ARCUS June Sea Ice Outlook – The 'New Normal'

From ARCUS: I’m late getting this posted, apologies. WUWT comes in third highest, same position we were last year. My thanks to Helen Wiggins for allowing us to enter again this year. – Anthony

With 19 responses for the Pan-Arctic Outlook (plus 6 regional Outlook contributions), the June Sea Ice Outlook projects a September 2012 arctic sea extent median value of 4.4 million square kilometers, with quartiles of 4.3 and 4.7 million square kilometers (Figure 1). This compares to observed September values of 4.6 in 2011, 4.9 in 2010, and 5.4 in 2009. Both the 2012 quartile values and the range (4.1 to 4.9) are quite narrow. The 2012 June Outlook differs from all previous Outlooks in that there are no projections of extent greater than 5.0. It is always important to note for context that all 2012 estimates are well below the 1979–2007 September mean of 6.7 million square kilometers.

Figure 1. Distribution of individual Pan-Arctic Outlook values (June Report).

Figure 1. Distribution of individual Pan-Arctic Outlook values (June Report) for September 2012 sea ice extent.

Download High Resolution Version of Figure 1.

Individual responses are based on a range of methods: statistical, numerical models, comparison with previous rates of sea ice loss, composites of several approaches, estimates based on various non-sea ice datasets and trends, and subjective information. The consensus is for a continued downward trend of September sea ice. It seems that the time may have come to declare that the arctic sea ice has in fact reached a “New Normal.” The physical justification for this statement is based primarily on the loss of old, thick sea ice and the increased mobility of sea ice. An expanded discussion of sea ice age and thickness is included in this month’s full report, which includes new sea ice thickness data from NASA “IceBridge” aircraft flights in March–April 2012.

Credit for Sea Ice Outlook Report: Arctic Research Consortium of the US (ARCUS)

The Sea Ice Outlook is organized by the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) and the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS), with volunteer efforts of Outlook contributors. Funding is provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).


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June 21, 2012 12:05 am

Put me down for 5.2 million

June 21, 2012 12:35 am

oh boy…are you suggesting we’ve passed a tipping point? And no disaster has happened? Who would’ve guessed?

June 21, 2012 12:49 am

The WUWT betting looks a little dodgy. The 15% graph is running well below the 2007 line.

June 21, 2012 1:22 am

I wonder what our PM Gillard would choose, she has just arrived in Rio…

June 21, 2012 3:23 am

The climate models predict that warming should be greatest in the Arctic. However, the rate of decline in the arctic ice extent has been faster than predicted by the IPCC and their models. Another example of how the computer models are not completely accurate.

Kevin MacDonald
June 21, 2012 3:24 am

“It seems that the time may have come to declare that the arctic sea ice has in fact reached a ‘New Normal.'”
Is this anthropogenic new normailing?

June 21, 2012 3:47 am

I notice no-one seems to have looked at the performance of past predicitions. We now have a few years of this prediction process. Is anyone looking at the statistics of how well any one organization is doing?

Kevin McKinney
June 21, 2012 4:47 am

Ah, so the Arctic sea ice isn’t declining; it has already declined?

John Silver
June 21, 2012 5:50 am

What does Piers Corbyn say?
I say 5.9, just to be contrarian.

John Marshall
June 21, 2012 5:53 am

Ton Harley, why not try to cancel Gillard’s return ticket. Do Australia a power of good.

June 21, 2012 7:00 am

Kevin McKinney,
Didn’t you get the memo? Climate Change is now passe’, (did I spell that correctly?) everything will now be Climate Re-Normaling.

June 21, 2012 7:04 am

Sorry that last comment was responding to Kevin MacDonald.
To Kevin McKinney: Yes, we like to hide the decline too. It’s Orwellian Newspeak whereby we say that things have reached a new normal but avoid using the word decline or increase as to how it got there. Same as we have always been at war with Oceania, sea level or sea ice or temperatures have always been in this range.
Just having a bit of fun here so no need for anyone on either side to get bent out of shape!

June 21, 2012 8:06 am

I like the category of “Heuristic methods” in the chart, which wikipedia defines: “Examples of this method include using a rule of thumb, an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, or common sense.”
SWAG anyone?

June 21, 2012 8:56 am

Well, we’re right in there with the models……….

Henry Clark
June 21, 2012 10:11 am

The current solar cycle has not peaked yet, activity still increasing right now. This does not seem to be a cold period from the likes of the ENSO oscillation either. While arctic ice extent is affected by wind patterns beyond air temperature alone, there is a lot of temperature-ice correlation if averaged over time, if one looks at hundred-year history charts. There is no obvious reason to expect a ice extent high at all this September.
One can see where we are on at the moment, for instance, although more in depth investigation would consider regional variations.
As a quick WAG, I’d guess something like 4.4 million square kilometers of ice area in September (though the forecast could be more accurate on average if some guessed much lower figures just to counterbalance those guessing super high).
Now where it should get interesting, in contrast, is by around 2014-2016. By then likely we will see major rise in ice extent (at least if data not fudged), first towards 2009 levels, then, later in the decade and the 2020s, way beyond.

Henry Clark
June 21, 2012 10:22 am

I forgot to mention in my prior comment the multi-decadal cyclic influence (e.g. PDO/AMO) one sees in or, over a period back further into the 19th century for more than two cycles, in actually an U.N. FAO study of all places (apparently a Russian original source). But just such as 2012 versus 2011 within that is not going to have the temperature decline that will occur later, as too short a segment.

Kevin McKinney
June 21, 2012 11:01 am

Bill@6/21/12, 7:04AM–
Hey, you said it, I didn’t. But now that you mention it, I seem to recall more than a few efforts by the dear departed Steve Goddard on these threads which qualified as strenuous efforts to “hide the decline.”
Jim Cripwell@6/21/12, 3:47AM–
Long time no see, Jim. I don’t know of a statistical analysis of all results–would you be interested in undertaking it?–but I do know of one excellent result from last year:

June 21, 2012 12:11 pm

It wasn’t all that long ago that the “sea ice” retreated from Chicago.
I notice the catastrophists are raising their heads, it must mean sea ice is below the (arbitrary) average.

June 21, 2012 12:23 pm

Kevin McKinney writes “but I do know of one excellent result from last year:”
In my book, this does not count. It was never submitted to ARCUS, and so far as I can see, there has been no prediction to ARCUS from this source this year. Please correct me if I am wrong. Anyone can be lucky and made a guess that turns out to be correct. What counts is consistency. Let us see organizations, like Canadian Ice Services, put in predicitons year after year, and get it right year after year. That is what counts.

June 21, 2012 2:59 pm

someone needs to add in a “0”column for all those who have predicted “ICE FREE BY 2012!!”….

June 21, 2012 3:06 pm

Last couple of years I have been following this prediction, the actual came in pretty close to the median of the predictions. That looks like a 4.4. km^2 in this case, so I will make that my prediction.
The wisdom of crowds, or an ensemble of models being better than any single model?
Ask about a hundred people to guess how many jelly beans in a glass jar. All may be individually wrong, some even wildly wrong, but the average of all the guesses will probably be right.

June 22, 2012 2:07 pm

My guess is that it will be less than it should be

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