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  1. Latest (July) ARCUS Expert Assesment now out.
    http://www.arcus.org/search/seaiceoutlook/report_july.php

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 22 Aug 2008 @ 5:30 AM

  2. Well, it’s been awfully cold today in Suva (Fiji), where I live, during the wintertime as well as the summertime, so I am not surprised about anything happening up over.

    Comment by Francois Marchand — 22 Aug 2008 @ 5:32 AM

  3. Re: #1

    Well 4 of the proejections are already wrong.

    Many people seems to be fixed on sea ice extent, which gives no indication of volume or thickness of the ice.

    Sure if we get the right wind conditions, the remaining ice can be compacted to below the 2007 minimun.

    The best indicator, although not perfect is sea ice area, as it gives a better idea of the condition of the ice, and takes in consideration the concentration for each pixel.

    This is why I prefer Cryosphere Today as an indicator of the ice state (this was an unpaid endorsement :) ).

    Right now its late August, and surface melt north of 80 will be at a minimun. I figure there is about 0.3 million sq km of ice left to melt in the Fox Basin and Siberian and Labtev sea, which will/should melt due to water temperture.

    We stand a good chance of beating last years sea ice area. However I beleive the sea ice extent will end up in the high 4′s million sq km.

    The end result, after a particularly cold winter, a greater volume of ice will have melted this year, than last.

    With no multiyear ice in the beufort sea, the first year ice that forms will be constantly destroyed by storms, and will be at a much larger scale than last year.

    Meanwhile the remaining first year ice, will not become second year ice, as it will be flushed out into the Atlantic by the trans polar current.

    We will start 2009 in the same state as 2008, and if the winter is mild, and we get an early summer melt like we did in 2007, then Santa is going to be swimming.

    Comment by LG Norton — 22 Aug 2008 @ 7:18 AM

  4. RE: #3

    As I understand it, the concentration calculated from the passive microwave data is sensitive to melt ponds as well as to open water. Thus, your claim that the actual ice area for each pixel can be found using this calculation is likely to be incorrect. For this reason, I tend to look only at the extent calculation, not the area. In spite of that, I think an increase in melt pond area would be just as important as an increase in open water area, as the melt ponds have lower albedo than ice or snow.

    E. S.

    Comment by Eric Swanson — 22 Aug 2008 @ 9:54 AM

  5. It is clear that the NSIDC graph is correct, and that the 2007 UIUC maps are not precise enough to be used for quantitative analysis.

    Comment by Steven Goddard — 21 August 2008 @ 20:17

    So pixel-counting seems quite valid to me, and appears to demonstrate that older UIUC images are simply not accurate.

    Since these images are widely linked, shouldn’t they do something about it before more unsuspecting pixel-counters are lured to their death?

    Comment by dipole

    I find that the UIUC maps seem to compare very well with the high resolution images obtained with the AMSR-E imager, see below for a comparison on 8/11/07:

    http://iup.physik.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsredata/asi_daygrid_swath/l1a/n6250/2007/aug/asi-n6250-20070811-v5_nic.png
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/deetest/deetmp.7104.png

    The NSIDC image looks rather similar too to be honest when one considers its lower resolution (for day earlier):

    http://nsidc.org/news/press/2007_seaiceminimum/images/20070810_e

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 22 Aug 2008 @ 10:00 AM

  6. The Arctic sea ice is a key indicator of climate sensitivity. I saw a graph the other day of 1979-2007 satellite data projected onto the IPCC scenarios chart for sea ice loss and its worse than the worse scenario. However is 1979-2007 statistically significant enough to warrant a doubling of climate sensitivity. If it is then has anyone run a CGM of when climate sensitivity was doubled and if so, what were the range of scenarios then plotted agaisnt actual satellite data ?

    Comment by pete best — 22 Aug 2008 @ 10:16 AM

  7. Might it be that albedo feedback will now play a lesser role in AGW destruction of the summer artic ice cap? Blogging as a passive, uneducated observer, it seems to me that wind and wave generation are playing an increasingly important role in the destruction of the summer ice cap. Ozone loss has increased the speed of artic winds and AGW has moved the summer storm track poleward; therefore it could be that increased wind speeds and duration will allow the destruction of the ice cap through wave-driven mixing of surface waters and increased importation on warmer Pacific and Atlantic waters into the Artic Ocean after sun-driven melting has come to a stop. Perhaps the summer melt season is being prolonged by these other than albedo feedback global changes. Perhaps a whole new crop of experts needs to be recruited; that is scientists and engineers who predict wave height and power based on wind speed and duration and fetch.

    Comment by Andrew — 22 Aug 2008 @ 10:58 AM

  8. Re #5. There is a reply from UIUC/CT on Anthony Watts site concerning claims of inconsistency between their images and other published data comparing 2007 and 2008 Arctic ice.

    They do indeed confirm their image sequence is generated consistently and suggest that comparisons based on pixel-counting are invalid because of mapping distortion.

    I did try to incorporate mapping distortion into my own pixel-counting adventure but was still unable to reconcile the figures. Evidently I was either using the wrong projection, or perhaps made some other error.

    Comment by dipole — 22 Aug 2008 @ 11:09 AM

  9. Francois Marchand. was it cloudy?

    Great report by Cecilia and company. Goddard is a trend setter for his colleagues, they will
    use first impression “common sense” one dimensional reasoning to proclaim an “ice recovery”.
    While the real argument is why it melted just as much or more than last year with the temperature record cooler?

    Comment by wayne davidson — 22 Aug 2008 @ 11:49 AM

  10. Remember that Maslowski’s 2013 prediction puts polar bears, walrus, narwhales, and ring seals at risk in the very near future. (see for example http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080818/116103830.html & http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/multiple-polar-bears-discovered-swimming/story.aspx?guid=%7B9D938E1B-7204-4D4E-8ACF-9EC53B685635%7D&dist=hppr.

    Remember that navy is rather careful. A navy captain that runs his ship aground is likely to lose his command. I expect that Maslowski is also careful.

    Besides, I got the same result using another approach.

    Further more, lack of sea ice puts open water on all sides of Greenland. That means any summer breeze in the Arctic will bring rain to Greenland. And, rain melts ice. That is a subtext that no careful navy man would say these days.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 22 Aug 2008 @ 12:06 PM

  11. dipole Says: 22 August 2008 at 11:09 AM
    > Re #5. There is a reply from UIUC/CT on Anthony Watts site …

    Would you mind providing a quote/cite/link?
    “There’s a pony there somewhere” just isn’t sufficient motivation to go look.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Aug 2008 @ 12:22 PM

  12. NSIDC has worked with Mr. Goddard to get to the bottom of the issue with the UIUC and NSIDC images and as has been mentioned in the comments above, he has posted a correction. I thank Mr. Goddard for his cooperation in this matter.

    Regarding sea ice area, as Eric Swanson (#4) responded already, yes area estimates can have potentially large biases because of surface melt. This tends to make the area calculations too low. It still can give reasonable results for comparisons between years, though some of the difference between years can be changes in melt instead of changes in real area. Extent is more stable and consistent because, while the sensor may underestimate the specific concentration, it does a good job capture the threshold between ice and water (using a 15% concentration for the threshold).

    Another issue with area for long-term tracking is that you can’t estimate the area within the pole-hole around the North Pole. This is a problem because different sensors, with different sized pole-holes exist between 1979-1987 and 1987-present. So you can’t do a 1979-present trend with area (this cropped up in some blogs earlier, saying 1980 area was the same as this year, but neglecting the fact that the pole hole was larger in 1980). For extent, we can safely assume that the pole-hole is filled with at least 15% ice. This is a very safe assumption. Or it least it has been – it may not be for much longer, though I think we’re pretty safe now for this year.

    Walt Meier
    Research Scientist
    National Snow and Ice Data Center

    Comment by Walt — 22 Aug 2008 @ 2:16 PM

  13. Here’s the opening of William Chapman’s post on wattsupwiththat dated 22/08

    William Chapman (07:27:26) :
    Hi Folks,

    There is no difference between the data or the way the 2008 and 2007 images were produced in the comparison images on the Cryosphere Today. The apparent differences Mr. Goddard observed between the NSIDC values and those produced comparing images from the CT are almost entirely due to the mistake of using pixel counting to compute area on severely distorted satellite projections………….

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 22 Aug 2008 @ 2:23 PM

  14. I’d be interested in knowing some details on how the Cryosphere Today images are created. I found it quite easy to discover on the NSIDC site to understand where the data came from and how it was processed, but I wasn’t able to do that from the UIUC site. Could well be I just overlooked it or that it’s described elsewhere. Does anyone know?

    Comment by Ed Beroset — 22 Aug 2008 @ 4:07 PM

  15. Plea to the Contributors — you’ve locked the prior thread with the last 2 posts being vehement affirmations of the now-discredited pixel-counting method. Could you all at least place a pointer there at the end to this continuation?

    Else — as I notice happens quite often — the last few postings in the closed thread leave a quite wrong impression.
    For the lazy or naive or new reader coming along later, who might not find all the scattered bits, it’d be a kindness not to leave that misapprehension easy to fall into.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Aug 2008 @ 4:10 PM

  16. It looks to me that the Northwest Passage will open in a week
    The I look at
    Daily Updated AMSR-E Sea Ice Maps
    http://www.iup.physik.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/amsre.html
    It look to me that also Northeast Passage will open
    Yesterday and day before was line of open water all the way

    Comment by Eyal Morag — 22 Aug 2008 @ 4:37 PM

  17. The losses have failed to slow down in the last few days, but the current ice extent is still well above 2007. Closer to 2005 than 2007. The slow down could start any time. The regrow is due in a month. So it aint over until the fat lady sings!

    Comment by sean egan — 22 Aug 2008 @ 5:13 PM

  18. I think I have figured out what is going on with the UIUC images. I am pretty sure that the archived images are actually showing the extent of ice at 50% cover or more; and that more recent images are showing the extent of ice at 30% cover or more.

    To check this, I have taken NSIDC satellite data, and made my own images. I have projected them on the globe using a viewpoint above the pole which has a tangent to the surface at about latitude 27. This gives a very close match for the land masses in the UIUC images. I can overlay bit maps and get quite close agreement.

    I can then compare the area weighted sum of NSIDC satellite data (f13 channel, ~25km grid) with an area weighted pixel count of UIUC images; also with the reported data at JAXA.

    For 12-Aug-2007
    36683 pixels of ice on the UIUC image
    4469014 sq km projected area
    4201452 sq km at 50% or more, by simple count of NASA data
    5057390 sq km at 30% or more, by simple count of NASA data
    5679174 sq km at 15% or more, by simple count of NASA data
    5421094 sq km at 15% or more, reported by JAXA

    Some small differences are to be expected from processing differences; but basically the UIUC projected area lines up well with the extent of 50% ice, and JAXA lines up with the extent of 15% ice as reported.

    For 11-Aug-2007
    47822 pixels of ice on the UIUC image
    5882718 sq km projected area
    4612971 sq km at 50% or more, by simple count of NASA data
    5783576 sq km at 30% or more, by simple count of NASA data
    6462289 sq km at 15% or more, by simple count of NASA data
    6291563 sq km at 15% or more, reported by JAXA

    This time the UIUC projected area lines up well with the extent of 30% ice, and JAXA still lines up with the extent of 15% ice.

    Furthermore, I have projected the NASA data onto bitmaps, projected to align with UIUC images, and I get close agreement with the images using 50% for 2007 and 30% for 2008.

    I’m going to stick my neck out and predict that the UIUC archived images are actually showing the extent of ice at 50% or more, and that the recent UIUC images are showing the extent of ice at 30% or more.

    Comment by Duae Quartunciae — 22 Aug 2008 @ 6:16 PM

  19. Re: 16

    About Northwest passage: Polarstern is now crossing it. Meteorological reports: http://www.awi.de/en/infrastructure/ships/polarstern/current_meteorological_data/
    Position: http://www.sailwx.info/shiptrack/shipposition.phtml?call=dblk and http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/Polarstern_visual.png
    Ice report (2008/08/22, 21:00UTC): 44092 :
    4 — Close pack ice 6/8 to

    Comment by Maikdev — 22 Aug 2008 @ 6:36 PM

  20. Oops. In my previous comment, the second set of figures should be labelled 11-Aug-2008.

    Here are the sources of data I used.

    UIUC images are obtained from UIUC Compare daily sea ice, gives a side by side of any two days.

    Extent of 15% cover sea ice is reported at IARC-JAXA

    Satellite data in near real time for recent dates, available from DMSP SSM/I Daily Polar Gridded Sea Ice Concentrations, data from NASA and made available through NSIDC.

    Older (and better reviewed) satellite data from Nimbus-7 SMMR and DMSP SSM/I Passive Microwave Data, data from NASA and made available through NSIDC.

    Comment by Duae Quartunciae — 22 Aug 2008 @ 6:36 PM

  21. #16 NW Passage:

    Called first here last year (#77 and #89) for 10 August, although NSIDC subsequently put the historic event at 11 August 2007. Looks like the McClure Strait route will open 2-3 weeks later this year.

    Comment by GlenFergus — 22 Aug 2008 @ 7:13 PM

  22. Re: #12

    I can understand how sea ice area can be biased because of melt ponds, however this should only be an issue in July and August for the most part. By the time of the September minimun, my understanding is that the melt ponds would be frozen, and most likely snow covered.

    Likewise in the fall, the sea ice extent can be biased by wind conditions that can force the compaction of the ice or vice versa loosen the ice over a wider area, making year to year conditions more biased to weather conditions.

    I would think that sea ice area would be a better predictor of ice conditions, when it comes to determining the true sea ice conditions at the time of the sea ice minimun.

    Comment by LG Norton — 22 Aug 2008 @ 9:04 PM

  23. # Hank Roberts Says:
    22 August 2008 at 12:22 PM

    “Would you mind providing a quote/cite/link?”

    Sorry about the delay in replying. The thread in question is this one, which I see is also the subject of a couple of other recent posts here:

    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/08/15/arctic-ice-extent-discrepancy-nsidc-versus-cryosphere-today/

    But looks like discussion is not dead yet.

    Comment by dipole — 22 Aug 2008 @ 11:44 PM

  24. Just read Jim Hansens’s report from a recent trip to Germany and a meeting with the German Minister of the environment Sigmar Gabriel. Jim Hansen has an excellent way of condensing information and presenting it in a very digestible form. His emphasis or rather crusade is to leave as much as possible of the remaining fossil fuels in the ground and fast track alternative energy sources..he touts a new revolutionary 4th generation IFR or Integral fast breeder reactors which eliminate almost all the negative aspects of current reactors..ie 99% of the fuel rods are utilised..the remaining 1% can be easily stored on-site and can not any more be used for weapons grade material. It does not need water cooling and is much more earthquake resistant than any other station..and here’s the knockout….we have enough existing fuel rods even spent fuel rods to power these stations for a few centuries!!.
    World’s energy problem..sorted!!!
    In Jims article there is also a fantasic counter to the contrarian angle that the world is now actually cooling and an ice age is imminent.
    What he also says is that even if we stop coal use tomorrow and only use oils and gas until they dry up that will still irreversably melt the remaining ice with the resultant consequnces we all all aware of. Here’s the link for that report..GREAT READING!!…http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/20080804_TripReport.pdf
    I have also come across a website which daily maps the ice melt in the arctic and antarctic..very interesting indeed!! Here’s the link… http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/arctic_AMSRE_nic.png

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 23 Aug 2008 @ 1:50 AM

  25. Been reading about Greenland’d Ilulissat glacier and it it now travelling at over 2metres/hour- much much fater than at any time in the past; this glacier also has significant numbers of moulins futher up onto the landmass so the melt water lubrication of the bedrock is significant. Those glaciers with fewer moulins tend to move slower than the ones with more melt water pond and moulins. The IPCC predictions of sea level rise only took into account the forcasted rise in greenland temps and thus the consequent increase of the ice melt but not the amount of water vanishing into these huge holes in the pack ice. When this is factored in the rate of glacial ice becomming floating ice will definately and significantly narrow the time frame for serious sea level rise mitigation action on a global scale.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 23 Aug 2008 @ 3:22 AM

  26. Fret not too much about the small stuff. Over-analysing this year’s ice extent is like looking at ‘weather’. We need to look at the longer trends to pick out the ‘climate’ of the artic ice.

    We have watched the multi-year ice practically vanish over the last 12 monts, and as others have said, the ice that remains will be like fluff in front of the weather this coming winter.

    If I was a polar bear I would be renting a place on solid ground sometime soon, and plotting the annual ice area running averages on the wall.

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 23 Aug 2008 @ 4:27 AM

  27. #22 LG Norton,

    I was already aware of the issue Walt Meier has stated. However as I’ve already said before I still think Extent runs the risk of overlooking increasing areas of less than 100% concentration, due to thinner ice. AFAIK there will still be melt ponds around the time of the minima. But whatever method one chooses when using imperfect data one has to compromise.

    For my own purposes and considerations I continue to use Area with “advice” from NSIDC’s extent, AMSRE/Terra/Aqua and all the other information available. But it’s crucial that anyone talking about this understands the indices and associated caveats.

    PS useful page at Hamburg University supplementing their ARCUS outlook: http://www.ifm.uni-hamburg.de/~wwwrs/seaice/amsr-e.html

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 23 Aug 2008 @ 7:27 AM

  28. But looks like discussion is not dead yet.

    So the same people who think that photographing weather stations gives better information than measuring temperature also seem to think that counting pixels on a map projection “proves” that graphs generated from the underlying data are wrong?

    Cryosphere Today should switch to a mercator projection. Voila! More ice in the north than ever before! Just count those pixels!

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Aug 2008 @ 9:45 AM

  29. Dipole, sorry, same problem. You link to the thread.
    At the top of the thread it says “see correction below – Anthony”
    Search “correction” and you find —- no pony. I’m sure there’s one there somewhere. Where, exactly?
    Did wossname publish a correction in the Guardian? Anyone have a direct link to that and a quote?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Aug 2008 @ 11:55 AM

  30. 29, Nigel,, it is good to micro-analyze, otherwise someone will count pixels (mixing water mixed with ice) as to make a picture mean something other than what happened. Its good to see how innocent and fragile contrarian theories are. They get blown away by the smallest wind.

    #28 Lets see now, people taking pictures of weather stations? Fascinating! How they do figure out temperature from taking a picture of a silly weather station? Geography lesson. Longitude shrinks as one approaches the pole, so area is smaller where the ice is.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 23 Aug 2008 @ 12:16 PM

  31. Hank Roberts:
    Right at the bottom of Mr. Watts’ post is this added correction (however be aware that Bill Chapman has asserted the UIUC maps are correct, according to his post there, and Mr. Chapman claims that Mr. Goddard’s projection is incorrect):

    NOTE OF CORRECTION FROM STEVEN GODDARD:
    The senior editor at the Register has added a footnote to the article with
    excerpts from Dr. Meier’s letter, and a short explanation of why my analysis
    was incorrect.

    To expound further – after a lot of examination of UIUC maps, I discovered
    that while their 2008 maps appear golden, their 2007 maps do not agree well
    with either NSIDC maps or NASA satellite imagery. NSIDC does not archive
    their maps, but I found one map from August 19, 2007. I overlaid the NSIDC
    map on top of the UIUC map from the same date. As you can see below, the
    NSIDC ice map (white) shows considerably greater extent than the UIUC maps
    (colors.) The UIUC ice sits back much further from the Canadian coast than
    does the NSIDC ice. The land lines up perfectly between the maps, so it
    appears possible that the UIUC ice is mapped using a different projection
    than their land projection.

    Click for larger image

    Because the 2007 UIUC maps show less area, the increase in 2008 appears
    greater. This is the crux of the problem. I am convinced that the NSIDC
    data is correct and that my analysis is flawed. The technique is
    theoretically correct, but the output is never better than the raw data.
    Prior to writing the article, I had done quite a bit of comparison of UIUC
    vs. NSIDC vs. NASA for this year. The hole in my methodology was not
    performing the same analysis for last year. (The fact that NSIDC doesn’t
    archive their maps of course contributed to the difficulty of that
    exercise.)

    My apologies to Dr. Meiers and Dr. Serreze, and NSIDC. Their analysis,
    graphs and conclusions were all absolutely correct. Arctic ice is indeed
    melting nearly as fast as last year, and this is indeed troubling.

    - Steven Goddard

    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/08/15/arctic-ice-extent-discrepancy-nsidc-versus-cryosphere-today/

    Comment by Paul Klemencic — 23 Aug 2008 @ 12:44 PM

  32. however be aware that Bill Chapman has asserted the UIUC maps are correct, according to his post there, and Mr. Chapman claims that Mr. Goddard’s projection is incorrect

    Uh, it’s the UIUC that makes the projection – that’s how you take the spherical earth and smooch it down to a flat piece of paper or digital image for viewing on a computer screen.

    Is it really hard to understand that the map can be correct but trying to analyze the underlying data from the pixels, rather than directly from the data, is … ill-advised?

    Is it really hard to understood that the maps aren’t generated without the notion in mind that someone will try to invert it to retrieve the original data, because no one sensible will do that?

    Is it really hard to understand that counting pixels on a projection, without taking the distortion inherent in any map projection into account, after it’s been JPEG’s once, etc etc … and then taking that so-called “analysis” and shouting to the world “the NSIDC graph generated from REAL DATA is wrong!” is just … STUPID?

    captcha is “Sherman found”, odd, because in my case it’s “Sherman lost” (having moved recently from my old house on Sherman street!)

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Aug 2008 @ 1:15 PM

  33. An computer-generated image, where you don’t know just how it’s been processed, is “raw data”?

    The technique is
    theoretically correct, but the output is never better than the raw data.

    Goddard ought to just give up on trying to justify his pixel-counting analysis. Even Watts admits that the original image that Goddard worked from had been JPEG’d once before ending up on the website in PNG format. Even if it hadn’t, what guarantee would one have that it hadn’t been (if it were me, I’d just put it up in JPEG in the first place, just to make the silliness even more apparent)?

    A map projection is not raw data, regardless of postprocessing, and when you don’t know that postprocessing doesn’t include lossy compression …
    Geez.

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Aug 2008 @ 1:21 PM

  34. I just thought someone should point out that ice area looks like it might be bottoming out: it was 3.653 million km2 on 19th Aug and now (23rd Aug) it is 3.669. Note that it bottomed out at this point last year as well. If the 3.635 of 2 days ago were to be the lowest of the season, then this would be 24% more than the 2.92 a year ago. Even if it drops to 3.50, this is still 20% more.

    In this light, Goddard may have been onto something after all (somewhat fortuitously I admit) and statements like the following I noted above may turn out to have been somewhat premature.

    “We have watched the multi-year ice practically vanish over the last 12 monts, and as others have said, the ice that remains will be like fluff in front of the weather this coming winter.”

    Comment by Chris — 23 Aug 2008 @ 1:27 PM

  35. Walt, Great to see you in here!

    I apologize for missing out on this continued thread for so long. And please pardon my ignorance of the discussion thus far. I see a lot about pixel counting and what not.

    If I may summarize my own perspective, naive though it may be. We’re losing the sea ice. Volume is on a decreasing trend and existing forcing levels combined with the ups and downs of natural variability are playing a role.

    The media of course continues to cherry pick data out of context due to their own lack of understanding the context.

    Generally speaking, we are talking about loss of the ice and in my mind that should be getting us to think about other things like the degree of positive feedback that will cause as more and more dark water is exposed during Arctic summer.

    And what is that going to do the the circulation patterns?

    These are the questions that I would love to talk about.

    How much will global warming accelerate, especially when you consider that the Schwabe cycle is going to be getting back in gear soon and at the same time as more dark water is exposed?

    Again, my apologies for not keeping up on the thread and jumping in late. Honestly, I did not realize there was such a debate in the thread till the continued page popped up :)

    Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 23 Aug 2008 @ 2:16 PM

  36. RE # 34

    Chris, you said;

    [Even if it drops to 3.50, this is still 20% more.]

    I am not hair-splitting when I say the 2008 ice extent began melting from an area of 13.8 MM sqkm versus 13.2 MM sqkm in 2007. If 2008 melt stops at 3.5 versus 2.92 last year, total melt in 2008 would be about 10.3 MM sqkm compared to 10.28 MM sqkm last year. About the same, would you not agree?

    Lots of heat released and lots of fresh water entering the Arctic ocean.

    John McCormick

    Comment by John L. McCormick — 23 Aug 2008 @ 2:50 PM

  37. Re: #22, LG Norton

    You make good points. Yes, melt pond and surface melting effects occur primarily during mid-June through mid-to-late August. By September, even though there may be melt occurring at the edge, much of the surface of the pack ice has begun to refreeze..

    And extent can be affected by winds. Winds played a role in the late dip in 2005 (making the extent minimum among the latest on record) and in last year’s record. But generally the impact of this isn’t terribly large.

    There are also other factors that affect area more than extent, namely atmospheric emission, changes in other surface properties beyond melt (e.g., ice thickness, snow cover, frost flowers, etc.). All these lead to false variability in the area estimates.

    In reality, both area and extent can yield insight into the ice conditions (using both area and extent can give a sense of the compactness of the ice, at least outside of the peak melt period) and both generally give consistent information in terms of trends, variability.

    However, NSIDC feels that using both area and extent can lead to confusion in the public and that extent is a more stable, more consistent parameter to measure.

    John Reisman (#35) – hi John! – makes some good points. Despite the confusion and some skeptical viewpoints, the reality is that Arctic sea ice is decreasing, the volume as importantly as the extent/area, and there will be some substantial impacts of this fundamental change in the character of the Arctic.

    For any that might not be aware, there’s discussion on the ice thickness/volume, along with extent/area on our NASA-funded sea ice analysis web site:

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    Look for our next update in the next couple of days.

    Walt Meier
    NSIDC

    Comment by Walt — 23 Aug 2008 @ 2:51 PM

  38. In this light, Goddard may have been onto something after all…

    Not really. Remember, his claim was that this map, using pixel counting to compute ice extent, proves the NSIDC graphs of ice extent to be wrong …

    Extent. Not Area.

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Aug 2008 @ 3:00 PM

  39. The last poster mentioned positive feedback from water exposed during the Arctic summer. I don’t want to diminish from the possible effects of this over a period of years. However, I would like to add a perspective that some may not have considered re: this past year. If you compare Arctic ice area http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.365.jpg with Antarctic area http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.365.south.jpg over the past year, you will see that the Arctic anomaly has averaged ~ -1 million km2 while the Antarctic anomaly has averaged ~ +1 million km2, and the values for the midsummer months have been close to those averages.
    I’m aware that the positive anomaly in the Antarctic may just have been a blip. However, the interesting point to note here is that the ice boundary in (SH) midsummer in the Antarctic is at a significantly lower (i.e. further from the pole) latitude than the ice boundary in (NH) midsummer in the Arctic (there’s a whole continent before you get to the sea ice!) Thus, the cooling albedo effect in Antarctica per km2 of extra ice at the margin is likely to have been greater than the warming effect in the Arctic per km2 of extra open water, and so for the past year at least, the net global positive feedback from ice albedo changes looks to have been (surprisingly) minimal.

    Comment by Chris — 23 Aug 2008 @ 3:02 PM

  40. Addressing the pixel-counting issue:

    A proper description of it is, as someone above named it, “ill-advised”. However, if the projection isn’t too distorting, it is a relatively easy back-of-the-envelope calculation that provides a decent rough estimate. If it’s an equal-area projection, then it will actually give the correct value. NSIDC’s standard sea ice products are not equal-area, but the polar stereographic grid used is true at 70 N. Thus, with summer sea ice historically having its ice edge near 70 N, such a pixel-counting method can work reasonably well. In fact, I and others, in collaboration with the NSF-funded Science Education Resource Center, helped develop an educational module to work with our data, using the approximate pixel-counting method.

    One key thing about the exercise is that it uses the actual data and is a count of the data pixels, not pixels in an image, which has less chance of further distortions that can occur in producing an image. The problem with the UIUC images is that the projection is more distorted, as well as other issues with the images, that Mr. Goddard and others have discussed in previous posts.

    Walt

    Comment by Walt — 23 Aug 2008 @ 3:04 PM

  41. Re #36 John

    There are lots of statistics that can be presented here, including the one I cited re: absolute minimums 2007 vs 2008, and the one you cited re: absolute melts.

    Ultimately it depends on your viewpoint. I would say that the key issue this year has been what happens in the summer melt season, so I would assign less importance to the brief extra ice that was around on the fringes of the Arctic circle (not in the Arctic Ocean, note) at the end of winter, thus enabling your 10.3MM to match the figure of 2007. Rather I would look at what has happened since the beginning of May, when the melt season gets going in the Arctic itself.

    What you will see is that the anomaly never diverged very far from -1MM in May, June and July. It’s only in August that it took a sharp tumble (caused incidentally by persistent anomalously warm southerly winds over the Siberian seas) that has now bottomed out (n.b. the wind pattern has finally changed in the last few days)

    So the average anomaly has not been nearly as low as it was last year, it’s just that the ice area was briefly very high at the end of winter, and has been briefly very low in the last couple of weeks. I therefore disagree with your characterisation of the situation as “Lots of heat released and lots of fresh water entering the Arctic ocean.” My characterisation would be something along the lines of “consistently significantly greater ice area and extent throughout the main melt season, albeit with the gap narrowing briefly towards the end”. Also if area is indeed bottoming out now and does not dip below 3.5MM, then I could perhaps add the statistic of >20% more multiyear ice, since presumably any first-year ice from last winter that survives this season becomes multiyear?

    #38 Fair point – when I said “onto something”, I simply meant that he may have been onto something with his theme that “Arctic Ice refuses to melt as ordered”. Certainly looks like he was dead wrong in what he said about the NSIDC data,

    Comment by Chris — 23 Aug 2008 @ 4:07 PM

  42. Walt:

    “NSIDC’s standard sea ice products are not equal-area, but the polar stereographic grid used is true at 70 N.”

    vs

    “Thus, with summer sea ice historically having its ice edge near 70 N”

    Must necessarily mean that the products are not equal area.

    Rather like saying “the sinusoid is evenly positive and negative around the zero mark, so when we take from 0 to 0.1 it’s pretty accurate to go for that”.

    Now that may mean that the overall effect isn’t a lot different, but your statement didn’t say that.

    Cheers.

    Comment by Mark — 23 Aug 2008 @ 4:27 PM

  43. I would say that as far as albedo changes are concerned,the difference between 1 year ice and multi year ice is negligible. It’s all white.

    What does matter is how easy it will be to change the ice cover next time.

    Comment by Mark — 23 Aug 2008 @ 4:29 PM

  44. Lawrence Coleman,
    Is the report of Hansen’s trip available on line?

    [Response: At his website - gavin]

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 23 Aug 2008 @ 4:41 PM

  45. Enough of Goddard…… He apologized, there is hope after all! There are other ways to see what happens to the ice aside from counting pixels. One must be aware of all 5 major league ice physical vectors to observe (as often as possible) before jumping to any pixel conclusion, namely: ocean current, tides (gravity), momentum, winds, pressure, all to be watched continuously and then there is temperatures for a melt, sea (from multiple layers) and air unfortunately 2 meter height may not be enough, ice temperature, also clouds are important, radiation input, and I am missing a few. Let it be a warning for those who try to outsmart great work such as

    http://www.arcus.org/search/seaiceoutlook/report_july.php

    and others, but NSIDC 15% extent minima is confusing, and I think 50% or more would be better for the lay. Even studying conservative CT 2008 daily ice map is comparable to 2007. In looks now,
    Now that Goddard apologized, the big question remains, since the surface temperature record
    shows a cooling compared to last year, why did the ice melt just as much and a litte more (till september 20)? Something somehow must give, Even the winds and clouds were unfavorable…
    Then why , anybody has a clue? I already suggested that the weighted temperature of the atmosphere was just as warm as 2007. I am all ears for other ideas.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 23 Aug 2008 @ 5:11 PM

  46. In fact, I and others, in collaboration with the NSF-funded Science Education Resource Center, helped develop an educational module to work with our data, using the approximate pixel-counting method.

    One key thing about the exercise is that it uses the actual data and is a count of the data pixels, not pixels in an image

    In case it wasn’t clear, when I called it “ill-advised” I was speaking specifically of doing it to the images published on a website.

    Hacking on the data pixels themselves is another thing altogether, and makes a lot of sense.

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Aug 2008 @ 5:38 PM

  47. I just took a look at Goddards article “Arctic ice refuses to melt as ordered”

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08/15/goddard_arctic_ice_mystery/

    There are more than a few contextual problems with the perspective representation. I’m glad Walt and Steven were able to get the truth illustrated though.

    The real problem in my view is context though. We are in the low end of the Schwabe cycle, so some solar energy .3 W/m2 is removed until the cycle swings back up. That along with things to complex for me to imagine in natural variability are at work in the short term. Context is critical when explaining anything related to the climate and pieces of data.

    Other things I noticed include: First “some scientists” are not all scientists regarding the ice free north pole comment. I actually did not here any scientists predict that the polar ice cap would “disappear this summer”.

    When he talks about the NSIDC graph, first he states it is “an alarming graph”. Really, it’s just a graph and alarming is an insightful claim that conveniently sets him up for his coup de gras statement, i.e. that the”ice has grown in nearly every direction since last summer”. That is true, but that means nothing to the overarching trend. i.e. no relevant context.

    Unfortunately this is cherry picking the data. By taking a single day v. another single day, or even a year and trying to say it proves something is certainly improper when the true contextual relevance depends on the long term trends within the scope natural variability on the new path that we have set our atmosphere on.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/07/global-trends-and-enso/#comment-91593

    Arguing about the details has some constructive purpose certainly, so that we may all understand this better, but it seems to me that the main problem with the article was not merely cherry picking out of context, but it’s tone out of context with the bigger picture.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 23 Aug 2008 @ 5:40 PM

  48. Having now read Hansen’s account of his trip, I urge others to do so, but his attitude to “4th generation” nuclear power is not as unequivocal as Lawrence Coleman suggests. He’s recounting his own reading of a book by Tom Blees; and he’s very interested but not wholly convinced. Myself, I’m sceptical – Blees does not appear to be technically qualified, there’s always some new form of nuclear reactor just round the corner that’s going to solve all the problems of waste, proliferation, etc., and none of these “4th generation” plants yet exist or, so far as I can make out, are even planned.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 23 Aug 2008 @ 5:46 PM

  49. BTW, I was obliged to remove most of my #46 to get it past the ludicrously over-sensitive spamometer – e.g. the title of Blees’ book. Hansen gives it, and parts are available online if you google Blees’ name and the title.

    [Response: The book is "Prescription for the planet" (website) (PS. a hyphen will work to defeat the filter - sorry for the inconvenience). - gavin]

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 23 Aug 2008 @ 5:47 PM

  50. Wayne – “…why did the ice melt just as much and a little more…”

    As I have been informed, the 2007 melt was caused by warm ocean currents and this year warm winds seem to be the cause for the recent drop.

    But more importantly, why is everyone so focused on this years ice extent being a little greater than last year’s? These things fluctuate from year to year, but the long term trend is the important indicator. Since ’79 the trend is down with occasional outlier extents. The last two years haven’t changed that. If anything the trend is accentuated.

    Comment by weather tis better... — 23 Aug 2008 @ 7:02 PM

  51. But more importantly, why is everyone so focused on this years ice extent being a little greater than last year’s?

    Partially curiousity, since last year’s record (and this year’s near-record) were unexpected. I mean, if you’re talking to the genuinely curious who accept science.

    On the denialist side, there’s an obvious interest in saying “2007 was meaningless, because 2008 was less bad!” (ignoring statistical analysis of long-term trends), and associated bullshit.

    After last year’s press on the issue, obviously one expects press interest this year.

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Aug 2008 @ 10:43 PM

  52. #48 Nick Gotts,

    I was struck by Hansen’s inclusion of Blees’s account of the Clinton decision to deep six the 4th Gen program 14 years ago. I’ve noted that any mention of nuclear causes almost everyone who thinks there is a need for urgency in addressing climate change to “go nuclear”. It’s like reading “the climate is always changing and Gore is fat” posts, or discussing biofuels with the only heir of an Iowa farmer. Makes me wonder who has a financial stake in specific alternative energy sectors. The reaction is positively carboniferous.

    More, it makes me wonder why alarm is nearly always expressed about 2nd Gen plants and fuel cycles, and doesn’t ever seem to deal with how 4th Gen addresses their concern. Partially I think it’s because “no nukes” has been mother’s milk to “the movement”, particularly in its American realization. Nuclear = bad is settled policy.

    Yes it’s wise to evaluate unproven claims skeptically, but, as Hansen points out, there don’t seem to be any deal breakers, and much potential.

    Comment by Stuart Jensen — 23 Aug 2008 @ 11:48 PM

  53. # 50 weather tis better and # 51 dhogaza,

    Besides the desire to have a new “We’re No 1” foam hand to beat others over the head with, I’ve been keenly interested at the amount of recovery the annual system would make. I’ve concerns about a rapid acceleration in the rate of albedo loss.

    Comment by WhiteBeard — 24 Aug 2008 @ 12:05 AM

  54. Stuart Jensen..Ok. I might have rather flipantly said “worlds energy problems sorted” in actuality as Hansen mentioned a raft of approaches is needed, with ‘nuclear’ being an important factor. Case in point..how may solar cells, wind turbines, hydro power stations, hot rock plants are needed to replace fossil fuels, not just repace them but to to meet the growing energy needs of the world in say 50 years time..to me..it clearly says nuclear must be a front runner in the fossil fuel replacement process..basic common sense! 2nd gen plants still need copious supplies of reliable water to cool the rods and their efficiency is still pitiful and the waste products will still be white hot radiaoactively in many hundreds of years time. They take a long time to plan ie feasibilty sudies, environmental impact studies, geo tech studies..etc..etc; and then to eventually build them. I’m sure if leading universities were given sufficient funds to nut out all the cobwebs in 4th gen nuclear technology we would get one off the ground within 5-7 years. I’ve noticed there are hundreds of respondants who say how things cannot be done but only a handful who actually innovate and find and develop ways so that what was a ‘ludocrous’ idea is finally accepted as revolutionary and a stroke of genious by the prev.scorned inventer.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 24 Aug 2008 @ 1:20 AM

  55. About nukes.
    Sodium spontaneously combusts in air. IFB reactors full of sodium and plutonium make a highly effective dirty bomb. A 911 or even a fire. Even generally competent operators screw up. Heard of the Windscale fire? Plus as it is sealed unit, you can not see what is inside. Unexpected cracks/leaks would be a problem to detect and fix. Any government could easily say its weapons grade material it was in the box, but really it had been transfered to other uses or partners. There are more examples of material diverted by governments than straight stolen.
    But governments would not lie about nuclear stuff – would they?

    There are reasons this stuff was cancelled in the 1990′s. There are no miracle solutions to energy production.

    Comment by sean egan — 24 Aug 2008 @ 3:22 AM

  56. RE 45 and some others:

    I’ve read a lot of discussion about whether sea ice area or extent is more important. Thinking of the qualitative change in arctic sea ice, I think most would agree that the possibility of an ice free arctic (not just north pole) is crucial. How about if the metrics was the ice area north of 80 degrees (or maybe 77)? That would focus the metrics on the crucial area. And, here, I guess, definitely ice area, not extent.

    This metric would leave out the more southern areas which always melt anyway almost completely. Concerning the discussion of this year’s total melt area vs. the minimum (compared to 2007), I would say that melting of the excess ice due to a colder winter is not all that important. That especially is the kind of ice that melts anyway and the melting is not in any way affecting the melt in more northern areas. I do acknowledge is slightly greater albedo because of this larger ice area, for some months.

    Additionally, thinking of the albedo effect, the time integral of ice area wouldbe quite interesting metric, too – perhaps scaled by sun angle (intensity of sun’s radiation).

    Comment by Lauri — 24 Aug 2008 @ 5:12 AM

  57. The polar stern has just crossed the Northern Route of the North West Passage in 4 days at an average speed of 9 knots.

    Polar stern crosses NW Passage in 4 days

    They have not posted a weekly science report of the passage yet, but it will be found here.

    Polarstern weekly report location

    It should be an interesting read when it comes out.

    Comment by LG Norton — 24 Aug 2008 @ 6:31 AM

  58. “I’m sure if leading universities were given sufficient funds to nut out all the cobwebs in 4th gen nuclear technology we would get one off the ground within 5-7 years.” – Lawrence Coleman

    What makes you sure about that? Is Sean Egan right to say “4th generation” IFR nuclear plants are sodium-cooled and difficult to monitor? If not, why not? The nuclear industry and lobby, AFAIK, are not united behind these plants – why not, if they’re so full of promise? What would prevent a government diverting material from such plants to military use?

    Stuart Jensen, I’m not “going nuclear”, I’m asking questions. As I’ve said on this site several times, I don’t favour nuclear power, primarily because of its close connection with nuclear weapons, but I am open to persuasion.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 24 Aug 2008 @ 8:26 AM

  59. On sea ice melting in the Arctic — assuming that the heat is being provided by somewhat warmer water entering underneath the ice, the people first able to see the results would be the submariners, right? Looking up from below, looking at the shape of the ice?

    And perhaps some surface change in elevation, slightly, across large areas, assuming ice is melting off below, the surface should settle down slightly — detectably?

    That should be happening long before the ice would start to break up and open water increase, wouldn’t it?

    Just curious asking about the pattern of changes expected. Oh, and, would this be expected to vary according to where warmer water is entering the basin?

    I don’t recall anyone coming up with a submersible that can drop below the ice, get carried by the current, and change its density if it gets hung up in the ice to drop down below the obstacle. Ought to be doable, I’d think. It’d have to hunt for thin ice or openings to rise up and send data, or else be able to drop down (or lower a speaker down) to the “deep ocean sound channel” level at which sound in some frequency ranges propagates over great distances and use acoustic signals.

    _____________
    Hertz, among

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Aug 2008 @ 1:59 PM

  60. Hat tip to William Connolley (“Stoat”), a different and in some ways better Arctic sea ice chart (with link to download the sea ice data):

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Aug 2008 @ 3:32 PM

  61. The nuclear industry and lobby, AFAIK, are not united behind these plants – why not, if they’re so full of promise?

    Existing types are full of actuality. I can’t speak for the industry but if I were it, I would be afraid oil-and-gas-taxing governments wanted to delay my expansion by making it contingent on the completion of very slow research by said governments.

    It should excite suspicion that questions of the kind this research is putatively meant to answer — how can nuclear power plants, and their waste, be entirely harmless to neighbours and entirely unhelpful to nuclear weapon seekers — are all lies by insinuation.

    The false insinuation is that the appearance of innocence on all three counts that has been shared, throughout all time to date, by PWRs, BWRs, Magnox, AGR, CANDU reactors, a small handful of prototype helium-and-carbon reactors, and another small handful of prototype sodium-cooled fast reactors is, somehow, just an appearance.

    But if you understand the conflict between governments’ fossil fuel interest and their duty to regulate nuclear power, you know that it can’t be just an appearance. If the civilian nuclear industry had anything to hide, no government would be slow in dragging it into the light. Quite the opposite: they routinely keep nuclear plants shut down without giving any adequate reason, e.g., Kashiwazaki-Kariwa. Imported natural gas is expensive, both in lives — as at Skikda, Algeria — and in money, and it looks as if the Japanese government is getting some of the money.

    What would prevent a government diverting material from such plants to military use?

    The usual unannounced IAEA inspections, along with the technical advantages of using material from other sources.

    Comment by G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan 'til ~1996 — 24 Aug 2008 @ 3:34 PM

  62. #61 G.R.L. Cowan,
    I’m afraid that’s just more of the same nuclear lobby rubbish, and fails to answer any of my questions. The civilian nuclear industry in the UK at least has repeatedly been caught out trying to hide problems – and not by the government. Somehow, IAEA inspections don’t seem to have prevented India, Pakistan, Israel, South Africa and North Korea using nuclear power programs as a cover for developing nuclear weapons, and most people are not convinced they will prevent Iran doing the same.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 24 Aug 2008 @ 5:16 PM

  63. #56 Lauri,

    If albedo alteration is the underlying issue, then it seems to me you’re correct in noting that the timeframe when relatively larger insolation reaches the surface is the period of most concern. I’ve been pondering for several days the plot for 2002 (partial) through the current season of Arctic ice extent from the International Arctic Research Center (IARC-JAXA) at the link Hank Roberts posted in # 60.

    From mid April to about a week after the June solstice, the majority of the period of highest insolation, the chart shows the area of ice coverage varying the least between years. Last year’s large excursion from previous seasons was yet to start. Only about the 1st of July and into the period of declining insolation, did 2007 show less ice than any of the most recent years.

    For the rest of the 2007 melt season, the reduced albedo camel’s nose stayed under the edge of the retreating ice and delayed refreezing during the building of a strong La Nina.

    There were a number of other contributing factors affecting ice reduction last year, and I haven’t seen yet any attempts to produce a synthesis that untangles all of the processes at work.

    One thing that seems obvious to me is that the area available for ice to form in the Northern Hemisphere during the cold season is restricted. The land area surrounding the Arctic Ocean and heat carried by the Atlantic Conveyor limit the southern extent of ice. The warm season’s northward progression of temperatures high enough for melting, simply has less ice to affect.

    I’d think the implication is that the loss of albedo from an earlier disappearance of seasonal snow cover may be of more immediately significant than similarly timed ice loss, at least until the we observe an earlier start of ice reduction along the continental edges. Then we’re really in for it.

    Comment by WhiteBeard — 24 Aug 2008 @ 5:33 PM

  64. > If the civilian nuclear industry had anything to hide,
    > no government would be slow in dragging it into the light.

    Somehow this does not seem like the same world I’ve been reading about. N. Korea? Iran?
    It’s the simple existence of large volumes of transuranic elements that’s the issue for the world.
    Of course we can imagine uses for them. Unfortunately so can people with shorter time horizons.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Aug 2008 @ 5:37 PM

  65. By analogy with Godwin’s Law, I would like to propose Molnar’s Law: All climate-related comment threads eventually contain a discussion of nuclear power. Alas, by Stigler’s Law of Eponymy, I won’t get credit.

    Comment by S. Molnar — 24 Aug 2008 @ 5:41 PM

  66. Re #61

    It is not the government, greenies, or the nuclear industry that is stopping the expansion of nuclear power generation. It is the people. The man in the street does not want to have the next Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, or Windscale [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sellafield ] built in his/her neighbourhood.

    Nuclear power may be safe, but tell that to the marines :-(

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 24 Aug 2008 @ 6:15 PM

  67. #60:

    Does having real money on the outcome affect the quality of data presentation? But it’s a shame that he, like others, doesn’t zero-scale the y-axis.

    NWP, MODIS, low-res, Friday – looks open to me…

    G.

    Comment by GlenFergus — 24 Aug 2008 @ 8:06 PM

  68. I’m afraid that’s just more of the same nuclear lobby rubbish, and fails to answer any of my questions

    Your fear is groundless: what I wrote was my own independent understanding of the matter. You may not wish to share this understanding, but others will.

    … Somehow, IAEA inspections don’t seem to have prevented India, Pakistan, Israel, South Africa and North Korea using nuclear power programs as a cover for developing nuclear weapons …

    The analogy between pistons in cylinders and bullets in guns is apt. Well, with a little elaboration. Suppose most of our personal transport were by horse, and horses were heavily taxed, and cars began to, um, proliferate.

    Immediately, many persons on public stipends begin to worry that cars are being weaponized: modified to throw projectiles out of their cylinders when a fuel-air mixture is ignited in them, rather than peacefully pushing a captive piston.

    Car licensing therefore comes to include a requirement to declare one has no intention of doing such alterations, and submitting the cars to inspections to prove this.

    But guns also proliferate; usually in households that are entirely equestrian, but sometimes in households that also have cars. Someone like you therefore remarks that the inspections have not prevented the weaponization of cars.

    In Israel’s case, you say it even though no-one in that household has ever acquired a car, and in North Korea’s case, you say it although the householder asserts he has made a car but does not attempt to license it and is never seen driving it.

    Comment by G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan 'til ~1996 — 24 Aug 2008 @ 8:31 PM

  69. G.R.L. Cowan,
    You’re right with respect to Israel – apologies. However, your gun/car analogy is utterly absurd: the materials, skills and technologies for nuclear power and nuclear weapons are intimately related. Any state can leave the NPT at 3 months notice, so an excellent strategy for any state wishing to acquire nuclear weapons would be to set up a civil nuclear power programme, accumulate as much of the prerequisites of bombs as possible under that cover, then leave the NPT.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 25 Aug 2008 @ 5:57 AM

  70. #68 –That was a truly horrible analogy. If the point you are trying to make is that the proliferation of nuclear (peaceful) is completely different from nuclear (apocalyptic), why muddle it? The problem with your position is not a lack of apt analogies, it is a lack of recognition that the viability of both energy programs and weapons programs depend on mastery of the set of technologies behind refining and enriching uranium.

    You’d probably make a more hay if you went the MAD route and argued in favor of total proliferation of all the technologies germane to both kinds of programs.

    But ultimately, doesn’t MAD (and every other argument in favor of nuclear proliferation) fail to satisfy the same set of objections?

    “the general opinion is that most states are not in a position to safely guard against nuclear use, that (Kenneth Waltz) under-estimates the long-standing antipathy in many regions, and that weak states will be unable to prevent – or will actively provide for – the disastrous possibility of nuclear terrorism.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_proliferation

    Comment by A.C. — 25 Aug 2008 @ 7:42 AM

  71. I notice that James Hansen is now with James Lovelock on nuclear power in his affirmation of 4th generation fast breeder reactors. I no doubt believe though that although they agree on the use of nuclear to replace coal and more besides I doubt that the scale of the problem can be tackled in time. I read somewhere that in order to tackle 1 GB carbon emissions we would have to build 15 nuclear plants per year for 50 years (in order to keep BAU going). Not likely I would suggest.

    Even if we have a solution we need to be able to ramp up in ways that we never have before, not even during WW2 perhaps.

    Comment by pete best — 25 Aug 2008 @ 8:35 AM

  72. Pete, #71

    I guess you’re talking replacing the entire US generating capacity (~1000 GW).

    Building power plants is business as usual. They last how long? 30 years? 50 years? 70 years? The entire US generating capacity probably has been completely replaced in the past 50 year, so why would doing that again in the coming 50 years be an effort of WW2 scale?

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 25 Aug 2008 @ 9:13 AM

  73. So, how’s the Arctic looking these days?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Aug 2008 @ 9:21 AM

  74. http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/plot.csv

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Aug 2008 @ 9:30 AM

  75. Alastair McDonald wrote: “It is not the government, greenies, or the nuclear industry that is stopping the expansion of nuclear power generation.”

    There has been no expansion of nuclear power in the USA for decades because nuclear power is an economic failure, and investors don’t like to throw money away. Private industry simply won’t touch nuclear power unless the taxpayers underwrite all of the costs and all of the risks — and not only the risks of catastrophic accident, but the risks of economic loss.

    That’s why the nuclear industry has been demanding — and in recent years receiving — tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies before they will stick a shovel in the ground to begin building even one new nuclear power plant. (Meanwhile, Congressional allies of the fossil fuel and nuclear industries have been blocking renewal of even the meager investment and production tax credits for wind and solar, in an effort to set back the growth of these industries.)

    The fact is that none of the so-called “next generation inherently safe” nuclear reactors touted by the industry even exist. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has found serious problems with every proposed design, and has approved none of them for construction.

    Fortunately there is no need whatsoever for any expansion of nuclear power. The USA has vast commercially exploitable wind and solar energy resources, that are more than sufficient to provide several times as much electricity as the entire country uses, with today’s technology — enough for all current needs and to electrify our transportation systems as well. Wind, concentrating solar thermal and solar photovoltaic electricity generation can be brought online much faster and at lower cost than nuclear generated electricity, and once the infrastructure for harvesting abundant, limitless, free wind and solar energy has been built, the generation of electricity produces zero GHG emissions, which is not true of the nuclear fuel cycle. And this can be done with none of the toxic pollution and grave dangers of nuclear power.

    Nuclear power is a dinosaur industry that should be relegated to the trash heap of technological history along with fossil fuels. Many gigawatts of wind and solar generated electricity will be online in this country before a single new nuclear power plant is built. I would not be surprised if some new nuclear power plants are built — or at least started — because of the industry’s powerful political connections. But every dollar spent on nuclear is a dollar wasted, a dollar that would be far more effectively spent on improving efficiency and deploying clean, renewable energy sources.

    [Response: I hate to encourage hugely off-topic discussions, but Amory Lovins' recent paper on this is pretty illuminating. - gavin]

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 25 Aug 2008 @ 9:39 AM

  76. G.R.L. Cowan wrote: “If the civilian nuclear industry had anything to hide, no government would be slow in dragging it into the light.”

    That assertion is not supported by the track record of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the USA. David Lochbaum, a nuclear safety engineer who worked in the industry for 20 years before joining the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote this past February in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

    … Recurring lessons from the past consistently inform us that unless the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) undergoes major reforms, nuclear power will remain both riskier and more expensive than necessary.

    The NRC is the federal agency primarily responsible for establishing and enforcing safety regulations for nuclear power. It does the former well. It does the latter poorly. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has monitored nuclear power safety issues since the early 1970s. We have seldom argued that the NRC needed to raise its safety standards. Instead, we have almost always contended the safety bar provided appropriate management of risk, but that one or more nuclear plants was doing the limbo beneath it. Most of our efforts have been directed at getting the NRC to enforce regulations already on the books.

    Evaluations conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the NRC’s Inspector General (IG) confirm our perspective: These reports repeatedly identify inadequate enforcement of existing regulations by the NRC … the NRC’s own assessments of its regulatory meltdowns also repeatedly conclude that the majority of problems stem from inadequate enforcement of adequate regulations.

    For example, the NRC lessons-learned task force examined the regulatory failures associated with the near-accident at Davis-Besse in 2002 and made 49 recommendations for actions the NRC should take to prevent recurrences. Forty-six of these outlined ways to improve enforcement of existing regulations, while the remaining three dealt with upgrading the underlying regulations. The NRC’s lessons-learned efforts for Indian Point (New York), Millstone (Connecticut), South Texas Project, and other troubled nuclear plants provide similar findings–the regulations are not the problem, enforcement is.

    NRC’s inadequate enforcement has caused significant safety and economic problems. In its September 2006 report, “Walking a Nuclear Tightrope: Unlearned Lessons of Year-plus Reactor Outages,” UCS described the 36 times since 1966 that U.S. nuclear power reactors remained shut down a year or longer to restore safety levels eroded by accumulated violations. In these cases, it took an army of workers more than a year, and cost an average of nearly $1.7 billion, to bring the reactor back into compliance. Inadequate enforcement by the NRC allowed safety levels to erode over several years, resulting in unnecessarily higher risk to the surrounding communities during those years and higher cost to the owners.

    This situation certainly does not inspire confidence in any notions of a fast-track expansion of the USA’s nuclear power industry from the current 104 reactors to 150 or more, as proposed by at least one prominent politician — let alone the hundreds more that would be required to “replace” all coal-fired power plants.

    And again, even with hundreds of billions of dollars in public subsidies and the evisceration of safety regulations and opportunities for public review of new nuclear plant proposals, there is no way that buildup could be accomplished in the time frame needed to address global warming. Efficiency improvements and clean, renewable energy from wind, solar, geothermal and biomass can do the job. Nuclear power cannot do the job, nor is there any need for it.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 25 Aug 2008 @ 10:27 AM

  77. Lovins’s paper is quite good. As usual.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Aug 2008 @ 10:34 AM

  78. Should we be revising our projections of when the methane hydrates start melting, with this faster scale removal of sea ice cover over the Arctic Ocean ?

    Comment by Colin Forrest — 25 Aug 2008 @ 11:16 AM

  79. Nature just had an interesting news feature overview of non-carbon electric sources. It includes assessments of each source’s potential contribution to the total mix. It is available w/o subscription:

    http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080813/full/454816a.html

    Comment by Arch Stanton — 25 Aug 2008 @ 11:25 AM

  80. … the viability of both energy programs and weapons programs depend on mastery of the set of technologies behind refining and enriching uranium …

    Energy programs do not depend on uranium enrichment. Britain’s first foray out of the weapons arena into civilian power didn’t require any isotopic separation at all, and neither does the scheme in the paper I link from my website.

    … your gun/car analogy is utterly absurd: the materials, skills and technologies for nuclear power and nuclear weapons are intimately related…

    Their relation is analogous to the relation between the materials and skills required to make (gun barrels, bullets, and propellants) and those required to make (engine blocks, pistons, fuel and air feed systems).

    That the relationship is fundamental doesn’t allow anyone to pretend that denying a region cars will effectively deny it guns, nor that allowing it cars will help it get guns, nor that its coincidental acquisition of both proves the cars were just a cover. Nor is there any incentive for foolish arguments along those lines.

    In the nuclear case, as you know, there is indeed such an incentive. (What is it?)

    Comment by G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan 'til ~1996 — 25 Aug 2008 @ 11:30 AM

  81. #73 Hank,

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

    I’m not trying to predict this and I’m most likely wrong, but I would not be completely surprised if we get pretty darn close to last years melt.

    It will probably come out above, but I have a funny unscientific feeling about this. Not having good knowledge of the current ocean temps and currents the slope looks like it has some inertia.

    Will be interesting to see where it is in 3 weeks.

    Captha is being creative: ransom West

    Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 25 Aug 2008 @ 11:49 AM

  82. Re #72. No I am talking globally. We emit 8 billion tonnes of carbon per annum and in order to limit and then eradicate it we Prineton University developed a method of splitting this into 8 GB chunks of 1GB each. In order to eliminate 1GB of carbon we would need to erect 15 large nuclear stations per annum for 50 years and we still need to eradicate 7 GB more plus the 50% growth factor by 2030. In addition nucleari is not CO2 free is it!

    Comment by pete best — 25 Aug 2008 @ 11:51 AM

  83. Re #74

    Hank,

    I’ve been watching http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm for some time now. Recently the three day average rate of ice loss fell to 43,000 sq km per day, but now it is back up at around 59,000 sq. km per day. This means that within two days the total extent could be less that the minimum in 2005, making this year’s melt at least the the second greatest. At this rate it will also take 20 days to exceed 2007 record. It just depends whether it keeps melting at that rate.

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 25 Aug 2008 @ 11:56 AM

  84. Global warming IS happening. These scientist need to look right in front of their faces and see that it is real; that it is happening. Stop trying to come up with excuses to make you seem smarter than the other scientists who can actually see whats really happening. And the sad part is; when the ice caps are a few minutes from collapsing and all of us are going to die, they’ll still make up other excuses.

    I’m a 13 year old girl. And it’s sad that I can see what is happening but these scientist that are supposedly brillant and can come up with a “logical” reason for the “mysteries” in the world can’t see whats right in front of their faces.

    By the time they actually will live up to the fact that they’re wrong and global warming is real, the polar bears, the seals, the penguins, all arctic animals and other animals all over the world, will be either extinct or there will only be a few of them left. Then they’ll leave our world FOREVER. Just because of these stupid scientist and humans who don’t care at all about them because they’re selfish.

    Yesterday, when I came on the internet I saw a story on aol. It said that a certain frog’s(i can’t remember the exact type)population was rapidly decreasing because of the warming climate. It said that the warming climate was causing a fungus to grow which was poisionus to the frogs. This really annoyed me because these frogs are suffering because of US! Us as in the human race. And because of us, this frog population will go extinct unless it adapts to the fungus and to the rising temperatures; which will take years that they don’t have.

    After reading that article last night, i thought about the previous winter. In Philadelphia, the winter wasn’t really cold at all. There was only about two or three weeks of actually winter. There was no real snow, only flurries which didn’t even stick to the ground. This is a very sad thought to think that my last real snowfall was when I was about my little brother’s age, 8; or maybe even younger. To think that in a few years, everyone might be able to wear shorts in the winter and not be cold at all is a really horrible thought to me. And if that would be normal temperatures in the winter, then could we even survive a summer? Again, we would have to adapt to hotter temperatures; which would take hundreds, maybe even thousands of years that we don’t have. Just think about the human time line, how long it actually took us to evolve to this; from chimpanzees and gorillas to modern homo sapiens like us; it took a long time to become what we are today.

    “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”

    — Rachel Carson

    Comment by Amanda Eldridge — 25 Aug 2008 @ 12:26 PM

  85. Re #83

    This means that within two days the total extent could be less that the minimum in 2005, making this year’s melt at least the the second greatest. At this rate it will also take 20 days to exceed 2007 record. It just depends whether it keeps melting at that rate.

    If we talk about melt rather than the arrangement of the ice this year is already firmly in second place by ~0.5 Mm^2.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 25 Aug 2008 @ 1:00 PM

  86. I hope post 84 gets noticed.

    Scientist while pointing out AGW, are not shouting and harassing the powers that be enough.

    WE need more of you to stand up and be counted loud and clear!

    There needs to be more activism in line with that of Hansen. He is the only one that anyone really notices. Stand up and be noticed guys.

    This is a catastrophic situation.

    Comment by paulm — 25 Aug 2008 @ 1:37 PM

  87. The NSIDC update for today begins:

    August 25, 2008
    Arctic shortcuts open up; decline pace steady

    Sea ice extent is declining at a fairly brisk and steady pace. Surface melt has mostly ended, but the decline will continue for two to three more weeks because of melt from the bottom and sides of the ice. Amundsen’s Northwest Passage is now navigable; the wider, deeper Northwest Passage through Parry Channel may also open in a matter of days. The Northern Sea Route along the Eurasian coast is clear.

    Figure 1. Daily Arctic sea ice extent for August 24, 2008, was 5.47 million square kilometers (2.11 million square miles). The orange line shows the 1979 to 2000 average extent for that day. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole. Sea Ice Index data. About the data.
    —Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

    Overview of conditions…
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Aug 2008 @ 1:55 PM

  88. #80 [G.R.L. Cowan],
    What utter rot you do talk!
    From the site of the FAS:

    “India’s nuclear weapons program was started at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center in Trombay. In the mid-1950s India acquired dual-use technologies under the “Atoms for Peace” non-proliferation program, which aimed to encourage the civil use of nuclear technologies in exchange for assurances that they would not be used for military purposes. There was little evidence in the 1950s that India had any interest in a nuclear weapons program, according to Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Under the “Atoms for Peace” program, India acquired a Cirus 40 MWt heavy-water-moderated research reactor from Canada and purchased from the U.S. the heavy water required for its operation. In 1964, India commissioned a reprocessing facility at Trombay, which was used to separate out the plutonium produced by the Cirus research reactor. This plutonium was used in India’s first nuclear test on May 18, 1974, described by the Indian government as a “peaceful nuclear explosion.”"

    Incidentally, I went to your website, but can’t find any paper such as you refer to. Maybe the information is buried somewhere in your paper recommending nuclear reactors in large land vehicles (!!!), but a quick scan suggested there’s hardly room to describe a scheme for proliferation-resistant nuclear power generation.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 25 Aug 2008 @ 4:43 PM

  89. 84, Well said, Amanda Eldridge !

    What we are watching is a terrible tragedy. But I don’t think it is fair to put so much blame onto scientists. They are not all bad ! They’re often the first ones to notice the problems and tell the public. Often, the public doesn’t want to hear. IMO, the bad guys are the politicians, and the oil and coal and petrochemical industries, and the people who invest money in those companies. They don’t care about frogs or walruses, only profits.

    But everybody who drives in cars and flies in airplanes is making things worse…

    You tell ‘em ! It’s your future that’s being robbed.

    http://www.endangeredspeciesinternational.org/overview.html?gclid=CPru6fD_qZUCFSAbEAodOE4Qjw

    http://www.e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2027

    Comment by CL — 25 Aug 2008 @ 5:22 PM

  90. #45 [Wayne Davidson]

    I can’t find anything in the literature, but I have a strong suspicion that ice at 0°C cools air faster than ice at subzero temperatures. At the melt-point it’s primed to absorb a sudden energy hit, using latent heat to become water.

    This could explain why the melt goes on, even though the air temperatures seem to be steady or falling. Cause and effect goes the other way – the continuing melt is reducing air temperature. Can anyone tell me when significant areas of ice in the Arctic and Greenland reached melt point? 1998 maybe? If so, this could explain the temperature “plateau” that the denialists get so excited about.

    Comment by Jack Mist — 25 Aug 2008 @ 6:17 PM

  91. Amanda, it’s posts like yours that give me hope. Thank you for your comment and please keep pursuing your interests in biology and climate science.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 25 Aug 2008 @ 6:21 PM

  92. Re 86 – I did that (spoke up about climate change and hydrology in the Upper Midwest). As a result, my career as a hydrologist with NOAA National Weather Service ended. NWS has downplayed climate change for many years.

    Comment by pat neuman — 25 Aug 2008 @ 6:38 PM

  93. Wow Amanda (#84)! I wish more of my students were as clear in their thinking and as articulate in their expression as you are. Well said!

    Comment by Figen Mekik — 25 Aug 2008 @ 6:59 PM

  94. > everybody who drives in cars and flies in airplanes

    Well, the big immediate difference people can make is:

    – insulate their buildings, and
    – add a solar hot water booster on the sunny side.

    Those are really simple, immediate improvements anyone can do.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Aug 2008 @ 7:03 PM

  95. Re 92, Commiserations, pat neuman, I also lost my job for speaking out, but it was the right thing to do. It was very tough, but no regrets. I kept my self-respect. I mean, just look at a few of these links…how can we be allowing this to happen ?

    http://www.well.com/user/davidu/extinction.html

    Comment by CL — 25 Aug 2008 @ 8:12 PM

  96. #83 Alastair, You need to study present ice thickness:

    http://seaice.bplaced.net/gfs.html

    Il looks like 2007 will be beaten, the high melt rates at cool temperatures are due to thin ice.

    #84 Amanda, my advice for young people is for them to lead the way, stay in shape, use bicycles for every need of single transport. I sympatize with your generation, but it need not do the same mistakes as the previous ones. There is also a need to go modern, electric in a real way, I suggest a study of what we can do, Look at previous generations great accomplishments, ie one example
    the minirail, once dreamed of at an old worlds fair, became a reality at another, then vanished, except for a few places…:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPZHQE14HRs

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Rd9BE1fHjM

    Once upon a time…. There was a city within a city, with no cars…. 2 small little islands with 200,000 people visiting a day.

    Hank, and #90, Jack… True physics demands a search for balance, net heat energy accounting is needed. Gistemp Northern Hemisphere running average temperature is similar to the late 90′s, but summer ice coverage is similar to 2007, the warmest year in Northern Hemisphere history. There is no such thing as a graph trend forcing the outcome of ice extent, there is such a thing as a net accounting of a) How much ice volume melted, b) how much Heat is required to melt it and c) where did the heat come from?

    Comment by wayne davidson — 25 Aug 2008 @ 8:27 PM

  97. When I go to Cryosphere Today

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

    and run the 30 day animation for the N. Hemisphere, I am puzzled by what I see.

    The sea ice seems to form in large sheets and dissipate from one day to the next in various parts of the Arctic. One day there appears to be a lot of ice, the next day much less.

    Is this actually a reflection of what is happening or some kind of artifact of the imaging?

    Comment by Jim Cross — 25 Aug 2008 @ 9:25 PM

  98. I wanted to see the current state of affairs in the north, so I spider-searched through the links. Here’s a good one for anyone interested.

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    August 25: “Sea ice extent is declining at a fairly brisk and steady pace. Surface melt has mostly ended, but the decline will continue for two to three more weeks because of melt from the bottom and sides of the ice.”

    Comment by Daryl Jones — 25 Aug 2008 @ 10:04 PM

  99. Pat Neuman ad CL, I’ve said this before and I say it again: Kudos and we need more people like you in all government agencies and even in the legislative and judicial branches. You did the right thing.

    Comment by Philippe Chantreau — 25 Aug 2008 @ 10:33 PM

  100. Dear Amanda,

    You are right to be upset. My daughter is also very upset. It is often difficult to know what to do. Keep writing, reading, talk to your friends, remember to not waste resources. There are many of us fighting to try to preserve the planet for your future. The scientists are not to blame — they are trying to discover the truth of the matter, and some are trying to educate the general public. But it is not easy for them because there are many politicians and carbon-based energy companies lined up against the scientists.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 25 Aug 2008 @ 10:48 PM

  101. Daryl Jones wrote in 98:

    I wanted to see the current state of affairs in the north, so I spider-searched through the links. Here’s a good one for anyone interested.

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    August 25: “Sea ice extent is declining at a fairly brisk and steady pace. Surface melt has mostly ended, but the decline will continue for two to three more weeks because of melt from the bottom and sides of the ice.”

    Walt Meier of the NSIDC had informed us that there would be an update in the next couple of days back on the 23rd of August.

    He wrote in 37:

    For any that might not be aware, there’s discussion on the ice thickness/volume, along with extent/area on our NASA-funded sea ice analysis web site:

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    Look for our next update in the next couple of days.

    It looks like you found it, and it would appear to be something people here might like — going into some depth on the difference between this year and last in terms of surface vs. bottom melt, the downloadable self-updating Google Earth kml animation of sea ice concentration, etc.

    *

    Captcha fortune cookie:
    TRAILS calendar

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Aug 2008 @ 11:01 PM

  102. Phillipe Chantreau, 99, thank you. Much appreciated !

    Comment by CL — 26 Aug 2008 @ 2:33 AM

  103. Amanda, keep on pushing! The older folks may be in charge for now, but your generation will be suffering the impacts of global warming — and someday will take charge.

    The Sacramento Bee had another great article by Tom Knudson this past Sunday, “Sierra climate change puts range’s species on the run.” It looks at evidence that spans nearly a century that shows that many critters have moved up to 2,000 feet (610 meters) upslope in the Sierra Nevada in response to warming temperatures.

    http://www.sacbee.com/sierrawarming/story/1181298.html

    This may be a subscription site, so if you cannot access it, please respond and I’ll get a copy to you.

    {Capcha: “and Pleads!”}

    Comment by Jim Eaton — 26 Aug 2008 @ 2:55 AM

  104. I’m always at a loss when a young person asks me what to do about the state of things. With your whole life ahead of you on this planet we’ve hurt, you should be telling old folks like me what to do – just as you’re doing, only someday people might listen. Thanks, Amanda.

    Comment by Daniel C. Goodwin — 26 Aug 2008 @ 6:44 AM

  105. Phew! sorry for having stirred up a hornets nest on the nuclear issue, but as Pete Best pointed out Both Jim Hansen and Jim Lovelock are on the same wavelength when it comes to the importance of nuclear in attemping to mitigate CC. It seems to me we have ‘NO’ choice in this matter. Sure we have to build 15 Nuclear power plants for 50 years, but how many coal powered or gas or diesel powered plants will that replace??
    No they are not perfect..not by a long shot..no-one is saying they are..but we have to cut CO2 emmissions to close to zero in a hurry..anyone will a better idea please put your hand up. No technology at present can deliver such huge quantities of base load power..nothing can!! Put it this way re: nuclear waste and the possibility of it being used for malicious purposes. Should we do nothing and fart around with adhoc renewables and witness the destruction of planet earth or should we take a chance with nuclear which at least can promise clean energy and a real chance at reducing CO2 to below 350ppm and the sustainability of our earth..I know what my 3y/o son would say!!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 26 Aug 2008 @ 8:25 AM

  106. Re #96

    Wayne,

    that is a very interesting set of maps! Just what I have been wanting to see, especially the wind. I had assumed that the surface water would be either flowing in or out through the Bering Strait, but in fact the wind is blowing away from there in both directions. In general, it seems that at present the Arctic is effectively isolated from both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

    Thus, the ice melt seems to be, like other aspects of the weather, rather chaotic. I feel that if one does make what turns out to be an accurate prediction then it is just luck.

    I have been following the Japanese http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm graph and downloading the data automatically into a spreadsheet.

    Using it, I am generating a running average of the daily melt over five days, and then dividing that into the amount by which today’s ice extent exceeds the historic values. I only show that if it is positive, and it gives me the days until the ice will reach that value.

    Currently, on the map dated 25-8-08, there are only 0.05 days! remaining until the ice reaches the 2005 minimum, and 15.5 days until it reaches the 2007 minimum. This is using a daily average melt of 67,000 sq km/day, but yesterday the rate was only 51,000 sq km/day, so you can see that my method is no more accurate than eye-balling ice thickness.

    NSIDC says the melt will continue for two or three weeks which brackets my 15.5 days, so I agree that it will be pretty close.

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 26 Aug 2008 @ 9:19 AM

  107. Lawrence Coleman,
    You are, as nuclear advocates often do, simply ignoring counter-arguments. Briefly, demand reduction, energy efficiency and renewables can all bring about major reductions in emissions faster than nuclear build. Your use of terms such as “do nothing and fart around” indicates little other than the intellectual bankruptcy of your approach.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 26 Aug 2008 @ 9:35 AM

  108. Re #105, just not sure that we can logisically meet such a huge building program and eliminate the other 7 wedges to. Each wedge represents a vast amount of carbon. We achieve another wedge but becomming more efficient on a massive scale and another one by planting nillions of trees and another one by building 2 million 1 MW wind turbines but it all needs doing at the same time.

    This is way beyond WW2 effort I would suggest and as it takes 15 years to build a nuclear power station and another age to research 4th generation so that we do not need to dig up anymore Uranium but reprocess what we already have then I am suggesting that Uranium supplies will deplete within 100 years otherwise.

    Its all a bit scary.

    Comment by pete best — 26 Aug 2008 @ 9:37 AM

  109. Re: 106

    They just updated the IIJS graph, and we are now officially below 2005 minimun for sea ice extent.

    I am expecting the rate of decline to slow. However if you look at the NSIDC sea ice extent. The rate of decline has kept a pretty constant slope since the third week of June.

    I keep expecting the slope to change, however if things keep going the way they have been for another week, then, we will beat the 2007 ice lost in extent.

    The Cryosphere Today sea ice area has seem to flat lined, however I suspect the refreezing of melt ponds is offsetting the ice lost, and eventually the sea ice area will make another dip.

    It is still to warm for sea ice to form in the arctic (other than sheltered bays with little mixing), and the ice south of 78 North is still melting, so the bias must be due to melt ponds refreezing for the Cryosphere today results.

    Comment by LG Norton — 26 Aug 2008 @ 10:39 AM

  110. #108–

    I don’t understand the insistence on building massive wind farms of the scale you suggest….I mean, how many back yards would have to have a 40-foot tower w/turbine in order to supply half the electricity suburban America uses?

    Anyway, I hope some day to live in a country where patriotism is expressed by how much electricity one’s flag pole produces….

    Comment by A.C. — 26 Aug 2008 @ 10:46 AM

  111. “Both Jim Hansen and Jim Lovelock are on the same wavelength when it comes to the importance of nuclear”

    So is Iran, Pakistan and a whole lotta goat herders.

    Good luck with that.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 26 Aug 2008 @ 10:47 AM

  112. Lawrence Coleman wrote: “Both Jim Hansen and Jim Lovelock are on the same wavelength when it comes to the importance of nuclear in attemping to mitigate CC.”

    Both of them are brilliant people and genuine visionaries in their fields (climate science and ecology respectively). Neither one of them is particularly knowledgeable about energy issues. Their support for nuclear power is, frankly, based on ignorance.

    Lawrence Coleman wrote: “It seems to me we have ‘NO’ choice in this matter.”

    That is an assertion that is likewise based on ignorance. There are plenty of other choices. Full implementation of available efficiency technologies could save more electricity than is generated by all the nuclear power plants in the USA. Capturing waste heat from industrial smokestacks and using it to generate electricity could produce more electricity than is generated by all the nuclear power plants in the USA. The USA has abundant wind and solar energy resources that can be harvested using today’s technology to produce several times as much electricity as the entire country uses.

    Not only is nuclear power NOT the “only choice”, it isn’t even a very effective choice, and it is the least cost-effective choice, and is a completely unnecessary choice, for elimininating GHG emissions from electricity generation.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 26 Aug 2008 @ 11:21 AM

  113. Re #111, hmmmm, Yes but they are not the world greatest energy guzzlers are they like the USA and the EU are and Iran has lots of its own oil and gas reserves and Pakistan has a small economy.

    Comment by pete best — 26 Aug 2008 @ 11:47 AM

  114. Re #112, I still doubt that you would tackle a single wedge cost effectively. In fact energy efficiency is a great idea and would work well at first until you realise that a BAU of 2 to 3% per annum would mean that within 15 years all of your efficiency gains would be undone.

    Maybe we need to take a look at capatalism itself?

    Comment by pete best — 26 Aug 2008 @ 11:50 AM

  115. Thank all of you for agreeing with me. well for the most part.
    When I wrote that I did not entirely mean to put all the blame on the scientist, but they need to help find something that we can do. There are some who are doing a lot but we need the help of everyone.

    Comment by Amanda Eldridge — 26 Aug 2008 @ 11:53 AM

  116. Re the opinion that our situation is so dire that we have no choice but to go hard and fast with nuclear, along with other low emmissions technologies.

    That paper Gavin linked to above- The Nuclear Illusion by Lovins and Sheikh (27 May 2008 in draft) – makes it clear that nuclear is radically more expensive than all other electricity generation options. And that this why no one is building them in the US in spite of massive subsidies. They argue that therefore, spending money on nuclear power plants would soak up huge amounts of capital that would then not be available for other technologies that give you much more CO2 abaitment for your investment buck.

    Comment by picoallen — 26 Aug 2008 @ 11:55 AM

  117. Hate to go further off topic, but it should be pointed out that solar power is not exactly carbon emission free.

    Silicon based photovoltaic cells are expensive because they require large amounts of electric power to refine silica into pure silicon. That electric power is produced primarily from Coal fired plants.

    So, solar power actually contributes to CO2 emissions and deploying solar panels in some locations with low solar potential may result in a net electric consumption. That is, solar panels may not produce more power than what is consumed in their manufacture and installation.

    Comment by Andrew — 26 Aug 2008 @ 11:58 AM

  118. > solar panels may not produce more power …
    Andrew, what’s your source for this statement?
    It needs a time frame to be meaningful. Where do you get the statement and what time span is it describing?

    I put your phrase into Google and did not find any support for your claim, unless you are talking about very short time spans, far shorter than the lifetime service available from the panels. Pointer please?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Aug 2008 @ 12:27 PM

  119. Andrew, #117, anyone whose played a RTS like Sim City or X:BtF knows that you create an energy plant AND a silicon plant right next to each other. The energy plant uses silicon wafers to create power from solar and the silicon plant uses energy from the energy plant and raw silicon to create a silicon wafer. Which goes into an energy plant that creates power that goes to ….

    Energy payback of solar panels DOES get worse as you go to places not suited but the payback time is still much shorter than the lifetime of the cells.

    Which would lend us to the idea that we should prioritise the solar power plants but that would have all the power generation where the people don’t like to live.

    And so a compromise is reached.

    Comment by Mark — 26 Aug 2008 @ 12:31 PM

  120. On topic developments,
    sea ice extent is now below 2005 minimum
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    -195000 km2 in two days.

    and today’s Bremen picture looks scary near the Beaufort Sea (I hope I am not mistaken):
    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/arctic_AMSRE_nic.png

    And the East Siberian pocket is also advancing towards the pole.
    Looks like the melt is still going strong.

    Comment by tarmov — 26 Aug 2008 @ 12:33 PM

  121. Andrew wrote: “solar panels may not produce more power than what is consumed in their manufacture and installation.”

    That is just plain false. According to the US Department of Energy:

    Typically, the energy payback time (i.e., the time it takes for a PV system to generate the same amount of energy that it took to manufacture the system) for PV systems is 2 to 5 years. Since a well-designed and maintained PV system will operate for more than 20 years, and a system without moving parts will operate for close to 30 years, PV systems produce far more energy over their useful life than we use to manufacture them.

    This is true of PV panels built from crystalline silicon, the most expensive and resource-intensive of today’s PV technologies. Thin-film PV is much less expensive and requires much less resources and energy to manufacture so the energy payback time is even less.

    It is certainly possible to generate enough electricity from PV to power a factory that manufactures PV panels, in which case the manufacturing process is emissions-free. And in any case, once the panels are operational the generation of electricity is 100 percent emissions-free, which is not true of the nuclear fuel cycle.

    And again, PV is not the only clean renewable source of electricity: we also have wind turbines and concentrating solar thermal technologies, both of which are already in mainstream use and growing rapidly.

    There is no need for nuclear power to address global warming, period.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 26 Aug 2008 @ 12:34 PM

  122. Amanda Eldridge, 115

    Here’s something people can do, that is good fun AND good for the planet

    http://www.simondale.net/house/

    (See my post on Bridging the Divide thread, sorry to be off topic )

    Comment by CL — 26 Aug 2008 @ 1:17 PM

  123. > below 2005
    > http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    Yeek! and trending down. Well, I’m just looking at red pixels on that chart there, has anyone looked at the data file availalble?

    ______________
    ReCaptcha: earth’s Shrinkers

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Aug 2008 @ 1:36 PM

  124. First, regarding this years sea ice summer melt in the N. Hemisphere:

    The total volume of ice loss is the greatest ever, if you take the winter maximum extent from March 08 and subtract where we are now (late August), the N. Hemisphere lost more sea ice in total volume than ever…

    This year would have been far worse if not for two things:

    1) The now fading La Nina event cooled the N. Pacific, and kept the temperatures somewhat moderated, thereby decreasing the early summer melt. Had we been in a El Nino year, you could expect that we would have had a much more severe melt even than we did.

    2) While not discussed at much length, the current Solar Minimum for sun spots is having some net cooling effect (as all minimum sunspots cycles do).

    It will be quite interesting to see how the approaching Solar Cycle 24, combined with a resurging El Nino in the next few years will play out on the arctic ice melt. I think 2013 prediction for an ice free summer arctic will be close…

    Finally, on the issue of a rapid move to nuclear…too late for that…should have started 20 years ago. Too much carbon dioxide forcing already in the system…and when the n. sea ice is gone, the postiive feedback loop for warming will really be unleashed…even without the massive methane that already is being released around the arctic.

    Comment by R. Gates — 26 Aug 2008 @ 1:41 PM

  125. @post 112 – ‘Capturing waste heat from industrial smokestacks and using it to generate electricity could produce more electricity than is generated by all the nuclear power plants in the USA.’

    What fuels those industrial smokestacks? Sounds like a perpetual motion scheme;)

    Comment by Food Tube — 26 Aug 2008 @ 2:08 PM

  126. Re #95

    CL, I’m interested in learning more about how you lost your job for speaking out. I’m at npat1hotmail.com

    Comment by pat n — 26 Aug 2008 @ 2:47 PM

  127. Re #123

    Hank,

    I have been downloading the data recently, and reported my findings at #106. Since then I have discovered that the data is updated twice a day, and that report is now 12 hiurs out of date.

    Note also that the daily melt is not constant. During the last ten days it was: 73k, 69k, 77k, 80k, 27k, 45k, 56k, 55k, 73k & 122k sq km/day. So it was constant at around 75k, dropped to 27k, then slowly recover back to 73k, then jumped to 122k. I reckon it is anyone’s guess what it will do next. Looking at the maps it could continue to increase or it could tail off as we go into Septmber and the days get shorter.

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 26 Aug 2008 @ 5:02 PM

  128. Jim Cross Says:
    > 25 August 2008 at 9:25 PM
    > When I go to Cryosphere Today … sea ice seems
    > to form … and dissipate

    Jim, I suspect you’re watching the change from 100 percent (white) to slightly less than 100 percent (blue). Look at the color chart on the page, and look up what “percent” they’re talking about to interpret the animation.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Aug 2008 @ 5:12 PM

  129. regarding solar cell payback periods [this is all off-topic, but since the moderators allow].

    I’s sitting in the Hot Chips Conference at Stanford, at which the keynote talk an hour ago was by Richard Swanson, CTO of Sunpower. I’m sure there are references, but this is as recent as it gets:

    Someone asked that exact question. He said:

    1)That (the idea that solar cells never pay back energy cost) seems to derive from a ~1975 article in Scientific American, but he sees it pop up in policy documents and articles to this day. It may have been true then, but not so for a good while.

    2) He says the current energy payback time is ~2 years.

    3) It will get better [he showed slides of Silicon Valley companies doing interesting things to reduce cost and energy, such as Solaicx.]

    4) Solar companies warrant modules for 25 years. The Rancho Seco PV farm has been there for 30 years and still going fine, and the packaging techniques are similar, and failure modes have been wells-studied by NREL for decades.

    5) Since ~2000, Sunpower has reduced silicon use from 15gram/W to 6 g/Watt [and energy to create the silicon is a big piece.]

    6) All of this is still fairly early in applying volume chip manufacturing expertise to solar cell expertise, and in people actually designing for solar-grade silicon, as opposed to solar using “left-over” supplies and equipment.

    7) Half the installed $ cost now is in installation; they’re working hard to reduce that, with preconfiguration, and of course with shingles/BIPV.
    =====
    SO: if energy breakeven is 2 years on warranty of 25, that’s an EROI = 12.5:1, or if they last as long as Rancho Seco so far, that’s already 15:1. Solaicz thinks they can grow crystals up to 5X more efficiently, but that remains to be seen. Still, Sunpower is a serious company, and I’ve heard Swanson before and he’s serious. So are the people at Applied Materials, so when these folks talk about expected cost curves, they have track records.

    As a swag, I don’t see why one can’t expect to get EROI = 20-40 in another decade or two.

    Comment by John Mashey — 26 Aug 2008 @ 5:34 PM

  130. #106 Alastair, A follow up on your reasoning with respect to the melt and salinity. I think that this year will be different, because a lot of 1st year ice has melted, saltier first year ice, I dont think anyone knows how much fresh water was dumped from old ice, but I suspect that a vaster saltier 1st year melt will delay the freeze up and increase this years melt late in the season, just as a huge fresh water melt in 2007 has caused a greater freeze up. On CT the gap between 2007 and 2008 extent is vanishing more and more every day. Despite again, not so favorable conditions. I suspect some warmer air than measured at 2 meters a factor in this years melt. The physics of ice and air interactions needs very close scrutiny, if warmer air is responsible, as I think so, we have to find it.

    #126 Pat is a hero. As those who know heroes, they dont always have it easy in life, I hope our admiration to his resolute stance, incorruptable opinion, makes him feel a little better,……….

    Comment by wayne davidson — 26 Aug 2008 @ 5:37 PM

  131. #124
    “The total volume of ice loss is the greatest ever”
    This is an assumption that many are making, but it’s far from proven. 2007 certainly involved the greatest volume loss in recent years: no one can dispute that large areas of multiyear ice melted away, and other areas thinned significantly. As I understand it, NASA measurements showed that average ice thickness went down to ~1.5m, from ~2-2.5m in previous years.
    But in 2008, much of the new ice was thin “first-year” ice, especially at the March 2008 maximum extent. Thus it was very low volume, and you have to take this account when assuming volume reductions. In terms of the ice now remaining, it is relatively high concentration (compared with last year) at >80 degrees north, and it’s not clear at all there’s been a further reduction in thickness in much of this area. Have a look at what the buoys say about thickness http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/newdata.htm
    Apart from the one which has drifted into open water in the Beaufort Sea, they show higher thicknesses than you would probably expect (half of them show a thickness of ~3m)

    “The now fading La Nina event cooled the N. Pacific, and kept the temperatures somewhat moderated, thereby decreasing the early summer melt”
    The La Nina event also caused the briefly high late winter ice extent on which your claim about record volume loss depends.
    Also to be technical the La Nina event is currently on a short term trend towards a comeback http://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/SeasonalClimateOutlook/SouthernOscillationIndex/30DaySOIValues/ (I’m *not* saying that the short term trend will necessarily continue, just a point of interest. Also bear in mind that if the PDO has really shifted into “cool” phase, we ought to see more/stronger La Ninas and fewer/weaker El Ninos)

    “Had we been in a El Nino year, you could expect that we would have had a much more severe melt even than we did”
    Perhaps, but the complete lack of any discernible effect of the 97/8 El Nino would make me less than certain of this http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.anom.jpg

    “the current Solar Minimum for sun spots is having some net cooling effect”
    It quite likely is (by now at any event), however it didn’t prevent far northern Canada having record heatwaves in July (hence Beaufort Sea melt, following winter break-up of ice) and far northern Siberia having record heatwaves in August (hence melt in Siberian seas caused by persistent warm southerlies). In other words, it’s possible for the areas most relevant to Arctic summer ice melt to have bucked the averages on this occasion while not representing an exceptional warmth at higher latitudes taken as a whole. (Indeed MSU satellites show the area north of ~60N (“NoPol”) to have had its coldest June/July combined average since 2000 – narrowly “beating” 2004)

    Comment by Chris — 26 Aug 2008 @ 5:58 PM

  132. A tad off-topic, but amusing in an if-I-don’t-laugh-I’ll-cry sort of way.

    A letter-writer in Nanaimo, B.C. (Vancouver suburb) just wrote his local paper to say that British scientists were projecting 2008 to be “the coolest in 100 years,” and wasn’t this warming swindle a bunch of hokum?

    Turns out the original BBC story was headlined “coolest this century”–meaning, of course, the 21st. So we expect to see the coolest year since–2000!

    Here’s paragraph 4 of the original: “Even so, 2008 is set to be about the 10th warmest year since 1850, and Met Office scientists say temperatures will rise again as La Nina conditions ease.” I guess our bold skeptic didn’t read that far.

    I wrote the paper to note the correction; I wonder if they will bother! As Oberon said to Puck,
    “still thou mistakest, Or else committ’st thy knaveries wilfully.”

    [Response: You will see lots of this kind of willful confusion. We should count the numbers of times various players use 'century' versus 'in the last 8 years' or 'since 2000' (or various permutations depending on how much of a stickler you are for arithmetic). I would not be at all surprised to see a number of similar 'confusions' arise. - gavin]

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 26 Aug 2008 @ 6:11 PM

  133. #127 “the daily melt”
    I know this is just shorthand, but you need to be careful here. Sea ice extent as I understand it measures the total area with >15% sea ice. Obviously this is affected by the compaction or otherwise of ice floes by the wind.
    Area is much better for measuring “melt” since it is, as I understand it, essentially extent times concentration. And area reduction (see Cryosphere today) in the last few days has slowed substantially, with even a couple of days of area gain, such that the average daily reduction for the last week has been ~20k. Not to mention it is still ~23% above the 2007 minimum (3.58MM vs 2.92MM) and 2007 was already at ~3.00 by this point last year. (Area tends to bottom out earlier than extent because re-freeze starts around this time close to the North Pole while compaction of ice continues for several weeks on the ice periphery)

    #130 “…I suspect that a vaster saltier 1st year melt will delay the freeze up and increase this years melt late in the season, just as a huge fresh water melt in 2007 has caused a greater freeze up…”
    Does salinity really have such a big effect? It seems to me that the greater freeze up in winter 2007/8 was caused by the colder far north Pacific SSTs, amongst other things.
    If you compare SST anomalies in the Arctic circle now compared with a year ago, they are significantly lower on average, and I would have thought this will dwarf any effects of salinity, such that (net) freeze-up starts earlier this year, rather than later.

    Comment by Chris — 26 Aug 2008 @ 6:18 PM

  134. #131 (My earlier post)
    “As I understand it, NASA measurements showed that average ice thickness went down to ~1.5m, from ~2-2.5m in previous years.”
    I couldn’t remember the exact figures, have now looked them up and I was slightly off: in 2007 the average thickness went down to 1.3m, from 2.3-2.6m in previous years

    Comment by Chris — 26 Aug 2008 @ 6:29 PM

  135. #133, Chris. “If you compare SST anomalies in the Arctic circle now compared with a year ago, they are significantly lower on average, and I would have thought this will dwarf any effects of salinity, such that (net) freeze-up starts earlier this year, rather than later. ‘

    That is even more facinating, if true, this years melt is even more a mystery than I previously thought, but sst’s seem warmish:

    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/climo&hot.html

    Also Ice extent spread out everywhere else last winter, not only near the Pacific, Alastair’s point still makes sense. We need to wait and see what effect this years melt has on the feeze up.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 26 Aug 2008 @ 7:56 PM

  136. Regarding #124:

    To follow up on the approaching Solar Max event of 2012 combined with an El Nino event about the same time, has anyone seen any data (backtesting perhaps) to show the relationship between Solar Max events, El Nino events, and global temperatures? Certainly we know there is some relationship between sunspots and global temperatures (at least for the N. Hemisphere).

    This would be interesting to see…

    R. Gates

    Comment by R. Gates — 26 Aug 2008 @ 8:57 PM

  137. Re: comment #132

    Dear Kevin,

    That was not the only thing wrong with that BBC article – I wrote to the author about the “decade of cooling” mistake and about how the “cooling” predicted was only for a small region of the Northern Hemisphere, and also about how confusing it was to write “coolest of the century,” etc.

    Never heard back from him, of course.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 26 Aug 2008 @ 10:25 PM

  138. R. Gates, try
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/01/el-nino-global-warming-and-anomalous-winter-warmth/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Aug 2008 @ 10:31 PM

  139. Maybe of interest:
    http://climatespin.blogspot.com/

    Monday, August 25, 2008
    Known unknowns on ice
    This time last week I was at Los Alamos National Laboratory for a meeting that discussed building a Community Ice Sheet Model, inspired by the success of the Community Climate System Model. (Eventually CISM will be part of CCSM). ….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Aug 2008 @ 10:50 PM

  140. Can we hope for more from Dr. Bitz soon?
    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~bitz/PSC_weekend.jpg

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Aug 2008 @ 11:17 PM

  141. Chris wrote in 133:

    If you compare SST anomalies in the Arctic circle now compared with a year ago, they are significantly lower on average, and I would have thought this will dwarf any effects of salinity, such that (net) freeze-up starts earlier this year, rather than later.

    Wayne Davidson responded in 135:

    That is even more facinating, if true, this years melt is even more a mystery than I previously thought, but sst’s seem warmish:

    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/climo&hot.html

    True — but in most areas it appears that surface melt has been greater than bottom melt due to warm ocean, whereas bottom melt dominated last year.

    Please see:

    The buoy data have indicated increased amounts of melt on the underside of the ice cover in recent years; bottom melt last year was particularly extreme.

    The pattern for 2008 has been more mixed. The ice at some buoy locations has thinned by more than a meter through the melt season because of strong melt both on the surface and the underside of the ice. Other locations show strong thinning caused by surface melt, while only modest thinning is apparent in others.

    August 25, 2008
    Arctic shortcuts open up; decline pace steady
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2008/082508.html

    Wayne Davidson wrote in 135:

    Also Ice extent spread out everywhere else last winter, not only near the Pacific, Alastair’s point still makes sense. We need to wait and see what effect this years melt has on the freeze up.

    Well, personally I think Alastair’s point holds some water.

    The freezing point of sea water is about -2 C.

    Please see:

    Ask A Scientist
    General Science Archive
    Freezing point of sea water
    http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/gen99/gen99263.htm

    We could be two degrees cooler and still see pretty much the same given this year’s vs last year’s ice. And currently nearly all of the melting taking place is bottom melt due to warm ocean, not surface melt.

    Please see:

    Surface melt has mostly ended, but the decline will continue for two to three more weeks because of melt from the bottom and sides of the ice.

    August 25, 2008
    Arctic shortcuts open up; decline pace steady
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2008/082508.html

    Also, if numbers are correct — see what tarmov pointed to in 120:

    On topic developments,
    sea ice extent is now below 2005 minimum
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    -195000 km2 in two days.

    … then it would appear that the melt has been picking up for several days now. And I have noticed we have a new hurricane building by Cuba.

    Please see:

    ZCZC MIATCMAT2 ALL
    TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM
    HURRICANE GUSTAV FORECAST/ADVISORY NUMBER 5
    NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL072008
    0900 UTC TUE AUG 26 2008
    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2008/al07/al072008.fstadv.005.shtml?

    … from:

    Hurricane GUSTAV Advisory Archive
    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2008/GUSTAV.shtml?

    A number of recent papers have been implicating hurricanes as a major engine of oceanic poleward advection.

    For example:

    Here we calculate the effect of tropical cyclones on surface ocean temperatures by comparing surface temperatures before and after storm passage, and use these results to calculate the vertical mixing induced by tropical cyclone activity. Our results indicate that tropical cyclones are responsible for significant cooling and vertical mixing of the surface ocean in tropical regions. Assuming that all the heat that is mixed downwards is balanced by heat transport towards the poles, we calculate that approximately 15 per cent of peak ocean heat transport may be associated with the vertical mixing induced by tropical cyclones.

    Letters: Observational evidence for an ocean heat pump induced by tropical cyclones
    Ryan L. Sriver & Matthew Huber
    Vol 447| 31 May 2007| doi:10.1038/nature05785

    See also:

    Investigating tropical cyclone-climate feedbacks using the TRMM
    Microwave Imager (TMI) and the Quick Scatterometer (QuikScat)
    Ryan L. Sriver, Matthew Huber, and Jesse Nusbaumer
    Revised Draft, April 27, 2008
    http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~huberm/2007GC001842-pip.pdf

    Tropical Cyclone–Induced Upper-Ocean Mixing and Climate: Application to Equable Climates
    Robert L. Korty, Kerry A. Emanuel, AND Jeffry R. Scott
    15 FEBRUARY 2008
    Journal of Climate, Vol 21

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 26 Aug 2008 @ 11:25 PM

  142. Another $0.02

    I’m increasingly persuaded that Pielke, Sr. is probably going to turn out to be closer to the truth concerning global warming, climate science, and probably legitimate concerns/criticisms of the IPCC and the global warming “concensus.”

    On the other hand, I believe that considering the risks and uncertainties involved that it is prudent to press for vigorous action regarding fossil fuels and the rising CO2.

    Comment by Shelama — 26 Aug 2008 @ 11:42 PM

  143. New update (Aug 26) at NSIDC website, with more numbers coming tomorrow. Now beyond the 2005 minimum. Odd (and neat) to get two updates on sequential days. Possibly because there’s been an increase in the number of people visiting the website?

    Comment by Steve L — 27 Aug 2008 @ 12:35 AM

  144. Re: 115 Amanda Eldridge
    All scientists, all the credible ones with no vested interests or the ones that haven’t been bought out by the coal and oil companies want a solution to climate change ASAP. You’re 13..you’ve got a whole life in front of you, my son’s 3y/o. I would do anything to ensure that he receives just as good if not a better life than mine, that is why all this governmental (almost all governments) dithering on this subject drives me nuts. They want conclusive proof of this and that, more studies done.., more committees, more concrete evidence that climate change actually is happening, and the more time that passes the less chance we have of fixing this dilemma. What you can do Amanda is write to your local government member like you’ve done to us and explain your concern..make these insensitive bureaucrats wake up and listen to a voice of the future of this wonderful planet..yours!!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 27 Aug 2008 @ 2:37 AM

  145. #135 Wayne
    “That is even more facinating, if true, this years melt is even more a mystery than I previously thought, but sst’s seem warmish…”
    Yes I agree the sst’s are warmish in the Arctic, but if you want evidence they are significantly cooler than last year here’s a site where you can compare:
    http://sharaku.eorc.jaxa.jp/cgi-bin/amsr/polar_sst/polar_sst.cgi?lang=e
    (Note: map for Aug 08 is only up to 26th, but it seems pretty clear the difference is already established; in any event, you only need to look at the way that subzero temperatures have spread in the Arctic recently to see that the SST anomalies are not going to come close to those of 2007)
    To me there’s little mystery: 2008′s strong melt was caused by a combination of particularly thin peripheral ice and localised warm winds. At the same time, temperatures overall have been significantly lower than in 2007 (almost 1C less on average north of ~60N for June/July according to the MSU satellite “NoPol” figures) and the seas on average in the Arctic are significantly cooler. Since as you go into September, any continued melt is increasingly by the sea rather than the winds/sun, I would be surprised if the net refreeze starts later. (I say “net” because there is already evidence of refreeze recently in the Arctic Basin http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.1.html and this isn’t just due to melt ponds refreezing, as temperatures were down to -5 to -8C for several days at the North Pole. I find the following site particularly useful to get this kind of meteorological info by the way http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/analysis/ )

    Comment by Chris — 27 Aug 2008 @ 3:01 AM

  146. Just a further note, here’s the link to the MSU data by region:
    http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/uahncdc.lt
    I didn’t want to make too much of it, after all remember it’s for the lower troposphere as opposed to surface, and there’s a lack of clarity over what NoPol represents – though I think it’s from 60N to 82.5N (beyond which the satellite doesn’t cover). It was just the best evidence I had to hand to illustrate my point that temperatures overall at high northern latitudes appear to have been lower this summer than last.

    Comment by Chris — 27 Aug 2008 @ 3:26 AM

  147. Lawrence Coleman writes:

    No technology at present can deliver such huge quantities of base load power..nothing can!!

    Geothermal. It’s available 24/7.

    Put it this way re: nuclear waste and the possibility of it being used for malicious purposes. Should we do nothing and fart around with adhoc renewables and witness the destruction of planet earth or should we take a chance with nuclear which at least can promise clean energy and a real chance at reducing CO2 to below 350ppm and the sustainability of our earth..

    Fallacy of bifurcation and fallacy of complex question both in the same sentence! Nice going.

    I know what my 3y/o son would say!!

    I’m sure he’s echoed by three-year-olds around the world.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Aug 2008 @ 5:31 AM

  148. Andrew writes:

    Silicon based photovoltaic cells are expensive because they require large amounts of electric power to refine silica into pure silicon. That electric power is produced primarily from Coal fired plants.

    That problem is self-correcting. The more PV cells produced, the more the electricity will be coming from them and not from coal plants.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Aug 2008 @ 5:35 AM

  149. Re #133 where Chris wrote:

    #127 “the daily melt”
    I know this is just shorthand, but you need to be careful here. Sea ice extent as I understand it measures the total area with >15% sea ice.Obviously this is affected by the compaction or otherwise of ice floes by the wind.
    Area is much better for measuring “melt” since it is, as I understand it, essentially extent times concentration.

    You are correct. “Melt” is just a shorthand for the “difference in the daily ice extent shown on the IARC-JAXA Information system”. Other systems may give different values for ice extent, or may quote ice area. But none gives ice volume on a daily basis, which would yield a true melt value.

    When the ice is less concentrated it will be thinner. This is shown by the low concentration around the edge of the ice pack where the ice is melting. Thus a better indication of ice volume than the area, calculated by multiplying extent by concentration, would be to multiply extent by the square of the concentration, but that would still not be exact.

    However, when the ice extent reaches zero so will the ice volume, and there will be an exact correlation.

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 27 Aug 2008 @ 6:15 AM

  150. John Mashey, at 129, wrote :

    “regarding solar cell payback periods [this is all off-topic, but since the moderators allow].”

    Hmmm. What about what this guy says ? Is it way off the mark ?

    “The current favorite for alternative energy is solar power, but proponents must close their eyes to all questions of scale. According to Gerhard Knies, the world’s deserts have an area of 36 million km2, and the solar energy they receive is equivalent to 300 ZJ (1 ZJ = 1021 joules), which at an 11% electrical-conversion rate would result in 33 ZJ. The EIA’s “World Consumption of Primary Energy” tells us that total energy consumption in 2005 was approximately 0.5 ZJ.

    To meet the world’s present energy needs by using solar power, therefore, we would need an array (or an equivalent number of smaller ones) with a size of 0.5/33 x 36 million km2, which is 360,000 km2 (140,400 square miles) — a machine the size of Germany. The production and maintenance of this array would require vast quantities of hydrocarbons, metals, and other materials — a self-defeating process.”

    quoted from http://sorrynogas.blogspot.com/

    Seems to me that if USA could reduce it’s dependence on oil, it could spend some of the 40% of tax dollars, currently going to the military, on research and development of better ways of doing things, hopefully before we all get into such a mess that nothing sensible can be organized, because we get overwhelmed by critical emergencies, the chaos of multiplying wars, refugees, famines, etc.

    “In fact, the purpose of our overseas bases is to maintain US dominance in the world, and to reinforce what military analyst Charles Maier calls our “empire of consumption.” The United States possesses less than 5 percent of global population but consumes about one-quarter of all global resources, including petroleum. Our empire exists so we can exploit a much greater share of the world’s wealth than we are entitled to, and to prevent other nations from combining against us to take their rightful share.” from

    http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2008/09/chalmers-johnson-on-pentagon.html

    I’m not anti-American. Europe is just as bad, not to mention Russia, China, etc. Once one nation goes all-out to grab diminishing resources, likely we’re all sucked into a negative free-for-all, a desperate feeding frenzy, that’ll be impossible to restrain. It’s here already, some will say, but it could get much, much worse.

    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2008/08/26/manufactured-famine/

    Comment by CL — 27 Aug 2008 @ 7:21 AM

  151. #141 Timothy:

    “in most areas it appears that surface melt has been greater than bottom melt **due to warm ocean**, whereas bottom melt dominated last year.”
    [double asterisks my emphasis]

    No, surface melt depends on air temperature, wind and sunshine; bottom melt depends on the ocean temperature under the ice. Colder SSTs (sea surface temperatures) in the open water surrounding the ice imply colder sea temperatures under the ice as well, hence less bottom melt.

    “We could be two degrees cooler and still see pretty much the same given this year’s vs last year’s ice”

    I find this claim extraordinary. Is it really plausible that the salinity over millions of km2 of Arctic sea is so different from a year ago that the thin ice which has melted in the last few weeks will only reform at a temperature an extra 2C lower than when it melted, compared with last year?
    Wayne’s argument (#130) depends on the assumption of “vaster saltier 1st year melt”. But this is weakened by two further points: (1) he also claims that “a huge fresh water melt in 2007 has caused a greater freeze up” i.e the first year ice is fresher than it would normally be; (2) new ice that forms gradually at temperatures not far below zero has surprisingly low salinity in any event (through brine rejection).
    Moreover, you’ve been highlighting the relatively large surface melts this year: the surface ice/snow is the freshest of all!

    The story is different away from the Arctic ocean. Consider the following comparison of 2005 minimum ice with 2007 minimum.
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=09&fd=15&fy=2005&sm=09&sd=15&sy=2007
    Notice that there is nothing special about the 2007 melt on the Atlantic side, and consider that the Atlantic side is dominated by the Gulf Stream and powerful depressions over the winter bringing strong winds and waves (i.e. lots of mixing of the water). I find it hard to see how changes in salinity could be such a major influence on late winter sea ice here. If you look at the Pacific side, then the Bering Strait is relatively narrow, and the sea ice in the summer always melts well into the Arctic ocean from here. So again, colder winter SSTs in the North Pacific would seem a much more credible explanation of greater ice extent in winter 07/08 than relatively small average changes in surface salinity channelled through the Bering Strait.

    “it would appear that the melt has been picking up for several days now”

    Please see my post above #133 re: the inaccuracy of equating ice *extent* with “melt”.
    If you look at ice *area*, you will see that by this more accurate measure, “melt” has been only ~100,000km2 *in total* in the last 5 days (3.681 million km2 on Aug 21st down to 3.579 million km2 yesterday.

    As for hurricanes, I might be concerned if tropical SSTs, surface air temperatures and lower troposphere temperatures were at record highs. But this is a very long way indeed from being the case at the moment.

    Comment by Chris — 27 Aug 2008 @ 7:53 AM

  152. #149 Alastair:

    “When the ice is less concentrated it will be thinner”

    Not necessarily – ice often becomes less concentrated following break up/dispersal, in the absence of melt. For example, the following buoy from the edge of the Beaufort Sea (where I understand ice was broken up last winter by storms) still shows ice thickness of >3m, despite southward drift:
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2008F.htm
    Yet ice is clearly what you would describe as “less concentrated” where the buoy is located:
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/NEWIMAGES/arctic.seaice.some.000.png

    “However, when the ice extent reaches zero so will the ice volume, and there will be an exact correlation.”

    In fact, especially in this scenario, there would be a complete lack of correlation. If the ice extent reaches zero (and we all hope this won’t happen of course) then this will mean that any remaining areas with ice will have coverage of 0)

    Well, for the sake of argument, let’s consider the areas in the Arctic where ice coverage is currently 0. As of yesterday there was ~5.23 million km2 with coverage between 15% and 100%. So let’s say that there is currently ~500,000 km2 (that’s ~500,000,000,000 m2) with coverage between 0 and 15%. And let’s assume that the average ice thickness in these areas is a mere 0.5m. Thus, total ice volume in this large area of *zero ice extent* is very approximately a conservative 250,000,000,000 m3.
    I know this doesn’t prove very much, but I don’t think the quoted statement does either :)

    Comment by Chris — 27 Aug 2008 @ 8:52 AM

  153. For some reason the WordPress system seems to have left out some symbols and words from my previous post, making the second part of it look rather ridiculous!

    I’ll spell out the relevant parts again, all in words, so that hopefully this time it all appears properly.

    “…this will mean that any remaining areas with ice will have coverage of less than fifteen percent and more than zero.

    Well, for the sake of argument, let’s consider the areas in the Arctic where ice coverage is currently less than fifteen percent and more than zero…”

    Comment by Chris — 27 Aug 2008 @ 9:03 AM

  154. Me, in comment 80

    Energy programs do not depend on uranium enrichment. Britain’s first foray out of the weapons arena into civilian power didn’t require any isotopic separation at all, and neither does the scheme in the paper I link from my website.

    Nick Gotts, from comment 88

    I went to your website, but can’t find any paper such as you refer to. Maybe the information is buried somewhere in your paper recommending nuclear reactors in large land vehicles (!!!), but a quick scan suggested there’s hardly room to describe a scheme for proliferation-resistant nuclear power generation.

    Supposing his intent not to have been a discouraging display of reading incomprehension, can anyone help him?

    Remember, what I advertised was an enrichment-free nuclear fission power scheme, not a proliferation-resistant one. Advertising the proliferation-resistance of a fission power scheme would be like advertising the bidirectionality of a manual screwdriver. It would be more revelatory to find one that wasn’t.

    [Response: Please don't play games - no has time for that. If you want to point someone to a specific paper, please include the link. - gavin]

    Comment by G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan \'til ~1996 — 27 Aug 2008 @ 9:24 AM

  155. Chris: Google search for “less than” +symbol +”Wordpress” will find the answer at codex.wordpress.org/Glossary.

    Ironically, you’ll have to “view source” to actually see what I’ve pasted in below from the codex.wordpress.org/Glossary page. That’s Catch-22:

    Glossary « WordPress Codex
    use < for the less than () symbol ….
    codex.wordpress.org/Glossary

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Aug 2008 @ 10:05 AM

  156. Chris quoted me and then responded in 151:

    #141 Timothy

    “in most areas it appears that surface melt has been greater than bottom melt **due to warm ocean**, whereas bottom melt dominated last year.”
    [double asterisks my emphasis]

    No, surface melt depends on air temperature, wind and sunshine; bottom melt depends on the ocean temperature under the ice. Colder SSTs (sea surface temperatures) in the open water surrounding the ice imply colder sea temperatures under the ice as well, hence less bottom melt.

    The phrase “due to warm ocean” was meant to modify the noun immediately preceding it: bottom melt, not this year’s melt. However, I can see how you might have been confused… sort of. In any case, I think people are more familiar with surface melt — and that at least at the popular level it is overemphasized. As such I didn’t think it required any explanation — but I thought the phrase “bottom melt” could be elaborated upon with just a few words for someone just coming in.

    Chris quoted me and then responded in 151:

    “We could be two degrees cooler and still see pretty much the same given this year’s vs last year’s ice”

    I find this claim extraordinary. Is it really plausible that the salinity over millions of km2 of Arctic sea is so different from a year ago that the thin ice which has melted in the last few weeks will only reform at a temperature an extra 2C lower than when it melted, compared with last year?

    Given the volume of last year’s melt? And you yourself said earlier that this year was only a degree cooler throughout most of the Arctic for June and July:

    You had written in 145:

    At the same time, temperatures overall have been significantly lower than in 2007 (almost 1C less on average north of ~60N for June/July according to the MSU satellite “NoPol” figures) and the seas on average in the Arctic are significantly cooler.

    Sure, there are millions of square kilometers of ocean, but it is the Arctic, and the ice that melted covered pretty much the same. And there is ocean stratification. Due to a difference in buoyancy between salt water and fresh water, if I’m not mistaken.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 27 Aug 2008 @ 10:16 AM

  157. Re #153 where Cris says:

    “…this will mean that any remaining areas with ice will have coverage of less than fifteen percent and more than zero.

    Well, for the sake of argument, let’s consider the areas in the Arctic where ice coverage is currently less than fifteen percent and more than zero…”

    But these areas do not exist! Or, if you are going to be pedantic are very small. See Bob Grumbine’s sea ice map. The red areas 16-21% ice concentration only occur as a thin line on the edge of the pack, and in the North Atlantic edge not at all. The ice pack has an edge. The edge is normally sharp and there is very little low concentration ice there.

    Earth science is different from the physical sciences. They have laws which are true until proved false. In earth science, every law has an exception, probably even this one! Therefore it is wrong to become too precise when discussing earth science matters.

    Whether or not this years melt, ice extent, ice area, or ice volume is a new record will not determine whether there is an ice free Arctic in the summer of 2013.

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 27 Aug 2008 @ 10:26 AM

  158. Oops, in #152 the guesstimated total ice volume in “zero extent” areas with ice coverage up to the 15% threshold should have been much lower at a mere ~18.75 billion m3 (I forgot the step of multiplying the overall area by 0.075 to get to total ice coverage, before multiplying by average thickness)
    Not that it really matters as it was a somewhat facetious reply to a somewhat facetious point :)
    I’ll try and avoid posting for a little while as I think I’ve done more than my fair share for now!

    Comment by Chris — 27 Aug 2008 @ 10:28 AM

  159. Re #90, Jack Mist:
    > “I can’t find anything in the literature, but I have a strong suspicion that ice at 0°C cools air faster than ice at subzero temperatures. At the melt-point it’s primed to absorb a sudden energy hit, using latent heat to become water.

    > “This could explain why the melt goes on, even though the air temperatures seem to be steady or falling. Cause and effect goes the other way – the continuing melt is reducing air temperature. Can anyone tell me when significant areas of ice in the Arctic and Greenland reached melt point? 1998 maybe? If so, this could explain the temperature “plateau” that the denialists get so excited about.”

    Like Jack, I found nothing on the effect he proposes, for or against. Current research is normally subscription-only, I understand that. Basic science is freely available though – and “how ice melts” is about as basic as you can get!

    I had the equipment to hand (and a bit of spare time) for a quick&dirty test of the theory: I took a length of drainpipe, set it horizontal in a freezer, half-filled it with water and froze to -10°C. Tilted it slightly downwards. Fan and air thermometer at one end, air thermometer at the other, plot the air temperatures as the ice warms. There was a slight but definite downward jig in air temperature as the melt point was reached, but there might be another cause – aircon kicking in at the wrong time, for instance. It would need much more precise measurement and better equipment to prove anything.

    Comment by not a boffin — 27 Aug 2008 @ 11:15 AM

  160. Ok I am just going to post one more, to reply to a couple of other posts that have just come in.

    Firstly, #155 Hank, thanks for the info on WordPress, and the carefully worded presentation which enabled me to access it without the same problem occurring!

    #156 Timothy:
    “The phrase “due to warm ocean” was meant to modify the noun immediately preceding it: bottom melt, not this year’s melt.”

    I can see how my reading of what you said was a poor reflection on your level of knowledge, and for that I’m sorry. But it doesn’t change my point that average Arctic ocean temperatures were, and remain, lower than at the equivalent date last year, and now that surface melt has slowed, the predominance of bottom/side melt means that other things being equal, net re-freeze should be earlier.
    Of course, other things aren’t necessarily equal in particular because of salinity. Then the question has to be addressed of just how different the overall salinity levels are. They would have to be hugely different to make net refreeze commence at SSTs a full degree C lower, let alone 2C lower. And I’m just not convinced of this, for some of the reasons expressed in my earlier post. In other words, I’m perfectly aware of ocean stratification, but it’s the quantitative argument I’m concerned about re: higher salinity vs colder SSTs. (Another thing you need to consider by the way is the choppiness of the open water – it’s not as if the fresh water is always sat calmly on the top with no mixing)
    Meanwhile, the net re-freeze of the last week continues in any event over the main Arctic Basin area of sea ice: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.1.html

    Comment by Chris — 27 Aug 2008 @ 11:15 AM

  161. And just one very final post! (I hope….)

    #157 Alastair: “But these areas do not exist! Or, if you are going to be pedantic are very small.”

    Of course they exist lol!!!! The map you link to doesn’t have any precision below 16% so of course you can’t see them! Check out the following map for the eastern Beaufort and you’ll see that the areas of less than 10 per cent coverage but not ice free are larger than all other areas combined!!!!

    http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/prods/WIS40CT/20080826180000_WIS40CT_0003936564.gif

    Comment by Chris — 27 Aug 2008 @ 11:27 AM

  162. #145 Chris, Thanks for the cool links! If the SST data is right the mystery deepens, 2007 sst’s were caused by clear slies. Warm winds? Only from the Beaufort, as far as I know. Its been more cloudy than compared to last year, SST’s are lower, average temperages are colder, yet the melt is virtually the same. Only a volume calculation would disprove my hypothesis. I suspect
    at the very least an equal volume melt, at cooler surface and SST temperatures. That is a mystery
    which deserves a lot of attention. Winds were indeed a factor, they reduced compression by mainly going against the sea current and tides, causing the ice the spread out more, increasing albedo compared to last year. I dont see your wind point at all, if the winds carried warmer air by advection the temperature record would have been much warmer…

    Comment by wayne davidson — 27 Aug 2008 @ 11:54 AM

  163. G.R.L. Cowan,

    I apologise for writing “proliferation-resistant” instead of “enrichment-free”; few experts seem to share your confidence that most approaches to civil nuclear power are proliferation-resistant. I assume you are referring to “How Fire Can Be Tamed”, at http://www.eagle.ca/~gcowan/235_248.pdf, the main topic of which is fueling cars with metals, and which, in the middle of the text, gives a 2-page informal description of what is, as far as I know, a completely untested proposal for a novel form of nuclear reactor. I’m afraid I am not prepared to take such a description as good evidence it would work. Perhaps you can point me to a source, preferably a peer-reviewed article, where the idea is worked out in more detail?

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 27 Aug 2008 @ 12:10 PM

  164. Re #161

    The blue color on the map you showed stands for ‘open or bergy water’, a few floating bergs are enough to qualify.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 27 Aug 2008 @ 12:25 PM

  165. One final post, honest….?

    #162 Wayne – cheers, glad you like the links.

    I had to reply to your post, because I think the warm winds (combined with the thinned ice following summer 2007) are absolutely critical. I’ve been following the weather maps throughout August, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the persistent southerly winds over a broad swathe of the north Siberian coast for much of the month brought extremely anomalous warmth (certainly compared with the recent decade) and were the key driver of the rapid melt in the Laptev/East Siberian/Chukchi seas (as well as adjoining parts of the central Arctic Basin) since then. As a start, you could check out the temperature records for Tiksi on the Laptev coast which was in the heart of the zone of anomalous warmth
    http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/RussianFeder/Tiksi.htm
    The reason this may not show up in the Arctic temperatures overall is that it was balanced by colder weather elsewhere. For example on the Beaufort Sea – but the trouble was here the ice had already mostly gone, after the hot July centred in N / NW Canada. So all the cold did was to keep the Beaufort Sea colder than it would otherwise have been.

    I would say that broadly, what happens in the Arctic reflects global temperature trends, with a lag, and modified by changes in weather patterns/ocean currents etc.

    So from summer 07 to summer 08 the world got cooler and this was reflected to some extent in Arctic temperatures, but the record melt of 07 had a big knock-on effect, and weather patterns were unfavourable to a major ice recovery. As for summer 09, we’ll have to wait and see……………

    Comment by Chris — 27 Aug 2008 @ 1:15 PM

  166. It occurred to me that the issue of salinity might apply more to the first-year ice than to the melt-water. If first-year ice were, say, 30% more saline than multi-year ice, might not that result in a freeze/melt temp several tenths of a degree colder than that of the nearly-freshwater multiyear ice? It seemed alluring; if this idea were correct, then you might expect to see just the sort of difference in the curves for 2007 and 2008 that we observe.

    A little poking about was more than enough to show that my understanding was way too simple to draw conclusions, however. (See this interesting site: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1200/is_7_158/ai_65301546) Internal structure of first-year ice sounds pretty complex, and I can’t decipher how this structure would act in terms of–well, let’s call it “apparent freezing point”.

    However, it seems clear that first-year ice is relatively more frangible than multiyear ice, even correcting for its typical thinness. The more finely comminuted the ice, the more surface area for bottom melt action, and the more rapidly the ice can melt.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 27 Aug 2008 @ 1:46 PM

  167. I probably should have said “frangible and porous!”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 27 Aug 2008 @ 2:09 PM

  168. Re #130 where Wayne wrote:

    I suspect some warmer air than measured at 2 meters a factor in this years melt. The physics of ice and air interactions needs very close scrutiny, if warmer air is responsible, as I think so, we have to find it.

    Wayne,

    I found it hard to imagine warm air creeping in from the Pacific or Atlantic sea surfaces below 2 metres and covering the Arctic. Then I realised that I already knew where it came from – the greenhouse effect!

    It is generally believed that the greenhouse effect works high in the troposphere. See Busy Week for Water Vapor. But as that thread explains, Phillipona et al. [2005] had reported that water vapor was acting near the surface in Europe. You commented that you thought the same was happening in the Arctic.

    In fact the greenhouse effect was first measured by Horace-Benedict de Saussure using a box 1 foot by 9 inches by 9 inches. He obtained temperatures of around 110C (230F.) [de Saussure, Journal de Paris, 108, April 17, 1784]

    What is happening is that the greater concentrations of CO2, operating in the bottom 9″ of air, are now leading to the ice melting. This increases the water vapour density, which through its greenhouse effect drives the melting even faster. I’ll put more details on my blog. Have to read “Busy Week for Water Vapor” again and Philipona’s response.

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 27 Aug 2008 @ 2:25 PM

  169. Chris,

    If you cherry pick the area and time you map, of course you can show charts with of less than 15% ice. I already wrote that every rule has an exception. The ice has an edge, whether you are willing to believe it or not.

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 27 Aug 2008 @ 4:01 PM

  170. #165 Chris, Lets look at this a little closer:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/do_nmap.py?year_last=2008&month_last=7&sat=4&sst=0&type=anoms&mean_gen=07&y

    It wasn’t that warm over Beaufort in July, Certainly not on the Russian side of the Pole

    North of Seberia was cold in June as well.

    So this is the set up, you have much colder cloudier weather, which affected the Russian side in question,

    If NOAA is accurate, Russian side ice had an average anomaly of +2 C in August… In our days of higher Arctic temperatures, this was quite a mild heat wave. Must wait for a formal August result. Total volume loss is the big number to wait for. If anyone may publish?

    Alastair, Interesting, there such a thing as different air temperatures at ,5, 1, 1,5 meters,
    been there done that, it depends on so many factors, but its possible. 2 meter high measurements over ice in the summer, most likely give a cooler reading than the air just above, But near ice level, a few centimenters above, that is an idea worth investigating at a much grander scale.

    http://www.rap.ucar.edu/weather/upper/cymo.gif

    is the closest upper air measurement to the Arctic available on the net, if someone knows another www link to particular arctic stations, it would be nice to look at more northern profiles. But this one shows a typical inversion.

    At any rate, one fast ship can circumnavigate the world above the arctic circle in no time now:

    http://www.seaice.dk/iwicos/latest/amsr.n.comb.20080826.gif

    Comment by wayne davidson — 27 Aug 2008 @ 4:23 PM

  171. The latest Bremen AMSRE shows a substantial area of low concentration heading into the pack from Beaufort Sea along the 120degWest line of longitude.

    This can be seen in the following visible NASA satellite images:
    Terra
    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/single.php?T082400200
    Aqua
    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/single.php?A082401540

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 27 Aug 2008 @ 5:43 PM

  172. #120 tarmov
    #123 Hank

    Yeah, the thing that is different about this is that the melt curve is slightly convex, not concave. That indicates a different inertia to me.

    I’m not saying we’re going to bust last year but the thermal inertia seems to have a little extra heat in the water and the pattern is funny compared to other years.

    2004 has more in common with the melt rate pattern. If this goes on for two weeks we will be close. If it goes for three, I’d bet we will likely pass 2007.

    I just wish I knew more about the currents to understand it better.

    #124 R. Gates

    I think 2012/13 is a pretty good guess at this point barring new data and when 24 and El nino gear up.

    #127 Alastair McDonald

    I think it’s mostly coming form underwater warm currents. Something did change. If anyone knows the current current dynamics that could explain it, I’m all ears.

    #135 wayne davidson

    This is puzzling if true. I am suspecting that there was a current shift of some sort but have n ow idea if anyone is looking for or found anything that indicates it?

    #145 Chris

    I think the mystery is the odd acceleration while indications are cooler. Maybe, it’s ice thickness vs. temperature since the ice is thinner than a previous year and the melt rate dynamic is taking advantage of the break up capacity?

    A sort of cascade effect once the thickness reaches a certain point combined with the warm water still under the ice.

    The surface melt has pretty much stopped but according to a knowledgeable friend, the ocean side melt can go for anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks from now. It’s still up in the air…, so to speak.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 27 Aug 2008 @ 5:49 PM

  173. Hi Wayne,

    That last link is a day out of date. It should now be:
    http://www.seaice.dk/iwicos/latest/amsr.n.comb.20080827.gif

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 27 Aug 2008 @ 5:56 PM

  174. #172–”I think the mystery is the odd acceleration while indications are cooler. Maybe, it’s ice thickness vs. temperature since the ice is thinner than a previous year and the melt rate dynamic is taking advantage of the break up capacity?”

    Also, porosity and relative fragility due to brine pockets & channels in the first-year (as opposed to multi-year) ice. See the description on the NSIDC site, as well as on the site I linked in my #166.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 27 Aug 2008 @ 9:29 PM

  175. Alastair,

    Just an idea…. Does ice absorb significant amounts of IR? I couldn’t find anything
    concrete, but the literature I read indicates so,

    http://prola.aps.org/abstract/PR/v26/i6/p771_1

    I suspect Thermal IR properties of thinner sea ice as somewhat involved in all this. However, it requires a “mirror” zone of air, not so high above, which is equally warmer than 2 meter temperature measurements. Presumably near the ice as yu suggest, or well above, below or at lower dominant cloud levels. Thanks to the links from Chris, we can discount a warmer sea current, because there is no indication of warmer temperatures. THe solution is in the air and ice.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 28 Aug 2008 @ 1:52 AM

  176. Re 147 Levenson.. Geo Thermal great!..if you are lucky enough to live in a geologically active region of the world. Same with tidal wind generators..except if you happen to live in landlocked country or one where the difference between low and high tide isn’t very great. All these techologies are fine but I think you will see the percentage nett energy output of renewables if falling further behind while coal/oil and gas derived energy are still rocketing ahead laregly thanks to the US, China, Japan and India. The wide spread use of photo voltaics or sun reflector systems is the cleanest and greenest and potentially the cheapest to produce, roll-out, deploy etc. Their efficiency is going up almost every year and indeed would be the ‘best’ continual source of power. So why aren’t governments embracing the concept, subsidising the cells so that almost everybody can afford them??
    Would you happen to have a link to show what percentage of electricity is being generated by renewables as opposed to fossil fuels – 10 years ago up to the present?

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 28 Aug 2008 @ 2:33 AM

  177. Looking at the uni-breman website just now, I would say the north-west passage is officially open or if not a medium sized icebreaker could do the rest. If you want to go for a dip at lat 90 degree N better dust off your snorkel..I think it’ll happen again this year!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 28 Aug 2008 @ 2:48 AM

  178. I haven’t explained what I think has happened in the last 4 days to cause the average daily extent reduction of ~81,000 km2 (which has caused such a fuss!) compared with the average daily reduction of ~46,000 km2 in the previous 4 days – you can download the daily data from IARC-JAXA here http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    Up until about a week ago, there had been low pressure stuck for several weeks roughly just north of the north-central tip of Russia, feeding persistent strong southerly winds up over much of the north Siberian coast. The ice had been persistent here until the end of July, so it took a while for melt to get going (and therefore for the SSTs to pick up) But the more open seas were exposed to wind (and sun – anecdotally, it was sunnier than average at Tiksi on the Laptev coast), the more “fetch” the winds had and the more the seas could be warmed, and waves/chop/currents set in motion against the retreating ice edges and individual floes/local ice packs. (Please note this is a one-sentence simple summary, there’s more to it than that.)
    The low which formed at the beginning of August was intense enough to be called a storm (a “summer” storm if you like since it brought strong mild winds, rather than any freezing temperatures) and it resulted in a period of high exent reduction (daily average reduction 105,900 km2 from 3rd-7th August) which caused a similar fuss to the most recent one. Of course, it was followed by a 4-day period of just 48,500 km2 average daily reduction, as the ice packs settled and the southerly pattern temporarily eased.

    About a week ago, the weather pattern finally shifted, with a strong low moving from close to the north pole towards the East Siberian sea, bringing northerly gales, sub-zero temperatures and even snow to large areas that had previously been anomalously warm. This almost certainly dispersed a lot of the sea ice (into warmer waters) which had previously been blown against the main pack, as well as increasing the “slosh” of the warmed seas against the clusters of ice that had become separated/fragmented from the main pack. So paradoxically, a shift in weather pattern bringing a sharp cooling over wide areas also brought (temporarily?) a sharply increased ice extent (coverage greater than 15%) reduction and associated localised increased melt. The weather pattern is remaining relatively cool over large areas, so the question is, what happens now that the outlying clusters of ice are close to being largely melted/dispersed? Is it possible that we can’t read too much into the very recent trend? Is it possible that it doesn’t have the “inertia” that has been claimed earlier on this thread?

    One very interesting perspective comes from considering what happened in the Arctic in summer 2004. Compare the extent reduction of the last 3 weeks then and now:

    08,06,2004,7424063
    08,27,2004,6024844
    = -1,399,219 km2

    08,06,2008,6579844
    08,27,2008,5175313
    = -1,404,531 km2

    The first thing that is clear is that there is nothing “unprecented” about the recent 3-week trend, taken as an overall average.

    So what was happening in 2004: was it a season where there was a lot of very late season melt? Not at all: consider the following article on the “Short Arctic Summer of 2004″ – freeze-up was actually earlier than in previous years.

    So what happened to extent in the next 3 weeks in 2004?

    08,27,2004,6024844
    09,17,2004,5821250
    = -203,594 km2

    Now I’m not optimistic enough to expect that the reduction in the next 3 weeks of this year will be that small – there’s various reasons why I think it may well be significantly larger. But the 2007 minimum was as follows:

    09,24,2007,4254531

    In order to match that, 2008 will still have to lose a further 921,000 km2, and even to finish within 10 per cent of it 2008 will have to lose a further 495,000 km2. So, as has already been said, the outcome is still “up in the air”.

    A further note: there is little discernible difference in SST anomalies between Aug 2004 and Aug 2008
    http://sharaku.eorc.jaxa.jp/cgi-bin/amsr/polar_sst/polar_sst.cgi?lang=e

    08,27,2008,5175313
    09,17,2008,???????

    Hope some of this is useful!

    Chris

    Comment by Chris — 28 Aug 2008 @ 6:10 AM

  179. I forgot to add the link to the article on the “Short Arctic Summer of 2004″:
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/essay_untersteiner3.html

    Comment by Chris — 28 Aug 2008 @ 6:12 AM

  180. Lawrence Coleman writes:

    Geo Thermal great!..if you are lucky enough to live in a geologically active region of the world.

    Or even if you aren’t. Google “hot dry rock geothermal.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 Aug 2008 @ 6:32 AM

  181. wayne davidson wrote in 175:

    Thanks to the links from Chris, we can discount a warmer sea current, because there is no indication of warmer temperatures. THe solution is in the air and ice.

    If that is the case then we are currently experiencing surface melt. However the guys at NSDIC say its pretty much all bottom melt at this point. That and higher salinity (with ocean level salinity resulting in a two degree reduction in melting point and the effects of salinity being linear) would seem capable of accounting for a great deal given the fact that this is almost all new, saltier ice after last year’s melt. Particularly since temperatures have been less than a degree cooler from last year. And given the fact that concentration is low and the ice is thin, there is less ice to dampen the waves over broad stretches — so that should delay refreeze somewhat.

    In either case, if you can figure out how an atmospheric effect can result in bottom melt but little or no surface melt please let me know. At the moment I am just going to sit back and watch the ice melt.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 28 Aug 2008 @ 7:48 AM

  182. #176

    So why aren’t governments embracing the concept, subsidising the cells so that almost everybody can afford them??

    As far as I know, Germany is the only country that does this. Other countries have limited subsidies.

    Energy from pv is still the most expensive there is. Wind is currently favoured for this reason and another very important one: wind is much more constant than solar.

    In the winter in Europe a pv panel delivers around 1/6th of the power that it delivers in the summer. But the energy demand in the winter is higher than in the summer. Average wind is slightly higher in the winter, so that is a much better match.

    Until there is a viable solution for seasonal energy storage at any significant scale, pv for Europe and many other regions in the world is not attractive at the current price level.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 28 Aug 2008 @ 9:16 AM

  183. 181–

    This post seems to agree with Wayne D’s on the “ice” part–which, as stated, I suspect may be important in what we are seeing.

    We sure seem to have a growing spectator sport on our hands here!

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 28 Aug 2008 @ 9:37 AM

  184. PDO? Subpolar gyre?
    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2008/08/jpl-jason-1-slowdown-of-sub-polar-gyre.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Aug 2008 @ 10:28 AM

  185. Re #152

    Not necessarily – ice often becomes less concentrated following break up/dispersal, in the absence of melt. For example, the following buoy from the edge of the Beaufort Sea (where I understand ice was broken up last winter by storms) still shows ice thickness of >3m, despite southward drift:
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2008F.htm

    Since last january that has been the case in the Beaufort sea, lots of broken old ice which is in low concentration now, however the individual ice is often ~3m thick however it is melting rather rapidly. Some of the old buoys in that region are indicating near total melt, here for example:
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/buoy_plots/ice2007E.gif
    The one Chris referred to above is new, less than a month’s data but has melted ~10% in three weeks.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 28 Aug 2008 @ 10:45 AM

  186. Re: 181 “all pretty much bottom melt at this point”

    No, I don’t think so. The bouys are restricted to non-Russian waters and that’s where the temps are still high and are causing surface melt.

    Comment by Andrew — 28 Aug 2008 @ 10:51 AM

  187. #181 Timothy, I agree that bottom melt is happening now, and also there should be higher salinity. However I think in terms of every component. If the air was dramatically colder
    the melt would stop quite rapidly, The atmospheric contribution has been huge, even now. I am deeply interested in knowing why a likely equal volume of ice has melted under colder air and water conditions. Lately I came to think about Thermal IR contributions from clouds and thinner ice feedback combo, Is there other factors causing this melt to be so substantial under apparently colder temperatures? The idea floated about that first year ice is less salty than old multy year ice does not pass the tea tasting test.

    #183 Kevin , you might be a spectator, but I don’t believe thinking is a sport!

    Comment by wayne davidson — 28 Aug 2008 @ 11:02 AM

  188. Kevin McKinney wrote in 183:

    181

    This post seems to agree with Wayne D’s on the “ice” part–which, as stated, I suspect may be important in what we are seeing.

    We sure seem to have a growing spectator sport on our hands here!

    I’m thinking this bottoms out around 4,033,000 km^2 (give or take 20,000 km^2) on about 30 Sept 2008.

    Strictly my amateur guess, though.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 28 Aug 2008 @ 11:05 AM

  189. Andrew, what’s your basis for those statements?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Aug 2008 @ 11:06 AM

  190. Photovoltaics (PV) CO2 emissions…

    I realize this sure seems like OT, but since climate change and the melting of sea ice is due to rising atmospheric CO2 levels, we need to accurately understand how to reduce CO2 emissions and not be mislead about PVs potential as a solution.

    $4.68: Cost per peak watt for PV
    20%: Fraction of cost needed to refine silica into silicon
    $0.92: Electric cost per peak watt PV module
    $0.03: Wholesale cost of coal fired electricity in China
    31 KWH: Electric need to produce 1 peak watt PV
    4 hr/day: Typical equivalent sunlight for PV installation in Germany or US
    7700 days: Time needed for PV to produce power consumed in production
    21 years: Time needed for PV to produce power consumed in production.

    Understandably, PV manufacturing executives will tell a far more optimistic story.

    Yes, the numbers can be tweaked up or down, but from what I can tell, the PV industry is trying to sell themselves as something that they are not.

    Comment by Andrew — 28 Aug 2008 @ 11:24 AM

  191. #178 Chris, it all makes a pretty story except for two things.

    1. you are talking about extent all the time. Assuming that the melt is only happening from the Extremities of the Ice. Nothing could be further from the truth today. OK Area is unreliable because of the meltwater issues, but compare these two.

    1.

    2004

    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsredata/asi_daygrid_swath/l1a/n6250/2004/aug/asi-n6250-20040828-v5_visual.png

    Today (although the link will update tomorrow)

    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/arctic_AMSRE_visual.png

    The clear and quite extensive melt inside the leading edge of the ice is massively different from 2004. I’d suggest that there is no single point of contact, except the SST figures. More on that in a second.

    2.

    I have noticed the the entire Ice cap has been moving in response to the wind. Stacking up on Svalbard and the islands off Russia then pushing down on the Archipelago and opening up from the islands and Svalbard.

    I’ve never seen that before. Have you?

    Back to the SST. Clearly there is a massive difference between the SST for 2004 and the SST for 2008.

    It’s quite simple really, there is nearly 1 Million sq km “More” warm sea this year than in 2004 where the sea was insulated under the ice. I’d guess that would be a pretty huge energy budget even at the same SST as 2004? I’m no good at Maths and equations but even I can see that raising 1 Million sq km of water by a degree or two “C” is some massive amount of energy. Energy which will power yet more fall and spring warming in the Arctic.

    Or did I get that wrong?

    Comment by NeilT — 28 Aug 2008 @ 11:38 AM

  192. I don’t know if captcha got me or not so I’ll repost

    #178 Chris, it all makes a pretty story except for two things.

    1. you are talking about extent all the time. Assuming that the melt is only happening from the Extremities of the Ice. Nothing could be further from the truth today. OK Area is unreliable because of the meltwater issues, but compare these two.

    1.

    2004

    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsredata/asi_daygrid_swath/l1a/n6250/2004/aug/asi-n6250-20040828-v5_visual.png

    Today (although the link will update tomorrow)

    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/arctic_AMSRE_visual.png

    The clear and quite extensive melt inside the leading edge of the ice is massively different from 2004. I’d suggest that there is no single point of contact, except the SST figures. More on that in a second.

    2.

    I have noticed the the entire Ice cap has been moving in response to the wind. Stacking up on Svalbard and the islands off Russia then pushing down on the Archipelago and opening up from the islands and Svalbard.

    I’ve never seen that before. Have you?

    Back to the SST. Clearly there is a massive difference between the SST for 2004 and the SST for 2008.

    It’s quite simple really, there is nearly 1 Million sq km “More” warm sea this year than in 2004 where the sea was insulated under the ice. I’d guess that would be a pretty huge energy budget even at the same SST as 2004? I’m no good at Maths and equations but even I can see that raising 1 Million sq km of water by a degree or two “C” is some massive amount of energy. Energy which will power yet more fall and spring warming in the Arctic.

    Or did I get that wrong?

    Comment by NeilT — 28 Aug 2008 @ 11:42 AM

  193. #190

    Andrew,

    Interesting numbers. I have a few questions for you.

    In Germany a PV panel produces typically 800 Wh per Wp per year. So with an energy cost of 31 kWh per Wp, that would mean 31.000/800 = 38 years energy payback time, not 21. Can you comment on that?

    How did you get to an energy cost of $0.92 / Wp? Simply 20% of $4.68? Is the cost of refining silica into silicon only electric cost? No machines? No labour? Isn’t the $4.68 price not an end user price including margins for the manufacturer and reseller?

    How did you get to the 31 kWh energy cost per Wp? Divide $0.92 by $0.03? Isn’t the $0.92 / Wp based on the price that the manufacturer pays to the energy company?

    Can you enlighten us a bit on the justification of this calculation? No offence, but to me it seems you just typed a few numbers into your calculator without really understanding what the numbers mean.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 28 Aug 2008 @ 11:46 AM

  194. #190, Andrew, your figures are well thought out but they fall down on one small fact. You are calculating the number of hours per day with Bright Sunlight. which is what you need to produce the 1 peak watt PV.

    However there will be at least two more hours on average where the cells will produce half your 1pwPV.

    Taking the figure to 5 from 4 reduces your years from 21 to16.

    Using mirrors to focus sunlight could reduce it even more.

    If the manufacturers produce PV cells to generate their own power for manufacturing then the figure drops even more.

    OK the German government are skewing the market by subsidising this, however at the end of the day there will be millions of households who will input power to the grid. Microgeneration in other words. which means their energy security will be much higher than if they had not done it.

    Which is an entirely different equation.

    Comment by NeilT — 28 Aug 2008 @ 12:07 PM

  195. Andrew, (#190)

    You might be interested in a more careful calculation of energy payback time:
    http://www.nrel.gov/pv/thin_film/docs/lce2006.pdf
    Energy payback time in Southern Europe (more comparable to the US) is 1.7 to 2.7 years, much shorter than your calculation. Part of your problem may be that you
    are basing you calculation on a retail price for solar.

    Chris

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 28 Aug 2008 @ 12:28 PM

  196. wayne davidson in 187 wrote:

    The idea floated about that first year ice is less salty than old multy year ice does not pass the tea tasting test.

    First year ice is more salty than old multi-year. The salty bits melt first — before the icier bits, drain out as brine, and then the wind and the waves compactify the ice over the years. But I assume you misspoke. And then of course we have the other factors: thin ice, waves, a lower freezing point / melting point, etc.. Don’t see a need to invoke some mechanism for surface melt where melting is taking place almost entirely at the bottom.

    In any case, I am at work, so I have to keep it short at this point. But what do you think? 220,000 km^2 below last year’s sea ice extent minimum by the 30th of next month?

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 28 Aug 2008 @ 1:30 PM

  197. #191 SSTs:

    Late August SST 2008 vs 2007 and 2008 vs 2004, °C.

    [data from: http://nomad1.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh?ctlfile=oiv2.ctl&varlist=on&ptype=map&dir=&lite=1 ]

    G.

    Comment by GlenFergus — 28 Aug 2008 @ 3:37 PM

  198. i hesitate to introduce yet another topic, but this is fascinating:
    http://www.livescience.com/environment/080711-nhm-sea-stripes.html
    http://www.livescience.com/php/multimedia/imagedisplay/img_display.php?s=environment&c=&l=on&pic=080714-sea-currents-02.jpg&cap=A+worldwide+crisscrossing+pattern+of+ocean+current+striations+has+been+revealed+through+measurements+made+by+drifting+buoys+over+a+period+of+more+than+20+years+and+through+satellite+readings+of+ocean+velocity.+Blue+bands+represent+westward-flowing+currents+and+red+bands+indicate+eastward-flowing+currents+that+move+at+roughly+1+centimeter+per+second.+Credit%3A+Nikolai+Maximenko%2C+University+of+Hawaii&title=

    can anyone pint me to similar research on these slooooow currents ?

    Comment by sidd — 28 Aug 2008 @ 3:55 PM

  199. 220,000 km2 is right around the size of utah, right?

    Comment by A.C. — 28 Aug 2008 @ 4:48 PM

  200. #175 Wayne Davidson

    NSIDC mentioned that it is the undersea current doing this and pretty much all bottom melting. I think the sun is to low on the horizon at this point.

    Did you folks see the NSIDC chart today.

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 28 Aug 2008 @ 5:12 PM

  201. Timothy, A cup of Tea with first year ice is bitter, drinkable, if you have no choice, tea with old multi-year ice is as good as Iceberg tea! So you are right, first year ice is more salty, but I didn’t misspoke,

    For extent minima forecast calculation, someone out there can take this map:

    http://seaice.bplaced.net/gfs.html

    Calculate the area of deep bue, that would be an intelligent estimate of how much more ice is about to vanish.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 28 Aug 2008 @ 5:48 PM

  202. Hey I’m a geologist turned Quaternary oceanographer and aspiring climate scientist. These fields aren’t as different from one another as some may think.

    Comment by Figen Mekik — 28 Aug 2008 @ 5:58 PM

  203. Detail further to #196–

    “Multiyear ice has distinct properties that distinguish it from first-year ice, based on processes that occur during the summer melt. Multiyear ice contains much less brine and more air pockets than first-year ice. Less brine means “stiffer” ice that is more difficult for icebreakers to navigate and clear.” (NSIDC: All About Sea Ice: Characteristics: Multi-Year Ice.)

    “. . .sea ice is a porous material made up of pure ice laced with brine-filled cavities and air bubbles.

    “Unlike other porous materials, such as sandstone or bone, sea ice’s microstructure and bulk properties can change dramatically over a small temperature range. Sea ice becomes permeable and brine can travel through the solid when temperatures rise above about -5∞C, if the brine-volume fraction is 5 percent and the salt content is 5 parts per thousand.

    “. . .In polar regions, a snowstorm can elevate the ice temperature and push down on the surface. Brine cavities grow larger and connect, so the ice becomes permeable. Sea water percolates up through the ice to flood the surface. . .

    “. . .once percolation begins, brine pockets quickly connect with each other to create large-diameter brine channels along which most of the fluid transport takes place.

    “During the 1999 voyage to Antarctica, [mathematician Kenneth] Golden, Victoria I. Lytle of the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre in Hobart, Australia, and their coworkers ventured out onto the ice to examine brine channels in the field. They used chain saws to cut out slabs of ice 15 to 26 inches thick. Beet juice scrounged from the ship’s galley revealed the intricate brine pathways threading through the ice.”

    (Science News Online:http://se02.xif.com/articles/20000812/bob10.asp)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 28 Aug 2008 @ 6:00 PM

  204. #200 John, Interesting, the ice is disappearing at locations where SST’s are -4 C…

    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/analysis/351_50.gif

    Its not a simple thing to analyze.. But the over all picture, straight thermal physics, may be easier to understand.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 28 Aug 2008 @ 8:22 PM

  205. Apparently the Gas Hydrates on the ocean floor are beginning to melt.

    Arctic Ocean beginning to release methane

    This article was written in April, but apparently now ships in the arctic are beginning to see these methane burps.

    On another note, has anybody taken a look at that huge area of fast ice along the North Eastern Coast of Greenland. From what I can remenber, it has always survived the summer melt, but now MODIS has shown that it has broken into large flows, and soon will drift out to sea.

    Comment by LG Norton — 28 Aug 2008 @ 8:58 PM

  206. Clathrates + permafrost release = we’re screwed
    My 2 cents.

    Comment by Philippe Chantreau — 28 Aug 2008 @ 9:58 PM

  207. #204 Wayne Davidson

    I keep thinking there was some sort of circulation shift somewhere that no one is picking up on?

    I am very interested in the why or how at the moment.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 28 Aug 2008 @ 11:21 PM

  208. Andrew, let’s compare two possible energy sources: Alberta tar sands on one hand, and solar photovoltaics on the other.

    Tar sands are a mixture of gravel and bitumen, an extremely heavy crude oil. There are hundreds of different compounds in oil sands, and many of them are toxic, and are left behind as residues of the processing. See Naphthenic Acids Contaminated Tailing Pond Waters in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (2005)

    Currently, there are three industrial plants that recover oil from the lower Athabasca oil sands area, and there are plans in the future for several additional mines. The extraction procedures produce large volumes of slurry wastes contaminated with naphthenic acids (NAs)… The process-affected waters and fluid tailings contaminated with NAs are contained on-site primarily in large settling ponds. These fluid wastes from the tailing ponds can be acutely and chronically toxic to aquatic organisms, and NAs have been associated with this toxicity…. The bioremediation techniques have limited success to date in biodegrading NAs to levels below 19 mg/L. Some tailing pond waters have been stored for more than 10 years, and it appears that the remaining high molecular weight NAs are refractory to the natural biodegradation process in the ponds.

    So, that’s the cost of contaminating huge amounts of water with toxins. By comparison, solar PV plants can be made extremely clean – see the Italian Helios PV plant, for example.

    The hydrographical location of the Helios production works spurred its pool of engineers to study the top technologies for eliminating process waste discharges at the source, opting for an entirely environmentally friendly closed-circuit production cycle…. The waste, separated and treated in a selective manner, is collected and treated to obtain pure and ultra-pure water for reuse. Thanks to this innovative system it is possible to reuse about 97% of the water needed by the production line, thereby avoiding environmentally degrading discharges and reducing the consumption of water, a precious asset for the entire community, to a minimum.

    Once in operation, no water is needed for solar PV or wind turbines – but oil sand extraction plants and coal-fired plants and nuclear power plants will always need large volumes of water in order to stay in operation.

    As far as energy use goes, it turns out that three to five times as much carbon dioxide is emitted by oil sands processing as by normal petroleum refinery operation. Those resources should not be developed at all – they should be left in the ground, and Canada should start focusing on wind and biomass (as they are a bit far to the north for solar).

    Coal is not any better, despite what the $2 million ACCCE coal campaign would tell you. We can’t even remove sulfur, mercury, arsenic or selenium from coal, let alone capture and store the CO2 – the one highly-touted effort to do that, FutureGen, has been a technological flop so far, with no end in sight. FutureGen was supposed to separate coal into a stream of H2 and a stream of CO2, with the CO2 to be buried – but no aspects of the technology are all that reliable, with the main problems being the usual ones with coal – the sulfur and arsenic and mercury and selenium, and the highly toxic sludges produced as waste.

    What about energy costs? It’s already clear that solar PV factories can be operated using power derived entirely from solar panels and wind farms – this is called the solar breeder concept. A one giga-watt solar power system could probably keep a large-scale manufacturing plant going.

    Take a look at Volvo’s renewable-energy based production plant in Ghent, Belgium:
    http://www.cospp.com/articles/print_screen.cfm?ARTICLE_ID=330136

    Notice that they use a mixed system – wind turbines, biomass furnaces, and solar PV panels – to meet all their energy needs without resorting to fossil fuels. If a large-scale truck factory can do that (producing 40,000 trucks per year), then so can any other industry.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 28 Aug 2008 @ 11:37 PM

  209. Re #205

    On another note, has anybody taken a look at that huge area of fast ice along the North Eastern Coast of Greenland. From what I can remenber, it has always survived the summer melt, but now MODIS has shown that it has broken into large flows, and soon will drift out to sea.

    Yes, I was discussing that with someone earlier this year, it’s the ‘egg-shaped’ bit near the top middle of this MODIS picture from about a month ago, it was even larger at the minimum last year.
    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/single.php?2008203/crefl1_143.A2008203145500-2008203150000.2km.jpg

    Look at it now (~ a week ago, rotated ~ 90º counter clockwise):
    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/single.php?T082322055
    You can see there’s a huge chunk missing from the south and some major separated fragments in the north. I’m guessing it’s been fed by what looks like a glacier to the west so if the fast ice goes you’d imagine there would be consequences for the flow?
    If you’ve got a fast link check it out at 250m resolution, it’s dramatic!

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 29 Aug 2008 @ 12:17 AM

  210. #176 Lawrence Coleman,

    Spend some time nosing around the links at:

    http://www.smu.edu/geothermal/

    Per BPL, clicking on the google layer at:

    http://www.google.org/egs/

    then the link at U.S. Geothermal Resource (3-10km depth) produces some breakdown on the potential at state by state resolution. What’s particularly useful is the depth at which potential is available for a general area displays by clicking on the pie graphs for each state. The needed holes are rather costly, and they get more so the deeper you have to go. All areas are not equally endowed, with much of the nation’s population being left rather deep and cool, if not exactly high and dry.

    All may not be as dire for the many as a casual glance might indicate. There seems to be a bit of a breakthrough that should cheer the distributed generation fans. One workaround on the depth issue:

    http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/17524/page1/

    A 1 page gloss on the Alaskan project at Chena Hot Springs, a natural spa area that has a long (by Alaskan standards) history of use. They do space heat, and grow much of their food in a greenhouse with geothermal:

    http://www.ase.org/uploaded_files/dinner_nominations/Andromeda/Chena%20Hot%20Springs%20Resort%20-%20Andromeda.pdf

    They are installing one at a Florida oil well this summer, per a recent report.

    Comment by WhiteBeard — 29 Aug 2008 @ 12:56 AM

  211. Re Ice melt, I wonder how this fits in with current thinking about how it is unprecendented.

    http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/mwr/050/mwr-050-11-0589a.pdf

    and

    http://books.google.com/books?id=_-5rQMHKLi8C&pg=PA334&dq=%22the+cold+that+has+for+centuries+past+enclosed+the+seas%22&sig=_9Iyy4d8NVxnctLuL-rwQXMJcPE#PPA334,M1

    Interesting I thought.

    [Response: So the ice near East Greenland allowed travel to 10º 30' W between 74 and 80º N? Shocking. And it got warmer two years after 1815? I wonder why. And how does the Svalbard temperature rise to 1922 compare to temperature today? - gavin]

    Comment by Terry — 29 Aug 2008 @ 2:44 AM

  212. Re: 205 Norton: Just read that article..sent shivers down my spine. 500+billion tonnes of methane hydrates aready issuing to the arctic sea surface.I saw that no-one was willing to speculate on a time frame for complete hydrate melt. Only that, that would depend on the arctic ice melt above with subsequent warming of the sea bed to higher than -1C as is happening already. Methane is 20X more potent than CO2..that’s the eqivalent of 10+ trillion tonnes of CO2. If this is true we will be witness to the last century of inhabitable planet earth!!
    Ok! if mankind is a smart as it believes it is..there is a solution..right???

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 29 Aug 2008 @ 2:54 AM

  213. There is an article in the UK newspapers the Independent about the sea of galilee drying up and the water levels becomming dangerously low. If there any evidence of any of this being attributed to climte change as well as humans pumping a lot of water for grow crops.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/a-biblical-tragedy-in-the-sea-of-galilee-912338.html

    Comment by pete best — 29 Aug 2008 @ 4:23 AM

  214. A just-in article on ‘spiegel on-line’ http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,574815,00.html says that the NE and NW passage are now open for the first time in history. What’s quite sobering I thought was that the arctic melt for summer 2008 will be about as severe and maybe even more than summer 2007. This given the fact that the air temps have been cooler this year in the northern hemisphere…shows how strong the forcing is of a still relatively warm arctic ocean. It also indicates to me that we have free fall! – each consecutive year from now should set a new record.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 29 Aug 2008 @ 4:41 AM

  215. Re #211

    It’s interesting that Terry brings up retreat of the ice in the N Atlantic in 1922 but fails to mention that the same year an expedition to Wrangel Island (off Siberia) was stranded because the island was ice bound and the supply ship couldn’t make it. A Soviet expedition landed there in 1926 and were trapped there for several years by heavy ice and were finally relieved by an icebreaker in the summer of 1929 (which at times could only make a few hundred meters/day).

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 29 Aug 2008 @ 7:46 AM

  216. [206,Philippe] – “Clathrates + permafrost release = we’re screwed
    My 2 cents.”

    Let’s not get down-hearted. We can still make a difference. I’m almost resigned to losing the Greenland ice sheet, though if biochar sequestration is all it’s said to be by some, even that might not be lost.

    If the clathrates are as bad as you think, then it just shifts our influence from trying to save the Himalayan glaciers to trying to save the East Antarctic ice sheet. For sure, a world which involved the melt of all ice except the EAIS would be problematic, but saving ourselves 70m of sea-level rise would still be worth doing and give us a much better chance.

    Comment by Timothy — 29 Aug 2008 @ 8:32 AM

  217. Terry, I’m curious — how did you come across the material you posted here? Where did you find it? Did you know it was about the years right around the huge volcano? I’m wondering if you were fooled? Did you find that on some blog that misled you about its context?
    Did you find it yourself, looking for cool years, but not understand it?

    No shame fooling yourself (or even being fooled) once. Lesson is: it’s a mistake to try to find something to prove what you want to believe.

    With science it works the opposite way. Don’t be fooled again.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Aug 2008 @ 8:55 AM

  218. Looking at the latest NSIDC extent graph, and comparing with the one from two days previous:
    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_daily_extent_hires.png
    http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20080827_Figure1.png

    Interesting differences. Obviously some of this is the wind pushing ice about and the 15% criterion at play.

    However, it looks like the Canadian archipelago is starting to freeze up again, and also some of the open areas of the Beaufort Sea (north of Alaska?). The 2007 minimum looks safe.

    Anyone else see the Morgenstern paper in GRL? Sounds like O3 might explain the discrepancy between Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice trends.

    Comment by Timothy — 29 Aug 2008 @ 10:01 AM

  219. Could someone here give me an accurate answer as to how much of the heat trapped by our greenhouse gases, and the extra water vapor they’ve created, is being stored in the ocean’s waters? I’ve read everything from 10% to 90%.

    [Response: The answer is closer to 90%. But it's possible there is some confusion over what you are asking. Do you have links to the different assessments? We might be able to explain them. The reason why the ocean is taking up so much is because of the heat capacity of water - it takes much more energy to warm the oceans than it does to warm the air (or melt the ice). So for a temperature rise that is roughly comparable in air and surface ocean, the energy change is much larger in the ocean. - gavin]

    Comment by Jack Roesler — 29 Aug 2008 @ 11:02 AM

  220. L G Norton, 205, said :

    “…but apparently now ships in the arctic are beginning to see these methane burps.”

    Do you have a source for that report, please ?

    Timothy, 216, answering Phillipe Chantreau’s

    “Clathrates + permafrost release = we’re screwed”

    said “Let’s not get down-hearted. We can still make a difference.”

    Interesting remark. Being happy or depressed is irrelevant, the glaciers keep on melting regardless of anyone’s mood.

    I don’t fight because I expect to win or lose, I fight because it’s the only right thing to do.

    I thought we were screwed 30+ years ago, when the first plausible predictions of this scenario were publicized, and people failed to act in a rational manner to avoid the danger.

    I think folks have to ask themselves why they are worried. For one’s business investments ? For one’s own survival ? Or, for one’s children’s future ? Or for civilization and the human species ? Or, for all the living things on the planet ? Why ?

    Trashing the biosphere shouldn’t be something we are down hearted about – what’s the appropriate response ? The whole human race should apologise to the universe for the insane crime we are committing here…

    to paraphrase Joni Mitchell,’they paved paradise and put up a parking lot, and then the parking lot fell down on their heads and killed them all’…

    I fight because my conscience tells me that a bad thing is happening, and I can’t stop it, but I don’t have to join in…

    I’m happy every day, because I’m *alive* and I prefer to be happy, even though this horrible event is unfolding, where everything I have loved – the good people, the forests, rivers, lakes, the wonders of the oceans and high mountains – it’s all slipping away forever…because of human stupidity and ignorance.

    Despair is pointless. Do something.

    Learn how to make shoes for yourself, because if all that methane comes out in the next decade, there aren’t going to be any shipments of Chinese shoes coming to the shops…likely, there aren’t going to be any shops with anything at all…

    or, am I wrong ?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7580294.stm

    http://www.countercurrents.org/goodchild230808.htm

    reCAPTCHA seems to get ever spookier..’DYING determinedly’

    Comment by CL — 29 Aug 2008 @ 11:28 AM

  221. Just been catching up on a week’s worth. I hope, good citizens of Real Climate, you can forgive one more off-topic diversion, because if you are still reading, Amanda Eldridge, you might be just the person to sort this whole mess out!

    Because you are right – you and your generation will be the ones who suffer. Please read as much as you can, get as informed as you can, get help where you can. The science community (and Real Climate) is here to help – it is scientists who have raised the alarm, after all. But so far, no-one has heeded that alarm. In the end, it comes down to the world’s politicians… and this is where you come in!

    Yours is the first thing I’ve ever read from a child where I can feel the ANGER. That anger is right, and what is needed – our generation has failed and is dumping its responsibility on your shoulders. What if millions of 13 year olds across the world got as angry as you? So start a website – get all the help you need from friends and family. I even have a catchy slogan to get you started – next to a picture of the Earth, put “You Broke It, You Fix It”, and get kids who agree to sign up. And say it loud and proud to the politicians of the world – the deals they make in 2009 ending up in Copenhagen in December will probably determine what sort of a world you will live in. The world needs to hear your collective voice screaming as loud – and as soon – as it can!

    Comment by Kent Guy — 29 Aug 2008 @ 11:39 AM

  222. CL #220:

    ““Let’s not get down-hearted. We can still make a difference.”

    Interesting remark. Being happy or depressed is irrelevant, the glaciers keep on melting regardless of anyone’s mood.”

    But if you go now “we’re boned” all that’s left to do is give up. How many people who give up get anything done? If we’re going to give up, we might as well go big time. Run up HUGE debts, trash anything we want, break any laws and find the nearest attractive creature that can’t run away from amorous advances.

    After all, if we’re doomed, might as well go out with a bang, eh?

    ‘course that seals our fate: we really ARE boned because of our decision it was too late.

    Or take the positive view and at least, even if you’re wrong, you’ve enjoyed working on something new and interesting, maybe even gotten life to last longer. Maybe, even if we’re wrong, something later will give us a massive opportunity to change. E.g. space elevators and useful large space station/cities could be achievable before we get a runaway CO2 catastrophe.

    But if we give up, we really are doomed.

    Comment by Mark — 29 Aug 2008 @ 11:44 AM

  223. To go WHERE NO SHIP has gone before, Congratulations on Polarstern

    http://iup.physik.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/Polarstern_nic.png

    Placing human eyes amongst the open water North of Beaufort, a new ice free ocean has its first ship. True exploration and science at its best.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 29 Aug 2008 @ 11:54 AM

  224. Re: #209 –

    Phil. Felton notes the changes in the ice along the North Eastern coast of Greenland. It would appear that the winds have forced the broken ice to move northward. Recall that last Winter, there was a considerable flow of sea-ice in the opposite direction, that is, out of the Arctic Ocean thru the Fram Strait. Here’s a link to an animation.

    http://www.homerdixon.com/download/arctic_flushing.html

    Notice the apparent storm caused shattering of the sea-ice in the Beaufort Sea (the lower RHS of the screen) early in the animation. With the extent this year again approaching record minimums, I think we will see a similar flow pattern repeated this coming Winter, if the prevailing winds are a repeat of that seen last year. There might even be an increase, if the land fast ice continues to break up and thus the effective width of the Fram Strait would be greater. That would translate into major flows of fresh water in the form of sea-ice into the East Greenland Current, thence into the Labrador Sea. I think this can only continue to freshen the waters in the Sub-Polar Gyre and the Nordic Seas.

    Does anyone have any oceanographic data on the strength of the THC sinking in the Greenland Sea this year? I don’t mean the data from the RAPID current array from Florida to Spain. I’d like to know, were there any of those “Convective Chimneys” found in the Greenland Sea?

    E. S.

    Comment by Eric Swanson — 29 Aug 2008 @ 12:01 PM

  225. Gavin: In answer to your response in #219, one reference is the following, in which it says the oceans hold 80% of our trapped heat.

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/02/02/climate.change.report/

    Then on page 106 of Robert Henson’s book, “The Rough Guide to Climate Change”, second edition, he puts the percentage at 10%.

    I have read other estimates that it’s 90%.

    With your resources, I’m sure your figure of 90% is correct.

    Comment by Jack Roesler — 29 Aug 2008 @ 12:47 PM

  226. Mark, 222,

    Am I mis-reading you, or did you mis-read what I wrote ? Perhaps I didn’t express it very clearly. *I* will NEVER give up. Nor will I party the final days away in glorious rioting…(if that appealed to me, I’d be doing it anyway, regardless of AGW).

    My point was perhaps too subtle. If the prospect of global cataclysm is truly upon us and unavoidable, then almost everybody is going to go through some heavy emotional and psychological re-adjustments and re-evaluate their motives. What I’m saying, is that one’s mood is an independent variable, which can be consciously selected. But this isn’t the place for a seminar on the inner game and all that…

    Well said, Kent Guy. Love and rage !

    Spooky reCaptcha does it again ‘Amanda 1901′

    Comment by CL — 29 Aug 2008 @ 1:06 PM

  227. Nice imagery available, for example:
    http://iup.physik.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/modis_Oden.png

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Aug 2008 @ 1:52 PM

  228. re Phil Fenton (209):

    This image of Northeast Greenland shows the fast ice is fast no longer. I wonder if anyone has instruments on that particular outlet glacier. It would be fascinating to see how much it speeds up as the blockage to the sea is cleared. And if you go down to 250 meter resolution, you can see meltwater ponds on the main glacier.

    Timothy Chase: I agree that we can’t lose heart, but some days it is hard. But my 10 year old daughter is having serious worries about her future. She doesn’t know the half of it, but still she worries about just growing up and having a family of her own. So I do what I can.

    reCAPTCH: Change Jr.

    Comment by Tim McDermott — 29 Aug 2008 @ 2:42 PM

  229. Re #130
    I suspect some warmer air than measured at 2 meters a factor in this years melt. The physics of ice and air interactions needs very close scrutiny, if warmer air is responsible, as I think so, we have to find it.

    Wayne one thing to consider is the Greenhouse effect! As we are told frequently (and as you know from your daily life), the length of daylight is falling rapidly in the N polar regions, however the IR isn’t. See here for example:
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/gallery_np_weatherdata.html
    Note that the short wave (solar) is about 1/3rd of its midsummer value while IR has hardly dropped.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 29 Aug 2008 @ 2:56 PM

  230. RE 220 & 222, here’s an attitude I can ID with:

    Excerpts from: “The Delusion Revolution: We’re on the Road to Extinction and in Denial,” by Robert Jensen, AlterNet. Posted August 15, 2008. http://www.alternet.org/story/95126/the_delusion_revolution%3A_we%27re_on_the_road_to_extinction_and_in_denial/

    “Our current way of life is unsustainable. We are the first species that will have to self-consciously impose limits on ourselves if we are to survive…”

    Then it goes on about how we need to change our conception of the future, and ends with:

    “We should not be afraid to face the death of the old future, nor should we be afraid to try to earn a new one. It is the work of all the ages, and it is our work today, more than ever. It is the work that allows one to live, joyously, while in a profound state of grief.”

    I know I thought some 18 years ago (when I became more intensely aware of GW & started reducing our GHGs cost-effectively) that all I’d have to do is tell people about it & how they could save money while saving the earth, and they’d tell others, who’d tell others, and I could get back to my regularly scheduled life, including reducing our GHGs. Instead it’s been like a nightmare of wall after wall of denial and lack of clear understanding. But now with growing talk about GW, I’m beginning to feel a tad bit more optimistic — just hope the talk turns to walk in time to avoid the really bad stuff.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 29 Aug 2008 @ 3:08 PM

  231. Re #228

    It’s Felton by the way but no big deal.
    Yesterday’s image was too cloudy to see that detail but the one you posted from today shows how much breakup there has been since the one I posted from 10 days ago. It’s spectacular if you view it at 250m resolution, the ‘fast ice’ has been smashed to smithereens, another few days and the glacier will be exposed to the sea!

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 29 Aug 2008 @ 3:13 PM

  232. To Jack Roesler (225):

    Thanks for catching the discrepancy between the value in my book of “at least 10%” for the percentage of total AGW-trapped heat that’s gone into the oceans in the last half-century and the values of 90%+ found elsewhere. I don’t have notes with me right now, but I believe I obtained the 10% value by comparing total anthropogenic radiative forcing (~1.6 W/m2 in IPCC AR4, p.131) to the increase in global ocean heat content (~0.21 W/m2 in IPCC AR4, p.387).

    None of my reviewers changed the “at least 10%” value, but I can’t square it with the 90%+ values noted here today. Any thoughts?

    –Bob

    [Response: The 90% is the where the total anomalous heat has gone (Levitus et al, 2002). Your calculation isn't the same thing at all, and actually isn't quite right. First off, the net forcing in 2006 is not the net imbalance in 2006 - the planet has partially warmed up already and so some part of the total forcing has already been adjusted to. Hansen et al (2005) estimated the current imbalance at about 0.8 W/m2. Next, the flux going into the ocean this year (or this decade) is not the same as the averaged flux since 1960. It is likely to have increased as the forcings have increased. In fact, almost all of the 0.8 W/m2 estimated imbalance is likely going into the ocean (once you've averaged over enough ocean 'weather' like El Nino/La Nina etc.) (see this discussion for more details). So, I think the bottom line is that the 90% is correct. (Sorry!). - gavin]

    Comment by Robert Henson — 29 Aug 2008 @ 3:43 PM

  233. Re: 220

    The source of the article is from Natalia Shakhova, currently a guest scientist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks who is also a member of the Pacific Institute of Geography at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Vladivostok.

    I wonder if some reporter took her out of context

    Here is another of her articles, showing the burning of methane on the arctic ice
    Igniting methane on the arctic ice

    Comment by LG Norton — 29 Aug 2008 @ 4:36 PM

  234. Re methane/hydrates. I’ve been following this issue at Hot Topic (eg here, and see links in that post), and I think a couple of things are germane. The first is that it would seem unlikely that the entire store of methane hydrate on the Arctic sea floor would “burp” at once. However, a chronic leak could still have the potential to have dramatic impacts. The global warming potential of methane is usually quoted as 23 times CO2, but that is on a century timescale. Over 20 years, the GWP is 72. The impact of even small increases in atmospheric methane could be profound.

    Perhaps David Archer could chip in, provide more enlightenment on the work that’s being done in the seas off Siberia, and deliver some kind of assessment of our vulnerability to methane hydrate releases in the Arctic.

    Comment by Gareth — 29 Aug 2008 @ 4:39 PM

  235. Wayne, based on the latest info at the nsidc site, I think there’s a good chance (about 90%) that Arctic sea ice extent in 2008 will drop below the record low set in 2007.

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    Also,

    http://www.desmogblog.com/palin-denies-climate-change-realities-on-first-day-as-mccains-running-mate

    Comment by pat n — 29 Aug 2008 @ 4:41 PM

  236. Not the ‘entire store’ but there are arguments for ‘burps’ in the past (craters in the seabed, for example). Once a layer of sediment starts to lift off of a deposit, removing some pressure and letting seawater in, a layer or bed could turn into a storm of bubbles very quickly.
    http://doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2005.12.005
    http://www.ifremer.fr/biocean/acces_fr/rapports/Appel_3divefr.htql?numcruise=122&numdive=272

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Aug 2008 @ 5:43 PM

  237. > next to a picture of the Earth, put “You Broke It, You Fix It”, and get kids who agree to sign up.

    And call it to the attention of the very few who own and control most of the planet.

    http://www.lcurve.org
    “You will not be outraged by outrageous statistics if you don’t comprehend the numbers.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Aug 2008 @ 5:48 PM

  238. Hi Pat, Hope the guys will come up with a few answers with respect to this melt, I got some serious concerns related to about how we are judging the rate of GW increase. My estimates in March or April are getting close with respect to ice, however surface temperatures are said to be cooler, which does not match either current ice extent, neither refraction sun disk expansions
    which agree with the melt extent. Montreal summer 2008 sun disk data show no cooling as well.
    Hence its difficult to project anything from surface temperatures data, its understandable why models dont fit to surface data, otherwise they would never give coherent forecasts. I dont know if Alaska is also showing some cooling on your surface plots, if they do, The digging for answers must be deep.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 29 Aug 2008 @ 6:42 PM

  239. gavin’s inline in 232.
    Some of the heat imbalance goes into warming (and weakening or even melting) the ice sheets. Of course, at some point the strength of the ice foundation fails, the potential energy of the ice sheet is converted into kinetic energy, and all of the energy does end up in the oceans, but perhaps the process has some interest that is worth thinking about.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 29 Aug 2008 @ 8:21 PM

  240. Phil. Felton wrote in 229:

    Wayne one thing to consider is the Greenhouse effect! As we are told frequently (and as you know from your daily life), the length of daylight is falling rapidly in the N polar regions, however the IR isn’t. See here for example:

    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/gallery_np_weatherdata.html

    Note that the short wave (solar) is about 1/3rd of its midsummer value while IR has hardly dropped.

    Phil, the graphs are impressive!

    Wayne, I know you were asking earlier about the emissivity of ice. Turns out to be fairly high, but variable, depending not just on the wavelength or angle but type of ice.

    Here is one source to check out:

    Hobbs (1974, p. 223) devotes part of one page to the subject. “Since the absorptivity of ice is large for wave numbers below 10 000 cm-1, and the reflectivity is small, the emissivity of ice should be close to unity in the infrared region”

    Rao et al. present a graph which shows ‘lake and new sea ice’ to have emissivities of approximately 0.85 between 10 and 37 GHz, increasing slightly with frequency. (No citation?)

    AVHRR notes
    http://www.geo.mtu.edu/great_lakes/ice/SSMI_ICE_COVER/AVHRR/avhrr.html

    … and another:

    Emissivity of Ice and Water
    Almost Perfect Black Body Radiators

    http://www.comp.glam.ac.uk/pages/staff/pplassma/MedImaging/PROJECTS/IR/CAMTEST/Icewater.htm

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 29 Aug 2008 @ 9:33 PM

  241. Regarding hydrate happenings: Once a patch of hydrate begins to degas it will create an up-welling bubble stream that resembles an airlift pump. This will promptly induce an upward water flow with the development of a circulating cell which will pull water from beyond and above to the source of the bubble stream.

    This import of energy will then support the degassing process and could well lead to the rapid collapse of the locally-available hydrate area. The induced water velocities could readily approach those required to strip un-compacted sediment off hydrate deposits.

    So the risk of a blow-out from a significant area is high and real, and would be limited only by the physical layout of the deposit and the resistance of the overburden sediments to erosion and heat transfer.

    The evidence at the surface would be the methane gas delivery via a mass of bubbles, accompanied by discoloration of the water carrying sediment, as well as significant surface disturbance as the circulating cell provides an outward vector to the surface waters. The core of the up-welling could present a danger to any floating object, due to the reduced density of the ‘water’ in the stream.

    Are there satellite sensors in orbit that can detect methane blooms, or keep an eye out for the surface signatures?

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 29 Aug 2008 @ 9:42 PM

  242. Hank Roberts wrote in 237:

    And call it to the attention of the very few who own and control most of the planet.

    http://www.lcurve.org
    “You will not be outraged by outrageous statistics if you don’t comprehend the numbers.”

    Please see:

    Update: As was pointed out in the comments, the author of the site is counting a 1-year increase in Bill Gates’ net worth as income. (Wikipedia confirms that Gates’ wealth “briefly surpassed $100 billion in 1999″.) I guess the author only counts positive income, because there’s no 50-kilometer deep spike to reflect Mr. Gates’ subsequent loss in net worth.

    Throwing off the curve
    Posted by Eric Seymour at 05:28 PM
    http://www.intheagora.com/archives/2006/09/throwing_off_th.html

    … but on a related note:

    Bill Gates checks out Canada’s tar sands
    Posted by Lisa Stiffler at August 21, 2008 11:32 p.m.
    http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/environment/archives/146697.asp

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 29 Aug 2008 @ 11:32 PM

  243. patn said
    “Wayne, based on the latest info at the nsidc site, I think there’s a good chance (about 90%) that Arctic sea ice extent in 2008 will drop below the record low set in 2007.”

    About 90%?
    On 9 August 2008 extent was 852k km^2 behind 2007 (per IJIS data)and there was 1311k km^2 extent reduction after 9 Aug in 2007. Reductions would have to be 65% faster than 2007. (2007 was fastest decline in last six years.) Note I am cherrypicking 9 Aug which was a maximum in the extent difference to make the 2008 rate of decline look good.

    We are now about 456k km^2 behind with 410k km^2 melt left in the 2007 season. So now we need 111% faster than 2007 to reach a record. I think this indicates we are not keeping up with the rate required to reach a record.

    That doesn’t mean we will not have a record. As we approach September the extent reductions may well become more variable. I am sure some better analysis than that is possible. However, I do wonder when I start counting the number of factor involved: water salinity, SST, depth of warm water temperature, areas of different ice thickness, ice concentration, first year ice/salt levels in ice, air temperatures at 2m and other heights, wind directions, storms/wave heights and angles etc.

    There are a lot of factors. So are speculations based on a favourite subset of information likely to be overfitting the results to the inputs considered? Doesn’t it really need models that try to take all these factors into account?

    Anyway 90% seems a pretty high figure when it appears to me that we are not keeping up with the required rate.

    Comment by crandles — 30 Aug 2008 @ 5:07 AM

  244. Gareth, #234. I would think that if we can get something down there and convert these hydrates to something a little less volatile in place and put them back there (heck, maybe using the pressures and the temperature difference to generate on-site energy), this would be a good thing for “geoengineering” to do. It doesn’t “fix” anything currently a problem, but it does remove a HUGE risk for the near future if the pessimists are right.

    Better than, in my opinion, trying to take carbon out of the atmosphere and hide it underground (unless they found a way to turn it into graphite to be put in the oil wells with local CO2 neutral power generation)

    Comment by Mark — 30 Aug 2008 @ 5:14 AM

  245. CL, #226, I wasn’t thinking you were giving up, I was just using the quote to start off with.

    ta.

    Comment by Mark — 30 Aug 2008 @ 5:18 AM

  246. Are there satellite sensors in orbit that can detect methane blooms, or keep an eye out for the surface signatures?

    There’s the Sciamachy Envisat data, but that wasn’t showing anything last year. It would be interesting to see an update.

    And Mark: if wishes were ponies, I’d have enough to mobilise a tribe.

    Comment by Gareth — 30 Aug 2008 @ 5:43 AM

  247. Note: The risks of Clathrate release, release of CH4/CO2 from permafrost, and other unknown unknowns are precisely the reason why I have argued strenuously that there needs to be more to the economic analysis than rising sea level.

    The process of clathrate release is interesting. Back in the 90s, I reported on the modeling of limnic eruptions of the type that occurred at Lake Nyos in Cameroun. In this case, a CO2 vent feeds into the bottom of a deep volcanic lake. CO2 goes into solution in the cold, dense bottom waters, further increasing their density. The process is stable until something overturns the water. Then, the CO2 is released an the frothy mixture rises explosively to the surface like a shaken can of soda. In this case, though, you have 3 phase flow, so the dynamics will be even more complicated. Has anyone modeled this?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Aug 2008 @ 6:32 AM

  248. Reply to Crandles

    In the 2007 NSIDC graph, the inflection point in the sea ice extent occurred just after 1 July. It is not clear that it has occurred yet this year — i.e. the rate of melting does not appear that it’s begun to slow down. The second derivative is not yet positive (or at least not recognizably so). So Pat N’s conjecture that there is a 90% chance that we beat the 2007 minimum is quite reasonable.

    What is special about 9 August. You do seem to be cherry picking. And the numerical argument you present is a reminder of why we invented geometry. Look at the graph!

    Comment by Robert Matlock — 30 Aug 2008 @ 9:03 AM

  249. Mark, 245, Ah, I see. No problem :-)

    “People are so stupid and so destructive — we can do nothing for them.” So I withdrew from society. I thought I would leave and just sit on a hill and watch it collapse.”

    http://www.scottlondon.com/interviews/mollison.html

    Comment by CL — 30 Aug 2008 @ 9:16 AM

  250. 229 and 240, Many thanks Phil, that`s it! Of course its the greenhouse effect, but 3d graph as to where the IR is coming from towards the ice is crucial. Again,
    I supect an inversion, 2 meters above the ice sounds reasonable that there is an inversion starting there. So there is Warmer air right above, bombarding the ice with thermal IR, in return the ice itself keeps this air quite warm at levels uncertain, but its a fair guess that clouds bounce back a great deal of Thermal infra red, greenhouse gases will only amplify this effect. So it is very possible that colder surface temperatures measured at 2 m above the ice are misleading. And that a better measurement would be to
    pinpoint the warmest air above the ice, and see how thick and warm it is. Since no one is there except Polarstern, I hope they do regular radiosonde probings
    of the Upper air. Gribb would give an idea as well, but I suspect that this warmer air is a huge thermal source. Enough as I already measured in the spring,
    to be compared with 2007 density weighted temperatures of the entire atmosphere. The cooling in 2008 was near the surface, but the atmosphere remains just as warm as a whole.

    I am also curious about Alastair 9 inch assertion, is there something there as well?

    I would say that we are not seeing a major player
    in this melt, so its safe to say that it will surprise still.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 30 Aug 2008 @ 10:20 AM

  251. Re: 238

    Hi Wayne,

    Temperatures at Alaska climate stations through July this year have been below historical (1971-2000) averages. I’ll check the NWS website next week to see how August 2008 compares to recent 30 year averages.

    Comment by pat n — 30 Aug 2008 @ 10:37 AM

  252. re #248
    Robert Matlock

    How good is your late inflection point argument? 2004 had a late inflection point and after the inflection point there was very little reduction in extent. Not very reliable would be my reaction. Also, I would rather trust when the minimum has been rather than when the inflection point might indicate the minimum will be.

    What is special about 9 August? Perhaps I expressed myself badly; I should have said high not good. Anyway just wanted to say that I was deliberately rotten-cherry-picking. If I picked say 1 August as the starting rate then the required rate would have risen from 37.5% to 111% faster than 2007 rate instead of 65% to 111%. The data would be better but it might cause people to wonder if I was cherry picking so making clear I was rotten-cherry-picking seemed appropriate.

    There may well be reason to think the minimum will be later than 2007 and that would be a problem for my simple required rate calculations. There may well be reason to say a new record is more likely than not. 90% sounds overconfident to me. Would you really offer odds of 8:1 or better for a bet?

    Comment by crandles — 30 Aug 2008 @ 11:22 AM

  253. Re: pat n in 235, crandles in 243

    I must admit that the melt isn’t quite keeping up with my own projections at the moment: it is about a day behind where I would expect it to be. However, there is a great deal of day-to-day variability. I will want to see where we are at on the 16th of September.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 30 Aug 2008 @ 11:59 AM

  254. 90% chance of a new record?

    From my reading of the situation I agree with Crandles, however my main reason is I don’t see how anyone can predict what is to come due to the state of the ice, this is now in the hands of the weather. So probabilities like 90% seem gross overstatements of confidence to me.

    At present NSIDC is showing a slight flattening, that doesn’t sway me either way.

    #244 Mark,

    Pessimists or realists?

    If we are in a rapid transition to a seasonally ice-free state (I now think we are), then that implies substantial warming of the Arctic. Which will have secondary impacts:

    1) Climatic shift.
    If you warm the Arctic, and (crucially) increase humidity due to higher temperatures and more open water over 0degC, then you will change the relationship between the polar and tropical regions. This changes what happens in between the pole and tropics, i.e. climate in the northern hemisphere. Such changes would not be in the small-scale physics but in the large scale relationships, such as jet stream tracks affecting precipitation. Thinking of the atmosphere in the simplest possible terms – a heat engine – shows how inevitable this is. The impacts are not known but the worst are likely to be changes in timing and amounts of precipitation. But what practical impact will that have overall, on both humans and the Biosphere/Lithosphere/Oceans?

    2) Clathrate outgassing.
    A greater area of open ocean warms the oceans, just look at the
    JAXA EORC plots you can look back to see that warming. Furthermore removing the ice increases storminess (due to water vapour) and storms assist vertical mixing, with less ice this happens over a wider area. There is already evidence of clathrates being potentially unstable and there being more risk of rapid outgassing than land permafrost (Shakhova). But how much methane will be released and how quickly?

    3) Greenland and Sea Level Rise.
    Remove the sea-ice from the North Greenland coast and you will warm the northern flanks of Greenland, which have been cooled by the expanse of ice across the Arctic Ocean. The ice cap has been large enough in the summer to effectively develop it’s own climate, keeping it markedly cooler than in the wider Arctic Basin. Warmer temperatures in the north of Greenland are sure to lead to a greater contribution to sea level rise. How by how much and how fast will sea level rise?

    There are multiple permutations of the further/wider impacts of 1,2 & 3, that may enhance or offset the overall impacts.

    All of the above were risks of climate change anyway, at some future point. If this is a rapid transition then they have just been pegged in our lot: They are no longer possible risks in the future, they are now things that are commencing and once started will proceed.

    Were we looking at a seasonally ice free Arctic in 2050 we’d have time to learn more adapt and perhaps reduce our emissions severely enough to slow the process. If as I now fear we’re looking at an ice-free Arctic by 2018 we have barely any time to do anything before consequences hit. The only attainable option we may have now is to try to avoid a catastrophe by massive emissions reductions, reductions we will have to achieve as we struggle to cope with an unfolding disaster. And that’s ignoring the possibility of wider climatic destabilisation caused by impacts secondary to the Arctic’s 3 secondary impacts above.

    It is quite possible that we have just run out of time.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 30 Aug 2008 @ 12:33 PM

  255. Good for you Gareth.

    Hopefully you’re not too tall for a pony.

    Comment by Mark — 30 Aug 2008 @ 12:37 PM

  256. # Gareth Says:
    30 August 2008 at 5:43 AM

    > Are there satellite sensors in orbit that can detect methane >blooms, or keep an eye out for the surface signatures?

    >There’s the Sciamachy Envisat data, but that wasn’t showing anything >last year. It would be interesting to see an update.

    >And Mark: if wishes were ponies, I’d have enough to mobilise a tribe.

    I am not downplaying the problems with methane. I only note that the methane emissions will show up in the atmospheric concentration, measured by different organizations. Increase in concentrations pretty much stopped around 2000. We’ll see later this year if the observations on blurbs have any global importance at this time.

    Comment by Lauri — 30 Aug 2008 @ 1:21 PM

  257. Lauri,

    Last year, atmospheric methane began to increase again. The BBC reported NOAA’s 2007 figures here, back in April.

    Comment by Gareth — 30 Aug 2008 @ 5:19 PM

  258. Re #232 (Gavin’s reply to my post):

    We’ll fix this in the next printing of the Rough Guide. Thanks for clarifying.

    And kudos to CobblyWorlds (#254) for an excellent summation of what we ought to be thinking about over the next few years as the Arctic melt continues.

    For what it’s worth, I’ll lay 40% odds on this year’s melt surpassing 2007′s . . .

    –Bob

    Comment by Robert Henson — 30 Aug 2008 @ 5:26 PM

  259. > secondary impacts:

    Don’t forget to get in touch with the biologists who were talking with Dr. Bitz back around the time of her thread here, who know some and expect to rapidly learn more about what part of primary ocean productivity depends on the sea ice cycle.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Aug 2008 @ 6:54 PM

  260. #251, Thanks Pat, follows the trend, cooler air less ice!

    Comment by wayne davidson — 30 Aug 2008 @ 7:20 PM

  261. CobblyWoods wrote in 254:

    90% chance of a new record?

    From my reading of the situation I agree with Crandles, however my main reason is I don’t see how anyone can predict what is to come due to the state of the ice, this is now in the hands of the weather. So probabilities like 90% seem gross overstatements of confidence to me.

    At present NSIDC is showing a slight flattening, that doesn’t sway me either way.

    I agree with your focus on the long range, the methane hydrates and so on, and I think that we could easily focus too much on what happens this year. But at the same time, I think we have entered a new regime of sorts. There haven’t been the big dips and turns that normally occur each year with sea ice extent. So much of it is new, thin ice. So what dips and turns we have seen have been fairly small. And there has been a trend of sorts for the past three months — one which is quite simple — the simplicity of which may be the result of this new regime.

    Here is actual vs. projected:

    Sea Ice Extent Since May 31, 2008
    http://img337.imageshack.us/my.php?image=seaiceextentsince200805cs2.jpg

    The data I based it off of was from IJIS and included their May 31 through August 27, 2008:

    IJIS Web Site: Data of Sea Ice Extent
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    The last date of actual plotted is August 29, 2008 — which stands out as I omitted August 28, 2008. (However, that isn’t the reason why I omitted the August 28: including it would have meant downloading the data file again.)

    Starting with June 1, 2008, I calculated the sea ice loss for each day relative to the preceding day, then I did a quadratic trendline for the sea ice loss. Then for each day, I project a sea ice extent equal to the total projected sea ice loss since May 31, 2008 beginning with the sea ice extent of May 31, 2008. There is no smoothing of the real data on my part — and the two curves are nearly on top of one another since early June. Based upon this projection, this year’s sea ice extent should fall below that of last year on September 16, 2008 and should reach this year’s record on September 30, 2008: 4,062,663 km^2. (Note: this is a slight correction from my earlier projection — where I had begun with June 1 rather than May 31 sea ice extent — while also beginning with the sea ice extent loss of June 1 — which requires one to begin with the sea ice extent of May 31.)

    Now when I make that projection I am only being half serious. It isn’t based upon any physics, any analysis of the actual conditions, etc. and strictly amateur. But it is a very simple equation that rather accurately captures the evolution of sea ice extent for the latter half of this year so far. The weather has been the tiny wiggles. And the trend has been clear. Now at some point the trend will change, but then the fact that it changes will itself mean that we have learned something new.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 30 Aug 2008 @ 10:08 PM

  262. Re 221 Kent Guy..Exactly wahat I was waiting for..and waiting..and waiting..A bit of ‘Anger’ and fear from the academic community..I think they are at last realizing the full implications of what is happening. Instead of treating this as just another academic exercise as they have done all through college and university..I feel they have crossed the threshhold. With directed anger you can acheive anything..you can put real pressure on respective governmental agencies if there enough of you who feel..rightly ‘terrorified’ of what the numbers you are numbly crunching actually imply for ALL of us. Now it is up to the scientists amongst you to do some forcing for yourselves..actually convey your fear and extreme concern and put this emotion into a logical and irrefutable protocol to present to your relevant authorities. A breath of fresh air came in the words of Amanda Eldridge..we can learn for that..humans are by nature ‘emotional’ creatures. The greatest oratories that have shaped our history have come from a deep feeling of ‘fear’ and ‘anger’ and concern. It is high time for all of to express our fear..to plagerize and modify an iconic saying..”I’m as ‘scared’ as hell and I’m not going to take it any more”!!!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 31 Aug 2008 @ 12:59 AM

  263. Yes Nukes. Now.

    There is no perfect solution. If you are not considering nuclear, you are not seriously considering how desperate the situation is. You are not thinking rationally. You are putting idealism ahead of pragmatism.

    Conservation has to be part of the solution. So does wind, solar, etc etc. However, we need additional baseload power that does not produce CO2. Wind and solar don’t cut it. You can’t build a power grid out of them. Sorry. Can’t do it. They can supplement the grid, but you still need baseload.

    Most of the problems with nuclear are problems of policy, not Nature. The cost of nuclear is dominated by things like compliance with radiation limits that put exposure orders of magnitude below natural background levels, based on the absurdity of a linear-no-threshold (LNT) model of biological risk to radiation exposure, or other policy absurdities like the abandonment of waste reprocessing, which adds huge expenses to nuclear energy in the form of the overhead of completely unnecessary waste disposal of perfectly useful fuel.

    Far more people have been killed just by coal trains alone than have ever been harmed by Western nuclear reactors, nevermind the thousands of people made ill by coal combustion products leading to asthma, cardiovascular problems, mercury poisoning, and nevermind the CO2 that coal puts out.

    It is true that Atoms of Peace was an unmitigated disaster; it backfired like so many other well-intentioned programs. However, I would love somebody to explain to me how a change in policy stance by the US or EU towards more civilian nuclear power, or a resumption of spent fuel reprocessing by the US, has any impact whatsoever on global nuclear security. It is quite obvious that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, but I fail to see why in the world that should have anything to do with whether we decide to get more electricity from civilian nuclear plants. Of course Ahmedenejad will grandstand on anything, but that’s not really news.

    It is always the case with technology – always – that it can be used for good or evil purposes. You can use mills and lathes to make farm equipment, or you can use them to make weapons of war. That’s not a reason not to build mills and lathes.

    Comment by Peter Williams — 31 Aug 2008 @ 1:15 AM

  264. PS Oops I meant Atoms for Peace, not Atoms of Peace.

    Comment by Peter Williams — 31 Aug 2008 @ 1:17 AM

  265. #261 Timothy,

    Perhaps I am being too harsh regards the amount of confidence possible.

    That’s a very neat agreement, I’d been following the fairly constant lag between 2007 and 2008. I’d not tried fitting a curve. The match prior to August doesn’t surprise me, that it carries on thereafter does!

    If it’s not too much trouble: Can you update and re-post when the minima has been declared, it’ll be interesting seeing how it plays out.

    #258 Robert Henson,
    I’m done making any kind of guess about this year, I just don’t know. But thanks for your comment.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 31 Aug 2008 @ 3:15 AM

  266. Well he is really doing it. Lewis Gordon Pugh (The guy that did the 1KM swim at the north pole last year) is kayaking to the north pole.

    Here is the blog of his progress.

    Lewis Goron Pugh Kayaking to North Pole”

    What I can’t figure out, is why he is attempting this from Svalbard. The ice is compressing in this part of the arctic. He should had started from one of the Russian islands in the Laptev Sea, maybe the Anzhu islands. The ice is more broken up on this side, and he would have stood a much better chance.

    Comment by LG Norton — 31 Aug 2008 @ 6:46 AM

  267. Re261 Timothy Chase

    A very good fit so far. The minimum dates per IJIS are 2003 18 Sept, 2004 19th, 2005 22nd, 2006 14th, 2007 24th. Losses from 30 Aug to minimum are 2003 293k km^2, 2004 123k, 2005 347k, 2006 172k and 2007 361k.

    So it seem a little strange that your fit of past data should be so aggressive in predicting minimum as late as 30 Sept and a further loss of over 1000k km^2. Have you tried seeing how you fit does with previous years and does this normally show that September is rather flatter than the quadratic fit prediction you have used?

    Comment by crandles — 31 Aug 2008 @ 7:06 AM

  268. Whoever is organizing Polarstern?…. they are having the right idea, they are right next to a rapid melt zone, Some answers will come from them. It is also important to show the world this wide open huge seasonal sea, the Kayak guy is going to have a rough rough time, a mix of rotten
    and old ice awaits him. Its an extreme adventure, which will show how bad the ice has degraded,
    but Polarstern has a view of the better picture, wide open water when there should be nothing but ice. From what I gather the ice continues to melt, the 15% graph is a little confusing, when thin broken ice spreads out it gives the idea that the melt has stopped.

    [Response: Polarstern is run out of the Alfred Wegner Institute in Bremerhaven. - gavin]

    Comment by wayne davidson — 31 Aug 2008 @ 9:06 AM

  269. LG Norton,

    Re Lewis Gordon Pugh’s Team.

    The main reason I can see for trying from Svalbard is proximity and visa’s/permission. The current 30 Aug thinning from some of the Russian islands is transitory.

    This NASA Aqua image you can see from Svalbard to the Pole (distorted at the edge where the pole is).

    Through the cloud it’s possible to get an idea of the state of the ice. Given that the maximum resolution is 250m per pixel it might be feasible there’s enough open water in the cracks for a Kayak to get through. However even if the cracks are big enough it’ll be like navigating a constantly changing maze. Give it a few years and he may be successful on a second attempt.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 31 Aug 2008 @ 9:41 AM

  270. [no more nuclear please]

    Comment by G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan 'til ~1996 — 31 Aug 2008 @ 10:00 AM

  271. A bit of history:

    Issue 20, Winter 1997
    U.S.-RUSSIAN ATLAS OF ARCTIC OCEAN
    “… On January 14, Vice President Gore announced a new atlas of Arctic oceanographic information in a press conference at the National Geographic Society. NSIDC is distributing this atlas. More than 1.3 million individual temperature and salinity observations on the Arctic Ocean collected over the period 1948-1993 from Russian drifting stations, ice breakers, and airborne expeditions were used to develop the atlas. Approximately 70% of the observations for the Arctic Ocean and shelf seas in this atlas are derived from Russian archives of formerly restricted data with 30% from comparable sources in the U.S. An article about the data in the February issue of National Geographic (“Arctic Breakthrough”, volume 191(2), p. 36-57) describes, in a forward by Vice President Gore, the negotiations with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin that led to the release of the data…..”

    http://nsidc.org/pubs/notes/20/

    Following links associated with that story shows a huge amount of information, particularly on ocean currents, was being tracked by the Russian and US Navy submarine fleet. It probably still is. I wonder what they know now?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 Aug 2008 @ 10:25 AM

  272. CobblyWorlds wrote in 265:

    If it’s not too much trouble: Can you update and re-post when the minima has been declared, it’ll be interesting seeing how it plays out.

    Already planned on doing so — no matter how foolish it might make me look. I figure the least I could do would be to share my confusion.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 31 Aug 2008 @ 10:50 AM

  273. I was just wondering; with the shift to a seasonally ice free arctic, could the presence of (relatively) warm, moist, less dense air over open water instead of ice in the summer cause net rising air transport and reversal of the polar cell circulation, the elimination of the Ferrel cell, and sinking, stable, drought producing flow in the temperate zones? If this did happen, it would have what Frank Luntz might call “significant impacts” on food production.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 31 Aug 2008 @ 11:30 AM

  274. crandles wrote in 267:

    A very good fit so far.

    You might not say that if you looked at the quadratic fit of the daily ice loss by date. The actual is rather jagged and the projected as smooth as a parabola — oddly enough. But the actual doesn’t remain on one side of the projected for very long, and in terms of ice extent it all seems to balance out rather quickly.

    crandles wrote in 267:

    The minimum dates per IJIS are 2003 18 Sept, 2004 19th, 2005 22nd, 2006 14th, 2007 24th. Losses from 30 Aug to minimum are 2003 293k km^2, 2004 123k, 2005 347k, 2006 172k and 2007 361k.

    So it seem a little strange that your fit of past data should be so aggressive in predicting minimum as late as 30 Sept and a further loss of over 1000k km^2.

    The big question is, “How long will the same quadratic remain a ‘good fit’ for the ice loss by date?” If ice melt continues until September 30th, then I see no reason why the quantity of projected melt shouldn’t be of the magnitude projected, give or take a little. But can it continue until September 30th? Well, the minima for 2003, 2004 and 2006 were on the 18th, 19th and 14th, but the minima for 2007 was on the 24th. The 24th is 6 days after the 18th. That was a new record — although only by 2 days when compared with 2005. So I would argue that if we could reach the minima as late as the 24th, there isn’t much reason to think that the next minima couldn’t occur 6 days later — even if that will mean another record for lateness and extent. Anyway, the lateness would be the more remarkable of the two in my view.

    crandles wrote in 267:

    Have you tried seeing how you fit does with previous years and does this normally show that September is rather flatter than the quadratic fit prediction you have used?

    I haven’t tried previous years as of yet. Then again, it doesn’t look like previous years haven been this smooth before, either. But it would be something worth trying. Easy enough to do. The data from IJIS goes back to 2002, and while it has some holes to it, one doesn’t need complete data to lay down a trendline in Excel — not even a quadratic one. At the same time, I don’t expect it to work quite as well. We have much less old ice this year. Old ice helps to anchor the formation of new ice. And the new ice has been being blown to-and-fro by the wind this year much more so than previous years — or so someone else observed earlier in this thread I believe.

    I will look into it.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 31 Aug 2008 @ 11:43 AM

  275. Gentlemen,

    I have been watching the breakup of that “landfast ice” on the north-northeastern coast of Greenland for some months now via the ENVISAT images on the Danish Institute of Technology’s website.

    I have a few questions.

    1. Why is it not called an “ice shelf”?

    2. Does anyone know if it has ever entirely broken away before?

    3. What is the name of the glacier, there, that is no longer being buttressed by the “landfast” ice?

    4. Is anyone studying the flow of that glacier? My impression is that it is indeed flowing out now, but this is pure conjecture on my part based on the ENVISAT images.

    5. Have y’all been watching the ice break up to the north of that position in an area that would seem “unmeltable” due to its position just south of all of the multi-year ice flowing by? And, note that the temperatures there in the north have been pretty low over the last month.

    6. As regards the MODIS images — is there a schedule available of when new images of that area of Greenland become available? I don’t really know how to access the images.

    7. The Jakobshavn glacier seems to be really going to town. When will the year’s data be released on flow rates, ablation of the ice sheet, and so forth?

    I would mention that once I ran across a great link (unfortunately, I lost it) to google images of the topography of Greenland, and they were on the scary side of awesome because that topography looks like it is just made for ice to slide out, as these paths of least resistance have been carved out over the millenia.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 31 Aug 2008 @ 12:13 PM

  276. Re: 254

    Based on the on data plot trends on the nsidc website it is not a gross overstatements of confidence for me to say that 2008 extent will likely drop below the 2007 record low.

    Furthermore, it is not a gross overstatements of confidence for me to say that the low in 2008 will likely occur later in the season than the historical average.

    90% is a numerical confidence level I used to define the term “likely”.

    NWS includes probability values in issuing their flood outlook guidance at river stations in the Midwest. However, the NWS hydrologic modeling and outlook methodologies are flawed because NWS has refused to even consider that climate change has been changing rainfall intensities, the timing of snowmelt runoff, transpiration rates and evaporation.

    Comment by pat n — 31 Aug 2008 @ 1:47 PM

  277. For Tenney’s question #1 (and perhaps for the Glossary reference collection:

    “An «ice shelf» is a thick and extensive sheet of floating glacier ice, …
    Sea ice which forms and remains attached to the coast is termed «landfast ice»; …”
    http://www.pc.gc.ca/progs/amnc-nmca/systemplan/gloss_E.asp

    (Found by searching Google: landfast ice shelf )

    For #6:
    You could ask at the MODIS/AQUA page. I find:

    “Terra’s orbit … passes from north to south across the equator in the morning, while Aqua passes south to north over the equator in the afternoon. … Terra MODIS and Aqua MODIS are viewing the entire Earth’s surface every 1 to 2 days …” http://modis.gsfc.nasa.gov/about/

    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/ shows the satellite tracks and time ticks for both satellites. Those have helped me look for a particular realtime image by seeing about when the satellite crossed my area of interest. No guarantee.

    For other than the ‘realtime’ gallery selections, there’s a lag: “The MODIS snow cover and sea ice products from the Terra satellite…. processing and reprocessing schedule for all MODIS data determines the lag …”
    http://nsidc.org/data/modis/faq.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 Aug 2008 @ 2:11 PM

  278. Yeek!
    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2008/08/climatologist-dr-jason-e-box-byrd-polar.html

    _______excerpt follows_______

    Climatologist Jason E. Box, Ph.D., with the Byrd Polar Research Center, has spent the last 14 years monitoring Greenland’s massive ablation.

    “Estimates of sea level rise are now known to be significantly underestimated,” said Box. “The IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] projected sea level rise of around one-and-a-half feet. But this did not take into account the profound ice sheet sensitivity now documented [in Greenland]. Sea level rise could be double, or more [than these predictions]. My best guess is a sea level rise of between three and six feet by the end of this century.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 Aug 2008 @ 2:25 PM

  279. Re #275
    Tenney Naumer Says:
    31 August 2008 at 12:13 PM
    Gentlemen,

    I have been watching the breakup of that “landfast ice” on the north-northeastern coast of Greenland for some months now via the ENVISAT images on the Danish Institute of Technology’s website.

    I have a few questions.

    1. Why is it not called an “ice shelf”?

    2. Does anyone know if it has ever entirely broken away before?

    3. What is the name of the glacier, there, that is no longer being buttressed by the “landfast” ice?

    4. Is anyone studying the flow of that glacier? My impression is that it is indeed flowing out now, but this is pure conjecture on my part based on the ENVISAT images.

    5. Have y’all been watching the ice break up to the north of that position in an area that would seem “unmeltable” due to its position just south of all of the multi-year ice flowing by? And, note that the temperatures there in the north have been pretty low over the last month.

    6. As regards the MODIS images — is there a schedule available of when new images of that area of Greenland become available? I don’t really know how to access the images.

    Tenney
    I don’t know the answers to most of your questions but I’ve been following that area for the last month or so and the break up has been spectacular!

    I look for the Modis pictures on this site.
    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/
    I go to the little Terra map on the top left to see when the satellite crosses that region (usually between 1900 and 2100) and then look at the images indexed by time. Often they’re too cloudy but you find the odd gem!
    Here’s last night’s, I think you’ll enjoy it, try 250m res.

    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/single.php?2008243/crefl1_143.A2008243190000-2008243190500.2km.jpg

    It seems to fit the definition of an ice-shelf, at least up to a week or so ago.
    Based on Google earth a Dane called Jørgen Brønlund is buried near there, the glacier is ~12miles wide so that’s a big piece of ice that’s gone. I think it is Nioghalvfjerdsbræ & Zachariae Isstrøm and the triangulular island between them is Lambert Land and the one to the Nth with clear water behind it on this image is Hovgaard, the little side stream to the Nth is Spaltegletscher.
    “GREENLAND” By ANKER WEIDICK http://pubs.usgs.gov/prof/p1386c/p1386c.pdf describes the ice as being in a “semipermanent condition of fast ice”.
    For a study see here:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/276/5314/934?ck=nck
    http://www.scienceonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/311/5763/986
    Hope that helps?

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 31 Aug 2008 @ 4:14 PM

  280. Tenney Naumer,12:13 pm, 31 Aug 2008
    2)re: name of glacier: Petermann ?
    http://geology.com/news/2008/petermann-glacier-breaking-up.shtml

    re:greenland topo:
    http://membrane.com/sidd/greenland.html

    toward the end, there is a link to an animated rotating view of the bedrock as well.

    sidd

    Comment by sidd — 31 Aug 2008 @ 4:17 PM

  281. Actual vs. Projected Sea Ice Extent for 2007

    Looking at 2007…

    I did two charts.

    The first is done exactly the same way as how I arrived at the projection for 2008.

    I calculate daily sea ice extent loss for every day from June 1, 2007 to August 27, 2007. Then I fit a quadratic trendline to the daily sea ice extent loss and use that to calculate a projected daily sea ice extent loss. I then calculate a running sum of projected daily sea ice extent loss and subtract that from the sea ice extent for May 31, 2007 to arrive at a projected daily sea ice extent.

    http://img530.imageshack.us/my.php?image=firstfit2007gg8.jpg

    For anyone familiar with last year’s sea ice extent record, at least some of the results aren’t that surprising. The projection is a poor fit. After the first 30 days, the projected is considerably above the actual and remains that way for the next 30 days — throughout all of July. It then reaches its minimum on September 1, 2007: 4722767.9. The actual minimum was on September 24, 2007: 4254531. As such the projection underestimates the duration of sea ice extent loss by 23 days and 468,236.9 square kilometers.

    The second chart was as follows…

    Now if you will remember, the bottom fell out back in June of 2007, so I decided to try and avoid having that throw off the quadratic trendline by beginning with July 4, 2007 as day zero, constructing my trendline using only the daily sea ice extent loss from July 4 through August 27 of 2007. I then used the equation from that trendline to calculate a daily sea ice extent loss for the preceding days, then calculated a projected sea ice extent as the sea ice extent of July 3, 2007 minus the running total of projected loss (but plus the running total of projected daily sea ice extent loss for the days preceding July 3, where July 3 would have projected sea ice extent equal to the actual).

    The results? Better after July 3.

    http://img530.imageshack.us/my.php?image=secondfit2007pj3.jpg

    In fact, it fits well for a stretch of about 70 days. The projected sea ice extent bottomed out on September 16, 2007 at 4552757.6. The second projection underestimates the duration of sea ice extent loss by 8 days and 298,226.6 square kilometers.

    Hurricane activity, perhaps? If hurricanes in the Atlantic and cyclones in the the Pacific have a significant impact on poleward oceanic advection, they would act to prolong the melt.

    For comparison, here is the chart for 2008 again:

    Sea Ice Extent Since May 31, 2008
    http://img337.imageshack.us/my.php?image=seaiceextentsince200805cs2.jpg

    Will the actual and the projected begin to diverge before September 30, 2008? Perhaps, but if 2007 is any indication, it would appear that I am actually underestimating the duration and extent of the melt, not overestimating it.

    In any case, once the old ice is gone, there is less to anchor new ice for new ice formation. The is less ice to dampen the wind-driven waves. And there should be more mixing of the surface layer of the ocean with deeper layers. All of this combined with infrared radiation that has remained fairly stable (even as the sun drops towards the horizon and visible light fades with the passing of the season) seem to be prolonging the melt in recent years. Meanwhile, hurricane intensity has been increasing.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 31 Aug 2008 @ 4:19 PM

  282. You’d want to look at the ice to determine whether it formed from seawater as sea ice, or from snowfall that became glacial ice.

    Might see if there are any ice cores on record from that location that would distinguish its origins.
    ___________________
    “books whole-heartedly”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 Aug 2008 @ 5:05 PM

  283. Correction on Second Fit for 2007:

    There was a nasty inflection point which I hadn’t noticed (somehow!) that existed in extending 2007 back from July 3, 2007. It indicted I hadn’t used an absolute anchor in a formula refering to July 3, but was instead adding a running total by means of a relative reference to the previous day (relative to whatever day I was projecting).

    New chart at:

    Correction on Second Fit for 2007
    http://img244.imageshack.us/my.php?image=correctedsecond2007wp8.jpg

    Anyway, with a suitably oversimplified climate model, it might actually be possible to derive what sort of trendline the melt should follow.

    *

    A few last notes:

    1. To have increasing melt that slows and is followed by freezing, you need a trendline that is at least quadratic.
    2. By fitting the trendline to the daily sea ice extent melt rather than a trendline to the sea ice extent itself, one is able to keep the trendline quadratic over a fairly long period.
    3. With higher degree trendlines you would be able “fit” any melt. Therefore they are not uniquely determined by the data.
    4. The quadratic is uniquely determined by the data for the period from which it is derived — no matter how poorly it may fit due to either the weather (including hurricanes) or large scale structural changes in old ice.
    5. Just as one may fit a linear trend which will be “realistic” over a suitably short period of time (assuming no inflection points), one should be able to fit a quadratic over a longer period, cubic over an even longer period, etc.. But I have avoided the cubic because it is not uniquely determined.

    *

    Is the trendline for 2008 realistic? So far, yes. But it has to break down at some point. And personally I expect it to break down when the internal dynamics nears the projected minima — due to outside forces that overwhelm those dynamics: hurricanes that extend the melting season with poleward oceanic heat advection.

    Thank you for your patience in my rather amateurish exercise in curve-fitting.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 31 Aug 2008 @ 7:35 PM

  284. Dear Hank,

    Thanks! You know, Dr. Hansen has been talking about 2-4 meters sea level rise for a long time. Lemme c, when was the last time he was majorly wrong?

    And while we can see that Greenland is starting to look pretty iffy, Dr. Hansen has always said that the main concern is the WAIS.

    Temperature anomalies down there have been in the startling +20 degrees C for months (and it was winter down here).

    You can see a 30-day animation of the temp. anomalies at this link (takes a while to load):

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/fnl/sfctmpmer_01a_30frames.fnl.anim.html

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 31 Aug 2008 @ 8:36 PM

  285. Dear Phil,

    Thanks for those links, I have been trying to download the pdf file of the book, which is great, but I keep getting error messages halfway through. And that 250-m resolution image is fab.

    And, it looks like Gavin may have been holding out on us — hmmmm!

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080831151346.htm

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 31 Aug 2008 @ 10:22 PM

  286. sidd, thanks!

    I love your maps. The glacier in question is on the east side at the 80th parallel.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 31 Aug 2008 @ 10:28 PM

  287. Good times.

    Past evidence boosts concern for Greenland icesheet: scientists
    by Richard Ingham Sun Aug 31, 1:38 PM ET

    PARIS (AFP) – Scientists Sunday said they could no longer rule out a fast-track melting of the Greenland icesheet — a prospect, once the preserve of doomsayers, that would see much of the world’s coastline drowned by rising seas.

    The researchers found that the great Laurentide icesheet which smothered much of North America during the last Ice Age melted far swifter than realised, dumping billions of tonnes of water into the ocean.

    The discovery raises worrying questions about the future stability of Greenland’s icesheet, for the Laurentide melt occurred thanks to a spurt of warming that could be mirrored once more by the end of this century, they said.

    “The word ‘glacial’ used to imply that something was very slow,” said climate researcher Allegra LeGrande of New York’s Columbia University.

    “This new evidence from the past, paired with our model for predicting future climate, indicates that ‘glacial’ is anything but slow. Past icesheets responded quickly to a changing climate, hinting at the potential for a similar response in the future.”

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 1 Sep 2008 @ 1:27 AM

  288. Re 283 Timothy Chase
    “it would appear that I am actually underestimating the duration and extent of the melt, not overestimating it.”

    I think I expected your method to be close for 2007 and 2005 and to overestimate for 2006 2004 and 2003 but I could be wrong.

    Your method doesn’t use any data from past Septembers. A different approach might be to use the average of 3 days either side of each day for 2003 to 2007 to get the daily pattern from past years. Then use 31 August as a correct value and scale the daily pattern to get a best fit for May to August. Continue with the same scale of the daily pattern for a prediction.

    What I am trying to say is why use your quadratic fit when you could use data from past years?

    Doing this I get a minimum on 18 Sept of 4.79 million km^2.
    If I minimise the errors for August then I get minimum on 19 Sept of 4.72 million km^2.

    Due to the state of the ice I think the minimum will be lower than this. However note that this does build in the faster melt rate in August through the scaling factor.

    Your prediction may turn out to be better than the above calcs but would this just be a fluke?

    For 2003 my calc of the minimum was 47K km^2 out and for 2004 99k out. Note however I used data from 2003 to 2007, so I am using some data from these years so not a genuine attempt at a prediction without data from that year and I definately expect to be further out in 2008.

    Comment by crandles — 1 Sep 2008 @ 6:53 AM

  289. Updates from someone with a different perspective.

    The average daily ice extent reduction for the last 4 days was 34,375 km2, compared with 80,469 km2 for the previous 4 days.

    Temperatures at 6 GMT (Sep 1st) were -11C within ~3 degrees latitude of the North Pole, -9C to the N of Greenland, -6C to the NE of Greenland, -5C to the N of Spitzbergen, and -3C to the N of the Canadian Archipelago. It was -3C and snowing at ~81N on the Beaufort Sea side of the Arctic Basin, and -1C and snowing at ~78N on the Chukchi Sea side of the Arctic Basin.
    http://www.uni-koeln.de/math-nat-fak/geomet/meteo/winfos/synNNWWarctis.gif

    The SST anomalies (as of the last couple of days) continue to be colder than on the same date in 2004 on the approaches of both Pacific and Atlantic oceans to the Arctic:
    http://weather.unisys.com/archive/sst/sst_anom-040829.gif
    http://weather.unisys.com/archive/sst/sst_anom-080831.gif
    (Of course the open water in 2008 that was previously ice in 2004 is warmer! What matters is what happens at the ice boundary, which is further north on average than in 2004, and further from the warmer waters on the periphery of the Arctic)

    The SOI continues to lurch back towards La Nina, which suggests that there is an increasing chance the world will stay relatively cool or even become even cooler over the next year, which could be good news if you want the Arctic ice to recover.
    http://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/SeasonalClimateOutlook/SouthernOscillationIndex/30DaySOIValues/

    The buoy set in first year ice at ~88N on April 20th continues to show thickness of ~1.3m despite southward drift to ~83N (and the perfectly normal IR levels shown by its co-located PMEL Met Station – though incidentally the non-anomalously higher IR levels of the last two weeks couldn’t have anything to do with reflection from the two weeks of ~ 1-1.5m thick snow they have coincided with, I presume?)
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2008E.htm

    The multiyear ice on the Beaufort Sea/Arctic Basin boundary continues to be >3m thick
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2008F.htm
    and the multiyear ice a couple of degrees to the north of the Canadian Archipelago continues to be significantly thicker (~3.4m) than when the buoy concerned was deployed on Sep 9 2007 (2.8m)
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2007J.htm
    The first year ice in the Central Arctic is doing just fine, at ~2m thick i.e. exactly the same as when the relevant buoy was deployed in April:
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2008B.htm

    The less good news is that while sea ice extent reduction has slowed down in the last few days, sea ice area has seen further significant losses, now down to 3.239 or only ~11% higher than the 2007 minimum. Some might say that this suggests the previous slowdown in area reduction was an illusion caused by melt ponds re-freezing at the Pole. But remember that the melt pond issue could cut both ways: firstly, melt ponds can temporarily re-melt, and secondly, the temporary melting of the first winter snows (on the surface of the ice) can create the illusion of more open water than is actually the case.

    “No matter where we stand at the end of the melt season it’s just reinforcing this notion that Arctic ice is in its death spiral,” said Mark Serreze, a scientist at the center [NSIDC]. The Arctic could be free of summer ice by 2030, Serreze said by telephone.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSN2745499020080827

    Clearly it is justified for people to have a *notion* that Arctic ice is in its “death spiral”, and that the Arctic *could* be free of summer ice by 2030.

    But we still have significantly more ice than this time last year (re: both area and extent), so I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to wait until 2008 ACTUALLY surpasses 2007 before joining those on this thread who are already confidently predicting doom.

    Comment by Chris — 1 Sep 2008 @ 7:45 AM

  290. RE # 254

    CobblyWorld, you said:

    1) Climatic shift.
    If you warm the Arctic, and (crucially) increase humidity due to higher temperatures and more open water over 0degC, then you will change the relationship between the polar and tropical regions. This changes what happens in between the pole and tropics,

    We all know what exists between the polar and tropical regions of Western North America; it is called the world’s grain basket.

    When am I going to hear that the National Science Academy or any science body announcing the beginning of an exhaustive research to understand how the Arctic ice meltback will impact temperature and precip patterns in that vital part of the world?

    Gavin, do you have some insight here?

    John McCormick

    Comment by John L. McCormick — 1 Sep 2008 @ 8:19 AM

  291. Clearly it is justified for people to have a *notion* that Arctic ice is in its “death spiral”, and that the Arctic *could* be free of summer ice by 2030.

    But we still have significantly more ice than this time last year (re: both area and extent), so I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to wait until 2008 ACTUALLY surpasses 2007 before joining those on this thread who are already confidently predicting doom.

    The scientist, of course, is placing this second-lowest ever minimum in the context of a statistically significant trend that spans the entire satellite era when he makes his claim.

    While you’re harping on 2008 vs. 2007 as though it’s meaningful. It’s not.

    However, since we’re playing …

    Ice area is not significantly higher than 2007.

    As far as ice extent … well the jet stream shifted the last few days, bringing an unseasonal cold friend blowing into the pacific northwest from the northwest.

    A high is bringing summer weather back to us this week. Not sure what implications there are for winds shifting up north, but if area is decreasing while extent is increasing, it would seem that wind’s doing it, and a shift could start compacting the extent again.

    All guessing but that’s all you’re doing, too … but I only do it for fun, because I know that the trend, not 2008 vs. 2007, is significant and even if 2007 is “only” the second-most minimum in area and/or extent since 1979, it will add to that trend.

    Comment by dhogaza — 1 Sep 2008 @ 8:50 AM

  292. #291 Dhogaza

    I’m as concerned as anyone else about the Arctic ice melting and its possible implications.

    The reason I’ve been following events in the Arctic this summer, reading this thread, and making posts, is because I want to understand exactly what is happening, and if I have any potential insights then I want to share them.

    I try to avoid responding to posts that tend to make broadly dismissive comments while avoiding specifics. However, on this occasion I will make a couple of comments.

    “While you’re harping on 2008 vs. 2007 as though it’s meaningful. It’s not.
    However, since we’re playing …
    Ice area is not significantly higher than 2007″

    The reason I’m “harping on 2008 vs 2007″ is because this is what many posters on this thread have been doing (since well before I joined in) and making assumptions such as that ice volume decrease this year is greater, or that the August melt in 2008 means the minimum is 90% likely to be lower than in 2007 – with obvious implications for the continuance of the longer term trends you mention. I’ve simply been joining in the debate. I’m certainly not “playing”.

    I don’t think I overstated my point re: area if you read all that I wrote: “…sea ice area has seen further significant losses, now down to 3.239 or only ~11% higher than the 2007 minimum.” Your link is the graph which represents the numbers I quoted. And clearly if the falls of the last couple of days continue then yes the area will no longer be (arguably) significantly higher. (Although the one/two/three etc month averages will continue to be definitely significantly higher – if one prefers longer-term to shorter-term trends….)

    Comment by Chris — 1 Sep 2008 @ 9:53 AM

  293. crandles wrote in 288:

    Your method doesn’t use any data from past Septembers. A different approach might be to use the average of 3 days either side of each day for 2003 to 2007 to get the daily pattern from past years. Then use 31 August as a correct value and scale the daily pattern to get a best fit for May to August. Continue with the same scale of the daily pattern for a prediction.

    What I am trying to say is why use your quadratic fit when you could use data from past years?

    Well, what this assumes is that each year is basically repeating the same pattern at the same time as the previous years — give or take some noise. But there are some obvious changes taking place. As a matter of how the Arctic responds to global warming, we expect the minima in future years to continue to take place later and later in the year. But that is just the general trend.

    More specifically, last year was a record not simply in minimum sea ice area or sea ice extent, but for the lateness of the minima itself. And as I have pointed out, there is very little multi-year ice left, the ice is thinner, meaning that it dampens the production of waves much less, waves tend to break apart ice, exposing it to the water. Larger waves will also tend to mix upper layers of the ocean with lower layers, and lower layers tend to be warmer. All of this tends to shift the minima further into what has traditionally been outside of the melting season. Your three days either way rule wouldn’t take this into account. It also wouldn’t take into account how drastically things changed with the destruction of so much multi-year ice in 2007, or for that matter, the fact that new ice is saltier and therefore will freeze or melt at lower temperatures.

    Of course my method doesn’t explicitly take into account any of this either, but it at least has the virtue of not making any assumptions about the timing of the minima which clearly no longer hold. It is extremely simple, and by means of a quadratic fit to earlier data in this season uniquely predicts a simplicity of behavior which quite closely matches what has actually taken place — for a period of time in which the Arctic itself has become much simpler — given the flushing out of fresh water in previous years (which tended to protect the sea ice from the warmer layers of salty water below) and the loss of so much multi-year ice. It appears that the law of large numbers is playing a much more conspicuous role this year.

    We will see what happens. The projection had tended to be slightly above actual sea ice extent, but recently fell slightly below. Now I notice that there was a slight bulge in the sea ice area graph but that sea ice area is beginning to fall back to its “mean behavior” for this year’s season, so I should see actual sea ice extent drop back down to the projection over the next couple of days.

    In any case, I think the projection is an improvement upon the straight trend lines some were trying or impressions of what should happen simply based on what had happened in previous years on the same dates.

    crandles wrote in 288:

    Doing this I get a minimum on 18 Sept of 4.79 million km^2.
    If I minimise the errors for August then I get minimum on 19 Sept of 4.72 million km^2.

    Can you graph it? Could you make available the equations you used? (Might not work that well here — but a link to a graphic shouldn’t be that difficult.)

    It sounds like a good projection — given the past behavior of the Arctic, and assuming things haven’t changed.

    Anyway, the nice thing is that we will soon know one way or the other.

    *

    captcha fortune cookie: average escape

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 1 Sep 2008 @ 1:40 PM

  294. I’m as concerned as anyone else about the Arctic ice melting and its possible implications.

    It’s interesting looking at Tide heights, (excluding atmospheric pressure deviation, and weather assistance) but they certainly appear to have been getting higher over the passed few years.

    Although this does make getting a boat back into the water that little bit easier, it can also play havoc with one’s loafers.

    Not to mention a few low lying , propserous and often quite useful bits of the planet.

    With the certain inevitabitlity that, as the ice caps melt, the melt will increase due to the rise in temperatures rise in temperature !!!!!!! no one really seems to be talking about any kind of active steps to do anything about it.

    Guess it depends on whos feet get wet and wether they’ve managed to get to Mars or not, before contemplating going to the expense of refreezing it.

    or just another case of ‘Nero Syndrome’.

    Comment by Schmert — 1 Sep 2008 @ 2:41 PM

  295. Biology that lives on the sea ice in the springtime:
    Biology associated with sea ice (this study done in Antarctica, in December — around midsummer):

    doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2007.12.019
    Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
    Volume 55, Issues 8-9, April-May 2008, Pages 1024-1039
    Ice Station POLarstern (ISPOL): Results of interdisciplinary studies on a drifting ice floe in the western Weddell Sea
    Short-term biogenic particle flux under late spring sea ice in the western Weddell Sea

    “… two sediment traps were deployed at 10 and 70 m water depth under a drifting ice floe in December 2004. The amount and composition of the vertical particle flux under sea ice were determined during a period of 30 days in order to investigate the influence of biological processes in sea ice and on its underside on the flux…. A strong increase with time of the flux of chlorophyll equivalents, biogenic silica, and faecal material was recorded during the observation period, coincident with the increase in the concentration of chlorophyll a in the bottom ice layer above the trap array. The latter suggests a concomitant increase in the amount of food available for grazers, such as krill, in the bottom ice layer and on the underside of the ice floe, resulting in an increased downward transport of ice-algal material into the water column….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Sep 2008 @ 6:46 PM

  296. Cryosphere today places 2008 almost tied with 2007 extent, the difference is so small, consider it a tie.
    Now this is interesting, SST’s and surface temperatures are not favorable at all for melting ice. Yet
    its happening, a clue, 850 mb data shows a greater warm air than on surface near the archipelago, inversions are not always at all at the same height every where over the arctic ocean, it is extensively cloudy as well a huge cloud area over the entire Polar region. Surface temperatures are generally much below zero over the Arctic ocean, yet the ice vanishes nevertheless. Its quite warm at 850 mb over NE Greenland where ice is unusually scarce at that location.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 1 Sep 2008 @ 10:51 PM

  297. #292, I don’t think that many of us expect 2008 to surpass 2007 in melt or extent this year. That does not mean that the people who are trusted with watching and predicting the events in the Arctic feel any better about it.

    It is, today, massively lower than either 2005 or 2006. 2005 was considered a major event anomaly, 2006 a near miss. 2007 a major event anomaly and it’s looking like 2008 will reinforce that trend.

    What you are missing is that 2008 is tracking 2004 SST and atmospheric temperatures with >1M Sq Km less ice. Woods and trees come to mind.

    This year the ice has become detached from almost all land, another first. Just how many firsts do we have to have before people understand that it is now out of control?

    Comment by NeilT — 2 Sep 2008 @ 4:04 AM

  298. re 293

    >”Can you graph it? Could you make available the equations you used?”

    http://www.boincforum.info/boincuser/Crandles/ExtentDailyPatternPredictionGraph.JPG

    http://www.boincforum.info/boincuser/Crandles/Extentdailypattern.xls

    >”It sounds like a good projection — given the past behavior of the Arctic, and assuming things haven’t changed.”

    That is exactly what it is trying to do.

    I hear a lot of qualitative arguments for retreat greater than average or greater than 2007 which was a record but very little quantitative. How much faster 50%? double? tripple? There are some vage record is likely but is there any evidence that it will be tripple rather than the 50% I have build in based on August rate of retreat?

    “my method doesn’t explicitly take into account any of this either, but it at least has the virtue of not making any assumptions about the timing of the minima”

    Well look at the last graph of
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/sea.ice.minimum.2007.html

    The trend isn’t large and is swamped by weather noise. Is building in an ability of my model to have a later minimum worthwhile? It would probably just be another fiddle factor allowing overtuning.

    If this virtue allows crazy dates then I would prefer something more reliable.

    >”how drastically things changed”

    But is this known for sure in terms of its effect on trends? One way to see is to try to get a reliable prediction method based on past only and see how large the errors now are.

    OTOH I don’t see much point in a method that appears less reliable, makes a prediction which is much more aggressive than the past would indicate and frankly (sorry!) appears to rely on a wing and a prayer that apparent changes are drastic such that they just happen to be about the size required to balance out the aggressiveness compared to the past. Simplicity is a nice virtue but only if reliable. Having said this, your prediction will probably turn out to be very accurate.

    Comment by crandles — 2 Sep 2008 @ 4:35 AM

  299. Been following the uni-bremen arctic ice extent site for a number of weeks now and what I am seeing is a rapid accelleration in the rate of ice melt. I do not know the exact current figures of the area of arctic ice at the moment but I am willing to say it has now reached a new all time record, in the last two days there is now a band of sea water separating greenland’s northern most coastline with the ice shelf, the ice is also rapidly breaking up to the north estern corner of the country. More worrisome in the last two days the NW and NE open sea passage is now very clearly defined. I can not beleive that soo much ice has melted in just 48 hours. The whole pack ice area around 85N, 165E and 145W seems much more fractured and eroded over the last few weeks. I am interested in the fate of the ice at 75N, 105W. I would say based on current melt rates that ice will be completly gone by mon next week.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 2 Sep 2008 @ 7:46 AM

  300. re # 297

    nEILt,

    YOU ASKED:

    [Just how many firsts do we have to have before people understand that it is now out of control?]

    I say, tell it like it is: Arctic sea ice crossed its TIPPING POINT (maybe 2005–no matter when…it did)

    The fact that future September satellite images of Arctic sea ice will never again look like those of 1979 is the reality 6.6 billion people will have to accept.

    It is no longer about record-breaking. It is about adapting to what we do not know is coming next.

    John McCormick

    Comment by John L. McCormick — 2 Sep 2008 @ 8:44 AM

  301. Re: 296 “Cryosphere today places 2008 almost tied with 2007 extent, the difference is so small, consider it a tie”.

    Now (Cryosphere Today): 3.199.000 km2 sea ice area
    2007 minimum (Cryosphere Today): 2.990.000 km2 sea ice area.
    209.000 km2 is the difference.
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/iphone/iphone.currentarea.series.html

    Now (JAXA): 4.964.000 km2 sea ice extent
    2007 minimum (JAXA): 4.254.531 km2 sea ice extent
    710.000 km2 is the diference.
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/plot.csv

    Comment by maikdev — 2 Sep 2008 @ 8:52 AM

  302. Remember not to draw conclusions from the pictures; they tell you how the pictures are made and where they get the data they use to make the pictures.

    For exampe from the main imagery page: http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/amsre.html
    * We now calculate daily maps of combined MODIS – AMSR-E data Click Here!
    o maps of MODIS RGB composites with AMSR-E ice contour lines
    o maps of snow grain size calculated from MODIS data with AMSR-E ice contour lines
    o maps of soot concentration calculated from MODIS data with AMSR-E ice contour lines
    Other daily updated products
    * Combined MODIS – AMSR-E sea ice maps
    * SSM/I sea ice maps

    You can look each of these up. Just as an example look at all the papers here about SSM/I from a simple Google search. If wossname had looked at these before counting pixels he might have used data instead:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=SSM%2FI+sea+ice
    SSM/I and AMSR-E L1B from inside IUP

    The ASI sea ice concentration algorithm used here has been validated in several studies (Spreen et al. 2005, Spreen et al., 2008). However, no warranty is given for the data presented on these pages.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Sep 2008 @ 11:01 AM

  303. And here:
    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsredata/asi_daygrid_swath/l1a/n3125/README.TXT

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Sep 2008 @ 11:14 AM

  304. Crandles, #298.

    Since 2007 had quite a stunning minimum, the *retreat* this year could be a record and yet still have more ice extent than 2007.

    Precision is needed, my boy.

    Comment by Mark — 2 Sep 2008 @ 12:24 PM

  305. RE 299
    Just visually assessing the Modis picture, it looks like one could sail around Greenland. I wonder how usual that is?
    See http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/single.php?2008246/crefl1_143.A2008246143500-2008246144000.4km.jpg (of course even better with a higher resolution).
    It will be interesting to see Greenland ice mass reports once they get done.

    Comment by Lauri — 2 Sep 2008 @ 12:56 PM

  306. Good news…

    Tamino has entered the running — a statician who (it goes without saying) has a great deal more mathematical acumen than myself. He is giving a decidedly different projection of what the next few weeks will bring in terms of sea ice extent — with this year’s minima being reached on 20th of September, much earlier than what I have projected, and with last year’s record remaining secure for the time being.

    Please see:

    More Less Ice
    September 1, 2008
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/09/01/more-less-ice/

    *

    captcha fortune cookie: ol Knight

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 2 Sep 2008 @ 1:51 PM

  307. But note Tamino said right up front there that it’s a statistical curve, not based on field conditions:

    “Just for a little fun, I fit a 4th-order Fourier series to this year’s data and projected it into the future …”

    Wind direction, ocean currents, and temperatures thereof made last year unusual.
    Anyone know what the wind and water are doing this year? I haven’t seen much reported.
    Most ocean info comes from buoys and anchored instruments that have to be retrieved, with time lag, or from navy instruments that aren’t immediately reported.

    And have the petroleum companies started putting down instruments in the Arctic? Would anyone know?
    They’d certainly want to be collecting data in advance of drilling. How do they instrument areas, or do they?
    We do know last year’s melt left much less multiyear ice — making this year unusual.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Sep 2008 @ 2:39 PM

  308. Aha.

    http://www.ioc-goos.org/

    The Global Ocean Observing System
    GOOS is a permanent global system for observations, modelling and analysis of marine and ocean variables to support operational ocean services worldwide. GOOS provides accurate descriptions of the present state of the oceans, including living resources; continuous forecasts of the future conditions of the sea for as far ahead as possible, and the basis for forecasts of climate change.

    Wow: http://rucool.marine.rutgers.edu/atlantic/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Sep 2008 @ 2:43 PM

  309. http://www.ipy.org/index.php?/ipy/detail/arctic_sea_ice_in_the_news/

    “… We now understand that an unusual weather pattern of warm winds and clear skies played a large role in 2007 melting, and we know that we started 2008 with an unusually large amount of new (first year) ice. An international group of researchers has, for the first time and starting from May, produced, shared, and compared monthly estimates of the 2008 minimum. Those groups, from 15 or more institutions, use recent, in some cases daily, satellite, ship and buoy data, climate models, weather models, and historical data in comparisons, correlations, extrapolations and estimations – you can follow their work in very interesting detail at the SEARCH Sea Ice Outlook page….”

    http://www.arcus.org/search/seaiceoutlook/index.php

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Sep 2008 @ 3:14 PM

  310. OK, here’s the sort of thing I’ve been wondering about, including ice melt top and bottom info from buoys:

    http://www.arcus.org/search/seaiceoutlook/report_july.php

    These reports run several months behind the calendar because they call information from a large number of different sources and researchers and complile it. These pages have a lot of images, links and data.
    July’s report (the latest) includes the outlook for September, and so on.

    ——–excerpts follow————
    “The outlook for the pan-arctic sea ice extent in September 2008, based on July data, indicates a continuation of dramatic arctic sea ice loss. The July Sea Ice Outlook report is based on a synthesis of 22 individual projections utilizing a range of methods. Projections based on July data show no indication that a return to historical sea ice extent will occur this year.”

    “… Figure 3. Ice bottom and top melt reported by ice-mass-balance buoys.

    Figure 4 shows the present (13 August 2008) surface condition as evidenced by the web camera image from the NPEO Automated Drifting Station, the location of the ice-mass-balance buoy installation nearest Fram Strait. Unlike previous years at this time, and aside from right around the web camera buoy, we do not see many melt ponds. At this site melt pond coverage has been minimal all summer, arguably due to the limited snow cover in spring. This helps explain why the first-year, 1.9-m ice has only melted 0.2 m on the upper surface and provides one mechanism by which first year ice may survive the summer. …”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Sep 2008 @ 3:19 PM

  311. One last tidbit from the above July report. I’d been looking for Dr. Bitz’s work and it is part of this compilation.

    “… The following Figure from 10 August 2008 and the figures from Lars Kaleschke and Tom Agnew suggest, however, that there were large regions of low sea ice concentrations (black regions) within the boundary of sea ice extent at the end of July. While there may be some difficulty interpreting this figure due to summer melt ponding at the surface, the figure is certainly suggestive of further potential retreat in regions of thin first year sea ice. Such interpretations are important as some scenarios assume complete meltback of all first-year sea ice, while others limit meltback to ice classes thinner than a specific threshold (such as 1m). Total sea ice extent in early August declined at about twice the rate of any other time this summer (Bitz). …
    [ http://www.arcus.org/search/seaiceoutlook/downloads/monthly-reports/july/Bitz-03-july-outlook.pdf ]

    Text excerpt without figures from the above follows; long excerpt because this analysis discusses the statistics including autocorrelation/memory, which were mentioned recently in other threads.

    Sea Ice Outlook based on Statistics of Observed Ice Extent and
    Global Climate Model
    July 2008
    1. Name of contributor: Cecilia Bitz
    2. Estimate of the sea ice extent for the Arctic as a whole for the month of September 2008
    5.30 million square kilometers
    3. Principal method
    Statistical, based on observations and coupled climate model output.
    4. Short basis for prediction
    The 29 year observational record of September sea ice extent has zero autocorrelation at
    one-year lag and zero skew. The correlation with the extent in the prior July is significant,
    but the July 2008 extent lies very close to the long term trend. Therefore, my prediction for
    September 2008 is an extrapolation of the long term trend for September. These statistical
    relationships are in general agreement with much longer records that are available from the
    Community Climate System Model version 3, CCSM3.
    5. Longer basis for prediction
    With little deviation from the long term trend in July 2008 and no significant autocorrelation
    or skew from one September to the next in the observations (Fig. 1a), the conservative
    estimate for the future is on the trend line in September. An extrapolation of the trend line
    (Fig. 1b) to year 2008 gives 5.30 million square kilometers.
    The observational results were compared with a statistical analysis of an ensemble of
    20th and 21st century simulations and long control runs from CCSM3. With ensembles and
    multi-century control runs giving far more degrees of freedom, it is clear that CCSM3 does
    have a weak but significant autocorrelation in September ice extent from one year to the next.
    However, the autocorrelation is so weak that it did not compell me to modify my prediction
    based solely on the observations. In contrast, there is more considerable lagged correlation
    between thickness and extent, as expected owing to the much much greater memory in
    thickness.
    Figure 2 shows that years with September sea ice loss comparable to the 2007 observed
    loss are very rare.
    —- end excerpt—

    See links above for the real stuff, this is just a bit I grabbed as an excerpt to point to the real stuff.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Sep 2008 @ 3:26 PM

  312. Hank, statistical curves are OK in their place, but the Ice area fell off a cliff in the last week and has dropped to almost the same as 2007. In fact when Cryosphere Today gets the graph to the end of the month, the current melt should be just below 2007 for that short spike.

    It’s going to be an interesting week or two, but the massive open water around Greenland and the Archipelago is unprecedented.

    Anyone know how much of the multi year ice which was in those areas survived? Did it move on or did it just melt?

    Comment by NeilT — 2 Sep 2008 @ 7:18 PM

  313. #297 NeilT:

    You may be interested in the following comparisons. The first shows how in 1985, even by 2 weeks before this date, there was a huge amount more open water to the north of Greenland, the ice edge on the Atlantic side of the Arctic was already further north on average, the sea ice on the Atlantic side was lower in concentration, and there was already as much open water in the Laptev sea.
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=08&fd=18&fy=1985&sm=09&sd=01&sy=2008

    The second shows how in 1993 the low (~60 per cent) concentration sea ice on the Pacific side of the Arctic reached a similar line to now i.e. from near Banks Island in NW Canada across to the Laptev Sea, with enough open water especially on the Siberian side to make today’s map seem a lot less dramatic.
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=09&fd=01&fy=1993&sm=09&sd=01&sy=2008

    What these comparisons say to me is that both sides of the Arctic have seen significant melt before and recovered.

    “It is, today, massively lower than either 2005 or 2006″

    If that’s what you call massive, then 1993 was massively lower than 1992. What does that prove?
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=09&fd=01&fy=2005&sm=09&sd=01&sy=2008 [2005 vs 2008]
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=09&fd=01&fy=1992&sm=09&sd=01&sy=1993 [1992 vs 1993]

    “What you are missing is that 2008 is tracking 2004 SST and atmospheric temperatures with >1M Sq Km less ice. Woods and trees come to mind.”

    Or maybe one should assume that someone looking at lots of trees generally knows they are in a wood? Of course I’m aware that 2008 has ~1M Sq Km less ice, as I’ve already referred to in a previous post. My point was that there is a precedent for a rapid August melt followed by a much slower September melt – the fact that the extents are ~16% different doesn’t fundamentally change this.

    “Just how many firsts do we have to have before people understand that it is now out of control?”

    It would be “out of control” if buoys had shown continued dramatic thinning this year, the ice extent had “overtaken” 2005/6 in June rather than August allowing albedo changes to have a significant effect, and Arctic temperatures had shown significant rises.

    Instead we are in a situation where the seas and air are significantly colder than this time last year, with greater ice extent, area and even thickness, and thus a fair indication that Arctic re-freeze should set in earlier and more strongly.

    #301 CT latest area is 3.221, and the 2007 minimum was in fact 2.92. So 2008 is still ~300,000km2 ahead or ~10%

    Comment by Chris — 2 Sep 2008 @ 7:18 PM

  314. I can’t understand all these hundreds and hundreds of posts about what is, after all, a regional weather event!

    It’s as though this is has to be emphasised as most other Global indicators of AGW are showing a negative trend and it is a good bet that this will continue for the forseeable future.

    Most modelers do not make a big issue of Artic sea ice melt as they clearly understand that the Arctic ice extent is controlled by many more factors than just Global temperatures.

    The globe is more than the NH after all. You have to factor in the SH at some stage! So why is there hardly any discussion of global polar ice extent?

    Let’s see, you cannot jump around over a few years data, when you are talking about the Earths climate.

    Arctic sea ice has increased this year Antarctic sea ice continues to show, a medium term, increase in extent.

    Global temperatures remain fairly stable with a slight cooling trend. Sea temperatures show no warming trend. There is no evidence of an accelerating sea hight increase.

    The models are not currently in agreement with actual Earth conditions over the last seven or eight years. Therefore, no need to panic, let’s wait awhile and be more certain before we leap off the cliff!

    Alan

    Comment by Alan Millar — 2 Sep 2008 @ 7:26 PM

  315. Re: #307 You cannot predict the future by doing statistical analysis on a curve that is dependent on a multitude of multivariate data.

    You predict the future by doing regression analysis on all the field conditions (solar loading, ice thickness, wind, air temperture, water temperture, ocean currents and probably a dozen others) variables.

    Then you work out problems between the variables, such as autocorrelation, multicollinearity and heterosedasticity. By then you have downed a 40oz of scotch.

    When that fails, you start fudging your data by using Principle Component Analysis or was that factor analysis, I forget which.

    Serriously, we don’t know all the factors that contribute to ice loss, and we don’t have enought data to differentatte what will happen in the next few weeks.

    Sit back and enjoy the ride.

    Comment by LG Norton — 2 Sep 2008 @ 7:41 PM

  316. LG Norton leads me to agree. The melting for the next few weeks will be influenced mostly by local weather, and how know predictable is that? The other thing is that so many conditions this year are vastly different from the previous years’ that it is not even like comparing apples to oranges, it is more like comparing raspberries to bananas.

    However, Wayne’s comments #250 and #296 are very interesting because something sure is melting that ice.

    “squalid and” (Could ReCaptcha actually be an AI bot experimenting on all of us?)

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 2 Sep 2008 @ 8:13 PM

  317. Alan Millar wrote on 2nd September 2008 at 7:26 PM
    “Global temperatures remain fairly stable with a slight cooling trend. Sea temperatures show no warming trend. There is no evidence of an accelerating sea hight increase.

    The models are not currently in agreement with actual Earth conditions over the last seven or eight years. ”

    o dear me, i think every sentence above is incorrect. of course, i might be wrong.

    Comment by sidd — 2 Sep 2008 @ 8:24 PM

  318. sidd,

    Then, again, you might not.

    Speaking of accelerating rates of sea-level rise, what is the latest on that? Anybody know?

    And, is the collapse of the landfast iceshelf off northeastern Greenland already affecting things further up the related glacier’s ice stream, or is that just my overactive imagination at work every time I look at the latest ENVISAT images?

    (Link below is good only for about the next 14 hours or so.)

    http://www.seaice.dk/iwicos/latest/envisat.GMM3d.n.20080902.gif

    “Kickapoo France” LOLOL

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 2 Sep 2008 @ 8:49 PM

  319. Re: #289

    Chris,

    How can “The SOI continues to lurch back towards La Nina” ?

    Has that ever occurred before?

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 2 Sep 2008 @ 8:51 PM

  320. It would be “out of control” if buoys had shown continued dramatic thinning this year, the ice extent had “overtaken” 2005/6 in June rather than August allowing albedo changes to have a significant effect, and Arctic temperatures had shown significant rises.

    Ah, the “La Niña will save us, as long as it happens every year and El Niño disappears” argument.

    Wanna lay odds on that?

    Comment by dhogaza — 2 Sep 2008 @ 10:05 PM

  321. The models are not currently in agreement with actual Earth conditions over the last seven or eight years.

    Ah, someone else who’s fallen for Lucia’s unpublished (and unpublishable), unstatistical, dear-lord-lets-toss-real-science-into-the-toilet bullshit.

    Which, of course, is winning her the Nobel soon, because, you know, overturning a ton of established science with tard-thinking is JUST WHAT the Nobel committee looks for (NOT!)

    Comment by dhogaza — 2 Sep 2008 @ 10:08 PM

  322. #314: Weather? I think not, Polar ice maxima and minima extents is like a climate metric, more than weather. If you go back a little on RC, you will find literature explaining necessary temperature disparities between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Is not like CO2 will warm up the entire planet equally. By theory, the Northern Hemisphere will warm faster than the Southern, and lo and behold it does, and so the ice in antarctica behaves as the models predict.

    #301 Thanks for the numbers , Cryosphere Today Ice extent is likely within an undeclared margin of error, 5% difference between 07 and 08 is likely within that margin. Although:
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.365.jpg

    The graph shows identical extent (look at anomaly in red). Bremen and Danish maps disagree
    with Cryosphere, showing less ice. If you look at all the data it may be confusing. The melt in 08 was huge; there was an article around february 2008:

    http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2008/02/15/arctic-ice.html

    Which has quoted an increase of average ice thickness by 10 to 20 cm with a gain of 2 million square kilometers. For those who say: “What’s the big deal?” it appears that Ice volume melt rivals 2007 with less sun, colder water and air…. Something to write about, as we say in Canada : Hey?

    Comment by wayne davidson — 2 Sep 2008 @ 11:42 PM

  323. Alan Millar wrote on 2nd September 2008 at 7:26 PM
    “Global temperatures remain fairly stable with a slight cooling trend.”

    As you use the quantitative word trend, let me correct you. A trend is computed based on a series of data points. For temperature, the slope of the trend depends on how many years back you include in your trend. So is there a cooling trend? To inform you, I computed the trend value for trends of different lengths back to the history starting with 2007 as the latest data point. The data are NASA data, global surface temperature anomaly.
    (http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.txt)

    In the table below, the year refers to the beginning of trend years (e.g., 1995 0.036 means that the trend between 1995 and 2007 is 0.036 degrees Fahrenheit per year, i.e., 3.6 degrees for 100 years).

    1988 0.0199
    1989 0.0218
    1990 0.0216
    1991 0.0250
    1992 0.0285
    1993 0.0263
    1994 0.0226
    1995 0.0201
    1996 0.0214
    1997 0.0181
    1998 0.0178
    1999 0.0300
    2000 0.0250
    2001 0.0107
    2002 0.0043
    2003 0.0090
    2004 0.0160
    2005 -0.0250
    2006 0.0300
    2007 #DIV/0!

    Only from 2005 to 2007 there is a cooling trend. Do you really want to base your knowledge on this two-year period only and neglect all the others?

    Comment by Lauri — 3 Sep 2008 @ 3:07 AM

  324. RE 314

    “The models are not currently in agreement with actual Earth conditions over the last seven or eight years.”

    This topic has been covered extensively on this site, see:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/01/uncertainty-noise-and-the-art-of-model-data-comparison/

    Please have a look at it. It explains the point very well.

    Comment by Vincent van der Goes — 3 Sep 2008 @ 3:17 AM

  325. Also, Alan Millar:

    “The globe is more than the NH after all. You have to factor in the SH at some stage! So why is there hardly any discussion of global polar ice extent?”

    I agree that there is currently a lot of talk and speculation about the year-to-year NP ice extent (while the longer trend is more important). However, the focus on the north pole (rather than south) has a justification. I’ll try to explain as well as I can.

    Feedback mechanisms are strongest on the north pole. More warmth can relatively easy result in less ice, since it is all sea ice (unlike the south pole). When there is less ice, there is less reflection of sunlight, so the water will warm faster.

    As I understand it, this is why global warming has the most impact in this region, and why so many people talk about it. (a look at this picture can put things into perspective: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Global_Warming_Map.jpg)

    Comment by Vincent van der Goes — 3 Sep 2008 @ 3:39 AM

  326. Alan writes:

    Global temperatures remain fairly stable with a slight cooling trend.

    No, they do not:

    http://members.aol.com/bpl1960/Ball.html

    http://members.aol.com/bpl1960/Reber.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Sep 2008 @ 3:43 AM

  327. NeilT @ 312: you can see from MODIS that the ice has moved away from the Greenland and Ellesmere coasts, rather than melting in place. Presumably this is due to wind.

    It’s still very disturbing, though, because now that this ice is not fast, and is out in the ocean, it will respond more readily to the transpolar drift pushing it out of the Fram Strait.

    Despite all the open water around Peary Land, Greenland is not circumnavigable at the moment because the Lincoln Sea is full of broken ice, and apparently so is the Nares Strait.

    Comment by Nick Barnes — 3 Sep 2008 @ 5:27 AM

  328. #292, Chris.
    (I have been trying to post this for ages.)

    It is not the area/extent per-se that’s changed my mind, although to see it this close has amazed me. It’s mainly the rate of reduction this late in the season, the latitude to which that reached, and the loss of perennial ice implied by both this year’s melt and the transport out of the Fram Strait. From my understanding based on the papers I’ve read, perennial ice can be seen as a damper. That’s because it’s less likely to melt to open ocean than first year ice (due to thickness and salinity/structure) it damps the impact of weather on the melt. The recent events suggest to me that something has changed in the Arctic, last year was not a fluke. What we are seeing is the impact of ice volume reduction.

    Yes there are areas that haven’t thinned significantly, especially in the centre of the pack where a cold climate is provided by Greenland and the rest of the ice pack. But that story is not supported as you move away from the Canadian coast. (pdf here) – same as figure 4 of NSIDC 25 Aug 2008.

    As far as I can see we have a pretty typical year’s weather starting with a good ice-growing winter (cold, lesser snow thickness), yet producing a quite remarkable drop. All year I’ve watched developments and until recently have not seen anything to really convince me that the ice was not likely to recover showing 2007 to be the sort of outlier Bitz(ARCUS) points to in the model runs. 2 years of very low extent makes them even less probable outliers, more years would compound that improbability. To my amazement there was (is still?) the chance the so-far unbroken 1-year-autocorrelation* rule might be broken. I don’t think that’s likely, but I bet it will be broken within 5 years. *’the year after a record minimum extent year never produces a new record’.

    Graph 2 of Spreen/Kaleschke’s Sea Ice Outlook also shows what a distinct pair 2007/2008 are compared to previous years.

    The main reason I had doubts about us being in a SICI (Small Ice-Cap Instability) type transition is because GCMs don’t show a rapid transition to seasonally ice free state. Over on the previous part of North Pole notes I asked why, apart from the shock of 2007, did people think we were going through a Small Ice-Cap Instability (SICI) type threshold, here. I got no answer. But this recent late melt acceleration seems to me to be exactly what I would expect if we were. For me the key factor this year has been volume/thickness. We are not seeing unusual weather causing the recent unusual melt, not in the way unusually prolonged clear skies caused* 2007′s (*or at least enhanced the impact of storms).

    Have you ever seen Nghiem’s 2007 study of perennial ice extent? Nghiem 2007 “Rapid reduction of Arctic perennial sea ice.” 1.68Mb pdf, here. If not I recommend it, check out figure 3, March 2008 was down 1 million sqkm from March 2007. I keep going on about that paper but that’s only because I see it as a key observation.

    Hope this formats OK, Nth attempt to post.

    PS From the BBC, Major ice-shelf loss for Canada: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7595441.stm

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 3 Sep 2008 @ 5:29 AM

  329. #314 Alan Miller,

    I can’t understand all these hundreds and hundreds of posts about what is, after all, a regional weather event!

    Typically I’d agree re weather, however the Arctic has ‘memory’ in a way that most other regional environments don’t. That memory means what happens one year can have a substantial affect on what comes next, e.g. 2007′s crash preconditioning the ice for this year.

    It’s as though this is has to be emphasised as most other Global indicators of AGW are showing a negative trend and it is a good bet that this will continue for the forseeable future.

    Not the case on the appropriate (climatological) time scale. My reason for emphasis it’s a key issue is the potential it poses, see my post 254. In pursuing public opinion the denialist camp have manouevered themselves into irrelevance, so why would they factor at all? Public opinion is irrelevant to the ongoing process.

    The globe is more than the NH after all. You have to factor in the SH at some stage! So why is there hardly any discussion of global polar ice extent?

    Why would we consider the Antarctic ice state when looking at what’s happening in the Arctic? They are at opposite sides of the planet, and whilst the Arctic is a polar sea surrounded by land, the Antarctic is land surrounded by an ocean.

    Arctic sea ice has increased this year

    It’s still closer to 2007 than any previous year, and 2007 was substantially below previous years.

    I’ve lived in rough areas most of my life and have been in numerous “tight spots”, on many occasions had I waited for certainty I’d almost certainly not be typing this now: I’d be dead. This is the real world, sometimes one has to make the best judgment with limited and incomplete information.

    All that said, as far as I’m concerned you think what you want Alan, persuade people that it’s not happening if that suits you. But beware because that persausion will no more stop this process than King Canute’s regal status could stop the incoming tide.

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 3 Sep 2008 @ 6:06 AM

  330. #328 Thanks very much for the detailed post and the links.

    A few initial thoughts. Firstly, looking at the comparison between 2nd Sep 2007 and 2nd Sep 2008:

    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsredata/asi_daygrid_swath/l1a/n6250/2007/sep/asi-n6250-20070902-v5_nic.png
    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsredata/asi_daygrid_swath/l1a/n6250/2008/sep/asi-n6250-20080902-v5_nic.png

    From 165 degrees W through 180 degrees, 165E, 140E, to at least 125E, the 2008 ice extends to a lower latitude ( ~77N to ~80N compared with ~81N to ~84N in 2007) The extra ice is all first year ice since it was essentially open water at this time last year. It is therefore by definition much thicker (i.e. thicker than 0!) and if it survives the next few weeks it will be good evidence of how ice can recover, as well as adding to the total of multiyear ice. Also from 75E to 30E the ice is significantly more concentrated this year.
    On the other hand, there has been a retreat of the ice edge in the northern Beaufort from about ~74N in 2007 to ~76N now, and an area roughly the size of the new tongue at 165E to 180 degrees has thinned, which looks rather dramatic at first sight. However, note that the tongue has increased from ~10 per cent to ~90 per cent concentration, whereas the thinned area this year has merely gone from ~90 per cent to ~70 per cent concentration. Furthermore, there are currently signs of re-freeze in the area, and temperatures down to at least -5C are certainly helping on this front:
    http://www.uni-koeln.de/math-nat-fak/geomet/meteo/winfos/synNNWWarctis.gif

    “For me the key factor this year has been volume/thickness”
    I couldn’t agree more: the 2008 melt season started with massively less multiyear ice than 2007, and a legacy of massively thinner ice all across the Arctic. And yet it STILL has greater extent, area and thickness.

    “But that story is not supported as you move away from the Canadian coast. (pdf here) – same as figure 4 of NSIDC 25 Aug 2008.”
    I’ve already explained above why this story is absolutely supported – i.e. the point about ice being indisputably thicker than open water.
    But just to nail the point, take a closer look at the buoy data you refer to. I’ve already gone into a lot of detail on the buoys in previous posts. The only buoys which *appear* to support your point are the two with big yellow bars.
    The one (2007E) on the edge of the Beaufort was right on the ice edge, and has drifted into open water, so has obviously seen a lot of bottom melt. Its neighbours show a different story: 2008F at Lat: 76.832 N Long: 139.974 W has still failed to melt to less than 3m thick
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2008F.htm
    and 2007F at Lat: 72.609 N Long: 136.079 W appears to have shown no net melt at all since the start of the year despite substantial southward drift. i.e. still at ~3m thick
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2007F.htm
    As for Buoy 2006C in the central Arctic (i.e. the other one with a big yellow bar), the melt here has been half that in 2007, such that the thickness is identical to a year ago. http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2006C.htm

    This is a very exhausting process – I only want to establish the truth of what is going on, and yet I sense a massive resistance to points which I think should be obvious. Accepting there might be some truth to what I’m saying doesn’t mean that the strength of the AGW hypothesis is somehow called into question – I haven’t voiced an opinion on that. Whatever your hypothesis, I would say it is best if you examine things from all angles, and if the hypothesis is particularly strong then one shouldn’t have a problem with short term considerations which may not help to prove it as much as one might like.

    Comment by Chris — 3 Sep 2008 @ 7:41 AM

  331. Chris,
    I would contend that to look at either 2007 or 2008 in isolation is to take them out of their proper context. In other words, a single record year is less important than the steady and seemingly inexorable decline in polar ice. A single record year could be weather–the decline is climate change. A month ago, we were wondering whether 2008 could nudge out 2005 for second place. It is now threatening 2007 for the gold. The interest in that race is due to the fact that people are wondering if we have indeed reached a tipping poing. While it is too early to tell, the rapid changes in the North when viewed in terms of the trends of ever decreasing summer sea ice, a melt season that extends later into the fall and globally rising temperatures make it difficult to argue that we’re in balance.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Sep 2008 @ 9:11 AM

  332. #331 I am perfectly aware of the longer term trend. I am also perfectly aware of the limitations of pre-supposing that trends will inexorably continue. That is why I have been trying to find out in as much detail as possible, and in all contexts, exactly what has happened in the Arctic in 2007 and 2008, and what the important drivers/factors have been. Seeing as there are already plenty of people asserting that we have reached or passed a “tipping point” on the basis of 2007 and 2008, I would say this is worth doing, wouldn’t you? Even if we are close to a “tipping point”, how can it not be worth trying to understand objectively what is actually happening?

    Comment by Chris — 3 Sep 2008 @ 10:22 AM

  333. #330 Chris, lets think a little. 2008 March , ice was thicker by 10 to 20 cm. From the start, ice extent was greater than 2007 by about 2 million square kilometers. Wouldn’t there be greater albedo? If so
    from the onset, less melting was meant to be? So why is it nearly equal? Especially with all the weather favoring a lesser melt, more clouds, cooler surface and water temps and unfavorable winds…. Less old ice helps, but that does not mean something else is contributing to this melt…..

    Comment by wayne davidson — 3 Sep 2008 @ 10:37 AM

  334. “Less old ice helps, but that does not mean nothing else is contributing to this melt…..”

    Comment by wayne davidson — 3 Sep 2008 @ 10:39 AM

  335. Chris:
    First, no one said that it is not worth “trying to objectively understand what is actually happening.” Your implication otherwise sounds like a cheap rhetorical trick.

    Second, you stated above regarding some first year ice that may survive the melt season that “if it survives the next few weeks it will be good evidence of how ice can recover, as well as adding to the total of multiyear ice.” This strikes me as true but trivial. Has anyone said that it is impossible for first-year ice to survive and become multi-year ice? Of course not. The issue is that first-year ice is less robust. My read on this summer’s melt is that, given the weather, it would not have been a spectacular melt season had there not been so much first-year ice. The fact that it is anywhere near a record minimum seems to be largely due to the fact that last year’s exceptional melt led to there being a lot of new, less robust ice out there. And now, since so much of it has indeed melted again, it will be the same situation next year. At some point in the near future, the summer weather in the arctic is going to be less favorable for ice than this summer was, and even less of the more robust ice will remain afterward. And so on. The only ways I see this not being a “tipping point” leading to smaller and smaller summer ice area/extent, i.e. the only reasons I have thought of that the trend wouldn’t inexorably continue, is if the arctic started cooling and/or the summer weather became calmer than it has been for long enough for the ice to rebuild significantly. Do you know of any reason to believe either of those things will happen?

    Comment by kevin — 3 Sep 2008 @ 10:55 AM

  336. Mean air temperatures at NWS climate stations in Alaska (Barrow, Fairbanks, Kotzebue and Nome) in August, 2008 were below 1971-2000 averages.

    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=pafg

    Comment by pat n — 3 Sep 2008 @ 10:58 AM

  337. #336 thanks Pat. Well that does not mean that the entire atmosphere cooled…. It would be great if NOAA came about with DWT stats, which is very significant as it incorporates the temperature of the entire atmosphere. The way I see it now, is that 2008 had a very interesting shift in warm air location, further above the surface, which means the surface record got colder, however the atmosphere is just as warm. How did this happen? I am not sure. but the ice was surely affected by an IR heat source not far above it. Between 1000 and 850 mb height. There are very few upper air soundings over the Arctic ocean, so you must look and see if GRIBB is showing something.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 3 Sep 2008 @ 11:23 AM

  338. #333

    Let’s think a little bit more. When does the melt season really get going within the Arctic proper? Certainly not before late April as there’s still ice out into the Pacific.
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=04&fd=25&fy=2007&sm=04&sd=25&sy=2008

    So what was the situation in late April/May 08 compared with a year before? Looking at the JAXA data, I make the difference in extent about 2 per cent (e.g. 2.12 per cent on 25th April and 1.88 per cent on 1st May if you want me to be more precise)

    04,25,2007,12700781
    05,01,2007,12627813

    04,25,2008,12970469
    05,01,2008,12865156

    So 2008 and 2007 started the melt season proper with very similar levels of ice extent. (I’m not really interested in the very thin ice floes that formed briefly out into the Pacific and Atlantic at the end of winter, thereby pushing up the maximum ice extent, before vanishing quickly around mid-April)

    Can you prove your statement that “2008 March , ice was thicker by 10 to 20 cm.” ? I would be extremely surprised if this was the case over the Arctic proper (i.e. away from the Pacific and Atlantic peripheries). Here’s an example of a central Arctic buoy that was in 3m thick ice in March 2007, but only 1.8m thick ice in march 2008, yet has seen only half as much melt this year:
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2006C.htm

    Meanwhile, I think it may have been you that speculated that the ice area as measured on Cryosphere today was essentially the same as a year ago? Well, that hasn’t happened yet. The minimum in 2007 was 2.92, and the lowest so far this year was 3.199 a couple of days ago i.e. 9.6 per cent above the 2007 minimum. In the last 2 days, ice area has gone up to 3.247, so that it is now back up to 11.2 per cent above the 2007 minimum (or approx 8 per cent more than this day last year)
    The exact figure for today’s extent is 4924219 which is 6.7 per cent or 7.5 per cent above this day last year depending on whether you factor in the leap year, and 15.7 per cent above last year’s minimum.
    (Incidentally, last year had 2 sub-minimums in extent with a difference of a mere 13,125 km2: 4267656 on 16th Sep and 4254531 on 24th Sep. To put this in perspective, the final correction made to today’s JAXA extent figure was 12,188 km2. Area minimum was on 16th Sep at 2.92 million km2 – google this and find a million hits to confirm it. So I wouldn’t assign too much significance to the precise date of 24th Sep last year re: extent)

    Just to spell a couple of things out, albedo would not have been significant before mid-April due to the weakness of the sun, and after mid-April it was not significant because extent was comparable to all previous years.

    Therefore, you are left with your mysterious belief in “something else” other than the variables which have actually been identified and measured. Would you care to elaborate, and perhaps provide some evidence? Personally I would say it’s quite simple: much of the ice, especially on the Siberian side of the Arctic ocean, was dramatically thinner, and therefore melted more quickly as the summer went on, probably helped by weather conditions in key areas.

    Comment by Chris — 3 Sep 2008 @ 11:40 AM

  339. Re #336: Need to be careful about using monthly averages from a few weather stations as indicative of anything to do with climate. Especially true when the stations are all located near each other.

    Comment by Andrew — 3 Sep 2008 @ 11:41 AM

  340. Arctic becomes an island as ice melts
    By Auslan Cramb
    Last Updated: 4:01pm BST 31/08/2008

    The North Pole has become an island for the first time in human history as climate change has made it possible to circumnavigate the Arctic ice cap.

    The historic development was revealed by satellite images taken last week showing that both the north-west and north-east passages have been opened by melting ice.

    Prof Mark Serreze, a sea ice scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in the US said the images suggested the Arctic may have entered a “death spiral” caused by global warming.

    Shipping companies are already planning to exploit the first simultaneous opening of the routes since the beginning of the last Ice Age 125,000 years ago. The Beluga Group in Germany says it will send the first ship through the north-east passage, around Russia, next year, cutting 4,000 miles off the voyage from Germany to Japan.

    Meanwhile, Stephen Harper, Canada’s Prime Minister, has announced that ships entering the north-west passage should first report to his government. The routes have previously opened at different times, with the western route opening last year, and the eastern route opening in 2005.
    advertisement

    The satellite images gathered by Nasa show that the north-west passage opened last weekend and the final blockage on the east side of the ice cap, an area of sea ice stretching to Siberia, dissolved a few days later.

    Last year the extent of sea ice in the Arctic reached a record low that could be surpassed in the next few weeks, with some scientists warning that the ice cap could soon vanish altogether during summer.

    Four weeks ago tourists had to be evacuated from a park on Baffin Island because of flooding caused by melting glaciers, and polar bears have been spotted off Alaska trying to swim hundreds of miles to the retreating ice cap.

    Measurements on August 26 showed an ice cap of just over two million square miles, confirming the second biggest ice cap melt since records began. New of the opening of the passages emerged as the British explorer and adventurer Lewis Gordon Pugh began a kayak expedition to the North Pole aimed at drawing attention to the dramatic impact of melting polar ice.

    “I want to bring home to world leaders, on this expedition, the reality of what is now happening here in the Arctic,” said the 38-year-old environmentalist in his blog.

    “The rate of change is clearly faster than nearly all the models predict, which has huge implications for climate change and how to tackle it.”

    Meanwhile Prof James Lovelock, of the University of Oxford, has claimed “planet-scale engineering of the climate” may have to be attempted to counter global warming.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 3 Sep 2008 @ 11:42 AM

  341. #335

    “First, no one said that it is not worth “trying to objectively understand what is actually happening.” Your implication otherwise sounds like a cheap rhetorical trick.”

    I was responding to a post that dismissed a carefully researched and detailed post of mine with the argument “I would contend that to look at either 2007 or 2008 in isolation is to take them out of their proper context.” – perhaps this argument might sound like a cheap rhetorical trick to you as well? Seeing as I have no more taken 2007 or 2008 out of their proper context than have the other posters I have been debating with.

    You summarise my analysis of first year ice as “trivial”. It’s hard to argue with adjectives (as opposed to evidence) and I think the onus is on you to make your argument more precisely.
    Consider where open water was exposed in 2007 http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=09&fd=15&fy=2006&sm=09&sd=15&sy=2007
    and then consider what the situation is a year on:
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=09&fd=02&fy=2007&sm=09&sd=02&sy=2008
    Why is this trivial? It seems clear that well over half of the open water exposed is now ice again. And this is before we talk about thickness, which you have ignored completely.

    “the only reasons I have thought of that the trend wouldn’t inexorably continue, is if the arctic started cooling and/or the summer weather became calmer than it has been for long enough for the ice to rebuild significantly. Do you know of any reason to believe either of those things will happen?”

    Here’s the Jun/Jul combined average from MSU for lower troposphere temperatures for the last 10 years in the “NoPol” region i.e. ~60N to ~82.5N:
    1998 0.64
    1999 0.46
    2000 0.27
    2001 0.68
    2002 0.79
    2003 0.85
    2004 0.53
    2005 1.04
    2006 0.83
    2007 1.47
    2008 0.52

    So I would turn the argument around and say, do you know of any reason to believe that 2005 and 2007 represent the likely temperatures of the next few years rather than 1998-2004, 2006 and 2008? Similarly, do you know of any reason to believe that summers should be stormier than normal in the next few years?

    Sorry if my tone seems rather aggressive, but I’m only responding to yours.

    I’ve made quite a few detailed points today, and I believe they are helpful and relevant. I’m going to try and leave it at that.

    Comment by Chris — 3 Sep 2008 @ 12:16 PM

  342. #340 That’s funny, I thought James Lovelock said…

    Global heating would not have happened but for the rapid expansion in numbers and wealth of humanity. Had we heeded Malthus’s warning and kept the human population to less than one billion, we would not now be facing a torrid future. Whether or not we go for the recommendations for cutting back fossil fuel use discussed in Bali in 2007 or use geoengineering, the planet is likely, massively and cruelly, to cull us, in the same merciless way that we have eliminated so many species by changing their environment into one where survival is difficult.

    Before we start geoengineering we have to raise the following question: are we sufficiently talented to take on what might become the onerous permanent task of keeping the Earth in homeostasis? Consider what might happen if we start by using a stratospheric aerosol to ameliorate global heating; even if it succeeds, it would not be long before we face the additional problem of ocean acidification. This would need another medicine, and so on…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/sep/01/climatechange.scienceofclimatechange

    Comment by Hugh — 3 Sep 2008 @ 12:48 PM

  343. Chris, We started out this year after a hard winter with a sea ice extent that was the highest in 5 years. We had a year with cooler temperatures than the last couple of years due to La Nina. And for most of the year, we stayed close to the profile of 2005. Then we just didn’t bottom out. Certainly, thinner sea ice played a role. However, it would appear that the dynamics have changed. It ain’t the same Arctic.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Sep 2008 @ 12:51 PM

  344. #338 Chris, read the article:

    http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2008/02/15/arctic-ice.html
    It was a significantly colder end of winter over the North American Arctic side of the Pole.
    Albedo is significant at every month, even a low sun has an impact. Increased ice surface automatically means more albedo, in April May June July, even in the places where you think ice is irrelevant: Bering strait etc.. Your single Buoy example is not very appropriate, it is even cherry picking.
    Take this one:

    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2007F.htm

    Ice thickness has increased over the summer. The data is preliminary , by the way….

    Single ice stations are affected by so many factors, that its dangerous to generalize from it. However: you still fail to recognize summer weather conditions:
    cooler surface air, cooler water, greater cloud coverage and winds favoring scattering (greater albedo) of ice instead of compressing, all factors against a significant melt from happening. Yet it happened. I’ve stated that ice extent started at a much greater level than last year, that is well accepted pretty much everywhere, I look at graphs and Cryosphere today makes the melt extent almost , read the word, almost identical to last year. So I would say that, explaining a greater melt, from thinner ice makes sense, only if the melting conditions were similar.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 3 Sep 2008 @ 12:52 PM

  345. Chris, from your posts you seem to have the impression that ice forms and melts entirely in situ. At least, that’s the only message I can take from your continued insistence on exactly which parts of the Arctic Oceas have ice this year but were open last year, and vice versa.

    That’s simply not the case: sea ice is mobile and follows the wind and water currents. The patch of ice you’re so animatedly pointing to at 165E isn’t necessarily new, recovering ice – it is much more likely to be an area of older ice that’s moved over a bit. That in turn helps explain the reduction in ice in the Beaufort sea, and so on.

    What we can say about this year’s ice coverage is that despite having started from a higher baseline, we have no more (or very little more) ice in terms of area than last year, but that the extent is slightly higher. That is, we have the same ice area, but more loosely packed. This is a vast amount of yearly melt, occurring despite the fact that conditions this year are much less favourable for melt than last year. Thus it appears that the thin first-year ice formed from last year has been largely unable to withstand even a cool summer. The fact that this year’s ice area is no greater than last year sets us up for the same thing to happen again next year – only will next summer be more favourable for melting?

    Even according to your own flawed analysis, you draw the wrong conclusions. What if the new ice area at 156E is indeed first-year ice which has withstood this summer? That means that if this year’s ice area is identical (or nearly so) to last year, then we must have lost an area of multi-year ice equal to the area of first-year ice you’re trumpeting as evidence of recovery. If so, then we’ve just replaced the last remaining bulwark of tough multi-year ice with ice that’s still very new. Scarcely a comforting thought!

    Comment by Peter Ellis — 3 Sep 2008 @ 1:39 PM

  346. Chris,

    Note that there are differences between every year in terms of a regional pattern of melt, the correlation between September extent and the extent in months earlier than July is noted as being poor. There is very little inter-annual correlation. Personally I don’t think there’s much gain in examining such differences in great detail. I’ve followed Quikscat over the winter, and have spent more time than is healthy ;) going over the National Ice Centre Ice Charts. There is a lot of movement in the ice due to the Transpolar drift and Beaufort Gyre NSIDC. However this movement is area-dependent. For example around the pole and Ellesmere Island it is less, because the ice gets packed up by the transpolar drift pushing ice from Siberia up to the North coast of Greenland, whereas in the Beaufort Sea and on the East coast of Greenland it is significant. Furthermore the ice in the central ice pack won’t melt as much as in the periphery as it’s surrounded by ice and is kept cold. Given their locations and the progress of this year I don’t see a problem for my position with what is shown by any of the bouys you point out. (Which is not to say that I dismiss what you have noted.)

    Rather than get bogged down in the detail of the bouy data I’ll get straight to what seems to be the key thrust of your argument – this year as a prospect for recovery.

    In terms of the prospects for recovery it’s worth bearing in mind the time-constants of ice response. Bitz & Roe did a paper examining the loss of thick ice; “A Mechanism for the High Rate of Sea Ice Thinning in the Arctic Ocean” Journal of Climate 2003. They found that because thin ice can grow more quickly than thick ice there is a biasing towards loss of thick ice. For example it takes at least 6 years to make a given volume of 6 year old perennial ice, however because some volume is lost each summer in practice it takes more than that. Ice listed as 6 years old will contain some younger ice (new ice that freezes in fissures) and older ice (moved about by circulation). The old ice becomes thicker due to compaction, as the ice pack compresses ridges are formed, ‘sheets’ of ice overlap. In terms of thickness first year ice cannot get very much thicker than about 2 metres. That’s because additional thickness forms on the underside of the ice-pack, and for it to freeze there has to be a heat flux from the (relative) warmth of the water to the cold of the surface in the long Arctic night. The heat flux is inversely proportional to the thickness of the ice, so once the frazil ice has compacted and started to form ice-pack as we’d recognise it, growth is initially rapid but it then slows down. Furthermore snow will act as an insulator lesser snow cover will increase thickness, as happened last winter due to the late formation of ice in some areas (ARCUS May outlook report). So it’s a very quick process (1 year) to grow new first-year ice, but it takes much longer to replace the loss of old thick ice (many years).

    This is why I brought up the Nghiem 2007 paper in my post above. That shows what I see as the real tipping point in figure 3, the area/extent is to some degree a distraction. Steven Goddard has asserted over at “Watt’s up with that” pretty much what you assert; that the survival of ice above last year suggests prospects for a recovery. However Nghiem 2007 shows a persistent and intensifying year-on-year drop in perennial ice as measured by QuikScat. So in past years where extent/area has gone up between years (e.g. 2005 to 2006) there has still been a drop in perennial extent, thus suggesting that this is not a significant factor and cannot be read as a sign of the reversal of the loss trend. By the way I think it’s reasonable to suggest that an extent increase from 2007 will probably be similar to 2005-2006, as things stand at the moment, and after 2006 came 2007.

    Have you read Zhang’s team’s Sea Ice Outlook work using the PIOMAS model? Web page here. They took the weather of the years 2001 to 2007, as ensemble members 01 to 07 and used the weather to force the model from the initial condition of ice in March. What they found (top fig) was that only 2007’s weather caused a September minimum extent below 2007’s record, even then the drop was not as much as between 2006 and 2007. Their September minima for ensemble members 01 to 06 were all over 5 million kmsq, as things stand this year’s minima seems very likely to be below Zhang’s ensemble members 01 to 06, however in their paper they note tendencies towards regional overprojection, and their figures are September mean.

    Zhang’s study is interesting because it is relevant to Kevin’s post 335. Rather than go on more I simply say I second what Kevin says.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 3 Sep 2008 @ 2:53 PM

  347. #345 If you’re determined to disagree with someone, you can always appear to find a flaw in their argument and generalise it. I can’t cover every aspect of the Arctic ice scene in every post, and just because I haven’t gone into detail on the shifting of ice doesn’t mean it obliterates my argument. I’ve dealt with the issue of the August incursion of anomalous heat from northern Siberia in previous posts, along with numerous other issues, which explain my “flawed analysis” as you call it in more detail. As for the “vast amount of yearly melt” you refer to, I would be interested (and extremely surprised) if anyone could provide evidence that within the Arctic ocean (i.e. away from the Pacific and Atlantic fringes which are not relevant since they have always melted every summer in recent history) there has been a volume loss approaching that of 2007.

    #344 I’ve explained my arguments – too much further debate would be needless repetition. The main thing I’ll say is that the weather conditions WERE more favourable to melt in the precise part of the Arctic that saw rapid melt of vulnerable first year ice in August i.e. the Siberian side. I followed the synoptic charts and weather data every day in August, and I watched the persistent warm southerlies eat up the ice in front of my eyes. I didn’t follow things so closely earlier in the summer so I can’t describe the causation behind the July Beaufort melt with any precision. But I do know that far north Canada had record heatwaves, and ice in the Beaufort had been broken up by winter storms.
    I haven’t cherry picked with the Buoys. I’ve been over the data from each individual buoy ad nauseam – see e.g. #330. The big picture is that 2007 saw record minimum average thickness by the end of summer of 1.3m – see Maslowski/NASA, hence 2008 started the melt season with dramatically thinned ice despite a cold winter (this simply is incontrovertible); hence if average thickness is >1.3m at the end of this summer then 2008 has seen much less volume loss over the Arctic ocean.

    I’ve consistently argued that an earlier and stronger re-freeze than last year is very plausible, despite the fact that last winter was relatively cold as people like to emphasise when talking about 2008 yearly ice loss (despite, as I keep having to repeat, the fact that most of the extra ice floes that were around briefly at the end of winter on the Pacific/Atlantic peripheries would have been of minimal thickness – who knows, a few cms in many areas?)
    No one has agreed with me, or even recognised that I might have a point. Well, let’s wait and see what happens. The fact that the (western) Chukchi sea is now 4C colder than this time last year, the NW Alaska coast is back to being colder than the long term average, and the southern Siberian sea is colder than at any time since 2001 makes me reasonably confident.

    Comment by Chris — 3 Sep 2008 @ 3:18 PM

  348. Sorry should have said “southern part of the East Siberian sea” at the end of my previous post. (N.b the southern part of the Beaufort is currently 1C warmer than last year, but this is surprisingly little considering how much longer it’s been open water)

    Comment by Chris — 3 Sep 2008 @ 3:28 PM

  349. Re: 339

    Temperature plots are available for public viewing at many climate stations in Alaska (back to about 1950), the Midwest (going back to the 1890s) and at Minneapolis MN back to 1820.

    Beginning dates of snowmelt runoff at river stations in the Upper Midwest from 1900 to 2008 can also be viewed, for the Red River at Grand Forks ND, the St. Louis River at Scanlan MN and the St. Croix River at St. Croix Falls WI.

    Plots of average dewpoints at a few climate stations are also available. Higher atmospheric humidity increases melt rates when air temperatures are above freezing.

    Plots at:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/npatnew

    Comment by pat neuman — 3 Sep 2008 @ 3:49 PM

  350. “No one has agreed with me, or even recognised that I might have a point.”

    Chris I agree with you! It is obvious that there has been some recovery in the Arctic sea ice extent this year notwithstanding the poor intial conditions that you have amply demonstrated.

    Having said that I don’t see much relevance, from this whole protracted debate, to the AGW question.

    If the Arctic ice recovers to the long term average in the next few years does that falsify the AGW hypothesis?

    If the Arctic ice falls to new summer lows in the next few years does that prove the AGW hypothesis?

    The answer is absolutely no to both questions in my opinion. Why therefore, are people making so much fuss about it compared to other more relevant factors like sea temperatures, UAH satellte data etc?

    Alan

    Comment by Alan Millar — 3 Sep 2008 @ 5:47 PM

  351. Update on Sea Ice Projection

    It appears that while the type of projection may fit the evolution of sea ice extent this year, it is fairly sensitive to the coefficients in the quadratic trendline for daily sea ice extent fall, and moreover, that the coefficients are themselves fairly sensitive to recent daily behavior…

    There are now two projections using the same method. However, the first uses a quadratic trendline based on the actual daily reduction in sea ice extent for the period 6/1/2008-8/27/2008, whereas the second uses a quadratic trendline based on the actual daily reduction in sea ice extent for the period 6/1/2008-9/3/2008.

    I believe the following two charts speak for themselves:

    2008 Daily Sea Ice Extent Fall (6/1/2008-9/3/2008)
    http://i38.tinypic.com/33xvgwk.jpg

    2008 Sea Ice Extent
    http://i35.tinypic.com/1236x6c.jpg

    *

    Captcha fortune cookie: obligations Moody

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 4 Sep 2008 @ 2:07 AM

  352. Ok! if we are resigned to the fact of no summer ice from 70N in a few years and then longer and progressively longer periods of an ice free state, how quickly will that huge area of dark warming ocean really affect global climate? I appreciate the climatic time lag for factors affecting the ocean can be substantial. The less reflective ice means that more of the suns energy is trapped in the atmosphere thus increasing air temps. In reality the area of arctica compared to antarctica is like comparing a fly with an elephant respectively. If the ice of antarctica was to melt at the same rate as arctica I’d start digging our family cemetry right now. What I’m saying is what affect will prolonged periods of an ice free arctic have on the world’s climate???

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 4 Sep 2008 @ 2:36 AM

  353. I understand your point, and agree that discussions on the ice extent over the course a few years may be a little overheated.

    “If the Arctic ice recovers to the long term average in the next few years does that falsify the AGW hypothesis?”

    Please see here for the development over thirty years:
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.area.jpg

    Note the trend. IMHO, if the arctic ice recovers to pre-1980 levels in the next few years that would be remarkable indeed.

    Also a question: what exactly do you mean with “the AGW hypothesis”? There are many different observations, correlations and predictions involved here.

    Comment by Vincent van der Goes — 4 Sep 2008 @ 3:35 AM

  354. Alan:

    Because the impact of rapid sea ice decline will be felt throughout the northern hemisphere, as the changing pattern of atmospheric and oceanic heat flows directly impacts NH “weather”. This is – potentially – rapid climate change happening now, and it threatens to bring even faster change by destabilising methane hydrates in shallow Arctic seas and speeding up permafrost thaw.

    Serious enough for you?

    Comment by Gareth — 4 Sep 2008 @ 4:01 AM

  355. There’s more Arctic ice this year than last year, in context.

    ;)

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 4 Sep 2008 @ 5:57 AM

  356. Wayne, a note FYI re: albedo

    “The extent of spring 2008 snow cover over Eurasia was the lowest on record for any spring in the 42-year historical satellite record. Conversely, North American snow cover extent was slightly above average. For the Northern Hemisphere, spring 2008 was the third least extensive spring snow cover.”
    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/20080613_springtemp.html

    #346 (Cobblyworlds) Thanks for your interesting discussion, which I find quite convincing regarding what has happened in recent years.
    Here’s my initial response to the key issues you raise.

    Formation of new ice: agreed, it was particularly sudden last year, as the very anomalously warm sea temperatures meant it was only much later in the autumn than average, when the air temperatures had got particularly low, that the ice was able to re-form and once it did it was very rapid. The re-freeze might have been even later were it not for relatively fresher surface water. Thus, at the date when re-freeze began in a given location, both surface ocean temperature and sub-surface temperature are likely to have been at or above the temperatures on the much earlier re-freeze date the previous year. And not only would the new first year ice have started life as relatively fresher water, but assuming it formed more suddenly there would have been less time for brine rejection. All of which would point to that ice being even more vulnerable during the 2008 melt season.

    The 2007 Nghiem paper shows perennial ice was already down from 32.9 per cent in March 2005 to 25.5 per cent in March 2007 March 2007
    ( despite the wafer-thin evidence of recovery 2005-6 you refer to – yes 2006 minimum extent was above 2005 minimum, and 2006/7 max extent was fractionally above 2005/6 max extent; however, average extent appears to have been lower in 2006 than 2005, and min, average and subsequent max area all appear to have been lower in 2006 – http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.area.jpg )
    So at that stage I agree there was justified worry about a potential tipping point, and that worry was borne out by the record summer 2007 melt. But if perennial ice was low in March 2007, presumably by March 2008 the line had dropped off the bottom of the already low graph position in Fig 3. So if we’d reached a tipping point, then summer 2008 would be utter meltdown whatever the weather conditions then or over the previous winter.

    But remember the Nghiem paper associates the shift from perennial to season ice with the following changes:

    “…the change in winter preconditioned the sea ice cover for more efficient melt and further ice reduction in summer. Winter preconditioning of summer sea ice coverage was associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) [Partington et al., 2003] and with the Arctic Oscillation (AO) [Rigor et al., 2002]. The NAO index in positive phases is also correlated to the areal flux of ice export through Fram Strait [Kwok and Rothrock, 1999]. The monthly AO index also exhibited mostly positive values during September to November 2005 and March 2006 to March 2007, a pattern which enhances ice advection away from the coast of the East Siberian and Laptev Seas and increases ice export out of Fram Strait [Rigor et al., 2002].”

    Here’s the most recent chart from the UK Met Office of observed NAO up to this year, showing the increase referred to plus a further increase into this year; but then a forecast to drop to essentially 0 over this winter.
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/seasonal/regional/nao/index.html

    Here’s a chart of winter AO up to winter 07/8
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/detect/climate-ao.shtml
    Note winter 07/8 was also quite strongly positive.
    But here’s observations for the last few months
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/ao_index.html
    i.e. trending at essentially zero.
    Unfortunately I can’t find an authoritative forecast for AO this winter, but I do know that there is generally accepted to be significant correlation between the two oscillations.

    So what we’re left with is a situation where 2008 started with a stack of factors which suggested that if we were at a tipping point, proof would be inevitable over the summer. Minimal perennial ice even compared with March 07, significantly positive NAO and AO, record thin ice by a huge margin. But by the time the Zhang outlook was published at the beginning of August, 2008 was failing to to provide any proof whatsoever. Hence the Zhang prediction that only 2007 weather could now cause 2008 to surpass the 2007 record.

    Well as I’ve kept trying to point out again and again, the weather in August WAS comparable to that of 2007, and now I’ve finally got some good evidence of this. RSS August lower troposphere temperatures have just been published, and they show a positive anomaly for 60 to 82.5N of +0.935, which is only fractionally below that of August 07 (+1.02), much higher than the combined June/July 08 average (+0.369 – note RSS and MSU figures are slightly different) and very much higher than the global Aug 08 average (+0.146 which is still quite a bit lower than the +0.367 of Aug 07)
    http://www.remss.com/pub/msu/monthly_time_series/RSS_Monthly_MSU_AMSU_Channel_TLT_Anomalies_Land_and_Ocean_v03_1.txt
    Considering how cold it’s been over the Alaskan/Canadian/Greenland side of the Arctic in August, I think it’s hard to escape the reality that temperature anomalies were particularly high over the Siberian side of the Arctic.

    Yet 2008 STILL defies expectations. Extent remains 8.5 per cent above a year ago as of today, area is at approx 8 per cent higher, and thickness appears to be the same or greater, plus well over half the areas exposed as open water by the end of last summer are now covered in ice again.

    Moreover, while 2007 left millions of km2 of essentially open water in which positive sea surface temperature anomalies were able to grow to pretty extreme levels – up to over +7C in the pivotal Chukchi sea area which is closest to the Pacific, and between the East Siberian seas, Beaufort, and Arctic Basin ice edge…
    http://weather.unisys.com/archive/sst/sst_anom-070902.gif
    … in 2008 the Siberian seas/Chukchi/Laptev were “only just” melted by the warm August weather, leaving a legacy of large expanses of ocean barely above the (saline) freezing point, containing significant clusters of ice removed from the main ice pack e.g. in particular the cluster in southern part of East Siberian Sea, which extends to ~72N on the 165E line of longitude compared with the most southerly ice on that line this time last year at ~83N which is a huge difference, or other clusters too scattered to cross the 15 per cent threshold for ice extent/coverage on some of the satellite images e.g. currently off Point Barrow http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/prods/WIS56CT/20080901180000_WIS56CT_0003950692.gif

    Since the seas on the Pacific side of the Arctic ocean are so much colder than this time last year (apart from the southern Beaufort which is currently cooling rapidly in any event) and currently being exposed to below-average air temperatures, it seems likely that the sub-surface waters will have more time to mix with (and hence be cooled by) significantly colder surface waters than they did last year, before overall re-freeze starts insulating them, even with this point almost certainly being earler than last year. Thus it would seem that re-freeze will be more gradual since it will occur as sea temperatures gradually dip below the freezing point over the next month or two, rather than last year when it only happened all of a sudden extremely late once air temperatures had got particularly cold.
    See e.g. http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=10&fd=20&fy=2006&sm=10&sd=20&sy=2007
    http://weather.unisys.com/archive/sst/sst_anom-071021.gif
    and
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=10&fd=20&fy=2007&sm=11&sd=05&sy=2007

    So I would even venture to say that there are now a “stack of factors” (to recycle my earlier phrase) to suggest recovery 08/9 could be significantly stronger than 07/8, rather than representing the wrong side of a tipping point. And of course this is not just a potentially stronger formation of first year ice, but also crucially a step to the next level of recovery since although minimum extent/area this year will be no more than ~10 per cent higher than last year (possibly a lot less than that, let’s wait and see….), all the ice which has survived this season will be a year older at the start of the 2009 melt season, more than compensating for the much-reduced loss of multiyear ice this summer.

    Comment by Chris — 4 Sep 2008 @ 6:48 AM

  357. #355: “There’s more Arctic ice this year than last year, in context.”

    Here’s your implication, in context
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.anom.jpg

    Note that the anomaly only dropped below -1.5 this year from August, and was only below -2 for two days (now at ~ -1.9)
    The 2007 anomaly continued its drop to -3 in October because of the very anomalously warm seas centered over the Chukchi delaying re-freeze. As I have argued, a repeat of this simply isn’t on the cards this year on current evidence, such that the six-month average anomaly will almost certainly continue to track close to the pre-summer-2007 level of about -1.2 (six months to end April 08 were approx -0.8, and six months to end August 08 were approx -1.0) and if recovery is stronger than in 07/8, the six-month average anomaly could easily be approaching at least pre-2004 levels by next year’s melt season.

    Comment by Chris — 4 Sep 2008 @ 7:14 AM

  358. RE # 352

    Lawrence, you asked:

    [What I’m saying is what affect will prolonged periods of an ice free arctic have on the world’s climate???]

    That is the question the international climate science community must answer soon and the IPCC report on their findings. Thre is a world of food supply hangin in the balance. I am delighted you asked the question I have been asking the AMS for about four years with no response. Maybe the research is being conducted in secret so as not to shock the commodities traders into pushing grain futures into orbit.

    John McCormick

    Comment by John L. McCormick — 4 Sep 2008 @ 8:05 AM

  359. Chris, there is no question about warming shores:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/04/19squaremile-ice-sheet-br_n_123795.html

    There is no question about warm air advection from continents. However you need to look at the entire Polar cap, not near one shore or another, also observe what is happening far away from shorelines, look over, under and sideways in the middle and edges of it all. There is room for melting mechanisms we are not aware of, especially since a prominent ice model is off by 30 years.
    Simple ice with respect to thermal IR is way more complex than simple sea ice.
    Compression is one of them, scattering is another, open water tides breaking off ice shelves another. This year has been cloudier, over all cooler (surface air and sst’s) than last year. Yet the ice has melted just as much or more. I am far more interested in studying what happens when surface air is cooler, especially if melting is just as furious, than simply claiming the obvious… My latest measurements up Here in the Arctic, have shown DWT warmer than last year at the same date. The atmosphere is not a simple structure of gaseous molecules stratified by pressure, its again more complex and therefore difficult to understand, the models will be refined for many years to come. But your analytical approach lacks perspective just like the prominent Ice model does.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 4 Sep 2008 @ 11:10 AM

  360. Chris, would you call the 10th tallest man in the world “short”?

    Comment by Mark — 4 Sep 2008 @ 12:15 PM

  361. Mark, judging by his growth in recent decades, would you say he will inevitably be taller than the tallest man by 2013? Or even 2030?
    No I shouldn’t engage with this sort of thing. Read what I’ve written, and I’m happy to engage with detailed debate that doesn’t seek to ridicule or pre-suppose that perfectly sensible arguments are wrong.

    #359 With the greatest respect, I would say you haven’t addressed what I have been saying. What you say about my arguments is pretty dismissive e.g.

    “However you need to look at the entire Polar cap, not near one shore or another, also observe what is happening far away from shorelines, look over, under and sideways in the middle and edges of it all.”

    and “…your analytical approach lacks perspective…”

    Yet I’ve been going to great trouble to analyse as many different relevant factors (and locations) as possible, and consider all perspectives.

    Unlike some who are happy to content themselves with witty one-liners :)

    “My latest measurements up Here in the Arctic, have shown DWT warmer than last year at the same date.”

    Please elaborate: this could be really interesting and relevant?

    Comment by Chris — 4 Sep 2008 @ 12:52 PM

  362. I’ve been going to great trouble to analyse as many different relevant factors (and locations) as possible, and consider all perspectives

    And yet you seem to be missing the wood for the trees.

    1) The ice area this year is at best fractionally greater than last year.

    2) We are past the time of year when there should be open surface melt.

    From these two fact, we conclude that area measurements should not be thrown off by surface melt and should give a true measure of ice coverage across the Arctic. Thus, the best evidence we have is that approximately the same area of the Arctic is covered by ice this year as last year.

    This of course raises the next question – is the ice we have now thinner or thicker than the ice we had last year? We know that the total area is the same, so the only remaining parameter in terms of volume is the thickness.

    You are trying to claim two things simultaneously, both of which cannot be true:

    A) A large amount of first-year ice has survived the melt, and will mature into multi-year ice over this winter.

    B) Overall Arctic ice is thicker this year than last.

    As I said in #345, then if there has been increased survival of first-year ice, then there MUST have been an equal loss of multi-year ice, since the total area (first year plus multi-year) is the same.

    So, either there has been no increase in survival of first-year ice (i.e. there is the same remaining ice volume as last year despite less favourable conditions for melting), or there has been increased survival of some first-year ice, while the last of the multi-year ice melts out. Neither is a comforting thought.

    Comment by Peter Ellis — 4 Sep 2008 @ 2:02 PM

  363. Isn’t there still open surface melt? The ‘Pole’ cameras have floated well south; the fisheye pointed straight up has liquid water on the lens and you can see the melt ponds around the edge of the image:
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/gallery_np.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Sep 2008 @ 2:33 PM

  364. Chris, I would look at the patch of ice West of Wardle island, and marvel at its disappearance now, under less than favorable conditions…
    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/Icefilm_Arctic.avi
    My data shows ssts below 0 C and surface temperatures around 0…

    A DWT is a weighted temperature of the entire atmosphere, while the winter just past was quite cold, DWT’s remained similar to last year.
    Implying a shift in heat location, more than a true cooling. This extra heat has never vanished, and therefore might be affecting the melt through thermal IR
    emissions feedback between the ice and the warmer layer. I would concentrate on how the melt is progressing rather uniformly now throughout the ice cap, at all locations not subject to floes, rather than concentrate on one location or another.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 4 Sep 2008 @ 2:48 PM

  365. RE #359. Trying to get some traction on this rather slippery issue …

    Examining the satellite image series, one can draw two inferences. The first is that the Arctic Ocean is a rather closed regional sea (which is not at all intuitive for people not using the polar map projection). The second is that ice boundary on the Atlantic side has hardly moved, which tells that warming of the Atlantic (or changes in the thermohaline circulation there) is not the reason for the observed anomalous melting.

    Patterns of melt during June 2007 left an impression that the Bering straits could play a role. The Bering sea ((northernmost part of the Pacific) was anomalously warm. The strait is narrow (60 km) and shallow (50 m) and a prevailing current of 1 m/s northwards is maintained (though winds may reverse its direction temporarily). It syphons warm surface water into the Arctic Ocean, and this was clearly seen as a plume during the early stages of melting. Another plume was generated by the Lena river bringing water from the rather hot Siberian plains. Both plumes stay for some time on the surface as they are formed of warm and low salinity water, but are gradually mixed to some depth (depending on wind speeds). Heat due to solar radiation is also mixed in the same process.

    Consider next the Arctic Ocean circulation pattern, as shown in
    http://polardiscovery.whoi.edu/arctic/circulation.html
    The anomalous melting is located over the Beaufort Gyre. The Gyre is wind driven. Somewhere it was stated that it can at times flip its direction of rotation due to a suitable wind pattern, which might explain the substantial differences between 2007 and 2008 behaviours.

    Autumn ice cover changes the below-surface dynamics radically. Notably, wind effects diminish. Further mixing in the surface layer is reduced (if not stopped). Also the force maintaining the Beaufort Gyre drops. Even under the ice cover, the Bering Strait and the Lena river continue to supply some relatively warm and low salinity water. Possibly a lot of heat is trapped under the ice in a shallow (100 m ?) surface layer.

    Come spring 2008, the melting started again and winds reinforced the surface mixing process. Winds dredge a part of the stored heat to the surface, reinforcing the other active (meteorology) processes. Melting this year was slower – presumably because of less favourable weather conditions (more clouds, lower solar input). With time, stored heat from the water surface layer was able to overcome the deficit and about the same area of melting was finally achieved. Maybe this also explains why melting continues despite air temperatures falling slightly below zero C.

    Obviously, the polar cap has a peculiar role in cooling the Earth during a hemisphere winter. Energy radiated out is mainly transported by winds from the outside. Ice and snow are pretty good insulation materials and heat flow from the sea water (or glacier interior) is limited.

    It is another matter how the global warming cascades down to influence this process. Surely it does…

    Unfortunately, quantitative modeling of the above is well beyond my skills and capacities.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 4 Sep 2008 @ 3:36 PM

  366. #362 Peter:

    Ice area as measured at Cryosphere today is currently 3.279 million km2 (and has gone up for each of the last 3 days incidentally), that’s ~ 10 per cent higher than this day last year and ~13 per cent higher than last year’s minimum. I suspect that the true difference in ice area is even higher due to surface melt issues, but I can’t prove it. Furthermore, I would be willing to bet quite a lot of money that the true difference is even higher still due to a substantially greater area at greater than 0 and less than 15 per cent concentration ice this year, both multiyear and first year ice. The ice tongues at the western and eastern sides of the Beaufort Sea would be cases in point.

    But in any event, even if CT is spot-on, you are the one who can’t see the wood for the trees. Let’s say total ice in the core Arctic area (say within the average summer extent minimum area lines of the last 3 decades) = t, oldest ice = o, intermediate-aged ice = i, second year ice = s, and first year ice = f

    In 2007, the minimum extent was much lower (26.4 per cent to be precise) than that of 2006 – http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=09&fd=15&fy=2006&sm=09&sd=15&sy=2007
    In other words it seems very little first year ice from winter 2006/7 survived the summer 2007 melt. Since one year’s survived first year ice becomes the next year’s second year ice, the 2008 melt season started with very little second year ice. Furthermore summer 2007 saw a huge loss of multiyear ice and dramatic thinning of all ice.
    Thus at the start of 2008 melt season, t = o [very low, and thickest ice] + i [very low, and quite thin ice] + s [very low, and thin ice] + f [very high, and very thin ice]

    Between September 2007 and 2008, t [minimum] appears to have increased by at least ~ 10 per cent (subject to the chance of further reductions in the next couple of weeks). Of this 10 per cent, I would subdivide it as follows, assuming that the labels refer to what each type of ice will be at the following season:
    o: fractional net increase [small amount of o melted, fractionally higher amount of i becomes o; ice becomes thicker overall e.g. http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2007J.htm
    i: fractional net increase as with o [s has become i; ice becomes thicker overall]
    s: LARGE INCREASE [all survived f has become s; ice becomes thicker overall]
    f: this will simply be t minus o, i and s therefore it ought to see a decrease slightly smaller in magnitude than the increase in s

    Thus at the start of 2009 melt season, t = o [fractionally higher than a year ago, and thicker ice] + i [fractionally higher than a year ago, and thicker ice] + s [much higher than a year ago, and substantially thicker ice] + f [lower than a year ago, and almost certainly thicker if autumn 08 re-freeze turns out to have set in earlier than in autumn 07]

    I think you’ll find the balance of f and s is crucial, especially if you include s in the definition of multiyear ice. And this is before we start talking about relative loss rates of multiyear ice through the Fram Strait in summer 07 vs 08, or even how much ice all the way down to 1 per cent concentration, and including under melt pools, there really is now compared to a year ago.

    Or to put it another way, even a 10 per cent increase in multiyear ice is significant (because the extra 10 per cent of ice this year will NOT be first year ice next year, but second year ice!)

    #364 “I would concentrate on how the melt is progressing rather uniformly now throughout the ice cap, at all locations not subject to floes, rather than concentrate on one location or another.”
    I find it hard to discern, never mind concentrate on a uniform melt when area has increased for the last 3 days and extent has increased today after a minimal drop yesterday.

    Further note re: extent for those into long term trend extrapolation. Official extent (i.e. greater than 15 per cent coverage) is currently 8.8 per cent more than the equivalent date in 2007, an INCREASE from 6.9 per cent ahead on the 2nd July.

    Comment by Chris — 4 Sep 2008 @ 4:45 PM

  367. Chris,

    I agree that as the waters are not as warm it’s possible that we may see an earlier and wider freeze than last year. However the Circum Polar Flaw Lead Team (ARCUS May) found that a significant factor in the delayed melt and late year low areal anomaly in the Beaufort Sea were storms fed by water vapour from the sea. Even without ocean warming as substantial as 2007 we may still see the role of thin ice being a factor in such storms once again preventing ice. Note that the current Beaufort Sea SST anomaly is of the order of +4 or +5 degC over a much greater area than last year.

    The claim that this year should have caused a massive reduction in perennial ice.
    Initial qualitative evidence will come as the Arctic cools down and less water vapour allows the first year and multi-year ice to be distinguished on QuikScat. After March 2009 Nghiem should produce his extent for that time – which will be comparable with the 2007 paper. Last year was exceptional (NSIDC Sea Ice News 2007), perennial loss this year will not be as large, but I think it will probably still be down due to:
    - the melt in Beaufort/Chucki; timeseries of QuikScat shows the perenial break off from Banks Island in January 2008 was broken up and dispersed into the pack area of Beaufort Chucki where much of it melted out. This region visibly seems to represent a substantial chunk of the first year ice area around the pole (QuikScat day 71 2008).
    - the loss through Fram Strait; NSIDC Sea Ice News and QuikScat/Bremmen AMSRE timeseries.

    My point in presenting Nghiem 2007 remains – between 2005 and 2006 there was an increase in minimum area/extent, yet from March 2006 to March 2007 the perennial extent fell. There was no recovery, which seems contrary to your claim we should expect a recovery. In the years since 2002 there have been earlier and later freezes, and higher and lower extents from year to year, but there has been a persistent perennial loss.

    This August is not the same as last year.
    The key factor last year was a persistent anticyclone that compounded initial thinning caused by a storm (NSIDC Sea Ice News 2007, 10 Sept 2007, fig 4 & text). What warmed the ocean was that solar heating of the ocean under relatively clear skies, not just sensible warming, but also latent heat warming (which would appear in the troposphere). This year much of the most interesting melt zones have been covered by cloud, so it’s been damned hard to get a grip on what has been going on under the cloud – I know I’ve been trying. The rapid “catch up” in early August also involved an anticyclone, but this time it was not an increase in insolation that caused the rapid drop, it was atmospheric heat flux and winds dispersing ice (NSIDC Sea Ice News 11 Aug 2008).

    So I do not see any reason to see the weather of this year or this August as similar to the weather of last year. This has been a year of weather fairly condusive to formation and survival of ice (unlike 2007), yet we are within a small margin of last year, and the reduction in both area and extent continues to catch up on last year.

    Concerns about a tipping point are not limited to the recent years.
    The reasoning is far more involved than just looking at the detail from one year to the next (although that is crucial for testing ice-models) e.g. The Thinning of Arctic Sea Ice, 1988–2003: Have We Passed a Tipping Point? Lindsay & Zhang, Journal Of Climate 15 Nov 2005.

    It is quite possible that the large changes initiated by the gradual winter warming and the atmospheric circulation anomalies of the early 1990s have forced the system into a new state in which very large extents of summer open water and winter first-year ice are the norm. The old regime may not be regained until there is either a prolonged cooling period or a prolonged period of very negative AO index and positive PDO index that can once again build the reservoir of thick ridged ice through strengthening the circulation of the Beaufort gyre. The gradually increasing winter air temperatures may reflect a global warming signal that will preclude a return to the old regime.

    When I first read that paper about 2 years ago I never thought I’d see the events I am seeing now.

    The Arctic Oscillation.
    None of Nghiem 2007 is news to me. I have read the refs they use to support their analysis of the events causing the reduction in perennial ice.

    Changes in the AO mode are observed to propagate down from the Stratosphere (Wallace/Thompson), Models with sufficient stratospheric resolution show that greenhouse gas driven cooling of the stratosphere causes a +ve tending AO mode, this effect is not produced by CFCs (ozone reduction driven cooling – lower stratosphere). So I do not anticipate a long term -ve tending of the AO to become more the norm. AFAIK you won’t find a very long term weather prediction for the AO, but it is used on a 2-3 week basis by the UK Met Office in outlook forecasts for UK weather.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 4 Sep 2008 @ 4:48 PM

  368. Further note following previous post #366: I would also strongly re-iterate my arguments in #356 (which took me a lot of time and trouble to write!) re: how 2008 has defied expectations, and re: the likely greater strength of recovery in 2008/9 compared with 2007/8.

    Comment by Chris — 4 Sep 2008 @ 4:52 PM

  369. A further note to Peter: do not underestimate how thick first year ice can quickly become e.g. see the following buoy installed in 2m thick first year ice on 4th April 08.
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2008B.htm
    The ice has failed to get any thinner than 2m in the meantime, thus it is set up to become a respectable thickness this winter as it enters its second year. And remember that we are told average ice thickness at the end of summer 07 was 1.3m. Thus we only need the average at end of summer 08 to be 1.43m for ice volume to have increased by 10 per cent (even if 2007 and 2008 ended up with identical minimums in extent/area)

    #367 It seems to me that the openness (and obvious warmth) of the Siberian seas was far more relevant to the late refreeze last year than the state of the Beaufort – see e.g. http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=10&fd=15&fy=2006&sm=09&sd=15&sy=2007
    This year the anomaly in the south central Beaufort may be currently slightly higher (~1C), but it is dwarfed by the extra magnitude by which much larger areas are cooler (e.g. Chukchi ~4C, East Siberian ~3C and these are precisely the areas whose warmth delayed the refreeze last year). In any event, take a look at current temperatures in the Beaufort – you will see that the anomaly peak you refer to is surrounded by a “triangle” of 0C waters surprisingly close – and likely to impinge further given the forecast for the next couple of weeks.
    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/analysis/351_100.gif

    I’ve explained why I don’t think that an analysis of all relevant figures and averages for extent and area between 2005 and 2006 should have led one to expect a recovery then.

    I fundamentally disagree with you about the August weather. It’s very simple: there was an anticyclone over the Beaufort, low pressure to the mid-north of Russia, with persistent southerlies being fed in between producing the perfect cocktail for ice melt consisting of high temperatures, southerly winds and sunshine over a massive swathe of the Siberian coasts. This is in no way consistent with the NSIDC News of 11th Aug which I read at the time.

    Re: the future I guess we’ll just have to wait and see :)

    Comment by Chris — 4 Sep 2008 @ 5:51 PM

  370. #367: A very final point – it might be stating the obvious, but average ice thickness can increase between two years even as minimum extent DECREASES e.g. ice thickness increased between winter 2003/4 and winter 2004/5 (lower minimum extent in summer 2004 compared with summer 2003) This is because the AVERAGE extent and area, especially over the summer months, are more important than some may be willing to recognise.

    I’m about to go away on holiday, so please don’t read anything into my silence :) Good luck to all in getting to the bottom of the Arctic conundrum, whatever your point of view.

    Comment by Chris — 4 Sep 2008 @ 6:41 PM

  371. Note that NSIDC now has another update, with relatively full commentary on the August developments.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 4 Sep 2008 @ 10:31 PM

  372. Again I stand amazed, the thinning of the ice is wider everywhere,

    click on ice thickness:

    http://seaice.bplaced.net/gfs.html

    yet temperature anomalies are more or less not so hot with temperatures around 0 C….

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_07a.rnl.html

    Comment by wayne davidson — 5 Sep 2008 @ 12:18 AM

  373. Actually just one very very final point before i go.
    In #369 this was a typo: “…This is in no way consistent with the NSIDC News of 11th Aug which I read at the time…” It should have read that my analysis was in no way “inconsistent” with the NSIDC news.
    However, anyone with a fine eye for detail may spot that there could indeed be a potential inconsistency. I referred to high pressure over the Beaufort in Aug, whereas NSIDC update of 4th Sep referred to high pressure over the Chukchi. In fact it was fairly equally over both, so you could refer to it being over either sea and still be right http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/fnl/slp_01_30frames.fnl.anim.html
    Sorry if this is splitting hairs, but I hate to see good arguments being wasted because I haven’t pre-empted where minor flaws could be highlighted.
    Also here’s an interesting link from the NSIDC, showing how the extra heat in the central Beaufort in Aug 08 (up to 2C higher) was dwarfed by a decrease of up to 4C over much wider areas on the Chukchi and Siberian side.
    http://www.nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20080904_Figure4.jpg
    So long…….

    Almost…. Just read #372. You need to put thickness in context, not to mention the limitations of using satellite data to estimate it. Even taking the data at face value, the central Arctic area looks pretty much unchanged since a month ago, with thickness still greater than 1.5m throughout, and losses of no more than 0.2m. As for the periphery, I simply do not accept the maps’ suggestion that ~ 1 million km2 within the periphery has thickness of less than ~20cm. It simply doesn’t work like this – the ice doesn’t start at one cm at the edge and take up to a hundred miles to reach a thickness of more than 20cm. Check out the detailed Canadian ice service reports and their description of the ice off Alaska (much of which doesn’t even show at all on the satellite images, yet much of which is still-thick old ice), check out the buoys, even check out Lewis Pugh the kayaker’s report of getting stuck in “only” 1m thick (new) ice (at at least 80 per cent concentration) at 80.5N just north of Spitzbergen which shows as ~15cm thick on the most recent of your thickness maps. Even consider the main satellite pictures to see how misleading the thickness maps can be e.g. the latter show a significant area of zero thickness at ~155E on the Siberian side inside of the 80N latitude line yet the main AMSR-E picture from the same date shows the same area as virtually all being at least 50 per cent concentration ice, which I would be absolutely amazed to discover to be less than say at least 50cm thick.

    As for the temperatures, maybe take a more appropriate animation from the same site and let people make up their own mind which side of the approx -2C threshold for ice melt the average air temperatures have been on the peripheries of the Arctic in the last week.
    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/fnl/sfctmpmer_01.fnl.anim.html

    Once again, so long……….

    Comment by Chris — 5 Sep 2008 @ 6:37 AM

  374. I don’t think that the GDAS/GFS ice thickness analysis uses any recent satellite or other observational data. It’s just a modelled thickness, derived from atmospheric conditions during the last months (or even years). And the model isn’t very sophisticated. Especially, it doesn’t include any ice movements.

    Occasionally, the ice thickness is reset to zero because of missing ice concentration data that is misinterpreted as no ice. The triangle of near-zero ice thickness in the Chukchi Sea pointing towards the pole that is still present, originated 5 months ago. Some of the holes near the pole result from missing or wrong data from more than 1 year ago.

    It seems that the model has been set up with some climatology data when it started (in 2005) and runs autonomously since then (assuming stationary ice). Alignment with reality only happens when the ice concentration at a point goes down to zero.

    But the data are still useful for relative changes of thickness; the absolute thickness is only a rough estimate. However, the model seems to underestimate ice loss at clear sky conditions in summer and/or overestimate it under clouds.

    The (incomplete) NOMADS GDAS archive has ice thickness data going back at least 1½ years. I plan to set up a long term animation the next days or weeks.

    Comment by Clarence — 5 Sep 2008 @ 11:30 AM

  375. Chris wrote in 373:

    Almost…. Just read #372. You need to put thickness in context, not to mention the limitations of using satellite data to estimate it. Even taking the data at face value, the central Arctic area looks pretty much unchanged since a month ago, with thickness still greater than 1.5m throughout, and losses of no more than 0.2m.

    That would mean going from 1.7 meters to 1.5 meters with only a 12% loss.

    You may wish to look at the following numbers which I gleened from measurements on the ground represented on a map at the following webpage:

    August 25, 2008
    Arctic shortcuts open up; decline pace steady
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2008/082508.html

    Thickness before melt season, thickness by August 20th, meters lost at surface, meters lost at bottom, percent lost

    3.17 m before, 1.37 m on August 20th, 0.8 surface, 0.9 bottom, 56.8% loss
    1.83 m before, 0.43 m on August 20th, 0.5 surface, 0.9 bottom, 76.5% loss
    2.13 m before, 1.35 m on August 20th, 0.6 surface, 0.2 bottom, 36.6% loss – the Arctic Basin
    1.99 m before, 1.32 m on August 20th, 0.2 surface, 0.4 bottom, 33.7% loss
    2.90 m before, 2.01 m on August 20th, 0.6 surface, 0.3 bottom, 30.7% loss
    2.92 m before, 2.01 m on August 20th, 0.5 surface, 0.4 bottom, 31.2% loss
    2.79 m before, 2.39 m on August 20th, 0.3 surface, 0.1 bottom, 14.3% loss

    The map is at the bottom. Judging from the map, the measurements taken are fairly representative of the ice losses throughout the Arctic. Either you should have looked at more recent material (after more of the melt had taken place) or looked for data that was more representative. Incidentally, the melt is still underway — and should remain so until late September or early October.

    *

    Captcha fortune cookie: crank 31.75

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 5 Sep 2008 @ 4:07 PM

  376. Asked this before and it seemed to get lost. Why has there been little excess melting in the ice north of Europe in the Greenland and Bearing seas?

    [Response: Because the dominant drift of the ice is from Siberia across the pole to Greenland where is compresses and is generally much thicker than elsewhere. Therefore as it warms, the Siberian arctic/Beaufort Sea areas are first to go. - gavin]

    Comment by D Price — 5 Sep 2008 @ 4:17 PM

  377. Clarence , thanks for the clarifications and comments. Can you include total volume estimates with your next displays?

    Comment by wayne davidson — 5 Sep 2008 @ 9:43 PM

  378. D Price #376:

    Here is a link to a site that helped me to ‘see’ the current mess the Arctic ice is in:

    http://www.homerdixon.com/download/arctic_flushing.html

    This link shows the curculations on the Arctic ocean:

    http://nsidc.org/seaice/processes/circulation.html

    Now that these huge ice shelfs (Ellesmere Island and Greenland) have fractured from being landfast, will these circulations alter significantly or were these circulations present under landfast ice?
    What were circulations like ‘under’ these ancient(?) ice shelfs?

    Comment by Dan C — 6 Sep 2008 @ 11:37 AM

  379. There is so much compaction , from almost all sides of the remaining pack ice, that there should be some significant reductions in extent during the next few days. Polarstern path looks quite interesting;
    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/Polarstern_visual.png

    it must be surreal, an adventure where no ship has gone before on such an ice free sea.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 6 Sep 2008 @ 2:50 PM

  380. Sorry to come late to the party, I just stumbled on this fascinating and most instructive blog. My 2c worth re Lovins’ paper on Nuclear Power Illusion:
    I thought the French not only get 80% of the electric energy from nuclear, they even manage to sell some of the excess to the Germans and Italians, and especially to the Danish, so they can keep the wind mills moving when the wind stops. So much for the claim that nuclear only works when subsidised. Italians liked it to much that now they are building their own nuclear power stations. And with re. the fear of nuclear bombs, look at the Japanese, the only ones who can really claim the right to be afraid of nukes: they have some 54 rectors in operation, and some 12 in the pipeline. Shall I also mention that the French pay one of the lowest prices for electricity in Europe, and have one of the lowest CO2 per capita in the world? So, Lovins’ illusion sounds more like self delusion
    For a comparison of nuclear, wind and solar a la French, I recommend this site (in English)
    http://www.manicore.com/anglais/index.shtml

    Comment by Andre Grz, Brisbane — 7 Sep 2008 @ 6:24 AM

  381. Further to my earlier comment (#380) on Amory Lovins’ article, (suggested by Gavin in #75). Again sorry for being so late with my comments.
    I printed Lovins article and I am reading it, slowly. I should say that the writing style in this article is not my favourite. I am a physicist myself, so I am not scared of physics!. The trouble is that this text reads a tad too much as coming from a contrarian. This is not the language of science, in my book at least.
    After noting that the closing statement indicates that Lovins has published hundreds of papers and 29 books, I could not help myself, and I did a quick Scopus search under Physical Sciences, Lovins, AB. The search yielded 45 documents (not quite the same as hundreds) and an h-index of 4, excluding self citations. For the non-initiated, h = 4 means that out of the 45 documents in the database, 4 have been cited at least 4 times. In terms of what John Hirsch stated when invented the h-index (Wikipedia), for physicists, a value for h of about 10-12 might be a useful guideline for tenure decisions at major research universities. A value of about 18 could mean a full professorship; 15–20 could mean a fellowship in the American Physical Society, and 45 or higher could mean membership in the United States National Academy of Sciences. To quote from Jim Hansen’s trip report, the Lovins of my search would hardly qualify as a member of the relevant scientific community.

    BTW, when I widened the search to Social and Health sciences, the h-number went up to 6, and the number of documents to 60, not much better. A sad case of mistaken identity, perhaps ?

    Comment by andre grz, Brisbane — 7 Sep 2008 @ 8:04 PM

  382. http://scholar.google.com/advanced_scholar_search?q=author:Amory+author:Lovins
    Results … about 318 for author:Amory author:Lovins

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Sep 2008 @ 8:50 PM

  383. Thanks H-R, glad to know it wasn’t mistake identity, it was the wrong search engine! Even I look better in Google.

    Here is a lovely quote from Lovins:
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0JZS/is_9_23/ai_n25005319/pg_5?tag=artBody;col1

    “Amory Lovins, another critic and one-time British representative of Friends of the Earth, agrees. “If you ask me,” Lovins said in an interview with Playboy magazine in 1977, “It’d be a little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it.” Ehrlich, Lovins, and almost all of the “green” leadership rightly recognize that nuclear energy would lead to prosperity. From their standpoint, that is the problem.”

    And these are some alternative readings of the data Lovins used to produce his paper:

    http://neinuclearnotes.blogspot.com/2008/06/amory-lovins-and-his-nuclear-illusion.html

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/08/north-pole-notes-continued/#comment-97754

    Comment by andre grz, Brisbane — 8 Sep 2008 @ 1:27 AM

  384. hi does anyone out there know how to make a graph depicting uvb radiation versus latitude

    Comment by lea :) — 8 Sep 2008 @ 1:47 AM

  385. andre grz writes:

    they have some 54 rectors in operation

    Any sextons or deacons?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Sep 2008 @ 2:43 AM

  386. Results … about 318 for author:Amory author:Lovins

    Now go through and count how many of those are duplicate entries. For example, in the first 100 hits there are five entries for “Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution” and seven for “Factor Four: Doubling Wealth-halving Resource Use”

    Comment by Peter Ellis — 8 Sep 2008 @ 2:43 AM

  387. #375 Timothy. I look at the most recent material all the time, whether NSIDC news or buoys. Do I really have to go through all this again? The NSIDC map you refer to took its data from, and only from, the Arctic buoys I have referred to many a time.
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/newdata.htm
    It portrayed how much they had melted SO FAR THIS SEASON. To get context, you need to compare to them to their status at the same point last year (if available), and take into account drift, positioning and what type of ice they were installed in.
    I already explained the context of the NSIDC map at e.g. #330.

    #330:
    “….I’ve already gone into a lot of detail on the buoys in previous posts. The only buoys which *appear* to support your point are the two with big yellow bars.
    The one (2007E) on the edge of the Beaufort was right on the ice edge, and has drifted into open water, so has obviously seen a lot of bottom melt. Its neighbours show a different story: 2008F at Lat: 76.832 N Long: 139.974 W has still failed to melt to less than 3m thick
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2008F.htm
    and 2007F at Lat: 72.609 N Long: 136.079 W appears to have shown no net melt at all since the start of the year despite substantial southward drift. i.e. still at ~3m thick
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2007F.htm
    As for Buoy 2006C in the central Arctic (i.e. the other one with a big yellow bar), the melt here has been half that in 2007, such that the thickness is identical to a year ago. http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2006C.htm….”

    It therefore seems rather bizarre to me, and quite frustrating, that you should claim to be the one most in tune with measurements on the ground, as you stated

    “You may wish to look at the following numbers which I gleened from measurements on the ground represented on a map at the following webpage:”

    I’ve been following the actual measurements on the ground i.e. the buoy data, as well as other relevant data.

    You say:

    “Incidentally, the melt is still underway — and should remain so until late September or early October.”

    Depends where you look. Not in a large area of the Chukchi Sea – see new ice in light pink http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/prods/WIS45SD/20080907180000_WIS45SD_0003957865.gif

    You seem very confident that net melt/compaction will continue until much later than last year.
    Let’s see what’s happened so far in September.

    On Sep 1st, extent was 7.4 per cent more than a year previously.

    Today, at latest data (sep 7th) of 4.75 million km2, it is 7.7 per cent more than a year previously. Or 338,000 km2 greater extent.

    Let’s wait and see if your projection of ~4 million km2 at the beginning of Oct, or ~6 per cent less than the 2007 minimum, is really correct. I wouldn’t rule it out completely due to high relative amount of first year ice, the uncertainties of the weather, and the dangers of over-confident forecasting in any event.

    But my personal opinion based on all the evidence I see before me, remains unchanged, that there has been a small recovery from last year, and colder sea temperatures mean an earlier re-freeze overall. (N.b. date of minimum extent will be of limited use in judging this)

    Comment by Chris On Holiday — 8 Sep 2008 @ 3:56 AM

  388. North Greenland satellite

    A great picture to see the situation on Greenland’s northern coast:
    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/single.php?2008247/crefl1_143.A2008247183500-2008247184000.250m.jpg

    Comment by Lauri — 8 Sep 2008 @ 4:10 AM

  389. #380:

    thought the French not only get 80% of the electric energy from nuclear, they even manage to sell some of the excess to the Germans and Italians, and especially to the Danish, so they can keep the wind mills moving when the wind stops.

    Another way to phrase this could be:

    thought the French not only get 80% of the electric energy from nuclear, they are forced to sell some to the Germans and Italians, and especially to the Danish, when supply exceeds demand, and their nuclear plants produce excess energy because they can not be throttled down easily

    Furthermore, the fact that the French get 80% of their energy from nuclear does not prove anything. That could be (and probably is) the result of massive government funding, i.e. taxpayer francs and euros.

    The main point I took from Lovins article is that no company is prepared to invest in nuclear without significant government backing. I think this is true, and therefore the bottom line is: nuclear is not economically viable.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 8 Sep 2008 @ 4:43 AM

  390. That’s of course not to criticise Amory Lovins, about whom I know precisely nothing, just to point out that Google Scholar is, um, not the best tool in the box.

    Comment by Peter Ellis — 8 Sep 2008 @ 5:58 AM

  391. #378 Dan C,

    Most of the ice shelves that are going are up against land, such as inlets in Ellesmere Island. So they shouldn’t affect circulation in terms of their physical presence. Furthermore in terms of the overall area of sea ice along the Canadian Arctic Archipelago coast, the addition of fresh water they represent will not be a significant factor.

    #365 Pekka Kostamo,

    I agree about the addition of fresh warm water from Siberia being a factor to watch. However Gavin’s inline reply to #376 D Price is also what I see as the reason why the losses have been mainly in the Beaufort through to the Laptev Sea.

    With regards mixing processes, you may find Yang 2004 “Storm-driven Mixing and Potential Impact on the Arctic Ocean.” of interest, 6.8Mb pdf available from Woods Hole Institute. I had in mind something more apt but can’t recall it, if I can find what I was thinking of I’ll post.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 8 Sep 2008 @ 2:59 PM

  392. Thanks Anne (#389) for checking my grammar. You are quite right; my assertion does not prove anything. Perhaps, as suggested in another blog, we should just sit back and wait until the French go broke, or better still, stuff it up completely and either melt down France, or die from Leukaemia. Good riddance. After all, they gave us the French Revolution, the metric system, and a few good movies, but nothing else. Next, I suppose the Swedish and Belgians should go: they get more than 50% of their electricity from Nuclear. How about the Finish? The French are building one of their own reactors for them. Again this proves nothing, except that the French are very cunning. So, then again, maybe Nuclear is viable after all…?
    Lovins, reluctantly, points out that the overall (in his view) decline in the number of nuclear stations, will be offset by the new ones the Chinese (among others) are building, although he quickly stresses (p.38) that Beijing is also installing significantly more wind power . Maybe this unbalance in installed capacity has something to do with the fact that the loading factor of nuclear stations is 90-95%, while for wind it is only 25-30%? Looks like the smart thing to do. Isn’t this what Dr James Hansen proposes?
    This is getting too boring.
    Anne, I still have to come across one pro-nuclear guy (or gal) that opposes efficiency, or the extensive use of wind, geo, solar, bio mass, etc., in any form. The antinuclear Greens make a sad mistake in alienating the pro-nuclear bunch. Together we can make a better world, or at least save our skins. Apart, we all are going to sink in CO2.

    Comment by Andre Grz, Brisbane — 8 Sep 2008 @ 5:45 PM

  393. lea asks:

    hi does anyone out there know how to make a graph depicting uvb radiation versus latitude

    Find out what percentage of the solar radiation is in the UV range (I think total UV is abou 7% of incoming solar radiation). Multiply by the solar constant, which averaged around 1,366 watts per square meter for the last 50 years or so. Then apply Lambert’s cosine law:

    I = I0 cos(theta)

    where theta is the latitude, I0 the illumination perpendicular to the sun (percent UVB x solar constant), and cos is the cosine function.

    Then plot I versus theta.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Sep 2008 @ 4:21 AM

  394. Right, Andre — if Anne says French nuclear is economically inviable without massive government support, she must want to kill all Frenchmen. Thanks for this interesting example of denier reasoning.

    P.S. Gavin — I had to click preview six times to get Captcha text I could read. The comment someone else posted in another thread is quite right — Captcha is becoming harder and harder to read.

    [Response: Remember that the idea is for you to decode something that OCR wasn't able to. It's possible that their pool of needed readings has shrunk to a harder kernel that really are impossible to decipher. I'll look into it. - gavin]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Sep 2008 @ 4:26 AM

  395. To Anne (#389), maybe this post will dispel your doubts on the profitability of Areva, the French Nuclear company: their profit for 2008 went up to US$1.2 billion, up from a paltry 295 million euros the year before. Their waste treatment business is also growing.

    http://www.macleans.ca/business/wire/article.jsp?content=b0829117A

    (You can relax, Barton Paul (#494), and so can everybody in France…). Gosh, you two got me worried: maybe the French nuclear physicists never heard of a little known engineer called Sadi Carnot and were running their highly inefficient nuclear facilities at a loss. BTW, even Lovins has some words of praise for Areva’s achievements (read his paper, it is pretty illuminating, as Gavin said).

    Comment by Andre Grz, Brisbane — 9 Sep 2008 @ 4:48 PM

  396. Andre Grz,

    At what point did I dispute the accuracy of the Carnot thermal efficiency equation? I can’t seem to recall doing that.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Sep 2008 @ 4:54 AM

  397. “The Arktika-2008 Russian expedition is landing on the drift ice that is home to the Russian Polar Station North Pole-36. The flagship of Russia’s polar research fleet Academician Fedorov is currently located at 82 degrees 34 minutes of North latitude and 171 degrees 52 minutes of East longitude. The equipment disembarkation and camp fixing is due to be followed by a ceremony to open up the station.
    03.09.2008″
    http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=32018&cid=50&p=03.09.2008

    “The researchers spent only two day on the finding of the appropriate ice flow for the mission, far less than last year’s North Pole-35 expedition. The ice floe has a diameter of 6 km and is up to 2,8 meter thick.” http://www.barentsobserver.com/russias-new-arctic-station.4506414.html

    Now consider what happened last year:

    “When this latest expedition was launched last year at the time of the record melt, it took the team three weeks to find a suitable piece of ice on which to establish a base.
    According to Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University, a veteran of Arctic research, the Russians usually prefer to set up their camps on ice at least three metres thick but the thaw was so extensive that they had to settle for a floe that was only around 1.5m thick.”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7503060.stm

    Last year’s expedition (Sep 07) appears to have been set up at 81 deg 26 North, 103 deg 30 East, i.e. western Laptev Sea close to the Kara.
    That’s an area which remained ice-covered at both 2006 and 2007 extent minima, yet the thickest they could find was 1.5m thick.
    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsredata/asi_daygrid_swath/l1a/n6250/2006/sep/asi-n6250-20060924-v5_nic.png
    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsredata/asi_daygrid_swath/l1a/n6250/2007/sep/asi-n6250-20070924-v5_nic.png

    This year’s has been set up at 82 deg 34 N and 171 deg 52 E, i.e. a little way into the Arctic Basin from the East Siberian sea.
    This is an area that was open water throughout September 2007, but a year later the Russians have found an ice floe with a diameter of 6km up to 2.8m thick.
    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsredata/asi_daygrid_swath/l1a/n6250/2008/sep/asi-n6250-20080909-v5_nic.png

    Since there are no buoys on the Siberian side of the Arctic, this is the first measurement “on the ground” (rather than estimated from satellite data, models etc) I have seen from the area in months. And the result seems encouraging.
    Certainly the Russians don’t seem concerned about further melt in the area this month – I would say this is fair enough considering that the sea surface temperatures on the new station’s line of longitude are currently at ~ -2C virtually all the way to the Siberian coast.
    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/analysis/351_100.gif

    Meanwhile, latest thickness data (9th Sep) from buoys used to create NSIDC map of August 20th:

    2008E – 1.3m (First year ice, Lat: 83.127 N Long: 3.562 E)
    [Showed as 1.32m on NSIDC map]

    2008C – 2.7m (Multiyear ice, Lat: 85.114 N Long: 75.591 W)
    [Showed as 2.39 on NSIDC map - wrongly?]

    2008B – 1.95m (First year ice, Lat: 85.640 N Long: 89.317 W)
    [Showed as 1.35 on NSIDC map - wrongly?]

    2006C – 1.1m (Multiyear ice, Lat: 84.900 N Long: 137.556 W)
    [The thickness shown by buoy 2006C is exactly the same as in Sep 07. Melt has been ONE METRE LESS this year, since thickness was 2.1m at the beginning of summer 08, compared with 3.1m at the beginning of summer 07]
    [Showed as 0.43m on NSIDC map - wrongly?]

    2007J – 3.3m (Multiyear ice, Lat: 79.269 N Long: 128.851 W)
    [This is an INCREASE IN THICKNESS of 0.5 metres since the same date last year]
    [Showed as 2.01 on NSIDC map - wrongly?]

    2008F – 3.1m (Multiyear ice, Lat: 75.967 N Long: 138.515 W)
    [Not shown on NSIDC map]

    2007E – 0m (Multiyear ice, Lat: 74.013 N Long: 142.161 W)
    [This buoy had been on a 3m thick ice floe which drifted into open water in the Beaufort Sea and melted completely. Thus I'm not claiming it's all good news!)
    [Showed as 1.37 on NSIDC map]

    2007F – On edge of Beaufort, data erratic (appears to show increase in ice from 3m last year to 4m this year, but I wonder if the ice underneath has in fact melted causing data to go haywire)
    [Not shown on NSIDC map]

    2008D – NSIDC showed as 2.01m but no sign of line on graph since initial thickness of 2.95m in April. Graph only goes down to 3m so I wonder if thickness is still below 3m?)

    Finally, on a different subject, just wanted to correct something I said in a previous post. It appears NE Canada continued much warmer than average in August, hence further collapse/melt of ice shelves.
    http://climate.uah.edu/august2008.htm
    [Globe overall showed zero anomaly - thus to what extent were the heatwaves over NE Canada and NE Siberia the result of say jet stream changes perhaps associated with La Nina, rather than the greenhouse effect? Certainly La Nina and a jet stream further south than usual has been blamed for the poor summers here in the UK in 2007 and 2008 - see e.g. below]
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article2517868.ece
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/weather/article4184163.ece

    Comment by Chris — 10 Sep 2008 @ 6:47 AM

  398. #395. In Finland, the impression on nuclear energy is that it is currently quite competitive, even at rates somewhat lower than those prevailing in Central Europe. Current discussion does not concern costs, but other aspects of the plant(s). There appears to be commercial interests quite eager to invest in a couple more reactors in addition to the one under construction now, should the politicians agree.

    The only public “subsidy” is that a major part of the plant’s risk insurance is carried by the Government. There are laws that limit the liability of commercial operators. That probably is the case in all other countries using nuclear power as well. It is also a debatable issue and it is not known if full scale commercial coverage would be available anywhere.

    For better or worse, the Finns have also made a decision on a final repository of nuclear waste. Disposal is supposed to be paid for by a levy on produced energy during a reactor’s lifetime. Together with a quite problem free operation history of the existing 4 reactors in the country, this has moved the public opinion to a neutral or even positive view of this energy option.

    AREVA as the primary contractor is losing some money on the prototype in Finland. Apparently their management process has had teething problems, there being little recent experience on such work.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 10 Sep 2008 @ 8:15 AM

  399. Pekka Kostamo, #398.

    So how come paying for the insurance of a private company is not a subsidy? If it is because it isn’t worth much then why not get the company to pay it?

    Comment by Mark — 10 Sep 2008 @ 9:50 AM

  400. Chris, Its not so simple, the open water off Ellesmere is due in part to the entire ice pack rotating clockwise, nothing new with that except, there is hardly anything stopping it from turning faster.
    As far as weather is concerned , again it appeared very strange, incoherent, but cooler is the word in the Archipelago, and therefore the contradiction of the ice being as shrunken as last year.

    The latitudinal temperatures switched from warmer in the North, then warmer in the South then again in August warmer in the Northern hemisphere, without much of an explanation possible.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/do_nmap.py?year_last=2008&month_last=8&sat=4&sst=0&type=anoms&mean_gen=06&year1=2008&year2=2008&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=1200&pol=reg

    try it for July and August and see… Despite what appears to be significant temperature shifts, the melt for the entire pack is similar to last year (not just one coast or another), indicating thinner ice, and also suggesting some stable under observed warm source.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 10 Sep 2008 @ 10:32 AM

  401. Current raw (unsmoothed) NASA/NSIDC Arctic ice data:

    F15 data:

    Date Extent Area / 10³ km²
    2008-08-26   5038 -72 3287 -44
    2008-08-27   5067 +29 3328 +41
    2008-08-28   5074 +7 3361 +33
    2008-08-29   5036 -38 3373 +12
    2008-08-30   5032 -4 3393 +20
    2008-08-31   4974 -58 3328 -65
    2008-09-01   4818 -156 3279 -49
    2008-09-02   4729 -89 3246 -33
    2008-09-03   4724 -5 3281 +35
    2008-09-04   4656 -68 3176 -105
    2008-09-05   4658 +2 3201 +25
    2008-09-06   4662 +4 3153 -48
    2008-09-07   4615 -47 3122 -31
    2008-09-08   4577 -38 3091 -31
    2008-09-09   4568 -9 3126 +35

    F13 data:

    Date   Extent Area / 10³ km²
    2008-08-26   5099 -79 3298 -39
    2008-08-27   5064 -35 3321 +23
    2008-08-28   5089 +25 3360 +39
    2008-08-29   5076 -13 3381 +21
    2008-08-30   5008 -68 3373 -8
    2008-08-31   4956 -52 3303 -70
    2008-09-01   4871 -85 3282 -21
    2008-09-02   4758 -113 3243 -39
    2008-09-03   4739 -19 3274 +31
    2008-09-04   4695 -44 3186 -88
    2008-09-05   4696 +1 3197 +11
    2008-09-06   4665 -31 3138 -59
    2008-09-07   4617 -48 3115 -23
    2008-09-08   4614 -3 3092 -23

    2007 (F13):

    Date   Extent Area / 10³ km²
    2007-08-27   4840 +29 3202 -14
    2007-08-28   4726 -114 3234 +32
    2007-08-29   4714 -12 3278 +44
    2007-08-30   4593 -121 3233 -45
    2007-08-31   4545 -48 3192 -41
    2007-09-01   4521 -24 3193 +1
    2007-09-02   4497 -24 3128 -65
    2007-09-03   4479 -18 3139 +11
    2007-09-04   4490 +11 3113 -26
    2007-09-05   4446 -44 3080 -33
    2007-09-06   4349 -97 3063 -17
    2007-09-07   4341 -8 3053 -10
    2007-09-08   4348 +7 3072 +19
    2007-09-09   4331 -17 3069 -3
    2007-09-10   4295 -36 3075 +6
    2007-09-11   4257 -38 3064 -11
    2007-09-12   4305 +48 3080 +16
    2007-09-13   4284 -21 3096 +16
    2007-09-14   4187 -97 3063 -33
    2007-09-15   4216 +29 3081 +18
    2007-09-16   4222 +6 3116 +35
    2007-09-17   4197 -25 3144 +28
    2007-09-18   4203 +6 3101 -43
    2007-09-19   4254 +51 3158 +57
    2007-09-20   4249 -5 3180 +22
    2007-09-21   4259 +10 3190 +10
    2007-09-22   4320 +61 3204 +14
    2007-09-23   4251 -69 3163 -41
    2007-09-24   4186 -65 3133 -30
    2007-09-25   4249 +63 3170 +37
    2007-09-26   4278 +29 3201 +31
    2007-09-27   4334 +56 3259 +58
    2007-09-28   4315 -19 3251 -8
    2007-09-29   4378 +63 3324 +73
    2007-09-30   4523 +145 3416 +92

    The unsensored area around the pole (311·10³ km²) is fully included in both extent and area. Other missing data filled in by me with temporal linear interpolation of concentration (or persistence at the end). F15 data are mostly complete, F13 data do have some missing values. The final 2007 data have missing values already filled in by NASA/NSIDC. Lakes and ice with less than 15% concentration are excluded. Other than that, no manipulation of the data has been applied (no obviously spurious coastal ice removed). [data source]

    The requested ice volume based on GDAS/GFS data (GDAS 2008-09-09 12Z, full resolution): Arctic 4.4·10³ km³, Antarctic 15.3·10³ km³. But note that this is even more a rough estimate than the ice thickness, because it also depends on ice concentration, which tends to be analyzed too low (on the other hand there is some spurious ice).

    Other figures based on the same data (in million km²):
    Extent: 4.1 (Arctic), 17.6 (Antarctic)
    Area: 3.3 (Arctic), 15.8 (Antarctic)

    Comment by Clarence — 10 Sep 2008 @ 9:41 PM

  402. CT area today: 3.098 Mkm^2.

    Comment by Nick Barnes — 11 Sep 2008 @ 1:47 AM

  403. Chris wrote in 387:

    The NSIDC map you refer to took its data from, and only from, the Arctic buoys I have referred to many a time.

    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/newdata.htm
    It portrayed how much they had melted SO FAR THIS SEASON. To get context, you need to compare to them to their status at the same point last year (if available), and take into account drift, positioning and what type of ice they were installed in.

    I already explained the context of the NSIDC map at e.g. #330.

    But that wasn’t what you were speaking of in the post that I was responding to.

    You had written in 373:

    Almost…. Just read #372. You need to put thickness in context, not to mention the limitations of using satellite data to estimate it. Even taking the data at face value, the central Arctic area looks pretty much unchanged since a month ago, with thickness still greater than 1.5m throughout, and losses of no more than 0.2m.

    As such it seemed as if you were downplaying the melt that had occured this year by means of a fairly selective stale piece of data, and the proper response was to point out that the melt that had occurred from the beginning of the melt season until some time more recent had been greater, oftentimes much greater throughout most of the Arctic. That is precisely what I did in 375.

    But if what you are now claiming is that there hasn’t been much loss of ice thickness relative to last year, then point taken.

    Chris wrote:

    You seem very confident that net melt/compaction will continue until much later than last year.
    Let’s see what’s happened so far in September.

    I gave an estimate earlier on which was bullish with regard to the duration and extent of this year’s melt — based upon a form of trending.

    Please see 261 (30 August 2008 at 10:08 PM):

    Starting with June 1, 2008, I calculated the sea ice loss for each day relative to the preceding day, then I did a quadratic trendline for the sea ice loss…

    But I made it clear that I didn’t know how long the trend would hold or how accurate it would be.

    Please see for example:
    283 (31 August 2008 at 7:35 PM)

    Is the trendline for 2008 realistic? So far, yes. But it has to break down at some point. And personally I expect it to break down when the internal dynamics nears the projected minima — due to outside forces that overwhelm those dynamics: hurricanes that extend the melting season with poleward oceanic heat advection.

    … and:293 (1 September 2008 at 1:40 PM)

    In any case, I think the projection is an improvement upon the straight trend lines some were trying or impressions of what should happen simply based on what had happened in previous years on the same dates.

    Then I pointed out that the method I was using didn’t really seem to provide that stable an “answer.”

    Please see:
    351 (4 September 2008 at 2:07 AM)

    There are now two projections using the same method. However, the first uses a quadratic trendline based on the actual daily reduction in sea ice extent for the period 6/1/2008-8/27/2008, whereas the second uses a quadratic trendline based on the actual daily reduction in sea ice extent for the period 6/1/2008-9/3/2008.

    However, I have done a little more investigation since then with an “ensemble”-like approach. For each day from 8/12/2008 to 9/9/2008, I calculated a similar quadratic trendline fit for sea ice extent loss for the period from 6/1/2008 to to that day, then did a running total of sea ice extent loss and subtracted that from the sea ice extent from 5/31/2008. The following chart gives the daily values and the five-day running averages.

    Projections of Sea Ice Extent for 2008
    http://i37.tinypic.com/ezjyma.jpg

    For daily values, the maximum was 4,620,035, the minimum 3,924,920, and the average 4,372,151. For five-day running averages, the maximum was 4,550,031, the minimum 4,155,389, and the average was 4,360,168. The most recent value was 4,484,226, and the most recent five-day average was 4,469,356.

    A ten-day average of the projected day of sea ice extent minima gives 9/22/2008.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 11 Sep 2008 @ 10:15 AM

  404. #401 Thank you very much so Clarence! Do you have a few more crucial number estimates: Last years peak volume at extent maxima, this years peak volume at ice extent maxima, and last years volume at extent minima, around September 20 2007. These are big questions, mainly left for us to guess.

    #402 Nick is this equal to last year?

    Comment by wayne davidson — 11 Sep 2008 @ 12:09 PM

  405. #404 Wayne: today’s figure is 3.107 Mkm^2. For last year’s figure see:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/08/arctic-sea-ice-watch/#comment-53760

    I think you’ll find today’s is ~6.4 per cent more

    Today’s JAXA sea ice extent figure is 4,729,688 km2, that’s ~8.9 per cent more than last year’s figure

    Comment by Chris — 11 Sep 2008 @ 1:15 PM

  406. RE 399: Although this topic may be OT: You can start unraveling the U.S. regulations from i.e. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04654.pdf. In the U.S. the limit per reactor seems to be about $300 million, further details being rather complicated. Similar arrangements exist elsewhere as purely commercial full liability cover is nowhere available. The damage levels at which national Governments start carrying the risks are variable. Liability related to other forms of pollution releases are another area of law hotly disputed both in the courts and in politics.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 11 Sep 2008 @ 1:45 PM

  407. RE 399: You may start unraveling the nuclear insurance issue from http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04654.pdf .

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 11 Sep 2008 @ 1:48 PM

  408. Re: volume.

    Ice area figures are more volatile than ice extent figures, and have varied between 6 and 10 per cent above last year’s figures during September so far (going by CT). Extent figures have varied between about 7 and 9 per cent above last year’s (going by JAXA). So let’s say surface ice area is ~7.5 per cent more than a year ago.

    In terms of thickness, we have very little real information. There appear to be only 2 buoys which both (a) can be used to compare today with a year ago and (b) have remained within the surface ice area referred to above.
    They are:
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2006C.htm which shows exactly the same ice thickness (1.15m), and
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2007J.htm which shows a 0.5m increase in thickness (2.8 m to 3.3m)
    (This isn’t cherry picking, it’s simply the only relevant data I have. I fully accept it could be wildly out, and that it is of very limited use.)
    The mean of the data is a 0.25m increase in thickness, or 12.7 per cent increase.

    Since volume = surface area times thickness, my best guess of volume change would be 1.075 times 1.127 = 1.21

    i.e. a 21 per cent increase.

    Comment by Chris — 11 Sep 2008 @ 2:54 PM

  409. Mark #399

    So how come paying for the insurance of a private company is not a subsidy? If it is because it isn’t worth much then why not get the company to pay it?

    It is not a subsidy if the pricing of the re-insurance offered is realistic, i.e., the money collected from policies corresponds to risk probability times accident size, computed as is common in the insurance business.

    The point is not the money involved, but the huge size of the insured event. What would happen if the unthinkable happened, is that the insurance company would go bust and the policy takers would remain without their money. The same applies to hurricane, earthquake and other natural disaster insurances. No private company acting responsibly would offer such an insurance. The only entity capable of carrying such a risk (tiny in probability, huge in size) is the state. And the wish by citizens to have these risks insured at a realistic cost price is IMHO reasonable.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 11 Sep 2008 @ 3:26 PM

  410. This comparing of this year to last year ice in a percentage basis is misleading.

    Lets look at a worst case scenario.

    Say one year the ice is almost wiped out and is reduced to just 100,000 sq km.

    The next year, the weather sucks, and the ice recovers to 1,000,000 million sq km.

    Are we going to say that ice have increased by a thousand percent, and the crisis is over. No.

    Whatever difference between this year and last year is just statistical noise due to weather.

    The trend is still the same; an accelerating downward trend, with a few outliers throw in every few years, just to give a false sense of hope.

    Comment by LG Norton — 11 Sep 2008 @ 3:29 PM

  411. #400 Wayne: “Despite what appears to be significant temperature shifts, the melt for the entire pack is similar to last year (not just one coast or another), indicating thinner ice, and also suggesting some stable under observed warm source.”

    (1) The melt for the entire pack was similar to that of pre-2007 years up until early August (despite the much thinner initial ice)

    (2) The rapid surface-led melt of August is no mystery – see for example NSIDC News, Sep 4th: “A pattern of high pressure set up over the Chukchi Sea, bringing warm southerly air into the region and pushing ice away from shore. August air temperatures in the Chukchi Sea (at 925 millibars pressure, roughly 750 meters [2,500 feet] in altitude) were 5 to 7 degrees Celsius (9 to 13 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than normal. Ice loss in the Chukchi and East Siberian Seas averaged 14,000 square kilometers (5,400 square miles) per day faster than in 2007.”
    Not surprising that such a heatwave should melt a lot of ice, especially ice that had started the season at such thin levels.

    (3) Therefore to argue that such warmth may have become a permanent feature, I’d have thought you’d have to explain the atmospheric mechanisms which result in such weather patterns, and how any “stable under observed warm source.” may have caused such mechanisms to develop and stick around.

    Personally, I think it’s too early to tell. If the ice grows back earlier this year as I suspect, and thus the small recovery already seen starts to gain momentum, then a lot depends on what happens next summer. If the summer starts with thicker ice (than this summer did), and weather patterns shift to more benign conditions, then conceivably we might not just be waiting until mid-August for the ice melt to exceed the pre-2007 years, but we might be waiting all summer (in vain). Once that happens, a lot depends on what global temperatures do, but that’s for other threads………

    Comment by Chris — 11 Sep 2008 @ 3:38 PM

  412. #410: LG Norton

    “This comparing of this year to last year ice in a percentage basis is misleading.”

    It is what it is. Everyone’s comparing this year to last year in their own way, myself included. At least percentages are facts, rather than opinions.

    “Lets look at a worst case scenario.
    Say one year the ice is almost wiped out and is reduced to just 100,000 sq km.
    The next year, the weather sucks, and the ice recovers to 1,000,000 million sq km.
    Are we going to say that ice have increased by a thousand percent, and the crisis is over. No.”

    That’s not the scenario we face this year. If we did, yes there would be no problem with us saying the ice had increased by 1000 per cent – that’s a statement of fact. And no we wouldn’t say “the crisis is over”. What does this prove? I haven’t said anything about a crisis being over.

    “Whatever difference between this year and last year is just statistical noise due to weather.”

    That’s a statement of opinion. Another might be “changes in underlying factors between this year and last year show a turning point towards a strong and sustained recovery in Arctic ice” (this isn’t my opinion by the way). But what does either statement prove?

    “The trend is still the same; an accelerating downward trend, with a few outliers throw in every few years, just to give a false sense of hope.”

    The trend is what it is. The question is what happens next. I’m not saying I know more than anyone else (though you’re assuming 100 per cent you know more than me). All I’m trying to do is engage with the detailed debate about what might be happening, both short and longer term.

    Sorry if my attitude seems really frustrating to you, but what’s wrong with considering all perspectives? I actually find it frustrating myself when my contributions are repeatedly tarred with expressions like “misleading”, “cherry picking”, “not seeing the wood for the trees”, “flawed analysis”, “cheap rhetorical trick” etc.

    Comment by Chris — 11 Sep 2008 @ 4:52 PM

  413. LG Norton – on reflection, sorry if I got too wound up with my last post, you were only voicing your thoughts after all……

    Comment by Chris — 11 Sep 2008 @ 5:13 PM

  414. To Pekka Kostamo (#398 & #406) and Martin Vermeer (#409): Thanks for the insights on the Finns’ point of view and insurance issue/web site. Appreciated.
    To Barton Paul #396: I was only kidding, man. No offense intended.

    Comment by Andre Grz, Brisbane — 11 Sep 2008 @ 6:04 PM

  415. Re #397

    Meanwhile, latest thickness data (9th Sep) from buoys used to create NSIDC map of August 20th:

    2008E – 1.3m (First year ice, Lat: 83.127 N Long: 3.562 E)
    [Showed as 1.32m on NSIDC map]

    2008C – 2.7m (Multiyear ice, Lat: 85.114 N Long: 75.591 W)
    [Showed as 2.39 on NSIDC map - wrongly?]

    Why do you suggest that the real time data marked in red as:
    “Caution: Data presented on this page are provisional.”
    are correct and the processed data presented in a report are the ones that are wrong? You get frustrated when things don’t behave the way you think they should and appear to be projecting your beliefs onto the data!

    2008B – 1.95m (First year ice, Lat: 85.640 N Long: 89.317 W)
    [Showed as 1.35 on NSIDC map - wrongly?]

    As above.

    2006C – 1.1m (Multiyear ice, Lat: 84.900 N Long: 137.556 W)
    [The thickness shown by buoy 2006C is exactly the same as in Sep 07. Melt has been ONE METRE LESS this year, since thickness was 2.1m at the beginning of summer 08, compared with 3.1m at the beginning of summer 07]
    [Showed as 0.43m on NSIDC map - wrongly?]

    I’ve been watching this data for some time and I don’t believe it for the following reason: last summer the max was flat at -1.1, perfectly flat even the noise, my experience in experimental measurements leads me to distrust behavior like that.
    This summer it did exactly the same thing, perfectly flat at the same value, doesn’t look realistic! The data from the paper makes more sense.

    2007J – 3.3m (Multiyear ice, Lat: 79.269 N Long: 128.851 W)
    [This is an INCREASE IN THICKNESS of 0.5 metres since the same date last year]
    [Showed as 2.01 on NSIDC map - wrongly?]

    2008F – 3.1m (Multiyear ice, Lat: 75.967 N Long: 138.515 W)
    [Not shown on NSIDC map]

    New buoy, lost ~0.5m in just over a month.

    2007E – 0m (Multiyear ice, Lat: 74.013 N Long: 142.161 W)
    [This buoy had been on a 3m thick ice floe which drifted into open water in the Beaufort Sea and melted completely. Thus I’m not claiming it’s all good news!)
    [Showed as 1.37 on NSIDC map]

    There you are projecting again.

    2007F – On edge of Beaufort, data erratic (appears to show increase in ice from 3m last year to 4m this year, but I wonder if the ice underneath has in fact melted causing data to go haywire)
    [Not shown on NSIDC map]

    Rapid melt from June until early Aug when it was closing in on 0.0m when all of a sudden it does a flip to 3.5m and another to 4m at the same time the snow gauge shoots from 2.5 to -1.5! Ice break-up or flip sideways or something similar, there’s no way this is a correct reading and given its location doubtful if there’s any ice left.

    2008D – NSIDC showed as 2.01m but no sign of line on graph since initial thickness of 2.95m in April. Graph only goes down to 3m so I wonder if thickness is still below 3m?)
    Could be anything, the legend says the data is missing, seems most likely.
    An overall look at ice thickness throughout the basin gives cause for concern as it shows a continued loss in multiyear ice and a continued loss in ice mass.
    http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20080717_Figure5.png

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 12 Sep 2008 @ 12:07 AM

  416. Chris wrote in 412:

    The trend is what it is. The question is what happens next. I’m not saying I know more than anyone else (though you’re assuming 100 per cent you know more than me). All I’m trying to do is engage with the detailed debate about what might be happening, both short and longer term.

    The short-term is interesting. It gives you a chance to be proven wrong a whole lot sooner. And I would especially like to understand the processes involved — atmospheric advection, the role of clouds which varies from the reduction of insolation to increased greenhouse effect, the role of oceanic advection and the role that hurricanes may play in that.

    Anyway, I can understand why someone might call this year a “minor recovery” (assuming we end up not setting new records but only taking a few second places — which seems highly likely at this point) but it pays to keep in mind that records usually aren’t broken year after year — given internal variability (La Ninas and the like), the experts themselves were divided on whether this year would set a new record for extent, this was a cooler summer for the Arctic with more cloud cover acting to reduce melt.

    And finally trends aren’t defined simply relative to the previous year but relative to a string of years. This year may have reversed the one year trend in sea ice extent loss just as 2006 did — given that we are going to reach a minimum that is higher than that of last year’s, but I believe it is a given at this point that the ten year trend will be higher than that of last year. It certainly was for August:

    Please see:

    Even though August ice extent was above that of August 2007, the downward trend for August ice loss has now gone from -8.4% per decade to -8.7% per decade.

    9/4/2008
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/index.html

    In terms of volume, if every two years, we lose as much ice as we did going from 2005 to 2007, then we will see our first sea ice free Arctic by the summer of 2013. However, this is not the way the experts calculated it — Maslowski used a high resolution ocean circulation model that didn’t even take into account what happened in 2007. (Incidentally, I can certainly understand if others don’t buy into such an aggressive forecast.)

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Sep 2008 @ 6:29 AM

  417. #415 Phil

    Re: the buoys. You’ve put your case that the raw thicknesses they show are wrong by a substantial margin. I disagree. We’ll just have to wait and see what the final results are.

    Re: the ICESat thickness estimates (NSIDC link). These compare Feb/Mar 06, Mar/Apr 07, and Feb/Mar 08.
    There is nothing surprising about a reduction in thickness between spring 07 and spring 08, since we had the record 2007 summer melt in between!
    What is surprising is how limited the reduction was. The real like-for-like reduction will be even less than that shown, since ice will be still thickening between Feb/Mar and Mar/Apr (i.e. Mar/Apr 07 should be compared with Mar/Apr 08, not Feb/Mar 08). Indeed all the buoys installed this year in April with available data were still showing continued thickness increases even into May and beyond:
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2008B.htm
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2008C.htm
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2008E.htm
    Of course, they may all be completely wrong :)

    Thus, the “continued loss in multiyear ice and a continued loss in ice mass” you refer to is only demonstrated as far as a comparison of Feb/Mar 08 with Mar/Apr 07, which frankly doesn’t shed any extra light on the situation re: today vs a year ago.

    Meanwhile, the extent figures are continuing to defy many people’s expectations (including your own). Latest figure from JAXA is 4,751,563 km2, which is 423,594 km2 (or 9.8 per cent) more than a year ago. Hardly a massive change from the situation on 1st July, when the extent was 518,125 km2 (or 5.7 per cent) more than a year ago.

    Comment by Chris — 12 Sep 2008 @ 10:30 AM

  418. And yes, update from CT from a few mins ago puts latest area at 3.05 million km2 or a mere 4.5 per cent more than a year ago. Makes perfect sense to use this to reject the idea of any recovery this year. Personally I think the closeness masks concentration/surface melt issues with the area measurement, but I know most won’t believe me on this. But at least consider waiting until the end of the month to see how the area averages out (and if it shows a sharp rally, which might help to corroborate my suggestions about concentration/surface melt issues).

    Comment by Chris — 12 Sep 2008 @ 11:00 AM

  419. I guess I’d better spell out what I mean by “concentration/surface melt issues”.

    Re: concentration. Eyeball the following:
    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsredata/asi_daygrid_swath/l1a/n6250/2008/sep/asi-n6250-20080911-v5_nic.png
    Anything purple is more than 90 per cent concentration, anything yellow is more than 70 per cent concentration. I don’t think anyone can reasonably argue that average concentration is less than say 80 per cent?
    JAXA ice extent is currently ~4.75 million km2. If you multiply this by 80 per cent, you get 3.8. Yet CT area is currently almost down to 3.0. Hence CT appears to have a higher concentration threshold for inclusion of ice coverage than the JAXA 15 per cent. Indeed, other sources of area data which are explicit about their cut-off being 15 per cent show significantly higher area for any given date than CT, e.g.
    http://www.nersc.no/~knutal/NORSEX_current.html
    and http://www.ifm.uni-hamburg.de/~wwwrs/seaice/amsr-e.html
    Thus I would suggest that in the last few days there has been no net melt; rather, a substantial area of ice has dispersed to below the CT inclusion threshold, but above 15 per cent. Hence CT may be understating the true total area of ice coverage insofar as the ice is less concentrated than a year ago.

    As for surface melt, consider the weather at the moment in Svalbard (78.2N), and note wind direction http://www.wunderground.com/global/stations/01008.html
    This shows that surface thaw is still very much possible at high latitudes. (It’s not a case of large areas of sea ice being turned into open sea – this is clear from a more detailed consideration of the satellite maps and relevant weather/SST etc data) Note: across the Arctic in general, the weather is freezing http://www.uni-koeln.de/math-nat-fak/geomet/meteo/winfos/synNNWWarctis.gif

    Comment by Chris — 12 Sep 2008 @ 11:39 AM

  420. Re #417

    Re: the buoys. You’ve put your case that the raw thicknesses they show are wrong by a substantial margin. I disagree. We’ll just have to wait and see what the final results are.

    Why wait you won’t believe them them either! You’ve already shown that you prefer to believe the preliminary raw data rather than the processed data in the report so why would you believe the final data (unless it happened to agree with your belief of course).

    Thus, the “continued loss in multiyear ice and a continued loss in ice mass” you refer to is only demonstrated as far as a comparison of Feb/Mar 08 with Mar/Apr 07, which frankly doesn’t shed any extra light on the situation re: today vs a year ago.

    Not true we know there was a major breakup of the multiyear ice during the winter and its subsequent dispersal into the Beaufort where it has been melting all summer, and that the outflow of multiyear ice continued via the Fram into June this year.

    Meanwhile, the extent figures are continuing to defy many people’s expectations (including your own).

    My expectations of the extent figures have not been defied since I have consistently preferred to follow the area measures. Those have come close to my expectations, last winter I thought that this year would easily make a second place behind 07, the events in the Beaufort sea over winter led me to believe that a new record was likely, presently we’re within 5% and a day or so could even surpass last year’s record. Given the cold winter and summer weather that’s quite remarkable, close to 11 Mm^2 of melt this season, far beyond last year’s.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 12 Sep 2008 @ 1:42 PM

  421. Re #418

    But at least consider waiting until the end of the month to see how the area averages out (and if it shows a sharp rally, which might help to corroborate my suggestions about concentration/surface melt issues).

    You mean like it did last year?

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 12 Sep 2008 @ 1:48 PM

  422. Clouds have been a factor all along with Polar ice this season, they have in essence prevented a more than massive melt from happening. However clouds play a different role now, they keep things warm, especially sea water; -0.5 C just measured a few moments ago in Resolute Bay, Canada. Contrasting clearly with last year when I measured -1 C at the same location . So its been cloudy with very little clear breaks around here, and it shows:

    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/analysis/351_50.gif

    Notice the +3 C water North of Alaska and the Yukon. Clouds are delaying the end day of this year current melt.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 12 Sep 2008 @ 10:02 PM

  423. People might want to check out Arctic Roos…

    An Arctic Regional Ocean Observing System (Arctic ROOS) has been established by a group of 14 member institutions from nine European countries working actively with ocean observation and modelling systems for the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas.

    Welcome to Arctic ROOS
    Establishment of Arctic Regional Ocean Observing System
    http://arctic-roos.org

    … their time series for both area and extent…

    Daily Updated Time series of Arctic sea ice area and extent derived from SSMI data provided by NANSEN.
    http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/ice-area-and-extent-in-arctic

    … and their forecasts…

    TOPAZ MODEL FORECAST
    http://arctic-roos.org/forecasting-services/topaz/topaz-model-forecast

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Sep 2008 @ 10:54 PM

  424. #420: Buoys. Here’s the links for (1) the buoy data, and (2) the NSIDC News containing the thickness map up to 20th Aug.
    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/newdata.htm
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2008/082508.html

    I’ve simply been reading off the snow-ice thickness plots shown for each buoy. Phil argues (reasonably, although i don’t like his repeated accusations about my “beliefs”) that the NSIDC map represents the correct/processed/final data, which implies that:
    - Buoy 2008B data over-stated thickness by 0.65m
    - Buoy 2006C data over-stated thickness by 0.75m
    - Buoy 2007J data over-stated thickness by 1.5m

    So who’s right? Unfortunately there may be no way of telling for some time. But I fully understand Phil’s view that the NSIDC map should be the final word on the matter. I’m just surprised that so much of the key buoy data could be so wrong, and think Phil is harsh in his assessment of my motives.

    Phil’s dismissive “Not true…” in his last post is highly disingenous. I’d pointed out that the map he linked to compared Mar/Apr 07 with Feb/Mar 08, which (1) is not quite a true comparison, and (2) more importantly, does not provide much help in proving that there has been a “continued loss in multiyear ice and a continued loss in ice mass” between Sep 07 and Sep 08, as opposed to between Mar/Apr 07 and Feb/Mar 08 (which obviously spanned the record 07 summer melt). Both of my points were 100 per cent true. He is making a different point.

    #421 “You mean like it did last year?” No, I mean faster than it did last year.

    Comment by Chris — 13 Sep 2008 @ 3:25 AM

  425. #422 Wayne – note that OLR anomalies in the Arctic area have been broadly positive for the last month, and merely neutral in the Resolute area
    http://www.bom.gov.au/bmrc/clfor/cfstaff/matw/maproom/OLR/m.lm.html
    Max temperatures in Resolute itself haven’t been above freezing since the 2nd Sep and have only reached 3C on four days since 12th August:
    http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/weather/maps/city?WEEK=08&MM=09&YY=2008&WMO=71924&LANG=en&SID=7192448f2928014abd83b43a4d9dea4035a21a&ART=MAX&CONT=namk&R=0&NOREGION=1&LEVEL=150&REGION=0013&LAND=NN
    Last year the AVERAGE maximum in Resolute for the month of 12th August-11th Sep was ~5.8C
    http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/weather/maps/city?WEEK=08&MM=09&YY=2007&WMO=71924&LANG=en&SID=7192448f2928014abd83b43a4d9dea4035a21a&ART=MAX&CONT=namk&R=0&NOREGION=1&LEVEL=150&REGION=0013&LAND=NN
    Average min temperatures there for the past month have also been significantly colder than a year ago.

    Of course, air temperatures need to be consistently below at least -2C for widespread refreeze to commence. This first happened last year from ~24th September. This year it’s starting as we speak:
    http://www.wunderground.com/global/stations/71924.html

    For each of the next five days, the forecast is “cloudy” with some snow flurries, yet even the max temperature is not forecast to rise above -4C! Those clouds sure aren’t keeping things warm……

    Comment by Chris — 13 Sep 2008 @ 6:24 AM

  426. Chris, I think you mean that water temperture needs to be below -2 for refreezing to start.

    Actually most of the ice that have formed at this time is Nilas which is basically loose ice crystals in water. This stuff is easily destroyed by storms due to mixing.

    Sure if calm conditions prevail, the surface layer of the ocean will drop below -2 and ice will start to form.

    However, the fall season is ussually very stormy, and a good portion of the top water colummn needs to get below -2 for sea ice to form.

    So September weather plays a major role in determining the date of the actual ice minimun

    IIJS has show a 50K increase in the past 5 days.
    NSIDC is still showing a steady small decline,
    and Cryosphere Today is very close to beating last years record.

    We may end this year, with diverging opinions, on if 2007 beat 2008 or not for ice lost, depending on the model you pick.

    Comment by LG Norton — 13 Sep 2008 @ 9:23 AM

  427. Looking at Cryoshere today and comparing it to last year the ice coverage last year appears to be a lot less than this year. Yet the loss is supposed to be nearly as great. Can anybody explain this.

    Comment by D Price — 13 Sep 2008 @ 9:49 AM

  428. The record loss for 2008 was for the month of August only, not annual loss. Might this be what you are referring to?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 13 Sep 2008 @ 10:49 AM

  429. Re D Price @427; I would think total loss is defined as the difference between seasonal maximum and minimum, No? In that case, since maximum extent for winter 2007/2008 was higher than for 2006/2007, and since this summer’s minimum is so close to 2007, total loss for 2008 is much larger than comparing 2008 minimum to 2007 minmum would suggest.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 13 Sep 2008 @ 11:15 AM

  430. #427, D Price,

    Take into account the information given by the different colours. There’s a lot more ice at concentrations below 70% for 12 Sept 2008 than there was 12 Sept 2007.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 13 Sep 2008 @ 11:20 AM

  431. There is clearly one thing different this year, its the size of the remaining ice pack approaching 80 degrees North. Which helps demonstrate the dynamics of the ice itself, load the last 15 days:

    http://seaice.bplaced.net/buoy-pos/

    extraordinary displacement of the buoy next to Ellesmere can be seen, note today is the full moon

    http://www.natice.noaa.gov/pub/east_arctic/Canadian_Arctic_East/2008/canecurrentcolor.pdf

    13 nautical miles a week on average for the entire coast. Still does not reveal Lunar spring tides spurts

    I am finally understanding better that the current may be stronger at this time of new and full moons and cause a significant further displacement. In the past, there was so much ice, that these spurts were incoherent, obstructed by ridging and multi-year ice formations, they were mostly highly localized, now they appear uniform. Seeing the full effects of spring tides, especially new moon one on Sept 1 just past, was quite instructive. This education comes at the expense of the destruction of the permanent ice cap, so no comfort in better knowledge here.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 13 Sep 2008 @ 3:04 PM

  432. Re #425
    Of course, air temperatures need to be consistently below at least -2C for widespread refreeze to commence. This first happened last year from ~24th September. This year it’s starting as we speak:

    Rather more is needed than that, see the excerpt below:

    The addition of salt to the water lowers the temperature of maximum density, and once the salinity exceeds 24.7 parts per thousand (most Arctic surface water is 30-35), the temperature of maximum density disappears. Cooling of the ocean surface by a cold atmosphere will therefore always make the surface water more dense and will continue to cause convection right down to the freezing point – which itself is depressed by the addition of salt to about -1.8°C for typical sea water. It may seem, then, that the whole water column in an ocean has to be cooled to the freezing point before freezing can begin at the surface, but in fact the Arctic Ocean is composed of layers of water with different properties, and at the base of the surface layer there is a big jump in density (known as a pycnocline), so convection only involves the surface layer down to that level (about 100-150 metres). Even so, it takes some time to cool a heated summer water mass down to the freezing point, and so new sea ice forms on a sea surface later in the autumn than does lake ice in similar climatic conditions.

    From here: http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/essay_wadhams.html

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 13 Sep 2008 @ 4:55 PM

  433. “Of course, air temperatures need to be consistently below at least -2C for widespread refreeze to commence.”

    Whoa….. think i’ve been misunderstood here. It was in the context of replying to Wayne’s post, re: whether “Clouds are delaying the end day of this year current melt.”

    I wasn’t saying that air temperatures below at least -2C would by themselves cause widespread refreeze (I hope no one really thinks I was saying that, because it wouldn’t say much for my understanding of Arctic ice!). I was saying that they are a necessary condition. The colder the air, the quicker the sea cools, and the earlier the date of widespread refreeze will be. Thus the clouds currently over Resolute for the next 5 days, under which the temperature is not forecast to rise above -4C for the whole period, cannot be said to be delaying the end day of melt.

    I didn’t mean that widespread re-freeze in the Resolute area will necessarily happen quickly. What I was saying was that a necessary condition for it to happen has been met about 12 days earlier than a year ago (despite cloudiness!)

    Comment by Chris — 13 Sep 2008 @ 6:06 PM

  434. Phil, would add the following as well, 2 meter temperature is quite high above the water. So today,
    -5.3 C at standard temperature height, sea water temperature again warm at -0.5 C measured at low tide in shallow water, air temperature immediately above the water -3.4 C. There is also and inversion
    several 100 meters above, with clouds to trap and reflect long wave radiation from escaping. So Chris -2 C would mean that the ice will never form! Since there should always be a warmer layer of air immediately above the sea surface. Over all it seems that the end day for the melt will rival last year, as I continue noticing some ice disappearing, and of course I was writing about clouds covering the entire Arctic ocean. This will continue unless there will be a greater drop in temperature in clear air, last year the ice set when sea water was -1 C and standard surface temperature was -11.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 13 Sep 2008 @ 9:27 PM

  435. “So Chris -2 C would mean that the ice will never form!”
    - see #433

    “There is also and inversion several 100 meters above, with clouds to trap and reflect long wave radiation from escaping……..of course I was writing about clouds covering the entire Arctic ocean.”
    - see first link at #425

    Arctic ocean surface temperatures are significantly colder than last year overall:
    http://sharaku.eorc.jaxa.jp/cgi-bin/amsr/polar_sst/polar_sst.cgi?lang=e&mode=main&date=set&y=2007&m=9
    http://sharaku.eorc.jaxa.jp/cgi-bin/amsr/polar_sst/polar_sst.cgi?lang=e&mode=main&date=set&y=2008&m=9

    Whichever way you argue this, I don’t think you’re going to imply an anomalous greenhouse warming effect that is observable between this year and last year/recent years in the Arctic. SSTs are colder, surface air temperatures are colder, and lower troposphere temperatures are colder. In this situation, every possible combination of weather is likely to produce a cooling vs a year ago for the foreseeable future, clouds or no clouds.

    I’m NOT thereby disputing the greenhouse effect by the way. However, as long as global lower tropospheric temperatures at 25,000+ feet remain apparently colder than in any of the last 10 years, as they have done every month so far this year
    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps+003
    convection is likely to bring relative cooling. Higher SSTs over the NW Pacific and N Atlantic, not to mention in parts of the Arctic Ocean, with their knock-on effects on surface/near-surface temperatures, merely represent a greater release of heat from the oceans at high northern latitudes where winter is approaching and convection/subsequent radiation to space will be fast.

    If we then get another La Nina on top of this (which is the way the Pacific appears to be headed at the moment) as well as a return to neutral or even -ve NAO/AO, then cooling this winter could further eclipse last winter’s.

    [Dhogaza #320
    "Ah, the “La Niña will save us, as long as it happens every year and El Niño disappears” argument.
    Wanna lay odds on that?"]

    Of course, La Nina can be seen as a conservation of heat by the oceans. So maybe we’ll get another El Nino and the globe can release even more heat into the colder lower troposphere to radiate to space.

    Either way, if mean forecasts of the GCMs are correct in the longer term, I think reading too much of a greenhouse effect into 2007/8 ice melts could be dangerous, since if the situation in the Arctic reverses then such people who have done so could lose credibility in their longer term argument.

    Incidentally, the stratosphere continues even more anomalously cold than the lower troposphere, almost certainly as a result of the continued solar minimum
    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps+010
    which can only exert a further cooling effect on the atmospheric layers below.

    Comment by Chris — 14 Sep 2008 @ 6:45 AM

  436. “…if the situation in the Arctic reverses…”

    Note in this context that in summer 1944 Larsen sailed from the west coast of Greenland via the NW Passage (northerly route) to the Pacific in ~8 weeks http://www.ucalgary.ca/arcticexpedition/larsenexpeditions
    This was an ENSO-neutral year, and NH SST anomalies (wrt 1961-1990) were +0.142 for the year http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/hadsst2nh.txt

    By 1947, it seems the ice was back, and certainly NH SST anomalies for the year had dropped to -0.218C (that’s a drop of 0.360C from 1944)

    By comparison, NH SST anomalies for 2007 and 2008 (so far) are +0.355C and +0.310C respectively. Note: in the 20 months since Jan 2007, only 10 have crossed the Weak La Nina threshold and minimum ONI was -1.5C
    http://ggweather.com/enso/oni.htm
    (c.f. 24 consecutive months crossing Weak La Nina threshold between 1998 and 2000, and minimum ONI of -1.7C)

    In other words the recent La Nina was nothing special, and temperatures could easily go significantly lower still. (Not saying they WILL, just putting forward the possibility) Hence don’t rule out the possibility of a significant ice recovery.

    Comment by Chris — 14 Sep 2008 @ 7:23 AM

  437. Further note: I thought the recent “bucket correction” issue didn’t apply to my previous post. Just checked this and looks like although pre-1942 anomalies have already been adjusted, 1942-1945 SST anomalies may be awaiting downward revisions. If they end up being revised downwards enough to remove the drop in SST I referred to in #436, I guess I would take 1941 as the starting point instead (+0.167C) or 1937 (+0.137) since i understand an El Nino started in late 1941.

    Comment by Chris — 14 Sep 2008 @ 8:18 AM

  438. Alternatively, here’s a comparison of 1941-44 mean summer land temperatures (Jun-Aug) with those for 2007-08, for the only two GISS stations in the NW Passage area I can find with data for both then and now
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/station_data/

    Cambridge Bay and Coppermine combined summer mean temperature:
    1941-1944 7.10C
    2007-2008 7.03C

    Cambridge Bay
    1941-1944 average: 6.5C
    2007-8 average: 6.75C
    Coppermine
    1941-1944 average: 7.7C
    2007-8 average: 7.3C

    Comment by Chris — 14 Sep 2008 @ 8:35 AM

  439. Re #434

    Wayne, as I’ve noted before the weather station buoy while showing low SW radiation now as expected is still showing consistent ~300 W/m^2 IR ( http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/gallery_np_weatherdata.html),
    not your neck of the woods I know, but further North than you, and with the inversion and clouds you see I’d expect you’d see something similar.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 14 Sep 2008 @ 8:49 AM

  440. Even I can’t dispute that CT area is now essentially no greater than this time last year: 3.004 million km2 as of latest update. Meanwhile extent is back to over 10 per cent greater. Something has to give………or does it?
    I think I’d now rather wait a few weeks than try to predict with any confidence what’s going to happen :)

    Comment by Chris — 14 Sep 2008 @ 12:10 PM

  441. The Telegraph, is it known to be a poorly researched paper? Hiring journalists to spew lies in order to fill their contrarian needs?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=A1YourView&xml=/opinion/2008/09/14/do1402.xml

    “Much publicity was given, for instance, to Lewis Gordon Pugh, who set out to paddle a kayak to the Pole to demonstrate the vanishing of the Arctic ice. At 80.5 degrees north, still 600 miles short of his goal, he met with ice so thick that he and his fossil-fuelled support ship had to turn back.

    But this did not prevent him receiving a congratulatory call from Gordon Brown, nor boasting that he had travelled “further north than anyone has kayaked so far”.It took the admirable Watts Up With That blog, run by the American meteorologist Anthony Watts, to point out that in 1893 the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen found the Arctic so ice-free that he was able to kayak above 82 degrees north, 100 miles nearer the Pole than our hapless campaigner against “unprecedented global warming”

    The article fit for Monty Python news:

    http://www.montypythonnews.com/

    continues debating Hansen as a Gore sidekick of sorts, with the usual ignorant trappings designed to confuse readers about Global Warming. However, the Fram , Nansen’s ship was trapped by ice further southof 80 degrees, North of Siberia in 1894, eventually, Nansen beset and bored, took the said kayak as a sledge and tried to ski to the Pole , and was unsuccessful. The Fram was stuck on the Arctic Ocean ice for almost 3 years mostly exactly where there is open water now!

    Shall we give a comedy award to the writer or the paper? Or both?

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 14 Sep 2008 @ 9:20 PM

  442. Fram info:

    http://www.fram.nl/faq/name/polarship.htm

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 14 Sep 2008 @ 9:23 PM

  443. Re the telegraph, there does certainly seem to be an agenda being pushed there (from the guardian)

    Bad Science Don’t let the facts spoil a good story

    Here is a cautionary tale for anyone working in research. “Captain Cook and Lord Nelson seem unlikely figureheads in the fight against climate change alarmists,” said the Sun. “Lord Nelson and Captain Cook’s ship logs question climate change theories,” announced the Telegraph. Oh that’s handy. So perhaps we can just keep on burning oil regardless then? “The ships’ logs of great maritime figures such as Lord Nelson and Captain Cook have cast new light on climate change by suggesting that global warming may not be an entirely man-made phenomenon.”

    I spoke to Dennis Wheeler, a geographer at Sunderland University and the man whose research triggered this coverage. Is he a leading figure in “the fight against climate change alarmists”?

    No. “But now I’ve had emails from cranks around the world thinking I’m some kind of anti-global warming conspiracy theorist and a friend to them. I’m most certainly not. The newspapers grossly and crassly misrepresented everything we are doing.”

    In fact, Wheeler had spoken only to the Sunday Times, which covered his work accurately. The rest of the newspapers copied the quotes, and the information, but rather grandly decided to change the purpose and the outcome of his research. “It was odd reading articles which were written as if a reporter had spoken to me – I wasn’t fully aware of the extent to which the media copy each other’s newspapers – but worse was the brazen way they distorted our work. Not a single one of the journalists from any other newspaper contacted us to see if their take on the story was correct.”

    In fact, the journalists concocted all kinds of connections entirely for themselves. “Ships’ logs, and thousands more like them, have revealed that recent global warming is not so unusual after all.” Is that true? “No. As I pointed out to the Sunday Times, the ships’ log books I work with only give us information about wind force and wind direction, they basically do not give us information on temperatures, and if they do it’s very scant and unreliable. We’ve simply never claimed indirectly or directly to have any direct evidence on changing temperatures.”

    More from the Telegraph: “The records also suggest that Europe saw a spell of rapid warming, similar to that experienced today, during the 1730s that must have been caused naturally.”

    Wheeler? “Your heart just sinks. Well, the central England temperature series, for example, have shown us that the 1720s and 1730s are a period of fairly rapid warming, but that’s in recovery from the Little Ice Age, and we’d like to know more about that, but this has been known about since 1974. What we are trying to do is to shed a fresh light – a bit of background – on these long-known changes in temperature.

    “Somewhere at the end they do quote me, but by then the headlines have done their job, and the message is lost in the willingness of so many people to believe global warming is not a major issue. And by the end it was unclear what my quote meant anyway, in its new context.”

    How did the papers quote Wheeler? Thus: “Global warming is a reality, but our data shows climate science is complex. It is wrong to take particular events and link them to carbon dioxide emissions.” I could see how that quote might get misunderstood.

    “Only out of context. I wasn’t talking about the scientific community, I wasn’t talking about climate change theory being wrong, I was talking about the media and others getting things wrong. Any new weather event is currently explained away as yet another facet of global warming, but there has always been freak weather. Like most people, I find it hugely irritating when people draw too much from single events.”

    Comment by kfr — 15 Sep 2008 @ 5:21 AM

  444. #443 I’d expect an apology or retraction from the Telegraph…. I am holding my breath now, :)…

    #439 Phil, How wonderful to have such numbers available. I need a little more context to see
    how significant they are though.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 15 Sep 2008 @ 9:32 AM

  445. [I just can't seem to get this past the filter so, in the extract from Nansen's account below i'm going to omit various words and replace them with --- in the hope my post will finally get through]

    Wayne #441: you accuse the journalist of “lies”, then go on to provide an extract from the article and a commentary which does not establish any “lies”. Can you be more specific?

    Here’s part of Nansen’s account of his travels

    link —

    … Wednesday, August 24th … It was at midnight between the 17th and 18th that we set off from our last — ground in — weather. Though it was cloudy and the sun —, there was along the horizon in the north the most glorious — glow with golden sun-tipped clouds, and the sea lay
    shining and — in the distance: a marvellous night … On the surface of the sea, smooth as a mirror, without a block of ice as far as the eye could reach, glided the kayaks, the water — off the paddles at every silent stroke. It was like being in a gondola on the C— G—. But there was something almost — about all this stillness, and the — had gone down rapidly. Meanwhile, we sped towards the headland … which I thought was about 12 miles off … I now thought I could safely conclude that we were on the west coast of F— J— Land, and were at this moment a little north of Leigh Smith’s most — point, Cape L—, which should lie a little south of 81° north latitude, while our observation that day made us about 81° 19′ north latitude …

    Re: the IR measurements, what wider significance are you implying that these have, beyond a representation of the local weather conditions which appear entirely within normal bounds?

    Comment by Chris — 15 Sep 2008 @ 10:02 AM

  446. Turns out it may have been removing the link that finally got my last post through after the nth attempt. So i didn’t need to remove all those words and break the flow, as well as cut out lots of my original post…..

    I’m now trying to find a way to post the link, but i can’t seem to do it even by breaking it up into fragments. So anyone interested will just have to find it via the link to the WUWT blog in the Telegraph article.

    By the way, I think the article is rather shoddily written in parts, it doesn’t get things exactly right re: Nansen (although the central point i.e. he paddled his kayak further north than Pugh, is correct) and is OTT in other parts. However, I think Wayne’s response is just as OTT, and doesn’t demonstrate the “lies” he claims.

    Comment by Chris — 15 Sep 2008 @ 10:29 AM

  447. > kfr 15 September 2008 at 5:21 AM

    This deserves to be permanently documented, if not here then somewhere appropriate for others to cite it. Has Dr. Wheeler written it up himself anywhere, or have any of the science journalism programs focused on this?

    It’s an incident that reveals a widespread bad practice in newspaper journalism — cautionary, to be watched for.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Sep 2008 @ 1:03 PM

  448. I’ve made a new animation of NSIDC ice concentration data, going back to 2005:

    http://seaice.bplaced.net/nsidc/

    It also shows the (unsmoothed) values for extent and area for each day.

    Data for the last days:

    F15:

    Date Extent Area / 10³ km²
    2008-09-05 4658  +2 3201 +25
    2008-09-06 4662  +4 3153 -48
    2008-09-07 4615 -47 3122 -31
    2008-09-08 4577 -38 3091 -31
    2008-09-09 4568  -9 3126 +35
    2008-09-10 4545 -23 3162 +36
    2008-09-11 4531 -14 3159  -3
    2008-09-12 4501 -30 3172 +13
    2008-09-13 4511 +10 3158 -14
    2008-09-14 4532 +21 3204 +46

    F13:

    Date Extent Area / 10³ km²
    2008-09-05 4696  +1 3197 +11
    2008-09-06 4665 -31 3138 -59
    2008-09-07 4617 -48 3115 -23
    2008-09-08 4614  -3 3092 -23
    2008-09-09 4592 -22 3123 +31
    2008-09-10 4559 -33 3151 +28
    2008-09-11 4548 -11 3149  -2
    2008-09-12 4560 +12 3176 +27
    2008-09-13 4585 +25 3161 -15
    2008-09-14 4590  +5 3203 +42

    Area probably has passed the minimum, extent maybe too.

    Re: Ice thickness from buoy data:

    The upper ice edge in http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/2006C.htm surely isn’t at zero and the ice thickness values look like being clipped at the top. From the negative snow depth I’d guess that the ice was less than 50 cm thick last year and the ice temperature plot suggests about 20 cm now. But for meaningful interpretation you’ll need some knowledge about the buoy.

    Comment by Clarence — 15 Sep 2008 @ 1:15 PM

  449. re 447 Hank. Don’t know how long the link will live but this is it’s current incarnation.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/13/1 It’s part of a long running series of articles by a Dr Ben Goldacre who usually looks at the way medical issues are dealt with by the press but he asks for anybody with good (bad) examples of having dealt with the media to send them in, so no idea if Dr Wheeler did anything more than get in touch with him

    Comment by k rutherford — 15 Sep 2008 @ 2:36 PM

  450. Gentlemen,

    Have you see this?

    Look at the ice north of Ellesmere Island.

    http://www.seaice.dk/iwicos/latest/envisat.GMM3d.n.20080915.gif

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 15 Sep 2008 @ 2:37 PM

  451. kfr wrote in 443:

    Re the telegraph, there does certainly seem to be an agenda being pushed there (from the guardian)

    I went ahead and looked up the link:

    Here is a cautionary tale for anyone working in research. “Captain Cook and Lord Nelson seem unlikely figureheads in the fight against climate change alarmists,” said the Sun. “Lord Nelson and Captain Cook’s ship logs question climate change theories,” announced the Telegraph….

    Don’t let the facts spoil a good story
    by Ben Goldacre
    The Guardian, Saturday September 13 2008
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/13/1

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 15 Sep 2008 @ 3:13 PM

  452. #448 “From the negative snow depth I’d guess that the ice was less than 50 cm thick last year and the ice temperature plot suggests about 20 cm now.”

    I strongly disagree with your analysis, but since we’re all guessing it’s rather pointless to go into too much detail.
    But factors I would consider:
    - The buoy is on multiyear ice
    - The stated initial ice thickness is 290 cm (corresponds to green line exactly, not red minus green)
    - The buoy has drifted towards the North Pole
    - Compare buoy data to corresponding IceSAT thickness estimates
    http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20080717_Figure5.png
    - Note shorter peak in summer temperatures
    - Note lack of downward red curve in thickness data from other buoys
    - Flattening out of green line starts in late Aug/Sep both years
    - Possible effects of surface melt puddles
    - Even NSIDC map shows thickness as 1.35m on 20th Aug.

    Even though we’re all guessing, I would be inclined to stick my neck out and say “20cm – no chance”. If nothing else, consider where the buoy is in the Arctic
    http://iup.physik.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/arctic_AMSRE_nic.png
    and consider where Lewis Pugh had to turn back due to first year ice “only” 1m thick, or where the Russians recently set up their new station on a floe that was up to 2.8m thick. Do you really think the ice in what is normally the Arctic’s thickest ice area is currently 1/5th to 1/15th the thickness of the floes on the periphery?

    Perhaps it would be better if I simply let some people posting on here believe the Arctic has already passed a tipping point in the way you seem to be assuming. That way, you’re happy, and I’m saved a lot of effort. Goodbye, and good luck.

    Comment by Chris — 15 Sep 2008 @ 3:16 PM

  453. Chris; Either you know the ice or not? I have my doubts about your motives. But I will explain to the wider audience, as this kind of Journalism has gone long enough without immediate responses. I am still laughing at how poorly crafted and ignorant this piece of contrarianism reads…

    The image given by the Telegraph is:

    1- It was warmer in 1896

    2- So much warmer that Nansen paddled his Kayak from Spitzbergen to 82 degrees North

    3- Not unlike that British chap who barely managed 80.5 degrees in much cooler conditions in so called Global Warming times. Direction of paddling had huge meaning here (BTW Pugh was brave but not well advised)

    Isn’t that lying? This article is not OTT , it gives a faulse image, written on purpose to fit an agenda, made amply clear when reading below. The agenda is : destroy AGW theory or delay its acceptance by the wider public, by undermining the most senior scientists supporting it. They failed, in this case, by showing outright Polar ignorance.

    82 degrees North is close to the average summer ice extent limit around Spitzbergen. All that ice faced recently by the modern kayaker further South is loose pack ice quickly flowing from a very fluid disintegrating ice cap. Nansen sailing Southwards at 82 N from a failed attempt to sledge to the Pole is normal for a consolidated “average” year. http://www.fram.nl/faq/name/map_fram_voyage.jpg Again an omission, to say the least. The Fram itself would not have been beset at the same location North of Siberia, and not stuck for 2 to 3 years on pack ice given this years and last years wide open water events, besides Nansen and crew would have jumped on the occasion to make history and circle the Pole in less than no time , doing the complete NE and NW passage in less than one summer season. But that was not the case in 1893-6, the Fram was stuck in formidable ice, as it was then, therefore the Telegraph transposed another faulse image by omitting the true nature of the Polar ice cap then, by suggesting that there was more water at 82 N…..

    Defending this article, then calling it OTT is meaningless! The Telegraph should apologize, otherwise they will be trapped by their own pack of mean ice, beset in their own fabrications and lies.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 15 Sep 2008 @ 8:56 PM

  454. #450 Terry, Full moon effects are always fascinating to watch.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 15 Sep 2008 @ 9:57 PM

  455. A few additions, the Fram was stuck in the ice sep 22 1893 (not 1894 as on a website I used) , near the New Siberian Islands , completely ice free now. it drifted for 35 months ending up amongst 10 meter ice ( non existent or extinct today). Much further North Its drift track followed closely to the ice edge of now in 2008, there would have been no drift track in 2007. I think it completely unforgivable to use the efforts of man trying to expose Global Warming, risking his life for the effort, and twist it around by claiming no such thing. Journalism has hit an all time low with respect to this subject….

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 16 Sep 2008 @ 12:02 AM

  456. > Goodbye, and good luck.
    He’ll be back under a new name from the same old IP address, I bet.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Sep 2008 @ 12:26 AM

  457. Comparison of the Bremen map to MODIS Rapid Response System photo
    +
    Strange overnight ice at Hudson bay
    http://the-black-butterfly-effect.blogspot.com/2008/09/arctic-sea-ice-extra.html#links

    Comment by Eyal Morag — 16 Sep 2008 @ 3:31 AM

  458. I’m not sure about Chris’ motives either, but it’s always good to have someone with a different perspective to further a discussion (and Chris’ asides show he’s not 100% denialist or anything). Myself, I’m a 100% alarmist layman and I enjoy reading all comments here. If it weren’t for Chris this comment thread would probably have died off silently, and where would I go then? There haven’t been any new comments on Tamino’s blog for a week now (on the ‘more less ice’-thread I mean) and the comments on WattsUpWithThat or ClimateAudit make one very, very tired (because of their one-sidedness and 95% ignorance). I come and read here almost every day and find the comments even more interesting than the articles themselves.

    I don’t have the knowledge or intelligence to comprehend the science so I have to go on other people’s opinions. The content of their texts and their writing styles reveal a lot about their motives and level of knowledge. This is what I go on and it helps me decide about what is more probable.

    I for one hope Chris is right and that the North Pole Ice hasn’t passed a tipping point, though it perhaps might help in making people more aware of the gravity of the situation and the causes behind it. I long to be a ‘contrarian’ or ‘denialist’, but AGW as a hoax or conspiracy just doesn’t cut it for me. I would sooner think AGW is real and part of a greater conspiracy.

    Comment by Neven — 16 Sep 2008 @ 3:44 AM

  459. #453 Wayne: “I have my doubts about your motives.”

    I wasn’t going to say any more on this thread. However, I will say this, you don’t know how wrong you are. I am an ordinary guy, a citizen of the world, sitting at my computer with every right to take part in a balanced debate. I am very interested in meteorology and climatology, so much so that I am doing a Masters in the subject. I find the consensus theory on AGW quite convincing, and as such I am concerned about what may be happening to the earth’s climate, and in particular in the Arctic in the last couple of years.

    Believe I’ve got some kind of bad motives if you like, and insinuate this to the “wider audience” as you have already done. You’re absolutely wrong – I tell you categorically, there is nothing wrong with my motives! I find your insinuation offensive (as should be obvious).

    If you really want to convince the “wider audience” of your views, I suggest you think about the best way to achieve this. It seems to me that it’s the kind of attitude you’ve been taking which drives people to skepticism who would otherwise pay more attention to the warnings of climate scientists re: AGW.

    Your portrayal of the image given by the Telegraph re: Pugh/Nansen is false. The journalist is pointing out that Pugh’s expedition provided little evidence of “unprecedented global warming” – this is correct. You’re insulting the readers of the Telegraph to suggest they would necessarily read into a comparison of ice in one specific part of the Arctic that the world (or indeed the Arctic as a whole) was warmer in the 1890s. As for the article in general, yes it is full of spin (which I don’t approve of). But not lies.

    Re: the ice to the north of Spitzbergen, consider the following extract from Nansen’s account from earlier the same summer.

    … Friday, May 24th … While we were having breakfast today I went out and took — altitude, which, to our delight, made us 82° 52′ N …
    Sunday, May 26th … I reckon that we did 20 miles … yesterday, and should thus be now in latitude 82° 40′ N … I am in a continual state of — at the ice we are now travelling over. It is flat and good, with only smallish pieces of broken-up ice lying about, and a
    large mound or small ridge here and there, but all of it
    is ice which can hardly be winter-old, or at any rate has
    been formed since last summer. It is quite a rarity to
    come across a small tract of older ice, or even a single
    old floe which has lain the summer through so rare, in
    fact, that at our last camping-place it was impossible to
    find any ice which had been exposed to the summer sun,
    and consequently freed from salt. We were obliged to
    be content with snow for our drinking-water. Certain
    it is that where these great expanses of flat ice come
    from there was open water last summer or autumn, and
    that of no little extent, as we have passed over many
    miles of this compact ice the whole day yesterday and
    a good part of the previous day, besides which there
    were formerly a considerable number of such tracts in
    between older, summer-old ice …
    Friday, May 31st … The ice we are now travelling over is almost entirely new ice with occasional older floes in between. It continues to grow thinner, here it is for the greater part not more than 3 feet in thickness, and the floes are as flat as when they were frozen … Took a — altitude today, and we should be in 82° 21′ N …
    Sunday, June 22nd … The lane which stopped us yesterday did not close, but opened wider until there was a big sea to the west of us, and we were living on a floe in the midst of it without a passage across anywhere. So, at last, what we
    have so often been threatened with has come to pass:
    we must set to work and make our kayaks seaworthy…

    Keeping a sense of perspective (as I’m trying to do) does NOT imply bad motives, nor detract from the AGW case – if anything, it can help strengthen it.

    (And by the way I don’t think the Telegraph article is in perspective, it seems to be an OTT polemic against “alarmism”. But not lies.)

    Of course, the Booker article isn’t all that Telegraph readers get to read about climate change – see e.g. the following article from yesterday (the day after the Booker article)

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/09/14/eapolar114.xml

    “Polar bears and other rare species are in danger of dying out, scientists fear, as latest figures show the Artic sea ice is at record lows”

    “Scientists from the World Wildlife Fund, who are recording the ice cover over the North Pole, said less ice is predicted in the Arctic this year than in any other.”

    “The area of ice that is at least five years old has dramatically fallen by more than half since 1985. It comes as the Northwest Passage, over the top of North America and the Northeast Passage, in Russia, are both free of ice for the first time.”

    “The worrying trend in Arctic sea ice loss provides the clearest evidence yet for the need to decisively tackle climate change now, both at a national and a global level.”

    Comment by Chris — 16 Sep 2008 @ 5:56 AM

  460. Wayne Davidson: “They failed, in this case, by showing outright Polar ignorance.”

    Oh, would that that were so. The goal is to give comfort to likeminded individual in the denialist community. Since such individuals will never read anything published in the Guardian, they will cleave to the Telegraph as a bastion against “Mainstream Media” or “MSM”. Never before have people had such free access to information. Yet, they persist in (to paraphrase Andrew Lang) use information as a drunkard uses a lamp post: more for support than illumination.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Sep 2008 @ 7:51 AM

  461. Dear Wayne,

    Are you serious? Are there such things? The ice is stretching out in wide gaps.

    btw, it is “Tenney” not “Terry.”

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 16 Sep 2008 @ 8:24 AM

  462. Sorry Tenney! Yes there is such a thing, was expecting a rotation of the entire ice pack as on about Sept 1, but winds may play havoc with the ice just as much. Will need to wait a bit to see what happened. Lunar spring tides play a major role on creating leads some 20 to 40 miles wide (if combined with other physical ice vectors).

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 16 Sep 2008 @ 8:53 AM

  463. Chris, You are delightfully hopeless, enjoy believing the Telegraph! Neven, we can do better than defend a paper which writes garbage.

    Ray, I dont think people should cling to falsehoods, reality hold nothing on science fiction. Current ice conditions are so far the beaten track it may be considered as fiction, but describing it otherwise as “normal” or worse “cooler” is a perspective off the cuckoo train.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 16 Sep 2008 @ 9:06 AM

  464. Thank you, Wayne, I didn’t know that.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 16 Sep 2008 @ 9:20 AM

  465. Question

    The discussion here has been worrying the issue of ice minimums, but the Hansen papers on sea level rise have focused on changes in spring albedo. At least that’s the way it looks to me. Has there been a large change in ice extent in the spring?

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 16 Sep 2008 @ 10:02 AM

  466. Re #452:

    The NSIDC ice thickness data don’t show 1.35 m for buoy #07413 (2006C). That buoy has been at 84.85° N, 134° W on 2008-08-20, about the position where the NSIDC map has a measurement of 0.43 m (and 1.83 m at the beginning of the melt season). That would match the approximate ice thickness that I can derive from the ice temperature plots of buoy #07413. 1.83 m also match the ICESat thickness estimates for Feb-Mar 2008.

    “Ice temperature” has been at +3 °C down to “depths” of ~ 70 cm on some days during summer, that doesn’t look like ice (nor melt ponds).

    The ice floe hasn’t been real multi-year ice a few months ago. It barely survived 2007 and most of its thickness has been new ice that formed last winter. I don’t expect such ice to behave like multi-year ice (but I don’t know; what is left now might be real multi-year ice).

    In 2007, the floe has been quite south in the Beaufort Sea (I posted animations of its track in the first part of this thread: Full lifetime, weekly (2.3 MB), 2007 melting season, daily (4.1 MB)). Of course, the temperatures tend to be higher there than in its current location. But last year the amount of ice melted was much more than this year, and most of it was real multi-year ice. So the data look very consistent to me.

    The current location of the floe isn’t the area of the Arctic’s thickest ice (that’s more close to the Canadian Archipelago and Greenland). It’s an area where ice typically comes from the Beaufort or Chukchi Sea, where some ice may have melted in the season before, just like it happend with this floe.

    Note that I do not claim that this ice floe is typical for a larger region. Even the buoy data isn’t necessarily typical for the floe it is on. The latest NIC ice analysis shows 90+% thick (> 120 cm) first-year ice there (same as the area around the North Pole during the last months) and 30% multi-year (> 200 cm) / 60% thick first-year ice directly west of it. NP-36 is near the border of 30% multi-year / 60% thick first-year ice and 40% multi-year / 40% thick first-year ice (a region with 90+% thick first-year ice and traces of multi-year ice is not far to the south-east).

    Comment by Clarence — 16 Sep 2008 @ 10:10 AM

  467. #456 Hank Roberts “He’ll be back under a new name from the same old IP address, I bet.”
    No comment.
    #463 Wayne “Chris, You are delightfully hopeless”
    No comment.

    #455 Wayne “A few additions, the Fram was stuck in the ice sep 22 1893 (not 1894 as on a website I used) , near the New Siberian Islands , completely ice free now. it drifted for 35 months ending up amongst 10 meter ice ( non existent or extinct today).”

    Nansen: “We were frozen in north of Kotelnoi at about 78° 43′ north latitude, September 22, 1893.”

    See:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:New_Siberian_Islands_map.png
    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsredata/asi_daygrid_swath/l1a/n6250/2008/sep/asi-n6250-20080915-v5_nic.png

    i.e. current ice edge at that location is ~78N

    APPENDIX REPORT OF CAPTAIN OTTO SVERDRUP ON THE DRIFTING OF THE “FRAM” FROM MARCH 14, 1895 CHAPTER I March 15 to June 22, 1895

    At the time when the sledge expedition started the Fram lay in 84° north latitude and 102° east longitude. The situation was briefly as follows : The vessel was ice-bound in about 25 feet of ice, with a slight list to starboard. She had thus a layer of ice, several feet in thickness, underneath her keel. Piled high against the vessel’s side, to port, along her entire length, there extended from S.S.E. to N.N.W. a pressure-ridge reaching up to about the height of the rail on the half-deck aft and slanting slightly eastward from the ship.

    by June 8th we again had an easterly wind with a good drift to the west, so that on the 22d we were at 84° 31.7′ north latitude and 80° 58′ east longitude

    In the evening of August 8th our floe cracked on the port … I feared that the small floe in which we were now embedded might drift off down the channel … half an hour later the Frain was already drifting down through the channel.

    Once or twice it seemed as though the Frant would be afloat again before the winter finally chained her in its icy fetters. On October 25th, for instance, it slackened so much in the lane nearest us that the ship lay free from the stern right to the fore- chains ; but soon the ice packed together again, so that she was once more frozen quite fast.

    On April 13th Scott-Hansen and I took an observation … the latitude was 84° 11.5′

    ***************

    So when the sledge expedition had started i.e. mid-March 1895, the Fram was “ice-bound in about 25 feet of ice”. This is the closest I can find to the “10 meter ice” Wayne refers to. It is somewhat ambiguous what the “25 feet” refers to i.e. was the ice floe (as it adjoined each side of the ship) 25 feet from top surface to bottom surface, or does the “25 feet” include the “pressure-ridge” that was “piled high against the vessel’s side” ?

    Let’s assume that the ice floe itself really was a full 25 feet thick. That’s 7.6 metres.

    Well, consider the following buoy installed in a second-year ridge in the Beaufort Sea in 1997

    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/sheba5.htm

    Note the initial ice thickness of 8 metres. In other words, it appears that it’s only 11 years since a second-year ridge was able to reach a greater thickness than the ice the Fram was stuck in, at a lower latitude than the Fram.

    It was fascinating to research, but it took a big chunk out of my time – please stop saying things which keep dragging me back :)

    Comment by Chris — 16 Sep 2008 @ 11:00 AM

  468. Ray Ladbury’s comment:

    “Never before have people had such free access to information. Yet, they persist in (to paraphrase Andrew Lang) us[ing] information as a drunkard uses a lamp post: more for support than illumination.”

    A delightful and apt turn of phrase. (Though the phenomenon itself is not so delightful.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 16 Sep 2008 @ 11:45 AM

  469. The NSIDC has tentatively declared a sea ice extent minima for the year of 4.52 million square kilometers set on September 12, 2008.

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    Click the link above for their analysis.

    *

    Captcha fortune cookie: and entirely

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 16 Sep 2008 @ 12:13 PM

  470. #453 Wayne: “I have my doubts about your motives.”

    And I have concerns about your motives. I have concerns about your ability and about your intelligence.

    However, I do not post messages about those concerns.

    Until you started it.

    Oracle Knows: captcha: relations rifle

    Comment by Mark — 16 Sep 2008 @ 12:45 PM

  471. The NSIDC just declared a preliminary minimun of 4.52 million sq. km. on Sep 12, 2008.

    Final results will be released in early October.

    So we had two totally different years weather wise, and we got virtually the same ice lost.

    Comment by LG Norton — 16 Sep 2008 @ 3:25 PM

  472. #470, LG, but we have not heard any word on volume. Clarence was kind enough to give us a rough estimate for this year. Would really appreciate to hear about volume numbers, get use to them.
    You are totally right about the weather, the ice is leaving a footprint from the season just past, of this years weather dominated by Low pressures, at least or the most initial period of the melt season.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 16 Sep 2008 @ 9:07 PM

  473. #466 Clarence

    Many apologies I took the wrong buoy on this occasion re: NSIDC map. And thus the tone of my post was misplaced, and I picked the wrong occasion to make my comment about “some people posting on here” (which wasn’t really aimed at you by the way).

    Having said all that, I don’t agree with the inferences you make from the “Ice temperature” data, but it’s quite hard to explain why. Perhaps the best thing I can do is take the example of buoy 2008F, since this was installed on 8th Aug 08 and has “Ice temperature” data available for 6 days afterwards i.e. 14th Aug 08 – when we know from looking at the snow-ice thickness plot and air temperatures that there couldn’t have been more than ~10cm melt, indeed if anything surface snow level increased (air temperatures were consistently below zero, mostly around -1C during this period).

    Yet buoy 2008F “Ice temperature” data for 14th Aug show temperatures of up to +1C down to ~60cm depth.

    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/buoy_plots/2008F.gif

    Compare buoy 2006C, which you are claiming to be currently in only ~20cm thick ice. The maximum its “Ice temperature” reached was comparable i.e. +1C, down to a couple dozen cms lower. Now, of course, it is showing about -11C down to ~90cm, then a jump to a consistent -2C from ~110cm (just like other buoys which we know to be in relatively thick ice).

    http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/buoy_plots/2006C.gif

    To me this all suggests that there is not much that can be inferred from the 2006C buoy’s “Ice temperature” data, especially since we know that the surface level of the ice had probably already dropped significantly following the summer of 2007. Thus I would still take its snow-ice thickness plot at face value (i.e. ice thickness of over 1m plausible)

    Of course, given the mistake I made, I take your other points, including:
    “The current location of the floe isn’t the area of the Arctic’s thickest ice…”
    “Note that I do not claim that this ice floe is typical for a larger region…”

    Comment by Chris — 17 Sep 2008 @ 2:41 AM

  474. The fact that end of season area/extent are similar to last year leaves out the thought that – with the documented thinning – the total volume/mass of ice in the artic ocean is well down from last year. How does that work out – pixel by pixel?

    Thus is it likely that the energy used this year to reach the same extent was less than last year, which means (the global energy input being roughly the same 2007-2008) that there is more energy ‘left over’ to heat water, air and ice elsewhere?

    The fewer the sinks the faster the warming? The spiral gets steeper?

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 17 Sep 2008 @ 3:47 AM

  475. #474 Nigel, Unless volume accounting is done, there are some questions not giving easy answers.
    If volume can’t be measured accurately, then I suggest looking at atmospheric Density Weighted Temperatures of the Polar region. My local readings are quite formal, there was no temperature cooling for the troposphere as a whole, therefore quite similar ice shrinkage results despite much greater clouds and unfavorable winds. All it takes is to crunch the numbers.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 17 Sep 2008 @ 9:14 AM

  476. #464 Tenney, Your curiosity deserves this observation:

    http://seaice.bplaced.net/buoy-pos/

    Load the last 15 days, look at the coast off Ellesmere, water shows when the moon was roughly full.
    THe Buoy just North of Ellesmere is moving at an incredible pace as well.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 17 Sep 2008 @ 9:23 AM

  477. #471, NSIDC declaration is surely tentative all right, but the ice is still disappearing in some parts.
    load last 5 days

    http://seaice.bplaced.net/buoy-pos/

    as an example; watch that once , now small ice disappear between Wardle and New Siberian Islands on Russian side.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 17 Sep 2008 @ 10:49 AM

  478. NSIDC Arctic sea ice extent has dropped again by 42’000 km² (unsmoothed daily values). The 5-day running mean (F15 data) used by NSIDC is now at 4.520 million km², compared to the 4.524 million km² 2 days ago at the tentatively declared minimum.

    Tomorrow (today’s data) it is likely to rise again, because the lowest single day value (4.501 million km² on 2008-09-12) leaves the running mean (unsmoothed data available here).

    Re #473:

    I don’t think that the upper ice edge has ever been at zero for buoy 2008F either. Note that the axis is labeled “relative depth”. But the bottom ice edge is hard to see there. You need a more pronounced temperature gradient to see it in the plot and watch its behavior for a few days to be sure.

    Comment by Clarence — 17 Sep 2008 @ 11:47 AM

  479. Tenney Naumer (and Wayne),

    I disagree with Wayne’s assertion that the cracking you have observed is related to lunar effects. As far as I have read and seen wind forcing is the cause.

    Ynestad 2006 “The influence of the lunar nodal cycle on Arctic climate.” [ICES Journal of Marine Science, 63: 401-420 (2006)] finds multi annual cycles of lunar impact on the Arctic atmosphere/ocean system, the strongest being 18.6 years. He also notes:

    Why are the lunar cycles so dominant? The polar movement is only 3 to 15 m, and the lunar nodal tide represents only a small fraction of daily sea-level changes, so why are there dominant lunar nodal cycles in the time-series? The
    answer lies in the fundamental difference between stationary and random cycles. Small changes in stationary cycles have great influence when they are integrated in time and space. Hence there would not be a fixed signal-to-noise ratio: the ratio, it would increase over time and space.

    So it does not seem to me that lunar effects are likely at small timescales (days/weeks).

    Indeed I have not found mention of lunar effects in ice movement off the Archipelago in all that I have read. I have read something suggesting lunar effects on ocean stratification, I accept that may affect the circum polar flaw lead (CPFL) – the “cracking” between landfast and sea ice. But once again I have consistently found that researchers refer to the impact of wind forcing in the CPFL.

    I have personally noted that the movement away from the Canadian Arctic Archipelago that causes the sort of stress fractures Tenney has pointed to happens at times of the Arctic Oscillation having dropped to a low index – typically at the end of such a period. NOAA-CPC AO Index projection. As you can see from that link, the AO is currently negative and projected to go positive.

    Wayne,
    If you have counter-arguments, particularly references I’ve obviously missed that support your lunar hypothesis, please feel free to inform me.

    #474 Nigel Williams,
    There wouldn’t be substantial ‘left over energy’ as you suggest because this year there weren’t the unusual clear skies causing greater surface insolation, as there were last year. For myself what this year shows is that there has been no rebound from last year. Not in the sense of anything supporting hope of last year being a blip.

    Compare and contrast the SST anomalies for Sept 2007
    chosen words and Sept 2008. I know we’re only halfway through Sept 2008 but we’re now into the freeze season, it won’t get any warmer now.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 17 Sep 2008 @ 12:17 PM

  480. I don´t understand why the difference between the NSIDC(SSMI) and IARC/JAXA(AMSR-E) extent data is growing each year, from 20.000 square km. in 2006 to 200.000 square km. in 2008:
    NSIDC (SSMI) AMSR-E
    2008: 4.520.000 km2 4.707.813 km2
    2007: 4.140.000 km2 4.254.531 km2
    2006: 5.758.000 km2 5.781.719 km2

    Comment by maikdev — 17 Sep 2008 @ 12:36 PM

  481. #457 Eyal Morag,

    Thanks for pointing that out.

    Such a 24 hour appearance/disappearance of ice thick enough to register like that on AMSRE seems very unlikely to me (inherently improbable?).

    I guess it’s something Bremmem AMSRE is “seeing” that isn’t there. QuikSCAT shows nothing (21/8/08 is day 234) and QuikSCAT is using radar not passive microwave. Cryosphere Today doesn’t show it in either their images or the Hudson Bay area graph. I can’t find any relevant images on
    NASA MODIS.

    Your blog looks interesting. One question: What’s the difference between 21/8/08 A & B?

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 17 Sep 2008 @ 1:22 PM

  482. Another note of interest. If you have been following the drift of the North Pole web cam, it has been stuck between 83 and 84 north at the entrance to the Fram strait since mid July.

    Basically little ice has been pushed out of the Fram strait this summer. This would explain the lack of ice off of North Eastern Greenland, as the ice there was melting in place without getting replaced with the floe from the strait.

    Comment by LG Norton — 17 Sep 2008 @ 3:11 PM

  483. Thanks Wayne!
    So can we take it we saw a similar-to-last-year reduction in ice extent with significantly lower energy input due to ‘unfavourable’ cloud and wind conditions? More with less – not always good eh!

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 17 Sep 2008 @ 5:09 PM

  484. 477 Cobbly, an existential question!

    “Why are the lunar cycles so dominant?”

    The paper perhaps acknowledges their existence .. Refer to my website http://www.EH2r.com
    news section Realclimate article, you must scroll down the news section to look back at a full moon tidal wave. Captured but surely strange. Its ultimate effect was to push back the ice away from shore. I have many of such examples on a CD. Always captured at the full or new moon. Its easier now to see them with the link I suggested above. Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg NW coast got another ice push back at the full moon on about the 15th. I estimate them to be a wave with a strong current, perhaps raised from below the surface when there is a certain gravitational alignment. The wave effects appeared when ice movement (none or synergism) conditions were apt. They are predictable, made me a local prophet a few times. They are repeatable, and they are most certainly real (deadly).

    I am not surprised that there is very few references about them, less than a handful of people watch them, now is the time to make them more popular. It will take a massive effort
    to measure an track them closely, a paper fit for a big outfit. Mean time references? Basically most of the recent North Pole expeditions, I recommend Ousland, Alan Chambers (Royal Navy), and so many more out there, some have kept online journals. On frequent occasions full moon wave effects were noted pretty much from shore to Pole, but they can be really devastating on shore.
    During winter leads show up like veins at most full and new moons as well.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 17 Sep 2008 @ 10:37 PM

  485. Nigel, I would say, same melt with same heat, but the heat is not necessarily at 2 meters above the surface. The atmosphere is a 3d temporal challenge, Phil’s 300 watts/m2 IR radiation from buoy data intrigues. Was thinking about it last few days, that is a significant number, perhaps capable of having an effect on partially canceling the cooler surface temperatures due to summer clouds?
    But not having volume data is really not helpful. Clarence’s 4400 km3 is the first I heard….

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 18 Sep 2008 @ 12:43 AM

  486. Re “NSIDC declaration is surely tentative all right”

    How did NSIDC arctic sea ice news
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    on 16 September claim that
    “However, we have now seen five days of gains in extent.” ?

    In the F15 data linked by Clarence (see 478 and 448) which seems to agree to the 4.52 minimum announced, there only appear to be 3 days of increases after minimum on 12 September. If you count increases before the minimum on 12th there are at least 6 daily increases. If you use the 5 day average there is only one increase.

    The only way I see of getting an answer of 5 from the F15 data is to count daily increases in the last 11 days which would seem a bit bizare.

    JAXA data has 4 consecutive increases before the minimum in 2007 so I doubt that can be all that unusual. So I would have thought you would want at least 6 increases that have not reversed before calling a minimum which was earlier than the middle of September.

    Comment by crandles — 18 Sep 2008 @ 3:54 AM

  487. Re #484

    Wayne,

    I am not sure that it needs a massive effort to to track the Arctic tides. You may know the following already, but I am sure others do not.

    We tend to think of tides of waves of water flowing linearly backwards and forwards to and from the shore, but in fact they flow in circles in tidal gyres within tidal basins. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:M2_tidal_constituent.jpg

    Since the Arctic ocean is a “closed circular basin” then an approximate tidal map could be produced by assuming that the centre of the Arctic ocean is an amphidromic point and drawing the maximum tide hour lines as lines radiating from that point every 15 degrees using your data for Ellesmere Island as a fixed point.

    What do you think?

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 18 Sep 2008 @ 5:15 AM

  488. Thanks Alastair, well at least you acknowledge their existence :) . But this by-monthly tide surge appears to change location at times, peaking along the SW to NE side of the archipelago coast. The one I display on my website hits the SW corner the energy involved is absolutely huge. The effort needed would be to map it more reliably, and to measure its strength, they show incredible powerful destruction at times. Keep in mind the latest huge pieces of ice shelves leaving Ellesmere’s coast, to the amazement of the few scientists who observe them, and you begin to see that these mere tidal events hitting the same coast take more importance. Your map in essence shows the problem, the Arctic is barely displayed , may be there is a better map showing the Arctic Ocean. My curiosity is rather with ice dynamics, as to whether less coastal pack ice means a higher energy tidal impact.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 18 Sep 2008 @ 1:32 PM

  489. Wayne,

    Re your video: I cannot find a daily AO index for the period around 20 March 2000, the 3-month average from NOAA would be no good. However based on what I’ve seen I expect a negative AO index in the days around 20 March 2000.

    What I see from the image sequence you referred me to are winds offshore from the Canadian Archipelago at the time the lead opens and cracks perpendicular to the coastal lead (parallel with the wind direction). Those offshore winds are from a low pressure system that passes from south of Banks Island. At the same time a lead further out from Banks Island (parallel to the coastal lead) opens and closes due to winds from a low pressure system passing on it’s Siberian side.

    If I keep studying the Arctic (and I may not) I’ll collect more data this winter. From what I have to actually review this (I’ve not been deliberately following it before January):

    All of these are approximate dates when the ice off the Candian Arctic Archipelgean coast moves away from the coast (lifting) instead of moving along it (shifting). The last is from AMSRE. The others from QuikSCAT timeseries, I prefer QS because it’s easier to see the movement from the perennial ice mass and in winter it’s less likely to be opening by melt, or complicated by melt widening a small initial opening.

    7 January 2008, AO -ve
    19 February 2008, AO +ve but on an upswing from -ve to a high +ve
    4 April 2008, AO -ve
    9 May 2008, AO -ve
    18 May 2008 AO continuing -ve from 9 May.
    3 July 2008, AO -ve.
    In drawing up that list I’ve first got the dates of “lifting” movement, then checked to AO index.

    In reviewing from the AO index to timeseries of QS and AMSRE the only -ve deviation of the AO below -1 not listed above is around 23 Jul to about 10 August, there is a possible ice-pack movement as in the above list, but the widest opening is 12 August, which again doesn’t fit. Otherwise I can’t find convincing incidents of “lifting” during period when the AO is +ve sustained or +ve falling.

    If I were serious about this I’d use buoy vectors and do it properly. But I’ll leave the serious studies to the experts.

    PS with regards Tenney Naumer’s image (dated 15/9/08) that sparked this debate off: the AO was also -ve from about 7 to 16 Sept.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 18 Sep 2008 @ 2:28 PM

  490. Re: #484, #486

    Arctic Tides are not as simple as they appear, as the astromical effect is enhanced by shelf waters.

    The model you have suggested has been done, and the following article covers this.

    Arctic Tides

    Comment by LG Norton — 18 Sep 2008 @ 2:52 PM

  491. @Wayne:

    There’s some ice volume data in IPCC AR4 WG1 4.4, but the time series of sea ice volume in the Arctic Basin is also just model-based (however a better model than the simple GDAS/GFS ice model) and ends in 1998. Table 4.1 says 19’000 km³ at the annual minimum and 25’000 km³ at the maximum. 4.4.1 states that nearly half of the total ice volume of the Arctic is in ridges.

    Some GDAS ice data (every 5 days) is now available at http://seaice.bplaced.net/thickness/ . Note the anomalous values on 2008-04-03. Much ice has been destroyed in the model by data failure. Area and extent have been restored by the ice concentration data of the next day, but volume rebuilds slowly in the model, and some is still missing.

    Re IR radiation: I think most of the downward IR is just upward IR reflected by clouds. That will distribute ocean heat from open water and leads to adjacent ice, but doesn’t add heat to the system. At least, downward IR is almost always less than upward IR in the GFS model. To display the data, go to http://nomad1.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_gfs0.5.sh , select a run (forecast, not analysis), check “multiple variables”, then select “DLWRFsfc” as variable 1 and “ULWRFsfc” as variable 2 (both near the bottom of the list), select a time later than the initialization time (first values are undefined), choose “n hemi” as map projection and maybe a larger plot size than the default. The resulting plot shows downward long wave flux as colored map and upward long wave flux as labeled contours.

    Comment by Clarence — 18 Sep 2008 @ 3:40 PM

  492. Thanks Clarence! I’ve calculated a 500 cubic kilometer difference between last years and this years melt. Although your number needs corrections as you have mentioned, I consider this the first tangible volume measurement in a near live scenario, so congratulations for the effort. Since there is 500 cubic kilometer less volume which has melted compared to last year, this estimate is not close enough to make it easy to say much. Another model must be used to see if last years extra sunshine, warmer seas and less albedo is responsible for the greater melt, in a formal physical “accounting” of all energies involved in the melts. Its never easy!
    Looking back at both seasons, I would guess that there was way more heat energy
    placed in the system than this year, another likewise comparison would evaluate the ratio of energies would be equal to the ratio of melts.

    Downward IR is of course from clouds and will tinker with the model… I believe that there was some energy flux feedback which somewhat partially compensated for the lack of sun light directly heating the sea, but that remains to be proven. Many thanks…

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 18 Sep 2008 @ 9:44 PM

  493. LG I am not a member of AGU, sorry I cant read…..

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 18 Sep 2008 @ 9:46 PM

  494. Re #493

    Wayne,

    The abstract is here
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1993/93JC01363.shtml

    The authors have a web page at http://www.ims.uaf.edu/tide/ where Figure 4 shows the type of map I described.

    There is also a paper describing a more sophisticated version of my model here http://www.esr.org/documents/padman/padman_erofeeva_04/2003GL019003.pdf :-?

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 19 Sep 2008 @ 5:27 AM

  495. Thanks Alastair, I printed out 1993 paper years ago but did not know about the 2003 one. I dont believe they relate to the specific full and new moon events. If you look at my web pages animation. that wave in particular does not happen at every tide. THe 93 paper misses the event all together and therefore the mystery continues.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 19 Sep 2008 @ 1:22 PM

  496. Hi Wayne,

    Can you give me a URL for your web page animation? I could not find it when I quickly scanned your web pages.

    I am making this up “on the hoof” so I won’t be surprised if I am proved wrong but here goes.

    Looking at Figure 4, the tides to the north of Ellesmere Island are only about 10 cm high, but to the west the lines are closely spaced so the rate of change of water level will be higher there than else where.

    Also as L.G, Norton mentioned tides are enhanced by a shelving sea bed. The best example of that is the Severn Bore where there is a surge at high tide caused by the narrowing effect of the estuary adding to the shelving sea bed. I wonder whether the fast ice near the shore will amplify the tide beneath it.

    Lunar tides are caused by the difference between the gravitational force of the moon and the centrifugal force that exists and the earth and moon rotate about their barycentre. Within the Arctic circle this can result in only one high tide per day, and there and elsewhere with maximum tides during the equinoxes when the sun and moon are both pulling along the ecliptic plane.

    That may account for your wave not happening at every tide, but if it is a bore, then it might be worth finding out about the Severn Bore’s periodicity which has been fully investigated.

    HTH,

    Cheers, Alastair

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 20 Sep 2008 @ 8:23 AM

  497. Alastair, on website you scroll down EH2r news look for the title:

    2008 Vertical disk diameters just reached 2nd place

    there are 2 sun disk pictures displayed, the URL in question is on the “Real Climate” article which is just below. Is all right to try to figure this one out, a few have tried , actually not enough have tried!
    Imagine the force capable of displacing about 10 cubic Kilometers of ice within a mere few hours.
    Look for the tidal wave in black.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 20 Sep 2008 @ 4:09 PM

  498. Wayne, when I click on that link (here) it just loops me back to the main page.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 21 Sep 2008 @ 10:56 PM

  499. re #498

    Hi Jim,

    It works alright for me, but I am using Mozilla and it uses Quicktime which I have installed. You probably need to install that.

    BTW this is the URL (here) points to:
    http://www.eh2r.com/index_pop_ups/spring.html

    I see that the next, and last this year, “Prospect”s for a 2 star (**) Severn Bore is on 29th and 30th September.
    http://www.severn-bore.co.uk/2008.htm

    Wayne,

    You wrote that some full moons do not create these surges. Do the missing ones correspond with the small bores on that chart?

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 22 Sep 2008 @ 11:50 AM

  500. Alastair, Right, sometimes they hit at the same place, sometimes higher up the coast, and at times the entire coast. In this case there was a hIgh pressure North of Alaska, a strong one, leaving an Imprint at its center, and a roving low pressure through blizzard system to the South, Moving towards the NE. The winds from the High Pressure favored closing leads off the coast, so the 5 to 10 mile opening is even more impressive.

    The implication of these waves may be by considering how much impact they cause when the ice is thinner and smoother, or when there is no ice at all.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 22 Sep 2008 @ 10:40 PM

  501. #481 CobblyWorlds
    Good question: What’s the difference between 21/8/08 A & B?
    All I know is that the 1st Ice map of the day appear at the evening and the 2nd with the same date appear in the next morning.

    Comment by Eyal Morag — 23 Sep 2008 @ 5:19 PM

  502. Wayne,

    Thinking aloud again.

    Forget tidal bores which are simple waves, but here we a talking about a major wave.

    However, the shelving amplification of the tidal wave may be amplified by the weight of the ice. If the wave passes under an ice shelf, or solid sea ice it may be amplified just as it would be by a shelving sea bed. If the ice is low concentration, then the tidal wave will break over the ice flows and not be amplified to the same extent.

    So I am arguing the opposite to you. It is the thick ice to the north of Greenland that causes the these large waves, which finally burst through the ice at the coast pushing the ice away from it.

    When the ice is less concentrated then these large waves will not build up.

    OTOH, the tides are the result of the effects of both the moon and the sun. It may be that the maximum tide precesses around the Arctic coast to correspond with the exact time of day when the moon and sun are aligned. The height of the Severn bores seem to be very sensitive to the size of the tide.

    I like my first idea better, but perhaps it is a combination of both.

    Have you got any records that could be used to test these ideas?

    Cheers, Alastair

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 23 Sep 2008 @ 6:06 PM

  503. Alastair, I am in near full agreement with your reasoning. We are not far apart actually. Given the scenario of a resonant continental shelf enhanced tidal wave rushing towards shore, imagine the old days, loaded with ice more than 10 meters thick, interlaced with 5 meter, 2 meter in otherwise a jungle of multi aged ice. The friction at the interface would have been formidable, and like reported by early explorers, there would be a breaking point, which was called the “big lead”. Not so long ago, the big lead was usually 10 to 20 nautical miles away from shore. Now it seems closer. If so, Ward Hunt and other ancient ice shelves are vulnerable. If instead of high friction ice, you have smoother thinner ice, then the coastal impact would be stronger. If also near the coast there is open water, instead of old ice, there is nothing to slow down this wave at all.

    Now for data, using recent wave effects:

    http://seaice.bplaced.net/buoy-pos/

    Click on the recent days before the full moon and observe the impact:

    I will do some play by play:

    Click on Sept 15. then observe the 16 and 17

    This is a good example, look at the ice just frozen off Axel Heiberg, and watch it open
    the day of the full moon.

    Click on August 16, and look at several days before and after, the opening off Ellesmere to follow was unleashed on about that day.

    Click on July 18,,, a middle coast hit

    New Moon effects are usually not so violent. They exist but they are more subtle. Higher resolution pictures show them. I would keep on looking at the pictures during the full moons. I am interested in Antarctica, may be they have similar waves?

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 23 Sep 2008 @ 9:52 PM

  504. #501 Eyal Morag,

    Thanks for getting back on that.

    Normally the only difference I’ve seen between initial and final daily images is a grey band of “no data” that points out towards the Bering Sea. But I’ve not really paid much attention to any of the fine detail between what is for my timezone (UK) the evening preliminary and morning final image. I only got the preliminaries in case I’m too rushed to get the morning images (now I’ve stopped collecting them).

    My best guess is that the difference in the images is down to processing of final data. I still think that’s some form of spurious response due to weather, but as I said before I couldn’t see what the weather was in Hudson Bay at the time.

    Regards

    Cobbly.

    More generally regards AGW…
    Recaptcha: “now Gordian”.
    Indeed.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 24 Sep 2008 @ 2:10 PM

  505. The NSIDC has provided an update, and one of the most interesting images, is a comparision of the age of the ice at the end of 2007 melting season as compared to 2008 melting season.

    NSIDC Ice Minimun plus multiyear ice survival rate”

    We have a lot less multiyear ice now than we did in September 2007.

    Sure we have more first year ice this year than last year, however we did manage to wipe out most of the 2nd year ice this year instead.

    I suspect that very little of the existing first year will survive as 2nd year ice until the fall of 2009.

    Comment by LG Norton — 24 Sep 2008 @ 3:20 PM

  506. “We have a lot less multiyear ice now than we did in September 2007″

    I agree, but remenber that already in March 2008 we had a lot less multiyear ice than in September 2007. (From 4 to 2.61 million sq. km. http://seaice.apl.washington.edu/Outlook/2008/)

    The ice drift during autumm and winter will determine the amount of multiyear ice remaining for the next melt season´s beginning.

    If the northern first year ice has survived its first summer melt season: why won´t survive as second year ice in 2009? The atmosferic patterns will determine it: with a weather as in 2007, all the second year ice will be gone. With a weather pattern as in 2008, probably it will survive.

    Comment by maikdev — 25 Sep 2008 @ 4:24 AM

  507. Re #503,

    I’ll make a prediction. Then if I am wrong I can give up :-)

    A huge lead developed off the north coast of Greenland on the 1, 2, & 3 rd of September. That coincided with a large bores on the Severn. See
    http://www.severn-bore.co.uk/2008.htm

    That lead did not re-develop at the next full moon around the 14th of September, nor was a large Severn Bore predicted. The next set of large bores is Sept 29th and 30th. So I predict that a large lead will develop again north of Greenland by the 1st of October.

    Now all I have to do is wait and see!

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 25 Sep 2008 @ 2:00 PM

  508. Maikdev,

    To some degree (although perhaps not as much as last year) the ice in the Arctic now will be further lost by:

    1) Outflushing off the coast of Greenland via the Fram Strait.
    2) Fragmentation and dispersal into the pack ice of the Beaufort Gyre.

    If you follow timeseries of QuikSCAT these processes could be seen in operation last year. The September 2007 surviving ice actually reduced over the course of last winter, to be replaced by fresh winter freeze from the Siberian sector. To some degree the same is to be expected this coming winter, it’s called the Transpolar Drift.

    Sheldon Drobot’s graphic stunned me this morning. The region of multi-year ice looks about half what I had guestimated while discussing the matter with Chris previously on this thread.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 25 Sep 2008 @ 2:34 PM

  509. Way to go Alastair! If its repeatable its science, I would look not only North of Greenland,
    but the entire coast. Studying ice movement similarities may make you more precise as well.

    Cobbly I have seen that too , rekindling the Volume melt question. But we have only one set of numbers from one model based with some missing data. Competition is good…. We are waiting for more estimates!

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 25 Sep 2008 @ 10:01 PM

  510. CobblyWorlds,

    Thank you for your reply.
    In my understanding, this coming fall and winter the Arctic could lose 0.4 Msqkm of MYI (through Fram Strait or by fragmentation and mixing with FYI) but still would remain at the same level of March 2008:

    Multiyear ice area (million square kms)
    2004 Sept. // 2005 Mar. 4.69
    2005 Sept. 4.3 // 2006 Mar. 4.23 -0.07
    2006 Sept. 4.2 // 2007 Mar. 3.61 -0.6
    2007 Sept. 2.9 // 2008 Mar. 2.61 -0.3
    2008 Sept. 3.0 // 2009 Mar. ? (2.67?)
    Mean MY ice lost during fall and winter: 0.33
    September data: yearly sea ice area minimum, when sea ice becomes MY ice, by definition: http://seaice.bplaced.net/nsidc/
    The multi-year ice area in March:
    Nghiem: Rapid reduction of Arctic perennial sea ice and
    http://seaice.apl.washington.edu/Outlook/2008/

    Comment by maikdev — 26 Sep 2008 @ 7:09 AM

  511. Maikdev,

    In my understanding, this coming fall and winter the Arctic could lose 0.4 Msqkm of MYI (through Fram Strait or by fragmentation and mixing with FYI) but still would remain at the same level of March 2008

    -0.07, -0.6, -0.3, is a very short sequence and seems pretty random to me. I’d not consider it predictive for any more than “the March perennial extent will be less than the preceding September sea ice extent minimum” which considering the ice motion is not much of a surprise. I certainly don’t see your prediction of an increase as any better than guessing (“guess” as in the dictionary definition; no extra meaning implied).

    Check out figure 3 of NSIDC September 24, 2008 Sea Ice News: You’ll see the effect of compression by the Transpolar Drift bringing all that first year ice in to replace area covered by perennial the previous September.

    Looking at 2007 the light purple region becomes 2008′s region of green, and the areas of deep blue in 2007 become the tracery of light purple in 2008. Much of this year’s large area of first year ice (blue on the 2008 image) may be compressed down against Greenland and Canada, just as the previous year was. How much that happens depends on weather.

    Back to the essential definition of multi-year ice: If the conditions in the Arctic are not yet able to maintain a seasonally ice-free state, then figure 3 of Nghiem cannot drop to zero. This is because first year ice will survive in the “haven” of the polar region to become perennial and it would take further warming of the Arctic Ocean (and more GHGs) to remove that polar “haven”. So Nghiem 2007 fig 3 would assume a sigmoid type shape and as the rate of change drops off so we will see an end to the period of year-on-year perennial extent reductions, and enter a new period of a gradual “noisy” reduction in perennial ice (reduction not apparent on a year-to-year basis).

    The process of perennial loss has been going on for years, since 2002 there’s been consistent year-on-year loss despite the weather. Whilst it’s possible the phase of rapid loss is at an end I think we have a bit more to go. Rather than a gain I suspect the loss will be less than last year.

    For me this is the tipping point, I still think we’re in it, not past it. The end of this rapid loss period would not mean things are OK – just that the scene is set for the final transition to a seasonally ice-free state.

    I am curently unconvinced by Maslowski’s “ice-free by 2013″ – I’m starting to see this year as telling us that lattitude is still big factor so the region may not be quite warm enough yet to sustain a seasonally ice free state – 5 years to overcome that seems steep to me. For a virtually ice-free state (just a smear of ice off the Canadian Archipelago at the minima) I’m sticking to around 2018 as my earliest bet, but keeping Maslowski in mind as a lower bound.

    Wayne,
    Considering this year and last it’s quite possible that we’re seeing the limiting effect on melt of lattitude (insolation angle of incidence). Volume isn’t the only factor and I’m not sure it’s the key factor for the future (see above). We are now at a point where for the first time in the record the ice that’s survived the summer is substantially 1 year old – that alone suggests volume is going to be less crucial.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 28 Sep 2008 @ 5:12 AM

  512. Hi Cobbly,

    I have been reading your comments with interest. I think you are right about a tipping point. It seems likely that summer sea ice will not recover its position of a few decades ago and that it is in a terminal decline. The debate is how long a late summer almost sea ice free state will take to achieve. Less than twenty years IMHO.

    I hope you don’t mind but I am quoting you on the Science Forum.

    Comment by Simeon — 28 Sep 2008 @ 11:02 AM

  513. Cobbly, I agree with your tipping point assessment. 2008 melt season had everything going for it to make a recovery happen. And it didn’t happen. At this time there is only one big player to consider,
    the heat content of the entire atmosphere. Sea temps were cooler, sunlight reflection from cloud cover made it so, but sea temperatures didn’t recover, they are gradually getting warmer, again we must consider total heat content within the Arctic Ocean, which will eventually become the dominant factor during the long night. But this melt season past was driven by weather and atmospheric heat.
    Despite cooler surface temperatures. My big question is how maximum heat zones travels, upwards is a given, but sometimes I suspect downwards, which is possible sooner than later. .

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 28 Sep 2008 @ 1:17 PM

  514. Posted in longer form at Tamino’s:

    Science 25 August 2006:
    Vol. 313. no. 5790, pp. 1061 – 1066
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1122593

    Trajectory Shifts in the Arctic and Subarctic Freshwater Cycle
    Bruce J. Peterson,* James McClelland, Ruth Curry, Robert M. Holmes, John E. Walsh, Knut Aagaard

    Manifold changes in the freshwater cycle of high-latitude lands and oceans have been reported in the past few years. …. Fresh water may now be accumulating in the Arctic Ocean and will likely be exported southward if and when the North Atlantic Oscillation enters into a new high phase.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Sep 2008 @ 4:29 PM

  515. Hello Simeon,

    Quote me at your own risk, I’m far from expert. ;)
    Good to hear from you again. I’ll be in touch.

    Arctic Ocean warming (Wayne) Arctic Freshwater fluxes (Hank) – just 2 more things to read more on if I continue.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 29 Sep 2008 @ 3:46 PM

  516. #507—Alastair: 27-28 September massive development along the Ellesmere coast, right on with advent of new moon.

    http://seaice.bplaced.net/buoy-pos/

    load last 6 days… The ice is flowing against the coast as well.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 2 Oct 2008 @ 8:46 AM

  517. Wayne,

    I do not see “massive development” as you state, but I may have been expecting more. I was expecting something like this, YouTube video I did in April for our earlier discussion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8vi–s1T8E That said, as is also apparent on Cryosphere Today 30 day animation there is the opening of a localised coastal lead from the coast of Ellesmere Island on 28/9/08 westward of the 75degW line of longitude. I take it that this is what you refer to? To me it’s notable because it is not associated with a change in buoy movement in the pack.

    Note that there’s an AO -ve excursion starting around 28/29 sept.
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/ao.sprd2.gif
    At that time the buoys on your bplaced buoy position link reverse, moving towards Ellesmere Island as opposed to their typical motion towards Banks Island. This is caused by a change in wind direction:
    GFS Wind 28 Sept.
    http://seaice.bplaced.net/2008-09-28.12z/wind.2008-09-28.12z+000.png
    GFS Wind 28 Sept + 45hr
    http://seaice.bplaced.net/2008-09-28.12z/wind.2008-09-28.12z+048.png

    There’s an Arctic Bathymetry for the PIPS 3.0 model here:
    http://www.oc.nps.edu/~pips3/domain.html
    May help you, although I don’t know enough about coastal tides to know if it’s of use.

    The coastal lead along Ellesmere may indeed be a tidal effect, I’d be more convinced by something like a plot of tidal vectors in that locality. However with regards the larger scale opening of leads along the Canadian Archipelago such as I refer to in post 489 above. I still think such events are due to changes in wind forcing, not tidal effects.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 2 Oct 2008 @ 1:37 PM

  518. It would be interesting to see a RealClimate post on black carbon and its potential snow-albedo role in the last few years of surprising rate of Arctic melt and Arctic temperature increase: recent meetings of the Arctic council, hearings on the Hill in the US and legislation introduced by Clinton (S 3489) and Inslee (Climate Action Now bill) make black carbon a fairly hot topic. There’s plenty of recent academic work by Ramanathan, Bond, Boucher, Hansen, and others in the area that could serve as a launching board for this…

    Comment by Marcus — 2 Oct 2008 @ 3:52 PM

  519. Marcus, use the Search box (top of page) for
    “black carbon” or “global dimming” — these for instance may have osme of what you want:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/11/global-dimming-and-global-warming/langswitch_lang/mo

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/07/aerosols-chemistry-and-climate/langswitch_lang/mo

    There are others you’ll find with a search.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Oct 2008 @ 8:07 PM

  520. 517, Cobbly. You need to go to the site I linked to have a clearer idea. Your April sequence shows “spring break” as it has always happened in the past. Spring break with a new moon is a mad place on the ice, with a full moon, completely wild and dangerous. Synergism plays a huge role in either amplifying or hiding new, full moon ice distortions or openings. In this recent case , ice momentum helped show the new moon tidal wave effect indirectly, and as ice direction momentum shifted its open tracks closed quickly. In the past, I relied on satellite pictures, which were inconsistent in showing everything on a regular basis, now its much better, thanks again to Clarence… The event was massive extending itself over the entire Axel-Ellesmere Arctic Ocean coast, a huge distance, unlike your April break which was a “Mega” usually yearly event, you cant claim this as a local wind event since the opening was amongst a shallow shore line brimming with high mountains, and also the event was highly localized, where as an AO break, if there is such a thing, would be at a much grander distance, much like the spring break. I think I need not try to convince any more, since this is another clear example of a lunar wave, I’ve seen so many of them that its frustrating to read that some don’t understand what is happening. For those who remain skeptical, observe as long as it takes and let nature convince, come back when satisfied by the preponderance of evidence, we will talk about it over a cup of tea. For those who clearly see this wave, as so very obvious on my web page example, its black, its underwater, moving along tide lines, despite the usual difficulties in seeing it well regularly, lets try to explain, its a deep mystery, very exciting as all discoveries are.

    Alastair there was something on the 28th North of Greenland, although not as big as next to Ellesmere… There was something.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 2 Oct 2008 @ 9:56 PM

  521. Interesting to see the retreat on this thread from the dire predictions of a month ago.

    I joined in the debate back then mainly to question the assumptions that (i) the accelerated August melt (compared to previous years) would continue through September, and (ii) the date of ice minimum would likely be later than in 2007.

    Looking at
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm
    it turns out I was right to question both assumptions.

    As for the future, I believe there are two prevalent assumptions:
    (i) The world and hence the Arctic will be warmer in 2008-2018 than in 1998-2008
    (ii) In any event, the average age of the Arctic ice is now much less therefore it will not recover to say 1990s levels even if temperatures remain the same.

    Re: (i) – leaving aside climate sensitivity to CO2, which is obviously a huge debate in itself, I would ask people how much they would stake on Arctic temperatures not being cyclical (i.e. it’s all very well to talk of ice-free summmers in 2013/2018 etc, but would you really bet on it?)

    Here’s graphs from the only stations covering both 1940s and present day on west and east coasts of Greenland, and from the closest stations to the Laptev Sea (i.e. hotspot for methane hydrates ….. incidentally first discovered bubbling from Arctic sea floor in 1940s; also often quoted as having had 4C temperature rises in the last couple of decades……but what about the equivalent 4C drops in the previous decades?…….)

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=431042500000&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=431043600000&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=222208910006&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=222241430002&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=222202920005&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=222208910006&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

    I can’t believe all or most of that cooling from the 1940s was due to aerosol effects.

    As for (ii), provided it is possible for large areas of first year ice to survive a relatively warm summer and become second year ice (as occurred this year) then the amount of older multiyear ice is far from critical. Think about it: the average age of Arctic ice has never been more than a few years – that’s why average thickness has never reached much more than ~3m in the past century, and there hasn’t been runaway ice thickening! Thus, virtually none of the Arctic sea ice we’ve been analysing in the last couple of years existed before about 2000, i.e all of the ice has been formed during the warmest decade in recent history.
    If you look at 2008 global temperatures so far e.g.
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt
    you will see that they are comparable to the 1995-2000 period
    (Jan-Aug average anomaly 1995-2000: +0.40C;
    Jan-Aug average anomaly 2008: +0.37C)
    And in the 1995-2000 period, Arctic ice coverage showed an overall increase, especially in the area which summer 2007 affected so noticeably i.e. the Siberian Arctic Basin – see fig 3 of
    http://nwpi.krc.karelia.ru/climas/Ice/Ice_no_sat/XX_Arctic.htm

    Note: see fig 3 of
    http://www.frontier.iarc.uaf.edu:8080/~igor/research/pdf/ice.pdf
    re: fast ice thickness anomaly trends in the 20th century in the Siberian seas
    (“The fast ice records do not show a significant trend (Fig. 3). In the Kara and Chukchi Seas trends are positive, and in the Laptev and East Siberian Seas trends are negative. In all of the seas the trends are relatively small, about 1 cm [per] decade, close to the resolution of the measurements. These trends are not statistically significant at the 95 [per cent] confidence level.”

    I’m not making predictions as such, I’m just saying that a lot depends on people’s assumptions about the future, and these assumptions should be clear to interested public and policy-makers.

    Comment by Chris — 4 Oct 2008 @ 6:31 AM

  522. As a matter of interest what difference would it make to the Northern Hemisphere climate if the Arctic Sea did melt away in Summer?

    Comment by dp — 4 Oct 2008 @ 4:02 PM

  523. Interesting to see the retreat on this thread from the dire predictions of a month ago.

    “dire predictions”? Intersting spin on a discussion in which most were quite sure last year’s minimum extent would not be meant.

    Also interesting in that ice *area*, as reported by cryosphere today, momentarily reached, for all practical purposes, the 2007 minimum.

    I joined in the debate back then mainly to question the assumptions that (i) the accelerated August melt (compared to previous years) would continue through September, and (ii) the date of ice minimum would likely be later than in 2007.

    Assumptions? These were assumptions? These were questions that were the subject of speculation.

    Comment by dhogaza — 4 Oct 2008 @ 7:41 PM

  524. #523 dp Said:
    4 October 2008 at 4:02 PM

    As a matter of interest what difference would it make to the Northern Hemisphere climate if the Arctic Sea did melt away in Summer?

    Imagine yourself to walk outside in black attire on a 45C day say in Dharan, Saudi Arabia. Now picture yourself the next day, same time walking around in white attire. Who gets warmest? The Arctic Ocean will act as a major heat absorbent…. sea water is dark! The knock on effect will be dire.

    Do read up on values like “Snow Off Days”. The more of these, the more land can warm up in spring/summer and e.g. help to further the melting of permafrost. Snow is tracked at e.g. http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/

    Comment by Sekerob — 5 Oct 2008 @ 2:54 AM

  525. “Imagine yourself to walk outside in black attire on a 45C day say in Dharan, Saudi Arabia. Now picture yourself the next day, same time walking around in white attire. Who gets warmest?”

    Interesting. I’ve spent many days in hot summer sunshine, in both dark and light attire. And my temperature has remained stuck at almost exactly 37C.
    (Don’t worry, I understand albedo, I just think your analogy could actually be a wonderful illustration of negative feedback! For sweat and hot attire read precipitation and higher surface emissivity/OLR……)

    “The Arctic Ocean will act as a major heat absorbent…. sea water is dark! The knock on effect will be dire.”

    Really? Most of the Siberian Arctic Basin melted away by the end of summer 2007.
    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsredata/asi_daygrid_swath/l1a/n6250/2007/sep/asi-n6250-20070901-v5_nic.png

    What was the knock-on effect?

    In the following you can see the Siberian Arctic Basin on 21st June 2008 after 2 months of peak insolation:
    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsredata/asi_daygrid_swath/l1a/n6250/2008/jun/asi-n6250-20080621-v5_nic.png
    So far nothing dire.

    Here it is after a further month of peak insolation:
    http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsredata/asi_daygrid_swath/l1a/n6250/2008/jul/asi-n6250-20080721-v5_nic.png
    So far nothing dire.

    Then we had August 2008, and “weather noise” as some like to say, over the Siberian seas:
    “A pattern of high pressure set up over the Chukchi Sea, bringing warm southerly air into the region and pushing ice away from shore. August air temperatures in the Chukchi Sea (at 925 millibars pressure, roughly 750 meters [2,500 feet] in altitude) were 5 to 7 degrees Celsius (9 to 13 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than normal. Ice loss in the Chukchi and East Siberian Seas averaged 14,000 square kilometers (5,400 square miles) per day faster than in 2007.” (NSIDC News, 4th Sep)

    The result? It took until at least 21st Aug for the Siberian Basin to contain appreciably more “dark” sea water than in say 1990:
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=08&fd=21&fy=1990&sm=08&sd=21&sy=2008

    And how strong is the sun at 80N on 21st Aug? As a rough estimate, it is between 0 and 20 degrees above the horizon. Similar to a midwinter’s day in the northern US. And of course it is diminishing rapidly over the coming weeks.

    In any event, for at least the last century there have always been large areas of open water in the Siberian Arctic Basin by the end of summer. We’ve already seen that the second half of August 08 was comparable to the second half of August 1990 in the region. According to http://nwpi.krc.karelia.ru/climas/Ice/Ice_no_sat/XX_Arctic.htm fig 2, the area of open water in Aug 1990 was at least 1.9 million km2 i.e. ~76 per cent of the area.
    In both the 1940s and 1950s it reached at least 1.75 million km2 i.e. ~70 per cent of the area.

    “Do read up on values like “Snow Off Days”. The more of these, the more land can warm up in spring/summer and e.g. help to further the melting of permafrost.”

    What matters most to the melting or otherwise of permafrost is the mean temperature over the course of the year. In spring, snow insulates the ground below from warm sun, but it also insulates it from frosty nights. In any event, the deeper you go into the ground, and the further north you go, the harder the permafrost is to melt (another negative feedback)

    Check out the mean temperatures of the following stations in Siberia (the furthest north, and closest to the Laptev Sea)

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=222241430002&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=222214320004&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=222202920005&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=222208910006&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

    All below -10C, and showing a cyclical pattern. Absolutely no chance of major permafrost thaw at these latitudes for a very long time. Well, apart from temporarily close to the surface during mid-summer (as it always has done), and the continuation of the slow thawing of the permafrost under the continental shelf seafloors of the past 1000s of years.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070207091024.htm

    “According to a recent paper published by MBARI geologists and their colleagues, methane gas bubbling through seafloor sediments has created hundreds of low hills on the floor of the Arctic Ocean. These enigmatic features, which can grow up to 40 meters (130 feet) tall and several hundred meters across, have puzzled scientists ever since they were first discovered in the 1940s.

    Paull’s data suggest that pingo-like features are growing in response to warming that started thousands of years ago. Thus, their growth is not a result of human-induced global warming. However, Paull’s research does show that pingo-like features are still growing and releasing methane today.”

    Comment by Chris — 5 Oct 2008 @ 7:48 AM

  526. >Paull, pingos

    Look at the previous temperature pattern — each glaciation ended in a rapid warming to a peak then a long slow cooling. Our last ‘peak’ from the previous ice age was around 8,000 years ago.
    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Image:Ice_Age_Temperature_Rev_png
    Then there’s the warming of the past century or so.

    From what I’ve read ‘pingos’ and other areas where methane is escaping are just the surface expression of a complex process — areas lifted up by methane ice. Methane forms in the deep sediment, moves up til it hits an area where it can freeze as a clathrate; the clathrate ice forms til it gets exposed at the surface or to circulating seawater in the upper sediment and some of the methane gets released as gas; usually the gas dissolves before it reaches the surface of the ocean.

    Add rapid warming, and this doesn’t cause a sudden change — it just changes the rates at which all these transitions occur. When the rate at which methane enters the water is fast enough, some of the bubbles can reach the surface rather than dissolving. And lo, we see bubbles.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/318/5850/633

    This (poking around with Google:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=methane+sediment+formation+circulation+clathrate )

    seems a good brief summary with references:
    http://courses.washington.edu/pcc588/projects/Kennell.doc

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Oct 2008 @ 12:02 PM

  527. Can’t get ANYTHING past the damn spam filter!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Oct 2008 @ 1:33 PM

  528. It’s my URL the idiot spam filter keeps rejecting. Didn’t realize there was anything spamlike about g e o c i t i e s d o t c o m. I’d to be able to cite my new web site.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Oct 2008 @ 1:35 PM

  529. Chris writes:

    Paull’s data suggest that pingo-like features are growing in response to warming that started thousands of years ago. Thus, their growth is not a result of human-induced global warming.

    Except that there isn’t any warming that’s been going on for thousands of years. We passed the peak of the interglacial 6,000 years ago and the Earth has been steadily cooling from then until the industrial revolution began.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Oct 2008 @ 1:36 PM

  530. “Except that there isn’t any warming that’s been going on for thousands of years.” (Barton Paul Levenson)

    There might be if you’re hundreds of meters down through the sediment :)

    “Over thousands of years, the scientists believe, this “wave” of warming moved downward through the sediment. Eventually it reached the frozen methane hydrates, hundreds of meters down.”

    (Only quoting what the article says – my knowledge of this subject is extremely sketchy)

    Comment by Chris — 5 Oct 2008 @ 3:10 PM

  531. Barton, look at the actual science news cited — the suggestion is that the pulse of warming from the last glacial maximum is still propagating down through the sediments.

    “… the seafloor in this area has been gradually warming over the last 10,000 years, after being flooded as sea levels rose at the end of the last ice age…. when the ice sheets from the last ice age melted and the ocean flooded the continental shelves, it caused the seafloor sediment to become warmer.

    Over thousands of years, the scientists believe, this “wave” of warming moved downward through the sediment. Eventually it reached the frozen methane hydrates, hundreds of meters down….”

    You’d want borehole temperature profiles to check this statement.
    Here’s the press release
    http://www.mbari.org/news/news_releases/2007/paull-plfs.html

    Chris quotes the story, but note Paull is saying the particular pingos he studied are old ones. Don’t take that as a generalization:

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/112738743/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0
    http://www.erudit.org/revue/gpq/1998/v52/n3/004847ar.html

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2007.09.015

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Oct 2008 @ 5:06 PM

  532. Barton, Chris is usually long with explanations that don’t add up to much. His recap of the summer ice melt is long as well, misses most of the main features which have happen.

    “interesting to see the retreat on this thread from the dire predictions of a month ago.”

    Chris, you misread perhaps? When one tries to understand a phenomena as huge as the polar ice cap, some ideas are floated as a way to see what will happen, comparing a hypothesis idea with what has now happened, is a useful tool in seeing if one understands the subject at hand.. Given that there was more spread out ice, it was fascinating to see the latter summer months melt which in the end was very much comparable to last year. The clear distinction in conditions achieving this is equally fascinating and suggests melt mechanisms not fully understood.

    “the following you can see the Siberian Arctic Basin on 21st June 2008 after 2 months of peak insolation:”

    Insolation doesn’t mean anything when its very cloudy…

    This was in brief what happened to the ice cap in 2008: another great melt, with wind and cloud conditions favoring more albedo, with less direct insolation by clouds and by scattering ice instead of compressing it like 2007. Compression of ice in 2007 favored a more intense melt as well, with just exposed water receiving direct insolation from clearer skies. Ice scattering in 2007 reduced sea temperatures as well as surface air temperatures. Yet in the long run, the melt was just as significant as in 2007. Everywhere, not just in one area or another… At the start of the 2008 freeze up there was a significant area of thin ice, along with less thick ice than last year.

    finally

    “I’m not making predictions as such, I’m just saying that a lot depends on people’s assumptions about the future, and these assumptions should be clear to interested public and policy-makers.”

    Policy-makers from around the world have made up their minds years ago, they see the gradual progressive greater summer melt a lot better than some amateur ice experts. And have made plans
    and preparing and executing sovereignty policies from this consequence. It is a curious phenomena,
    because some countries dont explain why this is happening, but they act to protect their ocean jurisdictions nevertheless.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 5 Oct 2008 @ 5:41 PM

  533. Chris,

    I’m having a break from this issue as I decide whether to walk away from what’s looking to me like a “done deal” (I probably will).

    But for what it’s worth:

    You won’t yet necessarily “see” wider atmospheric impacts of the reduction of summer ice yet. The response is such that it can be lost in the noise of weather. As Bhatt 2008 (link below) shows, some effects will be scientifically detectable, but initially they may be lost in the noise (weather). Also as Bhatt et al shows the impacts are not the same all around the Northern Hemisphere. However you may like to consider the greater ice cover of 1995 against 2007/2008: I’ve been too busy to look elsewhere (geographically) in detail but the North Atlantic Summer Jetstream position is one I’d suggest watching – in terms of it’s impacts on storm tracks.

    I agree, some of the methane release may very well be due to long-term warming since the start of the holocene. This seems to apply to the recent observations off Svalsbaard. However much of the clathrates on the Siberian shelf are not as deep and what is happening there looks more like a recent development.

    Check out the recent discussions at Stoat (linked to from Other Opinions – top right of every RC page) “Mr Methane” “Methane Data” and there’s another about Abrupt Climate Change (4th down on recent posts). The methane isn’t going yet at such a rate that it’s affecting Carbon 13 isotope fraction, but from my understanding we are now committed to that happening, and to the other 2 risks (1 & 3) in my post 254. As to how quickly, that depends upon how fast the Arctic transitions to a seasonally ice-free state.

    Bhatt et al 2008: “The Atmospheric Response to Realistic Reduced Summer Arctic Sea Ice Anomalies.”
    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/people/michael.alexander/publications.html

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 6 Oct 2008 @ 4:11 AM

  534. Fascinating these vertical heat mechanics… just wonder what heat from the earth’s core does in that same period… steadily coming up.

    Relevant to the “Ice scattering in 2007 reduced sea temperatures as well as surface air temperatures.” of Wayne and similar by others posted here, been following the ratio of Sea Ice Area and Extent and found that if comparing AMSR-e JAXA and Cryosphere Today, there was a record 38%+ of water in between the Arctic ice floes during August where 2007 stuck at ~36% for the same month. September year on year also showed ~2% differential. Interestingly if one compares the 5 day average ice extent of October 2007 with 2008 there is ~740,000 km2 more “extent”, but only ~130,000 km2 more Area… ~80% water region added. Now is that a sign of poor ice state? Does a more spread out floating ice help to build more ice during the winter… sort of analogues to the grafted skin on a burns patient, or does it work the other way. One would assume that water turbulences and waves allow greater heat exchange in either direction.

    Comment by Sekerob — 6 Oct 2008 @ 8:41 AM

  535. Sorry, forgot. The running October ratio Extent / Area of 2007 v 2008 is for latter ~3% more interwoven water… that what Pugh tried to navigate to 90th north in his kayak. Does not strike me as a good situation having 64% ice instead of 67%. Of course the month is young.

    Comment by Sekerob — 6 Oct 2008 @ 8:52 AM

  536. Sorry, forgot. The October running ratio is ~64% ice within the “extent” versus ~64% for same month in 2007. The month is young, still historically this does not seem to bode well with 1995 the only other year

    Comment by Sekerob — 6 Oct 2008 @ 9:09 AM

  537. weird, page refresh and the second post did not appear, hence the double: Here’s a little extent/area/water/% Ice table for historical data of October, in millions km2

    Period Extent Area Aqua % Ice
    1979-10 9,39 7,30 2,09 77,74%
    1980-10 9,46 7,61 1,85 80,44%
    1981-10 9,19 7,38 1,81 80,30%
    1982-10 9,98 7,79 2,19 78,06%
    1983-10 9,64 7,89 1,75 81,85%
    1984-10 8,84 7,03 1,81 79,52%
    1985-10 8,88 7,22 1,66 81,31%
    1986-10 9,89 7,96 1,93 80,49%
    1987-10 9,29 7,75 1,54 83,42%
    1988-10 9,47 7,78 1,69 82,15%
    1989-10 9,52 7,21 2,31 75,74%
    1990-10 9,35 6,98 2,37 74,65%
    1991-10 9,16 7,01 2,15 76,53%
    1992-10 9,60 8,00 1,60 83,33%
    1993-10 9,19 7,29 1,90 79,33%
    1994-10 9,48 7,48 2,00 78,90%
    1995-10 8,94 6,22 2,72 69,57% only other

    Comment by Sekerob — 6 Oct 2008 @ 9:58 AM

  538. Sekerob, What is fascinating is this:

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_30b.rnl.html

    A very warm September for Surface air. I am waiting for the official results from NOAA and NASA,
    if September is as warm as it seems on the link above, me thinks it shows some erratic surface temperature behavior indicating a fluctuating in altitude warm atmospheric zone.. All numbers Up Here in the high Arctic point to the same thing. I also think that the earth core temp has very little to do with this, otherwise SST’s would be more consistent, besides there is weaker heat coming out from the Earth’s crust.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 6 Oct 2008 @ 11:46 AM

  539. okay, so core heat coming up is dismissed as a source of thawing the methane deposits in the shallow?/deep? “seabed” rather than heat from above.

    The air temps for anomaly and current i follow are:

    http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/sst/ophi/color_anomaly_NPS_ophi0.png
    http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/sst/ophi/color_sst_NPS_ophi0.png

    Visited them almost daily and saw consistently above normal temps but for some regions on the central arctic.

    And to my previous post that had chopped off table:

    Period Extent Area ARXT Ice %
    1995-10 8,94 6,22 2,72 69,57% Only other

    Comment by Sekerob — 6 Oct 2008 @ 12:25 PM

  540. 1996-10 9,39 7,81 1,58 83,17%
    1997-10 8,76 6,70 2,06 76,48%
    1998-10 8,85 6,96 1,89 78,64%
    1999-10 9,10 7,08 2,02 77,80%
    2000-10 8,92 6,95 1,97 77,91%
    2001-10 8,59 6,90 1,69 80,33%
    2002-10 8,81 6,51 2,30 73,89%
    2003-10 8,65 6,24 2,41 72,14%
    2004-10 8,48 6,66 1,82 78,54%
    2005-10 8,45 6,02 2,43 71,24%
    2006-10 8,34 6,04 2,30 72,42%
    2007-10 6,75 4,51 2,24 66,81%
    2008-10 5,52 3,56 1,97 64,41%

    Comment by Sekerob — 6 Oct 2008 @ 12:27 PM

  541. Re #534 et seq

    A precursor for what might happen to the more fragmented ice would be the fate of the Beaufort seaice this summer. Due to some major breakup over the winter the Beaufort sea had a lot of fragmented old ice (leads in between filled with new ice), this melted quickly in the summer leading to a rapid melt to record lows.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 6 Oct 2008 @ 1:33 PM

  542. Re #537

    Sekerob, the reason your posts are truncating is probably that you’re using the ‘less than’ symbol which has a special meaning in html, if I remember correctly you have to preface ‘lt’ with the ‘and’ symbol to get it to print. I’ll do that here as a test: &

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 6 Oct 2008 @ 1:44 PM

  543. Re #516

    Wayne,

    Although a lead did appear on the 28-29th of Seprember, my prediction of a giant lead similar to that of on the 3rd September did not materialize. So I deem my prediction to have failed. It is not possible to determine the size of Arctic leads from information on the tidal bore in Southern England.

    Of course that conclusion is fairly obvious, but thinking about it has led me a little further.

    First, it was a gross simplification to think that a peak tide at one geographical location would coincide exactly with another. Even if the high tides always coincide at two locations, that does not necessarily mean that the heights, or even the peaks will coincide. Longitude and latitude will both play a part in deciding the exact height of the tide. Moreover, the shelving sea bed is also important, and no two sea beds are the same. But using a computer model we can calculate the effects of latitude and longitude on the tide, which can then be calibrated with tidal measurements.

    Second, the lead will form when the ice cracks. There will be a threshold tide which can cause that, and that is why the leads form at the highest tides, when the threshold is most likely to be broken. But the thickness of the ice changes, reaching a minimum at the start of September. Thus it is not surprising that the major lead happened then and was not repeated later when the ice had begun to refreeze.

    Third, I do not think it is a matter of whether the lead is created by the wind or the tides. Both will have an effect, but the tide is needed to crack the ice and the wind strength and direction will affect the width of the lead.

    The wind strength and direction will be affected by the QBO, Arctic Oscillation, atmospheric tides and local weather. I would really like to relate the arctic ice extent to the QBO, but if it is possible then it would probably have been done already by now.

    Fourth, it has occurred to me that the tides probably have a strong influence on the Arctic ice because in polar regions the tidal forces are parallel to the surface there, whereas in equatorial regions the gravitational and centrifugal forces are normal to the surface. In the arctic the ice will be pushed around horizontally by the tides, whereas elsewhere the tide mainly lifts the ocean surface vertically.

    Fifth, I do have one last thought. Since the lead will only form if the ice cracks, and that will depend on the height of the tide and the thickness of the ice, then it should be possible to determine ice thickness if we know the tidal force. Thus we could use satellites to watch for leads and use that information to calculate the thickness of ice.

    But I don’t think it is worth much more investigation since there is unlikely to be any ice at all within ten years.

    So that is my 2 cents worth regarding tidally induced leads.

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 6 Oct 2008 @ 1:50 PM

  544. Seekrob wrote:
    > wonder what heat from the earth’s core does in
    > that same period… steadily coming up.

    Answer: “steadily” is your answer, because that’s routinely measured; just one example:

    http://arjournals.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.earth.28.1.339

    (Note, this is an area where you’ll find scientific papers with Google Scholar, but if you search Google using the exact same search string, your first few pages of hits are likely to be rather wild crank articles

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Oct 2008 @ 2:30 PM

  545. Stormier Arctic?

    http://www.livescience.com/environment/081006-arctic-storminess.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 6 Oct 2008 @ 4:55 PM

  546. #546,, Right now it is with freezing rain… The Upper Air is very warm…

    #543 Alastair, you have not failed because you try to understand by hypothesis.
    It does not usually give results in a few days.. I suggest waiting for the full moon. Study the ice closely. You might be amazed by the effect, it depends whether ice movement vectors conflict or contribute to a tidal wave. There are many vectors, momentum, wind, sea current, amongst other factors.
    I am more than curious about that river of yours, especially the tide anomaly. After many years of watching moon tidal effects I am narrowing down the possibility to a temporary wave/current very damaging if the vectors are right.
    During a full or new moon, a deeper underwater current somehow rises and surfs
    the ice ocean interface. Its not only a tide but a current as well perhaps clockwise as the gyre, adding to shelf amplification its a powerful event. Problem is, I have never heard of such a tide current, and may be that river of yours as something in common, especially with the tide still surging above the river current. I think there is something like that happening on the Archipelago shelf….

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 6 Oct 2008 @ 11:38 PM

  547. Phil, you need to preface “lt” with an ampersand and follow with a semicolon: <

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Oct 2008 @ 4:37 AM

  548. Wayne,

    “The tidal bore is a rare phenomenon found on only a few of the world’s great waterways. It is a wonder that has never been truly understood, although the mechanisms of its passage and size are fairly predictable.” Tidal Bore Research Society.

    Wikipedia also has an article entitled Tidal Bore.

    I suspect that it is a soliton wave caused by the tide reversing. I believe the mathematics for soliton waves has been worked out but I suspect that the differential equations involved are well beyond me :-)

    Cheers, Alastair.

    PS I have just read the Wikipedia article on solitons and it cofirms what I thought. The mathematics of solitons is beyond me and thatthe Severn Bore is a soliton. In fact it hints, as you suspect, that there may be solitons in the (Arctic) ocean!

    It’s up to you now to take it further :-)

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 7 Oct 2008 @ 10:39 AM

  549. Wayne,

    This article has just appeared: Scientists solve fluid puzzle. Not sure if it is relevant but it may be.

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 7 Oct 2008 @ 6:03 PM

  550. Thanks Alastair, Well, I have some studying to do! But its kind of a one man research Up Here looking at these waves, keep on with the help! I need all I can get. The only other people keen about this are extreme adventurers who yearly attempt to sledge to the Pole by way of land. They are an important source of information. For those curious about what they have recorded: http://www.thepoles.com has an archive and list of past ice cap adventures.

    The warmest low pressure event just occurred in the High Arctic, with Upper Air temperature of +4.8 C, and the Density Weighted Temperature at 258 K , 11 K warmer than October 2007 average,
    7 K warmer than October 2007 warmest atmosphere. It rained, and it is not good news to polar animals depending on vegetation. It has been consistently unusually warm in the Upper atmosphere, a low from Alaska Moving NE to Ellesmere in the past was tempered with much colder air.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 7 Oct 2008 @ 10:04 PM

  551. Still trying to dig and digest this sea ice issue …

    Apparently the Arctic Ocean is a quite unique place with many unusual features. It has a rather closed cirulation. Moreover it has a three-layered structure maintained by differences of water temperature and salinity.

    The uppermost layer is low salinity water supplied by precipitation and the great rivers of Siberia and Canada plus the melting of winter ice (the ice is fresh enough to supply drinking water to the explorers). Under ice there is little mixing due to wind. This is most of the year and nearly all the area as the ocean is frozen from coast to coast. The surface layer depth would start to vary with the seasons when the ice melts.

    A middle layer (down to about 400 meters) results from the inflow of Pacific surface water via the Bering Strait. The Strait is surprisingly narrow (60 km) and shallow (50 meters) with a typical northward flow of 1 m/s. This is Pacific mixed (surface) layer water that has been pre-conditioned in the Bering Sea (conditioning subject to seasonality). The middle layer has higher salinity and lower temperature than the surface layer.

    The bottom layer is deep circulation Atlantic water, highest in salinity but warmer than the Pacific one.

    An interesting issue is of course how stable this arrangement might be? The surface layer is thin, numbers like 22 – 50 meters have been mentioned. Reduced mixing there might explain the observed thinning of ice.

    How much of the summer excess energy is stored by the water over the winter? Ice and snow are insulators and mixing is low, so not necessarily all of the extra energy is lost during the wintry nightlike conditions.

    Another probably quite critical aspect is that according to the above mechanisms, the Arctic Ocean harvests solar energy from over a far wider geographic area than its own extent. The warm plumes were quite clearly visible as growing open water patches in the 2007 imagery. These external sources heat the two uppermost layers. The summer of 2007 was hot in Siberia, and there was a major warm anomaly in the Bering Sea as well (and much less so this year). This is of course additional to the “local” surface processes discussed i.e. in this thread.

    This is just some qualitative thinking aloud. Monitoring in the area is minimal apart from the surface parameters. One usefull effort might be to seek further access to the extensive U.S. and Russian navies records from the area.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 8 Oct 2008 @ 2:58 PM

  552. Arctic sea ice update:

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm
    http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/ice-area-and-extent-in-arctic
    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/n_plot_daily.html
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/iphone/iphone.currentarea.series.html

    Illustration of possible incipient retreat from “unprecedentedness”? -
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=10&fd=15&fy=1995&sm=10&sd=15&sy=2008

    Comment by Chris — 15 Oct 2008 @ 4:41 PM

  553. #533 Cobblyworlds

    Thanks for your reply to my earlier post. I’ve just downloaded Bhatt et al to read when I get a spare moment, and will go look at Stoat’s page too. I respect that you think it’s a “done deal” in the Arctic if you mean it’s hard to make a strong case for Arctic ice recovering to say 1980s levels. But I would maintain that a significant recovery, along with a failure to melt in summer by 2030 (by which time incidentally the AMO may have retreated to cool phase) should not be ruled out, just like the shorter term recovery we’ve seen recently should not have been ruled out in late Aug/early Sep when some were predicting minimum ice extent down to 4 million with minimum as late as Oct.

    #532 Wayne: “Barton, Chris is usually long with explanations that don’t add up to much. His recap of the summer ice melt is long as well, misses most of the main features which have happen.”
    lol – and Wayne’s explanations always add up?

    Comment by Chris — 15 Oct 2008 @ 6:06 PM

  554. For the bridge-nose viewers, compared to 2007, there is 1.54 million km2 more SIE yesterday. Opposed there is per these “Chris” sources about 400 thousand km2 more SIA (CT data for 15th not available yet).
    My Own Composite http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q210/Sekerob/ArcticSIE-SIA2007-2008MeltProfile2.png
    with some numbers for statisticians. The 2007 SIA is a function of the JAXA SIE as I could not find the daily data. Will though work out at 4.5m km2 for the months average. The purpose was though the highlight of the increased “spread” of ice” i.e. how broken up it is. For instance the to get from SIA to SIE in 2007 there has to be 27.8% of water areas added. For 2008 the situation for 15 days running October is 36.2%, again CT day data for the 15th not available at time of writing.

    For the 15 days average I come to 818 thousand km2 more SIE and 335 thousand more SIA, a 75:25 ratio.

    The state of the cryosphere is poor and at the 2008 low there was less volume (km3) than 2007. Given that historically for some year on year, 37% change in Arctic ice has been reported, it is a rather brain dead exercise to conclude anything, but extreme reservation. Regardless of e.g. La Nina and a poorly Arctic summer, things are still rather crispy. All and particular NH temps continue to have underlying trends when removing all the short term noise. That’s my reading of the various global temp tracker sources.

    Watch for JAXA October 15 odd anomaly as with the June 1-2. This is where JAXA flops the algorithms to account for the melt ponds. To me, SIE is a way to measure, but the SIA-SIE diversion is much more indicative of the inferred quality of Sea ice floating around. If Not, Tell Us?

    PS, ignore the poly line for 2008 Extent projection suggesting that the 2008 SIE will break through all 2002-2007 levels in October. Still looking for a daily simple data set in ASCII providing the SIE mean for 79-00 that is shown for instance here: http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries_thumb.png. Anyone knows where it is obtainable? No replies to email requests.

    Use lots of words too, inglese is not my native tongue ;>)

    Comment by Sekerob — 16 Oct 2008 @ 4:04 AM

  555. Hello Chris,
    I was never persuaded by the claims there’d be a late melt this year (too little ocean warming). I hope you are correct, I fear not. If I am right we cannot avoid what is coming, if I’m wrong I could provide an excuse for inaction. So I’m stopping posting, and haven’t the heart to carry on studying.

    Pekka Kostamo,
    Thanks for another interesting comment.

    Humble thanks to RC for correcting my former ill-advised scepticism.

    Bye all.

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 16 Oct 2008 @ 6:16 AM

  556. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081006180815.htm

    “Rising Arctic Storm Activity Sways Sea Ice, Climate

    ScienceDaily (Oct. 14, 2008) — A new NASA study shows that the rising frequency and intensity of arctic storms over the last half century, attributed to progressively warmer waters, directly provoked acceleration of the rate of arctic sea ice drift ….”

    Watch the distinction between area and extent; I think the ratio between them, to the extent we know the numbers, could be worth reporting as broken ice spreads out into open water.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Oct 2008 @ 10:02 AM

  557. Cobbly, I hope you feel better soon. When you do perhaps you will examine your motivation for stopping at the next phase of skepticism. Moving from: “It’s not happening” to “it is happening and there is nothing we can do about it”, isn’t the place to stop studying.

    The fat lady hasn’t sung yet.

    Thanks for your contributions, Take care.

    Comment by Arch Stanton — 16 Oct 2008 @ 10:04 AM

  558. Sekerob asked where to find the data:

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/archives/index.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Oct 2008 @ 1:56 PM

  559. Thanks Hank, got that whole set except, it’s monthly data though, lest I missed something. Looking for daily tabulations. Fabricated e.g. the next 2 chart with that for Ant&Arctic and global. http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q210/Sekerob/ArcticSIASIE2-1.png & http://s137.photobucket.com/albums/q210/Sekerob/?action=view&current=AntarcticSIASIE2.png

    Later found this chart format to exist in similar fashion somewhere else.

    recaptcha: now applying

    Comment by Sekerob — 16 Oct 2008 @ 3:07 PM

  560. #555 and #557. Slightly OT:

    IMO, depression about a construct is not rational. Climate change worst case scenarios have this emotive psychological effect akin to imagining a future roller coaster ride where everybody screams as it lurches into each new and scarier twist. But life is lived by individuals, who have no choice as to when and where in the world they are born, and take life as they find it. I would not be angry if I was born 50 miles up the road from my parents’ home town because they had re-settled due to rising sea levels (construct = “mass migration due to catastrophic rises in sea level”), or if I was born into an area where the local flora/fauna had changed in the decades before (“irretrievable damage to local ecosystems”), or if I grew up in the midst of a re-organisation of regional agricultural production and trading (“extreme drought endangering millions”), any more than I am angry to have been born in present-day England, where the weather is gloomier than almost anywhere else on the planet, or than I would be if I was re-incarnated in most parts of the world in most previous centuries, when life was on balance pretty brutal compared with today (or with a 4C warmer world).

    I can’t get depressed about it; rather, I see it as a matter of inconvenience i.e. the faster the climate warms in the next century, the faster people will need to adapt. Polar bears etc are neither here nor there incidentally – life is about people, and 99.9999999 per cent of people have never seen a polar bear in the wild in their life, and never will.

    So people in the future will be spending less time and money on adaptation if warming is slower – therefore I think reducing greenhouse gas emissions is sensible, other things being equal. Personally, I enjoy the simple things in life, hate waste and commute by bike, so I would be perfectly happy to live in a West where e.g. car usage and especially production of material goods were a tenth of what they are now.

    But I find the moral overtones of #557 rather sinister i.e. “it” is happening, if you disagree with “it” you are a “skeptic”, and the true path in life is to “do something about it”.

    There are two separate questions. Firstly, how sensitive is the climate to increases in CO2. Let’s say I am convinced by Schwartz (Aug 08) that the temperature increase for a doubling is 1.9 plus or minus 1.0C.
    http://www.rsc.org/delivery/_ArticleLinking/DisplayHTMLArticleforfree.cfm?JournalCode=EE&Year=2008&ManuscriptID=b810350j&Iss=4
    That doesn’t make me a skeptic because it is within the IPCC range, i.e. “it” is still happening. But is “it” not happening if climate sensitivity is say 1.7C, or 1C or even as low as 0.5C a la Spencer?. It’s obvious that polarising the debate is unhelpful, as is the “stages/phases of skepticism” model. Personally, I’ve always interpreted the data/atmospheric reality (clouds, interaction with oceans etc) as indicating climate sensitivity to be on the low side, and I’ve always been unimpressed by the arguments for urgent action to avoid “catastrophe”. I haven’t moved through any “phases” and don’t consider myself ignorant of the points “seen” by those who consider themselves fundamentally more enlightened than myself. At the same time, I am certainly open to a change in interpretation at any level – for example, the data from the Arctic in the last couple of years has added the equivalent of a couple of tenths of a degree to my interpretation of overall climate sensitivity.

    Second question, why should an individual be concerned about this. If we knew that (hypothetically) solar forcing was destined to increase global temperatures by 1.9C (or 3.6C or whatever) by 2100, and there was a way for society to reduce this figure, would an individual be morally bound to join a campaign to achieve this (because of the “rights” of people who will only have any existence decades hence, and (in most cases) as a result of a conscious decision by their parents to create them in a particular time and place?). Or is it purely for each individual to decide how significant (in existential terms) the potential upheaval to those future generations is, and whether the “rights” of the latter (i.e. to an even more superior wealth/quality of life) should trump their own.

    Comment by Chris — 17 Oct 2008 @ 8:03 AM

  561. So, Chris, What are your feelings about having your great grandchildren born in a world where human civilization has collapsed and those who survive do so in bands of hunter-gathering tribes? Such a scenario cannot be precluded as a result of climate change.
    I don’t have a religious or spiritual bone in my body, but even I was inspired to near rapture when I saw tigers in the wild not 8 feet from me in an open jeep. Do you see no value in preserving the potential for such experiences for your own progeny
    If you feel no obligation to generations of humans yet to be born, I don’t see much point in trying to persuade you of anything.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 17 Oct 2008 @ 9:47 AM

  562. Sorry if I got a bit carried away with my last post :) It’s just a strong statement of an alternative view, and I totally accept that many would vehemently disagree. That’s what the democratic process is for, right? (i.e. if concerted action for drastic emissions cuts is achieved through honest debate and with the support of a democratic majority then fine by me. I’m just defending my right to have a low interpretation of climate sensitivity and an optimistic view of people’s adaptability to various future scenarios.)

    Comment by Chris — 17 Oct 2008 @ 9:47 AM

  563. Chris says: “I’m just defending my right to have a low interpretation of climate sensitivity and an optimistic view of people’s adaptability to various future scenarios.”

    You are entitled to your own opinions. You are not entitled to your own facts. Physical reality has a way of dealing harshly with people who don’t maintain at least a nodding acquaintance with it.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 17 Oct 2008 @ 11:39 AM

  564. “What are your feelings about having your great grandchildren born in a world where human civilization has collapsed and those who survive do so in bands of hunter-gathering tribes?”

    Such a scenario can be precluded by human civilization regardless of climate change, period.

    “Do you see no value in preserving the potential for such experiences for your own progeny”

    I see a microscopic value in ensuring tigers thrive at exactly the same latitude in 100 years time as today for my great-grandchildren to visit on safari, compared to the value of everything else that matters in life.

    “You are not entitled to your own facts.”

    I’ll bear that in mind. I don’t think I ever suggested I was entitled to such a thing.

    “Physical reality has a way of dealing harshly with people who don’t maintain at least a nodding acquaintance with it.”

    This sounds grand, but is actually somewhat baffling on closer examination. I hope you’re not threatening me with being struck by a tornado?

    Comment by Chris — 17 Oct 2008 @ 12:49 PM

  565. Chris,
    Your statement: “I’m just defending my right to have a low interpretation of climate sensitivity…” would seem to imply that this is a matter of opinion. It is not. It is an empirical fact, and it does not matter what you or I or anyone else “interpret” it to be. Everything I’ve seen so far from you seems to be constructed to reassure yourself that you needn’t take any action. Maybe try looking at the facts as they are rather than “interpreting” them.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 17 Oct 2008 @ 3:14 PM

  566. Chris says, ” Polar bears etc are neither here nor there incidentally – life is about people…”

    What an alarming (and sad) view of nature. The world is not just about people. It is a living planet with millions of species. Aside from the fact that humans depend upon plants and animals for food, shelter, and even CO2 sequestration, many of us feel a moral imperative to not extinguish the wonderful biodiversity on Earth. Ecuador’s new constitution duly confers on ecosystems “the inalienable right to exist, flourish and evolve.”

    http://www.economist.com/world/international/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12432305

    {Capcha: “who delegate”}

    And while there are those of us, like Ray, who personally are thrilled when we see a tiger, polar bear, puma, or wolverine, these animals also are critical to the ecosystems in which they live. Removing top predators from an ecosystem leads to severe and unexpected changes, some of which can even be bad for people.

    Comment by Jim Eaton — 17 Oct 2008 @ 5:25 PM

  567. > the data from the Arctic in the last couple of years has added the
    > equivalent of a couple of tenths of a degree to my interpretation of
    > overall climate sensitivity.

    Your political agenda confers on you the claimed ability to do mental calculation, without showing your work, from a paucity of data, and obtain results of a precision far superior to anything published in the science journals.

    Does this ever worry you?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Oct 2008 @ 6:06 PM

  568. Ray,
    If you can point me to where I can find the “empirical fact” of climate sensitivity, it will be an understatement to say you will make my day (not to mention a million other people’s). I’m not going to enter into a pointless debate about your erroneous beliefs regarding my approach to climate science.

    Comment by Chris — 17 Oct 2008 @ 6:08 PM

  569. http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2006/03/climate-sensitivity-is-3c.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Oct 2008 @ 6:39 PM

  570. Chris, are you positing that climate sensitivity has no objective existence? If you double CO2 concentration, temperature will change by some amount–that is an objective fact. Your opinion of it is irrelevant. The best estimate of that empirical constant is 3 degrees per doubling. Now perhaps you’ll suggest that if we clap and wish with all our might we can change it?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 17 Oct 2008 @ 8:37 PM

  571. 2008 is by far the most interesting year for the Arctic region, a paper sometimes gets it right:

    http://www.thestar.com/article/519023

    There are 2 significant periods.. Cloud free spring, followed by extreme cloud cover till this day. I worked a great deal retrieving sun disk data last spring, upwards 700 observations almost every day, non stop, a regular spring has 200 or 300 obs interlaced with clouds, 2008 was the most exhausting spring since 2001. This fall is exactly the opposite. cloud cover was and is extreme, very few sun pictures acquired, the most cloudy fall since 2001. I got 20 pictures as opposed to 100 at the same time last year.

    Its a puzzle, but I have a working idea. A climate question….Does a La-Nina usually coincide with a cloud free Arctic?

    …….Congratulations Polarstern returning home, may you bring us valuable information….

    Comment by wayne davidson — 17 Oct 2008 @ 9:51 PM

  572. Following up on #571. Well what do you know? There is a link between ENSO and the Arctic Oscillation:

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/112634578/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY

    “it is robust”

    How can La-Nina affect the AO, or rather clear cloudless Arctic air? I suggest the following based on what happened this year. The Polar vortex this spring was extremely strong, with Tornado speed winds in excess of 210 knots at 30-10 mb. In this stratospheric hurricane, all aerosols
    get mixed thoroughly, continuously. While La-Nina reduced output of ice crystals/aerosols from the usual intense thunderstorm activity reaching the stratosphere during a normal year at the equator.
    In other words, fewer aerosols were kept in suspension, reducing cloud seeding much further below
    near the pole. When the vortex faded, in April, eventually whatever was mixed started to settle downwards in much calmer winds. Eventually contributing to the cloudiest season in memory.
    Its just an idea… It makes perfect sense with what has happened. The link with La-Nina and AO+
    may be driven in part by an aerosol shortage having its own feedback mechanisms, namely a colder stratosphere which drives a stronger vortex.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 18 Oct 2008 @ 1:48 AM

  573. #571 “For example, fall air temperatures in the Arctic are at a record 5C above normal.”
    http://www.thestar.com/article/519023
    Evidence please?
    The best source I can find for particularly high temperatures is the NOAA animation, which has pretty colours filled in over large areas. But show me actual monthly records that have been broken come the end of the October and I will be convinced.
    (Btw to show I do volunteer a range of information, did you know air temperatures over the Antarctic Peninsula/islands to the north *actually* (unlike the Arctic) hit record highs for Sep 08 – see Bellingshausen, Esperanza, Marambio, Orcadas, Rothera http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/climate/surfacetemps/ There has clearly been very unusual weather there, and I would like to know more.)

    #570 Yes, it has an objective existence.
    “Now perhaps you’ll suggest that if we clap and wish with all our might we can change it?”
    I suggest that you’d better get clapping and wish for some significant further warming in the next few years if you’re so desperate to be right. Sorry, you know you’re right so there’s no need is there. Well at least I’m more open-minded, so if there’s a Super El Nino plus in 2010 for example then fine I’ll revise my view of climate sensitivity up some more.
    Wait…. I’m not allowed a view. I have to be bang in the middle of the “long-established (albeit subjective)
    estimate of 1.5–4.5C” as referred to in Hank’s link (#569).
    Well that’s fine: I’ve been trying to work out whether to special [this ain't spam] ise in meteorology or climatology in my career. Clearly there’s no point in pursuing the issue of climate sensitivity any more, and even if I produced a paper like Schwartz (the latest one)
    http://www.rsc.org/delivery/_ArticleLinking/DisplayHTMLArticleforfree.cfm?JournalCode=EE&Year=2008&ManuscriptID=b810350j&Iss=4
    which I actually think is one of the best papers I’ve read on climate sensitivity recently (I would think this even if he’d said 3C rather than 1.9C) I would be wasting my time.
    Great, I’ll start writing papers on meteorology instead. At least I can rely on the consistency of the numbers I’m feeding into my equations on the shorter timescales involved.

    Comment by Chris — 18 Oct 2008 @ 4:39 AM

  574. I’ve found the source for the “fall air temperatures in the Arctic are at a record 5C above normal” claim.
    It in fact refers to Oct-Nov for 2005-2007:
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/images/essays/atmosphere/a2.png
    from
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/atmosphere.html

    I thought Sep was fall as well, but I guess this would have reduced the average. I don’t have the NOAA map for Sep, so I can only infer that temperatures were lower from satellite data for “NoPol” i.e. ~ 60N-82.5N averaged for Sep 05-07, Oct 05-07, and Nov 05-07 respectively:
    +0.61C
    +1.27C
    +1.15C

    I’m not disputing that it was exceptionally mild over the East Siberian/western Beaufort side of the Arctic due to late open waters (I can see this from surface station data), but I would like to know how the +6C anomaly over the entire Central Arctic area was filled in.

    Comment by Chris — 18 Oct 2008 @ 7:12 AM

  575. What’s “normal” for the Arctic anyway? The 1968-1995 NOAA base period was significantly colder than the 1940s in the Siberian Arctic for example:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=222202920005&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=222202920005&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=222214320004&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=222241430002&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

    Comment by Chris — 18 Oct 2008 @ 7:48 AM

  576. 560 Chris, Schwartz’s analysis depends on climate equilibrium being reached in approximately 8 years. He forgets that the feedback caused by the melting of permafrost, ice sheets, glaciers, and clathrates takes decades to millenia. Heck, it takes hundreds of years for the oceans to overturn. An 8 year climactic response time?! Captcha says, “He Dirigeable.”

    Comment by RichardC — 18 Oct 2008 @ 2:27 PM

  577. Chris,

    see the Arctic 2008 report card for evidence
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/

    Comment by Chris Colose — 18 Oct 2008 @ 2:40 PM

  578. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/09/climate-insensitivity/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Oct 2008 @ 4:41 PM

  579. #576 RichardC

    Schwartz’s analysis depends on a measurable lag of 8 years. The more there are longer-term background lags that can’t be measured, the more we should now be seeing an accelerating trend in global temperature increases.
    Feedbacks from ice tend to decelerate as temperature goes up, since insolation at the retreating ice margins becomes progressively lower (hence feedbacks are already much lower now than coming out of an ice age).

    I just wrote a long reply re: Schwartz, but then realised that I’m interested enough in some of the issues it raises for them to provide a potential subject for my dissertation (also I might be reading them differently to him), so might be better for me to step back from arguing it via blog and give it a more rigorous examination.

    I would try not to pre-suppose any conclusions, rather, try to explore how the recent lack of acceleration in global temperatures can be reconciled with various models, and try to quantify what various scenarios for the next 10 years might imply about sensitivity (including rapid accelerations, it goes without saying.)

    Comment by Chris — 19 Oct 2008 @ 8:36 AM

  580. And discussed briefly earlier with additional links
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/08/friday-roundup-2/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Oct 2008 @ 11:32 AM

  581. Chris, make sure your long reply refers to Schwartz’s reply/update, not his original.

    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/search/label/climate%20sensitivity
    page down to:
    Friday, May 09, 2008
    Comments about comments
    So our comment, Nicola Scafetta’s comment, Reto Knutti’s comment, and Steve Schwartz’ reply (combined to all of us) are all on line and some people seem to be getting very excited by it all. In his reply, Schwartz was quick to jump at Scafetta’s suggestion that the “pertinent time constant” can actually be diagnosed as about 8y, or maybe 12y, and seems happy to admit that his original analysis (5y) was wrong. Unfortunately, the reviewer(s?) and Editor gave him free rein to present a completely new analysis, based on a new model – hardly the point of a Reply, I thought – which is pretty much just as bogus as the original although the numbers don’t turn out quite as absurd….” (The original has links, q.v.)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Oct 2008 @ 11:39 AM

  582. Evidence of a warmer Arctic 2008 fall atmosphere is also found other ways. Especially. if a cyclone from the North Pacific rolls in the High Arctic without cooling off much, bringing +10C air in mid-air 2000 miles away from the Pacific into the Eastern Arctic when temperatures should be -10 to -15 C. No question its warmer in the Arctic. The atmosphere must be judged as a whole, not from the surface only, not from a few upper air standard levels, all of it. Temperature variations of the entire atmosphere as a whole are far weaker than surface temperatures variations. A better trend can be devised from it….

    Comment by wayne davidson — 19 Oct 2008 @ 1:47 PM

  583. #566 and #567 – missed these.

    Jim:
    “…”life is about people…”
    What an alarming (and sad) view of nature. The world is not just about people…”

    This goes to the heart of the matter. I love nature, and I also have a degree in politics during which I pondered deeply the questions of how society works/should work and what matters in life. And the fact is, democracy is government by the people for the people, and that is that. A world without people, but with wonderful biodiversity, would simply be pointless. The extent to which people prioritise biodiversity in policy-making, on the other hand, is their democratic choice. In any event, all these things you refer to – plants and animals as food/shelter/CO2 sequestration and biodiversity – will evolve but not necessarily suffer in a changing climate (especially if we work with the changes effectively). The predators you mention won’t necessarily die out just because their habitat gradually moves.

    “Ecuador’s new constitution duly confers on ecosystems “the inalienable right to exist, flourish and evolve.””

    Even though my politics have tended to be broadly left-wing, I fundamentally disagree with the way the language of rights is often used in modern discourse. There isn’t such a thing as an intrinsic right, only what people decide should be a right. But to give a right to an ecosystem, well that’s just abusing the language too far.

    Hank:
    “Your political agenda confers on you the claimed ability to do mental calculation, without showing your work, from a paucity of data, and obtain results of a precision far superior to anything published in the science journals.

    Does this ever worry you?”

    Hmmm, my “political agenda”. To be fair, my friend who knows more about climate change politics than me (and incidentally believes climate sensitivity to be worse-than-consensus) warned me that in America the politics are deeply polarised (much more aggressively than here in the UK), and therefore people who are very concerned about climate change will tend to view anyone who questions the seriousness of any aspect as being a potential “ally” of big business. I’m not used to this political set-up (hence why I was so offended when Wayne questioned my “motives” in an earlier post, until my friend explained the situation and i was *slightly* less offended).
    So I guess there’s some implication here that I’m caught up in one side of your polarised debate. I’m not.

    I guess your condescending remarks about my abilities stem from your opposition to my perceived political agenda. Because I bet if a climate scientist whose view of climate sensitivity was 4.2C for a doubling of CO2 remarked casually that “the data from the Arctic in the last couple of years has added the equivalent of a couple of tenths of a degree to my interpretation of overall climate sensitivity” you wouldn’t make the same remarks.

    Yes of course I’m not a climate scientist (yet). So of course I worry about the limitations to any conclusions that I draw. But the absolute one-sidedness of your approach (and many others), and my experience of people demonstrably getting things wrong on this thread who would claim to be more expert than myself, makes me realise the importance of standing my ground and trying to weigh up all evidence in my own time and using my own critical faculties, without being bullied into certain conclusions by people like yourself who often seem to add many harsh words but little true insight into the debate.
    (And for the record, I do try to correct outright “skeptics” when they get things demonstrably wrong too).

    Comment by Chris — 19 Oct 2008 @ 3:17 PM

  584. (OT, further to my last reply to Hank: politics was just part of my original degree. I have other more relevant qualifications and experience. In case you were wondering what a politics graduate was doing commenting about science at all! In any event, you’re partly right i.e. that I do over-stretch myself sometimes with my assertions. Maybe I just get too over-defensive when criticised. Or even over-sensitive if you excuse the pun! What I definitely do wrong is spending too long on a blog when I should be working…..But it’s been interesting, and I’m grateful to RC for providing a high-quality scientific forum to advance and test my knowledge)

    Comment by Chris — 19 Oct 2008 @ 4:14 PM

  585. Hey, the point is the climatologist is expected to publish such a specific number and defend it, not just blog it.

    Later readers here may well not know that when you write
    > the data from the Arctic in the last couple of years has added the
    > equivalent of a couple of tenths of a degree to my interpretation of
    > overall climate sensitivity
    you don’t mean calculated tenths of a degree C (or F), you mean “a little bit more” — and many readers may not even recognize that a “couple of years” of data isn’t a basis to change a sensitivity calculation even if you had made one. You write with such confidence that it’s potentially misleading.

    That’s my caution and reason for pushing for an explanation — it’s a science forum, claims made that look scientific deserve references.

    Climate scientists with a track record and publications we can look up may be relaxed making statements — we _can_ find their sources by looking up their work.

    Annan and Connolley are writing about science, not politics, in discussing climate sensitivity. They’re not in the US.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Oct 2008 @ 5:21 PM

  586. Re #583 (Chris): “In any event, all these things you refer to – plants and animals as food/shelter/CO2 sequestration and biodiversity – will evolve but not necessarily suffer in a changing climate (especially if we work with the changes effectively).”

    Have you looked at any of the science relating to this (here, e.g.)? Apparently not. In case it had escaped your notice, a major problem with the present anthropogenic clinate disruption is that it’s a much, much faster process than evolution.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 19 Oct 2008 @ 5:55 PM

  587. #585 OK Hank I understand your point better now.

    Re: Schwartz I simply think his analysis provides extra insight into how it may be possible to infer sensitivities from empirical evidence. I’m not too interested in the exact figure (1.9 plus or minus 1C) that he comes up with at this stage and I agree that his apparent casualness with his key variable loses him credibility.

    The empirical evidence includes a ~0.40-0.45C increase in global temperature from the last cyclical peak over 60 years ago (to judge by Hadley/GISS). The question is why are we increasingly not seeing the acceleration required to achieve say a 2C or 3C increase to the next hypothetical “peak” of the natural cycle in 2070? This is what I want to address……
    Out of interest, what’s your own reasoning (as opposed to that quoted from links) as to why we shouldn’t see something like the following:
    1940s CO2 ~305ppm Temp 0.00C (baseline)
    2000s CO2 ~380ppm Temp +0.45C
    2050 CO2 ~475ppm Temp +1.00C
    And if we did what would it imply about climate sensitivity and projected temperatures for 2100?

    #586 I used the word “evolve” to refer to the ways in which people depend on animals and plants. There is only one reference to climate change in the entire article you link to.

    Comment by Chris — 19 Oct 2008 @ 7:26 PM

  588. http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2008/10/discussion-role-for-atmospheric-co2-in.html
    __________
    “be robust”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Oct 2008 @ 8:50 PM

  589. Chris, if you’re asking me
    > Out of interest, what’s your own reasoning … as to why we
    > shouldn’t see something like …
    > …
    > And if we did what would it imply about climate sensitivity
    > and projected temperatures for 2100?

    I’ll settle for trying to read and understand what those actually studying this are publishing. This short list is very helpful:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=%22charney+climate+sensitivity%22

    For example:
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/0804.1126
    —excerpt—

    Atmospheric composition and surface properties in the late Pleistocene are known well enough for accurate assessment of the fast-feedback (Charney) climate sensitivity. We first compare the pre-industrial Holocene with the last glacial maximum [LGM, 20 ky BP (before present)]. The planet was in energy balance in both periods within a small fraction of 1 W/m2, as shown by considering the contrary: an imbalance of 1 W/m2 maintained a few millennia would melt all ice on the planet or change ocean temperature an amount far outside measured variations (Table S1 of 8). The approximate equilibrium characterizing most of Earth’s history is unlike the current situation, in which GHGs are rising at a rate much faster than the coupled climate system can respond.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Oct 2008 @ 10:36 PM

  590. 579 Chris says, “Schwartz’s analysis depends on a measurable lag of 8 years.”

    Schwartz’s paper depends on a “measurable” lag of 8 or 5 or 12 or any other random (but small) number of years. Noise drowns out the actual figure, so I’d say his whole paper is bunk. The actual number isn’t terribly important as it’s rather obvious that the atmosphere responds to forcings almost immediately. Schwartz’s point, that atmospheric feedbacks are quick, does not lead to his conclusion, that there is little warming in the pipe. Feedbacks tend to be step functions with long lag times. As you stated, 6000 years is a reasonable lag time for many forcings. I can’t imagine Schwartz being correct on any level. The radiative imbalance wouldn’t exist if he were correct. That he doesn’t address it speaks volumes, as it is just too obvious an issue.

    Chris says, “The more there are longer-term background lags that can’t be measured, the more we should now be seeing an accelerating trend in global temperature increases. Feedbacks from ice tend to decelerate as temperature goes up, since insolation at the retreating ice margins becomes progressively lower (hence feedbacks are already much lower now than coming out of an ice age).

    Your conclusion also does not follow. Methane release is a huge feedback. Arctic Ocean ice extent is a huge feedback. Schwartz (and you) are ignoring the largest feedbacks, and claiming it is appropriate to do so because they take longer than 8 (or 100) years to ramp up. Look at the thickness data for arctic ice. It has taken 50+ years for it to thin — and in all that period there has been no significant temperature feedback. Even today the melt of arctic sea ice is too late in the season to provide much feedback. But the last bit of ice goes, and all the feedback hits at once. A step function with a long lag. The methane release is the same. Nothing but “normal” release for 50+ years, then BANG! a sudden spike. You’re like the person who falls off a tall building and as he passes the 10th floor remarks, “So far so good!”

    Ice feedbacks do not tend to decelerate as temp goes up. Instead, they tend to have longer lag times. Depth matters, and it is only now that permafrost and clathrates are melting. You’re making the error of only counting very specific ice, that which is above ground and on land.

    Your comment about stuff being pointless without mankind erroneously implies that mankind makes a difference. What happens is technically pointless with or without mankind. The universe will eventually wind down and what happens on this planet will fade to nothing.

    Comment by RichardC — 20 Oct 2008 @ 12:03 PM

  591. Don’t read anything into my lack of response. I’m got very busy just recently. It’s certainly not that I have nothing to say about statements like:

    #589
    “The planet was in energy balance in both periods within a small fraction of 1 W/m2, as shown by considering the contrary: an imbalance of 1 W/m2 maintained a few millennia would melt all ice on the planet or change ocean temperature an amount far outside measured variations”

    #590
    “But the last bit of ice goes, and all the feedback hits at once.”

    “BANG! a sudden spike.”

    “it is only now that permafrost and clathrates are melting”

    Comment by Chris — 21 Oct 2008 @ 5:43 AM

  592. Does any one have an explanation for the latest squiggle on the Artic Sea Ice Extent graph. It seems to cover several days and was not there yesterday.

    Comment by Robert S — 21 Oct 2008 @ 10:33 AM

  593. Chris,
    what you politics folks need to appreciate finally (this century) is that simple corollary to our planet being round: It is finite, i.e. has limits. Thus our life support system can’t evolve away from trouble forever. When it hits them limits, nature is no longer pointless to humans, for it will cause death and suffering (e.g. failing food supply) limited only by human population numbers.

    Comment by Florifulgurator — 21 Oct 2008 @ 12:16 PM

  594. Talking about the Antarctic I suppose. Yes i happened to take a copy when it was heavily pointing down and the next day this U turn showed. From communicating with Jaxa people they told me that around October 15 and also June 1-2 they change the algorithm to account for melt ponds which the sats do not seems to record correctly. They’ve smoothed their data now in this October but left the anomalous appearance for the past in their chart. Now, I dont know if the NSIDC does so to, for when i look now the U turn has disappeared now and the whole 2008 track has moved on up for the last weeks to be very close to the 1979-2000 mean.

    Just a guess.

    Comment by Sekerob — 21 Oct 2008 @ 1:23 PM

  595. “Less Ice In Arctic Ocean 6000-7000 Years Ago”:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081020095850.htm

    [reCAPTCHA notes "of forcing".]

    Comment by David B. Benson — 21 Oct 2008 @ 5:35 PM

  596. … “The 2008 season strongly reinforces the thirty-year downward trend in Arctic ice extent. The 2008 September low was 34% below the long-term average from 1979 to 2000 and only 9% greater than the 2007 record”. From:
    http://nsidc.org/news/press/20081002_seaice_pressrelease.html

    [... Similar to what was said in comment #5 (June 27) at link below.]
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/06/north-pole-notes/

    Comment by Pat Neuman — 22 Oct 2008 @ 3:13 PM

  597. IR Downwelling played a significant role in this years melt. The clouds continue to puzzle, I was looking for Arctic Aerosol data, kind of scarce on the net. However I found this presentation from Andrew Vogelmann quite interesting:

    http://www.bnl.gov/bnlweb/pubaf/pr/PR_display.asp?prID=06-09

    There are so many, multi layered clouds now. Despite little direct sun light reaching the ice this past summer over the Arctic ocean, there was likely a small heat boost from high Aerosol content, a boost allegedly equal to man made Greenhouse gases… Present few Sun pictures I obtained are fuzzy with a lot of red rimming (water vapour or snow aloft) , recent Upper Air data consistently show 4 or more cloud layers, all indications of high aerosol content in the atmosphere. I continue with these observations and come up with a tentative conclusion on my website, I call the current phenomena Anvil seeding….

    Comment by wayne Davidson — 23 Oct 2008 @ 1:22 AM

  598. Dear all,
    I have been following your discussion for some time and I want to draw your attention to a recent article (23 October: GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 35, L20503, doi:10.1029/2008GL034813, 2008 by Lars H. Smedsrud et. al from Norway). In my opion they show convincing that the 2007 sea ice minimum was mainly due to increased sea ice export through the Fram Straight. Als they predicted correctly that due to the low sea ice export in June 2008 the 2008 sea ice extent would not be as low as 2007, see their summary below. According to their model calculation the sea ice should recover to their normal decline levels if the export should return to normal level. But their main uncertainty is the question what drives this increased export. So my question is does anyone have suggestions what we can expect for the future, export go back to normal, stabilize at this high level or even increase further.

    summary article:
    The present and future state of the Arctic sea ice
    cover is explored using new observations and a coupled
    one dimensional air–sea–ice model. Updated satellite
    observations of Fram Strait ice-area export show an
    increase over the last four years, with 37% increase in
    winter 07–08. Atmospheric poleward energy flux declined
    since 1990, but advection of oceanic heat has recently
    increased. Simulations show that the ice area export is a
    stronger driver of thinning than the estimated ocean heat
    fluxes of 40 TW. Increased ocean heat transport will raise
    primarily Atlantic layer temperature. The ‘present 2007’
    state of the Arctic ice could be a stable state given the
    recent high ice area export, but if ocean heat advection and
    ice export decrease, the ice cover will recover. A 2*CO2
    scenario with export and oceanic heat flux remaining
    strong, forecasts a summer Arctic open ocean area of 95%
    around 2050.

    Comment by Hans Eerens — 23 Oct 2008 @ 3:56 AM

  599. RE 598: Maybe of interest: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008GL034791.shtml

    According to this research, there has been long term changes in Arctic storm tracks and intensity, gradually increasing the export of ice through the Fram channel. It is also possible that water stratification is evolving in a way that reduces ice formation.

    Explains mainly the longer term trend. 2007 just happened to have much more of it. The first year ice issue then carried the impact into 2008. We will probably learn later if that was all (or if some heat was stored in the water as well).

    Seems to me that the global warming impacts are mostly indirect and dynamic like this. Subtle variations on quite conventional looking weather features, not so much direct interaction with warmer air. Probably not easy to explain to the public.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 23 Oct 2008 @ 12:00 PM

  600. Dear Pekka (reply 599),

    Thanks for referring me to the article of 3 October (GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 35, L19704, doi:10.1029/2008GL034791, 2008 “Sea ice drift in the Arctic since the 1950s ‘ Sirpa Hakkinen et. Al.
    The article suggest that increased storm activity can explain the increased speed of ice (although I also expect that thinner ice will move faster). The article also give some insight what happens under water, out of our sight. Some changes are seen that can have a future impact. Some points I took out of the article:
    1) Salinity is increasing near the surface (approx from 30.9 in the 70s to 32.3 in 2007, suggesting an increase of 0.07 degree celsius in freezing pint)
    2) Fresh water layer with decreased salinity seems to decrease rapidly from approx 100 m in the 70s to 50m in 2007
    3) The zero degree temperature isobar in the artic ocean seems to rise rapidly from 250 m depth to 170m
    4) the deeper waters (>250m) seems to warm rapidly from 0.7 C to 1.1-1.5 Celsius.

    Thse T changes are disturbing when you realize the enormous amount of methane (hydrates) under the (relative not so thick) permafrost of the ocean bottom in the shallow water siberian coast, if released would effect climate change greatly (see also earlier articles this year on increased methane concentration in artic air (from 1.6 ppm global to 5 ppm) and under the artic seaice layer

    Comment by hans eerens — 24 Oct 2008 @ 11:51 AM

  601. Re #600
    1) Salinity is increasing near the surface (approx from 30.9 in the 70s to 32.3 in 2007, suggesting an increase of 0.07 degree celsius in freezing pint)
    That would be a decrease in freezing point, from -1.696ºC to -1.776ºC.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 25 Oct 2008 @ 1:54 PM

  602. 1) Salinity is increasing near the surface (approx from 30.9 in the 70s to 32.3 in 2007, suggesting an increase of 0.07 degree celsius in freezing pint)

    That would be a decrease in freezing point (-1.696ºC to -1.776ºC)

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 26 Oct 2008 @ 9:11 AM

  603. #600, Very good info Hans, thanks.. There is obviously less old ice loaded with fresh water, the salinity balance is trending towards an open Arctic ocean.

    Why is it so warm now? Check out:

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_30b.rnl.html

    Last 30 days have been extremely warm in the Arctic. So the question to those who favor temporary warm advection as the cause for the great melt of 2008…. Does your explanation also include present warming? How can warm surface air return so prominently when the ice was always more scattered due to winds. A greater ice surface cant be the cause for warmer air? Or is it as I always wrote, that the air itself, the entire air column, is warmer as a whole. Summer clouds favor cooler surface warming, late autumn clouds favor a warmer surface. Clouds
    and a stable heat source were always present.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 26 Oct 2008 @ 1:21 PM

  604. We have had a number of comments on this blog regarding ice extent vs. ice volume. There is news on that front, today on BBC, at:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7692963.stm

    The short version:

    “The thickness of Arctic sea ice “plummeted” last winter, thinning by as much as 49 centimetres (1.6ft) in some regions, satellite data has revealed. A study by UK researchers showed that the ice thickness had been fairly constant for the previous five winters. The team from University College London added that the results provided the first definitive proof that the overall volume of Arctic ice was decreasing. The findings have been published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

    “”The ice thickness was fairly constant for the five winters before this, but it plummeted in the winter after the 2007 minimum,” lead author Katharine Giles told BBC News.”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 28 Oct 2008 @ 11:03 AM

  605. There is some more about the reducton in Arctic sea ice thickness here, for those without access to GRL:

    http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMTGPRTKMF_index_0.html

    (I am sure the use of the term “trend” in the final paragraph was not intended to imply any statistical judgment!)

    CAPTCHA says “and Broiled”. Spooky.

    [Response: paper available here - gavin]

    Comment by Garry S-J — 28 Oct 2008 @ 6:29 PM

  606. #604-605. These reports contradict what was published during the end of last winter when it was said that the ice gained some thickness:

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/north/story/2008/02/15/arctic-ice.html

    I can’t read Gavin’s link.. I am not a member of the AGU

    But I am more inclined to follow IR downwelling as a significant melt/thinness component:

    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/gallery_np_weatherdata.html

    Really fascinating stuff, too bad we don’t have preceding years to compare this data with.
    August shortwave went down significantly, yet the great bulk of the melt of 08 started about mid august. I have some extensive data which shows a strong Atmospheric warming signal, which agrees with the trust of the reporting of thinner ice, an overall continuous warmer atmosphere must result in thinner ice year round.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 29 Oct 2008 @ 4:52 AM

  607. As I read the CBC story from February, I really can’t tell if the thickness increase mentioned is local or more widespread (the only geographical reference is \some areas\), nor what the timeline for the comparison is. So it’s hard to say whether or not there is a real conflict between the two stories.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 29 Oct 2008 @ 2:01 PM

  608. Funny the comment about the last 30 days bieng warm in the Arctic. How come the ice cap is reforming faster than it did last year?

    Comment by dp — 30 Oct 2008 @ 4:27 PM

  609. > how come …
    Because there was less ice at minimum last year?
    It’s not an “ice cap” — it’s sea ice.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Oct 2008 @ 6:35 PM

  610. #608. The ice was scattered over a wider area at the onset of freezing. Winds over the entire melting season favored its dispersal rather than compression as of last year.

    #607 Kevin, http://seaice.bplaced.net/thickness/
    From Clarence above , read details and caveat in #491, this model shows as much volume if not more than last year during peak ice moment. It is likely not as researched as as with the two reports quoted lately. But I am glad we are getting any volume data rather than none. Its probably a work in progress, there is no doubt about extensive melting, but exact details are hard to come by.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 30 Oct 2008 @ 11:13 PM

  611. October has been very warm, incredibly cloudy, on Cryosphere Today sea ice extent of 2007 should be the same as 2008 in a few days. Strange that 2007 is catching up in coverage with 2008 which started with a much wider scattering of ice. DWT wise, October 2008 has tied October 2007, surface temperatures are following closely:

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_30b.rnl.html ..

    November just started is equally warm. The fair argument to restate is how it gets this warmer, with a lowering in the sky sun? With ice covering most of the Arctic ocean now? THe answer is simple,
    the atmosphere is warmer.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 4 Nov 2008 @ 10:08 PM

  612. I noticed last winter sea ice cover in the Barents Sea was below average, and is below average now. Does this mean that the Gulf Stream could be strengthening?

    Comment by dp — 6 Nov 2008 @ 6:27 PM

  613. #612- Very likely Niet! I have a US Navy Polar atlas made in the 50′s, which equates extreme Minima with the current Barents sea extent. Traditionally this area was more open for the reasons you just mentioned. Russian side of the Pole has always had thinner ice, now combine this known history with overall much warmer air:

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_30b.rnl.html

    And you get what you got….

    If you mention the Gulf Stream, would you be kind enough to point some evidence, like Hank would write…..

    Comment by wayne davidson — 6 Nov 2008 @ 9:42 PM

  614. #613 I was just speculating, so no evidence, and no idea where to gain any, hence the post. I just thought that with the warmer tropical seas we keep reading about the Gulf Stream might gain some extra oomph. With the retreat in the Barents maximum it seemed there might be a case for adding 2 and 2 together. You experts can tell me if it makes 4.

    Comment by dp — 7 Nov 2008 @ 3:45 PM

  615. For Thinner 2008 ice, less volume, take a close look:

    http://www.natice.noaa.gov/pub/West_Arctic/Canadian_Arctic_West/2008/canwcurrentcolor.pdf

    There is a wide array of differing ice formations, with a lot of open water now,
    study the “egg” code, to understand better:

    http://www.natice.noaa.gov/egg_code/index4.htm

    Now go back, prior to the serious melt period, 1996:

    http://www.natice.noaa.gov/pub/West_Arctic/Canadian_Arctic_West/1996/canw961203.gif

    Look for the 3rd line down in the egg code, find “1.” which is Medium first year ice 70-120 cm. There are plenty in 96 at the same date almost in all regions. Go back to 2008, there are plenty 1, 7, 8 and 9′s 0-10, 30-70 cm ice hardly any “1.”. The difference is amazing, also considering the lack of multi-year ice, a scarcity in December 2008. The packs are so few, scattered and small they are hardly reported.

    The real meaning is seen by those who travel on the ice, no multiyear ice packs makes traveling way easier, its a tactile sense, warmer temperatures are reflected in mirror like thinner ice…. If there is anything which proves warmer air, its in the ice over the entire Arctic. Its climate not in numbers or words, its climate change by example there is hardly a debate here about this astounding change.
    There is no need for charts, averages and demonstrations, its here and present literally changing the seascape.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 11 Dec 2008 @ 2:04 AM

  616. I have sent these questions, concerning a curiosity, to Dr Chapman at CT.

    Dr William Chapman,
    Can you please explain a couple of things on the Cryosphere Today “Compare side-by-side images of Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent” product, please?
    Why does the snow in the more recent dates cover areas that were previously sea inlets, fjords, coastal sea areas, islands and rivers? (Water areas, most easily discernible in the River Ob inlet)
    Why does the sea ice in the older images cover land areas? (Land areas, most easily discernible in River Ob inlet)
    See this overlay:
    http://i44.tinypic.com/330u63t.jpg
    Looking forward to your answer,
    Mike Bryant

    [Response: It's probably related to the footprint of the satellites being used, which (I'm guessing) prevented sea ice from being detected near land in the earlier data, but now that the current satellite products include snow on land, there is more continuity. However, the distinction between snow covered sea ice and snow covered land in coastal regions is probably undetectable from the satellite, so what counts as 'sea' or 'land' is based on a priori geography. Not sure what influence this would have on the published trends - very small in summer, maybe more in winter. - gavin]

    Comment by Mike Bryant — 26 Dec 2008 @ 9:11 AM

  617. Sekerob pointed out in the Antarctic thread that the Arctic is getting lively again. Is this still the most current thread available?

    Have a look:

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images//daily_images/S_timeseries.png

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Feb 2009 @ 12:25 PM

  618. Oops, wrong end of the planet, I meant NORTH:

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

    But I suspect we’re seeing funny looking daily charts due to the long holiday weekend in the USA and the unreliability of daily numbers due to clouds and other problems in the data, rather than some natural event.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Feb 2009 @ 12:59 PM

  619. Related, from here: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

    February 15, 2009
    In an opinion piece by George Will published on February 15, 2009 in the Washington Post, George Will states “According to the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979.”

    We do not know where George Will is getting his information, but our data shows that on February 15, 1979, global sea ice area was 16.79 million sq. km and on February 15, 2009, global sea ice area was 15.45 million sq. km. Therefore, global sea ice levels are 1.34 million sq. km less in February 2009 than in February 1979. This decrease in sea ice area is roughly equal to the area of Texas, California, and Oklahoma combined.

    It is disturbing that the Washington Post would publish such information without first checking the facts.

    [Response: Opinion pieces don't get fact checked and are almost never corrected. This is something that is apparently fine in US journalistic traditions, but continues to puzzle me greatly. - gavin]

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Feb 2009 @ 1:51 PM

  620. Look again at the arctic chart. It’s not nearly so weird now (just changed in the last couple of hours).

    With my luck it will change back to “weird” by the time this post is approved :)

    Comment by dhogaza — 16 Feb 2009 @ 2:12 PM

  621. Something goofy is going on:

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    Watching over the past several days, it appeared, until 30 minutes ago, that the World was about to end.

    Comment by Don Flood — 16 Feb 2009 @ 2:23 PM

  622. Don, ‘About the data’ — it takes time to determine a trend, especially in noisy data (and when everyone’s on a long holiday weekend, I bet).

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/disclaimer1.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Feb 2009 @ 2:48 PM

  623. A heads-up that some poster at Slashdot has taken a recent issue with sea ice extent measurements from NSIDC and is trying to blow it up into a systemic, longterm problem with measurements. Prepare for freshly armed zombie hordes to come over the parapets. In reality the issue appears to affect perhaps three weeks of data.

    http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/02/19/0420255

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 19 Feb 2009 @ 12:41 PM

  624. Doug #623,

    Unfortunately for the zombie hords, there are multiple collectors against which to soundboard the different products. How SIE/SIA of NSIDC compares looking at Arctic ROOS, Cryosphere Today, JAXA etc, gives me enough reference to know that NSIDC is doing okay, probably even near the highest number reporters on SIE and middle-ish for SIA. Long as there is consistent measuring, as what was mentioned on the bulletin at NSIDC, we’ve got good indicators where things are trending and all are telling the same… it’s going down, rapidly. Zombies there were, lobotomised from the Nurse Ratched clinic there will be.

    Comment by Sekerob — 19 Feb 2009 @ 1:07 PM

  625. NSIDC:
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/
    For more information on the current data outage, please see the February 18 update to Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis, “Satellite sensor errors cause data outage.”

    I don’t suppose there’s a chance the sensor just got /.ed?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Feb 2009 @ 3:43 PM

  626. Saw this today and it’s perfectly logical. Meltponds on Sea Ice, and I suppose on Greenland glaciers too, but to lesser extend maybe, accelerate melting.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/feb/18/arctic-ice-melt

    captcha: vears storm

    Comment by Sekerob — 19 Feb 2009 @ 5:45 PM

  627. There has been an increase in missing swathes showing up on CT’s comparison page (uses SSM/I) and NSIDC’s extent bounced around at the weekend. So while NSIDC have shut down for the moment Arctic ROOS and CT are carrying on without major problems. I got chucked off WUWT for having the temerity to say that describing it as the ‘sensor having a catastrophic failure’ was an exaggeration!

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 19 Feb 2009 @ 7:15 PM

  628. I look at the graphs on the nsidc site from time to time, and noticed a couple unusual sudden ‘steps’ in the plotted arctic sea-ice data over the past while that looked spurious. I work with real-time ‘time series’ streamflow data, and when I see something similar i.e.- sudden spikes or flatlining in what is usually a smooth trend-line during a period when you don’t expect it, for example in the middle of winter in the sub-arctic, my first instinct is to suspect sensor malfunction. Considering the degree of world-wide focus on this topic (arctic sea ice) I really wonder why there isn’t more attention payed to quality control of the raw data sets. Even something as simple as automated rate-of-change filters that you can create in Excel. At any rate, I’m glad to see the error was caught and will be corrected soon.

    Comment by rando — 19 Feb 2009 @ 8:09 PM

  629. #619 Profoundly accurate statement by Gavin. It is a gift for an audience poor in science , this is why G. Will writes like this. Fuel for ignorance. A well thought figure, or apparently nerdy like chap, spews nonsense through medias which were invented by the vast scientific effort, which also gave climate science. It is the voice of anti-science, anti-reasoning condensed in a media package, rather a Public relations format, persons set free to distort at will (the pun is intended) as a means to promote a book, or a click, a media niche market similar to fake moon landings.

    Meantime, it is truly warm in the Arctic everywhere, as :

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/do_nmap.py?year_last=2009&month_last=01&sat=4&sst=0&type=anoms&mean_gen=01&year1=2009&year2=2009&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=1200&pol=reg

    My impression, education of AGW is just starting, the science may be old, but the ignorance
    on the subject vast, deep and disturbing. There is hope only with a huge education effort.
    Which requires empathy for the planet and its people especially for those who are in isolated locations.
    Not TV adds and silly props, rock solid education, immune to PR firms and lobbyists, human to human intellectual persuasion, on a higher level, rendering the dumb media market population and ratings much smaller.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 19 Feb 2009 @ 10:06 PM

  630. Hey Wayne. Caught your interview on Discovery Channel last night. Very interesting correlation between observed sun disc size-shape and ‘local’ atmospheric temperature. Looks like you’re on to something.

    Comment by rando — 20 Feb 2009 @ 12:16 AM

  631. Yesterday saw a news flash that parts of China had not had rain/precipitation for 110 days and the successful deployment of firing up iodide crystals to cause the clouds to rain out. Think to have seen references some months ago to Pacific conditions being responsible for this.

    From monitoring the Rutgers daily snow maps I’d say that the first half of the month has seen a mean of below average acreage of snow on the Northern Hemisphere. January was right on the anomaly line, drastically less than January 2008. Where there is no snow now, the albedo is not working to favor any deflection of energy back to space.

    Comment by Sekerob — 20 Feb 2009 @ 5:59 AM

  632. #630, rando, sure I have been at it since 2000, any one with a little training can do this work.
    You can see first hand a slow but gradual change in sun discs, but it requires patience
    a great deal of time and effort. Eventually this idea will catch on and will be integrated
    in the data acquisition networks. In the future , there will be a camera that will tell you
    the exact temperature of the atmosphere above, the total weighted atmospheric temperature, with one snap shot of the sun. This capacity will be not so far away. The mathematics are not complicated, but there are a few “bugs” to work out. Mean time consider the vertical diameter sun size itself as a thermometer reading. The bigger the vertical sun, the warmer the atmosphere
    all with respect to comparable elevations of course.

    Speaking of which, big time expansions were recently measured in the High Arctic, again!!!
    Its like the movie Ground Hog day, there is no relenting, no sign of a deep freeze in the atmosphere, just a warming.

    #631 I’d like to point out that the stratospheric vortex vanished unusually early this year.
    North Pacific Lows continuously crashing in the Arctic affected pressure heights all winter,
    perhaps rendering the Vortex, as it was a little more unstable, it eventually demolished itself, and ozone levels have been extremely high ever since . The winter of 07-08 was remarkably blue and cold in the Arctic, as opposed to grey and warmer in 08-09.
    This is not a coincidence, when the vortex was really strong a month ago, it got really cold pretty much everywhere, now that it is gone, the weather shows many observable different features, namely cold air periods persisting way shorter, replaced by longer bouts of very warm air.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 20 Feb 2009 @ 11:17 AM

  633. Take a look at the sea ice concentration http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_daily_concentration_hires.png
    It’s early in the melt season and I can see ocean currents in the ice already. You can see the transpolar drift shooting through the nozzle between Alaska and Siberia. The Fram Straight is the drain. It’s even worn(?) a nice canyon http://www.freebase.com/view/wikipedia/images/commons_id/2499871

    This could be the year the drain comes unclogged and a whole new surface regime must come into play. Perhaps the ice crammed up against Canada will get dragged along with the a stronger TransPolar Drift as the ice dam is removed. It’s going to be fast, in my opinion, especially with so many alternative drains which will open along with the Fram Straight. A couple of unusually warm years in a row ought to give us an ice-free September and October in the arctic. Other predictions?

    Comment by RichardC — 5 Jun 2009 @ 12:42 PM

  634. Other predictions?

    Whatever will be, will be :)

    Seriously, as expected, the melt season’s accelerated greatly this last month, but I think the NSIDC’s caution in predicting what will happen by September is warranted (especially seeing how the denialsphere uses any statement they make that’s not cautious): it appears virtually certain september will have a lower minimum than the 1979-2000 average, but as to how low? Depends on what happens between now and then. (paraphrase)

    Comment by dhogaza — 5 Jun 2009 @ 3:56 PM

  635. #633, It will be another near record ice extent year, tempered by clouds, watch closely for cloud coverage break, There is now an El-Nino watch:

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1237

    I think that this may help the cloud coverage until Arctic Ocean air gets too warm, if the high solstice sun has a chance to maintain itself over a wide region of the Arctic Ocean for a few weeks, the melt would be incredibly fast because the ice is already thin in many areas. Too bad we dont have model ice volume estimates readily available to confirm how bad it is at this point in time.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 5 Jun 2009 @ 4:18 PM

  636. Other predictions?

    Easy–in September the denialosphere will not be talking about sea ice extent.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 5 Jun 2009 @ 10:55 PM

  637. http://climateprogress.org/2008/11/29/1st-commercial-ship-sails-through-northwest-passage-i-didnt-see-one-cube-of-ice/

    Interesting little article on the “official” start to the commercialization of the Arctic Ocean.

    Comment by RichardC — 7 Jun 2009 @ 4:20 PM

  638. Arctic Ocean clouds are doing their reflec-thing with predictable results:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.365.jpg

    These are key times to watch keenly. In a few months, as usual, all to often, Mr X the skeptic, will eventually promulgate a verdict “Arctic ice is recuperating, global warming is a hoax” ,
    however, in advance from such common contrarian edicts, I launch a pre-emptive strike to the Mr X out there, look at :

    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/satellite/hrpt_dfo_ir_100.jpg

    and/or

    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/satellite/hrpt_dfo_nir_100.jpg

    daily, and judge cloud extent first before ripping up AGW theory as a get rich scheme for researchers.

    If the cloud domination continues unabated until end of August, and the melt is about as strong as 2008 or 2007 the ice is incredibly fragile (this is the current scenario), if there is a substantial difference in extent come september 12, 2009 having a lot more ice,
    it is not surprising, and this does not mean that AGW theory is done for, or the Pole is cooling. If the clouds continue a great overage of the Arctic Ocean and there is less ice extent than 2007………… yikes!

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 15 Jun 2009 @ 5:39 PM

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