The 2017 Arctic Sea Ice Metric Minima

September has arrived once again, the month in which the assorted Arctic area and extent metrics (almost) always reach their respective annual minima. Now we can start to speculate about what the assorted minima will be, and on what date.

First of all let’s take a look at “Snow White’s” favourite high resolution AMSR2 metrics derived by “Wipneus” from University of Hamburg AMSR2 concentration data:



As you can see, today’s values are both higher than yesterday’s. Hence we already have potential minima to consider! In this case:

UH AMSR2 Area – 3.65 million km² on September 1st
UH AMSR2 Extent – 4.30 million km² on September 1st

Personally I don’t think those numbers will last long, and here’s one reason why. The “surf forecast” for the far North Atlantic for midday on September 6th:

Significant_height_of_combined_w in multi_1.glo_30mext.20170903_00029

Mean_period_of_swell_waves_order in multi_1.glo_30mext.20170903_00029

Some significant swells are currently forecast to batter the ice edge on the Atlantic side of the Arctic over the next few days.


[Edit – September 3rd PM]

Shock news! Tony Heller has made a prediction about this year’s minimum!! Unlike last year, this year the NSIDC 5 day average extent seems to be his Arctic metric of choice:


Tony tells his faithful flock:

The Arctic sea ice minimum this year is very likely going to be be larger than 2016, 2015, 2012, 2011 and 2007.

It is also likely that the minimum extent will be higher than 2010 and 2008.

Instead of reporting the huge gain in ice and massive failure of their forecasts, climate alarmists will report that extent was “8th lowest on record.”

All those years are on the graph above. We shall see.


[Edit – September 15th]

Our normal Arctic sea ice extent 2017 minimum service will be restored as soon as possible. Meanwhile here is the test card:

That comes to you via the Daily Express of all places!

On the way the cruise’s resident naturalist and Smithsonian lecturer, Michael Scott, risked the wrath of Trump supporters by pointing to some of the changes Greenland is undergoing.

A Nasa map based on data between 2004 and 2014 revealed that the ice is melting across most of Greenland – an area nine times the size of the UK.

Pulling together several papers, Michael said Greenland’s summer melt season now lasts 70 days longer than in the early 1970s.

This melting is unfreezing the fringes of the permafrost, which may explain why Nasa satellites are picking up fires raging where the ice has retreated.


[Edit – September 16th]

It is of course still to early to be 100% certain about this. However:


It certainly looks as though the bottom is in for the University of Hamburg AMSR2 extent: 4.25 million km² on September 11th.

It’s much the same story for JAXA extent:


4.47 million km² on September 9th and 10th.


[Edit – September 19th]

The NSIDC have followed in Snow White’s glass slippered footsteps and tentatively called the minimum:

On September 13, Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its seasonal minimum extent of 4.64 million square kilometers (1.79 million square miles), the eighth lowest in the 38-year satellite record. The overall rate of ice loss this summer was slowed by a persistent pattern of low sea level pressure focused over the central Arctic Ocean.

Please note that this is a preliminary announcement. Changing winds or late-season melt could still reduce the Arctic ice extent, as happened in 2005 and 2010. NSIDC scientists will release a full analysis of the Arctic melt season, and discuss the Antarctic winter sea ice growth, in early October.

The ever industrious Wipneus has also called the PIOMAS minimum volume for 2017:

Minimum volume was reached at 11th September: 4.542 103km3, which is fourth lowest after 2012, 2011 and 2016 (resp 3.673, 4.302, 4.402) and just below 2010 (4.582).

Watch this space!

54 thoughts on “The 2017 Arctic Sea Ice Metric Minima

  1. Wow your Fukkin dumb, and a Troll..
    Did Heller REALLY make a Prediction??
    Is 2017 minimum ‘Likely’ to be higher than 2016, 2015, 2012, 2011, 2007??

    If so what will that mean in terms of Gain, Loss..

  2. Jim, minima already? The next few days will be interesting, that’s for sure. On another matter, did you see that DMI scientists say there is a good chance the Greenland ice sheet grew this year?

      1. Jim, I was responding to your observation that “we already have potential minima to consider”.

        I wasn’t referring to your prediction that came right after (“Personally I don’t think…). I perceive you don’t countenance predictions, possibly even your own.

        As to the DMI scientists, it was Ruth Mottram, Peter Langen and Martin Stendel.

    1. It snowed – a lot. Some suggest that climate change could make this a more frequent occurence. But no doubt the trolls will make a fuss.

      1. Matthew, “news” is, by definition, something that is novel — i.e., something that has never happened, or not in a long time. The possibility of the Greenland ice sheet gaining ice for possibly the first time this century is therefore news, regardless of the cause. The fact that few people are picking up on that, or deriding the people who do as “trolls” is perplexing.

        Last November, there were many articles with the news that the Arctic was “on fire”. Even Jim chimed in, on November 20. Both events are probably of little relevance in the long-term (who knows?), but why trumpet one and bury the other?

        1. Perhaps the irritation is that a good possibility is that it is AGW that is the cause of additional snowfall – as I mentioned on my ASIF posting on greenland 2017 melt season at end Aug.

          The trolls twist anything and everything.

          1. Matthew, so AGW causes the Greenland ice sheet to get smaller, except for the years it causes it to get bigger. Got it. Thanks.

          2. I don’t think you have got it at all Michael.

            In this instance the Carbon Brief article attributed the increased precipitation to Hurricane Nicole.

      1. That does not show wave height….. 10 to 12 second wave periods tells nothing about the height.

        But we will have to wait what happens and if at all it can make an impact.

        Hurricane Irma’s path is still very unknown as well. Ventusky was first showing landfill at New York City as cat 2-3 storm, now its north/south Carolina border as cat 3-4 storm. Too many variables that constantly are changing.

        After such a low maximum extent in the spring, I do believe that the arctic has shown a remarkable melt season, which has surprised many. Whether it is 8th lowest or 3rd or 4th lowest. Many had thought it would go below 2012 levels, which it clearly doesn’t seem very likely anymore.

          1. Off course I lied. That is what everyone does. Those that have claimed that the arctic would be ice free yearly since 2007, people like Al Gore, have been waiting for it to become ice free. It has not happened yet. This years low maximum extent and the high temperatures worldwide (2017 supposedly second warmest year on record) was the ideal scenario to set new record low extent. I am sure that those who thought the arctic would be ice free in the past, were thinking that this could be the year. Oh well there is always next year.

          1. Jim, enjoyed that last comment to Henk and I didn’t know that stuff but my brother surfs so I can meditate away on what you just said….( He used to make me watch Kelly Slater videos and I did gain respect for that crazy occupation ) …

            …anyways, as I was about to say, …I just looked at nsidc for ANTARCTICA: is that looking extra-ordinarily strange at the moment or not?

            “Should I push the panic button or not?”, is what I’m asking!

          2. I had dinner in the house that appears in front of Kelly at 1:02 the day after that session. At the time I had no idea what had been going on earlier!

  3. I suspect Heller is using NSIDC because that is the one the annual ‘guess he minimum contest is based on. Not my favorite metric, for sure, given the 25KM resolution. I don’t enter that contest, because it’s more about guessing how far off they will be, vs what the extent will actually be. For that answer, a product like MASIE is preferred.

    BTW, given the 2016-2017 results, is it time to consider that Arctic ice is somewhat self-regulating, in that more exposed water in winter leads to lower water temps, which leads to less bottom melting in summer? Given that air temps are now averaging -4C above 80 degrees north, it’s only bottom melting from here on out.

    1. i would go further and say the wax and wane of arctic sea ice is the driver behind the amo cycle.consecutive years of high ice extent,particularly in winter prevent the arctic ocean and hence water recirculated back into the north atlantic from losing excessive amounts of heat . the reverse when extent is low.

      no matter how high air or water temps appear in the arctic it has to be remembered that the air and water transported to the arctic from warmer climes can only cool .

  4. Jim, Carbon Brief didn’t mention what Heller has shown clearly: it was a banner year for snow in much of Greenland. Saying it was all a result of one storm in October is not supported by facts. Happy 4th anniversary, by the way — all the best.

    1. Don’t expect to receive any brownie points in here for quoting Mr. Heller.

      Either he simply has no idea what he’s talking about or he deliberately pulls the wool over the eyes of his faithful flock.

      1. No need to cite Heller re: Greenland snow/ice. DMI has Surface Mass Balance up over 400 GT this season (ending 9/1) – lots of snow and not a lot of melt. Clock is reset to zero (relative to SMB measure, so it will take a while to see if this season is a repeat or not.

      2. Jim, I won’t cite Heller. I’ll just use DMI words and stats (such as they are available) and, for the start of Hurricane Nicole’s impact on Greenland, publicly available reports. I make some estimates below; if anyone has better numbers that we can plug in, please let me know.

        1. Hurricane Nicole (hereafter “HN”) started contributing to the Greenland SMB on Oct 19. It stopped doing so on Oct 31 (DMI, Carbon Brief post: “note the peaks in October”).
        2. What is a reasonable estimate of HN’s gross impact to the SMB? 50 Gt? There were days from Oct 19-31 with major accumulations, but several with nothing special. Let’s say 70 Gt.
        3. But, it normally snows in Greenland in October. What was the departure from the 1981-2010 SMB mean accumulation for the period Oct 19-31? Let’s say 40 Gt. That is HN’s net impact to the SMB increase.
        4. The SMB increase last year was 544 Gt. So, seven per cent can be attributed to HN. (I.e., 40 Gt divided by 544 Gt)
        6. Just looking at the SMB increase from the 1981-2010 mean, last year was up 176 Gt (i.e., 544 Gt subtract 368 Gt). So, HN’s net impact on the departure from the mean was roughly 23 per cent (i.e., 40 Gt divided by 176 Gt).
        7. The increase in the SMB for Aug 2017 was about 75 Gt. The 1981-2010 average increase in August is about two Gt.
        8. The Aug 2017 net impact on the SMB departure from the mean was almost twice as large as HN’s (i.e., 73 Gt divided by 176 Gt, or 41 per cent).

        In summary:
        a. It snowed a heck of a lot in Greenland from Sept 1, 2016, to Aug 31, 2017.
        b. HN, for 12 days in Oct 2016, had an impact on the SMB.
        c. The melt was, on net, on holiday in Aug 2017.
        d. DMI scientists characterizing HN as the “main culprit” in the SMB increase in 2016-17 is, at best, an exaggeration.

        I trust you find all this reasonable, Jim.

        1. Well Said Michael.

          It’s a shame that all these people want to do is be negative and minimize events as they took place. 2017 melt season both in the Arctic and the Greenland ice sheet have shown a remarkable different pattern from many years leading up to this year.

          So instead of acknowledging this as a significant different year that is going against the trends we have seen, they make it sounds like it was not significant at all. Like I said that is a shame.

          Sad thing is that these scientists that believe wholeheartedly in AGW are almost disappointed that this happening. Have not seen any positive reactions from them saying that maybe we have reached an end to the trend and that perhaps we are now going to see a recovery. And….I am not saying that one year is the start of making a recovery, but we can at least hope that this is the first in many years of better readings in ice melt and snow fall.

          1. Henk – There is no evidence that “we have reached an end to the trend”.

            You contradict yourself from one sentence to the next! We can certainly “hope that this is the first in many years of better readings”, but hoping won’t make it happen.

            Have you forgotten last winter already? Here’s another reminder for you:

          1. I didn’t say that Jim. Read carefully what I said!!

            I was disappointed that there never are any positive remarks.

            This year is showing results better compared to other years, whether you like it or not. This could be – didn’t say that it is- the start of the recovery.

            I am not making anything happen in the Arctic nor do you! We all should hope that Arctic sea ice returns to higher levels and that global temperatures are declining. Nothing wrong with hoping.

            You riding your bicycle JIM, instead of your car, will do nothing to help reduce CO2 levels; just as much as me hoping doesn’t!

          2. It seems you’ve missed the main gist of my comment Henk?

            The most recent Arctic winter was by far the warmest in the satellite era. What is there to cheer about?

            Me riding my bike instead of driving my car will reduce CO2 levels by a tiny amount. It will also reduce NOx and particulate levels around here by a tiny amount. As Darren points out, it also helps keep me happy and healthy!

  5. Riding your bike definitely makes you feel better than just hoping anything though…(nothing to offer on snow or ice sorry).

    1. I like riding my bike because I can’t surf!

      But seriously: Jim, the serious recovery in PIOMAS is a bit weird isn’t it?

      1. PIOMAS is a model, as I’m sure Mr. Heller would tell you if it suited his purposes. Personally I doubt whether it captures all the nuances of the new Arctic.

        During the aforementioned warm winter it was at “all time low” levels. Following this year’s cool summer it’s now above the all time low, but still well below 2013.

        Perhaps we can all be thankful that the Arctic has dodged another bullet this year?

        1. Maybe the Arctic ‘dodged a bullet’, but I’m not so sure about the planet. That ‘warm’ winter (actually far below 0 C) cost the planet a lot of stored heat radiating to space. I suspect the first indication of that is this summer’s ice, but another repeat of that pattern could have other effects next summer. Per DMI, we’re already seeing 80 degrees north creeping back above average (and at about -5C) after being at or below average since May. Will make for an interesting Winter. Will Greenland SMB increase for a second year? Will we see more icebergs as caving takes place under the enormous pressure of that icecap? Will some see that as a sign of warming, when it’s really just the opposite? Stay tuned!

      1. I’d say nonexistent, unless there is some very serious climatic upheaval that destroys a lot of these natural cycles. Might as well ask what happens if the Gulf Stream stops – impossible to predict, but clearly bad. A more significant worry, and one that’s easier to imagine, is if we get a higher frequency of La Ninas vs El Niño’s – lot of current speculation that we’re getting into one now, if so, any idea what that might do tocurrent ice trends?

  6. Refreeze occurring. Looks like a quick reconnection to the mainland in that East Siberian sea/ laptev sea region. Splitting the Arctic into two pieces which may refreeze more quickly. Your thoughts?

  7. Here ends a very bad season.
    Not being a Negative Nancy here, just realistic:
    North Atlantic waters seeping into the Arctic are warmer than ever, the Nares was open all year since last year, the SSTs all around are warmer, the overall Arctic Ocean volume (ignoring thick ice crushed against land) is close to the worst state on record at start of freezing season, if not the worst, the ice itself is said to be poor quality, the fire seasons are pouring more soot over the Arctic than ever, and the fire seasons are longer than before.

    This next paragraph was going to be the good news. I am trying really hard to see the good news here, and the idea that ‘we dodged a bullet’ being floated all over the internet now. I don’t see it. “Extent” is not telling the true state the overall Arctic Ocean.
    These general extent graphs are deceptive. I could be wrong, because I do think volume is the most important factor, and that volume in the overall Arctic Ocean to be the most important indicator, but the overall picture is very bad.

    Ok, I’ll try again to find something positive …
    I’m trying… help me out here. The only positive I can think of is that bigger and bigger storms in the Atlantic could cool surface waters (but that’s not very good news for those in the path of those storms). I would hope for a really cold winter over the Arctic, but that’s not likely. The only good news is there might be more snow than previous years (due to warmer air), and that could shield the ice a little next Spring. Can it help volume by next Sept.? I doubt it.

    So “dodging a bullet”, or “7th worst on record”, it is not.
    But wait for the science-deniers across the right-wing news to start shouting that “”the Arctic ice is in the best shape in years, and getting better.””

    If anyone can think of a positive outcome from this melt season let me know. I may have missed it.

  8. I’m amused by all the bollocks panic about sea ice as if it’s something really bad that there is a bit less of it.

    NASA said it was 8th lowest today. So what?

  9. So the minimum ice extent has come and gone and it did in fact surpass 7 of the last 11 years. In fact, if you look at a plot of the maximum and minimum extents since “An Inconvenient Truth” was published there has been no statistically valid change in either the maximum or the minimum at all.

    It is fair to say that sea ice extent does not tell the whole story regarding any possible effects of climate change on the far north – except that the same people making those statements have been endlessly pointing out that smaller sea ice extent is definitive evidence for anthropogenic global warming. You can’t have it both ways, folks. CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have continued to rise for the past 11 years but there has been no change in arctic sea ice extent. Maybe, just maybe, we don’t understand the enormously complex climate of this planet as well as some of us think we do.

  10. Sea ice extent is an indicator: complex systems are measured by indicators.

    It is not the only indicator.

    Multi Year Sea Ice is another indicator.

    This is why we know Climate Change is a problem and even Trump knows it.

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