By Steve Goddard
This summer we have had confirmation that Arctic ice behaviour has everything to do with wind. During June, winds were circulating clockwise in an inwards spiral, which caused ice extent to diminish and ice concentration to remain high. Around July 1, the patterns reversed and we have seen counterclockwise winds pushing ice away from the pole. As a result, ice area/extent has scarcely changed and instead we see a gradual decline in average ice thickness. The video below shows June/July ice movement and thickness.
The graph below shows changes in ice thickness during summer over the last five years. Based on past behaviour, we can expect the average ice thickness to flatten sometime in the next two weeks. It should bottom out somewhere between 2006 and 2009. NSIDC has warned me that PIPS is not an accurate measure of ice thickness, though I would have to say it has done remarkably well as a predictor of this summer’s behavior. As you can see below, 2010 is following a track similar to 2006.
As you can see below, we have reached the midpoint of the melt season in the high Arctic, and temperatures have been slightly below normal there for most of the last 55 days. There are only about 40 days left above freezing in the high Arctic.
NCEP is forecasting below normal temperatures in most of the Arctic for the next two weeks.
The sea ice graphs have nearly flatlined since the beginning of the month. DMI’s graph is particularly interesting, since it only measures higher concentration ice, which is less likely to melt through.
Below is a closeup image showing that 2010 extent is now running close to 2006.
The concentration and extent appears quite similar to 20 years ago.
It has been cloudy in the Arctic and you can clearly see the counterclockwise circulation in the satellite IR image below. Clouds are white, ice is red.
The webcams continue to show a little ice on the surface of the meltponds, indicating ongoing below freezing temperatures at the North Pole.
We are at peak melt season, and there just isn’t much happening in the Arctic. The Arctic Oscillation has turned slightly positive in July, which tends to keep cold air contained in the Arctic and out of lower latitudes.
The modified NSIDC map below shows ice loss (red) and ice gain (green) over the last week. There has been slightly more loss than gain.
The modified NSIDC image below shows ice loss since early April.
The modified NSIDC image below shows the difference between 2010 (green) and 2007 (red.) There is clearly more ice now than in 2007, and this is also shown in the NSIDC extent graph.
Ice has flatlined in the North, while it goes through the roof in the south.
In other words, the widely claimed polar meltdown continues to be nothing more than bad fiction.