By Steve Goddard
The Catlin Arctic Survey arrived at the North Pole this week.
Described as three of ‘the world’s toughest’ explorers, Ann Daniels, Charlie Paton and Martin Hartley reached the Geographic North Pole at on 12th May, ending a grueling 60-day trek across the floating sea ice of the Arctic Ocean…They made it with only hours to spare before a Twin Otter plane was scheduled to land on the ice to collect them.
Congratulations to them on completing a difficult journey against the Beaufort Gyre. They can now compare their Oceanic pH data vs. the non-existent database from past years, and predictably conclude that pH might be lower than it used to be – due to CO2.
The spring melt season continues to eat away at the periphery of the ice pack. The animation below (made from Cryosphere Today images) shows the changes since the first of the month.
As you can see, not much has changed during the last two weeks. The image below, made from NSIDC images, shows areas of anomalously high extent in green, and anomalously low extent in red.
As in past weeks there is excess ice in the Bering Sea and Sea of Okhotsk, and a deficiency in the Barents Sea – which are all always ice free during the summer anyway.
To keep the death spiral in perspective, the image below (made from Cryosphere Today images) compares mid-September 30% concentration ice from the years 2009 and 1990. Red shows areas of ice loss since 1990 and green shows areas of ice gain. I’m guessing that the Arctic will probably not be ice free by 2013, as predicted by researchers at the Naval Post-Graduate School.
The image below shows mid-September ice gain from 2007-2009 in green, and loss in red.
There continues to be a significant divergence in the extent graphs. Norsex in red is close to the 30 year mean, while NSIDC (blue) DMI (stippled) and JAXA (green) are closer to two standard deviations from the mean. The deficiency is almost entirely located in the Barents Sea, as seen above in Figure 3.
The modified NSIDC image below shows ice loss since early April in red.
The modified NSIDC image below compares April 14 2007 and 2010 ice. Areas in green have gained ice since 2007, and areas in red have lost ice since 2007.
It is still too early in the year to see much interesting. Still about six weeks before significant melting begins in the interior of the Arctic. Stay tuned.