Sea Ice News – Volume 3 Number 11, part 1 – new Arctic satellite extent record

PART1 – (part 2 comes later today is NOW ONLINE HERE)

I’ve been noting with some humor the anticipation of a new Arctic sea ice extent minimum in the Alarmosphere. Yesterday, the frustration that there hasn’t been any major announcement yet bubbled to the surface in the form of a Michael Mann tweet, who was upset that NSIDC is making him wait:

Today though, looking at the NSIDC extent graph, he seems happy, declaring it “official”:

NSIDC made an announcement a few minutes ago, just as I started writing this post (and for that reason I’m publishing this post in two parts, see below):

Arctic sea ice appears to have broken the 2007 record daily extent and is now the lowest in the satellite era. With two to three more weeks left in the melt season, sea ice continues to track below 2007 daily extents.

Arctic sea ice extent fell to 4.10 million square kilometers (1.58 million square miles) on August 26, 2012. This was 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) below the September 18, 2007 daily extent of 4.17 million square kilometers (1.61 million square miles).

Here’s the plot, annotation mine:

Predictably, Seth Borenstein is already practicing for the big story he’ll be writing any minute now, and, the money quote he uses is just as predictable:

Data center scientist Ted Scambos says the melt can be blamed mostly on global warming from man-made emissions of greenhouse gases.

Neither Borenstein nor NSIDC’s current announcement mentions the massive Arctic storm that broke up huge amounts of sea ice, making this new record low possible.  NSIDC said on August 14th:

As of August 13, ice extent was already among the four lowest summer minimum extents in the satellite record, with about five weeks still remaining in the melt season. Sea ice extent dropped rapidly between August 4 and August 8. While this drop coincided with an intense storm over the central Arctic Ocean, it is unclear if the storm prompted the rapid ice loss.

Unclear? Hmmph.  Further down they dub it: “The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012” and provide this before and after image:

Figure 4. These maps of sea ice concentration from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder (SSMIS) passive microwave sensor highlight the very rapid loss of ice in the western Arctic (northwest of Alaska) during the strong Arctic storm. Magenta and purple colors indicate ice concentration near 100%; yellow, green, and pale blue indicate 60% to 20% ice concentration.

Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center courtesy IUP Bremen

High-resolution image

Calling the reason “unclear” seems more than a bit disingenuous to me, especially when you don’t mention it again.

It should be noted that in the ARCUS sea ice forecast submitted on August 5th, both NSIDC and WUWT forecasts agreed at 4.5 million sqkm. Clearly NSIDC didn’t expect this storm nor its effects, because if they had, their forecast would have been much lower.

In part two of this post, later today, I’ll share some other interesting things I’ve found that suggests NSIDC and the media aren’t telling you the full story right now.

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crosspatch

Well, it is too late now for much more ablation of the ice pack. The melt ponds in the view of the drifting cameras are already starting to freeze over. Surface melt has already stopped so only the underside of the ice pack is melting at this point. The sun angle is too low for any solar melting of the surface. Now it’s just up to the wind and the waves.

An open Arctic Ocean means more moisture availability for the Polar Easterlies!!!
Watch for more “Ocean-Effect” snow to add to Greenland’s snow/ice depth, wiping out the “loss” from the brief early August “melt” so eagerly pounced upon by the AGW crowd!

JohnB

How about this for a headline: “Arctic Sea Ice recovering since 2012”.

CRS, Dr.P.H.

Just noticed the “Death Spiral” myself! Anthony, you said:

Neither Borenstein nor NSIDC’s current announcement mentions the massive Arctic storm that broke up huge amounts of sea ice, making this new record low possible.

Well, of course, the “massive Arctic storm” will be blamed on CAGW, just like the drought, heavy snowfalls etc.
I guess I can blame my dead front lawn on CAGW, but I doubt they will pay to have it resodded!

There is good correlation between the storm and the rapid loss of ice loss in the region, so it’s quite plausible that the storm played some role. But we don’t exactly what role it played and how much of an effect it had. The ice was already quite thin in that region and probably poised to melt out anyway. The storm may have given it a jump start, but much of the ice there would’ve probably melted out without the storm.
One thing one can definitely not say is that without the storm we wouldn’t have set a new record low. We were already tracking below 2007 levels before the storm.
Walt Meier
REPLY: Thanks Walt, but I don’t think your statement of “One thing one can definitely not say is that without the storm we wouldn’t have set a new record low. We were already tracking below 2007 levels before the storm.” can be certain, because as you and many other people noted in the past, Arctic sea ice is at the mercy of the weather in the final days, without that Arctic storm, who’s to say the weather would not have turned more favorable? Can you tell me what the weather will be in the Arctic from now to the equinox and if it will be favorable/non favorable to sea ice extent? – Anthony

Russell C

Break up the whole ice cap right before it starts refreezing and you ultimately get a solid coverage even bigger than last winter?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/aug/23/arctic-sea-ice-record-low?intcmp=122
I wrote to Vidal pointing out that he hadn’t mentioned that “record” meant “record since satellite monitoring started 30 years ago”.
No response, no edit of the programme.
I then emailed him with various other riders that have been published here and elsewhere indicating how meaningless this “record” is.
No response, no edit of the programme.
This from the paper that likes to claim that
“Comment is free but facts are sacred”.

A line judge needs to whistle this play dead vis-a-vis ‘beating the 2007 low’ and disregarding the part that “The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012″ played in the ice extent decline …
.

Whenever MSM keep strangely mum about something, you bet there is a full story they aren’t telling….

What? Record? Did you say “record”? Nothing is a record until we decide it is!
Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
Otter: [to Boon] Germans?
Boon: Forget it, he’s rolling.
And it ain’t over now. ‘Cause when the goin’ gets tough… [thinks hard of something to say]… The tough get goin’! Who’s with me? Let’s go…!!!

byz

The weird thing is that in 2007 the last minimum the UK had a dreadful summer, this year we have also had an Awful summer (April and June have set new records for rainfall).
In both years the Jetstream was driven south on both occasions, which is an interesting coincidence.
Since we have entered a subdued period for UV output from the Sun the jetstream also appears to form more Omega patterns than I have ever seen before, which here in the UK also given us the very cold months of January 2010 and December 2010 (the second coldest December on record and the coldest for 100 years).
Less ice seems to give the UK very cold winters, they started in Feb 2008 and apart from last winter (which was like winter 2006-2007) have been the coldest in my lifetime, I wonder if the pattern is about to reload 😮

Dreadnought

There’s just been a risible news interview about this topic on the BBC, with Prof Peter Wadhams. He unequivocally laid the blame for the low sea ice extent squarely on CAGW due to CO2 emissions.
He spent the whole piece dispensing alarmist nonsense and disinformation, with a shit-eating grin plastered across his face. His apparent solution was to spray clouds with water vapour.
}:o(

edcaryl
David L.

Honestly, who cares? Melt the whole cap. Shipping will become a lot easier. People dreamed for hundreds of years of a passage over the top. They may get that dream eventually. It’ll matter as much as it does that we no longer have a 5 mile thick glacier over the area that is now New York city, thanks to the melting since the last Ice Age.

Climate change is dominated by natural oscillations of sun and the Earth’s core. One provides the energy, the other the variability in the absorption and release of the energy. Understanding of the natural oscillations is key not only the climate but other natural events. Here I demonstrate one more of the Sun-Earth relationships.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Sun-Earth.htm

Barry Glass

With all this record melting, why hasn’t New York City been deluged? Why are the Netherlands still above water?

Replying to Anthony: I agree. We can’t say that we would’ve set a new record even without the storm. But we also can’t say the the storm led to the record – we might’ve set the record regardless of the storm.
A key point is that while the weather helps determine where the final numbers end up, the long-term trend determines whether we’ll be high, average, or low. And a decreasing trend pushes the odds in favor of new records, as we’ve seen. And one reason for this is that the long-term changes makes the ice more vulnerable to a storm like the one that came through in early August. The ice is thinner, more broken up, and more vulnerable to any impacts (waves, ocean mixing, warm air transport) from such storms.
Though a record always gets a lot of attention, which is understandable, more relevant is the long-term trend of over 12%/decade, the fact that we’ve set a new record low 4 times in the last 11 years, and the last 6 years are the lowest in the 34-year record.
Walt Meier
REPLY: Thanks Walt, have you ever considered we may be at/near the bottom of a natural cycle? How can you rule that out without data much beyond 30 years? There’s historical anecdotal evidence of very low Arctic sea ice in the past where you have no data. – Anthony

Theo Goodwin

“REPLY: Thanks Walt, but I don’t think your statement of “One thing one can definitely not say is that without the storm we wouldn’t have set a new record low. We were already tracking below 2007 levels before the storm.” can be certain, because as you and many other people noted in the past, Arctic sea ice is at the mercy of the weather in the final days, without that Arctic storm, who’s to say the weather would not have turned more favorable?”
Was there ever a clearer example of anti-empiricism. Was there ever a clearer example of distaste for present and relevant fact? It is as if the arctic storm had not occurred. This so-called science is totally “a priori” and reveals that the so-called scientists have no empirical instincts whatsoever.
Mann’s tweet is an excellent example of someone who was once eaten alive by confirmation bias and now is an outright activist. All he cares about is the moment that he gets to trumpet the announcement of his victory in record low sea ice extent.

David A. Evans

Think of all that energy that can now be released from the Atlantic where there is no longer ice cover.
Expect the North Atlantic to cool quite a bit, this is a negative feedback in the system. I don’t know when Enough energy will be released to start the significant cooling but it will happen.
I’d like to add my thanks to Walt Meier for his openness and honesty, he’s the only one I trust in that place.
DaveE.

Sam Glasser

To Walt Meier: Just before the big storm, sea ice was tracking exactly on the 2007 record (not below). And you cannot definitely say what would or what would not have happened without the storm (faulty logic).

PMT

I don’t know whether this link will work outside the UK. The Met Office provide weather forcasts and background information for the BBC. In this video John Hammond (no, not the Dylan-Springsteen CBS one) from the Met Office even uses the phase ‘global warming’, but does not mention any weather events such as artic cyclones.
“Arctic sea ice melt set to break record”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/features/19362809

Steven Hill

We need more windmills and solar panels, the earth is doomed due to man and his destructive nature. Sod houses and bicycles for everyone but the people in China and India. 🙂

Notice that the axis of the graph begins at 2, not zero.

Julienne Stroeve

Anthony I think you are missing a key point, it doesn’t matter too much what the weather does anymore. Whether you have persistent unusually high pressure over the Beaufort coupled with low pressure over Eurasia such as in 2007, or this summer that didn’t have as favorable weather as in 2007, but had an early August storm, the ice cover continues to be anomalously low in summer. The ice is thinner than it was 20-50 years ago, so that it melts out more easily in summer.
REPLY: It doesn’t matter what the weather does anymore? Really? I’m sorry but I just can’t accept a statement like that given some of your previous posts on the subject here. And, tell me please, why don’t you report in your public announcements your “much greater accuracy than daily products based on singlesource satellite data.” product, MASIE, that shows extent at 4.7 million sqkm on August 26th?
Why hold back a “new and improved” system? – Anthony

beesaman

I see Peter Gleick has popped up commenting on Mann’s tweet, maybe Mann could use him as a character witness in his upcoming trial?

JohnB

REPLY: Thanks Walt, have you ever considered we may be at/near the bottom of a natural cycle? How can you rule that out without data much beyond 30 years? There’s historical anecdotal evidence of very low Arctic sea ice in the past where you have no data. – Anthony
——————-
Anthony, what evidence would that be?

When we track the rate of recovery from this low, I predict the earliest and fastest rate of recovery of the ice pack (early and rapid re-freeze) for the satellite era. If and when, I will proclaim that we are in a new era of colder climate, and have reached an unprecedented “tipping point” for the next reglaciation.. What is good for the goose…

davidmhoffer

All that ice gone… oh dear. Cuz ice is such a good thing. You can grow food on it for example…. ooops….well I’m sure it must be good for something based on all the wrining of hands over it melting….. If we just know what that something was…..
I know one thing it is NOT good for, and that is warming. Yup, all that ice is part of the thermostat mechanism. Ice gone, what happens? Well a major albedo change for one. Instead of ice that reflects incoming SW back out to space we have water that incoming SW slices right through and gets absorbed at depth. Then there’s the now exposed surface of the water that radiates more LW to space than the snow and ice that no longer cover it did.
So…. the cooling trend begins….

george e smith

I have a question for the Meteor Ologists (IANAM) relating to the: “The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012″, and also the great Isaac no show of Aug 2012, which sadly is not going to upset the foreshortened Republican convention in Tampa Fla. Seems like just a few days ago, weather reports said it was going to reach category 4 by the time it got to the mainland. Well it needs to get out of the storm class first.
So ok, these animals are supposed to be driven by, and feed off the hot ocean surface waters.
So just how does one get “The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012″ out over the Arctic Ocean ? That was a spectacular satellite photo you showed a few days ago, but how does the Arctic ocean feed such a thing, but far warmer sea surfaces don’t ? Do they ever get “cyclonic storms” over the Antarctic Continent ?
The present sea ice crash is spectacular, so it will be interesting to see what happens in the rest of “The Melt Season. ” So we can expect extra arctic ocean evap , so some good future snows somewhere

Luther Wu

Hey Walt,
did you happen to notice the maximum extent last winter- higher than in many years?
WUWT?

REPLY: Thanks Walt, have you ever considered we may be at/near the bottom of a natural cycle? How can you rule that out without data much beyond 30 years? There’s historical anecdotal evidence of very low Arctic sea ice in the past where you have no data. – Anthony
After two years of digging into North Atlantic SST, it is obvious to me that the AMO is at top of the cycle.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Sun-Earth.htm
Since the AMO is measured south of Iceland it might take a 2-3 years more for the peak of the energy (heat) cycle to reach the Beaufort gyre, so even more scaremongering is the store for few more summers.
Nature will do its thing weather we like it or not.

Julienne Strove, are you arguing that human CO2 emissions are the cause of the current Arctic ice decline? If so, post your evidence, per the scientific method: testable, quantifiable scientific evidence, directly attributable to human CO2 emissions.
Otherwise, the default position must be natural Arctic ice variability, which has happened repeatedly during the Holocene, is happening. That is the null hypothesis. Arctic ice melt has occurred at other times in the 20th Century [in the 1920’s and the 1960’s], and is documented in Royal Navy observations in the 1800’s. The same cycle has happened throughout the Holocene. Why would the current cycle be anything but natural?
Post your evidence of human causation, if you have any.

Anything is possible

Climate “scientists” now have a convenient scapegoat for every anomalous weather event (especially those with negative impacts) which occurs in the Northern Hemisphere between now and April 30th. 2013…..

BillD

Good to see coverage of the record ice melt on WUWT. This is another example where the IPCC models got it wrong. They predicted a slower decline Arctic sea ice extent than is being observed.. At least the IPCC and climate scientists have been correct in predicting that warming would be much faster at higher latitudes.

Julienne Stroeve

REPLY: Thanks Walt, have you ever considered we may be at/near the bottom of a natural cycle? How can you rule that out without data much beyond 30 years? There’s historical anecdotal evidence of very low Arctic sea ice in the past where you have no data. – Anthony
Anthony, we can also go back somewhat reliably until 1953, so are you suggesting that we may be at the bottom of a 60-year cycle? Or longer?

LOL in Oregon

Harrah! Harrah!
The Little Ice Age will soon be over and we will return to a “climate optimum”!
Farming on Greenland! Wine from Great Britain!
Larger fields of “amber waves of grain”!
The end of hunger
(or more food to burn in our cars so we decrease the surplus population)!
….or
so much snow that the new glaciers will start due to the early arctic radiating energy away, and the awol solar cycle 24 max, …
Ooops,
I forgot, Grandpa Baby Boomer knows all: we’re guilty sinners addicted to:
    – long life, good health, prosperity, technological progress,
    adequate food supplies, internet services, freedom of movement,
    protection from environmental threats, etc.
Repent and be saved: get ye back to your cave and starve!
The bosses, with good goberment jobs/grants/medical/retirement, tell you so!
LOL in Oregon

Pamela Gray

Walt, long term changes? What are they? And please don’t list the symptoms, list the causes. The conflagration of pressure systems, weather, and oceanic conditions today cause today’s land and ice surface temperature as well as today’s ice symptoms. Averaged over the long term, these day to day ice symptoms are only that, symptoms, and they compose your trend. So please tell me how the weather has changed over time, how the oceanic currents have changed over time, how the pressure systems have changed over time. Saying temperature has changed over time is a symptom. Saying ice has changed over time is a symptom. CO2 cannot overcome these parameters. Not enough joules. Can CO2 make them worse? Can CO2 make them occur more frequently? If you say yes, these changes would show up in the measurements of pressure systems, weather and oceanic conditions. Have they? Show where the trend in these drivers, matches the trend in symptoms. That is the first request.
The second request is to show how the trend in CO2 matches these other trends.
The third request is to explain the mechanism. Simple correlation is not enough (for example CO2 and temperature). Two things can be correlated because a third thing is the driver of both.

Let’s get it out the way. The next few years will probably be well above, so we might hear no more about downward trends.
Mind, when next year comes in higher, I expect warmists will say it would have been lower than 2012 if it had not been for the big storm!

Julienne Stroeve

BillD, we have a new paper just published: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2012/2012GL052676.shtml
This paper compares the next round of climate models with the observations. They better represent the mean state of the ice cover than the models in 2007 IPCC report, and they also generally simulate faster rates of decline, though many are still slower than observed. Interestingly though is that the uncertainty as to when an ice-free Arctic may be realized remains about the same in the earlier models.

george e smith

“””””…..waltmeier says:
August 27, 2012 at 9:39 am
Replying to Anthony: I agree. We can’t say that we would’ve set a new record even without the storm. But we also can’t say the the storm led to the record – we might’ve set the record regardless of the storm. …..”””””
Well Walt, what other non information are you willing to share with us ? You know we really admire your willingness to come here and give us your insights or even opinions; but your response to Anthony surely rates as one of the all time CYA statements. Surely your terraflop computers are able to render an opinion, even if nobody knows whether that is a prediction or a projection, or even a projection of a prediction.
No gold star today Walt.

Jim G

We have a reclaimed sewage settling pond outside of town that is excellent for fishing summer and winter ice fishing. It is affectionately called the “Turd Pond”. I am going to begin to record the ice thickness and timing of freeze and breakup for it as the Turd Pond ice stats probably have as much relevance in the overall scheme of climate, particularly with respect to AGW, as do the Arctic stats. Other than possible shipping consequences, why should we care?

Theo Goodwin

Smokey says:
August 27, 2012 at 10:03 am
What Smokey said, exactly. And please try to show some interest in empirical fact. Dismissing recent cyclones and their effects reveals a powerful lack of interest in the phenomena under study. We are investigating Arctic sea ice and what affects it, right? I would say that the recent cyclone necessarily falls within our investigation.

Pamela Gray

hmmmm. Who do we blame the too small to fish with grasshoppers in NE Oregon? They aren’t small for lack of food or water, they are small in size and number because of a cold, cold Spring. And CO2 caused that how?

ibbo

Just seen this headline oh the BBC news.
Just been one of the coldest wettest summers in 100 years in the U.K.
Its currently cold, wet raining and windy. People remember the forecasts of a long hot summer and hosepipe bans for us this summer.
Its almost that cold we are switching our heating on. It’s August FFS.
Global warming my arse.

rogerknights

And it ain’t over now. ‘Cause when the goin’ gets tough… [thinks hard of something to say]… The tough get goin’!

When the goin’ gets tough, make lemonade!

Julienne Stroeve says August 27, 2012 at 9:48 am
Anthony I think you are missing a key point, it doesn’t matter too much what the weather does anymore. Whether you have …

Double-check the IP source address; someone has got to be coming in as a ‘ringer’ and posing …
[Reply: No, that is actually a real government climate scientist. ~dbs, mod.]
.

David A. Evans

JohnB says:
August 27, 2012 at 9:56 am

REPLY: Thanks Walt, have you ever considered we may be at/near the bottom of a natural cycle? How can you rule that out without data much beyond 30 years? There’s historical anecdotal evidence of very low Arctic sea ice in the past where you have no data. – Anthony
——————-
Anthony, what evidence would that be?

How’s this?
Within 5° of the pole & no ice, that’s 300nm.
As I recall Syedoff was frozen in on Dec 18th & free again by Valentines day 1939.
DaveE.

EternalOptimist

good news for the trans arctic canoeing expedition.
Whatever happened to those guys ?

Frosty

I remember a previous article on WUWT back in 2008[1] highlighting an article[2] on the Monthly Weather Review for November 1922.[3] In that report a Captain Ingebrigtsen remarked the temperature around Spitzbergen had been recorded at 15 degrees C. and that “last winter the Ocean did not freeze over, even on the North coast of Spitzbergen”.
It is remarkable that the 1922 article says “The warmth of the waters makes it probable that favourable ice conditions will continue for some time”.
The definition of “favourable ice conditions” seems to have changed in only 90 yrs!
Lets see if the Ocean freezes over on the North coast of Spitzbergen this winter, if so it might indicate (as I suspect) that 1922 was warmer (with more favourable conditions) than today in that area.
[1]http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/03/16/you-ask-i-provide-november-2nd-1922-arctic-ocean-getting-warm-seals-vanish-and-icebergs-melt/
[2]http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/changing-artic_monthly_wx_review.png
[3]http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/mwr/050/mwr-050-11-0589a.pdf

jlurtz

Thoughtful Questions:
a) Without the “ice cap” on the Arctic Sea [preventing evaporation], will there be more escaping heat from the sea during winter?
b) If a) above has more heat loss, does the planet cool faster?
c) If a) above has less heat loss, does the planet warm faster?
d) Does less ice or more ice have a greater effect on Weather in Europe?
e) What about the Antarctic region: it has more ice. Is it getting warmer or cooler during winter?
f) What is causing the +10F [4.5C] pool of water east of Japan? Is it warming the Arctic Sea?
g) What happened [or is happening] to the El Nino this year?
h) Most important! In our modern era, is salty ice good for anything other than making ice cream?