Sea Ice News Volume 3 Number 7 – The next ARCUS Sea Ice Outlook forecasting poll for 2012 is online

NOTE: Poll closes at 12PM PST, Thursday, July 5th.

First, in case you missed it over the weekend, the WUWT Sea Ice page has gone through an upgrade. A number of new graphs and data sources were added that should be helpful in this sea ice poll. Details here.

For now a look at the JAXA sea ice extent. The plot is below:

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

Here’s a different version,  including trend lines for the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s Averages, as well as for the three years with the lowest minimums since 1979, 2007, 2011 and 2008:

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) – International Arctic Research Center (IARC) – Click the pic to view at source

Note the 2012 plot isn’t far from the 2011 and 2007 plots at this point.Bering Sea Ice Area reached a record high this year, and that extra ice may well come into play later in the melt season.

Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois’ Cryosphere Today – Click the pic to view at source.

The NSIDC extent data is used as the reference for the ARCUS sea ice outlook minimum determination, so I suggest you use it to base your best guesses:

National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) – click to view at source

Last month reader poll figured 4.9 million square kilometers. This month I think a lower value might be more representative. My personal forecast is now 4.7 million sq kilometers. Here’s the poll, pick one value for the summer 2012 minimum extent, expected in late September:


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4.5 million is the answer. Bank it.

M Courtney

Sounds like you’ll get piles.
[Fixed, thanks. ~dbs, mod.]

What is “Seat” ice? Something you get from tobogganing without a sled?
[Fixed, thanks. ~dbs, mod.]


WUWT is theologically predisposed to overestimate the coming ice extent, Bank that. 4.2 imho.

To date 2012 is level with 2007 but the year lines do dodge about a bit so we are down to best guess as usual.


You might want to edit the title to read “Sea Ice”. Other than that, thanks again for all the great articles!
[Fixed, thanks. ~dbs, mod.]


Seat ice? Could be painful or dangerous depending where it is. Or both. (Typo in headline)


Good to have these updated and at the ready. The press (Fairfax) seems to be mounting an second wave of “AGW could cause” stories now that the Carbon Tax has started.

Bloke down the pub

Seat ice? I think your voice recognition needs a tweak.

Eric Webb

I say 4.8 million, I think we’ll see the sea ice take a last minute spike closer to normal thanks to the cooler than normal waters over the bearing sea and record sea ice which should lead to a higher minimum, and slow the melting north of asia, but that’s just how i see things

more soylent green!

“Seat Ice News” or Sea Ice News? Typo in headline.
[Fixed, thanks. ~dbs, mod.]

Joe Myers

‘Seat’ ice news. Sorry. I know you’re having difficulty.
[Fixed, thanks. ~dbs, mod.]


My inschtinktuitive says to go a bit higher at 4.8 mil.sq.mi.
I am counting on the Bering Sea, and Hudson Bay later melts, as well as blind guessing, and optimism. We’ll see how that works out.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

4.5 million, which corresponds by my gut to “low but not abysmally low”.
4.7 million sounds like a nice well-reasoned figure. But I’ve seen before when a large amount of the slush suddenly drops below the 15% cutoff in the last days and vanishes off the maps. Instead of guessing high and being disappointed, I’d rather go low and be pleasantly surprised.

Richard M

The wind continues to favor melting. So, I dropped my estimate by .2.

Pamela Gray

The AO is neutral and forecasted to stay that way through at least half of the melt season (vortex is a bit weak compared to a positve AO, which results in some Jet Stream looping and Rossby Waves with cold events coming South here and there). It may turn positive towards the later half but not strongly (if it did so strongly we might keep more ice). Therefore winds will be kind of variable but not necessarily the kind that will blow your clothes off and move thick ice around in a tight pattern, with some of it on a fast conveyor belt out of Fram Strait, nor so weak that the ice rides freely on the outgoing Arctic current). Ice will melt in place along the edges and ride the normal currents out Fram Strait. My guess is that we will come close to the 3rd lowest (2008) but I don’t have a lot of confidence in that guess. If the AO were strongly one way or the other, we would have a more firm outlook.

Michael Jennings

While it is running close to the 2007 graph, it worries me that the 90% ice was more extensive in 2007. I will stay with my earlier estimate of 4.125mil but am not convinced it will not be even lower than that in the end

M Courtney

Ow, voice recognition. Of course. How mean of me.
Sorry about picking oin a minor typo in the title. We all have bad days.
I went 4.5 though as there has been a sharp downturn. Not that I’m convinced that betting on sea ice is any different to betting on the annual rainfall in Manchester, the sunshine on Leith or the shape of clouds.

Pamela Gray

I went with 4.8. But I have missed every year so don’t put any stock in my prediction. However, I did spend a bit more time this year looking at pressure systems and correlated wind and jet stream patterns this year.

Steve Keohane

I think the re-freezing is starting a little earlier in the more recent years from late to early September. I’ve seen the past two years heat truncate 2-3 weeks early the past two years in western Colorado. My WAG is for 5.0.


Sea ice looks like it’s doing good so far. Right in the middle of pack compared to recent years. No death spiral visible. Wonder how that ARCUS prediction of an ice free summer of 2013 is working out. LOL.

“title is the one place the wordpress spellchecker does not work.” Spell check would not pick up on “seat ice” anyway as both words are correctly spelt. (or spelled, if you prefer)

J. Fry

Seat ice can give rise to polaroids.

A fan of *MORE* discourse

[Snip. Invalid email address. ~dbs, mod.]

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

“Seat ice” actually reminded me of the “icepack jockstrap” male fertility treatment that Woody Allen spoofed in a movie once.
Also here in the US it’s (allegedly) swimsuit season. I’m certain there are beach goers who’ll take “What an ice-hard cold ass!” as a compliment.
For next time make it “Seal Ice”. For those frothing at the mouth in their eagerness to point out the error, stick a pic of a fluffy white pup at the end. Go on, I dare you. 🙂

G. Karst

It’s a fools game. Predicting sea ice shows little skill… evah. GK

Greg Locke

3.92 million sq. km. Same prediction I made on Mr. Goddard’s site, with a bet we are still working out, and for which I was roundly criticized. As I pointed out on Real Science (and SolarHam,where I also post occasionally) this prediction merely recognizes local factors this year. The drop in Arctic sea ice minimum is leveling off, and we’ll start to see an incline in the minimum curve over the next 20 or 30 years, until we’re back near 1970s levels. Individual year minimums are immaterial. Really nothing to see here this year, although our friends who are believers in CAGW will crow louder about this minimum than they are now doing about the midwest and eastern heat. Long term, however, it will be of no avail, as their nonesense is proven to be on stilts.

Bill Taylor

the comments about an obvious minor error shows what is wrong with the internet and posting…..far too many nit pickers hunting for any tiny error as if somehow finding a typo discredits the whole point……..INTELLIGENT people grasped right off the “t” wasn’t supposed to be there.

Frank Kotler

If “Seat Ice” and “folk scan” are the worst errors your speech recognition software makes, I’d say it’s working very well! I’ll be looking for “seal level” in due course (Theo the bear says “yum!”) I hope it works out, ’cause we love your work, but we don’t want you to hurt yourself!
I didn’t bet on sea ice… I’m not sure whether “tending toward ice age” (to prove the warmists wrong) or “tending away from ice age” is “better”. What’s the “ideal”, anyway? If I got to vote on the CCCA (Canute’s Climate Change Act), I think I’d go with “warmer”. If I can pick the actual “global average” temperature out of the anomalies, it’s about 16C, up from 15C. I’m most comfortable at around 20C – 21C, so around 5C more would be good… but that’s just being selfish! 🙂
Thanks to “Just The Facts” for the Sea Ice Page improvements!

Bryan A

I too feel that this year stands a strong likelyhood of being lower than the 2007 minimum. Looking at the Ice thickness charts and given that we are moving into an El Nino year I think this will have a negative affect on hte Arctic Ice levels

Spaghetti graphs? We get more more spaghetti graphs? Poor color blind WUWT faithfuls like me are screwed. Why can’t there be graphs with curves that are characterized with different combinations of dashes, dots, and thickness of lines like in the good old black and white days?
It is pure discrimination, and there ought to be a law that if you present a graphic in color, you have to present it in an acceptable black and white format, too. This is kind of like the dual-language stuff in Canada that we learned about in the movie, Canadian Bacon.

Lets see
This year looks to be on track with the record setting 2007 extent and area wise,
except this year has much lower concentrations.
At the end of may the smart money was between 4.3 ( 2007 ) and 4.6 ( 2011).
That is. If offered a bet at 4.6, take the under bet and take the over bet if offered 4.3
Now, the line has changed. take the over bet at 4.1 and take the under bet at 4.4
4.25 for a bet closest to the mark.

also note that albedo over greenland is at record lows.
If the right weather hits the record could be smashed and we hit “zero” summer ice before

The Other Phil

I’m going with 4.3 but didn’t do anything formal to estimate


People should understand that it isn’t just “melt” and there are many different sources of sea ice ablation. A lot depends on weather outside of temperature. As can be seen by the DMI graph of temperatures, it has been a cooler than normal summer in the Arctic.
Wave action, ocean temperature, wind direction, it all plays into breaking up the ice and sweeping it into warmer water where it can melt. The ice doesn’t melt from top down as much as it melts from the bottom up. Sunshine plays a large role, too. A cloudy summer will give different results and this will be amplified by carbon black content in the snow on the surface. It isn’t just temperature.

4.3 is a good bet Phil.
however if the forecast for next week holds up, the ice will get crushed. and smart money will be below 4.3

William Grubel

Seat ice reminds me of a local phenomena here in the Rockies. Every winter I get a bad case of frost butt. Maybe global warming will finally clear that up.


What about ice quality vs. extent?


Why does everyone have to point out typos like they’re the first/only to notice? Good grief!

crosspatch says:
July 3, 2012 at 11:24 am (Edit)
People should understand that it isn’t just “melt” and there are many different sources of sea ice ablation. A lot depends on weather outside of temperature. As can be seen by the DMI graph of temperatures, it has been a cooler than normal summer in the Arctic.
1. DMI is not observations but rather is the combination of data and a weather model used to reconstruct temperatures where there are no stations.
2. temperatures at arctic land stations are breaking all time records. see the temps at resolute.
or have a look here
3. Air temps above melting ice are stable and thresholded by the process of the ice melting
In other words the air temp above melting ice never goes much above the melting point.
4. SST matters more.
have a look
select anomalies.

Brian D

Here’s GFS forecast for next few days. Not much change from the current pattern. Been watching this the last few days, and it really isn’t changing that much. Wind and ice flow may pick up here and there but nothing really sustained, just variable speeds and directions.
Any guesses between 4km and 5km are good at this point. LOL!

J Martin

@ Steven Mosher
You said “If the right weather hits the record could be smashed and we hit “zero” summer ice before 2025.”
How do we “hit zero summer ice” as the coming years seem almost certain to be getting colder, courtesy of that big yellow thing in the sky, along with the AMO turning negative.
My guess was 4.3 but I don’t agree with your “zero”.

check the dipole anomaly..

Brian D

Yeah, Steve, but the pressures wax and wane and it may even disappear by mid-July.

Brian D

Here are some other model runs.
The dipole anomaly may hold tough and strengthen or not. If it does, then the ice will flow strong out of the basin. ECMWF says yes, GFS says no.


J Martin says:
July 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm
@ Steven Mosher
You said “If the right weather hits the record could be smashed and we hit “zero” summer ice before 2025.”
How do we “hit zero summer ice” as the coming years seem almost certain to be getting colder, courtesy of that big yellow thing in the sky, along with the AMO turning negative.

Doesn’t seem very likely, I’d guess 4.0.


I voted for 1.5pi Msqkm. ~4.7


It would be nice if there was only one or two variables on which the ice coverage could be forecast – and it is obvious that this is just not the case. And just to make it extra fun the variables themselves change on too frequent a basis. From the very little I understand – I reckon the ice coverage will reduce quickly but also recover and refreeze equally quickly. My guess for the low is: 4.2
To make this ‘proper science’ I think we should have to guess to 6 decimal places -like the ‘experts’, and the closest guess to the actual result should win something… like… a research grant & a soggy polar bear.


4.3e6 sqkm.