Blowing In The Wind

Essentially all of the remaining Arctic ice is either thick or north of 80N, where temperatures are below freezing. Any changes in extent over the next few weeks will depend almost entirely on which way the wind blows.

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27 Responses to Blowing In The Wind

  1. Eric Webb says:

    That Arctic Storm did considerable damage to the ice pack, and the thickness is very slightly below 2007 at the moment according to JAXA, DMI, and NORSEX ice sites. However, the mean temperature above 80 degrees north is below freezing and 2007 was ABOVE freezing at this time of the year. Still some question marks about this year and whether or not this year will end up lower than 2007, but we should find out very soon.

    • Eric Webb says:

      Even with losses in the Northern Hemisphere, still is being countered by the gains being made over the antarctic.

      • Tony Duncan says:


        Really? the antarctic sea ice has increased by a few million kilometers in the last 20 years and has dramatically increased in thickness and volume? Better get Steve on this one to prove all the scientists and satellites are lying.

      • Eric Webb says:

        Tony, Antarctic and Arctic sea ice are expressed as percentages, considering how much sea ice the Antarctic had to start with and the fact that it has gained currently (+.679) versus the arctic which has lost a considerable amount (-2.271) one could argue we are losing SEA ice globally, and they are correct. However, remember the Arctic is surrounded by land, the Antarctic is surrounded ocean, and the ocean has 1000 times the heat capacity of air, if you do the math, you would see that the Antarctic sea ice gain is much more impressive because with it being surrounded by ocean, it takes a LARGER energy exchange to change the amount of sea ice there. You also need to consider the gains in continental ice over Antarctica and Greenland. Greenland, despite the warmists wishes did NOT melt, only the very top few centimeters melted in the middle of the day, then froze over again the next night. Any melting that occurred is very minute compared to the amount of snow and ice that falls year ’round in Greenland and Antarctica.

  2. miked1947 says:

    Over the next couple of weeks the wind factor will be down played, just as it was in 2007. Of course they still do not take the ice breakers into account.

    • Andy says:

      It was not downplayed in 2007, one of the reasons for the exceptional melt that year was the southerly winds both pushing the ice together and melting it in situe, it was written on the NSIDC website.

      The icebreakers comment is too funny to give serious response too. lol


      • miked1947 says:

        Therefore ice conditions in the Arctic are related to weather and ocean current conditions and not climate conditions.
        How many icebreakers are currently operating in the Arctic to destroy ice? Why else would the “Icebreakers” be there?

  3. Peter Ellis says:

    Fair enough. Given that all the satellite indices show 2012 currently below 2007, should we presume that you are declaring this year to be the worst Arctic melt in history? After all, by your logic, if this year’s extent happens to end up above 2007, that will only reflect wind patterns rather than actual melt.

  4. Andy says:

    “Essentially all of the remaining Arctic ice is either thick or north of 80N, where temperatures are below freezing”


    “However, the mean temperature above 80 degrees north is below freezing”

    Really? See below.

    Observed at: AlertDate: 7:00 AM EDT Thursday 16 August 2012
    Condition:Not observed Pressure:101.5 kPa
    Temperature:6.3°C Dewpoint:-3.1°C Humidity:51 % Wind:WSW 28 km/h

    Roughly sea ice will melt down to -2C and so there is still a large delta. You can see here that most of the area above 80N is actually above -2C

    The wind is always a good straw to clutch at though.


  5. Andy says:

    I did say roughly. Depends on age so your comment is not true either.

    As for ignorant, at least I know what the current temps are up there at the moment, they are not below freezing in general, as I showed.

    Do you think it will get below 4 million this year? As you mentioned earlier Steve this is not a special summer like 2007 and still it is a really strong melt season. Imagine if it had been like 2007 again.


  6. Julienne Stroeve says:

    ice extent is currently ~500,000 sq-km below that in 2007. Using ice loss rates for each year (1979-2011) until the minimum is reached show that only 2 years (1980 and 1994) have ice loss rates that would not result in a new record low given today’s sea ice extent. Note in 1980 the minimum was reached on September 1st. All other years have the minimum after the 1st of September.

    • It is a geometry problem, not a statistics problem. JAXA shows less than half the difference from 2007 as NSIDC, and almost all of the remaining high concentration ice is located north of 80 degrees – where it isn`t going to melt.

  7. Andy says:

    Thanks Julienne for the longer timescale details on ice melt from now on, that is not something I have to hand easily. If we look at

    we can see the end of the ice season is moving slightly out towards October from the 80’s to now so statistically I doubt we will have another 1980. It seems it will be more than likely to be nearer to October. Looking at JAXA from 1st August on daily melt rate


    It’s not exactly trailing down to the 40’s. 30’s and 20’s yet is it? That storm in early August must be worth some investigation, I would be interested to know what comes of that. It was hardly the sunny days with warm southerly breezes as per 2007 was it and yet large sea ice loss?? Initial thoughts?


      • Julienne Stroeve says:

        Steve, if you run a linear trend through the freeze-up date, it is positive. Thus, there is a trend towards later freeze-up dates.

    • Julienne Stroeve says:

      Andy, it’s true that this summer hasn’t had the perfect storm that 2007 had and yet the ice loss has been more dramatic (especially considering that the start of the melt season started out this year with more winter ice than in 2007). What that leads me to believe is that (1) the winter ice was thinner than in 2007, and perhaps even thinner than in some more recent years – really looking forward to validated Cryosat data to fully understand the thickness of the ice pack this year relative to other years, (2) the energy balance of the Arctic has changed in recent years so that more ice is melted each summer regardless of whether or not weather conditions are as conducive to ice loss as in 2007.

      In the past, a cyclonic summer pattern would tend to keep the extent high by spreading out the ice pack, but as the ice has become thinner, it actually seems to be fostering ice melt since open water areas develop during divergence that can enhance lateral and basal melt, allowing thinner ice to melt out.

      Btw. the average rate of ice loss for August from 1979-2000 is about 53,000 sq-km per day. If such an ice loss rate were to persist, it would drop below 4 million by the end of August. in 2007 the daily ice loss rate for August was 68,000 sq-km per day, in 2008 it was 82,000 sq-km per day and in 2011 it was 67,000 sq-km per day. That gives you an idea of what we can expect if recent years are representative of this year.

      • Eric Webb says:

        If ice is going to recover in the next several years, the mean temperatures over the north of the 80th parallel need to crash to around -30Fin the winter, because when you look at years like 2007, 2011. 2012, the mean temperatures struggled to get below 245K, and the subsequent summer ice melt season was strong. When you look at the decline in Arctic sea ice it really started to drop in the late 90s, which coincides with the warm PDO and AMO combination, and the fact that when you look at the DMI ice site mean temperatures over the arctic (, the last time they crashed to 235K (-38F) was in 1997. Also, note how often the temperatures were able to crash that low in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. It is a good reason why arctic ice was higher during that time. A good indicator of sea ice for the summer is the mean winter temperatures over the arctic. Also take into account arctic storms and wind patterns as well. I think that once the AMO cools by around 2020, and with the PDO already in its cold state, we should begin to see a dramatic increase in arctic sea ice, like what happened leading up to the 1970s and 80s. Until then, we will probably continue to see arctic ice relatively low for years to come. Also, keep in mind that the Antarctic sea ice is increasing and the continental ice/snow pack over Antarctica and Greenland is increasing every year, (despite the alarmists wishes).

      • Andy says:

        “In the past, a cyclonic summer pattern would tend to keep the extent high by spreading out the ice pack, but as the ice has become thinner, it actually seems to be fostering ice melt since open water areas develop during divergence that can enhance lateral and basal melt, allowing thinner ice to melt out. ”

        Sounds perfectly sound with not much ice to start with. Can this also be coupled with that in the past the lack of resolution of the instruments meant they smeared it together so pushed the value up. Now the lack of ice concentration is so much even the smearing cannot join up the dots.

        If that is true then it’s even less ice than we can currently “see” still.


  8. Julienne Stroeve says:

    Eric, it’s quite easy to test your hypothesis. I went to the NCEP reanalysis site and retrieved surface temperatures for 80-90N averaged for Dec to Feb. And I correlate this with the September ice extent. From 1953-2011 the correlation is -0.67, pretty good. But from 2000-2011 the correlation is only -0.18. This fits in with “the old rules no longer apply”.

    • Eric Webb says:

      However, you will notice how in many years since 1997, that the temperatures over the arctic were consistently around 245K-250K, sometimes even warmer in the winter, and a noticeable decline in sea ice has commenced. I don’t expect this to continue when the AMO cools. Like Joe Bastardi said, we are in a 1950s pattern with a cold PDO, Warm AMO, and in several years will be in a similar pattern to the 60s, when the AMO cooled. On the DMI site you will notice how much colder the winter arctic temperatures were as result of the flip to cold AMO in 1963, and the mean temperature consistently dropped below -30F. Look, the old rules DO still apply, and I have a simple forecast that by the time the AMO becomes cold around 2020, sea ice over the Arctic will increase in response.

      • Julienne Stroeve says:

        Eric, it’s real easy for you to investigate links between temperatures and sea ice, as well as how much the temperatures depends on the AMO and PDO. It’s better to download the data and run your statistics than trying to eyeball it.

  9. Andy says:

    Eric Web said

    “Also, keep in mind that the Antarctic sea ice is increasing”

    Is it though? It is increasing in rate of acrual over the lead up to the winter season but it is declining in the summer season at the standard rate, see here

    Actually 2008 and 2009 showed a big increase in rate of winter gain of extent which you cannot see here but even so the melt season was as expected. Sea ice in the Antarctic did not melt more slowly. Winter ice gain is actually due to wind patterns according to the British Antarctic Survey. Ironic considering winds are used as a reason for the Arctic.

    All indications are that increased winds are just pushing out the ice faster and a bit more in the winter months but it soon gets beaten down by the southern ocean global wind pattern and then the melt season.

    Antarctica is a completely different kettle of fish to the Arctic due to geography, comparisons should not be made lightly.


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