Nenana Ice Classic sets new record for latest ice-out, and the record is still growing

UPDATE: Breakup has occurred! See below, for my timelapse video

Here is the webcam closeup – when it was still standing as of 14:18 AKDT:


Alaska Dispatch confirms what we already knew in this thread on WUWT:

Like a striped testament to one of the coldest winters to hit Alaska in 100 years, a black-and-white tripod remains upright, atop stubborn Tanana River ice in Nenana.  At 12:42 (ADT) Monday afternoon, the still-frozen waters allowed Nenana Ice Classic set a new record for the latest the ice has gone out in the 97 years since railroad workers started keeping track.

If you look on the Nenana Ice Classic website, you might think the record was broken an hour earlier, but the ice-out times listed there are in Alaska Standard Time. So the old record, listed as 11:41 a.m. (AST) is actually 12:41 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time (ADT).

Geophysicist Martin Jeffries at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks said in 2008,

Wall Street Journal – March 7, 2008

Climate Watchers Place Own Big Bet On Alaska’s Thaw

The Ice Classic has given them a rare, reliable climate history that has documented to the minute the onset of the annual thaw as it shifted across 91 years. By this measure, spring comes to central Alaska 10 days earlier than in 1960, said geophysicist Martin Jeffries at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks — and that trend is accelerating. “The Nenana Ice Classic is a pretty good proxy for climate change in the 20th century,” Dr. Jeffries said.

The local ice lottery is further evidence of a long warming trend affecting lakes and rivers throughout the Northern Hemisphere, reported by University of Wisconsin researchers who analyzed newspaper archives, transport ledgers and religious records dating back to the 16th century……….

I wonder what he says now?

UPDATE: 4:43 PM Pacific time (15:43 AKDT), the tripod apepars to have flipped over and sunk as the breakup is now underway. I won’t be able to show this until a couple hours from now when I get home and pull up the series of time lapse captures from my PC running there. Look for a Movie to be uploaded tonight or tomorrow – Anthony

UPDATE2: Timelapse video is now uploaded, see

Refresh to see the latest.


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NZ Willy

We can now call it the Neener-Neener Ice Classic! 🙂


I am sure the esteemed professor would say something like ……… ” This is just weather, not climate ……… nothing to see here ….. move along!”

If it had been the earliest ever, it would be all over Climate Progress, Daily Kos, etc.

Gee, I have been watching this all night, the most exciting thing I ever saw except watching paint dry. If it would have gone sooner the warmists would have said it is climate, now of course they will say it is weather.

Lawrence Jenkins

Can I say that the great John Daley would have cherished this moment. It was he who started using this popular lottery proxy on his website called ‘still Waiting For the Greenhouse’ back in the late 90’s . he was a stubborn man who stuck by his beliefs when all the signals showed otherwise .
He always, whilst blogging referred to this ‘Ice Classic’ as a true accepted measurement of global temperature. He really does deserve far more credit than he seems to get.
God bless you John, you’ve just won the lottery.

Ben Wilson

I’m sure the brilliant professor would say that the ice on the river persisting longer is further unequivocal proof agreed upon by 97% of climate scientists who know jack that global warming is progressing even faster than anybody had imagined, and that the only way to keep global warming from causing the Nanana River from being frozen all year long is to provide more money for research. . . . . . .

A four-legged tripod
The old record’s been trod
“Extreme warming”? How odd
The trend? Flatter than sod
We’re spending a huge wad
On work that is slipshod
The temps get an up-mod
To serve the new Left’s god
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

I remember, one of my first comments here on WUWT, years ago, was that in 12th century England predicting weather was a crime punishable by death.
It’s always funny to watch, how they change forecasts on Yahoo weather site every few hours, reflecting the latest whim of that darn weather, after the fact.
Whatever is the unknown contribution of humanity to the so called “climate,” one thing is eminently obvious: natural variations of weather make it statistically negligible.
But money talks, and mostly what money says are lies, in modern science as well as in any other human activity.
To say that I am sick and tired of human small-mindedness, cowardice, and avarice, would be a huge understatement. 21st century, is it? Or 12th? Or worse than 12th?
My wife likes to jibe: “Back in the USSR, KGB told us that people in the West are different. Boy, they duped us again!”

Ahahahah! Nice one Ben!

Another case of: The hotter it goes, the colder it gets!
I wonder if Al(armist) Gore has been swimming over there…
It seems the «Gore effect»…

I don’t know if I’d be quite as eager as some of the people in the picture, to park my expensive SUV directly under the cables, at this point in the competition…


I was strangely thrilled to see by the dawn’s early light, that the unspangled banner still waved atop the tetrapod. Now, a new record, and there shall be weeping and the gnashing of teeth in the halls of the scientific-technological elite. Oh, joy!


I do believe I have a plan to win next year’s grand prize.
Does anyone have a couple of cases of dynamite and some blasting caps I can “borrow”?

Lawrence Jenkins

Sorry : John Daly, John l Daly.

Colorado Wellington

I am sorry but I believe that Stanford phenologists Dr. Sagarin and Dr. Micheli beat Dr. Jeffries by 7 years:
Raphael Sagarin
Fiorenza Micheli
Climate Change in Nontraditional Data Sets
Science,, volume 294, 26 OCT 2001

A celebrated betting pool in Alaska is providing researchers with a remarkably accurate record of global climate change, according to a new study in the journal Science. And the results show that spring is coming earlier and earlier.
The authors analyzed the entire Ice Classic record and discovered that, on average, the Tanana River breakup occurs 5.5 days sooner than it did back in 1917. The earliest breakup on record took place on April 20, 1998; the latest on May 20, 1964.
“These results show that springtime is coming earlier,” notes Sagarin. “This trend also matches up pretty well with historic temperature data from Nenana and Fairbanks.”
He says that other phenological records from around the world documenting the springtime appearance of birds and new plant growth also reveal that spring is coming sooner — an indication that climate change is a reality that is affecting natural systems on Earth.
“This is nontraditional scientific knowledge, but simple observations are very important. For example, river ice breakup has direct economic consequences, because people who live along the Tanana rely on waterborne commerce,” Sagarin says.
“Phenology was pooh-poohed until recently, but now it’s recognized as important data, because climate change is a relatively recent phenomenon that has caught scientists by surprise,” he adds.
Sagarin says he might use his linear regression analysis to predict when the breakup will occur next spring.
Also, Sagarin and Micheli talked it up as a “remarkably accurate record of global climate change” while Dr. Jeffries went with a rather pedestrian “pretty good proxy”.


Meanwhile in Newfoundland, half a metre of snow marks the Victoria Day long weekend:


21 May 2013 at 00:00:01 AKDT.

Paul Vaughan

cold on the opposite side of the continent too…
more than 50cm of snow on May 24, 2013
“Fifty four centimetres of snow fell in Gander over a 20-hour period from Saturday to Sunday, says Environment Canada, shattering the town’s previous record of 29 centimetres for the entire month of May, recorded in 1945.
As unbelievable as more than half a metre of spring snow sounds, an Environment Canada meteorologist suspects the total was actually higher.
Snowfall over the weekend could have actually been as high as 66 centimetres, including the snow that had already melted before the storm hit, meteorologist Wanda Rideout told the Canadian Press.
If u can mow lawn and snowblow driveway on same weekend….you might be a Newfoundlander.
It snowed in Calgary in July in the 1950’s. It snowed in Edmonton in August in early 90’s.
Cooling is Warming. Freedom is Regulation. Ignorance is Science.
Better […] come up with another “scientific fact” to keep them donations rolling in.”

WUWT readers will love the comments.


Ice has broken up!
AKDT 15:40

Mike Ozanne

Thar she blows…


It just broke! Tower carried down stream, didn’t fall over.


The tetrapod is on the move …

Jeff C

Did it just disappear? 4:43 PM Pacific time.

Luther Wu


David Chappell

Poof, there it was gone…

Warren in New Zealand

It’s gone! 15.44.45?

David Chappell

Oh dear, what can we do to keep ourselves amused now….


Holy crap, that happened in a hurry!


Just refreshed the cam at 15:39 two times… at the third time it was moving.
Must have been somewhen at the beginning of 15:40

Got home from work, pulled out the iPad, and voila! It’s done.
Let’s hear it for global warming!

John from Holt

Since the previous 1964 record was set during a leap year, May 20 breakup this year does not tie the old record. It is a day short.

Blast I missed it as I was in the shower and getting my son ready for school. 🙁


Think you Ice Classic “record” folks are jumping the gun a bit. You must be under the impression that the breakup time is recorded when the tower trips the timer. Nope. The real ice breakup time won’t be known until after the required quality control, homogenization, time series adjustments, model adjustments, reanalysis, retrospective prediction, etc., steps have been applied with the appropriate number of grant funding cycles. Guessing that after the proper statistical analysis as been applied that it will be worse than we thought.


John from Holt says:
May 20, 2013 at 4:52 pm
Since the previous 1964 record was set during a leap year, May 20 breakup this year does not tie the old record. It is a day short.

Please see previous thread for at least a dozen explanations of why you’re wrong.


BruceA says:
… still waiting for the dog that finally ate the data? /sarc

Since the previous 1964 record was set during a leap year, May 20 breakup this year does not tie the old record. It is a day short.
Not so. The reason for leap years is to correct the mismatch between the true length of the year and the day count – the Earth does not orbit the sun in an exact number of days.
Its the year before the leap year which is wrong – the leap year just adjusts it back to what it should be.


You are probably right, BruceA. When all is said and all the computations are made, it will have been the earliest breakup on record. Probably some time last January.

“Think you Ice Classic “record” folks are jumping the gun a bit. “…
Yep. We should take another lottery to determine what day in March it really broke up. My money’s on March 18th.

Lawrence Jenkins says:
May 20, 2013 at 3:46 pm
Sorry, in his critique of “Climate Change in Non-traditional Data Sets”,
by Sagarin R., & Micheli, F., Science v.294, p.811, 26 Oct 2001 [1],,
John Daly showed how weak this paper of Sagarin & Micheli was. In my presentation before the Joint Alaska Climate Impact Assessment Commission I assessed this paper of Sagarin & Micheli as an example of foolish statistics used in climatology.


When it goes it goes fast

Who won, and where is the movie (video)?

We should watch the river ice to see if it makes an ice dam. Those bring some quick flooding and are not to be trifled with!
And after that, back to watching the ENSO meter, which appears to have gotten out of its 0.0 rut (one of three weeks should have been +0.1). Monday’s value for the last week was -0.3.

J. Gary Fox

When our Met Office computers accessed the original pixels and we applied proper statistical control and ran it through our new Super Computers that are capable of one billion calculations per second, the correct adjusted Universal time was April 5, 2013 at precisely 00:09.24 (accuracy 0.2 seconds).

Janice Moore

LOL — The Wonderland Science Club “scientists” trying to maintain their course (and dignity) while slipping on the inconvenient reality of ice:

Janice Moore

@ Glynnmohr [I spell my last name wrong, don’t I — ;)] Thanks for sharing photo of climate realists reveling in the Enviro-tyranny check called REALITY.


Exactly 3 hours past the previous record – update from the Alaska Dispatch that Anhony linked in the head post:
A tripod used in the Nenana Ice Classic fell off the Tanana River ice at 3:41 p.m. on Monday, May 20. But because of daylight savings, the actual time the ice went out is 2:41 p.m., according to Ice Classic organizers.


John from Holt says:
Since the previous 1964 record was set during a leap year, May 20 breakup this year does not tie the old record. It is a day short.

No. The Nenana record is based on the Gregorian calendar.
Not that it matters. To eliminate the effect of drift and reset between the Gregorian calendar and the solar cycle, one would measure onset of breakup starting at the vernal equinox. By that measure, the record was broken at 8:33 AKST this morning. The rest was gravy. The record is solidly broken. Pun!

Janice Moore

Bond. James Bond. (007 at 5:23PM) — LAUGH — OUT — LOUD. “Waaake up!” His sign is yelling this because his audience fell asleep from boredom a long time ago. WE are “stuck”!???? (head shake) Just who is stuck on mindlessly repeating meaningless speculation, eh Sheldon?
His ability to keep a straight face is amazing — must have been a used car salesman before this gig.
I kept waiting for the “aaand, now, live from New York, iiiit’s Saturday Night Live!”
Thanks for sharing. [:)]