Introducing The New WUWT Northern Regional Sea Ice Reference Page – With Observations

National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) – The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection – click to view at source

Image credits: (NSIDC) – The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection

By WUWT regular “Just The Facts”

We are pleased to introduce WUWT’s newest addition, the Northern Regional Sea Ice Page Sometimes lost in the Global Warming Causes Sea Ice Death Spiral rhetoric is the regional nature of changes in Northern Sea Ice, e.g. this paper, “ by Parkinson, et al., found that:

Satellite passive-microwave data for November 1978 through December 1996 reveal marked seasonal, regional, and interannual variabilities, with an overall decreasing trend of −34,300±3700 km2/yr (−2.8%/decade) in Arctic sea ice extents over the 18.2-year period. Decreases occur in all seasons and on a yearly average basis, although they are largest in spring and smallest in autumn. Regionally, the Kara and Barents Seas have the largest decreases, at −15,200±1900 km2/yr (−10.5%/decade), followed by the Seas of Okhotsk and Japan, the Arctic Ocean, Greenland Sea, Hudson Bay, and Canadian Archipelago. The yearly average trends for the total, the Kara and Barents Seas, and the Seas of Okhotsk and Japan all have high statistical significance, with the null hypothesis of a 0 slope being rejected at a 99% confidence level. Regions showing increasing yearly average ice extents are Baffin Bay/Labrador Sea, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the Bering Sea, with only the increases in the Gulf of St. Lawrence being statistically significant at the 99% level. Hemispheric results for sea ice areas exhibit the same −2.8%/decade decrease as for ice extents and hence a lower absolute decrease (−29,500±3800 km2/yr), with the ice-free area within the ice pack correspondingly decreasing at −4800±1600 km2/yr. Confidence levels for the trends in ice areas and ice-free water areas exceed 99% and 95%, respectively. Nonetheless, interannual variability is high, and, for instance, the Arctic Ocean ice extents have a positive trend 1990–1996, in spite of their negative trend for the time period as a whole.

Some of these regional changes can be attributed to natural climatic variations, e.g.:

“The “Icelandic Low” is a key to bringing a greater or lesser amount of warm air into the Arctic depending on the intensity of the system, and is part of a larger weather pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). NAO is the name for changes in the difference of air pressure between the semi-permanent low-pressure system centered near Iceland (the Icelandic Low) and a semi-permanent high-pressure system centered near the Azores Islands (better known as the Bermuda-Azores High).”

“When the Icelandic Low is strong, it forces cold Arctic air southward to the area west of Iceland and Greenland, setting the stage for increasing sea ice cover in Baffin Bay, the Labrador Sea, Hudson Bay and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. At the same time, to the east, warm air that is swept northward reduces ice extent. This warmer air contributes to the reduced ice extents east and north of Greenland, and the reduced extent of ice in the entire Arctic overall. “When the Icelandic Low is weak, it will still bring warm air northward to the east of Iceland, but not as much as when the Icelandic Low is strong,” Parkinson said.”

The strength of the Icelandic Low tended to increase from 1979 to 1990, then decrease in the 1990s. From 1979 to 1990 the ice cover to the east and north of the Low, in the Kara and Barents Seas and the Arctic Ocean, decreased, while the ice cover to the west of the Low, in Baffin Bay/Labrador Sea, Hudson Bay and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, increased.

From 1990 to 1999 the situation was reversed, with the ice cover to the east and north of the Low increasing and the ice cover to the west of the Low decreasing. “This regional pattern of reversals in the ice extent trends is highly suggestive of an Icelandic Low impact, or, more broadly, of an impact from the North Atlantic Oscillation,” Parkinson explained. NASA

It appears that a pattern of significant summer Sea Ice Area anomalies began in the late 1990’s in Gulf of St. Lawrence;

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

Baffin Bay/Newfoundland;

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

and Hudson Bay.

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

There has been an interesting pattern of precipitous summer sea declines along Russia’s Northern coast, which appears to have begun around 10 – 15 years ago, including in Barents Sea;

Kara Sea;

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

Laptev Sea;

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

East Siberian Sea;

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

and the Chukchi Sea

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

What’s makes the Russian Northern coast Sea Ice decline particularly interesting is the large Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies along large parts of it, especially in the Barents, Kara and Laptev Seas:

National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Marine Modeling and Analysis Branch (MMAB) – Click the pic to view at source
Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) – Centre for Ocean and Ice – Click the pic to view at source

According to Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University :

“The average thickness of the pack ice has fallen by roughly half since the 1970s, probably for two main reasons. One is a rise in sea temperatures: in the summer of 2007 coastal parts of the Arctic Ocean measured 7°C—bracingly swimmable. The other was a prolonged eastward shift in the early 1990s in the Arctic’s prevailing winds, known as the Arctic Oscillation. This moved a lot of ice from the Beaufort Gyre, a revolving current in the western Arctic, to the ocean’s other main current, the Transpolar Drift Stream, which runs down the side of Siberia. A lot of thick, multi-year ice was flushed into the Atlantic and has not been replaced.” The Economist

There is ample evidence to support influence of Atmospheric Oscillations on sea ice, however the fact that “summer of 2007 coastal parts of the Arctic Ocean measured 7°C—bracingly swimmable” raise and important question. Why?

It does not seem due to high Mean Temperature above 80°N;

Danish Meteorological Institute – Click the pic to view at source

or Lower Tropospheric Temperatures:

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) – Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) – Click the pic to view at source

One possible contributor is the large amount of non-CO2 anthropogenic influence/effluent flowing into the Arctic, e.g. the Mackenzie River flows into the Beaufort Sea and;

“As of 2001, approximately 397,000 people lived in the Mackenzie River basin”

“the heaviest use of the watershed is in resource extraction – oil and gas in central Alberta, lumber in the Peace River headwaters, uranium in Saskatchewan, gold in the Great Slave Lake area and tungsten in the Yukon.”

“Although the entire main stem of the Mackenzie River is undammed, many of its tributaries and headwaters have been developed for hydroelectricity production, flood control and agricultural purposes.”

“The river discharges more than 325 cubic kilometres (78 cu mi) of water each year, accounting for roughly 11% of the total river flow into the Arctic Ocean. The Mackenzie’s outflow holds a major role in the local climate above the Arctic Ocean with large amounts of warmer fresh water mixing with the cold seawater.” Wikipedia – Mackenzie River

“Oil and gas development is already extensive in the basin, primarily in the Alberta and BC portions, and much more is expected in the future. For example, a proposal to develop the vast natural gas reserves that are found in the Mackenzie Delta is currently being evaluated. This will require the development of a pipeline along the Mackenzie, which will also facilitate development of gas resources in NWT (GNWT 2007). Perhaps the most significant current fossil energy development at this time is the oil sands (also known as the “tar sands”) in Alberta, near the City of Fort McMurray (Figure 1). An estimated 300 billion barrels of recoverable fossil energy is found in these deposits (MRBB 2003). Development is proceeding rapidly. At the end of 2009, four mines were in operation, with three additional mines approved or under development. In 2008, these projects were producing 1.3 million barrels/day. Production of 3 million barrels/day is expected by 2018, with 2030 production levels reaching 5 million barrels/day by 2030 (Holroyd and Simieritsch 2009; Government of Alberta 2010).”TRANSBOUNDARY WATER GOVERNANCE IN THE MACKENZIE RIVER BASIN, CANADA – Rob C. de Loë

It is also of note that;

“The Beaufort Sea contains major gas and petroleum reserves beneath the seabed, a continuation of proven reserves in the nearby Mackenzie River and North Slope.[12] The Beaufort Sea was first explored for sub-shelf hydrocarbons in the 1950s and estimated to contain about 250 km3 (60 cu mi) of oil and 300,000 km3 (72,000 cu mi) of natural gas under its coastal shelf. Offshore drilling began in 1972; about 70 wells were set up by 1980s[28] and 200 wells by 2000.[29]” Wikipedia – Beaufort Sea

In the Laptev Sea

“The mighty Lena River, with its great delta, is the biggest river flowing into the Laptev Sea, and is the second largest river in the Russian Arctic after Yenisei. Other important rivers include the Khatanga, the Anabar, the Olenyok or Olenek, the Omoloy and the Yana.”

“The Laptev Sea is a major source of arctic sea ice. With an average outflow of 483,000 km2 per year over the period 1979–1995, it contributes more sea ice than the Barents Sea, Kara Sea, East Siberian Sea and Chukchi Sea combined. Over this period, the annual outflow fluctuated between 251,000 km2 in 1984–85 and 732,000 km2 in 1988–89. The sea exports substantial amounts of sea ice in all months but July, August and September.”

“Most of the river runoff (about 70% or 515 km3/year) is contributed by the Lena River. Other major contributions are from Khatanga (more than 100 km3), Olenyok (35 km3), Yana (>30 km3) and Anabar (20 km3), with other rivers contributing about 20 km3. Owing to the ice melting seasoning, About 90% of the annual runoff occurs between June and September with 35–40% in August alone, whereas January contributes only 5%.”

“The sea is characterized by the low water temperatures, which ranges from −1.8 °C (28.8 °F) in the north to −0.8 °C (30.6 °F) in the south-eastern parts. The medium water layer is warmer, up to 1.5 °С because it is fed by the warm Atlantic waters. It takes them 2.5–3 years to reach the Laptev Sea from their formation near Spitsbergen.[3] The deeper layer is colder at about −0.8 °С. In summer, the surface layer in the ice-free zones warms up by the sun up to 8–10 °С in the bays and 2–3 °С in the open sea, and remains close to 0 °С under ice. The water salinity is significantly affected by the thawing of ice and river runoff. The latter amounts to about 730 km3 and would form a 135 cm freshwater layer over the entire sea; it is the second largest in the world after the Kara sea. The salinity values vary in winter from 20–25‰ (parts per thousand) in the south-east to 34‰ in the northern parts of the sea; it decreases in summer to 5–10‰ and 30–32‰ respectively.”

“Sea currents form a cyclone consisting of the southward stream near Severnaya Zemlya which reaches the continental coast and flows along it from west to east. It is then amplified by the Lena River flow and diverts to the north and north-west toward the Arctic Ocean. A small part of the cyclone leaks through the Sannikov Strait to the East Siberian Sea. The cyclone has a speed of 2 cm/s which is decreasing toward the center. The center of the cyclone drifts with time that slightly alters the flow character.” Wikipedia – Laptev Sea

“Ye et al. (2003) and Yang et al. (2004) recently studied the effect of reservoir regulations in the Lena and Yenisei basins. They found that, for instance, because of a large dam in the Lena River basin, summer peak discharge in the Vului valley (a tributary in the west Lena basin) has been reduced by 10%–80%, and winter low flow has been increased by 7–120 times during the cold months. They also reported that, because of influences of large reservoirs, discharge records collected at the Lena and Yenisei basin outlets do not always represent natural changes and variations; they tend to underestimate the natural runoff trends in summer and overestimate the trends in both winter and fall seasons. Operations of large reservoirs may also affect annual flow regime particularly during and immediately after the dam construction (Ye et al. 2003; Yang et al. 2004).Discharge Characteristics and Changes over the Ob River Watershed in Siberia

Also in the Kara Sea;

“The Ob and Yenisei Rivers in north-central Russia are among the larger rivers that drain into the Arctic Ocean, though past research suggested that they do not necessarily carry as much organic matter and sediment as other rivers. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite acquired this image of the rivers as they dumped tan sediments and dark brown dissolved organic material (DOM) into the Kara Sea on June 29, 2012.” River Outflow to the Kara Sea

The Yenisei;

“is the largest river system flowing to the Arctic Ocean. It is the central of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean (the other two being the Ob River and the Lena River).”

“The upper reaches, subject to rapids and flooding, pass through sparsely populated areas. The middle section is controlled by a series of massive hydroelectric dams fueling significant Russian primary industry. Partly built by gulag labor in Soviet times, industrial contamination remains a serious problem in an area hard to police. Moving on through sparsely-populated taiga, the Yenisei swells with numerous tributaries and finally reaches the Kara Sea in desolate tundra where it is icebound for more than half the year.”

Wikipedia – Yenisei River

“The Sayano–Shushenskaya Dam is located on the Yenisei River, near Sayanogorsk in Khakassia, Russia. It is the largest power plant in Russia and the sixth-largest hydroelectric plant in the world, by average power generation.”

Wikipedia – Sayano–Shushenskaya Dam

Another tributary, the Tuul passes through the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator while the Egiin Gol drains Lake Khövsgöl (500 km) downstream, where the 124 m (407 ft) dam built in the 1960s produces 4500 MW. The resultant reservoir is nicknamed Dragon Lake because of its outline. The tributary Oka and Iya rivers, which rise on the north slopes of the Eastern Sayan Mountains, form the ‘jaws’ and 400 km (250 mi) of the Angara forms the ‘tail’. There are newer dams almost as large at Ust-Ilimsk 250 km (155 mi) downstream (also damming the tributary Ilim river) and Boguchany a further 400 km (250 mi) downstream (not operational). Further dams are planned but the environmental consequences of completely taming the Angara are leading to protests which may prevent funding.

Angarsk, the center of the expanding Eastern Siberian oil industry and site of a huge Yukos-owned refinery, lies 50 km (31 mi) downstream of Irkutsk. A major pipeline takes oil west, and a new one is being built to carry oil east for supply to Japan from the Sea of Japan port of Nakhodka. The exact potential of Eastern Siberia is unknown, but two new major fields are the Kovyktinskoye field near Zhigalovo 200 km (125 mi) north of Irkutsk and the extremely remote Verkhnechonskoye field 500 km (310 mi) north of Irkutsk on the Central Siberian Plateau.Wikipedia – Yenisei River

The Ob is used mostly for irrigation, drinking water, hydroelectric energy, and fishing (the river hosts more than 50 species of fish).

The navigable waters within the Ob basin reach a total length of 9,300 miles (15,000 km). The importance of the Ob basin navigation for transportation was particularly great before the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway, since, despite the general south-to-north direction of the flow of Ob and most of its tributaries, the width of the Ob basin provided for (somewhat indirect) transportation in the east-west direction as well. Until the early 20th century, a particularly important western river port was Tyumen, located on the Tura River, a tributary of the Tobol.”

“The Trans-Siberian Railway, once completed, provided for more direct, year-round transportation in the east-west direction. But the Ob river system still remained important for connecting the huge expanses of Tyumen Oblast and Tomsk Oblast with the major cities along the Trans-Siberian route, such as Novosibirsk or Omsk. In the second half of the 20th century, construction of rail links to Labytnangi, Tobolsk, and the oil and gas cities of Surgut, and Nizhnevartovsk provided more railheads, but did not diminish the importance of the waterways for reaching places still not served by the rail.

A dam was built near Novosibirsk in 1956, which created the then-largest artificial lake in Siberia, called Novosibirsk Reservoir.”Wikipedia – Ob River

Anthropogenic effluent may not be too significant contributor in the East Siberian Sea which;

“is characterized by severe climate, low water salinity, and a scarcity of flora, fauna and human population, as well as shallow depths (mostly less than 50 m), slow sea currents, low tides (below 25 cm), frequent fogs, especially in summer, and an abundance of ice fields which fully melt only in August–September.”

Also “the continental runoff into the East Siberian Sea is relatively small at about 250 km3/year that makes only 10% of the total runoff in all the Arctic seas of Russia. The largest contribution is from the Kolyma River at 132 km3, followed by the Indigirka River at 59 km3. Most runoff (90%) occurs in summer; it is concentrated near the coast, owing to the weak river currents, and therefore does not significantly affect the sea hydrology.”

However, “Major industrial activities in the [East Siberian Sea] area are mining and navigation within the Northern Sea Route.” Wikipedia – East Siberian Sea “Only one Russian seaport along the officially defined Northern Sea Route is ice-free all year round, Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula. Other Arctic ports are generally usable from July to October, or, such as Dudinka, are served by nuclear-powered icebreakers.”

The largest port and city on the East Siberian Sea is Pevek, “is the most important northern port in Chukotka, although shipping levels have dropped significantly in recent years. The port is the eastern base of the northern sea route’s Marine Operations Headquarters, run by the Far-East Shipping Company from an icebreaker in the harbour, though the port is still owned by the Russian Ministry of Transport.”Wikipedia – Pevek

Additionally, “Gazprom Neft, the oil division of Russia’s state-run natural gas major Gazprom, and Royal Dutch Shell have signed a memorandum of intent to jointly explore and develop shale oil and Arctic offshore projects in Russia. The document, signed by the head of Gazprom Aleksey Miller and the head of Shell Jorma Ollila, referred to two offshore blocks: at the junction of the Chukchi and East Siberian seas, as well as in the Pechora Sea.” Russia Today

Additional Arctic regions to keep an eye on this year are the Canadian Archipelago, which is decidedly average this year;

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

and hasn’t show signs of the summer decline that has occur 6 of the last 7 years;

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

and the Beaufort Sea which is trending higher than average;

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

but that could change quite quickly as it did last year.

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

Finally, Arctic Basin Sea Ice is currently trending below average,

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

continuing pattern that appears to have begun in 2006;

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source

and NSIDC Central Arctic Sea Ice Extent is trending well below the prior 4 years:

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

According to Son V. Nghiem of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a 2007 NASA article;

“the rapid decline in winter perennial ice the past two years was caused by unusual winds. “Unusual atmospheric conditions set up wind patterns that compressed the sea ice, loaded it into the Transpolar Drift Stream and then sped its flow out of the Arctic,” he said. When that sea ice reached lower latitudes, it rapidly melted in the warmer waters.”

“The winds causing this trend in ice reduction were set up by an unusual pattern of atmospheric pressure that began at the beginning of this century,” Nghiem said.”

In their 2007 paper Nghiem et al. found that;

“Perennial-ice extent loss in March within the DM domain was noticeable after the 1960s, and the loss became more rapid in the 2000s when QSCAT observations were available to verify the model results. QSCAT data also revealed mechanisms contributing to the perennial-ice extent loss: ice compression toward the western Arctic, ice loading into the Transpolar Drift (TD) together with an acceleration of the TD carrying excessive ice out of Fram Strait, and ice export to Baffin Bay.”

Lastly, this 2011 paper by L. H. Smedsrud, et al.;

“used “geostrophic winds derived from reanalysis data to calculate the Fram Strait ice area export back to 1957, finding that the sea ice area export recently is about 25% larger than during the 1960’s.”

In addition to the Northern Regional Sea Ice Page if you have not had the opportunity to look through some of our other Reference Pages, it is highly recommended:

Please note that WUWT cannot vouch for the accuracy of the data within the Reference Pages, as WUWT is simply an aggregator. All of the data is linked from third party sources. If you have doubts about the accuracy of any of the graphs on the WUWT Reference Pages, or have any suggested additions or improvements to any of the pages, please let us know in comments below.

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August 25, 2013 1:18 pm

“The average thickness of the pack ice has fallen by roughly half since the 1970s, probably for two main reasons”
Stop it…..
1. Ice had increased prior to the 1970’s
2. They lied about it

August 25, 2013 1:29 pm

“Introducing And Observations…?

Steve Keohane
August 25, 2013 1:34 pm

Cool, thanks for this assemblage of information. One question, many/most of the graphs have a sub-heading of ‘recent 365 days shown’, but the x-axis has 24 years?

August 25, 2013 1:47 pm

What about these humongous icebreakers?
Since the Northeast Passage is being advertised as the se-highway from Asia to Eurome, beginning in the late 1990ies, the use of huge, often nuclear-powered ice-breakers to clear the passage early for merchand ships has substantially increased.
I understand that an iceshelf being plowed by huge and numerous icebreakers day and night (if one may call it a night at all in the summertime north of the Polar circle…) will not neccessarily mlt, but DISINTEGRATE much quicker than an untouched, solid one.
Has the effect of icebreakers, which constantly crush the sea ice in order to facilitate merchant shipping in the Northeast- and Northwest-passages, on the endurance and/or total extend of the sea-ice in the arctic ocean during the arctic summer ever been quantified, courious minds want to know.

August 25, 2013 1:49 pm

Oops: Thats “…sea-highway from Asia to Europe…” in my posting above. Was typing in a hurry. My bad!

Gary Pearse
August 25, 2013 2:27 pm

mogamboguru says:
August 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm
“What about these humongous icebreakers?”
I suggested this during the two year studies conducted by a large number of parties during the IGY (International Geophysical Year) I think it was, when there were boats all over the arctic plowing around. I was largely argued down here at WUWT in this notion but I remain convinced it is a factor of at least some unknown importance. I don’t trust these big studies conducted by government agencies whose agenda’s are well known and the commercial interests that mogamboguru points to above. The argument is that these little trails just freeze up again. However, like the ski patrols in Switzerland who know how to “cut off” an avalanche at its top and deliberately set them off, I suspect there are well known strategic slices possible in the arctic for speeding ice exit to the Atlantic. Am I being too cynical?

August 25, 2013 2:41 pm

mogamboguru, I wholly agree, icebreakers and economy expansions can be seen in many of the coastal areas when you break this down to sub-areas. Sliced and diced sea ice is not the same as it was as unbroken flat slabs, doesn’t move the same, doesn’t melt the same, partially due to angles to the solar radiation. Flat ice has an angle of less than 23 degrees. A chunk of ice turns exposing one side at a greater angle reflecting less at high incidence. How can you say this does not affect the arctic from icebreakers let alone being broken into smaller chunks. How much? You can only guess.
I’ve written on this topic many times in the past here. As tourists, commerce and ‘scientific’ excursions increase they will effectively chop the arctic ice into broken expanses that naturally would have existed as un-broken slabs for decades. What irks me is this is mainly from the ‘scientific’ excursions that don’t follow fixed seaways and they won’t admit that they themselves are causing at least a part if not most of the decrease in extent and area of sea ice by their very presence where no man should trek in icebreakers if they care to leave nature natural.

August 25, 2013 2:41 pm

The reference to this page from the references-pages master or index page to this page doesn’t work for me. I get the URL link: It seems to be a missing slash between the reference-pages and nothern… or something. I tried several different browsers.

Pamela Gray
August 25, 2013 2:50 pm

Love the regional stuff. Now I am hoping for three-month running averages and seasonal three-month running averages/anomalies so I can compare the data to atmospheric and oceanic data sets.

John Trigge
August 25, 2013 3:34 pm

Many of the graphs are titled with ‘Current’ but extend back many years.
Confusing at first glance and I realise this not WUWT’s fault.

Bill Illis
August 25, 2013 3:49 pm

NSIDC sea ice extent for September (monthly average) is now tracking to be a 48% increase over last year. Jaxa is tracking to 49% higher than last year’s daily Minimum.

August 25, 2013 4:41 pm

Thank you for the “northern interest” half of the house.
But the threat is from the south. 8<)
Up north, there is virtually no energy to reflect, regardless of whether the sea ice is present or absent. Even worse, the extra sq km's of open ocean lose more energy by evaporation than does ice-covered ocean, they lose more energy through continuous longwave radiation than does ice-covered ocean, and they lose more energy through convection than does ice-covered sea ocean.
Net? The more open water up north, the cooler the ocean gets. The more water vapor to be deposited on land as ice and snow.
Around Antarctica, the 1,100,000 additional sea ice sq km's this year ARE already reflecting additional energy, far more than that little bit absorbed up north.

August 25, 2013 5:47 pm

RACookPE1978 says:
August 25, 2013 at 4:41 pm
that’s the way I see it too

August 25, 2013 6:29 pm

@ RACookPE1978 at 4:41 pm
Ditto from me.
The proof is in ice harvesting from lakes. Some people cut the ice then hauled it to storage. The lake would freeze over again. Heat is lost to the air and radiates to space during the freezing and refreezing process.

August 25, 2013 6:30 pm

“The average thickness of the pack ice has fallen by roughly half since the 1970s, probably for two main reasons”
Because multi-year has been melting faster than one and two year ice. Air temperatures, sea temperatures, currents, weather, icebreakers, etc, etc can not cause this over the entire Arctic Ocean, year after year.
The only possible cause is some property of multiyear ice, that one and two year ice doesn’t have, or has to a lesser extent. And that can only be embedded black carbon combined with a small increase in solar insolation.
Note, how the maximum melt anomaly occurs at the end of the melt season in early September. This is when the surface exposure of embedded black carbon is at its maximum, and produces its maximum albedo effect even though solar insolation is very low at this time.

TalentKeyHole Mole
August 25, 2013 6:32 pm

The Arctic Sea Ice Area Extent is currently 28% greater, in 2013, than in 2012 on a same-julian day-basis; i.e. about the same area extent by day as in 2009 which was much more that 2007.
Oh Dear! Such An Inconvenient Truth. Blood will spill, There will be blood. The AGU High Command … IS … Angry!

August 25, 2013 7:29 pm

Thanks for this new source of data. People crave the facts, “Just The Facts”
I am likely too imaginative and prone to mistakes to be considered a true scientist or a good “source,” but I have been simply observing what is seen through the “North Pole Camera” this summer at my obscure blog, and the responce has been amazing. I’ve had more “views” with four posts about the North Pole than in all my other two-hundred-plus posts combined.
How to explain such interest? I think it may be because there is a general awareness that the alarm-mongering surrounding an “ice free North Pole” is a sort of last gasp for Alarmists. They have cried wolf too many times. With the Pole, (in my opinion,) showing signs of switching into a cycle where ice increases, Alarmists may face an increasingly hostile public.
People do band together and rally around a cause, giving money and making other sacrifices, when they perceive a real threat. However when people become aware the threat is not real, and that they have been duped, they want their money back. Alarmists are in big trouble, because they cannot return what they have taken.

August 25, 2013 8:03 pm

By the way, the North Pole camera is once again headed north, away from Fran Strait. The Transpolar Drift has not been functioning consistently this summer, it seems to me, and rather than ice being exported out of the Arctic Sea, the ice seems to be shunted over into the depleted Beaufort Gyre, replenishing it.
On August 13 the buoy got as far south as 83.780°N, before wandering back north of 84 degrees for a bit, and then again starting south. It progressed by fits and starts, but by yesterday, August 24, it had made it down to 83.801°N, and I thought it might match its August 13 progress, however when I checked today it was back north to 83.882°N. Is that any way to run a Transpolar Drift?
Another odd thing about that North Pole Camera is that it always seems to move upwind. At first I figured I must not understand the compass readings, due to the fact the Magnetic Pole is located away from the actual pole. However, unless the Magnetic Pole is due south of the Camera, a wind from 180 degrees moves the buoy south. 180 degrees is still south, isn’t it, or did they change that on me?
Anthony, you know a lot more about wind vanes, electronics, and computers than I do. Is it possible they physically crossed wires at the site, or have a computer glitch away from the site?
It is driving me nuts.
I hope I’m not getting some professor and intern in trouble. I can’t say how much I appreciate guys going up there where they might be lunch for a polar bear, and setting that camera up.

August 25, 2013 8:08 pm

My last comment might be in the spam-grabber, perhaps because I linked to my own site. Should I not do that?

August 25, 2013 8:32 pm

“the rapid decline in winter perennial ice the past two years was caused by unusual winds.
The faster decline in multi-year ice coincides with the decline in minimum extents over a 10 year period from around 2003. You need 10 years of unusual weather for this to be a viable explanation.
See the graph 2/3rds of the way down this link.
And note multiyear (2+ years) ice has increased slightly over the last 2 years.
And China has definitely increased their Coal Usage and Black Carbon emissions:
I simply don’t buy this, because the increase in coal consumption co-incides with a shift from domestic burning of coal to burning coal in power stations which produces far less BC. A new study reports 80% of China BC emissions comes from domestic burning and vehicles. And because large numbers of chinese have moved into apartments over the last 20 or so years, BC emissions from domestic burning will have declined substantially.
Break up of ice by ships may play a role, but I have difficulty seeing it occurring on a large enough scale to have a major effect. I could be wrong about this.
Thanks for your detailed response, but the numerous sources citing weather and currents as the cause of the faster melt of multiyear ice are just hand waving as far as I am concerned. Not that I am accusing you of hand waving.
One other point is that the largest source of BC and OC in Russia is agricultural burning. Changes in agricultural burning over the last 10 or so years may have played a role but I have no data.

August 25, 2013 9:01 pm

And note 3+ years ice has increased significantly over the last 2 years.
This is what the embedded BC theory predicts. Older ice with higher levels of embedded BC is replaced by newer ice with lower levels of embedded BC, which is less susceptible to solar insolation melt and goes on to be multiyear ice.

August 25, 2013 10:01 pm

Thanks for the China BC emissions paper. I hadn’t seen that before.
Here is a link to the full paper.

August 25, 2013 10:50 pm

justthefactswuwt says:
August 25, 2013 at 3:40 pm
mogamboguru says: August 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm
Thanks a lot for the in-depth reply to my question, justthefactswuwt.
So it seems that there IS a measurable, if not substantial effect from shipping on the melt and/or dispersion of arctic sea ice during spring and summer.
I wonder if any of our known climate-science-suspects has ever contemplated quantifying said effect and including it into his climate-simulations.
Honestly, methinks not.

August 25, 2013 11:50 pm

But CNN international’s Ivan Cabrera gets a NASA scientist to claim that nowhere on the planet is ice advancing, we are loosing ice everywhere due to global warming. Must be true because the guy had a NASA badge on his shirt, and Ivan almost wet himself with glee this morning.

Bill Illis
August 26, 2013 12:28 am

TalentKeyHole Mole says:
August 25, 2013 at 6:32 pm
The Arctic Sea Ice Area Extent is currently 28% greater, in 2013, than in 2012 on a same-julian day-basis
Math is off. Arctic sea ice area is 46% higher.
2013.644 –> 3.862M km^2
2012.644 –> 2.652M km^2

August 26, 2013 12:30 am

Long-term trends of black carbon and sulphate aerosol in the Arctic: changes in atmospheric transport and source region emissions
D. Hirdman1, J. F. Burkhart1, H. Sodemann1, S. Eckhardt1, A. Jefferson2,3, P. K. Quinn4, S. Sharma5, J. Ström6, and A. Stohl1
Abstract. As a part of the IPY project POLARCAT (Polar Study using Aircraft, Remote Sensing, Surface Measurements and Models, of Climate, Chemistry, Aerosols and Transport) and building on previous work (Hirdman et al., 2010), this paper studies the long-term trends of both atmospheric transport as well as equivalent black carbon (EBC) and sulphate for the three Arctic stations Alert, Barrow and Zeppelin. We find a general downward trend in the measured EBC concentrations at all three stations, with a decrease of −2.1±0.4 ng m−3 yr−1 (for the years 1989–2008) and −1.4±0.8 ng m−3 yr−1 (2002–2009) at Alert and Zeppelin respectively. The decrease at Barrow is, however, not statistically significant. The measured sulphate concentrations show a decreasing trend at Alert and Zeppelin of −15±3 ng m−3 yr−1 (1985–2006) and −1.3±1.2 ng m−3 yr−1 (1990–2008) respectively, while there is no trend detectable at Barrow.
To reveal the contribution of different source regions on these trends, we used a cluster analysis of the output of the Lagrangian particle dispersion model FLEXPART run backward in time from the measurement stations. We have investigated to what extent variations in the atmospheric circulation, expressed as variations in the frequencies of the transport from four source regions with different emission rates, can explain the long-term trends in EBC and sulphate measured at these stations. We find that the long-term trend in the atmospheric circulation can only explain a minor fraction of the overall downward trend seen in the measurements of EBC (0.3–7.2%) and sulphate (0.3–5.3%) at the Arctic stations. The changes in emissions are dominant in explaining the trends. We find that the highest EBC and sulphate concentrations are associated with transport from Northern Eurasia and decreasing emissions in this region drive the downward trends. Northern Eurasia (cluster: NE, WNE and ENE) is the dominant emission source at all Arctic stations for both EBC and sulphate during most seasons. In wintertime, there are indications that the EBC emissions from the eastern parts of Northern Eurasia (ENE cluster) have increased over the last decade.

Northern Eurasia being primarily Russia. Other studies show a similar decline in organic carbon from Russia. This was the period when much of the Soviet era industry was shutdown causing the reductions. The reason Barrow is the exception is increasing China sulphate emissions.
The reduction in sulphates and OC caused a reduction in aerosol seeded clouds, increasing insolation melt. The effect would be largest on the Russian side of the Arctic because this ice would have the highest levels of BC and would have had the highest levels of aerosol seeded clouds, and this is where most Arctic ice has been lost.
Ice reforms with lower amounts of embedded BC and is less susceptible to insolation melt. So there is no real trend in multi-year ice less than 4 years old. Although a sharp reduction in 2007 with pretty much a full recovery 2 years later was likely weather.
The general pattern is a steady decline in older multi-year ice. Not much change in younger multi-year ice, until the younger multi-year ice ages and becomes a significant proportion of older multi-year ice. At which point, a minimum is reached and multi-year ice steadily increases in subsequent years. I believe 2012 was the minimum.
Which is not to say other factors aren’t at work. But this explains why older ice is melting much faster than younger ice, and also why ice volume has declined substantially. The oldest ice being the thickest.

Stephen Richards
August 26, 2013 2:14 am

TOO MUCH INFO !! References for where to access it would be simpler, less complex and less cluttered. This looks like info for the sake of info.
I found no problems with the old page, in fact, it was very good and useful for at a glance reference.

August 26, 2013 2:30 am

The corresponding decadal maximum change in the Arctic Ocean ice thickness is of the order of 0.8 m. These temporal wind-induced variations may help explain observed changes in portions of the Arctic Ocean ice cover over the last decades. Due to an increasing rate in the ice drainage through the Fram Strait during the 1990s, this decade is characterized by a state of decreasing ice thickness in the Arctic Ocean.
longer-term satellite
observations show that over the past 30 years there
has been a negligible increase in the measured ice
area export through Fram Strait. The decrease of
ice concentration at the strait compensated for the
increase in the sea level pressure gradient across
Fram Strait, resulting in a statistically insignificant
trend in the Fram Strait area flux
See fig 2.
There does seem to be a strong correlation between ocean temperature and multiyear sea ice extent, which the paper argues as cause, but I’d argue as effect of reduced sea ice extent.
The paper almost gets it right.
the impact of
enhanced upper-ocean solar heating through numerous leads in decaying arctic ice cover and consequent
ice-bottom melting has resulted in an accelerated rate
of sea ice retreat via a positive ice-albedo feedback

As always, what is cause and what is effect in climate science is never clear cut. Is the cause solar heating of the ocean or solar heating of the ice?
Solar heating of the ocean doesn’t explain the disproportionately faster melt of older ice, but solar heating of the ice surface does , because of accumulated embedded black carbon on the surface.

NZ Willy
August 26, 2013 2:43 am

I see some people are concerned about the effect of icebreakers on the ice cap. I assure you all that the effect is vanishingly small at best. The power of dimensions applies here: icebreakers’ paths are one-dimensional, the sea ice is two-dimensional (neglecting depth), and that makes all the difference.

August 26, 2013 4:03 am

Congratulations – a very valuable compendium. Whatever you think about AGW, the reference pages on WUWT are excllent and a real public service

August 26, 2013 7:11 am

A fun observation from the local news site talking to UW researcher in Eureka, NU, Canada.

Steven Hill from Ky (the welfare state)
August 26, 2013 7:56 am

Don’t worry, once King Obama kills the US economy, the CO2 will stop. But wait, China is burning coal like no tomorrow…….all hail, King Obama. Long live those on welfare.

August 26, 2013 9:18 am

Anthony Please do story on the Ice breakers, I know as an ice fishermen if the ice is broken up in an area it will melt much faster then if left alone.

August 26, 2013 10:00 am

@njsnowfan says:
August 26, 2013 at 9:18 am
Exactly my notion, @njsnowfan. I believe that the effect of icebreakers on the speed, as well as the scale of the disintegration of the arctic icecap during summertimes so far has been substantially underestimated.

August 26, 2013 10:09 am

Direct heating from industrial activity has got to be a tiny effect. You’re worried about the effect of two million people over the entire Arctic Ocean. Each person has to heat 7 square km.
By comparison, in a city like Montreal we only need to warm up 0.001 sq km each. We manage to bump the temperature up a paltry 2 degrees.

James at 48
August 26, 2013 1:45 pm

During these waning weeks of sunlight the Pole Cam has revealed significant amount of cloud cover. The amount of solar heating on the snow / ice mass has been affected for sure.

Bill Illis
August 26, 2013 2:41 pm

Nice chart which shows the temperatures over the last 90 days at Eureka Canada on Ellesmere Island.
Well-below normal summer temps (if you can call it summer since the snow melts on July 1 and comes back in mid-August). The last several years have been well-above temps so if one wants a good explanation for the sea ice recovery this year, …

August 26, 2013 5:08 pm

Looking at the regional sea ice data. Areas adjacent to Russia are showing a strong recovery, while areas further from Russia continue to decline.
For example
Laptev Sea
Central Arctic Ocean
Which is what I’d expect. Sea ice closer to Russia had the highest levels of embedded BC. Melts out first and hence recovers first.

August 26, 2013 7:28 pm

They note that although there are currently few sources of black carbon emissions within the Arctic (the most dominant ones are oil and gas fields in northwestern Russia), that is likely to change as human activity in the region increases.
This is not the case.
In Murmansk Region, the old diesel-fuelled public transport fleets are responsible for a major part of the region’s contribution to the disturbing Arctic pollution problem. Emissions from these and other diesel-driven vehicles, as well as from diesel-based power stations running in local villages and settlements and diesel engines operated on vessels calling into the port of Murmansk, make the bulk of black carbon emissions in Murmansk Region.

August 26, 2013 7:58 pm

Note the population of the Murmansk District peaked in 1989 at 1,150,000, but has declined by 300,000 since. Source wikipedia.
Murmansk is the only large population centre and industrial area in the Arctic, so it’s not surprising its the main Arctic source of BC.

August 27, 2013 8:56 am

Hot off the Press, Evidence of Ice breaking ship near Antarctica has weakened the ice. Can see where the Ice breaker has traveled and Satellite pictures show the weak thin ice from the Ice Breaking ship.. It is winter there not summer. This is only one Ship The Arctic Region has many Ice Breaking ships.
Ship Name
Ref. fig 1
Ref. Fig 2

August 27, 2013 11:06 am

One more but from Arctic Region. USCGC Healy tracks from 1-8 years. Last year they went close to the north pole area crushing the ice.

August 27, 2013 9:14 pm

The “North Pole Camera” has passed 44 degrees, heading north and west. At this rate it will never make it to Fram Strait.
Icebreakers could crack up the ice and promote the ice flushing out of the arctic in warmer times, but in colder times they just create a “lead” in the ice, and the sides of the lead are prone to clapping shut, creating a pressure ridge where there once was open water. This would be to the detriment of the ship following the icebreaker.
Spending so much on icebreakers suggests that some Russians have bought into the idea of a warming Pole. Other Tussians, who have spoken out against Global Warming and suggested a “Big Freeze” is more likely, may well be rolling their eyes.
Russia spending so much on icebreakers may prove as wise as Germany spending so much on solar power, if the icecap rebuilds to Little Ice Age levels.
By the way, no one has explained to me why, when the wind vane at the “North Pole Camera” is from i80 degrees, the buoy moves towards 180 degrees, and when the wind vane states the wind is coming from zero degrees, the camera moves towards zero.
I am starting to be shamefully disrespectful of authority, concerning that vane.

James at 48
August 28, 2013 7:47 am

Winter has started to set in on the Russian coast. Seeing some snow showing up on cryo sat images. Also seeing a bit of fast ice forming up. We are very close to the overall NH minimum now.

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