September is here once again, so the assorted minima of a variety of Arctic sea ice metrics will be reached soon, if they haven’t happened already!
In the latter category let’s first take a look at the NSIDC’s 5 day averaged SSMIS based Arctic sea ice extent:
It looks entirely feasible that the current minimum of 4.29 million square kilometres on September 7th will hold for the rest of the calendar year. The daily NSIDC number is currently 4.24 million km² on September 4th.
By way of contrast the JAXA/ViSHOP AMSR2 based extent hit a new low of 4.11 million km² yesterday:
And what of our much beloved high resolution AMSR2 metrics derived by “Wipneus” from the University of Hamburg’s AMSR2 concentration data? Area certainly looks to be past the minimum for this year, whereas extent is still conceivably capable of another push lower:
The provisional minimum extent for 2019 is 3.80 million km² on September 3rd.
The minimum Arctic sea ice volume generally occurs slightly later than area or extent. The data certainly arrives later! Here’s the PIOMAS graph up to August 31st:
Note that Arctic wide modelled volume is only slightly higher than in 2012 at the same time of year, but there is a noticeably greater percentage gap in extent. That implies that average ice thickness across the Arctic is lower in 2019 than in 2012.
Note also that the thickest ice is no longer located along the north coasts of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Here are the equivalent maps for previous years for comparison purposes:
Perhaps JAXA extent will head still lower over the next few days? Perhaps PIOMAS volume will sneak below 2012 before the peripheral refreeze begins?
[Edit – September 13th]
JAXA Arctic sea ice extent has reached a new minimum of 4.09 million km².
NSIDC daily extent is currently 4.28 million km², still just above the September 4th minimum.
[Edit – September 14th]
JAXA Arctic sea ice extent has reached a new minimum of 4.05 million km², which now puts it below the 2007 minimum that occurred somewhat later in September:
[Edit – September 14th PM]
NSIDC 5 day averaged extent has also (by a whisker!) reached a new minimum for the year of 4.285 million km²:
Arctic tours ship MS MALMO with 16 passengers on board got stuck in ice on Sep 3 off Longyearbyen, Svalbard Archipelago, halfway between Norway and North Pole. The ship is on Arctic tour with Climate Change documentary film team, and tourists, concerned with Climate Change and melting Arctic ice. All 16 Climate Change warriors were evacuated by helicopter in challenging conditions, all are safe. 7 crew remains on board, waiting for Coast Guard ship assistance.
Something is very wrong with Arctic ice, instead of melting as ordered by UN/IPCC, it captured the ship with Climate Change Warriors.
Not a lot of people know that despite all that purple prose Malmö has somehow managed to emerge unscathed from the clutches of the sea ice on the other side of Svalbard from Longyearbyen:
It will come as no surprise to our regular readers that the web site of our even older friend Anthony Watts has also published the self same story, also without the happy ending.
Whilst it is reasonable to assume that Paul and Anthony are not fluent in Norwegian, it seems they are also unfamiliar with Google. If they had performed the merest modicum of due diligence and employed the services of Google translate before pressing the “publish” button they would have discovered the coverage of the “massive false information” about the Malmö’s story in the Svalbard Post, published on September 5th:
Trygve Monsen and expedition leader Tore Toppe were among the 16 who were evacuated when MS Malmö got stuck in the ice on Tuesday. They respond strongly to what they call misinformation on the right-wing website document.no
Those who were on board MS Malmö have a completely different version of events.
“First, we are not Swedish. We are a group of middle aged Norwegians following the route of the Ahlmann expedition of 1931“, says Trygve Monsen. He himself has worked for the Norwegian press for a long time, particularly Aftenposten, where he has been both digital manager and correspondent in Berlin.
Together with Expedition Chief Tore Topp, Monsen arrived at the Svalbard Post on Thursday. He had tried to contact document.no many times before that, to correct the false information. They also say that they are not climate activists.
“No way. But when you are in the Arctic, and have been here many times over several years, you can’t help but notice what is happening to the environment up here”, says Topp. This is the seventh expedition he has led in the Arctic.
The evacuation of MS Malmö on Tuesday took place without significant drama. The boat was surprised by harsh ice conditions and eventually got stuck. The captain decided to ask for evacuation, for safety. The Governor came by helicopter and after a few minutes all the passengers were evacuated. The crew on the boat remained on board, and later got help from KV “Andenes” to get out of the sea ice.
In other old news the southern route through the Northwest Passage opened on August 15th this year, although with the assistance of the icebreaker CCGS Terry Fox the MS Bremen made it through a few days earlier:
[Edit – September 11th]
MS Malmö is now back in the range of an AIS receiver, whilst apparently en route back to Norway:
[Edit – September 12th]
I ventured onto Twitter this morning, where I discovered Matt Ridley regurgitating the same nonsense about MS Malmö, plus this news from the Norwegian Coastguard:
Kystvakten fikk melding om at MS Malmø trengte assistanse sør i Hinlopen-stredet. Da KV Andenes kom frem til området hadde MS Malmø klart å komme seg løs fra isen i åpen råk. Fartøyet ble eskortert ut av området og MS Malmø går nå for egen maskin tilbake til Longyearbyen. pic.twitter.com/ZFpa6fEmCN
Yet another greenie expedition to the Arctic to raise awareness of ‘global warming’ has been scuppered by unexpected large quantities of ice.
Furthermore James has brought my attention to the fact that my foolish numbering system is out of date. According to his reckoning MS Malmö is actually “Ship of Fools IV”. Mind you he’s also claiming that Northabout was “Ship of Fools II”, which is obviously another porkie pie of epic proportions.
James also repeats the “stuck in ice off Longyearbyen” nonsense. For Donald, James, Paul, Anthony, Matt et al. here’s the current view of all the sea ice off Longyearbyen, via Joss Stone on Twitter:
Wow, this place is stunning. Feel very lucky to be here. Cant wait to share our experiences with you. Now, where can I get a cup of tea? #arcticpic.twitter.com/JpjbS48Ebj
In actual fact there is of course currently less sea ice in the Arctic than in any previous year (in the satellite record) apart from 2012:
[Edit – September 13th]
Today on Twitter I’ve found myself in conversation about #MalmoGate with Ken. He doesn’t say an awful lot, but he appears to think that MS Malmö being “surprised by harsh ice conditions” is significant in some way:
What’s that supposed to prove Ken?
According to #WUWT “MS Malmo… got stuck in ice on Sep 3 off Longyearbyen”
The captain would have been very surprised to encounter such conditions, because that’s unadulterated ballcocks! #MalmoGate
One of the things that is actually significant about the 2019 melting season is quite the reverse of that. The Swedish icebreaker Oden spent a couple of weeks pootling around in the Sherard Osborn Fjord in North Greenland without getting “stuck in the vanishing Arctic ice”:
[Edit – September 14th]
What Ken, Paul Joseph, Donald, James, Paul, Anthony, Matt et al. evidently fail to comprehend is that the sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean doesn’t merely expand and contract with the seasons. It also moves. Just in case any of them do get around to doing a modicum of due diligence, take a good long look at this animation of Arctic sea ice age from the September 2015 minimum to the end of August this year:
[Edit – September 15th]
It has just come to my attention that our very old friend Tony Heller (the artist formally known as Steve Goddard) has somewhat belatedly jumped on the MalmoGate bandwagon:
The June PIOMAS Arctic sea ice gridded thickness numbers have been released. Here once again is Wipneus’ visualisation thereof:
The Arctic wide volume graph does not make a pretty sight:
The recent rapid rate of decline has continued through the second half of June and PIOMAS modelled volume is now lowest for the date in the Polar Science Center’s records.
The various methods of measuring Arctic sea ice thickness don’t produce meaningful results during the summer, so let’s move on to area and extent. Arctic wide high resolution AMSR2 area and extent remain “lowest for the date”, although it currently looks as though 2016 may regain that dubious honour in the near future:
Confining the view to the Arctic Basin there is no doubt that 2019’s position will not be in doubt for quite some time:
The apparent discrepancy is explained by taking a closer look at the Atlantic side of the Arctic:
Some of the thicker ice that has continued to be exported from the central Arctic in the direction of the North Atlantic is surviving there, for the moment at least.
In my humble opinion summer in the Arctic summer starts on June 1st, so let’s check the current sea ice situation in the once frozen North. For details of the preconditioning of the ice during the Arctic spring see “Melt Pond May“, where I concluded that:
Compared with 2016 at the same time of year I am compelled to say that with June 1st just around the corner the 2019 summer melting season is primed to progress more quickly.
Currently extent is significantly below 2012, albeit somewhat above 2016 at the same time of year. And what of melt ponds? In 2012 there was evidence of less snow cover over land and more surface water on the ice on the Siberian side of the Arctic. Other than that Arctic sea ice in 2019 looks to be in worse shape than in 2012.
And how have things progressed over the last few days? Take a look at this:
Our “Arctic Basin” metric encompasses the Central Arctic plus the Beaufort, Chukchi, East Siberian and Laptev Seas. It is currently headed into uncharted waters. The effect on overall Arctic sea ice extent is also readily visible:
This year both the CPOM version of CryoSat-2 thickness and the University of Bremen’s SMOS thickness maps are continuing to be published during the melting season:
Take them with a large pinch of salt at this time of year!
Finally, for the moment at least, liquid water is starting to seep out of the Lena Delta:
For comparison purposes please also take a look at the same date in 2016:
and the previous date in 2012:
[Edit – June 4th]
A significant area of the Laptev Sea ice is now turning a much darker shade of blue using the band 7-2-1 false colour combination:
In addition the DMI >80N temperature metric has reached the zero Celsius line well ahead of schedule:
[Edit – June 5th]
The May PIOMAS numbers have been released! Here is the Wipneus generated state of play on May 31st:
Again, as in previous years, the spread in the dynamical models are larger compared with statistical models. Overall, the heuristic method has the lowest projected September sea-ice extent value with a median at 4.09 million square kilometers, and the dynamical models have the highest number with the median at 4.56 million square kilometers.
[Edit – June 23rd]
Arctic wide sea ice area is now lowest for the date in the high resolution AMSR2 record, although extent has yet to follow suit:
If you exclude the peripheral seas, which are all largely ice free by mid September in this day and age, the picture is extremely stark:
A brief glimpse through the clouds reveals that the North Pole is now starting to feel the recent heat:
[Edit – June 27th]
Arctic wide sea ice extent is now lowest for the date in the high resolution AMSR2 record:
Here’s Arctic wide sea ice area, which is still well below the rest of the pack:
[Edit – June 29th]
As the end of the month draws near let’s take a look at sea ice area along a couple of the famous sea routes above the Arctic Circle. First of all here’s the Northern Sea Route, comprising the Kara, Laptev, East Siberian and Chukchi Seas:
Next here’s the Northwest Passage, comprising the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas plus the channels of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and Baffin Bay:
For completeness here too are the current Arctic wide area and extent numbers:
Al Gore predicted in 2007 that by 2013 the Arctic Ocean would be completely ice free. In the summer of 2012 ice levels did reach all time lows in the Arctic. Emboldened by this report Australian Professor Chris Turney launched an expedition in December of 2013 to prove that the Antarctic Sea Ice was also undergoing catastrophic melting only to have his ship trapped in sea ice such that it could not even be rescued by modern ice-breakers.
The Professor should have known that a more accurate estimate of sea ice can be had from satellite images taken every day at the Poles since 1981. These images show that between summer and winter, regardless of the degree of summer melting, the sea ice completely recovers to its original size the winter before for almost every year since the pictures were taken. The sea ice has been stubbornly resistant to Al Gore’s predictions. In fact the average annual coverage of sea ice has been essentially the same since satellite observations began in 1981. However that has not stopped global warming advocates and even government agencies from cherry picking the data to mislead the public.
I also like to think that I’m something of an expert on the way “skeptical” folks cherry pick the data to mislead the public. For example I once wrote a post about David Rose‘s Mail on Sunday article concerning Al Gore’s interpretation of Prof. Wieslaw Maslowski’s research into Arctic sea ice decline. Hence I felt compelled to comment on this most recent of misleadling WUWT articles about polar ice!
As luck would have it Guy McPherson recently interviewed Wieslaw about events back in 2007 and his more recent research on Arctic sea ice melt. Here is a video recording of their conversation:
I endeavoured to bring this most relevant piece of information to the attention of Anthony’s loyal readership last night (UTC) as follows:
This morning my pertinent comment is still “awaiting moderation”.
That suggests snow cover over land is close to recent lows, which is confirmed by the Rutgers University snow cover anomaly graph for April:
This year is anomalously low, but not by as much as 2012 and 2016. For completeness, here also is the current US National Ice Center snow cover map:
Moving on to melt ponds, there are plenty to be seen on the fast ice around the Mackenzie river delta:
There also seem to be signs of some at a higher latitude off Ostrov Kotelny in the New Siberian Islands:
This year there is also a lot of open water in the Chukchi Sea, and almost no sea ice left in the Bering Sea:
Compared with 2016 at the same time of year I am compelled to say that with June 1st just around the corner the 2019 summer melting season is primed to progress more quickly.
The next obvious comparison to make is with the (in)famous year of 2012, which resulted in the lowest ever minimum extent in the satellite record. Firstly let’s look at the National Snow and Ice Data Center’s graph of Arctic sea ice extent:
Currently extent is significantly below 2012, albeit somewhat above 2016 at the same time of year. And what of melt ponds? In 2012 there was evidence of less snow cover over land and more surface water on the ice on the Siberian side of the Arctic:
Other than that Arctic sea ice in 2019 looks to be in worse shape than in 2012.
[Edit – May 27th]
We’ve established that the extent of Arctic sea ice at the end of May 2019 is less than in 2012, but something else to consider is whether that ice is currently thicker than in 2012, or not. Satellites can have a reasonable stab at measuring the area of sea ice, but the third dimension is much trickier. The European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 satellite has been attempting to measure sea ice thickness since 2010, so let’s take at the conclusions it has reached:
Don’t forget to take a good long look at the associated uncertainties too:
According to Randall’s last but one update he’ll be stopping in St. Johns before heading for the Arctic Circle:
“Have you explained why your first stop is St John’s?” asked a friend recently, “Not New York, Boston, Camden, Lunenberg, Halifax, to name just, well, five?”
It is a good question, and the answer is simple: I never considered going anywhere else because a) St John’s is decidedly on the Figure 8 route and b) it has the required marine facilities and big grocery stores. And did I mention, it’s right on the route?
Actually, I did flirt briefly with the idea of Boston, thinking that goods there would be cheaper and marine facilities, more diverse. And though it does save some 500 miles of sailing on this inbound leg, Boston is so far west that it adds 1,000 miles to the leg up to the Arctic. So, I’ve decided to stick to the most logical stop.
St. John’s is less than a thousand miles north now. In any worthy wind, we’d be there before the end of the month. But when your average speed is 3.9 knots…you don’t do the when-do-we-make-port math.
Interestingly the background to Moli’s live tracking map is from Windy.com.
[Edit – June 10th]
It’s very early in the melting season to be reporting on this event, but any early bird traversing the Northwest Passage from west to east could now sail through open water around Point Barrow, along the Alaskan and Canadian coast and into the Amundsen Gulf. Here’s the latest sea ice concentration chart for Alaskan waters from the US National Weather Service:
Whilst we’re here why don’t we take a look at how Randall is getting along in Moli. According to his latest blog post he is now in Halifax scraping barnacles off Moli’s bottom!
On Friday, June 8, day 245 of the Figure 8 Voyage, I hauled Mo here at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron. My expectations were that the bum would be nearly spotless. Instead, we had a new crop of hitchhikers coming in at the base of those older barnacles that remained.
Lessons Learned: “There is no good bottom paint for aluminum boats,” says my friend, fellow cruiser, and aluminum boat builder, Gerd Marggraff. Prior to departure, I had applied three generous coats of a bottom paint known specifically to ward off hard growth, but barnacles are superior beings, able to penetrate even the best defenses.
An early jump. I might have had an easier time of it if I’d dived the hull before the first Cape Horn rounding, when the barnacles were young and few.
In hindsight, I think I could have dived the hull with some success, even when the barnacles had matured into a reef. I found here in the yard that the “hold fast” (the glue that holds the barnacle fast to the hull) was easier to remove with a sharpened spatula than I had thought. It would have been a big job, taking a full day or more–but not impossible.
[Edit – June 15th]
Delving deeper into the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, the clouds have cleared over “Amundsen’s Route” through the Northwest Passage to reveal extensive melt ponding:
Bellot Strait appears to be largely free of sea ice already:
[Edit – August 16th]
After a tense wait Bellot Strait has recently become blocked by 9/10 concentration sea ice but the southern route through the Northwest Passage via Peel Sound is now open to any vessel willing to cope with 6/10 concentration or less:
At the beginning of April 2019 all the assorted Arctic sea ice extent metrics are at their respective lowest levels for the date in the satellite record. Just for a change let’s start with the JAXA/ViSHOP graph for April 1st, based on AMSR2 data:
That shows extent apparently on an inexorable decline. However the higher resolution graphs derived by Wipneus from University of Hamburg AMSR2 concentration data reveal that Arctic sea ice extent has changed little over the last couple of days, and area has even increased somewhat:
Watch this space for some other extent graphs once they’ve updated to April 1st. In particular the DMI’s version of events will be of great interest, since by way of a little All Fools Day fun I passed on the latest Arctic sea ice news to Tony Heller and the denizens of his “Deplorable Climate Science Blog” yesterday. They were not amused! By way of example, Rah solemnly informed me that:
Tony consistently has used the DMI data as his primary source on the conditions in the Arctic, while you jump to whatever source you think justifies your bias. Get a life. Arctic air temps this year so far have been running below what they were at this time last year.
This is the graph that Steve/Tony used in an attempt to make his point:
Since the FMI make the gridded data available as well as that visualisation, here’s a closer look at the Bering/Chukchi area:
There’s an awful lot of thin ice in the region ripe for rapid melting now that the sun is shining down for a rapidly increasing number of hours per day. Over on the other side of the North Pole there’s also some significant swell forecast to hit the Atlantic edge of the Arctic ice pack. Here’s the current WaveWatch III forecast for 09:00 UTC tomorrow morning:
Finally, for the moment at least, here are the current Arctic wide high resolution AMSR2 sea ice area and extent graphs:
[Edit – March 22nd]
This Sentinel 1 SAR image of the Lincoln Sea from PolarView suggests that the northern arch of the Nares Strait is breaking up once again:
It is therefore conceivable that sea ice in the Lincoln Sea will continue to break up and flow south through the Nares Strait for the entire 2018/2019 winter.
[Edit – March 23rd]
Bering Sea ice area has “rebounded” over the last few days:
and taken the Arctic wide metrics with it:
Here’s the latest Sentinel 1 SAR image of the Lincoln Sea and northern Nares Strait:
[Edit – March 24th]
The “rebound” has reversed:
With temperatures above freezing point across the Bering and Chukchi Sea forecast for tomorrow morning expect the decline in Arctic sea ice extent to accelerate:
[Edit – March 25th]
There was a 162k decline in high resolution extent yesterday:
Here also is the current state of the thick sea ice exiting the Lincoln Sea via the Nares Strait:
[Edit – March 27th]
Here’s another week’s merged CryoSat-2/SMOS thickness data from the Finnish Meteorological Institute:
[Edit – March 30th]
We’re still waiting for Wipneus’ Raspberry Pi to crunch the high resolution AMSR2 numbers, but here’s the latest from JAXA:
2019 currently in 3rd place by a whisker.
P.S. The high resolution AMSR2 numbers are out:
Area is certainly lowest for the date in the AMSR2 era. Extent will almost certainly achieve that status tomorrow. Excluding the two most peripheral seas reveals perhaps an even more worrying picture?
[Edit – March 31th]
Arctic sea ice coverage is now firmly in the “lowest extent for the date in the satellite record” category, whichever metric you care to choose:
The NSIDC 5 day average is in a “statistical tie” for first place with 2017:
It’s been a long wait for the first ever Great White Con Arctic Basin Big Wave (Fantasy?) Surfing Contest to remove the ‘F’ from the overlong acronym. However currently the omens are bad for the sea ice in the Arctic Basin, which is sadly good for the GWCABBWSC. As we announced yesterday, there is already plenty of open water in the Chukchi Sea north of the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska:
All of which means that today we are extremely unhappy to be able to announce that the waiting period for the Great White Con Arctic Basin Big Wave Surfing Contest 2019 began on March 1st.
Earlier this week I posed a little conundrum over on Twitter. Here it is:
Nobody has called the Great White Con Ivory Towers hotline with the correct answer as yet, so today we can also reveal that the third in our series of Arctic Basin equipment evaluations took place last Wednesday on the outskirts of Newquay in North Cornwall. Here’s a slightly less obscure clue for the pub quiz fanatics amongst you:
As you can see from my neoprene encased image on Twitter, I was perhaps slightly over dressed for the weather conditions last week. I was wearing a C-Skins thermal rash vest with integrated hood inside my ancient Gul 5/4/3 winter wetsuit plus Tiki 6 mm socks and 2 mm webbed gloves. Even my fingers were more than warm enough on the day, although it’s fair to say that conditions weren’t typical for late summer in the Arctic Basin! What’s more they weren’t even typical for Newquay, since the weather on Wednesday was the tail end of a “heat wave” involving the highest February temperatures in England since the Met Office’s records began:
What with one thing and another warming wise we’re confidently(ish) anticipating that the Great White Con big wave surf team will be searching the shores of the Arctic Basin on their electric powered jetskis for potential big wave spots by early September 2019. Unfortunately the opposing “Great Green Con” team haven’t worked out how to drive a jetski yet, but hopefully we can resolve that minor problem before the Arctic refreeze begins once again?
Regular readers who also follow the surfing news may recall that Great White Con team leader Andrew Cotton broke his back during his award winning wipeout at Nazaré in Portugal back in November 2017?
I spoke to Cotty yesterday and he assured me that his back was already healed sufficiently to take on the biggest waves the Arctic might care to offer over the coming months. However the same doesn’t yet apply to his more recent knee injury:
He expects to be fully fit by the end of the Northern Hemisphere summer, but failing that Cotty’s team partner Garrett McNamara has also successfully returned from injury recently, and hasn’t yet hurt anything else!
By the end of the long contest waiting period we will also have selected the lucky winner of our 2019 “New Einstein” competition who will be able to enjoy being fitted with one of our custom polar bear suits before partnering with “Great Green Con” team leader David Rose. Here’s our artist’s impression of a forthcoming GGC team equipment evaluation session on the next big swell to hit Nazaré:
With apologies to Pedro Miranda, Andrew Cotton and polar bears worldwide.
Watch this space!