing, and the water sinking to be replaced by warmer; for sure all of that has to happen; but that all takes place BEFORE the freeze starts. But at some point you will have surface water temperatures of -1.8 deg C (their number) at which point water of that particular salinity can freeze RIGHT AT THE SURFACE, where it connects to the coolest thing around which is the atmosphere.

    George

  114. “”” DaveE (18:30:32) :

    MikeW (12:53:53) :

    To: George E. Smith (10:44:56)

    I strongly doubt that the seawater freezing mechanics are quite as simple as you describe. Water becomes more dense as either salinity increases or temperature drops, so I would expect tiny convection currents to immediately set up underneath the ice, effectively transferring the increased salinity downward and bringing heat upward.

    Except you failed to not that water is at its most dense about +4ºC, that’s how we know the temperature at the ocean bed.

    This gives us a paradox…

    Water above the bed must be both above and below ~4ºC

    DaveE. “””

    I would think that by now, readers of WUWT, would have thoroughly worked out of their system, this 4 deg C maximum density of pure H2O.

    That results in the remarkable process of lake turn over; but it doesn’t happen in typical oceanic waters which never have a maximum density point short of their freezing temperature. I have a graph somewhere that someone referred me to, that shows water at about 2.47% salinity freezing at around -2.5 deg C which is its maximum density point also, so less than 2.47% gives a maximum density point, but typical oceanic water is supposed to be around 3.5%.

    Now NSIDC says typically -1.8 C for sea ice formation, so there is some discrepancy on actual numbers; makes you wonder why such fundamental things weren’t thoroughly researched in the very early days of oceanography, so that the data was in every 8th grade science text book, instead of requiringf a PhD in Googling to locate behind some paywall.

    George

  115. One of my concerns is that we only have such data back to 1978. That’s a very short period of time over which to analyze the data against other potential influences of a natural origin, such as TSI & sunspot cycles/length, ocean oscillations, and so on.

  116. Now NSIDC says typically -1.8 C for sea ice formation, so there is some discrepancy on actual numbers; makes you wonder why such fundamental things weren’t thoroughly researched in the very early days of oceanography, so that the data was in every 8th grade science text book, instead of requiringf a PhD in Googling to locate behind some paywall.

    It can be found here for free George.
    http://nsidc.org/seaice/intro.html
    http://nsidc.org/seaice/processes/index.html

  117. Measuring sea ice by satellite is like counting angels on ther head of a pin–

    http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=globalwarming&action=display&thread=346&page=114#30005

    “States: Passive microwave underestimates sea ice concentrations by an average of 25% in summer (but the underestimate can be more than this) and 5-10% in winter. …. its mostly all in one direction.
    (Met Office, Hadley Centre)”

    http://ioc3.unesco.org/oopc/meetings/oopc-9/presentations/monPM/Rayner_OOPC9_pr.pdf


    also–with the now slowed down Gulf stream
    no longer delivering much heat to the arctic–

    http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=globalwarming&thread=772&page=5#29831

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/09/090910-sea-levels-rise.html

    17 mil square kil of winter sea ice
    seems likely to occur but
    will never be reported by warmers
    on their morphing, falacious graphs.

    Big glaciers and big bergs coming.

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