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:
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.
The omens are good that 2019 is destined to be a year of firsts in the Arctic. Our regular reader(s) will no doubt fondly recall previous editions of our annual Great White Con “New Einstein” Award? 2019’s competition breaks all the moulds by opening the running with a quote from Snow White’s home from home at the Arctic Sea Ice Forum rather than one of the usual “skeptical” venue!
Your unnecessary over the top haughtiness and implicit threats is not helping your communication style one bit Jim. I am far from impressed atm with your version of the Ivory Tower you seem to inhabit. By all means ‘sharpen your sword’ if that is what you imagine you are dealing with because someone says they do not quite understand what you thread is all about.
You can either answer such reasonable questions with a modicum of sincerity and genuineness or continue in the direction you are heading.
March 2019 has arrived, which in recent years has proved to be by far the likeliest month to contain the maximum extent of Arctic sea ice for the year. To begin with, here’s our favourite high resolution extent graph calculated by “Wipneus” from University of Hamburg/JAXA AMSR2 data:
Hopefully you can plainly see the pronounced sharp peak towards the end of February 2019? The current maximum Arctic sea ice extent for 2019 is 13.83 million square kilometers on February 22nd. Here’s Arctic sea ice area for good measure:
This reveals a current maximum extent for 2019 of 14.705 million square kilometers on February 24th.
At this juncture you may well be wondering what the cause of that sudden sharp peak might be? Here’s your starter for ten:
Whilst overall Arctic sea ice area is unremarkable for the current decade, sea ice area in the Bering Sea is remarkable low for the time of year! What’s more much like last year the Chukchi Sea is not currently full to overflowing with sea ice, and is also lowest for the date in the AMSR2 satellite records:
In addition, here is the underlying sea ice concentration data from the OSI-SAF:
Since Michael is also asserting that there currently exists “the greatest February Arctic sea ice extent (according to DMI) in your blog’s history”, here’s Arctic sea ice area excluding the extremely peripheral Okhotsk and St. Lawrence regions:
P.S. Wipneus’ Pi has processed the AMSR2 data now, and area shows another, more modest, decline today:
Both area and extent are still moving inexorably upwards:
The late February maximum still holds, on the high resolution numbers at least. The JAXA/VISHOP web site is down at the moment, so we’ll have to wait for an update to that particular metric, as well as a post weekend update to the NSIDC’s Charctic chart.
P.S. Jaxa is still down this afternoon, but here’s the latest from the NSIDC:
[Edit – March 13th]
Arctic wide area and extent have blasted past their respective late February maxima:
However Arctic sea ice area excluding the Okhotsk and St. Lawrence peripheral regions has still not exceeded the maximum formed on January 25th:
[Edit – March 14th]
This morning’s data reveal the first decline in extent for several days:
The (extremely!) tentative new maximum Arctic sea ice extent for 2019 is 13.89 million square kilometers on March 12th.
[Edit – March 15th]
JAXA is back!
UH AMSR2 confirms that extent is still declining:
[Edit – March 16th]
Arctic sea ice extent continues to decline, whilst area is still flatlining:
Meanwhile a look at freezing degree days based on the DMI’s dubiously weighted data for north of 80 degrees reveals the story of the freezing season. A historically warm start, but now back in amongst the pack of the 2010s:
[Edit – March 17th]
It looks as though there’ll be no going back from this. Arctic sea ice area is finally following extent’s decline in no uncertain terms:
Barring exceedingly unforeseen circumstances after this year’s “double top” that leaves the 2019 Arctic sea ice maximum extent numbers as follows:
UH/Wipneus AMSR2 – 13.89 million square kilometers on March 12th
JAXA/VISHOP AMSR2 – 14.27 million square kilometers on March 12th
NSIDC 5 day SSMIS – 14.78 million square kilometers on March 13th
[Edit – March 19th]
Arctic sea ice area has fallen off the proverbial cliff over the last few days. There can now be no doubt that the 2019 maximum extent has been reached:
That being the case, all other Arctic sea ice discussion for the month of March can now take place over at:
On March 13, 2019, Arctic sea ice likely reached its maximum extent for the year, at 14.78 million square kilometers (5.71 million square miles), the seventh lowest in the 40-year satellite record, tying with 2007. This year’s maximum extent is 860,000 square kilometers (332,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average maximum of 15.64 million square kilometers (6.04 million square miles) and 370,000 square kilometers (143,000 square miles) above the lowest maximum of 14.41 million square kilometers (5.56 million square miles) set on March 7, 2017. Prior to 2019, the four lowest maximum extents occurred from 2015 to 2018.
The date of the maximum this year, March 13, was very close to the 1981 to 2010 median date of March 12.
Please note this is a preliminary announcement of the sea ice maximum. At the beginning of April, NSIDC scientists will release a full analysis of winter conditions in the Arctic, along with monthly data for March.