Major refresh to WUWT's Sea Ice Reference page

One of WUWT’s most read reference pages has been the Sea Ice reference page. For over a year, it could be described with one word, dreadful.

The many problems included:

  • WordPress broke handling of non-SSL references to images to display. They seem to be downloading them into their own cache directory, but never update it. Many images in the Sea Ice page are updated every day. I, and I’m sure Anthony, expected that WP would realized that this is, shall we say, sub-optimal and that they would fix it soon. They didn’t.

    Yesterday I figured out that my web host vendor does have a SSL certificate customers can use if we use a URL that references their server’s hostname and I’ve set up a shell script to download the pertinent URLs and upload them to my web site. The Sea Ice page is now displaying my copies.

  • One important source of information,, no longer has a non-SSL http server so I figured it had moved elsewhere. I found that it merely changed to a SSL-based server, and all I needed to do was change several https to httpses. The SSL certificate has some problems, so don’t be surprised if you need to add an exception to your access controls.
  • We were displaying a couple images accessed via ftp. The server no longer supports anonymous FTP, and accesses to the page resulted in two requests for login information. I found non-FTP paths for the images.
  • A major source of good information in the past was The Cryosphere Today. I think the staff consists of two researchers and occasional undergrad work-study programmers. Their site says:

    Special Sensor Microwave Imager and Sounder (SSMIS) on the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F-17 satellite that provides passive microwave brightness temperatures (and derived Arctic and Antarctic sea ice products) has been providing spurious data since beginning of April. Working on resolving problem or replacing this data source.

    It should say April 2016. Worse, their scripts keep running taking the same stale data and creating new images for every day since then. All I could do is delete every image reference there, some which I had already been copying to my web site so I could use a URL without a timestamp. I guess I can stop that daily script!

While there’s a fair amount of work to do, e.g. look for replacements for some of the Cryosphere pages and reviewing all links to other sites, I declare the Sea Ice page back in service. Check it out, let me know what I’ve missed.

One thing I’d like to do before Arctic Ice Minimum is add a section or maybe a new reference page on the Canadian NorthWest Passage. That is extremely well covered at, but [Huh!? a tsunami hit Greenland? When? Oh today, no wonder I heard about first by checking that blog] I’d like to add a link to that blog and maybe include some ice cover images for the Canadian Archipelago.

Excuse me while go check out that tsunami. I wonder if it reached New Hampshire.


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Tom Halla

If NASA, if that is the supplier, is being weird, do the Russians or EU have similar imagery?

Mike G

I noticed as I tracked sea ice the past six months or so that typically showed greater sea ice extent that NSIDC sources, and others. Was I comparing apples to apples?


Thank you for your efforts on this!

J Mac

Bravo Ric! Keep up the good work!
I have one issue. When I access the Sea Ice page now, I get a security message that says
“Cannot guarantee authenticity of the domain to which encrypted connection is established”.
Application: Firefox
Reason: The certificate chain is not complete.

Janice Moore

Thank — you — RIC WERME! That was a lot of work and many tedious hours….
By promoting observation-based-science, you are promoting freedom!
Freedom = life.

Q: What does [Ric] get in return….
A: He saves lives.
If AGW is exposed for the sc@m it is:
birds by the score won’t die an agonizing incineration death by solar “farm” panels;
beautiful raptors won’t be hacked to death by wind “farm” blades; and
people won’t die in CO2-emission-preventing-cladded towers.

Frank Sharkany

I love the video you posted and just played it this week for our teen leaders at church as they are kicking off their summer activities. They all clapped at the end. 🙂 Oh and yes, thank you Ric!

Janice Moore

Frank: Cool!


I really liked the video, Janice.

Janice Moore


Rick Lafford

Wonderful example Janice!

Janice Moore


Thank you for the time and effort. The changes are much appreciated by all.
I too wonder what resources will replace the Cryosphere. They were among the few that listed sea ice areas for both Arctic and Antarctic. Their data before March 2016 was useable. But nothing since then.
Am looking for Sea of Okhotsk, Bering Sea, and Hudson Bay sea ice daily average area values, if anyone has the numeric values for several years, or for the “established average” used by the labs to establish the daily sea ice anomalies for those three areas. These three areas are much further south (averaging 60 degrees north latitude or so) – much, much different solar exposure and yearly trend lines than the rest of the Arctic sea ice up between 79 north latitude and the pole.

tony mcleod

Fair bit of basin by basin info here


Thank you!

Great work,Ric Werme !! Thank you for the time and effort.


I have been checking the sea ice extent and north of 80 temperatures every week. It’s so nice to see everything neat and clean and not broken. Thank you very much.

Dan Sage

THANK YOU!!! from an almost daily observer of the SEA PAGE. You don’t know how much brighter this makes the darkness. You have lit one big candle!!!

Dan Sage

Should be SEA ICE PAGE. I just got so excited!!!


Excellent work Anthony. the ftp logins in particular were annoying.
Cryosphere Today are total alarmists and do not seem motivated to substitute another satellite now that the ice area is not in a “death spiral” any more. They may also be sulking about funding cuts and refusing to do anything about it.
I thought you had left it up to point out lame they were. Many people seem to regard this site highly. Showing how broken and unmaintained it was seemed like a good idea.


I don’t understand the color around 90 degrees on the Arctic Sea Ice Thickness chart provided by the University of Bremen. Can someone explain why it is colored the same as land areas?

Thanks Ric!

Rick K

Very much appreciated, Ric.
“and there was great rejoicing!”


Another great post. Ric, and thank you Janice for the Thai Video. ( I am assuming that he was not an employee of the Thai equivalent of our HSS??…. The redistribution of other people’s money, engenders entitlement not gratitude and ultimately leads to resentment.. or worse!)
Mike Macray

Janice Moore

You’re welcome, Mike. If he were an employee of an “HSS” he would not have given one penny. He would have considered himself to have “given at the office” (not all, but, many in high income tax/socialist countries have this attitude — and understandably so…. in a commune you are “doing good deeds” all the time, that is why they are so deadly to the soul….).

Richard M

Another handy tool is this link from nsidc that lets you compare various years’ sea ice extent.


That is a most excellent upgrade. It is like driving a Cadillac after a WWII Jeep now. Thanks men.


Ric, a few more sites I would strongly recommend including:
Norwegian Ice Service:
best and most detailed ice maps for the Atlantic sector
Russian sea-ice map
Only updated weekly (it is apparently based on manual interpretation of satellite data), but it is the only site that distinguishes first- and multi-year ice (though only during winter season, an example):
Cryosat-2 ice thickness data (the only thickness data based on actual measurements, not modelling):
Though this site is only operational from October through May. In summer thickness cannot be measured since it isn’t possible to distinguish open sea from melt pools on top of the ice.It also only updates monthly, since it takes about that long for the satellite to cover the entire Arctic Ocean, however it is real data.

John M

Couple of great links to ongoing Arctic Research, data, and related papers.
Please contact Rebecca Woodgate ( for use of any of this material.
The 2007 Bering Strait Oceanic Heat Flux and anomalous Arctic Sea-ice Retreat
1990-2015 Measurements (research slides and talking points)
BERING STRAIT: Pacific Gateway to the Arctic (research papers and data)
Observational-based Studies of Physical Processes in Ice-covered Waters, especially the Arctic (research projects, papers, data, etc)

John M

Fresh Water influxes and salinity are worth a nod.
Freshwater Sources Storage and Export in the Arctic Ocean
The total average annual river runoff is about 4270 km3; however, uncertainty and variability are taken to be high, because the discharge of Arctic rivers exhibits an extremely large seasonal variation, and also interannual and decadal scale variability.
Freshwater and its role in the Arctic Marine System: Sources,
disposition, storage, export, and physical and biogeochemical
consequences in the Arctic and global oceans
Page 28
6.1 “One cannot quantify change without solid monitoring, and one cannot monitor what has not been adequately mapped. In this case, our fundamental knowledge of Arctic Ocean hydrography, both spatially and temporally, remains rudimentary. Of all components of the AMS, the Nordic, Barents, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas are the best mapped, while large portions of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and the Siberian Shelves are deficient, albeit the latter gap is in part due to insufficient attention to the Russian literature. The deep basin domains have decent coverage, with the exception to the Makarov Basin and the Amerasian Basin north of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, where major holes in our understanding of boundary current pathways exist. The inner coastal domain inside the 10–20 m isobaths, where FW is initially discharged, where river plumes initially spread, where unique ecosystems exist and where many important biogeochemical transformations take place, is a near tabula rasa (but see http://nsidc/dataggd629). Discharges from hundreds of smaller rivers remain ungauged, and their collective effects of the biogeochemistry and their FW system are ignored. Despite ongoing efforts, potential discharges to the ocean from groundwater and thawing permafrost remain poorly quantified owing to the scale and complexity of the problem and lack a firm basis for defining a benchmark for future comparisons.”

Daryl M

The sea ice page was always one of my go-to pages here, but I gave up on it. Nice to see it get the attention it deserves. Thanks for the effort. The page looks great again, as it should.
What’s the trick to get the images from to display properly?

Walt Stone

here’s the raw video of the tsunami


It’s great that you’ve done this, thanks, now I can get back to nitpicking the NOAA maps again and point out the impossibilities of their BS product.
Like their temperature anomaly map, showing places like the Hudson Bay Surface to be several degrees warmer than average right now despite the fact that there is still sea ice covering most of the bay.
The NOAA product perpetually contains impossibilities, like their anomalously warm sea ice pockets within the Arctic Circle, even right now as the average temperature above the Arctic Circle has been below average for months.


Great job, Ric, made my day.

Alan Robertson

Works fine here (at last) with Firefox, Chrome, Edge and IE.


The tsunami might have affected Arctic sea ice extent, which was still however not at a record low for June 19.
2010: 10.559 million square kilometers
2011: 10.625
2012: 10.419
2013: 11.382
2014: 11.045
2015: 10.806
2016: 10.385
2017: 10.612
2013: 11.382 million square kilometers
2014: 11.045
2015: 10.806
2011: 10.625
2017: 10.612
2010: 10.559
2012: 10.419
2016: 10.385
So, of the past eight years, 2017 yesterday was about tied with 2011, with three years higher and three lower. As all here might know, 2012 ended up as the record low year, with 2016 and 2007 about tied for second lowest, thanks to August cyclones.
This year is bracketed by 2010 and 2011, which ended up as lower than average at September minimum sea ice, but not records, due to more tranquil Augusts. Should 2017 finish in their range, then it will be quite a comeback from the super El Nino years of 2015-16.


The link to Sea Ice Bremen should be.