2011-07-20 14:50:00Arctic Sea Ice
Robert Way


Is Anyone else finding the sea ice results somewhat scary?

2011-07-20 15:45:17
Rob Painting

It's just a natural cycle. Alligators used to live in the Arctic Circle, so the Earth's been warmer.

2011-07-20 20:21:32How will they spin this at WUWT?
John Cook

Predictions, anyone?
2011-07-20 23:50:25John Cook
John Hartz
John Hartz

WUUT Spin:

"The plot was transposed."

"God wants man to have access to the vast stores of petroleum under the Arctic ocean."

"The relationship between ice melt and climate change has yet to be proven."

"Aliens on the moon are zapping the Arctic ice with lasers."

"Mother Nature works in mysterious ways."

"Antarctice ice is growing and the balance of Nautre is thus preserved."

"A new ice age was predicted in the 1970s." 

PS -- The Devil made me do it!

2011-07-21 00:18:56


Is it possible that seaice will melt almost entierly in september before 2020? If we look at the figures - then the answer is "yes it is possible", but I have hard time imagining this...

Prediction for the seaice minimum would be between 4 and 4,5 million km2, as I guessed here - but under 4 million is not impossible if we look at the figure for today...

2011-07-21 02:31:11


The Arctic ice is recovering nicely - as compared to the Jurassic era.  ;-)


Given that the ice is averagely much younger now - hence thinner - it is no surprise that we are seeing volume anomalies.  The ice is now trending below 2007 levels in terms of both extent and thickness.  I predict an end of year extent report from NSIDC showing 2011 as the lowest, 2nd lowest or - at best - 3rd lowest ever.  Bearing in mind the loss of older, thicker ice, any one of those 3 results would represent the lowest volume ever.


Note to self: I must update my blog on this topic. :-)

2011-07-21 02:40:29
Dana Nuccitelli

Svatli - based on the volume data, the Arctic could be almost ice free in the Summer by 2016 (the Navy has done some good presentations about this).  Based on sea ice area, it looks closer to 2030.  It will be interesting to see which death spiral wins out.

I suspect WUWT will conveniently forget to mention sea ice extent this year.  Unless it slips above a previous year, and then they'll celebrate that it's not a record and therefore AGW is nothing to worry about.  They certainly won't talk about the volume data.

2011-07-21 03:21:47


We have to bear in mind that no volume equals no extend... But the ice could persist longer than the worst case scenarios - and if so that will most certainly entertain some of the "skeptic" sites like f.x. WUWT, they are not bothered with the facts anyway...

2011-07-21 03:43:40
Rob Honeycutt


This is just a guess but I bet once the ice really starts to go, it'll go fast.  If this season sees a significant drop below 2007 we won't see any "recovery" the following year.  Year to year after that will be precipitous and shocking.

After that we'll be talking about how many days of ice free conditions.  

2011-07-21 03:57:55

2011-07-21 05:53:26
Alex C


Isn't thin ice also more susceptible to flushing out of the northern latitudes?  Simply extrapolating a trend won't necessarily give a good indication of what will happen once we reach its end, it may cut off shorter than we expect.  On the other hand, I don't know if that would indeed be the case - I have not heard of alternative mechanisms though by which thinner ice would have a *greater* chance of survival than thicker ice, or even those general conditions, and simply referring to the sea ice extent data is not a sufficient method of determining an ice-free summer in any case.

As to how it would be spun, I think Dana hit the nail on the head that nothing short of a record low extent will be spun to mean the ice isn't melting, and re. the volume data too - what volume data?

2011-07-21 06:04:00comment
Robert Way


I was going to do a post a while back on some exploratory analysis which looked at the relationship between ice volume and arctic/global temperatures. I found that the sea ice volume has a stronger correlation with temperature anomaly than it even does with sea ice area... take that how you will...

2011-07-21 07:06:22


Tamino is now predicting 4.66 million km^2 (+/- 0.66 million km^2) - see Ice Forecast Update

I'm still going for 4-4,5 million km^2

2011-07-21 08:34:19Yale environment 360 post
John Hartz
John Hartz

20 Jul 2011: Extreme North Pole Heat
Contributing to Rapid Loss of Sea Ice

North Pole temperatures that have been 11 to 14 degrees F higher than normal, coupled with an early melting of sea ice and low snow cover in the Far North, have caused a swift retreat of sea ice this summer and could mean that the Arctic Ocean in 2011 will have the smallest sea ice extent ever recorded. The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado (NSIDC) reported that as of July 17, sea ice covered 2.92 million square miles in the Arctic Ocean, 865,000 square miles below the 1979 to 2000 average. Sea ice extent is now lower than it was in mid-July 2007, which saw the record minimum set that year. The NSIDC attributed the accelerating sea ice loss to several factors: Above-average temperatures over much of the Arctic Ocean, a sea-ice melt season that began two weeks to two months earlier in much of the Arctic basin, and low snow cover over northern Eurasia, which further intensified regional warming.

2011-07-21 09:17:1911 to 14 degrees higher than normal!
John Cook


I have mixed feelings about this news. On the one hand, it rams home the "Arctic is the canary in the coalmine" narrative and hard to see deniers spin this (although Badger does have some good suggestions above, some of which I fully expect to see on WUWT, especially the Antarctic one). On the other hand, it's dreadful to see these positive feedbacks actually coming to fruition.

2011-07-22 00:29:07Speking of climate change feedbacks...
John Hartz
John Hartz

Where on SkS can I finda a comprehensive list of ongoing and potential (near-term and far-term) climate change feedbacks?