By Steve Goddard
July 4, 2010. Celebrating independence from traditional sources of polar ice news.
Last week we discussed the importance of wind in determining the summer minimum. In 2007, the winds blew consistently from the south and compacted the ice towards the North Pole. This led to a tremendous amount of news coverage claiming that the Arctic was heating and melting. In fact – the spring and summer of 2007 was slightly cooler than normal for about half of the melt period north of 80°N, according to DMI (below)
Around mid-June of this year, the winds in the Arctic set up in a similar pattern – spiraling inwards and pulling the ice away from the coast. This led to an early decline in ice extent inside the Arctic Basin.
Towards the end of June, this pattern reversed and now the winds are circulating counter clockwise – pushing the ice towards the coasts. As a result, there has been very little change in extent inside the Arctic Basin over the last week.
You can see the changes in extent in the modified NSIDC map below. Areas marked in red show extent loss since June 27, and green shows extent gain.
Most of the ice loss over the last week has been in the Hudson Bay, which nearly melted out a few days ago. As a result of the Hudson Bay being depleted of ice and the changes in wind, we have seen the JAXA and DMI graphs take a break in slope.
Since July 1, there has been almost no ice loss in the Arctic Basin, as seen in the modified NSIDC image below.
The video below shows the wind and ice patterns over the last two weeks, culminating in a strong counterclockwise flow.
The modified NSIDC image below show differences between 2010 and 2007. NSIDC still shows 2007 ahead of 2010, but the differences are mainly in the Hudson Bay and other areas that normally have little or no ice in September. In the Arctic interior 2010 has more ice (green.)
Last week I made the forecast below for the remainder of the summer.
The image below shows current JAXA in pink vs. my forecast. So far, the forecast is right on track.
Temperatures north of 80N have been running slightly below normal for several weeks. The summer melt season is nearly half over. There are less than 60 days remaining of possible melt in the high Arctic.
Temperatures in Barrow have also been running below normal. It appears quite possible that the landfast ice breakup date at Point Barrow will beat the record for the latest ever (July 10.)
Meanwhile down south, as Anthony pointed out, Antarctic sea ice is at a record high for the date.
Global sea ice is close normal.
So what do the experts tell us?
The Arctic Ocean could be free of ice in the summer as soon as 2010 or 2015 – something that hasn’t happened for more than a million years, according to a leading polar researcher….The frightening models we didn’t even dare to talk about before are now proving to be true,” Fortier told CanWest News Service,
The North Pole has become an island for the first time in human history.
Hopefully Lewis Pugh is waxing up his kayak to take advantage of the clear paddling to the North Pole next month.
On this July 4th, we celebrate the freedom provided by the Internet to propagate the accurate information which governments apparently don’t want us to know.