SMOS Satellite imagery suggests NE passage to open soon – 'primarily attributable to the wind'

From the Alfred Wegener Institute:

Sea ice thickness in the Laptev Sea at the end of the previous winter (April 20, 2012): The sea ice thickness was determined with the SMOS (Soil Moisture Ocean Saliniy) satellite that can resolve ice thicknesses up to 50 centimetres. The black line shows the mission’s flight track. SMOS-data: Lars Kaleschke, KlimaCampus, Hamburg University

 

North-East Passage soon free from ice again? Winter measurements show thin sea ice in the Laptev Sea, pointing to early and large scale summer melt

Bremerhaven, 8 June 2012, The North-East Passage, the sea route along the North coast of Russia, is expected to be free of ice early again this summer. The forecast was made by sea ice physicists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association based on a series of measurement flights over the Laptev Sea, a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. Amongs experts the shelf sea is known as an “ice factory” of Arctic sea ice. At the end of last winter the researchers discovered large areas of thin ice not being thick enough to withstand the summer melt.

“These results were a great surprise to us“, says expedition member Dr. Thomas Krumpen. In previous measurements in the winter of 2007/2008 the ice in the same area had been up to one metre thicker. In his opinion these clear differences are primarily attributable to the wind: “It behaves differently from year to year. If, as last winter, the wind blows from the mainland to the sea, it pushes the pack ice from the Laptev Sea towards the North. Open water areas, so-called polynyas, develop in this way before the coast. Their surface water naturally cools very quickly at an air temperature of minus 40 degrees. New thin ice forms and is then immediately swept away again by the wind. In view of this cycle, differently sized areas of thin ice then develop on the Laptev Sea depending on wind strength and continuity“, explains Thomas Krumpen. (See info charts)

However, the expedition team was unaware of just how large these areas can actually become until they made the measurement flights in March and April of this year. In places the researchers flew over thin ice for around 400 kilometres. The “EM Bird”, the torpedo-shaped, electromagnetic ice thickness sensor of the Alfred Wegener Institute, was hung on a cable beneath the helicopter. It constantly recorded the thickness of the floating ice. “We now have a unique data set which we primarily want to use to check the measurements of the earth investigation satellite SMOS“, says Thomas Krumpen.

The abbreviation SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) is actually a satellite mission to determine the soil moisture of the mainland and salinity of the oceans. However, the satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA) can also be used to survey the Arctic sea ice. “The satellite can be used above all to detect thin ice areas, as we have seen them, from space“, explains Thomas Krumpen.

The SMOS satellite measurements from March and April of this year confirm that the thin ice areas discovered by the expedition team were no locally restricted phenomenon: “A large part of the North-East Passage was characterised by surprisingly thin ice at the end of the winter“, says Thomas Krumpen.

The new findings of the successful winter expedition give cause for concern to the scientists: “These huge new areas of thin ice will be the first to disappear when the ice melts in summer. And if the thin ice melts as quickly as we presume, the Laptev Sea and with it a part of the North-East Passage will be free from ice comparatively early this summer“, explains the sea ice physicist.

In the past the Laptev Sea was always covered with sea ice from October to the end of the following July and was navigable for a maximum of two summer months. In 2011 the ice had retracted so far by the third week of July that during the course of the summer 33 ships were able to navigate the Arctic waters of Russia for the first time. The North-East Passage is viewed by shipping companies to be a time and fuel saving alternative to the conventional Europe-Asia route. The connection from Rotterdam to Japanese Yokohama via the Nord-East Passage is some 3800 sea miles shorter than taking the Suez Canal and Indian Ocean route.

###

General information on the SMOS satellites may be found on the ESA website at http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMB4L4AD1G_Germany_0.html and on the sea ice thickness measurements of the satellite at http://www.esa.int/esaLP/SEM361BX9WG_index_0.html

The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic and Antarctic and in the high and mid-latitude oceans. The Institute coordinates German polar research and provides important infrastructure such as the research ice breaker Polarstern and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic to the national and international scientific world. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the 18 research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

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OH great…I get to be FIRST UP! ANYONE want to make any WAGERS that there will be at LEAST one MEDIA outlet that will confuse this with the “Northwest” passage being open, and go on to declare that this is unprecedented, AND (of course) a sign of Gorebull warming???
Max 🙂
PS: It might be considered a “fool’s errand”..

Surprised they called it the North East Passage, mostly it is referred to as the Northern Sea Route which causes some confusion, not that Eli did not make the same mistake early on. Be that as it may, this is another one of those things where you have to use AND instead of OR. It is not just the winds, or that the ice near the Russian coast was unusually thin, in other words both. The thinned ice pack due of the past two decades only needs unfavorable conditions to become the very, very thin and smaller ice pack. Natural variability is not always your friend,
This simply shows that the large surface coverage in the Arctic during March and April was a chimera, very thin, very susceptible to rapid melting.

bsk31

Unfortuantely, the broad basis of this looks to be correct. It looks like it will be a huge melt this year and pretty low, low.

Günther

Yes, yes, it’s all wind!

A fan of *MORE* discourse

Satellite images now are showing open seas to the northwest of (Canada’s) Banks Island … far earlier in the year than has ever been known before … it used to be that the northern shores of Banks Island commonly remained ice-bound all-year-round.
For thrilling adventure combined with plenty of interesting Arctic science, see T. H. Manning’s Narrative of an Unsuccessful Attempt to Circumnavigate Banks Island by Canoe in 1952. Adventures like this earned Manning the nickname “The Lone Wolf of the Arctic”.
As for the 2012 Arctic ice-melt, it seems very likely that new records will be set on both the Russian and Canadian sides.
• • •
[So today you are “A fan of *MORE* discourse”? What happened to “Evil D*ni*r” or “R Kcin” or “Marcella Twixt”, etc? You are wearing out your welcome here by flouting site Policy. Use one screen name or your comments will be deleted. ~dbs, mod.]
[Agreed. You have been using anonymous proxy servers and a throw-away e-mail address, as have a number of your other alter-egos. Get honest or go away. -REP]

Phil.

Eli Rabett says:
June 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm
Surprised they called it the North East Passage, mostly it is referred to as the Northern Sea Route which causes some confusion, not that Eli did not make the same mistake early on.

It might be a translation issue, the original german press release referred to: ‘Die Nordost-Passage’.

Latitude

“, it pushes the pack ice from the Laptev Sea towards the North”
…and that makes thick multi year ice

clipe
Follow the Money

‘primarily attributable to the wind’
The Russian scientists have always said Arctic sea ice area variation had much more to do with wind patterns off Siberia, rather than air or war temp variation, or salinity, etc.
.

well, duh.
If you have thinner ice ( lower volume ) the wind will do what it does to thin ice.
As Eli notes it’s not a question of OR ( wind or AGW) it’s a question of AND.

clipe

clipe says:
June 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm
Not sure why, but this subject reminds me of…

Ah! Just remembered. Lots of Canadian stations not reporting.

Latitude

Steven Mosher says:
June 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm
well, duh.
If you have thinner ice ( lower volume ) the wind will do what it does to thin ice.
As Eli notes it’s not a question of OR ( wind or AGW) it’s a question of AND.
———
I don’t see where you or Eli get the AGW connection…..
They said minus 40, and wind blowing it away rapidly…..said it would freeze rapidly at -40 and the wind would blow it away, only to freeze again and repeat……
“”Their surface water naturally cools very quickly at an air temperature of minus 40 degrees. New thin ice forms and is then immediately swept away again by the wind””
..Well, where did the wind blow it away too? Somewhere it ended up piled up and thicker……..

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

I’m not surprised. Julienne Stroeve of NSIDC warned about the thin ice back in March:

Julienne Stroeve says:
March 5, 2012 at 12:53 pm
The recent uptick in the daily ice extent comes primarily from growth in the Bering Sea and Baffin Bay/Davis strait that both gained more than 80,000 sq-km of ice between 2/29/12 and 3/4/12. The February monthly mean ice extent was the 4th lowest in the modern satellite record, and since 2004, every year has had a February monthly mean ice extent below 15 million sq-km except for 2008 (15.01 million sq-km). The trend in winter sea ice extent is small (-3% per decade), but it is statistically significant. Regionally, there are statistically significant (95% confidence) negative trends in winter ice extent everywhere except the Bering Sea which has a positive trend (though not statistically significant).
Regardless of February being the 4th lowest during the 1979-present data record, or the recent uptick in extent, Mr. Johnson should know that it has little to no bearing on what will happen this summer as these southerly regions melt out every summer anyway. More interesting is the distribution of the perennial ice and its thickness. Given the positive AO throughout most of this winter, there was good export of mulityear ice out of Fram Strait, such that this winter there was a larger amount of 3+ year old ice exported than in the last 4 winters (the amount was similar to the amount exported during the 2006/2007 winter). This helps to precondition the Arctic Basin to ice loss, since thinner ice melts out easier.

The surge in Arctic sea ice extent around the end of February, as seen on the IARC-JAXA graph, was largely illusory, a late freeze of thin ice. In more realistic terms, the ice is closer to 2011 and the 2000’s average than anything better. I try to not pay attention to the squiggles this early, but June is showing a sharp drop.
I did before predict 4.7 million sq km, perhaps less. For some weeks now I’ve been reconsidering what number corresponds with “low but not abysmally low”. I’m restating it now as 4.5 mi sq km, perhaps less.

u.k.(us)

“The black line shows the mission’s flight track. SMOS-data: Lars Kaleschke, KlimaCampus, Hamburg University”
===============
If the mission was to fly over the thinnest ice, the track flown would seem to the best to accomplish the goal.
Or did I miss something ?

Caleb

I figure things will change when the AMO shifts from warm phase to cold phase, but it is very interesting watching what goes on up there. These is a good Navy site on the “Sea Ice Page” that shows the speed and movement of the ice. It is :
http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticicespddrfnowcast.gif
You can also get 30-day and 365-day animations. It gives you a pretty clear idea of how the ice up there gets rammed together and then spread apart, forming pressure ridges and open leads, whether it is coldest winter or mildest summer.
Also on the “Sea Ice Page” is the “North Pole Camera.” I’ve been watching that for years. Last year the camera tilted early, and I developed a crik in my neck as time passed. This year there seemed to be a lead of open water in the far distance for a while, however more recently that has been replaced by what I think is a pressure ridge in the far distance. Either that or fifty tents have been set up.
The wind has been blowing away from Russia towards the Pole a lot recently. The ice at the pole has seemed to get thicker, with a few areas of 80% extent vanishing, as the ice at the Russian Coast got thinner, with areas of more than 80% extent all but vanishing. Now that the wind is shifting, it will be interesting to see if the ice drifts back down towards Russia. I wouldn’t be surprised if the “extent” graphs everyone watches so anxiously had a few odd up-ticks this summer, as the ice moves around. It was a windy winter, and I imagine there must be more piled-up pressure ridges. When these dissolve and fall apart, a small area of 100% extent can spread out and become a larger area of 15% extent, and, because the 15% extent is the one everyone watches, there are lible to be headlines, and fuss enough to keep us all happy.

Doug Proctor

This was the route of the WWII Murmansk Run? Was the ’40s an unusual ice-free time?

navytech

I believe the WWII Murmansk convoys took place in the Barents Sea.

‘primarily attributable to the wind’
But wait for it….. wait for it….. the drone drumbeat of global warming believers saying it’s from global warming. Paging Phil…………

Steven Mosher says: June 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm
well, duh.
If you have thinner ice ( lower volume ) the wind will do what it does to thin ice.
As Eli notes it’s not a question of OR ( wind or AGW) it’s a question of AND.

Can you present any evidence to support your AGW supposition? Here is all of the info I’ve collected thus far that support the influence of wind and Atmospheric Oscillations:
In this October, 1 2007 NASA article;
http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/quikscat-20071001.html
Son V. Nghiem of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said that “the rapid decline in winter perennial ice the past two years was caused by unusual winds. “Unusual atmospheric conditions set up wind patterns that compressed the sea ice, loaded it into the Transpolar Drift Stream and then sped its flow out of the Arctic,” he said. When that sea ice reached lower latitudes, it rapidly melted in the warmer waters.
“The winds causing this trend in ice reduction were set up by an unusual pattern of atmospheric pressure that began at the beginning of this century,” Nghiem said.”
This 2010 Guardian article states that;
“Much of the record breaking loss of ice in the Arctic ocean in recent years is down to the region’s swirling winds and is not a direct result of global warming, a new study reveals.”:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/22/wind-sea-ice-loss-arctic
This 2011 paper submitted to The Cryosphere by L. H. Smedsrud, et al. “used “geostrophic winds derived from reanalysis data to calculate the Fram Strait ice area export back to 1957, finding that the sea ice area export recently is about 25% larger than during the 1960’s.”
http://www.the-cryosphere-discuss.net/5/1311/2011/tcd-5-1311-2011-print.pdf
This 2007 paper “Rapid reduction of Arctic perennial sea ice” by Nghiem, Rigor, Perovich, Clemente-Colo, Weatherly and Neumann states that;
“Perennial-ice extent loss in March within the DM domain was noticeable after the 1960s, and the loss became more rapid in the 2000s when QSCAT observations were available to verify the model results. QSCAT data also revealed mechanisms contributing to the perennial-ice extent loss: ice compression toward the western Arctic, ice loading into the Transpolar Drift (TD) together with an acceleration of the TD carrying excessive ice out of Fram Strait, and ice export to Baffin Bay.”
http://seaice.apl.washington.edu/Papers/NghiemEtal2007_MYreduction.pdf
This 2004 paper “Variations in the Age of Arctic Sea-ice and Summer Sea-ice Extent” by Ignatius G. Rigor & John M. Wallace, states that;
“The winter AO-index explains as much as 64% of the variance in summer sea-ice extent in the Eurasian sector, but the winter and summer AO-indices combined explain less than 20% of the variance along the Alaskan coast, where the age of sea-ice explains over 50% of the year-to year variability. If this interpretation is correct, low summer sea-ice extents are likely to persist for at least a few years. However, it is conceivable that, given an extended interval of low-index AO conditions, ice thickness and summertime sea-ice extent could gradually return to the levels characteristic of the 1980′s.”
http://seaice.apl.washington.edu/
2004 Science Daily article,” Extreme changes in the Arctic Oscillation in the early 1990s — and not warmer temperatures of recent years — are largely responsible for declines in how much sea ice covers the Arctic Ocean, with near record lows having been observed during the last three years, University of Washington researchers say.”
“It may have happened more than a decade ago, but the sea ice appears to still “remember” those Arctic Oscillation conditions, according to Ignatius Rigor, a mathematician with the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory.”
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041220010410.htm
This 2010 paper, “Influence of winter and summer surface wind anomalies on summer Arctic sea ice extent” by Masayo Ogi, Koji Yamazaki and John M. Wallace, published in Geophysical Research Letters states that;
“We have shown results indicating that wind‐induced, year‐to‐year differences in the rate of flow of ice toward and through Fram Strait play an important role in modulating September SIE on a year‐to‐year basis and that a trend toward an increased wind‐induced rate of flow has contributed to the decline in the areal coverage of Arctic summer sea ice.”
http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d2/masayo.ogi/2009GL042356.pdf
This 2001 paper, Fram Strait Ice Fluxes and Atmospheric Circulation: 1950–2000
by Torgny Vinje found that:
“Observations reveal a strong correlation between the ice fluxes through the Fram Strait and the cross-strait air pressure difference.”
“Although the 1950s and 1990s stand out as the two decades with maximum flux variability, significant variations seem more to be the rule than the exception over the whole period considered.”
“A noticeable fall in the winter air pressure of 7 hPa is observed in the Fram Strait and the Barents Sea during the last five decades.”
“The corresponding decadal maximum change in the Arctic Ocean ice thickness is of the order of 0.8 m. These temporal wind-induced variations may help explain observed changes in portions of the Arctic Ocean ice cover over the last decades. Due to an increasing rate in the ice drainage through the Fram Strait during the 1990s, this decade is characterized by a state of decreasing ice thickness in the Arctic Ocean.”
http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0442%282001%29014%3C3508%3AFSIFAA%3E2.0.CO%3B2
“The decreases in recent decades, which are also partially due to circulation-driven ice export through the Fram Strait between Greenland and Svalbard (Vinje, 2001), have coincided with a positive trend in the NAO, with unusually high index values in the late 1980s and 1990s. During this period, the variability of ice motion and ice export through the Fram Strait was correlated strongly with the NAO; r∼ 0.86 for the ice area flux (Kwok and Rothrock, 1999) and r∼ 0.7 for the ice volume flux (Hilmer and Jung, 2000), although the relationship was insignificant (r∼ 0.1) before the mid 1970s (Hilmer and Jung, 2000). Deser et al. (2000) analysed a 40-yr gridded data set (1958–97) to determine the association between arctic sea ice, SAT and SLP, concluding that the multidecadal trends in the NAO/AO in the past three decades have been ‘imprinted upon the distribution of Arctic sea ice’, with the first principal component of sea-ice concentration significantly correlated (r∼−0.63) with the NAO index, recently cause-and-effect modelled by Hu et al. (2002). None the less, our calculations and those of Deser et al. (2000) indicate that, even in recent decades, only about one third of the variability in arctic total ice extent and MY ice area (Johannessen et al., 1999) is explained by the NAO index
” The decadal-scale mode associated with the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and a low-frequency oscillation (LFO) with an approximate time scale of 60-80 years, dominate. Both modes were positive in the 1990s, signifying a prolonged phase of anomalously low atmospheric sea level pressure and above normal surface air temperature in the central Arctic. Consistent with an enhanced cyclonic component, the arctic anticyclone was weakened and vorticity of winds became positive. The rapid reduction of arctic ice thickness in the 1990s may be one manifestation of the intense atmosphere and ice cyclonic circulation regime due to the synchronous actions of the AO and LFO. Our results suggest that the decadal AO and multidecadal LFO drive large amplitude natural variability in the Arctic making detection of possible long-term trends induced by greenhouse gas warming most difficult.”
Igor V. Polyakov and Mark A. Johnson, 2000
http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/Decadal.pdf
“Hilmer and Jung (2000) note a secular change in the relationship between the Fram Strait ice flux and the NAO; the high correlation noted by Kwok and Rothrock (1999) from 1978 to 1996 was not found in data prior to 1978. We expect our overall results to be more robust given the strong relationship between the AO and SIM over the Arctic, as compared to the weaker relationship between the north–south flow through Fram Strait and the AO. Even if one ignored the effect of the AO on the flux of ice through Fram Strait, the divergence of ice in the eastern Arctic would be still be ;50% greater under high-index conditions than under low-index conditions, and the heat flux would be ;25% greater.”
” We have shown that sea ice provides memory for the Arctic climate system so that changes in SIM driven by the AO during winter can be felt during the ensuing seasons; that is, the AO drives dynamic thinning of the sea ice in the eastern Arctic during winter, allowing more heat to be released from the ocean through the thinner ice during spring, and resulting in lower SIC during summer and the liberation of more heat by the freezing of the ice in autumn. The correlations between the wintertime AO and SIC and SAT during the subsequent seasons offers the hope of some predictability, which may be useful for navigation along the Northern Sea route.”
http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/Response-of-Sea-Ice-to-the-Arctic-Oscillation-2002-J-Climate.pdf
I look forward to seeing the body of evidence that you’ve based your opinion on…

Jimbo

…In his opinion these clear differences are primarily attributable to the wind:…

Yes, but it the warm wind which has been warmed by global warming.
/sarc
The North East Passage has been gone through before.
The Central Arctic Ocean has been ice free before.
The polar bears are still here and increased in numbers since the lat 1950s
There are former Greenland farms under permafrost.
Nothing to see here folks, move along nicely.

Jimbo

Typo
Yes, but IT’S the warm wind which has been warmed by global warming.

Jimbo

Sorry, I think I should have said the
The North WEST Passage has been gone through before.
Too many beers tonight.

Follow the Money

“If you have thinner ice ( lower volume ) the wind will do what it does to thin ice.
“As Eli notes it’s not a question of OR ( wind or AGW) it’s a question of AND”
Really? This ice off Siberia is really broken up and can get pushed around? It’s not about above freezing temps and wind movement? If you need a “duh” example, blowing breath no hot soup?
Duh.
Steve, that’s your jump the shark moment.

..Well, where did the wind blow it away too? Somewhere it ended up piled up and thicker……..
Indeed. If wind is the cause and as ice is an effective insulator, the net result will be more ice and more heat lost from the climate system.
The trend in winter sea ice extent is small (-3% per decade), but it is statistically significant. Regionally,
Most of the reduced Arctic sea ice results from increased summer melt. Yet, Atmospheric GHG warming is predicted to be, and as far as we can tell, is predominantly in the winter.
GHG atmospheric warming is unlikely to be the primary cause of reduced sea ice. The obvious, and likely the main cause, is increased solar insolation in summer. There being no solar insolation in the Arctic winter. This also explains why multi-year ice is melting faster than new ice. Its dirtier and has a lower albedo.
Which is not to say weather patterns don’t play a significant role in sea ice melt.

davidmhoffer

I find two things amusing about this thread:
1. There continues to be amongst the alarmawarmists this notion that less ice is a bad thing.
2. Joshua Halpern continues to post under Eli Rabbett, referring to himself in the third person.

EJ

I liked the tone and tenor of the abstract. The Russians seem to practice science. Go get data, archive it, interpret it and publish.
Two thumbs up from me.

davidmhoffer

Steve Mosher and Eli Rabett;
It isn’t about wind and temperature!
It is about wind and temperature and humidity and precipitation and oceanic currents and debris fields and, and, and….

Michael Jennings

Whatever the reason(s), the rapid ice melt is way ahead of schedule and my prediction of 4.125 may be too high. For the record, I do not think the “alleged” Global Warming caused by CO2 has anything to do with it.

EJ

This caught my attention. The scientists never indicated and emotion, as far as I can see, in any of their comments, yet felt that they were ‘concerned’ about the trend.
The new findings of the successful winter expedition
give cause for concern to the scientists:
“These huge new areas of thin ice will be the first to disappear when the ice melts in summer. And if the thin ice melts as quickly as we presume, the Laptev Sea and with it a part of the North-East Passage will be free from ice comparatively early this summer“, explains the sea ice physicist.
The scientist(s) never says he(they) is(are) concerned. The reporter seems to assume he is concerned. Not based on the quotes. This type of nonsense has become a cancer. Concern to the scientists the reporter claims is because ice gets blown around the Arctic? I kinda doubt it. This is no real revelation. Wind can move ice.
I think the real benifit of this work is to give a comparison, and perhaps verification, to the satelite data.
One has to wonder, what is the concern expressed specifially? Scientifically speaking?

David

Just The Facts says:
June 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm
======================================
Thanks for the comment. I have bookmarked it. Do not expect Mr Mosher to dialogue. He is a hit and run specialist, and certain he KNOWS, so he does not care to DISCUSS.

ferdberple

An ice free Arctic Ocean would open up a vast area of commerce between Europe, Asia and North America not previously available. It would open up huge areas of natural resources not previously available. Every country that borders the Arctic Ocean would see huge economic advantages.
Yet, the IPCC sees this as something to be feared. People not connected with the IPCC might actually make some serious money. Large areas opening up for settlement for the first time in 1000 years. What we are seeing is the next “New World”. The land of opportunity for those willing to take the risk.

Don K

Doug Proctor says:
June 13, 2012 at 4:51 pm
This was the route of the WWII Murmansk Run? Was the ’40s an unusual ice-free time?
=====
No. Murmansk is further West and apparently is normally ice free even in Winter. However, the Soviets started making Summer trips through the Northern Sea Route in 1934 and even sailed part of their Baltic Fleet through to the Far East in 1935. As far as I can tell the key to use of the Northern Sea Route was more the development of ships that could make the long trip without coaling stops than ice per se. What most of the discussion seems to be about is whether the ice clears completely and early enough to allow commercial vessels to confidently make the trip without an accompanying icebreaker to get them out of trouble if things go awry. My impression is that unlike the Northwest Passage, there are essentially no people along most of the Arctic shore of Asia. You get your freighter in trouble up there, and you are in real danger. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Sea_Route

Been keeping track of ice area and extent with COI, IJIS, and Arctic-Roos. All 3 show area and extent nosediving. Looks like this summers melt will easily shatter the 2007 record minimum. Not good at all. And there is so very little multi-year ice left, the downward spiral will continue summer after summer after summer.

Manfred

“The new findings of the successful winter expedition give cause for concern to the scientists: “These huge new areas of thin ice will be the first to disappear when the ice melts in summer. And if the thin ice melts as quickly as we presume, the Laptev Sea and with it a part of the North-East Passage will be free from ice comparatively early this summer“, explains the sea ice physicist.”
The expression of “concern” is strange in this context. First it’s the wind, then it helps shortening sea travel and has helped so for decades. No information what the “concern” is about.

Mike McMillan

Max Hugoson says: June 13, 2012 at 2:30 pm
OH great…I get to be FIRST UP! …

Been there, done that. Trust me, fame is fleeting.

This simply shows that the large surface coverage in the Arctic during March and April was a chimera, very thin, very susceptible to rapid melting.
————————————————————————————————–
Yup. A lot of people don’t realize they are looking at little more than a ghost,,,nothing substantial.

Titus

I often refer to my old encyclopedia, the ‘Book of Knowledge’ by Waverley printed in the early 1950’s. It’s amazing how history gets written and re-written.
Looking up the ‘Arctic’ I read that the Russians established a trading route along the northern coast in the first half of the 20th century and established townships which grew flax and sugar beet which used this route to export.
I’m old enough to know from personal knowledge that this route closed down completely by the end of the 1950’s when ice returned with vengeance.
Looks like we may have come full circle and the Russians will be able to open again. Question is: for how long this time?

shunt1

Fantastic! Now the crews of the TV show Deadliest Catch and fish in total safety!

davidmhoffer

Richard Carlson;
Looks like this summers melt will easily shatter the 2007 record minimum. Not good at all.
>>>>>>>>>>>>
1. The historical record shows that this has happened before and hence is natural.
2. What could possibly be wrong with less ice? Can you grow food on ice? Do fish thrive with ice covering the water? What?

u.k.(us)

OK, until someone makes any of these passages;
under sail, and without a map or a satellite phone/com.
I remain unimpressed, as to the theory of the Arctic being more benign.

wayne

Richard Carlson says:
June 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm
“Been keeping track of ice area and extent with COI, IJIS, and Arctic-Roos. All 3 show area and extent nosediving. Looks like this summers melt will easily shatter the 2007 record minimum. Not good at all. And there is so very little multi-year ice left, the downward spiral will continue summer after summer after summer.”
Say, what brand of crystal ball are you using? Does it have good predictability track records or is it one of those old cheap extrapolation models?

wayne

Richard Carlson:
Or is it one of those models that just follows the wind? I’ve tried those before and they just don’t work. I’d save your karma.

Werner Brozek

primarily attributable to the wind
Global temperatures certainly do NOT seem to be responsible. The May anomaly for RSS came out today at 0.233. With this anomaly, the average for the first five months of the year is (-0.058 -0.12 + 0.074 + 0.333 + 0.233)/5 = 0.0924. If the average stayed this way for the rest of the year, its ranking would be 16th. This compares with the anomaly in 2011 at 0.147 to rank it 12th for that year. (1998 was the warmest at 0.55.) As well, RSS show a slope of essentially 0 since November 1996 or 15 years, 7 months (goes to May).
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1995/plot/rss/from:1996.83/trend
P.S. There was a typo in the diagram: “Ocean Saliniy” should be “Ocean Salinity”.

wayne

Here’s a nearby town:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiksi
Quite interesting climate. All time max. temp ever in 1991 of 93°F, high avg. of +46°F in August. Snows 2/3 of the days throughout all of the winter months. Minimum avg. in winter of about -26°F December through March. Population high of 11,649 in ’89 but less than half now.
Seems a question is, did the higher population cause the peak in temperature in the early ‘90’s? Was it the large airport there?
Here’s some nearby scenic pictures:
http://www.lhnet.org/lena-delta/
Best to keep in mind that most Russian rivers flow north to exit into the Arctic Ocean and they do carry the exhaust heat from power plants and civilization far south with the flow. Wonder how much that might influences the ice thickness there? Takes only 2 watts per square meter there to raise the temperature one degree celsius in the winter.
Seems civilization has move into the Arctic in the last few decades! Tourism is blossoming.

pkatt

They have been calling them the northeast passage and northwest passage for how long? Gee could that be because ships have sailed through there before?? Or do we get to reinvent that past too? And it seems to me anyone believing in AGW should revel in ice melt, afterall the melting and freezing takes energy.. maybe thats where all their missing heat has gone.. heheh. Meanwhile the icebreakers are busy saving stupid people, good for the economy and all that. /sarc off
Maybe global warming can fix that pesky tilt too. /oksarc really off

Poriwoggu

“Richard Carlson says: ”
Richard – have you looked at the Navy link (http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil…) listed above.
1. The majority of the ice is at -2C temperature or less.
2. The western ice is above the historic average, only the eastern ice is below average (because of the winds).
3. All the old ice is on the Canadian side, the Russian ice is all newer thinner ice.
4. Over 1/2 of the ice appears to be 100% coverage. Less than 10% appears to be below 50% coverage.
The ice on the east and along Russia is going to melt But it isn’t clear with the wind patterns and the ice conditions how fast the remaining ice will melt.
The 2+ meter thick 100% coverage western ice is going to be tougher than the eastern ice that is currently melting.

In Khatanga, on the Laptev Sea, roughly in the middle of the Northern Sea Route, it is now 26 C, or 79 F. This is warmer than Paris is going to get today, or probably all week. You can see the current condition by click on stations on this map

Otter

Davidmhoffer~ What’s a ‘joshua halpern’? Is it anything important?

Latitude says:
June 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm
..Well, where did the wind blow it away too? Somewhere it ended up piled up and thicker……..
Sometimes, but sometimes it gets pushed out to sea in the Bering Strait and the wider passage between Greenland and Norway. This is what happened in 2007 (esp. Bering as Eli seems to recall, you could look it up), and did not happen as much in 2009-2011. Of course, it is not just the winds but the ocean currents that move the broken up ice, but the melt is needed to break the ice pack up, and the ice is melting places where it never has before.
Oh yes, one of the drivers of changes in wind pattern is human influences on the climate. A perfect storm.

The NE passage is frequently open every summer because there are few islands to block wind blown ice movement. Unlike the NW passage. Ice melts every year and it is solar input that dictates by how much. The MWP had very little if any ice during summer.