Sea Ice News – Call for Arctic sea-ice forecasts, plus forecast poll

It has been awhile since I’ve done a sea-ice report. That said, not much of note has been going on in the sea-ice arena, we are in that time of year when all of the years converge into a tighter grouping. But as usual, the race to forecast the minimum is on again. Will be be another Serreze death spiral media opportunity? Or will it be ho-hum- nothing to see here, move along?

JAXA AMSR-E Sea Ice Extent -15% or greater – click to enlarge

Anyone can submit a forecast to ARCUS, all you need is a rationale and you have to put your name on it. Even “SWAG” qualifies as a rationale, though there are many who will use models and statistical techniques to try predicting the sea-ice minimum.

I’m going to give WUWT readers an opportunity to make a forecast for submission, based on voting. See the poll at the end. I’ll run this poll each month in the week before the deadline, and we’ll see how we do as the minimum approaches. The value used by ARCUS is the NSIDC value as they say here:

The sea ice monthly extent for September 2010 was 4.9 million square kilometers, based on National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) estimates.

So don’t be using the JAXA graph to forecast minimums, though it it useful for determining short term trends as it is more responsive than the NSDIC graph below, which is averaged.

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

Here is what past reports looked like:

Figure 2a. Distributions of Outlook estimates for September 2010

Figure 2a. Distributions of Outlook estimates for September 2010 arctic sea ice extent based on May data.
Figure 2b. Distributions of Outlook estimates for September 2010

Figure 2b. Distributions of Outlook estimates for September 2010 arctic sea ice extent based on June data.
Figure 2c. Distributions of Outlook estimates for September 2010. Observed September minimum sea ice extent denoted by the red dashed line.

Figure 2c. Distributions of Outlook estimates for September 2010 arctic sea ice extent based on July data. Observed September minimum sea ice extent denoted by the red dashed line.

Here’s the details on making a submission:

Call for 2011 Sea Ice Outlook Contributions – June Report (Based on May Data)

May 6, 2011

Call for 2011 Sea Ice Outlook Contributions June Report (Based on May Data) Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH)

Pan-Arctic Outlook submission deadline: Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Regional Outlook submission deadline: Friday, 27 May 2011

For further information, please go to: http://www.arcus.org/search/seaiceoutlook/index.php Or contact: Helen Wiggins, ARCUS Email: helen@arcus.org ——————–

The Sea Ice Outlook (SIO) organizers are soliciting pan-arctic and regional outlooks for the first report of the season, the June report (based on May data). We encourage past and new contributors to participate. The organizers have planned for several improvements this year, including increasing attention to error estimates, addition of sea ice thickness information where available, additional outreach efforts, and further development of the “Data Resources” webpage (http://www.arcus.org/search/seaiceoutlook/data.php – please send any relevant links for us to add). We also have provided a tentative schedule for the entire season, which is available at the bottom of this message.

**ALL Outlook submissions should be sent directly to Helen Wiggins, ARCUS, at: helen@arcus.org, with the following subject lines, as relevant:

** PAN-ARCTIC OUTLOOK – [YOUR LAST NAME] REGIONAL OUTLOOK – [YOUR LAST NAME] OUTLOOK FOR BOTH REGIONAL AND PAN-ARCTIC – [YOUR LAST NAME]

A Word document is preferred for ease of formatting to PDF files and extracting images for the website – we will not edit your individual submission and will not post your Word documents.

SUBMITTING A PAN-ARCTIC OUTLOOK

Pan-arctic Outlook contributions should include:

1. Extent Projection Provide a sea ice projection for the September monthly mean arctic sea ice extent (in million square kilometers).

2. Methods/Techniques Provide the type of estimate (heuristic, statistical, ice-ocean model ensemble runs, etc.).

3. Rationale Include a short paragraph on the physical rationale for the estimate.

4. Executive Summary Provide a short paragraph that summarizes your outlook contribution in two or three sentences.

5. Estimate of Forecast Skill (if available) If possible, please include any estimates of forecast skill, uncertainty, or error associated with your prediction. This year, we will add error estimates to the summary bar chart of outlook estimates, as appropriate. This year we would also like to include a brief discussion of ice thickness in the monthly reports, so please include any relevant information on ice thickness (or age), if available. Pan-Arctic

Outlook submission deadline: Tuesday, 31 May 2011. All Outlooks should be sent to: Helen Wiggins, ARCUS Email: helen@arcus.org

SUBMITTING A REGIONAL OUTLOOK

Regional Outlook contributions should include:

1. Region of Interest While more specific sub-regions may be identified, at a minimum, please specify which of the following the outlook applies to: Arctic Regions:

– Beaufort-Chukchi Seas

– East Siberian-Laptev Seas

– Kara-Barents-Greenland Seas

– Canadian Arctic Archipelago and Nares Strait

– Hudson Bay

– Sea of Okhotsk

– Bering Sea Shipping Routes:

– Northwest Passage

– Northeast Passage (Northern Sea Route)

– Arctic Bridge (Murmansk-Churchill)

2. Sea Ice Parameter Provide a regional pattern or a single value estimate of phonological stages (i.e., melt onset, freeze onset, break-up and freeze-up dates, length of open water season) or monthly ice concentration, ice area, and ice extent. Please indicate whether you expect ice conditions to be similar, lighter (i.e., lower ice concentrations, earlier melt onset, earlier break-up, later freeze-up), or heavier (i.e., greater ice concentrations, later melt onset, later break-up, earlier freeze-up) than those of summer 2010.

3. Outline of Methods/Techniques Provide the type of estimate (heuristic, statistical, ice-ocean model, traditional knowledge, etc.) with a brief description of the methodology and a short paragraph describing the physical rationale for the estimate.

4. Estimate of Forecast Skill If possible, please include any estimates of forecast skill, uncertainty, or error associated with your prediction.

5. Improving Outlook Detail and Accuracy (Optional) What information would be needed to improve the level of detail provided in your Regional Outlook or increase the accuracy/confidence in your prediction? Regional Outlook submission deadline: Friday, 27 May 2011. All Outlooks should be sent to: Helen Wiggins, ARCUS Email: helen@arcus.org

TENTATIVE 2011 SEA ICE OUTLOOK SCHEDULE JUNE REPORT (using May data). Deadline for contributions: Regional – 27 May; Pan-Arctic – 31 May. Publish reports online: 10 June.

JULY REPORT (using June data). Deadline for contributions: 31 June. Publish reports online: 15 July.

AUGUST REPORT (using July data). Deadline for contributions: 29 July. Publish reports online: 12 August.

SEPTEMBER REPORT (brief updates based on August data). Deadline for contributions: 30 August. Publish reports online: 14 September. MINIMUM ANNOUNCEMENT – Based on the National Snow and Ice Data Center’s (NSIDC) announcement for minimum.

POST-SEASON SYNOPSIS (exact dates dependent on when minimum is reached). Deadline for contributions: early October. Publish post-season synopsis: late October. For further information on the Sea Ice Outlook, please go to: http://www.arcus.org/search/seaiceoutlook/index.php. Or contact: Helen Wiggins, ARCUS Email: helen@arcus.org

=================================================================

WUWT poll for sea ice forecast:

Use the WUWT Sea Ice Page to get your bearings before voting.

Only one vote per person, and I have engaged the security features to prevent vote stuffing. Poll will close May 30th at midnight PST, and the results will be submitted to ARCUS on the day of the deadline:

Pan-Arctic Outlook submission deadline: Tuesday, 31 May 2011

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Latitude

I say +5.5 this year….
…I’m doing it the same way they do it with the multi-billion dollar computers
guessing a trend…………….

P Walker

I said 5.4 to 5.5 , mostly because that’s what my dog thinks .

I would expect a moderate ice melt, with a minimum extent of 5.4 sq. kms. We have had a nice La Nina this winter. Cold ENSO events are usually followed by some recovery in extent, while El Nino years often produce extra ice melt (like in 2005, 2007 or 2010).
It is ‘very likely’ that NSIDC will publish something more alarming as a forecasted value.

Estimate: 5.6 million km2, plus or minus 0.2 million.
Method: SWAG + “wishcasting”
You should offer a prize to increase participation 🙂
Regards,
Ric

Laurie Ridyard

The problem with the above graphs are that they only show areas with >15% ice cover.
Suppose within an area, there is 14 % ice cover – the ice being in the form of icebergs. 9/1oths of the volume of those icebergs is below the surface .
Imagine those icebergs were chopped up into 10 equal pieces- that would more than cover the whole area….

Scott

I guessed in the 4.8-4.9 million km^2 range. Just a guess right now. I should pull out my sea ice spreadsheet and get serious soon.
Also, Tamino stated his method and estimate last year for this year’s minimum @ 4.63 million km^2. Someone should place a vote for him. 😉
-Scott

It’s going to be a relatively cool year, in the northern hemi-schphere (in my mad, clownish inability to prognosticate) , so my actual SWAG is 5.8×10^6 km^2 (±0, you gutless pansies).

Jack Savage

Anything that does not include ice volume as well as extent is……..well…..pointless.
Let us face it……it is all guesswork really. Always has been…probably always will be.

Anything is possible

5m square kilometres – give or take 10%, depending on the weather.
Anything over that, the NSIDC will attribute to “freak weather conditions”. Anything under will be spun as a continuation of Mark Serreze’s death spiral. Yawn.

Marine_Shale

I am going for greater than 6 million (6.3). The weather patterns, both globally and in Australia (Cairns), are very reminiscent of the mid 1970’s.
For example, global flood, cyclone and tornado activity is very similar to 1974.
In 1974 there was a very positive sea ice anomaly in the Arctic region, facilitated in part by a north westerly wind pattern. I can see this happening again given the current atmosperic circulation conditions.
Marine_Shale

R. Gates

Currently looking like 4.4 million sq. km. + or – 200K sq. km.

jack morrow

I’ve wondered what effect the icebreakers have ferrying all these “teams” to look for the “rotten ice.”

Joe Haberman

I guess 5.1 to 5.2. based on the fact that I have $5.12 in my pocket.

u.k.(us)

After careful consideration of the effects that wind, currents, temperatures, icebreakers, tourists, soot?, sunshine, clouds, rambunctious polar bears, fleeing seals, might have on said extent.
I will await the results with great anticipation, expecting the extent to be larger than last year.

I went for 5.3 – 5.4. With all the cold that’s been experienced where people actually live, I don’t think there’ll be enough to make it a barnstorming year this year.

James of the West aka The International Fool

In the spirit of Mann I am forcasting +/- 20%
5 million sq km +/- 1 million km 🙂 You need a PhD to be this successful with forcasting!

phlogiston

I would guess a modest bounce back to the 2009 level, i.e. 5.2-5.3 M (that’s what I voted).

jorgekafkazar

I voted for 4.9 to 5.0, a P.O.O.M.A.* number.
* POOMA stands for “preliminary order of magnitude approximation.” Really.

Lance

I thought the ice was gone already. I mean wasn’t Hillary just up there to save the ice?/sarc off

RoHa

There will be no ice at all.
The Arctic Ocean will be full of tropical coral atolls.
We’re all doomed.

Eric Anderson

Who is this genius Wilson, who wasn’t even in the ballpark for 2010?

Anyone know when we might get Cryosat2 data?

The 2011 jaxa line through march and April looked eerily similar to the 2010 line.. just a lot lower. 2011 hasn’t had the huge melt that 2010 did but it’s still dropped a lot and hasn’t caught last year yet. I’ll be nervous until it does; thankfully there is little correlation between spring data and the September minimum. I’m not smart enough to guess anything though.

John Silver

5.4

Terra Incognita

[snip]

Andrew30

Here is my forecast
2011 Minimum Extent:
September 22nd 2011.
6.03 M sq km
Trending up from 2007

BA

Seems like everyone here is choosing low numbers, below average levels of even one decade ago. Last year on this blog there was much talk about recovery, but I do not see it now. Were the scientists were right after all? That arctic ice is going down, it is just a question of how fast?
For myself, I would bet with Tamino, 4.63 +/- 0.9. His model looks simple and clear. It worked very well last year, we will see if it works again.

tom in indy

Hey fools, the world is ending on Saturday the 21st day of May in the year 2011. Ya might want to stick that bit o data in your super computers. : ))
http://abcnews.go.com/US/21-2011-judgment-day-inspired-end/story?id=13637791

jack morrow says: May 19, 2011 at 4:18 pm
I’ve wondered what effect the icebreakers have ferrying all these “teams” to look for the “rotten ice.”
It’s hard to tell this year, because for some reason the US Coast Guard Icebreaker Science Operation site has added a login to their Realtime Tracking Map:
http://www.icefloe.net/healy-realtime-track-map
However, if you look back Healys Cruisetracks for 2006;
http://www.icefloe.net/images/HLY-06annot.pdf
2007;
http://www.icefloe.net/docs/HLY-07track.pdf
and 2008;
http://www.icefloe.net/docs/healy2008.pdf
it seems intuitive that having dozens of icebreakers breaking up the ice might have a measurable impact sea ice area and extent, especially when the ice spreads and when it blows into warmer waters…

Another excellent post.

Snowlover123

I’m thinking an extent around 2005’s extent. Recovery should continue since it is the negative phase of ENSO, and continue the recovery since the flip of the PDO in 2007.

u.k.(us)

BA says:
May 19, 2011 at 6:49 pm
“For myself, I would bet with Tamino,”…
=======
On this post you make your own bets, it’s free, we are only having fun.

Manfred

Would be essential to have an arctic wind forecast for a guess, and perhaps the amount of icebraker / environmentalist ships traffic, cutting off sea ice slices.

Terra Incognita

[snip]

Jason Joice

I’m going Mann-style. 5.5 M sq km /- 2.5 M sq km.

Jason Joice

Terra Incognita,
Care to make it interesting?

philincalifornia

Anthony, you forgot the zero km^2 choice. Were you deliberately excluding RR Kampen ??
Heh heh heh, and Al Gore in two years !!!

Batheswithwhales

Based on my tea leaves,there will be high concentrations of ice on the eastern (Russian) side of the arctic throughout the melting season. The western side will have heavy melting, suggesting a prolonged ice-free period in the area of the northwest passage, possibly leaving it navigable for extended periods. There is a certain clumping together of tea leaves in the center of the cup, suggesting unusually heavy ice conditions at the pole itself.
As a side note, there are also some tea leaves sticking to the sides of the cup. I take this to mean that there will be an anomalous volume of icebergs pushed out of the arctic basin, possibly by freak circumpolar currents or by Rossaby waves.
So to the actual number. I close my eyes and lower the spoon carefully into the cup. There is a soft thud as it strikes the bottom, meaning it has hit leaves (ice). 5 times it hits ice before it makes a clang, meaning water. I take anote of 5, and repeat the procedure. This time around there were only 2 thuds before the clang came, so I make a note of the number 2.
So: 5.2 million square kilometers.
( I could have done it a third time, to get an additional decimal, but as the cup was the standard smallish granny-type tea cup, the resolution simply wasn’t great enough. I would need a much bigger cup. More funding is required).

Peter S

I’m in for 5.5+
Two snowy N.H. winters on the trot. La Nina just fading (lag of sea temps to Air temps).
S.H. (in N.Z.) has had a cool, wet summer and temps starting to drop quickly.
Delayed effects of Solar minimum.

ew-3

The whole notion of “15% or greater” is rather absurd.
Suggest using the sum of the percentage for each area measured.
It would produce a more honest representation of the amount of ice.

jorgekafkazar

BA says: “…For myself, I would bet with Tamino, 4.63 +/- 0.9. His model looks simple and clear. It worked very well last year, we will see if it works again.”
You sure about that, BA? That’s not a bet, that’s a 40% error range! No wonder it “worked.” Does Tamino go skeet shooting with picnic platters? What a sport!

BA

it seems intuitive that having dozens of icebreakers breaking up the ice might have a measurable impact sea ice area and extent, especially when the ice spreads and when it blows into warmer waters…
Would be essential to have an arctic wind forecast for a guess, and perhaps the amount of icebraker / environmentalist ships traffic, cutting off sea ice slices.
This is funny! Have you people ever seen photographs or satellite views or read expedition reports about what the arctic ocean is like?

BA

You sure about that, BA? That’s not a bet, that’s a 40% error range!
I should not have said ‘bet’, what I mean is I think Tamino’s guess is good enough for me at this point in the season.
Tamino’s guess last year was 4.8. The actual value was 4.9. That looks pretty close to me.

Manfred says: May 19, 2011 at 7:09 pm
Would be essential to have an arctic wind forecast for a guess, and perhaps the amount of icebraker / environmentalist ships traffic, cutting off sea ice slices.
It is not just about environmentalist’s jaunts, per this report from Baltic Ice Management (BIM) on their 2008 – 2009 season;
http://portal.fma.fi/sivu/www/baltice/BIM_Joint_Annual_2008_2009.pdf
the chart on page 10 it seems to indicate that they had 23 icebreakers in use at the peak of their icebreaking season. Much of it is about opening and maintaining shipping lanes, cruise ship routes and fishing grounds.
Per the “Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009 Report. Arctic Council, April 2009, second printing”;
http://www.pame.is/images/stories/PDF_Files/AMSA_2009_Report_2nd_print.pdf
on Page 160;
“Spring break-up to mark the start of summer navigation will vary and, as happens now in more southerly seas, shippers eager to start work will test the limits of their vessels in ice.”
On Page 4;
“There were approximately 6,000 individual vessels, many making multiple voyages, in the Arctic region during the AMSA survey year; half of these were operating on the Great Circle Route in the North Pacific that crosses the Aleutian Islands. Of the 6,000 vessels reported, approximately 1,600 were fishing vessels.”
this on Pages 141 – 142;
“The AMSA has developed the world’s first activity-based estimate of Arctic marine shipping emissions using empirical data for shipping reported by Arctic Council member states. Emissions were calculated for each vessel-trip for which data was available for the base year 2004. The 515,000 trips analyzed represent about 14.2 million km of distance traveled (or 7.7 million nautical miles) by transport vessels; fishing vessels represent over 15,000 fishing vessel days at sea for 2004. Some results could be an underestimation of current emissions, given potential underreporting bias and anecdotal reports of recent growth in international shipping and trade through the Arctic.”
on Page 79;
“A specific example of where cruise ship traffic is increasing at a rapid rate is off the coast of Greenland. As Table 5.3 shows, cruise ship visits and the number of passengers visiting Greenland has increased significantly between 2003 and 2008. For example, between 2006 and 2007, port calls into Greenland increased from 157 to 222 cruise ships. The number of port calls in 2006 combined for a total of 22,051 passengers, a number that represents nearly half of Greenland’s total 2006 population of 56,901.
In 2008, approximately 375 cruise ship port calls were scheduled for Greenland ports and harbors, more than double the number of port calls seen in 2006.”
But the environmentalists do their share of Arctic travel, i.e. on page 84:
“During 2004-2008, there were 33 icebreaker transits to the North Pole for science and tourism. An increasing number of icebreakers and research vessels are conducting geological and geophysical research throughout the central Arctic Ocean related to establishing the limits of the extended continental shelf under UNCLOS.”
And it’s not just about breaking up sea ice, on Page 5 it says that;
“Black carbon emissions from ships operating in the Arctic may have
regional impacts by accelerating ice melt.”
on Page 140:
“Shipping’s contribution to regional and global impacts from emissions such as CO2, NOx and SO2 have been evaluated by scientists and shown to be significant enough to motivate policy action. However, environmental and climate effects of NOx and ozone, sulfur aerosols and clouds, and black carbon particles in the Arctic are only beginning to be understood. Black carbon has been proven to have significant climate forcing effects, in addition to its effects on snow and ice albedo, accelerating the retreat of Arctic sea ice.”
and on Page 137;
“The 2004 U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy reported that, while at sea, the average cruise-ship passenger generates about eight gallons of sewage per day and an average cruise ship can generate a total of 532,000 to 798,000 liters of sewage and 3.8 million liters of wastewater from sinks, showers and laundries each week, as well as large amounts of solid waste (garbage). The average cruise ship will also produce more than 95,000 liters of oily bilge water from engines and machinery a week. Sewage, solid waste and oily bilge water release are regulated through MARPOL. There are no restrictions on the release of treated wastewater.”
This Arctic Sea Ice minimum forecasting is a tough business…

BA says: May 19, 2011 at 8:33 pm
Have you people ever seen photographs or satellite views or read expedition reports about what the arctic ocean is like?
Yep, a number of them. Once you’ve read through what I posted above, let me know if you have any other questions…

Terra Incognita

[snip]

BA

Once you’ve read through what I posted above, let me know if you have any other questions…
Sure, thanks for helping. I know about the north pole tourists, that’s not many ships, but your other numbers are bigger. Which of these areas you mention normally still have much ice area in September?
Baltic Sea?
Aleutian Islands?
Arctic marine shipping?
Cruise ships off Greenland?

I picked “4.6 to 4.8” since it is twice as likely as “4.7 to 4.8”. But I suppose it’s an error for “4.6 to 4.7”. Besides, that will be very close to last year’s minimum, and I find the model “it will be like last year, roughly” more reliable than anything else I’ve seen.

CRS, Dr.P.H.

5 million sq. km was my choice….however, the ice will continue to retain total mass (isn’t that a Yes lyric?) and polar ice recovery will begin again in the fall.
Thickness counts.

Terra Incognita

[snip]