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
June 18, 2017 7:00 pm

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

Mike G
June 18, 2017 7:01 pm

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?

John M
Reply to  Ric Werme
June 19, 2017 9:51 am

Hi Ric,
Nice job! Posting this here so you see it.
Related to the Navy images which aren’t imaging.
Consider using an automated screen capture app with a scheduler and save the captures to the cloud or a secure ftp. Then link the image from that location to the Sea Ice page. Load times to browsers will be faster because a single server isn’t serving the pages and the images. The .mil site will only see a single page request once a day which they’re likely to appreciate.
[Please go back and read my first point. I’m already copying various http: pages to my web site to access with https. I wouldn’t call it a cloud, but I’ve always disliked that term even though I work for a cloud vendor. If the Navy site is to onerous to use I’ll either include wgetting their pages (I assume wget won’t stumble over the certificate issue much) or talk to their web master.
As for the load on the Navy site, do not assume that WordPress behaves as you would expect. WUWT has some 100,000 page views daily. Every one of those displays the ENSO meter
Every display of the Sea Ice page displays multiple images I created or copied from Cryosphere. Yet my web host only reports a couple thousand fetches from them every day. (This goes back to pre-WP https infatuation days.) So apparently WP caches more stuff that Anthony or I expected, as we were both concerned about the load we might have caused. I doubt the Navy has ever noticed the load we generate. -Ric

John M
Reply to  Ric Werme
June 19, 2017 10:10 am

HI again Ric,
– if you’re going to spearhead reference page development
– given Anthony’s need for a worry free vacation (implies – don’t mock about with added WordPress plugins or linked code which could break the site…)
Consider a post related to a new more refined approach all Reference pages.
Aren’t the reference pages, when considered as a whole, an algorithm to the climate system?
If yes, a redesign with a master page seems logical?
Food for thought and some community muse : )

John M
Reply to  Ric Werme
June 19, 2017 11:00 am

Hi Ric,
Thanks for the mod reply.
The WordPress cache issue is their way of managing all sites on their servers. They can’t allow cache plugins which eat too much server overhead. It would drag down all served sites and their service.
I’ve designed sites since the late 90s. The obvious opportunity from then to now is to use multiple servers to serve data, images, and archives. By segmenting the content, the browser retrieves the various elements faster without server overhead issues.
Seriously consider a post for ref pages redesign. We can help.

John M
Reply to  Ric Werme
June 19, 2017 11:26 am

With Sincere Respect Ric,
Do you “see” the state of the reference pages climate in a single view? I’ve never found a single site feed – have you?
“What if”…
[I’m not sure what you’re asking wrt “reference pages climate”. When I edit a reference page or a comment (like now), WP displays an edit window with options for editing raw text or some attempt at a WYSIWYG edit. The ItsAllText plugin lets me edit the raw text in emacs, good for big pages.
WP doesn’t make it clear what their server architecture is like. Given that updates to pages are immediately available its probably not too distributed. It works well enough so I don’t think anyone has dug into it. WP must have access to a lot of bandwidth, I’m sure they’ve been the target of many DoS attacks against WUWT and other blogs.
We would like to know why sometimes a comment simply disappears without a trace. -Ric

John M
Reply to  Ric Werme
June 25, 2017 10:10 am

Hi Ric,
Sorry for the delayed reply, just saw your comment yesterday.
Looks like a couple of your links have been hijacked. is located in China.
Bizland has a total of two data centres which they state are both located in the Boston area. Try setting image folder restrictions to kill undesired requests.
Comments randomly disappear. This sounds like a database issue, faulty wp core fix, or the need to update plugins after a wp core update. Core updates are typically set to auto-update. Saw a couple of posts on wordpress’s support forum about this issue but nothing related to a fix.
Saw this on Github:

John M
Reply to  Ric Werme
June 25, 2017 11:12 am

Couple of handy links if you’re unaware of them.
Apache Server Hotlink Protection Etc.

James Bull
Reply to  Ric Werme
June 18, 2017 10:06 pm

It’s good to know we are not all doomed!
I’m sure if it was bigger/going to hit populated areas we would be being told it was somehow linked to CAGW.
James Bull

Reply to  James Bull
June 19, 2017 12:16 am

The false conclusion of the tsunami news was

The world’s largest island situated between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, Greenland, population 55,000, has an ice sheet particularly vulnerable to climate change. – AFP

I’m pretty certain these people would like some help instead of carbon dioxide emission reductions.
Taxing their oil does not help them.

June 18, 2017 7:51 pm

Thank you for your efforts on this!

J Mac
June 18, 2017 8:18 pm

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
June 18, 2017 8:24 pm

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
Reply to  Janice Moore
June 18, 2017 9:01 pm

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
Reply to  Frank Sharkany
June 18, 2017 9:23 pm

Frank: Cool!

Reply to  Janice Moore
June 19, 2017 4:41 am

I really liked the video, Janice.

Janice Moore
Reply to  TA
June 19, 2017 6:16 am


Rick Lafford
Reply to  Janice Moore
June 19, 2017 5:27 am

Wonderful example Janice!

Janice Moore
Reply to  Rick Lafford
June 19, 2017 6:16 am


June 18, 2017 8:25 pm

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
Reply to  RACookPE1978
June 18, 2017 11:14 pm

Fair bit of basin by basin info here

Reply to  Ric Werme
June 18, 2017 11:24 pm

I see a 5.0 listed at USGS striking on the west side of Iceland.

Reply to  Ric Werme
June 19, 2017 12:24 pm

A 4.0+ should be easily detectable anywhere on Earth, though not very accurately pinpointed if it is remote. Considering that this supposed quake triggered a tsunami and killed people, you’d think they’d have it analyzed by now.
And as I typed this, they posted it, though they only posted it as a landslide with no EQ.

June 18, 2017 9:30 pm

Thank you!

June 18, 2017 11:22 pm

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

June 18, 2017 11:43 pm

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
June 18, 2017 11:58 pm

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
June 19, 2017 12:00 am

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

June 19, 2017 12:20 am

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.

June 19, 2017 3:20 am

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?

Reply to  Ric Werme
June 19, 2017 5:16 am

I get it. Thanks!

June 19, 2017 3:52 am

Thanks Ric!

Rick K
June 19, 2017 5:34 am

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

June 19, 2017 5:57 am

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
Reply to  Mike
June 19, 2017 6:21 am

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
June 19, 2017 5:58 am

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

Reply to  Ric Werme
June 19, 2017 12:43 pm

Didn’t the NSIDC have an Arctic Sea Ice extents map to go along with their graph? Have they stopped doing that?

June 19, 2017 7:09 am

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

Reply to  Ric Werme
June 19, 2017 1:21 pm

I didn’t think 2nd. WW Jeeps had doors.

June 19, 2017 8:18 am

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
Reply to  tty
June 26, 2017 9:12 am

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
Reply to  John M
June 26, 2017 10:20 am

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
June 19, 2017 10:01 am

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?

Daryl M
Reply to  Ric Werme
June 19, 2017 10:24 am

I use chrome. The first time I displayed the page, the links appeared to be broken. I clicked them anyway and chrome displayed a warning. I just closed the page and re-opened it and now it seems to be working. Strange. I’ll follow-up if it changes. Thanks again.

Walt Stone
June 19, 2017 12:31 pm

here’s the raw video of the tsunami

June 19, 2017 12:41 pm

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.

June 19, 2017 1:22 pm

Great job, Ric, made my day.

Alan Robertson
June 19, 2017 1:38 pm

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

June 20, 2017 1:12 pm

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.

Reply to  Gabro
June 20, 2017 1:14 pm
June 21, 2017 3:56 am

The link to Sea Ice Bremen should be.

Reply to  Ric Werme
June 25, 2017 9:04 pm


Reply to  Ric Werme
June 27, 2017 4:14 am

Rick, what happened to the seas ice page? I can’t find it!

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