Back on Feb 9th, 2010 WUWT readers polled that Arctic sea ice would be recovering over 2009, by a wide margin of 69.8%. We’ll see how that pans out this year. We did pretty well last year.
As leader of the WUWT “Ice Team”, I’ll ask that when the time comes, that we all scream for the Ice Team that comes closest to predicting the actual the Arctic Sea Ice minimum, then buy the other team a beer.
The next few weeks will be entertaining, perhaps even stressful, as we watch each twist and turn in agonizing slow motion. But, let’s all take it in stride, no matter who “augers in”, may the best team win. 😉
By Steve Goddard
First, thanks to Dr. Walt Meier at NSIDC for taking the time to write up his very informative recent article on WUWT. It is much appreciated. In that article, Dr. Meier made this statement :
As NSIDC states in its most recent post, we’ve expected we may see the rapid decline begin to slow because the melt will soon run into older, thicker ice, which will slow the loss of ice. Steve has said essentially the same thing and indeed we’ve the rate of loss slow over the past few days.
The NSIDC newsletter which Dr. Meier refers to is dated July 6, 2010.
However, it would not be surprising to see the rate of ice loss slow in coming weeks as the melt process starts to encounter thicker, second and third year ice in the central Arctic Ocean. Loss of ice has already slowed in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas due to the tongue of thicker, older ice in the region noted in our April update.
Note that the slowdown actually started a few days before NSIDC published their forecast for it. NSIDC only produces one newsletter per month, so this may just be a matter of timing.
By contrast, my forecast came three days ahead of the slowdown and was very precise.
June 28, 2010 at 10:16 pm
In three days, the slope of the Arctic extent graph will begin to drop off.
Mark it on your calendar.
NSIDC also noted in their July 6 newsletter the possible similarity between 2006 and 2010.
Weather conditions, atmospheric patterns, and cloud cover over the next month will play a major role in determining whether the 2010 sea ice decline tracks at a level similar to 2007, or more like 2006. Although ice extent was greater in June 2007 than June 2006, in July 2007 the ice loss rate accelerated. That fast decline led up to the record low ice extent of September 2007.
By contrast, I clearly noted the similarity to 2006 over six weeks ago – at a time when the extent graphs showed 2010 far below 2006. My observation was made based on PIPS thickness data, which allowed me to make a very early prediction.
Can we find another year with similar ice distribution as 2010? I can see Russian ice in my Windows. Note in the graph below that 2010 is very similar to 2006.
Bookmark this post for reference in September.
June 1, 2006
June 1, 2010
Six weeks later, 2010 extent is very close to 2006 – just as the PIPS data indicated it should be. It is important to note that whether or not PIPS thicknesses have correct absolute values, I am only using it for comparisons relative to other years. The absolute thicknesses are not important – as long as their methodology is consistent from year to year.
Conclusion : The PIPS thickness data has been an extremely good indicator of 2010 Arctic ice conditions. Thanks to reliance on PIPS data, WUWT has been far ahead of the curve in forecasting future 2010 ice conditions.
Coincidence? Not very likely. Theory is fine, but it is difficult to argue with results.