Facts About the Arctic in April 2024

Starting this month with a look at assorted volume/thickness data, here is the CryoSat-2/SMOS merged Arctic sea ice thickness map for March 31st:

Plus the associated volume graph, which still suffers from a gap in the near real time data due to the problem with the SMOS satellite during the first half of March:

The PIOMAS gridded thickness data for March 2024 is also available. Here’s the end of month thickness map:

Plus the calculated volume graph:

Especially for Peter, here too is the DMI’s chart of monthly Arctic sea ice volume for March:

Continue reading Facts About the Arctic in April 2024

Tony Heller Sets Arctic Shark Jump World Record!

This is a photograph of a Greenland shark:

(c) Eric Ste Marie https://www.husseylab.com/

You will no doubt be astonished to learn that shark jumping supremo Tony Heller has just jumped over the entire East Greenland population of this long lived but officially vulnerable species. Without harming a single one!

Over on XTwitter “Steve”/Tony was recently shown this video which graphically reveals the declining age of the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean:

He responded as follows:

According to the “summary for skeptics” of the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate:

Winds associated with the climatological Arctic sea level pressure pattern drive the Beaufort Gyre and the Transpolar Drift Stream, which retains sea ice within the central Arctic Basin, and exports sea ice out of the Fram Strait, respectively. There is high confidence that sea ice drift speeds have increased since 1979, both within the Arctic Basin and through Fram Strait, attributed to thinner ice and changes in wind forcing. Fram Strait sea ice area export estimates range between 600,000 to 1 million km² of ice annually, which represents approximately 10% of the ice within the Arctic Basin

However according to Tony Heller the total “amount” of sea ice in the Arctic is “a largely meaningless metric”. Tony 1 – IPCC 0.

Earlier today one of his flock of faithful followers spotted the time travelling USS Skate (SSN -578) casting a mysterious shadow on the sea ice 65 years to the day after surfacing in an alleged giant polynya at the North Pole:

Hence for Tony’s next astounding acrobatic accomplishment he has boldly undertaken to walk a tightrope from the mightiest of the Great White Con Ivory Towers, here on the shores of Santa’s secret summer swimming pool, to the tip of USS Skate’s tallest communications antenna.


“Snow White” felt compelled to applaud Mr. Heller’s bravery in the face of (almost) overwhelming odds as follows:

Watch this space!

Facts About the Arctic in March 2024

It looks as though the 2024 Arctic sea ice melting season has begun. For much greater detail see the 2024 maximum extent thread. However, here’s the latest JAXA Arctic sea ice extent graph:

Here too is an animation of sea ice motion on the Atlantic periphery, showing the effect of the passage of several Arctic cyclones through the area over the past 5 weeks or so:

[Update – March 4th]

My usual start of month processing hasn’t gone according to plan. Thanks to Lars Kaleschke at the Alfred Wegener Institute for the following information:

SMOS went into safe mode on 22 February 2024 at 05:10 UTC for reasons that are still under investigation.

The spacecraft has been back in nominal mode since 25 February 2024 and on 27 February 2024, the MIRAS instrument was switched on and is currently performing well.

The reload of the nominal acquisition planning is underway, and if all science data quality checks are positive, nominal data production and dissemination will resume in the coming days.

Continue reading Facts About the Arctic in March 2024

The 2024 Maximum Arctic Sea Ice Extent

“The time has come”, the Walrus said, “to talk of many things… Of why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings“.

And also about the assorted different Arctic sea ice extent metrics, and in particular their respective maxima for 2024.

Here is Zack Labe’s overview of previous years’ maxima from a few days ago:

Zack’s graph displays the JAXA/ViSHOP version of Arctic extent, so here too is JAXA’s own graph of the current sea ice extent:

JAXA extent is based on data from the AMSR2 instrument on the GCOM-W satellite, and shows no evidence yet of a local maximum, let alone an annual one for 2024.

However see also AWI’s “high resolution” AMSR2 area metric:

Continue reading The 2024 Maximum Arctic Sea Ice Extent

Will the AMO Save Arctic Sea Ice?

According to Michael Mann he coined the name “Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation”:

Two decades ago, in an interview with science journalist Richard Kerr for the journal Science, I coined the term the “Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation” (the “AMO” for short) to describe an internal oscillation in the climate system resulting from interactions between North Atlantic ocean currents and wind patterns. These interactions were thought to lead to alternating decades-long intervals of warming and cooling centered in the extratropical North Atlantic that play out on 40-60 year timescales (hence the name). Think of the purported AMO as a much slower relative of the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), with a longer timescale of oscillation (multidecadal rather than interannual) and centered in a different region (the North Atlantic rather than the tropical Pacific).

More recently Mann et al. claimed that in actual fact the AMO does not exist.

For several decades the existence of interdecadal and multidecadal internal climate oscillations has been asserted by numerous studies based on analyses of historical observations, paleoclimatic data and climate model simulations. Here we use a combination of observational data and state-of-the-art forced and control climate model simulations to demonstrate the absence of consistent evidence for decadal or longer-term internal oscillatory signals that are distinguishable from climatic noise. Only variability in the interannual range associated with the El Niño/Southern Oscillation is found to be distinguishable from the noise background.

More recently still I discovered the source of Matt’s optimistic, AMO based prediction of Arctic sea ice recovery. Here is the latest edition, courtesy of Roger “Tallbloke” Tattersall:

During my conversation with Roger on his blog yesterday he made an at least vaguely testable prediction:

Well at least we don’t need you to cease prevaricating to see what the correlation coefficients for the two trendlines says about it. We’ll see how the differential changes in the coming months. AMO sine wave approximation wins by 2.9% at the moment.

Now answer mine. In what way is your green line related to ‘the physics of the sea ice annual melt/freeze cycle?’?

In the same way the IPCC’s linear projection is. They are both hypotheses, supported by theory and observations. (one of which will be proved incorrect by 2028).

When I enquired further, Rog helpfully elucidated:

“It may be similarly obvious to you, but where does your green line come from in the second image?

It’s just a 65yr sine wave in phase with the AMO, scaled to best fit the PIOMAS data.

I don’t yet know if these things come in threes, but “Eli the Pit Bull” made a similar “prediction” on XTwitter:

Your wish is my command Eli!

P.S. In partial answer to the question posed by Tom below, I’ve hurriedly created these two graphs from the PIOMAS gridded data numbers as crunched into regions by Steven at the ASIF:

In this case “Atlantic” = Barents + East Greenland Seas, and “Pacific” = Okhotsk + Bering + Chukchi +Beaufort. E&OE!

They look broadly similar to my ageing eyeballs.

[Update – February 20th]

In response to Neil’s comment below, here is Roger’s alternative view of PIOMAS volume versus the AMO, which he added below his repost of Ron Clutz’s Arctic article on the “Science (Doesn’t) Matters” blog :

Whilst Neil is here, I’ll add my record of the comments that Ron Clutz has now deleted from his “moderation queue” and which will henceforth be invisible to his flock of faithful followers until hell freezes over:

Do you have any comment Neil?

Watch this space! (For 4 more years at least)

Time for Toby Young to Stop all the Fudges, Omissions and Outright Deceptions.

As I surmised only yesterday:

The so called “skeptics” are probably already salivating over that image!

The name may not be familiar on the other side of the Atlantic, but here in the once United Kingdom Mr. Toby Young self identifies as “skeptical”, having named his web site the “Daily Sceptic”. This morning he Xweeted thus:

The linked article was written by the Daily Sceptic’s alleged “Environment Editor” Chris Morrison. Mr. Morrison Xweeted thus:

You will perhaps have already noted that Chris and Toby both appear to have an irrational fear of what they refer to as “Net Zero”? Next let’s take a look at how this fear leads Chris to “lie by omission” and indulge in “outright deceptions”.

His article begins by asserting some way above the graph at the top of this post that:

Arctic sea ice continued its stonking recovery last month, recording its 24th highest level in the 45-year modern satellite record.

If you follow that link you will perhaps notice that it takes you to an archive of the NSIDC’s Arctic Sea Ice News article entitled “Fast December expansion” which includes a different graph of Arctic sea ice extent? This one to be exact:

The article also notes that:

Average Arctic sea ice extent for December 2023 was 12.00 million square kilometers (4.63 million square miles), ninth lowest in the 45-year satellite record

You may ask yourself “Where on Earth did Chris and Toby pluck their ’24th highest level in the 45-year modern satellite record’ assertion from?”. A reasonable first guess might be the NSIDC article entitled “Nothing Swift about January’s Arctic sea ice” that contained the graph at the top. However that confidently states:

The year 2024 began with an average January Arctic sea ice extent of 13.92 million square kilometers (5.37 million square miles), the twentieth lowest in the 45-year satellite record.

Would you categorise these no doubt inadvertent errors as a “fudge”, or a “lie by omission”, or perhaps even an “outright deception”?

Another thing I wrote yesterday was:

However I’m willing to bet a thousand pretend pounds that they won’t publish this map as well:

I must be psychic, because Chris and Toby did not publish that map of “measured” Arctic sea ice thickness anomaly. And unfortunately any of their flock of faithful followers that did no doubt inadvertently manage to click the convenient link still wouldn’t have seen it or its companion:

Nor would they have been able to read the accompanying text:

Sea ice thickness can be estimated from satellite-borne altimeters. Currently, two altimeters are providing thickness estimates over the Arctic Ocean. One is the NASA Ice, Cloud, Land elevation Satellite 2 (ICESat-2), a laser altimeter; ICESat-2 data products are archived at the NASA Snow and Ice Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) at NSIDC. The other is the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) CryoSat-2, a radar altimeter. In combination with estimates for thin regions from the ESA Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite, CryoSat-2 provides daily updated weekly average thickness.

As Arctic sea ice extent starts approaching its maximum, ice thickness can provide an indication of the state of the ice cover. The most recent (mid-December 2023) thickness analysis from the ESA SMOS & CryoSat-2 Sea Ice Data Product Processing and Dissemination Service at Alfred Wegener Institute indicates up to 1.25 meters (4.1 feet) thicker ice than the 2011 to 2023 average over the Siberian side of the Arctic, with ice on the North American side up to 1.25 meters (4.1 feet) thinner than average. This suggests that there may be a slower melt out of ice in the Siberian coastal seas, but perhaps faster in the Beaufort Sea

How much faith do you suppose one should put in the rest of Mr. Morrison’s purple prose, which includes such gems as:

As reported previously in the Daily Sceptic, the ice climbed to a 21-year high on January 8th. Good news, of course, for ice fans and polar bears, but frankly a bit of a disaster if you are forecasting future summer swimming galas at the North Pole to promote a collectivist Net Zero agenda.

and no doubt inadvertently mocks the greatest living British national treasure as follows:

The recovery in Arctic sea ice has been steady if slow and this has enabled the alarums to hang on in the mainstream headlines. Of course it could go into reverse, nobody really knows, least of all Sir David Attenborough who told BBC viewers in 2022 that the summer ice could all be gone by 2035. He relied, needless to say, on a computer model.

That was obviously a slip of the virtual typesetter’s inky finger. It should of course have read:

Least of all Chris Morrison and Toby Young.

since it remains a mystery where their “24th highest level in the 45-year modern satellite record” assertion originated. Your suggestions are welcome, in the space provided for that purpose below.

To be continued…

Facts About the Arctic in February 2024

A change is perhaps even better than a rest? Let’s start February with a reminder that following close behind another recent Arctic cyclone, Storm Ingunn caused red weather warnings for high winds and avalanches in Norway two days ago:

By yesterday evening another long period, storm driven swell was arriving at the sea ice edge in the Fram Strait, and to a lesser extent in the Barents Sea:

By this morning Ingunn had merged with the remnants of the prior cyclone, as revealed in Climate Reanalyzer’s visualisation of the latest GFS model run::

Continue reading Facts About the Arctic in February 2024

Climate Disinformation at a Glance

I was mildly surprised when a somewhat “skeptical” interlocutor of my Arctic alter ego linked to “Climate at a Glance” in the course of our alleged “debate”. I was even more surprised to discover that the far end of the suggested link was not NOAA’s familiar overview of the Arctic temperature trend:

but instead a similarly named web site proudly sponsored by the Heartland Institute:

The “Climate at a Glance” home page currently features the Arctic at the top, and it probably won’t surprise you to learn that the linked article is full of half truths and untruths about “Snow White’s” favourite topic? Here are the Heartland Institute’s key Arctic takeaways:

  1. Arctic sea ice melts and refreezes every year, typically peaking in March, while the summer minimum typically occurs in September.
  2. Many scientists, politicians, and media sources wrongly predicted Arctic sea ice would disappear in the summer.
  3. Satellite data show the summer minimum sea ice has not decreased at all since 2007, and instead has formed a stable level after a temporary low in 2012.

Snow cannot argue with number one, but the evidence provided for number 2 includes a blatant untruth. Allegedly:

In 2008 NSIDC scientist Mark Serreze told ABC News that the Arctic could be “ice free” that summer.

However the linked ABC News article actually states that Mark said:

There is this thin first-year ice even at the North Pole at the moment. This raises the spectre – the possibility that you could become ice free at the North Pole this year.

It even goes on to clarify that:

Despite its news value in the media, the North Pole being ice free is not in itself significant. To scientists, Serreze points out, “this is just another point on the globe”.

However evidently for the Heartland Institute’s learned author the “North Pole” is synonymous with “the Arctic”! Equally evidently the Heartland Institute haven’t actually spoken to Mark Serreze about their scurrilous assertion. When I interviewed him in 2014 concerning the matter:

Mark confirmed to me that he still stood by his 2030 estimate for the onset of a seasonally ice free Arctic, although “most models say more like 2050”.

Moving on to takeaway number 3, the “Climate at a Glance” article on the “Underlying Science” of “Arctic Sea Ice” also links to a recent academic article, and needless to say mispresents its findings. According to the Heartland Institute:

The sea ice minimum in September 2023 was essentially the same as it was in 2007, when all the predictions of “ice free summers” began. Moreover, data from 2007 to 2023 show a zero net-change over the past 17 years. The flat trend from 2007 to 2023 suggest a regime shift in the Arctic sea ice system to a new stable level.

The “regime shift” in Arctic sea ice age and thickness should come as no surprise to our regular readers, but the “new stable level” assertion will come as a big surprise to the authors of the paper in question. They state that in their discussion that:

Our analysis demonstrates the long-lasting impact of climate change on Arctic sea ice through reduced residence time, suggesting an irreversible response of Arctic sea ice thickness connected to an increase of ocean heat content in areas of ice formation…

Impacts of this regime shift in Arctic sea ice on the pan-Arctic environment are extensive and require further investigation.

To be continued…

Jim Steele and Anthony Watts Embrace Bad Arctic Science

Maintaining my New Year’s resolution to expose bad Arctic pseudo-science on (a)social media I stumbled upon this from the self confessed “skeptic” Jim Steele on XTwitter. Jim’s paid Elmo for a blue tick and is rather verbose, but these extracts will give you the flavour of his ramblings:

How Bogus Arctic Warming Attribution Enabled the Climate Crisis Scam

Abnormal warming over the Arctic Ocean and Arctic sea ice loss has been falsely blamed on rising CO2 and evidence of the climate crisis. Such alarmist graphic propaganda is common, like Yale 360’s emphasizing the Arctic Ocean’s warming of several degrees in November 2022, while ignoring the cooling over North America and Eurasia. But any critical thinking person can see warm Arctic temperatures are due to inflows of warm Atlantic water, NOT rising CO2…

The 1990s shift in wind directions caused by the natural Arctic Oscillation, drove out much of the Arctic’s thick multi-year sea ice which resulted in thinner annual sea ice which allowed more heat to ventilate and warm the Arctic (see peer-reviewed Rigor (2002) & (2004)). As the natural Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation shifts to more northern hemisphere cooling, a decrease in the flow of warming tropical Atlantic water entering the Arctic, a rebound in insulating Arctic sea ice will occur that will simultaneously decrease Arctic temperatures.

People who understand these natural climate dynamics that affect the Arctic, always and quickly understand the bogus global warming crisis is driven by natural Arctic warming oscillations.

Needless to say my critical thinking Arctic alter ego felt an urgent need to quibble with Jim’s (almost) unevidenced assertions.

As is often the case with such skeptical “arguments”, the ancient academic articles quoted don’t actually support the conclusions. “Snow White” attempted to raise the matter with Jim:

However as you can see, thus far “she” has been ignored. Which is no way to treat a lady!

No doubt you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that Jim’s piece of purple prose had recently been reprinted at Watts Up With That:

“Snow” sought an answer to her scientific enquiry over there too:

As you can see, thus far “she” has been ignored.

It is also evident that neither Jim nor Anthony are capable of reading dates backwards. The Climate Reanalyzer Arctic temperature anomaly map proudly displayed on Jim’s XTwitter feed and on WUWT is clearly labelled November 21st 2020:

[Update – January 23rd]

Jim is being unkind to poor Snow White, both at WUWT:

and on XTwitter:

He still hasn’t answered any of “her” scientific questions, including this recent one:


[Update – January 25th]

Jim is ignoring Snow on XTwitter, and doubling down on the sticks and stones at WUWT:

Snow has suffered nary a scratch:

Afternoon Jim (UTC)

So all you have to offer on the subject is more sticks’n’stones, plus some frantic hand waving for good measure? And apparent ignorance of the science!

Let’s see if attaching images works here?

Failing that try:


Any comment?


Watch this space!

The 2023 Arctic Report Card

The 2023 Arctic Report Card has been published by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). All sorts of things are discussed in the report, but sticking to Snow White’s speciality of sea ice here’s an extract:

This satellite record tracks long-term trends, variability, and seasonal changes from the annual extent maximum in late February or March and the annual extent minimum in September. Extents in recent years are ~50% lower than values in the 1980s. In 2023, March and September extents were lower than other recent years, and though not a new record low, they continue the long-term downward trends:

March 2023 was marked by low sea ice extent around most of the perimeter of the sea ice edge, with the exception of the East Greenland Sea where extent was near normal. At the beginning of the melt season, ice retreat was initially fairly slow through April. In May and June, retreat increased to a near-average rate, and then accelerated further through July and August. By mid-July, the ice had retreated from much of the Alaskan and eastern Siberian coast and Hudson Bay had nearly melted out completely. In August, sea ice retreat was particularly pronounced on the Pacific side, opening up vast areas of the Beaufort, Chukchi, and East Siberian Seas. Summer extent remained closer to average on the Atlantic side, in the Laptev, Kara, and Barents Seas

The Northern Sea Route, along the northern Russian coast, was relatively slow to open as sea ice extended to the coast in the eastern Kara Sea and the East Siberian Sea, but by late August, open water was found along the coast through the entire route. The Northwest Passage through the Canadian Archipelago became relatively clear of ice, though ice continued to largely block the western end of the northern route through M’Clure Strait through the melt season. Nonetheless, summer 2023 extent in the Passage was among the lowest observed in the satellite record, based on Canadian Ice Service ice charts.

Tracking the motion of ice in passive microwave imagery using feature tracking algorithms can be used to infer sea ice age. Age is a proxy for ice thickness because multiyear ice generally grows thicker through successive winter periods. Multiyear ice extent has shown interannual oscillations but no clear trend since 2007, reflecting variability in the summer sea ice melt and export out of the Arctic. After a year when substantial multiyear ice is lost, a much larger area of first-year ice generally takes its place. Some of this first-year ice can persist through the following summer, contributing to the replenishment of the multiyear ice extent:

However, old ice (here defined as >4 years old) has remained consistently low since 2012. Thus, unlike in earlier decades, multiyear ice does not remain in the Arctic for many years. At the end of the summer 2023 melt season, multiyear ice extent was similar to 2022 values, far below multiyear extents in the 1980s and 1990s:

Estimates of sea ice thickness from satellite altimetry can be used to more directly track this important metric of sea ice conditions, although the data record is shorter than for extent and ice age. Data from ICESat-2 and CryoSat-2/SMOS satellite products tracking the seasonal October to April winter ice growth over the past four years (when all missions have been in operation) show a mean thickness generally thinner than the 2021/22 winter but with seasonal growth typical of recent winters:

April 2023 thickness from CryoSat-2/SMOS relative to the 2011-22 April mean shows that the eastern Beaufort Sea and the East Siberian Sea had relatively thinner sea ice than the 2011-22 mean, particularly near the Canadian Archipelago. Thickness was higher than average in much of the Laptev and Kara Seas and along the west and northwest coast of Alaska, extending northward toward the pole. The East Greenland Sea had a mixture of thicker and thinner than average ice:

An excellent analysis (IMHO!), but I do have one quibble. I was following events in the Northwest Passage very closely last summer, and according to the Canadian Ice Service on September 1st: