New weekly feature: WUWT Sea Ice News

There’s a lot of interest in the blogosphere in sea ice, and the leading authority, NSIDC, only updates one a month. Yet when we reach things like peak ice, or minimum ice, we often find those occur at times when there’s no input from that organization, or others for that matter. So every week, we’ll offer a summary of sea ice news. Of course if something interesting happens, like the Arctic Sea ice line from NSIDC crosses the normal line, we’ll cover that when it happens.

This new feature gives readers a chance to submit artwork to be used as a header graphic if they wish. For example, the Quote of the Week graphic was provided by WUWT reader “Boudu”. If you have graphical skills and ideas, feel free to post them up to tinypic.com or photobucket etc and provide a link in comments below. – Anthony


WUWT Sea Ice News by Steven Goddard

Al Gore calls it global warming.  Bill Clinton calls it springtime.  Others call it a death spiral, tipping point, or point of no return.  Whatever you call it, the Arctic has started to melt and has lost about a million km2 of ice since the peak.  The NSIDC graph below does not hide the decline.

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

I just measured today’s NSIDC sea ice.  It has passed the median line, though would require several similar days to appear in their moving average graph.

The image below shows where ice has melted and grown during the past 12 days.  Areas in red have declined, and areas in green have increased in extent.

The decline in Bering Sea ice is due to much warmer air that has arrived this week.  The sea of Okhotsk remains very cold and has gained some ice near the north end.

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/fnl/sfctmpmer_01a.fnl.anim.html

Sea ice remains nearly one million km2 ahead of 2007, and the map below shows where ice has gained and been lost relative to 2007.  Green is growth, red is decline.

The map below shows areas of excess and deficient ice relative to the median.   Green shows excess ice and red shows deficient.  As of today, there is more excess ice than deficient ice.  NSIDC uses a moving average, so it would take several days of similar conditions for it to show up in their graphs.

Five years ago, Steve Connor at The Independent feared that the Arctic had “irreversibly” “tipped” “past the point of no return”, but now it looks like the reports of the Arctic’s death were exaggerated.

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nandheeswaran jothi

But, you are not going to see any mention of that in the brain-dead MSM

TFN Johnson

Let’s have a weekly update on the sunspot situation as well. The sun has been spotless for a few days, but a weekly update of a graph of cycle 24 compared to others in history would be useful.

Richard Sharpe

Luboš Motl points out this page:
http://www.campaigncc.org/node/384
where the anti-skeptics are organizing …
However, two can play at that game.

Douglas DC

Now how will a high latitude volcanic eruption play into this? we are going to find out..

Joe Bastardi predicts a big melt this year. That’s my feeling too.
http://www.accuweather.com/world-bastardi-europe-blog.asp?partner=accuweather
(see THURSDAY 6 PM)

Doug in Seattle

nandheeswaran jothi (09:38:15) :
But, you are not going to see any mention of that in the brain-dead MSM

The MSM is waiting for the official word from NSIDC, which we all know will only report on loss.
Expect their announcement to focus on the seasonal melt as though it were something “unprecedented”, like “It’s worse than we thought, we’ve lost over a million km2 of ice since the beginning of April”.

Richard Sharpe (09:46:03) :
Seems like it should be “septic alerts.”
Can you imagine anyone signing up to spend their time desperately trying to keep bad news alive? That could probably be described as a form of mental illness.

Your maps show ice in the Baltic south of the Danish islands. I doubt there is any by now. Detailed sat image of Denmark doesn’t how any….

Steve M.

TFN Johnson (09:45:45) :
Let’s have a weekly update on the sunspot situation as well. The sun has been spotless for a few days, but a weekly update of a graph of cycle 24 compared to others in history would be useful.
Leif does have some of this already.
http://www.leif.org/research/TSI-SORCE-2008-now.png
http://www.leif.org/research/F107%20at%20Minima%201954%20and%202008.png

Rick K

Anthony, Steve,
Great stuff. Clear, straight-forward and to the point.
If the media types could/would simply copy and paste your Sea Ice News into their rags, their publications might be worth more than fish-wrap.
This is what is so confounding to me. The information is there… it’s available for all to see. You just have to open your eyes!
Thanks again to you, your contributors and mods for making WUWT a great place to learn and stay light-years ahead of those simply will not see or report on climate just as it is.

Douglas DC (09:48:55) :
If the wind reverses and the ash falls on Arctic ice, it could produce a lot of melting by lowering the albedo. I flew over western Greenland after the big melt summer of 2007, and the ice was extremely dirty with soot – or something similar.

Leif Svalgaard (10:04:32) :
All images are generated from NSIDC maps. If there is ice on the maps, it is because NSIDC reports it.
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_daily_extent.png

Amino Acids in Meteorites

So every week, we’ll offer a summary of sea ice news.
I like it!
Who’s the real leader for Arctic Ice? WattsUpWithThat! That’s who!

Steve M. (10:06:17) :
Leif does have some of this already.
This plot shows cycle 24 in context of the previous three cycles:
http://www.leif.org/research/Active%20Region%20Count.png
The data plotted is what I call the ‘Active Region Count’, ARC. It is almost the same as the international sunspot number, in fact ARC is close to 3 * SSN. My definition of ARC is this:
“A count of days in each full month the region [if given a NOAA number] was visible, [and no more than 70 degrees from central meridian] and then summed for every region. Yearly smoothed values are also shown as the smoother curves. Different cycles are coded with a different color. The detailed figures show the transitions between cycles.”
The vertical cyan line goes through the ‘real minima’ where the count of the new cycle overtakes the count of the old cycle. It is interesting to look at the slope of the ascent. You can clearly see that it was large for SC22, a bit smaller for SC23, and smallest for SC24, indicating the expected strengths of the cycles [this is called Waldmeier’s law].
Now that SC24 has begun, I’ll update the graph once a week.

Stephan

Then cycle 24 page is the best

R. Gates

Thanks for this update Steve. Very helpful.
I think it is also helpful when putting things in perspective to talk about what is really happening with the different areas you should point out for example that the big March “bump upward” which was caused by a short-term cold snap affecting primarily the Bering sea and created very thin ice that was only 4 to 12 inches thick, and just as quickly melted with the passage of the first few warm fronts, as shown in this graph:
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.2.html
To suggest that the arctic sea ice is still not in peril is misleading. Certainly, the prediction made in Dec. 2007, by only one scientist, that the arctic would be ice free by 2013, was extreme, but prior to 2007, the AGW models were suggesting that arctic would be ice free in the summers by 2100, but now the range in more in the 2030 range. The point being, that predictions of sea ice made off of one month’s data, or one year, or even two or three years, is bound to be wrong. The longest reliable data we have is about 30 years, and the downward longer trend is quite clear, despite the recovery of 2008-2009, which I personally feel had many factors involved, not the least of which were La Nina and more importantly, the very long and deep solar minimum.
Finally, in your summaries, you probably ought to get as much sea ice mass information in them as well. Sea ice mass critical, as the thickness of the ice is so important in determining how fast it will be melting when the June, July, and August melting really gets underway. There is a great deal of very thin ice in many regions of the arctic after the warm winter in these regions, and I believe it will melt very fast this summer, and I stick to my prediction that the summer minimum will be less than 2008 or 2009, but not quite as low as 2007. I also believe, again based on long term charts and sea ice mass, that we will see a new summer low before 2015, and I think an ice free summer by 2030 is quite within the range of possibility. My only caveat is, and always has been the eruption of a Pinatubo level volcano, and certainly the Eyjafjallajokull eruption is not nearly that big yet, but if the nearby Katla volcano wakes up (as it has the last three times Eyjafjallajokull erupted)…then things could get interesting for sure…

TFN Johnson

Thanx, Steve M. But I’d like rather more explanation. Lief can be rather too technical for the average reader…..

And Antarctic Sea Ice Extent is currently slightly below “average”:
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/S_stddev_timeseries.png
These must be confusing days for the rapid sea ice decline crowd…

Amino Acids in Meteorites

Joe Bastardi in 6 minute video from his blog on Arctic Ice and total sea ice:
“…..you can’t say if something is near normal that it’s, you know, in the tank and rapidly disappearing…..”
http://www.accuweather.com/video/76961658001/more-fun-with-sea-ice.asp?channel=vblog_bastardi
video that he mentions of him debating on The Colbert Report:
http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/269929/april-06-2010/science-catfight—joe-bastardi-vs–brenda-ekwurzel

I think this is an overkill. I am just waiting for the minimum ice extent in September. That is the only number which really matters. Last year, Environment Canada started it’s weekly reports of ice in the Canadian Arctic, which are quite interesting, on 14th May. http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/app/WsvPageDsp.cfm?Id=11886&Lang=eng. So there is not that much longer to wait.

Rhys Jaggar

It’d be really interesting Anthony to see the 31 year satellite record plotted in a number of ways to see if there are any clear patterns of ice extent oscillations, be that in total extent, local changes etc etc.
Does anyone do that or is the data series still too short to show anything up?

MartinGAtkins

The decline in Bering Sea ice is due to much warmer air that has arrived this week.
The Bering sea is showing some resilience to air temps.
http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/sst/ophi/color_anomaly_NPS_ophi0.png

Frederick Michael

For solar activity, this is useful:
http://www.solen.info/solar/images/solar.gif
I’d guess that the top curve (measured solar flux) would be the one to watch if you like the “chilling stars” theory.

TFN Johnson

Thanx Leif: GR8, just what I need.

latitude

“To suggest that the arctic sea ice is still not in peril is misleading”
Keeping in mind that the climate is never static, can’t be static, shouldn’t be static……..
….if it was, we would not be here.
Never in the history of man, that I’m aware of, has a good thing been portrayed as such a catastrophe.

D. King

stevengoddard (10:03:38) :
Can you imagine anyone signing up to spend their time desperately trying to keep bad news alive? That could probably be described as a form of mental illness.
Evolutionary responses to adversity. The fight / flight response is
like a drug to some. They like to have the crap scared out of them
and others, for the high, and observe the collective response. The
ones that scare me are the sociopaths that never experience the
feeling, but use the fear response to manipulate others.

Blinkers


And Antarctic Sea Ice Extent is currently slightly below “average”:
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/S_stddev_timeseries.png
These must be confusing days for the rapid sea ice decline crowd…”
Not really, take a look at the medium term picture.
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.arctic.png

Blinkers (11:25:29),
Let’s look at the global picture, since your graph is cherry-picking: click

Stephan

R. Gates “and more importantly, the very long and deep solar minimum” This is a completely contradiction of the AGW hypothesis that the sun has NO effect on climate or ice. Or have you/they changed your/their minds now? Thanks keep it up your really helping my skeptic agenda with such lucid info

The climate is getting rather boring these days. There used to be a time it required a science degree to understand why the science was wrong and a degree & years of experience in weather instrumentation to understand why the temperature was wrong.
Now anyone can just look at the graphs and see for themselves.

Daniel M

Why are we stuck using the NSIDC graph’s 1979-2000 average? What would the 1989-2009 average look like in comparison to current ice levels? My guess is that we would now be far beyond the average.
But why stop there? Why are we stuck with the 1970-2000 average used virtually across the board for global temperature anomaly? How about 1980-2009? My guess is that such a graph would better reflect the lack of significant warming over the last decade.

Stephan

Also I’m sure R Gates knows much more than R Spencer anyway..
http://exponent.uah.edu/?p=2565 LOL

R. Gates

latitude said:
“To suggest that the arctic sea ice is still not in peril is misleading”
Keeping in mind that the climate is never static, can’t be static, shouldn’t be static……..
….if it was, we would not be here.
Never in the history of man, that I’m aware of, has a good thing been portrayed as such a catastrophe.
————
All quite true. Change is the only constant, and though I happen to think that AGWT is likely correct, I really haven’t even given thought to whether it would be good or bad to have an ice free arctic. Perhaps there would be positives and negatives for humans and other species. Taken as a whole, I think warmth is better than cold (agreeing with Willis et. al on this point at least).
When I say the arctic sea ice is “in peril”, I only mean the ice itself as existing. I didn’t say the arctic ecosystem, for if the ice is gone, the arctic ecosystem will change and adapt to the warmth, and like in all changes, some species will vanish and others will flourish. Most the species that have ever existed on this planet no longer exist– all mainly because of some form of climate change. The only difference this time of course could be that human activity will cause the change. Assuming we’re around 50,000 years from now, when the next Milankovitch cycle would bring about the advance of glaciers, we’d probably be glad for a every bit of CO2 that we could muster into the atmosphere…but by that time, we’d probably be so proficient at terraforming and geoengineering that we’d have no problem mitigating even the worst of the next glacial period.

Blinkers (11:25:29) :
“Not really, take a look at the medium term picture.”
How about the big picture, i.e. Global Sea Ice Area:
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg
Looks quite average…

ShrNfr

With a reasonable knowledge that the data is not going to be any good, the best interval to average over would be the 60 year AMO cycle. If nothing else, it would rub people’s noses in the fact that it exists, and that it effects the northern polar ice extent.

John Blake

AS WUWT has pointed out, Arctic sea-ice “extent” is a misleading measure compared to sea-ice area. “Extent” depicts sea-ice borders, emphasizing northerly contraction or southerly expansion– but such borders ignore borderlines’ interior. The extreme case would be where sea-ice bounds surrounded an ice-free Arctic Ocean, so that wide extent corresponded to radically reduced area.
Gradations of this impossible extreme should thus significantly differentiate sea-ice area from extent. Due to coastline irregularities and other factors, geologic Area is a far more objective and reliable measure than Extent. A historical table setting one measure beside the other, registering proportional differences, would be a useful comparative exercise.

R. Gates

Stephan said :
R. Gates “and more importantly, the very long and deep solar minimum” This is a completely contradiction of the AGW hypothesis that the sun has NO effect on climate or ice. Or have you/they changed your/their minds now? Thanks keep it up your really helping my skeptic agenda with such lucid info.
———
Stephan, do you know anything at all about any of the AGW models, or are you just talking from what you’ve read on blogs or heard of Faux News? The effects of solar cycles has long been taken into account in AGW models, and even can be reflected quite nicely in graphs such as this, charting solar cycles versus global temps;
http://www.climate4you.com/Sun.htm#Global temperature and sunspot number
AGW models never have excluded the effects of the sun, either in the shorter term, such as the 11 year solar cycle, or the longer term, in such things as the Milankovitch cycles. The primary focus of the research has been to dissect out the signal of antropogenic green house gases from the rest of the climate influences, both long and short term. In addition to the solar cycles there are so many other natural variables such as ENSO, PDO, AMO, volcanic activity, GCR’s, and on and on. All these natural fluctuations, lasting over the longer term and the shorter term are put into the models, along with increasing GHG concentrations.
It is so naive and just plain misleading to think that something as obvious as solar cycles are not part of the models, and completely a mistatement to say that AGW models don’t account for any influence from solar cycles…they do, but treat it as noise on top of a much stronger influence from GHG concentrations.
Think of it this way:
Milankovitch cycles work over very long term (10,000-100,000 years with a very strong climate effect)
Green House gases work over the medium term (20-1000+ years with a strong climate effect)
PDO, AMO, etc. work over years to decades (10-20 years with moderate climate effect)
Solar cycles, volanoes, ENSO work over years (1-11 years with weak to moderate climate effect)

rbateman

data selected from
http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/plot.csv
Sea Ice for April 17th: – Sept. minimum:
04,17,2003,13535313 – 09,18,2003,6032031
04,17,2004,12879531 – 09,11,2004,5784688
04,17,2005,13111563 – 09,22,2005,5315156
04,17,2006,12997813 – 09,14,2006,5781719
04,17,2007,12954063 – 09,24,2007,4254531
04,17,2008,13378906 – 09,09,2008,4707813
04,17,2009,13601094 – 09,13,2009,5249844
04,17,2010,13766406 – ?
At this stage, the outlook is promising for more recovery.
Survey say awaits September.

Keith .

Well, I won’t claim to be a professional artist or Graphic Designer, but I tried something simple. Let me know if you like it, Anthony.
http://i40.tinypic.com/160y3vc.jpg

Daniel M (11:40:50) :
Why are we stuck using the NSIDC graph’s 1979-2000 average? What would the 1989-2009 average look like in comparison to current ice levels? My guess is that we would now be far beyond the average.

Really, beware what you wish for:
http://iup.physik.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/ice_ext_n.png
http://iup.physik.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/ice_ext_s.png

DeNihilist

R. Gates, I find follwing this chart gives me about 5 days advance notice as to what the N. seaice will be like. It is starting to head “south” again, so I would expect the extent coverage to gain a bit once more.
http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

HaroldW

Stephan (11:38:09) :
R. Gates “and more importantly, the very long and deep solar minimum” This is a completely contradiction of the AGW hypothesis that the sun has NO effect on climate or ice.
Stephan –
Let’s not over-simplify the arguments here. I don’t think it’s a common view among those favoring AGW that the sun has no effect on climate. I think a more accurate representation is that the solar variation over the last ~30 years is near trend-less, and is insufficient to account for the increase in global temperature over that interval. See e.g. http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2008/08/reference-graphs-total-solar-irradiance.html
It’s important to make one’s best efforts to represent fairly any opposing arguments. Straw men — on either side of the fence — don’t help the discussion.

nandheeswaran jothi

In the light of that big belch from iceland, any stabilization and improvement of ice extent this summer will be tagged as ” inspite the death spiral, there is a temporary relief due to the volcanic explosion “. So, the AGW crowd gets 1 or more years of reprieve…. atleast in the MSM and all these moronic Govt types

Al Gored

stevengoddard (10:03:38) wrote: “Can you imagine anyone signing up to spend their time desperately trying to keep bad news alive? That could probably be described as a form of mental illness.”
They do it on Wall Street all the time. They do it for profits from shorting.
Same basic thing here, but the goal is both power and money.
And of course there is basic human factors that D. King (11:20:45) just alluded to. Strengthens the ‘us v them’ group bonding and curtails that bothersome rational thinking that stands in the way of sheep herding.
Summed up in the question: why are doomsday cults so popular?
Back OT, these updates are going to be great for judging the weekly doomsday stories that will come from the MSM’s ice cap fixation, even though focusing so closely on short term variations is one of the roots of the whole problem here. But since that is what the AGW gang does this provides needed ammunition.
Thanks!

Sea ice remains nearly one million km2 ahead of 2007
As has been mentioned many times before it’s not just the extent that counts, here’s a comparison with Western Arctic ice between 2007 and today.
http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/www_archive//AOI_10/Charts/sc_a10_20070423_WIS56SD.gif
http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/prods/WIS56SD/20100412180000_WIS56SD_0004918592.gif
The NW Passage shows significantly less old ice and there seems to be a good chance of the northern route opening this year.

R. Gates (10:36:41) :
…but prior to 2007, the AGW models were suggesting that arctic would be ice free in the summers by 2100, but now the range in more in the 2030 range.
Is that due to a change in the models, a change in the observations, or a panic effort to help push Cap ‘n’ Trade?

Ralph P.

TFN Johnson
The sun has been spotless for a few days, but a weekly update of a graph of cycle 24 compared to others in history would be useful.
This is the best site for an accurate comparison of historical cycles as it adjusts for the fact that historical readings were made using a small refractor telescope projected onto a piece of paper and not satellite images. The sunspecks not visible from earth are discounted.
http://www.landscheidt.info/?q=node/50
It is looking pretty bad in the real world but the warmists keep trying to big it up.

Anu

Last year, at the end of April, the Arctic sea ice extent was even closer to the 1979-2000 average than it is likely to be at the end of April this year:
http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20090804_Figure2.png
The ice then went on to the 3rd smallest summer minimum extent in the 30 year satellite record:
http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20091005_Figure2.png
If the end of April sees less ice than last year, do you really think the summer minimum will be more ice than last year? Do you have some 5 month weather forecast?

kim

Ah, ease up, A; it’s rough on him that the poles are so disobedient.
==================

Curiousgeorge

Not news, but just a pic, you might be able to use. USS Burton Island, exploring the Arctic around 1957. Family photo. http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j155/43gm94l/History/Navy/burtonisland.jpg