The early chill in the Arctic continues

Temperature above 80 degrees north drops below freezing early, and continues to drop.

Many people have been watching the remarkable early drop in air temperature at the DMI plot here:


This drop looks to be about two weeks early. As this next analysis of sea surface temperature shows, much of the area is below freezing. Of course in seawater, ice doesn’t form until temperatures get below 28.4°F (-2°C), so it is close, but not quite there yet.  [Note: due to lower salinity in the Arctic seawater freezes at -1.8C according to this essay at NOAA by Peter Wadhams]

National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Marine Modeling and Analysis Branch (MMAB) – Click the pic to view at source

The DMI sea ice plot looks to be slowing significantly, but has not made a turn yet.


The JAXA plot isn’t quite so different from previous years, but does show some slowing:

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

With this slowdown becoming evident, and temperature dropping early, the possibility exists that a turn in ice melt may start earlier than usual. If it does, we might see a turn begin in about two to three weeks if there’s any linkage between 80N temperature and sea ice extent. Typically, we see a turn in Arctic sea ice melt around September 15th to the 25th.

Of interest is this plot done by the blog “sunshine hours” which shows the difference between Arctic sea ice in 2012 and 2013.

He writes:

The difference is quite dramatic if you graph the anomaly % from the 30 year mean.

Until day 175 or so, the anomaly was only around -5% or so (note that the anomaly actually went positive for a few days in 2012).

While 2013 was later, both started drifting down. 2013 has stabilized at -15%. At this time last year 2012 was -30%.

2013 and 2012 Arctic Anomaly % From 1981-2010 Mean as of day 224

Click image to enlarge.

Check out all of the data at the WUWT Sea Ice reference page


Some commenters have noticed a large drop in today’s most recent plot.

First, regarding this graph:


That’s the old DMI plot, which DMI says we should now use this one on this page:

They write:

The plot above replaces an earlier sea ice extent plot, that was based on data with the coastal zones masked out. This coastal mask implied that the previous sea ice extent estimates were underestimated. The new plot displays absolute sea ice extent estimates. The old plot can still be viewed here for a while.

And, that could be either an instrument failure or a processing failure. We’ve seen spikes like that before. It might also be real data, we won’t know until the next update.

I tend to favor loss of data, as reader “DJ” points out in comments, see this image:


But yes, this post was edited last night at about 11PM PDT, and DMI updated the graph a few hours later.


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The temperature scale only goes down to -1.5 and below.
Presumably it could already be below -2C?


Interesting. There was a report on the BBC recently of someone trying to swim from Cornwall to Dublin. There was some problem with the cold sea. They said the temperature along the Irish coast was 13C.

Swiss Bob

It is being called among other things ‘a dead cat bounce’ in the Guardian comments, while the paper is running with various stories saying ‘it’s a disaster!’, all predicated on last years’ data.
I’ll laugh my head off if Arctic ice rebounds this year and continues into the next, what will they say then?

RE: Paul Homewood says:
August 14, 2013 at 3:10 am
The core of the cold is just north of Greenland, and the thermometer attached to the North Pole Camera has recorded temperatures as low as minus 4.7 Celsius.
It’s been a great summer for sitting around watching ice melt, the only problem being it stopped melting right after they made all that hoopla about “Lake North Pole.” Perhaps Al Gore visited by helicopter and jinxed the melt. (They did see some large tracks made by a heavy creature up there.)
You can see a map of arctic air temperatures by going to Anthony’s Sea Ice Page, clicking on the DMI graph (also pictured at the top of this post,) and then going from that graph to the “Arctic Front Page,” (by clicking the link under the box with all the dates in it on the left hand side.)

I should add that, once on the DMI “Arctic Front Page,” you click the link “Arctic weather north of 60N” in the box to the upper right. That gives you their map of pressure and another map of 2m temps. I prefer DMI as Denmark has more at stake in arctic seas. I find it odd how other maps and graphs can differ.

Jim Cripwell

We should not forget that earlier the UK Met. Office and the AGU both made a big deal about the decrease of Arctic sea ice. Both used it as a prop to claim that CAGW was real. I hope the UK Met. Office loses what little credibility it has left when, and hopefully not if, the Arctic sea ice decline stops and then reverses.

Bloke down the pub

What we are likely seeing here is a gradual recovery in Arctic ice levels since the PDO went negative. Once the inertia in the system is overcome and the amount of multi year ice increases, the upward trend could be quite rapid. When the Atlantic goes cold, then things could get really interesting. Now where did I put my fur-lined walking stick?


DMI don’t seems the same if you look for today graph 😉

The DMI sea ice plot took a major “dump” today (8/14)

Gary Pearse

It was also 2 wks late in getting to the thawing mark.

Gerry Parker

I credit it entirely to my contest prediction that ice melt would continue on trend (for decreasing total ice).
Your welcome?


Going to be a winter to remember in the NH…

One thing that seems odd and different can be seen in the DMI 14-day-loop of ice concentration. Take a look:
While ice shrank away from the coasts of Alaska and Siberia, as is typical this time of year, the concentration of ice stopped decreasing towards the middle and towards Greenland (stopped turning from white to grey, in their color-code,) and instead concentration increased, (turned from grey back to white, in their color-code.) My guess is that this is partly due to the gale they had up their piling up the ice, but also due to sub-freezing temperatures and freshly fallen snow.

If you turn the animation of the above link up to top speed, you really get a sense the ice is circling around and around the pole, rather than being flushed out through Fram Strait.

Mr Green Genes

@MattN (August 14, 2013 at 4:24 am)
I think you may be right.
So, my woodshed is full, I have plenty of kindling and the Land Rover has been fully serviced. Since the electricity to my village comes over fields on poles, I even have an inverter on the Land Rover to give me some mains power.
Bring it on …

Jim Cripwell

Adventure Canada is scheduled to have a cruise ship make two transists of the NW Passage unaccompanied by icebreakers; the first from east to west, and then back again. They have been reporting progress on Facebook, though the last entry is August 12th. From what I can make out, they should be meeting fairly heavy ice conditions around Friday 16th August. It will be interesting to see what happens.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

The US Navy’s Arctic Cap Nowcast/Forecast System (ACNFS), often incorrectly called HYCOM (HYCOM and CICE are parts of ACNFS), data page:
The current (nowcast) HYCOM Sea Surface Temperature map:
Looks like about 70% of the Arctic Ocean is at the lowest chart temperature, -1.8°C.
Now consider the CICE ice thickness chart:
There’s a lot of ice under 1m thick, and under 1/2m. But the SST’s are very cold.
There may still be enough heat in the water under the ice for significant melting, and the sea ice largely melts from the bottom up.
But the major threat appears to be a strong storm breaking up the ice and dispersing the chunks and slush, before it starts freezing up into stronger hunks and slabs.
Anyone seeing another extent-wrecking major storm coming soon? Mosher? R. Gates?

Alpha Tango

It is about time for the cyclical impending Ice Age scare – CAGC anyone?


short fast down tic today from the storm…..also a result of their new algorithm
exposing a little more water surface to wind and freezing temps….heat loss
making MYI
storm was too short and confined to blow much ice out….just put the hole back in the center again…and moved more ice out to the perimeter
Should start freezing over fast…making an even bigger area and extent


The sea-ice and solar pages are daily habits for me, and probably secret addictions for many carbonistas.
By the way, you have to wonder when the fine organizations that produce the graphs will use 1989-2010 as the standard, instead of 1979-2000. It would really change the perspective on the Arctic.


>The DMI sea ice plot took a major “dump” today (8/14)
That always happens when the temperatures drop below freezing. A whole bunch of ice melts. But seriously, this is the 15% or greater ice, perhaps the cyclone blew some around.


For those of you wondering about that huge drop on the 13th:
The 12th:
The 13th:
Tomorrow will probably see an “amazing” recovery.

Bill Illis

On average from this time of year, Jaxa’s algorithm loses 900,000 sq kms in sea ice until the minimum on September 12th, while the NSIDC’s methodology loses 1.1 million sq kms. There is still 30 days to go to the minimum.
Based on the historical averages, Jaxa will reach minimum at 5.25 million sq kms versus 3.49 million sq kms in last year’s record low.
The NSIDC’s September average (used in the ARCUS Sea Ice Outlook) will be 5.28 million versus 3.63 million last year going by the historical trends.
In the last several years, there has been greater-than-average melt in this last 30 day period. 2011, however, did not show this and now the Arctic temps are quite low. The buoys are recording below zero atmosphere temps and low-enough-to-stop-the-melt sea surface temps. I don’t see a reason to expect anything less than the historical climatology to prevail this year, unlike 2007 and 2012.
The ice is still below average but if you go back to 1972, it doesn’t look like that much change has ocurred.


Is there source data available for the chart of temperature above 80 North?

Richard M

Much of the most recent melting will still be primarily fresh water as will the melt ponds. As such I don’t think the temperature needs to be much below freezing for that ice to reform. We won’t see any ice gains at the edges but the overall downward trend could slow down and stabilize sooner than we’ve seen in recent years. Light winds would also help this along.


Don Allen says:
August 14, 2013 at 3:53 am
The DMI sea ice plot took a major “dump” today (8/14)
Allen here comes the reason:


There is a gigantic drop in DMI ice cover this morning.
Instrument failure?
Any insight?

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

This DMI extent chart, seen on the last Sea Ice News, currently shows an amazing large drop, about 700,000 km²:
But this one I just found on DMI’s site isn’t anywhere near as alarming, drop is much smaller:
The alarming one is the old-type chart discussed and found here, which used 30% concentration. This product has been replaced, at some point they’ll stop making the old-type charts.
The new and current type of chart, discussed and found here, use 15% concentration. So DMI is now more compatible with the other 15% concentration extent records, such as IARC-JAXA. BTW, JAXA, as seen above, currently does not have a large drop on the chart dated August 13 2013. No drop at all, actually.
Looks like DMI will most likely be correcting their chart later.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

From tommoriarty on August 14, 2013 at 6:03 am:

There is a gigantic drop in DMI ice cover this morning.
Any insight?

A few paragraphs worth, currently awaiting moderation.
Since “moderation” became the new spam bucket, hopefully you can read what’s up in less than an hour.

Owen in GA

DJ, They can’t have based their number on that image for the 13th? Isn’t it obvious there is a sensor error in that image? Nature doesn’t take perfect pie slices out of the arctic overnight.


Above 80 degrees? How about below 49 degrees? The growing season in Northern Minnesota is officially over as northern Minnesota has logged it’s first freezing temperatures of the fal, er, make that summer. At least I think it’s summer.

John Silver

Actually, the surface water in the Arctic Ocean freezes at -1.7 C due to the somewhat lower salinity there.
(salinity varies in the oceans)
REPLY: Good to know, thanks. here they say -1.9C

What happened to the building polar sea cyclone that was being discussed here as recently as a week ago???


Means nothing , such is the wondrous ‘power ‘ of CO2 it can both make ice grow and shrink , both of which are of course ‘poof ‘ of climate doom .


Awaiting a giant party thrown by the Warmist movement. Thermogeddon avoided; Polar Bears saved; CO2 reductions not necessary. Yay!
Make a bonfire of the CO2AGW papers and stacks of Nature Climate Change issues.


Marco says:
August 14, 2013 at 5:34 am
“For those of you wondering about that huge drop on the 13th:”
Looks like a continent sized triangular spaceship has landed with the tip at the pole.

RE: John Silver says:
August 14, 2013 at 6:36 am
Arctic Ocean water is weird. When a lot of freezing is going on, the new ice is exuding salt, and the brine briefly increases the salinity of the surface water, (as it sinks through it,) and that lowers the freezing point of the surface water. However, the ice becomes mostly fresh, (with a few embedded pockets of brine,) and when that fresh-water-ice later melts it lowers the salinity of the surface water, which raises the freezing point of the surface water. Right now it is easier to freeze the surface water, (by a tenth of a degree or two tenths,) than it will be once freezing gets underway in earnest.
Watching ice melt is not as easy as it looks.

RE: wws says:
August 14, 2013 at 6:39 am
“What happened to the building polar sea cyclone that was being discussed here as recently as a week ago???”
All over and done with. Didn’t break up the ice as much as last year’s, likely because it was colder, and also swirled winds around the pole rather than across the pole.
For a while the gale stood nearly atop the pole, and thus became a storm with no north side. Alarmist media blew a big chance for a sensational headline: “Global Warming Creates Storm With 360 Degrees Of South Side!!!”

Master of Space and Thyme

“Anyone seeing another extent-wrecking major storm coming soon?”
Did you miss the storm that started a week ago Tuesday and ended yesterday? That is what caused the temperature to drop north of 80 and brought the anomalously warm temperatures over the Beaufort, CAA and ESS.
The latest ECMWF has another storm forming over the CAB in ten days, but that is so far away it may likely change.


There seems to be a seasonal shift this year in southern Canada. We are currently experiencing mid-September temperatures and have been for several weeks. This reminds me of the summer of 1959 when a person needed to wear a jacket to go outside in mid-August. We survived then and we will survive now. I have been reading predictions made this year for my region in the Farmers Almanac – it seems spot on – and the Alamanac uses in large part, projections based upon solar activity.


REPLY: Good to know, thanks. here they say -1.9C
first you get melt…..which makes it a little less salty

Tim Huck

“By the way, you have to wonder when the fine organizations that produce the graphs will use 1989-2010 as the standard, instead of 1979-2000. It would really change the perspective on the Arctic.”
I’ve wondered about this myself. However, since this is new instrumental data, why not provide both. Why not also calculate since-the-beginning averages that update constantly. These aren’t physical cherries, we can pick em and munch em more then once.

jai mitchell

at this time of the season the ice is significantly melted from below, not above.


I’m going to give a theory of why this is happening. So jump on.
1) Solar UV is down, lowering the temperature in the 60-80 km range.
2) Ice crystals form in the 60-80 km range called Noctilucent Clouds.
3) The ice crystals reflect low angle Solar energy into space reducing the energy reaching the North/South Poles.
4) A positive feedback loop is created until Solar UV ramps backup.
5) This weak Solar cycle will produce less UV for the next 8 years.
6) If the next Solar cycle is also low, expect the world cooling to continue at an increased rate.
The easy way to monitor the total Solar output reaching the Earth is by using the 10.7cm Flux readings:
1) 70-100 -> cooling.
2) 100-130 -> stay the same.
3) 130-up -> warming
Remember that the energy reaching the Earth is the area under the Flux curve throughout recorded history [1600 until now]. The almost 2 years [2006-7] of zero Sun spots gave average Flux readings of 65.

Master of Space and Thyme

MODIS Satellite images caught tantalizing peeks through the clouds today that show large areas of open water near the North Pole.


Need to keep an eye on when snow starts falling in Siberia. The sooner the snow, the colder the NH winter. That’s where cold air is manufactured and exported.


On the anomaly graph, the arrival of the August 2012 storm is plainly visible, yet CACCAists have tried to deny the effect of that egregious cyclone.

Isn’t jai mitchell’s alarmism amusing? Like Chicken Little, he is running around in circles shouting, “The sky is falling!!”
But it was only an acorn.