WUWT Arctic Sea Ice News #6

By Steve Goddard

The Arctic is still running well below freezing, and as a result there just isn’t much happening, except for an odd discrepancy that has developed between NSIDC and NORSEX related to the 2007 extent. Read on.

The animation video above (generated from UIUC images) shows the entire month of May to date, and as you can see we have yet to see any melt in the Arctic Basin.

http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

The little melt which has occurred since the winter peak has been at lower latitudes, as can be seen in red in the modified NSIDC map below.

The equivalent map below shows changes over the last week. Melt is proceeding very slowly.

The animation below shows Arctic temperatures over the last month. Note that they have alternated between a little above normal and a little below normal. The video was generated from NOAA maps.

More interesting is what is going at the South Pole. GISS says the South Pole has been cold, while NOAA says the South Pole has been hot.

GISS April Antarctica

NOAA almost always shows the South Pole hot for some reason. Temperatures in Vostok averaged -90F in April and a balmy -85F so far in May. It only needs to warm up another 117 degrees to start Hansen’s Antarctic meltdown.

This time of year there is almost no year over year variation in extent, as can be seen in the DMI graph below.

http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php

What is interesting is that NORSEX shows 2010 extent well above 2007, while NSIDC shows it below 2007.

http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/observation_images/ssmi1_ice_ext.png

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

The four major ice extent indices continue to diverge.

Another interesting observation is that JAXA has changed their graphs. They used to show a weird little bump on June 1 of every year.

JAXA May 2 graph

But that bump has disappeared.

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

I hope the Polar bears aren’t disappointed at the loss of their little June 1 mogul. NSIDC anomalies can be seen below in the modified NSIDC map. The Alaska side has above normal sea ice and the Greenland side has below normal sea ice.

This is a reflection of ocean temperatures, which are below normal in the North Pacific, and above normal near Greenland.

http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.html

We are still about six weeks away from anything interesting happening in the Arctic. Stay tuned.

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etudiant

A simple question: why does arctic sea ice begin to decline well before the mean temperature even comes close to reaching the freezing point? If the charts are correct, ice growth begins almost coincident with the fall of the mean temperature below the freezing point. So why does it not at least hold steady until the mean temperature again exceeds freezing?
Does it indicate that daytime insolation is overwhelming any night time freezing or does it reflect some sort of an expanded erosion due to an annual shift in winds or oceanic currents?

Enneagram

Artic is bipolar now (as many global warmers):
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/AT-GMF.gif

It’s worst then we thought the divergence continues!
Luke Skywarmer

mb

Interesting. It seems that on 3 indices out of 4 the ice extent is now lower than on the same day in the extreme year 2007. Does that mean that we hold the record for the lowest ice extent ever for todays date?

rbateman

Degrading sensors anyone?

John Egan

Here is what NSIDC’s Mark Serreze is now saying – –
“Could we break another record this year? I think it’s quite possible,” said Mark Serreze of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/arctic-sea-ice-heading-for-new-record-low/article1575212/
That is the same Mark Serreze of the famed “Death Spiral” quote.
I have a question –
If he is proven utterly wrong again and since the agency he supervises is responsible for data collection, not policy goals – – should one call for his resignation after September of 2010? Remember, I am one of the three liberals who come to this website – – but I feel that all federal agencies with the responsibility to collect data should refrain from partisan policy pronouncements – whether Bush’s Labor Department or Hansen’s NASA-GISS.

JK

“Melt is proceeding very slowly.” It seems the rate of melt is about highest ever for this time of year?
“The Arctic is still running well below freezing” From what I understand, isn’t that from a model of mean temps N of 80 lat.?
Looking at some concentration maps, it almost looks like a lot is going on:
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/NEWIMAGES/arctic.seaice.color.000.png

Mike McMillan

I recall that JAXA was going to try to eliminate that bump in the chart where they switch from their dry to their wet ice algorithms. Suppose they “homogenized” the dry numbers with the wet ones?

Alexej Buergin

“mb says:
May 23, 2010 at 11:13 am
Interesting. It seems that on 3 indices out of 4 the ice extent is now lower than on the same day in the extreme year 2007. Does that mean that we hold the record for the lowest ice extent ever for todays date?”
No, see JAXA.

Just wait for R Gates to tell us how pleased he is that the extent is lowering. Me? I think its all nonsense and will wait for the new satellite to give us a better picture of the reality up there.

Grumpy Old Man

Well it looks as if Artic ice is behaving as per normal whatever normal is. Variations are normal – I think. What does this tell us? Well, the warmists are wrong on this one. Maybe next year? Or in a hundred years or a thousand years. Or maybe they’re completely wrong and the next ice age is just around the corner. Now, that would be real climate change but don’t tell Obama. He just couldn’t cope with the perspective shift or whatever fancy words the spin doctors use.

wayne

What is interesting is that NORSEX shows 2010 extent well above 2007, while NSIDC shows it below 2007.
Do you think we just hurt Walt’s feelings?

Brad

What’s up down in the Antarctic?
Nice post.

Leon Brozyna

JAXA has posted an explanation for the change on their website:
http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

[Updated on May 18, 2010] Previous version of data processing had made an erroneous blip of sea ice extent on June 1st and October 15th which was seen in the graph of sea ice extent as a small peak on these dates. We improved the processing to make the graph much smoother. The apparent blip had arisen due to a switching of some parameters in the processing on both dates. The parameter switching is needed because the surface of the Arctic sea-ice becomes wet in summer due to the melting of ice which changes satellite-observed signatures of sea-ice drastically. By this improvement most of the sea ice extent values are not affected at all except for the period of May 20-June 11 and October 8-26 of each year.

All this excitement about melting ice. Did anyone ever check during the MWP on how much sea ice melted during the summer? Did anyone care? They were probably too busy trying to survive. Polar bears seem to have carried on through that era quite nicely. So who’s more intelligent, a polar bear or a WWF activist? Put both out naked on the frozen tundra and my money’s on the polar bear. The activist doesn’t stand a chance against reality; can only score guilt points against his fellow human beings.

Krishna Gans

What I see here let me believe, in 2007 we had a lot less ice than we have today, isn’t-it ?

JDN

The people with the most to lose if the ice doesn’t melt are reporting the most melt. Why didn’t you just say so? I wonder how long they can keep it up.
I am not happy with the lack of access to raw data. All you can get is these highly processed low resolution maps that are useless for checking on the differences of methodology & comparing it to reality. Suppose I wanted 100m resolution raw images and processed maps from NSIDC & JAXA. Where would I get them?

AndyW

There has been ice melt in the Arctic basin if you look at a higher resolution
http://www.iup.physik.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/arctic_AMSRE_nic.png
Also, “The little melt which has occurred since the winter peak” actually is a lot of melt considering the starting and finishing points :-
http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm
from the peak at the start of April to now is the steepest in all years on the JAXA graph. They put the reason for getting rid of the bump, due to correction for surface melt ponds, on the graph page.
Andy

scott

And this today from the NWS:
SXUS76 KMTR 231430
RERMTR
RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SAN FRANCISCO
730 AM PDT SUN MAY 23 2010
…RECORD COLD THIS MORNING AT DOWNTOWN SAN FRANCISCO…
THE TEMPERATURE DROPPED TO 47 DEGREES THIS MORNING AT THE OFFICIAL
DOWNTOWN SAN FRANCISCO WEATHER OBSERVING SITE. THIS TIES THE RECORD
LOW FOR THIS DATE OF 47 DEGREES LAST SET IN 1909.
INTERMITTENT CLIMATE DATA FOR THIS SITE GOES ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE
GOLD RUSH DAYS OF 1849…BUT CONTINUOUS TEMPERATURE RECORDS AND DATA
FOR DOWNTOWN SAN FRANCISCO DIDNT START UNTIL AROUND 1871. HOWEVER
THIS IS ONE OF THE LONGEST RUNNING CLIMATE SITES IN THE WESTERN US.

RayG

This is OT but the idea has a lot of merit so I hope that you will allow it to be posted in this thread where it will be near the front and thus be exposed to more readers. Thanks, RayG
The Chiefio has proposed an interesting “citizen’s audit” a la Donna Laframboise’s citizen’s audit of the citations in AR4. (WUWT readers may already know that her team found that 30% of the cites in AR4 were from the grey or worse “literature.”) His post is titled “An Easy Airport Heat Island Audit?” I am asking WUWT readers to review and comment on the proposed methodology. Given the success that Donna Laframboise’s group enjoyed, the Chiefio’s idea may provide the basis to de-bunking the claims that there is no such thing as an AHI effect making E.M. Smith’s idea worth promoting and pursuing. http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/05/22/an-easy-airport-heat-island-audit/

DeNihilist
pete m

2008 was lower at this point. See graphs 1,2,3 and 5.

rbateman

blackswhitewash.com says:
May 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm
Nonsense is right. Nobody lives up there.
According to the Sacramento Bee, the coldest winter for N. Calif. in 50 years.
Wonder what the ice was doing in the Arctic in 1960?

R. de Haan

Joe Bastardi at his blog states:
“I want to again have my readers understand that I have a big ice melt season predicted with levels below 08 and 09, but it should not go below 07. However a big re-freeze is coming this winter to take us back to where we were, and next year, there will not be near as much ice melt in the summer, and the summer levels that year should be the HIGHEST in a decade”.
His blog is found at the Accu Weather website click Ireland/UK and Joe Bastardi.

commieBob

etudiant:
The ice melts from the bottom up. Very roughly, it takes a certain air temperature to maintain a certain thickness of ice. We used to camp out on the ice starting when the sun came up in March and stay until the ice got too thin to land a DC-3 in May. The ice went from more than six feet to around two feet but you couldn’t tell it from the top of the ice. There was no sign of melting at all. The temperature was still well below freezing. I can remember a beautiful sunny day when the temperature went all the way up to minus 15 F. It was glorious, almost sunbathing weather.

harrywr2

OT
Humans caused global cooling 12,000 years ago by killing methane belching woolly mammoths.
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/05/mammoth-extinction-triggered-climate-cooling/1

Dan J

It looks to me as if NSIDC ice data for the Baltic sea is lagging some weeks behind. Last week they still showed ice on the Gulf of Finland when there in reality was absolutely none. Now they show ice in the bay of Riga, where there is none. The only ice in the Baltic today is in the northernmost gulf of Bothnia. The Baltic has intense shipping all year and ice reports are available in great detail. Google Baltice or Finnish Meteorological Institute for example.
Have no clue why NSDIC seems to exaggerate our ice cover more often than not, this is just an observation from on site…

Chris Thorne

There’s a wild card operating this year, and that is Icelandic volcanism.
My assessment is that low-albedo particulate deposition, be it anthropogenic soot or natural ash, is going to come to be seen as an extremely powerful factor in Arctic ice meltback as we learn more about the cycle. Just as such particulates are now realized to be important in Himalayan glacial recession.
So far, Eyjafjallajökull has sent most of its ash southward, but it’s clear if you look at a map that a fair percentage of the remaining ash is falling out over Arctic ice margins.
If the far larger Katla erupts, and eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull are reliably prodromal for Katla, all bets are off.

rbateman

The SacBee report:
http://www.sacbee.com/2010/05/23/2771182/its-not-your-imagination-coldest.html
Now we’re messing with the brutality of the 1971 cold….and records are dropping.

Philip Marston

Another discrepancy:
I check out the NSIDC extent map and chart every day or so, and what I can’t understand is that the gap between the ice extent shown on the maps (vis a vis the 1979-2000 average they show) appears to have narrowed over May while the gap between the two on the chart has widened progressively. I recognize that my visual ‘take” on the map is hardly an exact scientific measurement, but it seems pretty clear that the gap in extent as shown on the map has not widened by anything like the numbers shown on the chart. Perhaps the gap hasn’t in fact narrowed on the map, but it has most certainly NOT widened. Perhaps the numbers used for the chart are generated by some algorithm that doesn’t just count the number of pixels shown on the ice extent map? Perhaps there is some other explanation. But it you just eyeball the “above average” areas that are coded white and apply them against the “below average” areas that blue, the delta with the overall average has not been increasing sharply the way the delta is presented on the graph.
Has anyone else observed the same thing? or do I need a new set of eyeballs?

artwest

OT:
“Climate change concern declines in poll
Only 62% of Britons interested in subject, down from 80% in 2006, according to YouGov survey”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/may/23/climate-change-interest-yougov-survey
No link to the actual questions but it was commissioned by EDF, a power company who slather every ad break in the UK with nauseating commercials banging on about how “green” they are. Lots of shots of happy families prancing under windmills et. al.
The other major point of the survey though, how people are becoming more relaxed about nuclear power is more potentially self-serving. It may well be true, but EDF, as front-runners for building any new stations are hardly unbiased.
Maybe they are hedging their bets for if/when the whole green power thing stalls.

Low concentration ice in the Arctic Basin is due to shear stresses on the ice. Temperatures are still too cold for any significant melt to be happening.
http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/fnl/sfctmp_01.fnl.gif

Steven Kopits

Flew back from Beijing to New York yesterday, which takes you within about 1,000 miles of the North Pole. Everything looked pretty solidly frozen up in the arctic, at least as much as I could see (there was a lot of cloud cover).
Also, WUWT appears to be blocked in China. I couldn’t raise the website at my hotel, although I was able to access most of those sites I usually visit.

kim

Size matters.
=======

Brad

Answered my own question, Antarctic sea ice extent up:
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.recent.antarctic.png

CRS, Dr.P.H.

He recounts sailing through degraded ice in an icebreaker. The ship’s top speed in open water was 13.7 knots. Its speed through the decayed ice was 13 knots.
“It was almost like it didn’t exist.”
——-
….something tells me that these guys just LOVE crunching through that ice in their icebreakers! If they’d cut that stuff out, maybe the ice could consolidate more? I mean really….Arctic vandalism!
Oh yeah, definitely OT….GO CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS!

DirkH

“harrywr2 says:
May 23, 2010 at 1:13 pm
OT
Humans caused global cooling 12,000 years ago by killing methane belching woolly mammoths.
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/05/mammoth-extinction-triggered-climate-cooling/1

I expected onion style spoof news there but it’s written as if it were “real” research. What am i missing? Is it so that they just get away with anything these days? Is it the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker institution of climate research?

Brad says: May 23, 2010 at 2:32 pm
“Answered my own question, Antarctic sea ice extent up:
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.recent.antarctic.png
You can also see NSIDC’s Antarctic sea ice chart here;
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/S_stddev_timeseries.png
and this is Global Sea Ice Area from Cryosphere Today:
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg

Phil.

The equivalent map below shows changes over the last week. Melt is proceeding very slowly.
But much faster than usual at this time of year, ~70,000 km^2/day during May.
About 1.6x the average of previous May to this date (JAXA) and 1.3x last year’s May.
Philip Marston says:
May 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm
Another discrepancy:
I check out the NSIDC extent map and chart every day or so, and what I can’t understand is that the gap between the ice extent shown on the maps (vis a vis the 1979-2000 average they show) appears to have narrowed over May while the gap between the two on the chart has widened progressively. I recognize that my visual ‘take” on the map is hardly an exact scientific measurement, but it seems pretty clear that the gap in extent as shown on the map has not widened by anything like the numbers shown on the chart. Perhaps the gap hasn’t in fact narrowed on the map, but it has most certainly NOT widened. Perhaps the numbers used for the chart are generated by some algorithm that doesn’t just count the number of pixels shown on the ice extent map?

That map is very low resolution, take a look at the Nares strait between Ellesmere Island and Greenland, according to that map it’s full of ice, however JAXA and CT show it as open water. It is open water and has been for some time just like it was in 2007, allowing multiyear ice to drift south into Baffin bay.
For an image see here:
http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/single.php?2010143/crefl2_143.A2010143112000-2010143112500.500m.jpg
At the top of this image you’ll see a large open water polynya along the Eurasian coast, can’t be seen in lo-res:
http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/single.php?T101431050
Similarly off Barrow, Hudson Bay and Banks Island.
If you want a better idea of where it’s melting look at CT or JAXA.
http://iup.physik.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsredata/asi_daygrid_swath/l1a/n6250/2010/may/asi180-n6250-20100520_nic.png

Chris Thorne says:
May 23, 2010 at 1:18 pm
There’s a wild card operating this year, and that is Icelandic volcanism.
So far the ash has been the sort that clogs up jet engines, not the sort that darkens ice.

Keith W.

Etudiant, much of the Arctic melt is not melt so much as currents and wind pushing the ice out of the Arctic Basin into warmer waters in the North Atlantic.
Ice extent declines because the ice is no longer there. Usually, there are limited egress points for the ice, as the ice is in large enough pieces to block certain straits. In 2007, the ice was broken up enough from the Beaufort Gyre and other currents to pass through areas that in the past have been bottlenecks.

JK

JDN says: “All you can get is these highly processed low resolution maps that are useless for checking on the differences of methodology & comparing it to reality.”
Try the satellite photos, to really eye-ball it:
http://ice-map.appspot.com/
I would like to know what’s up with all the holes along the coasts around the Arctic Basin.

JK

If you go to the satellite photos, pull down the calendar and click on the 23rd, you can see a beautiful clear image of Iceland, and can zoom into it.
http://ice-map.appspot.com/

skye

I am very surprised by this blog post. I don’t know why Steve does not want to admit that the ice extent has dropped below 2007 and that it is tied with 2006. This is according to both the NSIDC and the AMSR-E data from Bremen. AMSR-E is the highest resolution sea ice data out there and provides the most accurate information out of all the other estimates based on SSM/I data (which is what NORSEX and NSIDC
rely on). Steve, why don’t you grab a MODIS image off of the MODIS rapid fire start and compare the ice edge from that to the NSIDC sea ice concentration fields. Or, use the MODIS sea ice extent product archived by NSIDC and compare that with the sea ice concentration fields from all the institutes. What you will find is that the NORSEX algorithm is underestimating the current ice extent.
I am also surprised that you don’t mention the rate of decline and how that compares to previous years.
And Steve you are incorrect that the surface of the ice has not started to melt. You can see this clearly in the sea ice concentration images (low ice concentration implies either open water or melt), and the MODIS images which clearly show melt on the sea ice (note the flooded areas in the MODIS images).
And for the person who asked by NSIDC images show more ice than there actually is, this is common for regions along the coast because of coastal contamination in those pixels. Whether will also sometimes cause the algorithm to “see” ice when in fact there is none.

Phil.

JK says:
May 23, 2010 at 3:30 pm
I would like to know what’s up with all the holes along the coasts around the Arctic Basin.

Polynyas, ice blown off shore replaced with water from under the ice. Much more evident than this time last year, more extensive than 2007 even:
http://iup.physik.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsredata/asi_daygrid_swath/l1a/n6250/2007/may/asi-n6250-20070521-v5_nic.png
http://iup.physik.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsredata/asi_daygrid_swath/l1a/n6250/2010/may/asi180-n6250-20100521_nic.png

jeff brown

Steve wrote: The little melt which has occurred since the winter peak has been at lower latitudes, as can be seen in red in the modified NSIDC map below.
What a strange thing to say. Of course it melts first at lower latitudes, it always does. That is how it works, the temperatures rise at the lower latitudes first and spreads further north as summer progresses and temperatures rise.
Why did you not discuss how quickly the ice has been declining this month? Also, linking to the DMI graph and saying there is little variability at this time of year (while that tends to be true) is deceiving since you are only looking at the years when AMSR-E data have been available. Why not show the full passive microwave time series? Why be selective rather than using all observational data available?

JK

John Egan says:
May 23, 2010 at 11:45 am …
Your post confuses me. Being a liberal, are you upset because he goes along with Mr. Bastardi? “I think it’s quite possible,” said Mark Serreze, making a very tentative statement – maybe because Joe is making a much more solid prediction that we will be very low?
Then again, what does he have to do with either “Bush’s Labor Department or Hansen’s NASA-GISS”?

Bill Illis

You can get a nice clickable mosaic of the whole Arctic from the Modis satellites here. [Click “prev” to get a complete mosaic for the previous day. You can click on and zoom-in on any area (down to 250M resolution) or get the alternative band which shows ice as orange].
http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/subsets/?mosaic=Arctic

NASA’s World Wind 1.4 shows an amazing amount of snow coverage above the 49th parallel in the Northern Hemisphere.
Commensurate with slow ICE loss in the Arctic.
Svensmark WILL be vindicated!

Charlie A

The ice plots have had a couple of weird bumps. Somewhere I read that they are where the processing algorithm is changed each year. Something to do with reflectivity of ponded water on the ice, or something like that. But I thought the June glitch was June 15th, not June 1. The other bump (in October ??) isn’t generally as visible as the June bump.
Perhaps someone with solid knowledge in this area can educate us.
REPLY: These are recalibrations to handle meltwater ponding on the surface of the ice. This confuses the microwave sensor. It is done every year. -A

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

Before someone whips out the terrifying Arctic Ice Volume Anomaly chart that tells THE REAL STORY, please note the following:
Souce page of the chart:

Updates will be generated at 3-5 day intervals.

Home page, “News and Noteworthy” section:

Arctic Sea Ice Volume anomalies and trends from the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS) will be continously updated here at 3-5 day intervals depending on data availability.

The actual chart was last updated May 13, now ten days ago, when it showed a sudden and steep decline. Since then they have missed about 2 to 4 updates per the posted scheduling (which depends on data availability).
So what happened with PIOMAS? Did the model break?