Open Water At The North Pole

by Steven Goddard,

We have been watching temperatures and webcam images closely at the NOAA North Pole drifting weather station this year. Except for a few days in early July, they have looked like the series of images below – snow, ice and clouds. No open leads and little or no surface meltwater.

June 15 (NOAA 2) more images follow…

June 22 (NOAA 2)

July 6 (NOAA 1) Small ponds covered with ice

July 24 (NOAA 2) Small ponds covered with ice

August 2 (NOAA 2) Small ponds covered with ice

This correlates closely with the record cold temperatures this summer north of 80N

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

It hasn’t always been like this. John Daly did an excellent writeup on this topic a few years back. During May of 1987, Navy subs arrived at the North Pole and found lots of open water.

In 1959, the USS Skate surfaced at the North Pole, and reported this :

“the Skate found open water both in the summer and following winter. We surfaced near the North Pole in the winter through thin ice less than 2 feet thick.”

By contrast, the New York Times published this misinformation in 2000 :

The thick ice that has for ages covered the Arctic Ocean at the pole has turned to water, recent visitors there reported yesterday. At least for the time being, an ice-free patch of ocean about a mile wide has opened at the very top of the world, something that has presumably never before been seen by humans and is more evidence that global warming may be real and already affecting climate. The last time scientists can be certain the pole was awash in water was more than 50 million years ago.

This is in sharp contrast to the NYT prediction of an imminent ice free Arctic in 1969

Expert Says Arctic Ocean Will Soon Be an Open Sea”

Almost 200 years ago, the President of the Royal Society wrote this to the admiralty :

“It will without doubt have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated.

(This) affords ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened and give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than they have been for centuries past, and that discoveries may now be made in them not only interesting to the advancement of science but also to the future intercourse of mankind and the commerce of distant nations.”

The image below from September 1, 1996 shows what summer ice typically looks like in the Arctic. Lots of open water between the ice. That is why places like NSIDC report extent as regions which have more than 15% ice concentration. The location below would be considered ice covered by NSIDC.

Sadly, UIUC seems to have “lost” their archive of ice concentration maps. It has been offline for two weeks now, so we can’t use that valuable resource for the time being. I wonder what’s up with that?

Oops! This link appears to be broken.

Two years ago, this news was famously reported :

(CNN) — The North Pole may be briefly ice-free by September as global warming melts away Arctic sea ice, according to scientists from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. “We kind of have an informal betting pool going around in our center and that betting pool is ‘does the North Pole melt out this summer?’ and it may well,” said the center’s senior research scientist, Mark Serreze. It’s a 50-50 bet that the thin Arctic sea ice, which was frozen in autumn, will completely melt away at the geographic North Pole, Serreze said.  The ice retreated to a record level in September when the Northwest Passage, the sea route through the Arctic Ocean, opened briefly for the first time in recorded history. “What we’ve seen through the past few decades is the Arctic sea ice cover is becoming thinner and thinner as the system warms up,” Serreze said….Serreze said it’s “just another indicator of the disappearing Arctic sea ice cover” but that it is happening so soon is “just astounding to me.”

Later in the summer, Mark Serreze reported on WUWT

The north pole issue: Back in June, there was some coverage about the possibility of the North Pole being ice free by the end of this summer. This was based on recognition that the area around the north pole was covered by firstyear ice that tends to be rather thin. Thin ice is the most vulnerable to melting our in summer. I gave it a 50/50 chance. Looks like I’ll lose my own bet and Santa Claus will be safe for another year. There was indeed some coverage a some years back of an open north pole (and I was interviewed). This opening, however, was pretty clearly causes by unusual winds breaking up this ice, and not from melting out.

And yet, in 1959 the US Navy reported ice less than two feet thick at the North Pole. North Pole ice is probably 2-3 times as thick now as it was a half century ago. The Navy knows ice and ice thickness – that is why I trust Navy PIPS over academic models like PIOMAS.

Our global warming friends seem to believe that the Arctic data set began with satellites in 1978, and they appear to have difficulty interpreting even that time period in an objective fashion. Satellites (unfortunately) came on line right at the start a period of warming, after 30 years of cooling temperatures and dire forecasts of an impending ice age.

Video of rising temperatures during the satellite era.

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At a public meeting about climate change, I told a polar explorer about the open water in the Arctic in the last century, and he dismissed this as a myth. Thank you for these hard facts.

Neman J

A simmilar thought occurred to me the other day as news of a small rubber raft being floated between large chunks of ice into the McClure Straight to find the 150 year old wreckage of the HMS Investigator from 1854 that had been sent to find the remains of the Franklin Expedition from 1845. Just how did those big ships get around by sail on all that never before melted ice at the top of the world? Considering the Investigator did indeed sail the NW passage and the Franklin Expedition got at least part way I’d say there is pretty good eveidnce of melt in the mid 1800’s.

AndyW

http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/npole/2007/images/noaa2-2007-0803-064622.jpg
You can see the melt ponds freezing up in that year as well at this time, in fact even more so.
Andy

PJB

Today’s camera 2
http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/latest/noaa2.jpg
Is that ice-covered melt-water or melt-water sitting on ice?
(Obviously not open water as that is a much darker hue.)

Oslo

Off topic:
I wanted to make a humble donation to the Tip Jar, but it seems to have no option for non-US tipsters. How do I go about it?
Reply: Are you sure, the denominations are in dollars, but Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal are international. You’ll just have to choose an amount based on dollars. . I know a lot of anti-American technotypes hate paypal because its US-based, but it works. ~ ctm

AndyW
Exactly. 2007 was a wind compaction event – much more than the melt event it was advertised to be.

PJB
All ice, with some fresh snow or frost on top.

rbateman

Our global warming friends seem to believe that the Arctic data set began with satellites in 1978, and they appear to have difficulty interpreting even that time period in an objective fashion. Satellites (unfortunately) came on line right at the start a period of warming, after 30 years of cooling temperatures and dire forecasts of an impending ice age.
Funny thing, the exact opposite occured in the Antarctic, where 30 years ago they were crying foul over the impending loss of all sea ice. And, doggone it, that darn Antarctic Sea Ice just keeps on trucking ever larger each year. What’s more, the trends are polar opposites until 2007. Then they appear (so far) to be back on the track to convergence.
Joe Bastardi seems to think that the both of them (A+Ant) are now rising.
Joe’s eagle eye never rests. He’s right, because that is what they have been doing the last 3 years.
It’s enough to drive a warmist to drinking.
Send them a AAAA card (A+Ant Aholics Anonymous) for the next meeting.

rbateman

Uh-oh, Anthony (or mods):
-August 3 (NOAA 2) Small ponds covered with ice-
shows the ponds freezing in with new ice.
Gulp.
It’s worse than previously Arctic thought.

So if global temps are rising, and this year is claimed to be the hottest on record, then why doesn’t the Arctic ice seem to know this? Or do El Ninos lead to warmth at lower and middle latitudes, but cooler near the poles?

Spector

I would think that a high pressure cell centered over the North Pole could produce radial dispersive out-flowing winds and compressive dry-rate adiabatic heating of the air as it descends. This combined with 24 hr/day solar illumination might very well produce patches of open water there.

Harry Lu

Please check the littblack “thing” in the background near the yellow cone.
It is move from early on in the sequence. This means there is diconnected ice between foreground and background. Because of the angle you cannot tell the size of the gap.
\Harry

Dan in California

Something is very puzzling. I looked at both NOAA cams and all seems to be boring. But a sister website referenced in these margins (solarcycle24.com) has this still photo from NetCam #2 Tue July 27 00:54:08 2010 UTC clearly showing a submarine.
http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=globalwarming&action=display&thread=1179&page=80
What’s up with that?

kwik

Hey! Who removed the flag???? Its supposed to look like this;
http://www.norsknettskole.no/fag/ressurser/itstud/fuv/kjelltr/images/wistingpolen.jpg

R. de Haan

This is a fine example how to encounter the AGW propaganda machinery.
Thanks for a job well done.

CRS, Dr.P.H.

“Sadly, UIUC seems to have “lost” their archive of ice concentration maps. It has been offline for two weeks now, so we can’t use that valuable resource for the time being. I wonder what’s up with that?”
——-
HA HA HA!! Anthony, my UIUC is flat broke….thanks to the fiscal shenanigans of our various imprisoned/soon-to-be-imprisoned governors, the State of IL owes UI close to $0.5 B!
No telling what happened to the images, but it probably was a typical UIUC goof-up.
Odd, since our Library Science division is supposed to be one of the best in the world.
If I find any lying around, I’ll send them to you Fed-Ex.

James Sexton

Yeh, I bring up the submarines from time to time to our warmista friends, but as noted above, many write it off as a myth. History revision isn’t confined to temp data when it comes to warmistas. It’s good to have the information with pics posted from time to time. Thanks guys!

Anders L.

Maybe you should read about Nansen’s expedition 1893-1896 to learn something about ice in the Arctic.

Ben

“Send them a AAAA card (A+Ant Aholics Anonymous) for the next meeting.”
Did you say ants? Maybe we should all eat them, and save the Earth from Global Warming!
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/aug/01/insects-food-emissions
On the bright side, my dog likes to eat bugs, so I guess that makes him ecologically friendly…

Buz From Topeka

Anthony,
Does this link provide the UIUC data that you were referring to or is this for some other type/level of data?
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/SEAICE/

Dan in California

Sorry, the photo from solarcycle24.com seems to have been photoshopped.
Dan

Billy Liar

AndyW says:
August 3, 2010 at 1:39 pm
http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/npole/2007/images/noaa2-2007-0803-064622.jpg
You can see the melt ponds freezing up in that year as well at this time, in fact even more so.

Good cherry pick! Try this one from the day before:
http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/npole/2007/images/noaa3-2007-0802-220048.jpg
– not much freezing going on there.

Billy Liar

AndyW says:
August 3, 2010 at 1:39 pm
http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/npole/2007/images/noaa2-2007-0803-064622.jpg

In fact studying your picture more closely, I don’t think the ponds there are frozen either.

John from CA

Most of the graphs are returning to the 20 year “norm”.
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.7.html
Arctic Basin graph is interesting.

People who think the ponds aren’t frozen, probably are not very familiar with what frozen ponds look like.
http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/webphotos/noaa2.jpg

Oslo

CTM:
Sorry about that. My fault. Donation has now been made.
Oslo.

Sean Peake

PJB:
Is that ice-covered melt-water or melt-water sitting on ice?
(Obviously not open water as that is a much darker hue.)
—————
To me it looks like wind-driven snow on the surface of the melt water pond.

latitude

Anthony, I think they meant open water in both winter and summer, but they found ice 2 feet thick only that winter.
You said:
“And yet, in 1959 the US Navy reported ice less than two feet thick at the North Pole.”
They said:
“the Skate found open water both in the summer and following winter. We surfaced near the North Pole in the winter through thin ice less than 2 feet thick.”
Maybe that should read:
“And yet, in 1959 the US Navy reported ice less than two feet thick, in the winter, at the North Pole.”

John from CA

correction: returning to the 30 year “norm”.

Buz From Topeka
The missing UIUC link has 30 years of archived images. It just disappeared two weeks ago.

Billy Liar

PJB says:
August 3, 2010 at 1:39 pm
Today’s camera 2
http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/latest/noaa2.jpg
Is that ice-covered melt-water or melt-water sitting on ice?

If you look back at the history of that melt pond it was unfrozen in June but since the beginning of July it has been frozen over and is progressively being covered up by snow. It has snowed several times in July.

Grant Hillemeyer

I think that AGWs should take some photo shop classes. Is that the best you can do? How about a Polar Bear mopping his brow?

pat

responding to TomRude on previous thread, but applicable here as well:
2 Aug: China People’s Daily: Xinhua: Global warming not confirmed to have caused worldwide heat waves
Dr. Alexander Frolov, chief of the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology (Roshydromet), said the high temperature cannot either prove or deny the global warming theory, because meteorology is a statistical science, which requires substantial and coherent data…
Yoshihiro Tchibana, an Earth environmental meteorology professor at Japan’s Mie University, said broiling summers due to anticyclone seem to arrive roughly every 10 years.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency further elaborated on the anticyclone theory. The agency said the westerly wind, which usually rounds the Earth along a oblique route. However, it made an unexpected turn towards the North Pole in early July, leaving much of the middle-latitude zone in the boiling heat.
Shotaro Tanaka, scientific officer at the agency, said besides these hot middle-latitude areas, oceans and underpopulated regions are rather cool, adding that not the entire globe is warming up.
Jay Lawrimore, chief of climate analysis at the federal National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), said El Nino is also behind the scene.
The phenomenon refers to warm ocean current that flows along the Equator from the date line and south off the coast of Ecuador at Christmas time.
Although El Nino has ended this year, it has caused the warm weather in Pacific Equatorial area and abnormal heat worldwide, he said.
Whatever the causes, these experts agree that they should take various meteorological elements into consideration against the backdrop of climate change, so as to draw a comprehensive conclusion.
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90777/90856/7088694.html

kwik

It amaze me that it is big news that there can be big open areas in the ice in the arctic?
From Amundsens attempt to reach the pole;
“The aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing because one had engine damage. It was a close Amundsen expedition managed to survive. It had not reached the pole, but a hole in the ice floes 87 º 43 ‘north -251 km from the pole.”
That was in 1925, with BIG Dornier flying boats.

Grant Hillemeyer

Billy Liar says
http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/npole/2007/images/noaa3-2007-0802-220048.jpg
Kind of a high angle shot compared to all the other N Pole cam shots don’t ya think? Get another with a sub in it!

Oink

In this context i always liked the gore-photoshop version
http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/cc70/tpjdmm/al-gore-r.jpg

jthomas

[snip. Nothing of substance, only insults. ~dbs, mod.]

KPO

Goody, I’ve been itchy to refer to a post made over at RC on the thread entitled “An Icy retreat”. This poor commentator, obviously with much time on his/her hands had this to say “..I recently discovered the North Pole Cam. It’s fascinating beyond belief to me that I can spend a part of my day basically watching the North Pole melt in real time using graphs, animated graphics, and even actual North Pole time lapse footage. It fascinating and frightening that it’s happening, and it’s fascinating that I can watch. 20 years ago it was amazing to watch the first Gulf war in real time. Now it’s the Arctic.” Man I thought, fascination is one thing – but that must be like watching grass grow – or smoking it and then watching it grow. But hey, each to his own.

No open leads and little or no surface meltwater.
Except for the lead that opened up on ~26th May and been there ever since in one form or another.
You can see it well in this animation http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/np2010/cam2-2010.mov
Here’s a still when it’s opened up:
http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/npole/2010/images/noaa2-2010-0725-190000.jpg

D Caldwell

One must understand that energy policy advocacy is a very tough business. Official historical reports and actual observed data regarding Arctic sea ice are not always helpful in supporting their mission. Better to enlist the much more consistent and reliable accounts from the MSM.
An “enlightened” acquaintance of mine is convinced that Arctic sea ice has fully melted out every summer since 2007 and nothing I say can convince her otherwise. I kid you not.

wayne

Why did you not also show this one from today showing the refreezing.
http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/webphotos/noaa2.jpg
(this is a live webcam link and will no longer look the same after 8/03/2010)

Symon

Mr. Goddard,
You can find most of the UUIC data here:-
http://web.archive.org/web/20071016051734/http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/ARCHIVE/
I hope this helps.

Billy Liar

Another point to bear in mind about the North Pole webcam is that it was near the pole some time ago but has now drifted some 150 nautical miles south of the pole heading towards Svalbard. It is at least 100 nautical miles nearer Greenland than it was and will inevitably be experiencing colder conditions if the wind comes from the direction of that enormous lump of ice.

biddyb

I was watching a drama on BBC1 tonight called The Deep about a polar submarine adventure. As the ship headed to the north pole through the melting ice the dialogue was as follows, “This will all be gone in 10 to 15 years”. That’s the good old BBC for you and the right-on producers/script writers etc still plugging away with the same old mantra. Actually, I think the ship was at the north pole at the time. Couldn’t quite follow the crass plot after that, it was all so banal. Sigh.

Tim McHenry

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t all these pics simply indicate that in the last several years the tendency has been for the ice to be compacted instead of dispersed? Since currents and cycles come and go this would all go to show that what we see in the Arctic is not all that significant.
However, for some strange reason, I can’t keep from checking on it most days!!

Spector

I suppose it would be too much to ask for a record of the pressure at the North Pole each year at the summer solstice, perhaps relative to the average pressure around the Arctic Circle…

Gail Combs

Ben says:
August 3, 2010 at 2:22 pm
“Send them a AAAA card (A+Ant Aholics Anonymous) for the next meeting.”
Did you say ants? Maybe we should all eat them, and save the Earth from Global Warming!
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/aug/01/insects-food-emissions
__________________________________________
Only if they are chocolate covered……
Ingredients
100 Live Black Ants (avoid red ants, their too spicy)
1 vanilla bean split and seeds scraped out
2 Egg Yolks
1 Tbsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Butter, melted
12 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate
Procedures – cont.

EthicallyCivil

Looking at the current sea ice maps one can see deep penetrations of partially open (non 100%) coverage… if has been fascinating to watch these intrude. The comparative picture with former years is stuck on 7/22, before these tendrils intrude so it is difficult to compare.
One thing I do see is a large chunk of ice poised to the NE of greenland, which would seem to be vulnerable to ejection from the basin given the “right” winds. This would prove nothing w.r.t. global warming, of course, but could easily lead to a record low.
Not to argue with SteveG, but the 2007 loss seem to be more of an ejection of ice from the basin where (shocked face) it melted in warmer waters. The animated gifs of the flow south along the east coast of Greenland in 2007 is quite amazing.

Gail Combs

Billy Liar says:
August 3, 2010 at 2:36 pm
PJB says:
August 3, 2010 at 1:39 pm
Today’s camera 2
http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/latest/noaa2.jpg
Is that ice-covered melt-water or melt-water sitting on ice?
If you look back at the history of that melt pond it was unfrozen in June but since the beginning of July it has been frozen over and is progressively being covered up by snow. It has snowed several times in July.
_________________________________________
It may also depend on the time of day. The temperature is skating close to 0C so you may see a bit of freeze/thaw.