The Northwest Passage in 2024

Some “pleasure craft” are currently heading up the west coast of Greenland en route to the Bering Strait via Lancaster Sound and one of the assorted routes through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. For those of you unfamiliar with the geography of the Northwest Passage, here are couple of hopefully helpful maps:

Whilst there is still ice blocking the route across Baffin Bay from Greenland, the Canadian Ice Service has already started daily coverage of the heart of the southern route through the Northwest Passage. There’s plenty of open water in Lancaster Sound and low concentration sea ice in Prince Regent Inlet:

Further south there is also open water in the Coronation Gulf, but the fast ice between Peel Sound and King William Island has not yet started breaking up:

This slightly cloudy satellite image of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago also shows that the exit of the northern route via McClure Strait into the Beaufort Sea is already navigable:

“False colour” image of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago  on July 14th from the MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite

Amongst the “small vessels” attempting an east to west voyage through the Northwest Passage this summer, SV Lumina has already crossed the Arctic Circle heading north. She has recently reached Ilulissat:

Heading west to east, SV Lumi has yet to cross the Arctic Circle but has now reached Nome heading north:

Watch this space!

Facts About the Arctic in July 2024

The first sea ice outlook report for 2024 has been published by the Sea Ice Prediction Network:

This year’s median forecasted value for pan-Arctic September sea-ice extent is 4.48 million square kilometers with an interquartile range of 4.21 to 4.74 million square kilometers. This is slightly lower than the 2022 (4.57 million square kilometers) and 2023 (4.54 million square kilometers) June median forecasts for September.

The lowest sea-ice extent forecast is 3.1 million square kilometers, from the UK Met Office, which would be a new record low for the satellite period (1979-present); the highest sea-ice extent forecast is 5.21 million square kilometers, submitted by both the HEU Group and SYSU/SML-MLM, which would be the highest September extent since 2015:

There are three heuristic Outlooks, with a median of 4.32 million square kilometers and an interquartile range of 4.26 to 4.4 million square kilometers. Statistical submissions total fifteen Outlooks with a median of 4.68 million square kilometers and an interquartile range of 4.47 to 4.9 million square kilometers. There are nine dynamical model contributions. The dynamical models have a median forecast of 3.97 million square kilometers with an interquartile range of 3.68 to 4.35 million square kilometers.

Continue reading Facts About the Arctic in July 2024

Facts About the Arctic in June 2024

The JAXA/ViSHOP web site is currently down, so here is the current OSI SAF extent graph for the end of May:

2012’s “June cliff” is almost upon us, and if 2024’s current trajectory continues extent will cross above 2012 for the first time since February in a week or so.

Here’s the GFS model’s current map of snow depth:

Melt ponds are now visible on the ice in the Laptev Sea:

Continue reading Facts About the Arctic in June 2024

Facts About the Arctic in May 2024

Since a certain “sceptic” has recently been comparing 2024 sea ice extent to “20 years ago”, here’s the current JAXA/ViSHOP extent graph of selected years, including 2004:

The CryoSat-2/SMOS merged Arctic sea ice volume graph finishes on April 15th, but older data is being reanalysed and here is the latest version:

The gap in the near real time data due to the problem with the SMOS satellite during the first half of March has been filled in, but the result doesn’t look very convincing to say the least!

The PIOMAS gridded thickness data for April 2024 is now available. Here’s the end of month volume graph:

Continue reading Facts About the Arctic in May 2024

Reuters Fact Checks Daily Septic Arctic Sea Ice Nonsense

Our regular reader(s) may be wondering at this juncture, but that is not a typo in today’s title. For an in depth discussion of how alleged “renowned amateur naturalist and honorary doctor” Chris Packham sensationally rebranded Toby Young’s self identified “skeptical” web site live on air on the BBC’s “Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg” see here.

By way of additional background information see also our in depth investigation of the Daily Sceptic’s Arctic porky pie production line over here.

To the apparent astonishment of the Septic’s alleged “Environment Editor”, Chris Morrison, Reuters Fact Check has now followed in “Snow White’s” dainty footsteps through the as yet unmelted Arctic snow cover:

Continue reading Reuters Fact Checks Daily Septic Arctic Sea Ice Nonsense

Does Toby Young Have “Close Affiliations to the Fossil Fuel Industry”?

According to The Spectator magazine “Toby Young is associate editor of The Spectator”

According to Toby’s article in tomorrow’s edition of The Spectator:

On Sunday, the BBC did something unusual. It invited Luke Johnson, a climate contrarian, to join a panel with Laura Kuenssberg to discuss net zero. As followers of this debate will know, the BBC’s editorial policy unit issued guidance to staff in 2018 saying: ‘As climate change is accepted as happening, you do not need a “denier” to balance the debate.’ Although it did allow for exceptions to this rule: ‘There are occasions where contrarians and sceptics should be included within climate change and sustainability debates.’ Presumably this was one such occasion.

Here’s a picture of the “panel” he refers to:

Toby continues:

The other two people on the panel – Chris Packham and Layla Moran – are members of the climate emergency camp, so there was no pretence of ‘balance’. At one point, the exchange between Johnson and Packham became heated and when the latter invoked the recent downpour in Dubai as well as extensive wildfires in the ‘global south’, as evidence of the effect of anthropogenic global warming, Johnson challenged him to come up with evidence that extreme weather was caused by carbon emissions.

‘It doesn’t come from Toby Young’s Daily Septic [sic], which is basically put together by a bunch of professionals with close affiliations to the fossil fuel industry,’ replied Packham. ‘It comes from something called science.’

According to Mr. Young on X (formerly Twitter) yesterday:

Continue reading Does Toby Young Have “Close Affiliations to the Fossil Fuel Industry”?

Chris Martz Should’ve Gone To Specsavers

Chris Martz, the new kid on the “skeptical block”, proudly proclaimed on XTwitter yesterday that:

There’s more sea ice heading into the summer in the Arctic this year than there was in 1989.

That is of course a porky pie:

As you can see, Chris also invokes the age old canard of the “Mark Serreze Arctic sea ice death spiral”. I discussed that very topic with Mark in 2015:

Mark told 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”.

Continue reading Chris Martz Should’ve Gone To Specsavers

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:

Continue reading Tony Heller Sets Arctic Shark Jump World Record!

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