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Jim Hunt
South West England
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Temporarily at least, the IJIS Arctic sea extent is at the lowest ever value for the date - 12,585,887 km2 on January 9th 2015. Meanwhile the latest edition of the NSIDC's Arctic Sea Ice News has been published: The NSIDC report that: Arctic sea ice extent for December was the ninth lowest in the satellite record. Their review of 2014 concludes that: In September of 2014, the Royal Society of London held a workshop focused on the reduction in Arctic sea ice extent. One outcome of this meeting was a greater understanding of the overall trajectory of September ice extent. In a nutshell, it appears that very large departures from the overall downward trend in September extent are unlikely to persist into the following September. If a given September has very low ice extent, strong winter heat loss results in strong ice growth, so that the “memory” of the low ice September ice extent is lost. If a given September has a high ice extent, winter heat loss is more limited, meaning less ice growth.
I was reading the Christmas and New Year special edition of New Scientist over breakfast this morning. On page 49 I came across an article entitled "Pole Position". The online version is entitled "Racing refraction: Who reached the North Pole first?": Unfortunately it seems to only be visible in full to subscribers, but here's a brief extract: [Wayne] Davidson is a meteorological observer based in Resolute on Cornwallis Island in Nunavut, Canada, which, at a latitude of almost 75° north, is deep inside the Arctic Circle. His particular interest is refraction in the atmosphere. This is essentially the same as what happens at the surface of a pond or a piece of glass: when a ray of light goes through regions with different optical properties, it gets bent. We rarely think about this happening in the air, says Davidson, but it is everywhere and it distorts our view of the world. "The horizon and everything around us is constantly shifting," he says. For some strange reason the article neglects to include a link to Wayne's blog, which is of course available above. Fame at last Wayne?!
A couple of videos of AGU press conferences. Walt Meier et. al. on the correlation between "CERES absorbed solar radiation" and "Microwave sea-ice fraction": along with discussion about the 2014 Arctic Report Card: More on that topic over at NOAA: who also provide a brief video of their own: The NOAA's headlines? Rising air and sea temperatures continue to trigger changes in the Arctic. The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of anywhere else on Earth. However, natural variation remains, such as the slight increase in March 2014 sea ice thickness and only a slight decrease in total mass of the Greenland ice sheet in summer 2014.
Toggle Commented Dec 19, 2014 on In the meantime: CryoSat at Arctic Sea Ice
The current high's forecast to have departed by the weekend. The buoys in the Beaufort (that started on thin ice) are currently up to around 1.5 meters ice thickness. See e.g. Lots of uncertainties!
My pleasure John. You need to leave more white space around the link though: Many of the features you refer to are also now starting to become visible in MODIS/WorldView once again. See e.g.
Plenty of rain here Wili - Some pretty pictures from Soggy South West England: and
Toggle Commented Jan 29, 2014 on Sea ice atlas at Arctic Sea Ice
Thanks Neven and Chris. Some additional information. The current Beaufort "cracks" are (just about!) visible in the Arctic sea ice surface temperature plots on the new Danish Polar Portal. Here's an extract from January 11: The fractures certainly look to me to be crossing large areas of multi-year ice. For more references on fracturing and mobility of sea ice (and more thickness graphs from Chris!) see also "Drift, Deformation and Fracture of Sea Ice" on the ASIF.
Following last week's "Hangout" at the White House here's Jim Overland's summary of "What's going on with the Polar Vortex?"
Toggle Commented Jan 13, 2014 on Looking for winter weirdness 2014 at Arctic Sea Ice
Terry - Somewhat belatedly! The "extreme weather" in Northern Greenland on December 22nd may have had something to do with the fact that there was a fair bit of open water near both Kap Morris Jesup and Alert at the time. Here's DMI's AVHRR view: and here's the University of Hamburg's AMSR2:
Charctic looks more sensible again now. A slight reverse on November 8th still remains
Toggle Commented Nov 11, 2013 on PIOMAS October 2013, take two at Arctic Sea Ice
Check out Charctic Lars. Even the smoothed data shows a reversal, and I can't see that any other year doing that on a quick inspection. There's been lots of data problems recently, but the reverse seems to be real:,382.msg16762.html#msg16762 I've been speculating about that on Twitter Lars, with one @NJSnowFan. He reckons it's all down to "solar activity". I felt compelled to disagree! @NJSnowFan - Or maybe it's just the summer #SeaIce divergence finally becoming evident in the standard metrics?— Jim Hunt (@jim_hunt) November 10, 2013
Toggle Commented Nov 11, 2013 on PIOMAS October 2013, take two at Arctic Sea Ice
Hello again Gareth. How do you define the words "inevitable" and "usual" in this instance? James Screen uses the word "extraordinary". The Met Office had this to say at the start of the year: We have always seen a great deal of variability in UK rainfall because our weather patterns are constantly changing. However, preliminary evidence suggests we are getting slightly more rain in total and it may be falling in more intense bursts.
According to David Rose in yesterday's Mail on Sunday "Arctic sea ice has already started to recover". We think otherwise: NO!!
@Geoff - There are already a variety of "food" related topics on the forum. This one seems to be "hottest" at the moment: "Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD" Here's one of my personal hobby horses: "Terra Preta / Biochar - Theory and Practice" Is it feasible to sequester carbon whilst reducing runoff and increasing fertility on a large scale? The NFU seem to think it's worth looking at, if the price were right! Getting back to your lobbying of Lord Deben, a thought has just occurred. I'll be doing another "Great White Con" video in the very near future. Would a customised version of some sort be in any way helpful to you in your endeavours?
David Rose is plugging the Stadium Wave in today's Mail on Sunday. For some strange reason he neglects to mention James Screen. Perhaps he's learnt his lesson though, because the article is full of phrases like "may" and "is likely to" and "according to new research". Meanwhile The Mail on Sunday has finally sent us sent us some evidence in an attempt to justify Rose's original "Million more square miles" and "Unbroken ice sheet" claims, the latter still uncorrected: To say that we are unimpressed is something of an understatement. Press Complaints Commission here we come!
John - There have certainly been far fewer North Atlantic hurricanes than originally forecast this year. Nonetheless here's some anecdotal evidence hot off the presses from my "local rag": As alarming statistics were released showing the true effect of appallingly bad weather during 2012, farming leaders have appealed for Government commitment to ensure agriculture continues to trade realistically. The weather of 2012 will shape farming's fortunes in the current financial year, particularly the knock-on impact of planting problems last autumn on this year's cropping.
Geoff - I'll consider your "exhausting" comment in more detail later, if I may. Regarding your most recent one, that's one of my points. Julia Slingo does seem to have changed her tune somewhat over the last 12 months or so. Maybe events post March 2012 had something to do with that? Or maybe she's been reading some of our musings about the deficiencies of current sea ice models?!
Chris - Your initial comment must have been stuck in the Typepad moderation queue when I wrote mine. Hence I've only just read your latest post. Paraphrasing only slightly: "I'm particularly excited about this because it goes some way to supporting something I've been going on about for five years now." That's the "weird weather". The link to the Arctic struck me much more recently. Hans - I'm an engineer too, and I agree with Chris. Geoff - It seems you're a scientist turned engineer? John Gummer studied history. I once suggested to Paul Allen from the Centre for Alternative Technology that "The problem is that politicans don't understand engineering". He replied that "Another problem is that engineers don't understand politics". Getting back to the science, the Met Office do now state things like: An analysis of 1 in 100 day rainfall events since 1960 indicates these 'extreme' days of rainfall may have become more frequent over time. and Julia Slingo does now say things like: My gut feeling is that it's very likely that what's happening in the Arctic will affect our climate. We need to get to grips with it, and quickly. and the UK Environmental Audit Committee has said things like: Climatic change in the Arctic is affecting the UK's weather. Given the mounting evidence I still fail to understand the continuing lack of action by the politicians. When I talk to DECC about some of the issues they tell me "the market will fix it". I paraphrase only slightly.
Hopefully Geoff, since I wrote that headline, and pointed out that it "paraphrases matters only slightly"! As stated by James Screen in the video, his view seems to be that: Since around about the late 1990s, the North Atlantic has been in the warm part of that cycle and that tends to favour wetter conditions over the UK and northwest Europe in summer. So we think it's probably a combination of both this natural cycle of warming in the North Atlantic and the melting of sea ice that have together contributed to the wetter summers. Whether that is any way some sort of "official view" I cannot say. He certainly doesn't entirely agree with Jennifer Francis, as discussed by Chris Reynolds over at Dosbat recently: "Francis/Vavrus and the slower jetstream"
idunno - The rapid growth in the Greenland Sea is being discussed on the ASI Forum: "Drift, Deformation and Fracture of Sea Ice" Export resuming seems to be the consensus at the moment.
The Indy's moderator now approves!
The Independent have published an article saying "Melting Arctic sea ice means it’s only going to get wetter for northern Europe" accompanied by the inevitable comment storm. The count is now up to 318, and mine hasn't even made it past the moderator yet! There's also a YouTube video, accessible via: - Feel free to skip past the introduction where James establishes his academic credentials!
The view from Exeter on James Screen's latest paper: The video certainly makes things slightly less "dry" than usual. Don't forget another part of his conclusion, which is that: The simulated NEP response is relatively small compared to simulated year-to-year variability. This means that whilst low sea ice coverage increases the risk of wet summers, other factors can easily negate this influence and lead to dry summers during depleted ice conditions, or wet summers during extensive ice conditions. We had a very nice summer this year, but that's all changed now!
Bob - I don't answer to "potted plant" or "rented mule": Feel free to spread the word!
At the risk of noisily drifting off in the direction of "psychology" rather than "sea ice", the video Neven kindly showed in his original post has now garnered over 1000 views on YouTube along with a few comments, one of which states that it's: Unscientific, and very troubling that folks like Neven as the Sea Ice Blog would direct us to this unscientific propaganda, tripe even. Meanwhile the Managing Editor of the Mail on Sunday has finally put virtual pen to paper to say that: We deny that the article was significantly inaccurate apart from the original headline figure which we have already corrected. I felt compelled to beg to differ: Returning from fantasy fiction land to the science of sea ice and John's "small rebound", I am also eagerly waiting to discover what PIOMAS makes of this area of "unbroken ice sheet" (in David Rose speak), pictured at the beginning of September: Do you suppose the PIOMAS model has a good handle on the volume of what the NSIDC called: An unusually large expanse of low-concentration sea ice within our extent outline spanning much of the Russian side of the Arctic and extending to within a few degrees of the North Pole. Do you suppose that the US Navy's new NAVGEM forced version of ACNFS now has a good handle on the thickness of the ice in the area for that matter?