NASA on Arctic sea ice record low – storm 'wreaked havoc on the Arctic sea ice cover'

NASA finally admits it Arctic cyclone in August ‘broke up’ and ‘wreaked havoc’ on sea ice — Reuters reports Arctic storm played ‘key role’ in this season’s sea ice reduction.

‘The cyclone remained stalled over the arctic for several days…pushing [sea ice] south to warmer waters where it melted’

Monday, September 24, 2012 – By Marc Morano  –  Climate Depot

In a September 18 video posted by NASA on its website, they admit that the Arctic cyclone, which began on August 1, “wreaked havoc on the Arctic sea ice cover” by “breaking up sea ice.”  (NASA story here)

Global warming activists have been giddy in their hyping of the satellite era record low Arctic sea ice extent while ignoring the satellite record sea ice expansion in the Antarctic.

Many climate activists have sought to downplay the significance that the Arctic cyclone played on this year’s summer sea ice in the Arctic. But this new inconvenient video report from NASA now makes the warmists’ attempt to deny the cyclones role in 2012’s Arctic sea ice conditions — impossible.

The September 18 NASA video notes: “A powerful storm wreaked havoc on the Arctic sea ice cover in August 2012. This visualization shows the strength and direction of the winds and their impact on the ice: the red vectors represent the fastest winds, while blue vectors stand for slower winds.”

Reuters news service filed a September 21 report based on NASA’s video admission titled: “NASA says Arctic cyclone played ‘key role’ in record ice melt.” The news segment details how the Arctic sea ice was reduced due to “a powerful cyclone that scientists say ‘wreaked havoc’ on ice cover during the month of August.” (Reuters on “Arctic Cyclone” — 0:47 second long segment — Rob Muir reporting.)

Reuters – Sept. 21 – “NASA says a powerful cyclone formed off the coast of Alaska in early August and moved toward the center of the Arctic ocean, weakening the already thin sea ice as it went.

A large section North of the Chukchi Sea was cut off by the churning storm and pushed south to warmer waters where it melted.

The cyclone remained stalled over the arctic for several days…Scientists say a similar storm decades ago would have had much less impact on the sea ice because they say the ice was not as vulnerable then as it is now.”

#

End Reuters news segment.

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Jimmy Haigh

“Scientists say a similar storm decades ago would have had much less impact on the sea ice because they say the ice was not as vulnerable then as it is now.’
But of course…

jonny old boy

it would be interesting to see a similar model of 2007….. and then compare to other years….

“Scientists say a similar storm decades ago would have had much less impact on the sea ice because they say the ice was not as vulnerable then as it is now.”
“would have” Not “did” The climate shill at Reuters can’t cite such a storm having less affect or they would have.

Jeff D.

How does the AMO impact ice levels in the Arctic? Unless I am reading the graphs wrong we had the peek in AMO a few years back and are now heading to the bottom of the dip and have give or take another 12 years. Are we expecting to once again have an increase in ice as we move to the bottom?

dvunkannon

@RobRoy –
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/arctic-storm.html
8 out of 34 years had similar storms.

May I suggest that a Reference Page on the tropical troposphere, with a comparison of measured temperatures and “greenhouse” predicted temperatures, would better inform the CAGW debate? The bipolar nature of the cryosphere and the influence of megaprojects on the arctic portion encourage a selective and biased discussion.

Kasuha

It’s clearly the “it’s not as bad as it looks” case and it’s good that NASA admits it openly. The animation is great, too. In next few years we may expect higher summer minima than this year – but I’m afraid they’ll by mostly below 2007 anyway. It won’t just look that bad with the new minimum set now.

RayG

Would any one like to bet a 6-pack of Butte Creek Brewing’s finest IPA that this will never see the light of day on Andy Revkin’s DotEarth, the science pages of the NYTimes or any other MSM outlet? And certainly not on NPR’s Science Friday or the News Hour with Jim Lehrer!

It should also be noted that the weather pattern over the last 10+ years in the arctic has consistently pushed much of the perimeter “loose” ice into warmer water, hence adding to the vulnerability to such a storm. There have been several papers and posts on said subject that provide insight to a very complex system.

PaulH

But 97% of the world’s scientists know that Arctic cyclones are caused by global warming, so therefore it’s worse than we thought.
/sarc

David L.

But we all know storms are caused by AGW. We’ll have more storms, more bigger storms, more costly storms, more unpredictable storms, storms in weird locations and at weird times. So I’d think that a storm breaking up the ice in-and-of itself is further proof of AGW…
Speaking of storms, we are at the peak of the hurricane season on the east coast. Where have all the hurricanes been? Did AGW take the season off (again)?

” the ice was not as vulnerable then as it is now.””
Nuclear subs managed to punch holes in it with no problem. Indeed, the USS Skate was the first sub to surface through the arctic winter ice in 1958,

Glacierman

So, CO2 has increased it’s arsenal when it decides to attach the precious Arctic Ice? Now it can zap it with heat, or use kinetic energy./sarc.

P. Solar

With all the excitement over ice coverage minima, I decided to look at the length of the melting period. Both NH and SH.
http://i49.tinypic.com/200ady8.png
I chose to plot Antarctic freezing period (ie one year less the melting) so that each point represents the same calendar period. Melting = 1 – freezing , so it’s the same information.
A few point stand out:
1. antarctic freezing has been generally increasing since the record begain in 1979.
2. arctic melting season got shorter in ’80s; longer in late 80’s, early 90’s and has been getting shorter since 1995.
3. Three longer melting outliers in the Arctic seem unrelated to shorter melting outliers.
4. Shorter term variations at each pole seem to correlate negatively, ie. longer melting matches longer freezing: polar see-saw.
Ignoring the odd outlier events, arctic melting season was longest in 1995. Yet another index that demonstrates a change of direction at the time.
UAH lower tropo rate of change also dropping since that year.
http://i45.tinypic.com/2lt1r4l.png

Robert

For all we know there might have been similar or worse storms in the arctic in the past decades and now the situation is what it is – record low and will probably be with a pretty big margin before the winter sets in again. I was expecting the ice sheet to “recover” from the low point in 2007.

DesertYote

I am waiting for ” … as predicted. According to the models, these cyclones will become more common and intense in the future as CO2 levels … “

kbray in california

So what happened to “da bears” ?
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_c7S0Y3wBP9g/TUsOBSEe5EI/AAAAAAAAC40/k_Hv_GzTHaw/s400/polar-bear-on-ice.jpg
The storm pushed “da rowers” into safe harbor:
http://signalnews.com/arctic-row-storm-1046
I bet the bears are even smarter…

eqibno

Watch the animation carefully and, you can spot the NorthWest Passage open up for 3 days around the 8th of September.
I wonder how many rowboats, kayaks, and other conveyances made it through…

KR

From http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/arctic-storm.html“…there have only been about eight storms of similar strength during the month of August in the last 34 years of satellite records.”
And those previous storms had much less effect, due to considerably thicker ice in the past: http://psc.apl.washington.edu/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/schweiger/ice_volume/BPIOMASIceVolumeAnomalyCurrentV2.png?%3C?php%20echo%20time%28%29%20?
This doesn’t bode well for the effects of future storms, given the downward trends in Arctic ice volume, area, and extent.

Resourceguy

CO2 is just insidious. It can infect brain behavior and skew statements of vast numbers of interest groups and science agencies.

Interestingly the news media in South Africa are saying it has been the coldest winter there in 100 years. Coupled with the Antarctic ice expansion this does seem to challenge some of the more hysterical estimates being bandied about.
Incidently, I note that the ‘hundreds of emails’ and ‘petition’ demanding Anthony’s removal from the PBS debate, seem to have been orchestrated by one specific AGW promoter. Surely evidence they are scared of losing their massive ‘research’ gravy train?

Justthinkin

Soooooo.Just how did the RCMP vessel the Roch get through in the 30’s? Rode a storm?

beesaman

One good thing about all of this is that it has made some of the warmists come out into the open with even crazier alarmist pedictions of doom. The likes of Neven et al are going to look pretty dumb when the loss of energy caused by the storms’ churning over of the Arctic halocline results in an increase in ice and possibly a start in the recovery of sea ice. Next year is going to be really interesting as it looks likely that the Warmists have only been given a short respite by that summer cyclone…

P. Solar

dvunkannon says:
September 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm
@RobRoy –
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/arctic-storm.html
8 out of 34 years had similar storms.
===========
Which 8 years? Did they correspond to the outliers in Arctic melting season:
http://i49.tinypic.com/200ady8.png
2007 and this year would be two matches.
Looking at the anomaly plot on WUWT ice page, the post 2007 period is notable for its much larger swings in ice extent. This is probably because ice is thinner, quick to melt and quicker to reform:
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.arctic.png
What the media does not harp on about is that the summer max ice extent has been close to the 30 average since 2007. They just get all excited about a new minumum and ignore the rest of the year’s data.
Cherry picking at its best.
The overall trend since 2007 seems to be more ice More open water , more evaporation, negative feedback ?
If there’s supposed to be a “tipping point” is seems to be tipping the wrong way.

Kasuha

fretslider says:
September 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm
Nuclear subs managed to punch holes in it with no problem. Indeed, the USS Skate was the first sub to surface through the arctic winter ice in 1958,
______________________________________________________
USS Skate on North Pole in March 1959 (maybe not on North pole):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Skate_-_0857806.jpg
August 1959 (or maybe it was March?)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Skate_(SSN-578)_surfaced_in_Arctic_-_1959.jpg
USS Hampton on North Pole in April 2004:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Hampton_North_Pole_19_April_2004.jpg
Maybe Wikipedia made a fool of me here but based on these photos I am really not sure arctic winters were all that much warmer in 1959 than today.

Mac the Knife

Scientists say a similar storm decades ago would have had much less impact on the sea ice because they say the ice was not as vulnerable then as it is now.
Sounds like I’ve heard this song before…
Let me see….. What was it? Ohhh yes!
Ahhhh, but I was so much older then…..I’m younger than that now.
My Back Pages – The Byrds, 1966
http://youtu.be/3FUGzwUTN80

jonny old boy

@ P Solar… yes I have also been looking for the less obvious in the arctic and its clear that counter-intuative consequences are abundandant in the records which for me underpins what I already thought, we know proabably about 5% of what we need to know to understand the full mechanics of the poles…its a huge unknown ( obvious really given its remote locale ) yet the alarmists are clear, for them its settled…..

numerobis

Can someone post a description of anyone (well, anyone important) saying the storm was irrelevant?
Everything I’ve read from NASA, NOAA, and friends is that the storm had an effect. But even without a storm or much else unusual, the ice was melting at a similar or greater rate to 2007. The thinking now appears to be that the storm just changed the melt from record-breaking to record-demolishing — at least, that’s what NOAA has been saying.

It may even have ‘wrought’ havoc with the ice.

otsar

It would be interesting to find out how much energy was lost to space while insulation from the arctic ice was gone Vs wile the ice was in place. Would satellites have a record of this?
We have always assumed that the arctic was covered with ice during the ice ages. Could the possibility exist that it was not, and that it was a major source of moisture for the ice sheets. Something very similar to the lake snow effect but on a larger scale?

Kasuha
Wiki is very hit or miss, I wouldn’t recommend it.
USS Skate (SSN-578) made submarine history on 11 August 1958 when it became the first submarine to surface at the North Pole.
http://www.navalhistory.org/2011/08/11/uss-skate-ssn-578-becomes-the-first-submarine-to-surface-at-the-north-pole.
“USS Skate (SSN-578) hung below the Arctic ice like a matchstick suspended an inch from the ceiling of a large room. A knot of sailors in the control room stared intently at an instrument inscribing patterns of parallel lines on a rolling paper tape. The pattern looked like an upside down mountain range.
Heavy ice, ten feet,” said one of the sailors.
Suddenly the lines converged into a single narrow bar. “Clear water!” the sailor called out.
Clear water!

P. Solar

“The overall trend since 2007 seems to be more ice More open water , more evaporation, negative feedback ?”
Oops, did not come out quite like I meant: more winter ice (close to 30y average); more open water in summer ( more evap. , more radiative loss to space) . To this extent at least, the larger swings brought about by thinner ice act as a negative feedback.
To look at the annual average ice cover (rather than cherry picking the minimum, as though it was somehow the definative metric of ice cover) , there has been a significant recovery since 2007. The evidence is that the neg. feedback is taking effect.

otsar says:
“It would be interesting to find out how much energy was lost to space while insulation from the arctic ice was gone Vs wile the ice was in place.”
I think open arctic water probably radiates a lot more heat than it takes in.
http://sun.iwu.edu/~gpouch/Climate/RawData/WaterAlbedo001.pdf

AndyG55

JoNova is BACK UP on a temporary server. ! :-))))

Ron Clutz

Barring something else unusual in this arctic melt season, it appears that the National Ice Center (NIC) ice charts have also reached the ice extent minimum for the year. As discussed last month, NIC produces operational ice charts with a different method than the microwave-based Indices that are exclusively reported in the media.
As of Sept. 21, 2012, NIC reports the minimum (so far):
8/10ths 3,275,795 sq. Km.
Marginal zone 923,871 sq. Km.
Ice Extent 4,199,666 sq. Km.
For comparison, NIC reports the 2007 minimum on Sept. 11, 2007:
8/10ths 3,547,333 sq. Km.
Marginal zone 1,018,054 sq. Km.
Ice Extent 4,565,387 sq. Km.
Whether comparing the pack ice (>80%) or the total extent including the marginal zone (10% to 80% concentration), 2012 is reported as ~8% less than 2007, or a reduction in arctic ice extent of 365,721 sq. Km.
Considering that 2012 started with a higher maximum in March than 2007 did (15.97 M. sq. Km. Vs. 15.81 M. sq. Km.), it truly is a remarkable single melt season this year. There was warm water from the Atlantic, a rare late summer cyclone and persistent air temperature near freezing, only now dropping towards normal for the time of year. Release of heat from more open water probably contributed to the latter effect. Still, the numbers say that a lot of ice remains in the Arctic, and it is not wise to extrapolate from one season to an ice-free arctic.
What remains is to see what effect this event may have on weather patterns, and what kind of recovery will be seen in the months ahead.
For those who want to know more about NIC ice charts:
“Arctic charts include information on sea ice concentration and edge position as well as (since about 1995)information on ice type. The charts are constructed by analysts using available in situ, remotely sensed, and model data sources. Data sources and methods of chart construction have evolved since 1972 resulting in inconsistencies in the data record; a
characteristic shared with most operational products. However the arctic-wide charts are the product of manual interpretation and data fusion, informed by the analyst’s expertise and by ancillary products such as climatologies and ice information shared by foreign operational ice services. They are therefore often more accurate, especially since the addition of synthetic aperture radar to data sources in the mid 1990s, than are the passive microwave derived sea ice data sets commonly used by researchers. This is especially true for ice edge location because of its operational importance. NIC provides charts free of charge on their Web site.”
“Often a wide marginal ice zone of 40% to 60% is not detected in passive microwave (this was noted anecdotally in earlier studies by the authors comparing passive microwave with ice chart and other analyses), and this appears to be the case here. Also, the NIC partial ice concentration for multiyear shows that thinner types are present in higher concentration near the edge, and passive microwave can fail to detect thinner, younger ice.”
ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/pub/ppp/conf_ppp/Fetterer/National_Ice_Center_Arctic_sea_ice_charts_and_climatologies_in_gridded_and_GIS_format.pdf
NIC charts are available here: http://www.natice.noaa.gov/products/products_on_demand.html

Kasuha

fretslider says:
September 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm
Wiki is very hit or miss, I wouldn’t recommend it.
_________________________________________________
I know it has to be taken with grain or salt but my point was the 2004 photo. It looked very like clear water to me, too. In April. 2004.
And Wiki is not the only source confirming it.
http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08767.htm
http://www.csp.navy.mil/asl/Icex04.htm
http://www.flickr.com/photos/12150610@N08/2089039773/
I am really not that kind of conspiracy theorist to believe all these sources have faked that photo. They are likely not involved in AGW business in any way. So for me personally it’s end of the “submarines surfaced on North Pole in 1959 so it must have been less ice than today there” theories.

Richard M

As I indicated in the Open Thread I think the storm may very well provide help in reestablishing the larger ice cap. It has been reported that the storm piled ice onto itself in many places. This essentially turns young, thin ice into thicker, older ice. As the freeze occurs this year that ice will be intermixed with the new thin ice giving it additional support. I am calling it “reinforced ice”. If we have a couple of years without storms and with wind conditions that support ice development we could see a return to much larger minimums sooner than I previously predicted (2020).
I also agree that the thinner ice made it easier for the wind to break it apart. However, it should be noted that winds favorable for melting started around mid-March and continued almost unabated from that point on (I pointed that out in a comment in mid-April). The big reason the ice was weak was already due to the winds.
From my viewpoint there’s almost nothing in the story of Arctic ice that supports global warming. It’s more related to ocean oscillations and wind.

Richard M

I also think there’s another factor that will need to be watched in addition to the additional radiation from open water. The open water should allow more evaporation which should lead to more early snow on the continents around the Arctic. This will increase the albedo even though there is less sea ice. Another negative feedback.

Phil.

Justthinkin says:
September 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm
Soooooo.Just how did the RCMP vessel the Roch get through in the 30′s? Rode a storm?

No it didn’t happen.
They did get through between 1940 and 1942 though, being frozen in during the winters.
In 1944 the St Roch did make it through for the first time in one season, a routine event these days.

Robertvdl

Piers Corbyn of http://www.weatheraction.com discusses the facts and fictions surrounding Climate Change, and Ice in the Arctic.
http://youtu.be/47ucpzabzFM

Kasuha

(my earlier post seems to have disappeared so sorry for eventual repost)
fretslider says:
September 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm
Wiki is very hit or miss, I wouldn’t recommend it.
_________________________________________________________
I know Wiki must be used carefully, but here my point was the 2004 image.
Clear water. In April. 2004.
And I’m not a conspiracy theorist enough to believe all the sources hosting that photo have faked it.
http://www.csp.navy.mil/asl/Icex04.htm
To me this just means the 1959 photo of the submarine on clear water on the pole is no proof of anything related to Arctic ice. There were holes in it by then, there are holes in it today. There may have been holes in it all the time, the list of submarine visits to North Pole is pretty long and I have not checked if they all surfaced or not and in what conditions.

prjindigo

I doubt the veracity of the whole Skate article for a simple reason.
Top Gear drove to the ACTUAL north pole in July 2007 and found no clear water away from shore the entire trip.. nor was there land in the background of their photo taken at the pole.
The Navy has always lied.

JaneHM

Is there are legend for colour vs wind speed in this NASA video? – There doesn’t appear to be a legend at the NASA link either.

JaneHM

Is there a legend for colour vs wind speed in this NASA video? – There doesn’t appear to be a legend at the NASA link either.

Big D in TX

The Gray Monk says:
September 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm
[…]
Incidently, I note that the ‘hundreds of emails’ and ‘petition’ demanding Anthony’s removal from the PBS debate, seem to have been orchestrated by one specific AGW promoter. Surely evidence they are scared of losing their massive ‘research’ gravy train?
********************************************************************************************
Please support this contention with (a) link(s) or other method. Perhaps to tips n notes?
I am sure plenty of people on WUWT would be interested if this is the case.

Billy Liar

Kasuha says:
September 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm
USS Hampton on North Pole in April 2004:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Hampton_North_Pole_19_April_2004.jpg

Is the North Pole that stripey thing at the end of the gangplank? However did they find that amongst all that ice?

Chuckarama

So I wonder how this affects the opening line of the Nature article, denouncing extreme weather = climate.
“As climate change proceeds — which the record summer melt of Arctic sea-ice suggests it is doing at a worrying pace — nations, communities and individual citizens may begin to seek compensation for losses and damage arising from global warming.” -Nature 9/19/2012 http://www.nature.com/news/extreme-weather-1.11428

davidmhoffer

Richard M
The open water should allow more evaporation which should lead to more early snow on the continents around the Arctic.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I dunno. The amount of water vapour that the air can hold at 0 degrees C is very small:
http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/humidity-ratio-air-d_686.html
On the other hand, that means that there’s very little water vapour to act as a greenhouse gas so I agree with your comment about negative feedback. The open water will radiate WAY more energy than would the ice, and reflect more from the sun due to low angle of incidence, and there is an absence of water vapour (THE dominant GHG) to absorb and re=radiate it. Plus, salt water has a different max density point than fresh water. The higher density at a lower temp means the colder surface water actually sinks before it freezes, bringing warmer water up from the bottom. This process continues until ALL the water is at the freezing point from top to bottom, THEN ice starts to form. So LOTS of energy getting beamed out to space and the dynamics of salwater ensuring that as much warm water (by arctic standards) as possible is brough to surface for as long as possible. When the process ends… kaboom, lotsa ice fast. And colder than usual water underneath it that will get recirculated elsewhere. Eventually.

The storm is not really relevant: the cyclone would not have “broken” up the sea ice if the sea-ice had been several metres thick.
What the storm does is demonstrate that thin ice is present when satellite imagery might suggest that a lot of the sea is covered by ice. The storm gives a thinness indicator of prior and future satellite imagery. What we should look for is evidence that 2007 was a quiet wind summer. If it were, then the equivalent storm-compressed area of ice in 2007 may have been less than the summer of 2012.
The stat of more relevance, as it does not reflect storm influences, is the area of volume of meltwater and iceberg discharge of Greenland this year. Greenland (and Antarctica) have to move to tripling or quadrupling their fluid release rate to bring the seas up by 1.0 m in 2100 (that is just for the 2060 or so average of the century).
Sea-ice extent is a function of insolation plus underlying water temperatures, surface air temperatures and winds (winds can bring in warmer air masses, of course, so that the globe is not warmer, but where the warm air goes is warmer, like the Arctic). The Greenland, non-shelf ice mass melts only because insolation and air temperatures are greater (with the previous caveat).