Pack Ice around Bear Island in the Barents Sea on 15 May: last time was 2003

Reposted from Dr. Susan Crockford’s Polar Bear Science

Posted on May 15, 2020 | Comments Off on Still pack ice around Bear Island in the Barents Sea on 15 May: last time was 2003

It’s very open drift ice (1-4/10th concentration) but still: Bear Island (Bjørnøya) in the southern Barents Sea was still surrounded by pack ice at 15 May 2020. As far as I can tell from the Norwegian Ice Service archived ice charts, this hasn’t happened since 2003.

Svalbard ice extent 2020 May 15_NIS

And last week, the island was surrounded by heavy drift ice, which hadn’t happened on 8 May since 1977.

Back in 2003, there were no coloured ice charts but the 4/10th ice around Bear Island in the south is apparent on this chart:

Svalbard ice extent 2003 May 15_NIS archive

On 8 May – a week after my last post on this topic – the NIS tweeted an image of the ice around Bear Island with this comment added:

“Bjørnøya often sees scattered sea ice in May but the last time there was packed ice above 4/10ths was in 1993 and above 7/10ths in 1977.” [see image below]

Bear Island 8 May 2020 NIS

Below is the ice chart for 8 May, with Bear Island surrounded by concentrated (9-10/10ths) very close drift ice (red): there has not been such very close drift ice around the island on 8 May since 1977.

Svalbard ice extent 2020 May 8_NIS

Oddly, still no reports of polar bears near the weather station on Bear Island this year but it seems unlikely there we none. More likely, the media has been preoccupied with pandemic news.

Also of note, on 12 May sea ice reached Jan Mayen Island off East Greenland for the first time since April 2004:

Below is the Denmark Strait ice chart for 12 May, but unfortunately one of the grid lines is almost completely obscuring Jan Mayen Island (looks for deep inverted ‘V’ on top of it):

Barents Denmark Strait sea ice 2020 May 12_NIS closeup

Next week I’ll look at the sea ice situation in the Beaufort Sea and the Canadian Arctic.

45 thoughts on “Pack Ice around Bear Island in the Barents Sea on 15 May: last time was 2003

  1. OK, good reporting by Dr. Susan. But I’m feeling a chill here, how would you like to be stationed at the weather station on Bear Island? With, hooray!, conditions perfect for polar bears? Big, white, cuddly, polar bears? Wait another minute, is it possible that the climate is cooling down? I’m a golfer, not a kamikaze skier, cooling down does not work for me. I think I’ll take my dogs, jump in the SUV and drive around the block a few times, that should help. Stay sane and safe (turns out social distancing is more preventive than a mask, but double down anyway!).

  2. According to this the arctic sea ice is tracking between the values for 2007 and 2019 at this time of year. Those years had quite similar annual minimums.

    Having said the above, you can’t tell much by the ice extent at this time of the year. 2012 had been tracking right on the long term average and then took a dive to reach the record minimum (in recent history).

          • From
            Preparing for Climate Change
            This shows sea ice extent at around 8 million sq km for the period 1973 to 1987. this compares with around 4e6 for the last minimum. So some disagreement here.


            Author and Affiliation:
            Parkinson, Claire L.
            (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States)
            Cavalieri, Donald J.
            (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States)
            The seasonal, regional, and interannual variations in the Northern-Hemisphere sea-ice cover were investigated for the time period 1973-1987, using data derived from the Nimbus-5 ESMR and the Nimbus-7 SMMR. The records show an average seasonal cycle of sea-ice cover, ranging from a summer minimum of 8.5 x 10 to the 6th sq km in September to a winter maximum of 15 x 10 to the 6th sq km in March, with considerable interannual variability found both regionally and hemispherically. Some regions (e.g., the Baffin Bay/Davis Strait, were found to exhibit upward trends in sea-ice extents, while other regions (e.g., the Kara Sea and the Barents Sea) exhibited downward trend. However, the record for the Northern Hemisphere overall showed no significant trend over the 1973-1987 period, giving no evidence of consistent warming or cooling of the north polar region.
            Publication Date:
            October 15, 1989

    • Aren’t you the dishonest poster that claimed Trump said to drink bleach?

      What is wrong with you…shame on you.

      • The correct approach is to bath in bleach, prior to touring the Hamptons. Per Mrs. Chris Coumo

      • Derg,
        To quote trump
        “So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous – whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said that hasn’t been checked but you’re going to test it.
        “And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside of the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you’re going to test that too. Sounds interesting,” the president continued.

        “And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?
        “So it’d be interesting to check that.”

        Sound to me like he suggests injecting disinfectant is to be investigated

        the trouble is his speeches are so jumbled and incoherent it is difficult determining the exact message.

        • “the trouble is his speeches are so jumbled and incoherent it is difficult determining the exact message.”

          No, the real trouble is how his speech is distorted by his enemies. I had no problem understanding what Trump was talking about, but then, I don’t hate him.

          • You are also smart enough not to be a liberal. That gives you an edge when it comes to understanding.

          • Yes… Trump does cause a lot of his own problems w/ his constant rambling speeches at times. The real issue is how he’s attacked repeatedly and taken out of context by MSM sources. That’s not free speech. That’s slander.

        • What is Hypochlorous acid? How does our body produce it? Imagine if you had to be aware of it before it would help you.

          Imagine if (all) people today were less smart than they were when HOCl was used to irrigate and disinfect wounds in World War I

          • there are many disinfectants that can be used on outside body wounds. However the virus infect the whole system. You cannot use most disinfectants or uv light on the whole body – each blood cell each cell each organ the virus is as tough as most cells so to kill the virus you will kill the body. The virus is not like a localised cancer. It is spread throughout the body.

        • ghalrunt,
          People take Warfarin every day, as a blood anticoagulant to reduce their chance of stroke from blood clots. Warfarin is also used as a lethal rat poison. Reasoning minds know the usage of ‘poisons’ in low dosage is fairly common medical practice. Politically motivated individuals choose to misunderstand that.

          WARF stands for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which developed the original WARFarin as a potent rat killer additive to rat bait. Later experiments at WARF confirmed low dosage therapeutic use saved lives by preventing blood clots and strokes. Warfarin is still in wide medical usage today.

          Does this clarity provide some relief for your jumbled and incoherent political ‘confusions’?

          • warfarin is not used today in the uk – much better clotting reducing drugs are available

          • Apologies it is still in use but safer drugs are the NOACs
            Types of NOAC:
            rivaroxaban (brand names include Xarelto)
            dabigatran (brand names include Pradaxa)
            apixaban (brand names include Eliquis)
            edoxaban (brand names include Lixiana)

        • Galsaunt
          “And is there a way we can do something like that”.Sounds like a question to me. POTUS WAS asking a QUESTION. Why can you not see that.

        • One constant with lieberals, if it is at all possible to misconstrue an opponents words, they will.

        • Trump was addressing a question to acting under Secretary of State Mr W Ryan(homeland Security) during a WH briefing. Read the transcript. It was a question.

        • Funny because a company in San Diego is doing trials of using light in the lungs to kill viral and bacterial infections. As off the wall as Trump’s comment, asking if doctors are investigating such therapies and advocating injecting bleach are worlds apart. Criticize Trump all you want but don’t make up things to support your argument.

      • gfront is the one who claimed that since Trump said something different about ChiCom19 in January, compared to what he said in April, this proves he was lying in January.

  3. let us remember these are weather events and not climate. However, it interesting that this last week many English Vineyards have seen their grape blossom frosted as temperatures went below freezing, and in Northern Ireland they had the coldest May night in 40 years. Again, just weather ,but nevertheless interesting to see this natural variability


    • 30 years of consistent weather to make a climate event. Presumably, any deviation will reset the clock.

  4. I don’t really think any of these blips in sea ice, one way or the other, are of note. Yes I clicked on it, against my better judgement.

  5. Anthony, Is it time to update the links on the Sea Ice Page? I think that is a valuable resource, I used to check it often.
    In my Firefox browser, most of the graphs end around August last year. If that is difficult to fix, perhaps you could remove the graphs and just provide clickable links to the current sources. Or maybe people using other browsers are getting current graphs when the page loads.

  6. Another indication ice coverage over the Arctic ocean is in a normal range.

    And, bear count is up, the “poster child of the north” is healthy.

    But my local newspaper is unrelentless in claiming climate change is “getting worse, accelerating.

    This post says there is a debate to be had about what is going on… let alone, “worse” and “accelerating.”

    And there is a consistent pattern:

    Climate alarmists won’debate, let alone have a face to face debate.

    And don’t even think about even-handed reporting in your local newspaper.

    What’s going on?

  7. As you all probably know by now, I have a theory that sea ice and NH temperatures are controlled more by ice-sheet albedo, than they are by CO2 or any other terrestrial feedback agent.

    If this is so, then the lack of Chinese industrial dust this spring may well have increased NH ice albedo, and thus lead to a slower ice-melt this summer.

    Time will tell.


  8. It looks like a strong La Niña cycle is developing which may mean Arctic sea ice will increase substantially this winter.

    Moreover, a really strange, and dare I say “unprecedented” (sarc/off), 4.5 million KM^2 North Atlantic Cold Blob (my name for it) has been expanding and growing colder for 10 months with no signs of abating anytime soon…. it’s truly bizarre.

    In addition, a 50-year Grand Solar Minimum just started, which may also add to further global cooling and perhaps add to Arctic sea ice recovery for many decades… We’ll see.

    It’ll be very interesting to see what the preponderance of all these natural global cooling phenomena will have on global temps and Arctic sea ice recovery this winter.

    • Samurai, I’ve been noticing this sudden turn to cold of late in that area of the ocean – it’s huge and looks to be getting bigger. I like your name for it “the Atlantic cold blob”. Have also noticed ENSO dipped down and the northern polar vortex is still in play up there.

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