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Doc Snow
Lake Wateree, South Carolina
Blogger, musician, technician, teacher--in no particular order!
Interests: Climate, arts, nature, politics
Recent Activity
And, on a different but related topic, let's not forget that this Friday marks the start of a week of climate action. That's been getting the bulk of my attention for a couple of weeks now, and I commend it to yours, too. There are actions happening all over the world, starting this Friday, September 20, and continuing until the 27th. If you are in the US, then you can find an action near you here: If you aren't in the US, well, there's still probably something near you, and Google is your friend!
Toggle Commented yesterday on PIOMAS September 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
Thanks for another excellent summary, late or not!
Toggle Commented yesterday on PIOMAS September 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
NB--Wegener had 2019 below 4 million km2 on the 13th already:
Toggle Commented yesterday on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
After a working weekend having taken me out of the 'ice observation game' most inopportunely, it's exciting--in an ambivalent sort of way--to come back and find that 2019 has been flashing its late season legs while I was otherwise occupied, cracking off days of 20k and even a 40k decline. As Jim noted, the 2019 melt had surpassed 2007 as of 9/14. But as of today's update (9/15), 2019 had edged past 2016's early minimum as well, posting a 4.01 million km2 extent! So we have a new 2nd place lowest daily extent in the JAXA data. The question then becomes, can 2019 still break below the 4 million milestone? 2007 was still at its minimum on 9/24 and 2018 at its minimum on 9/21. So there's precedent. But those are unusual trajectories. The fall equinox comes on the 23rd, give or take, and with it comes the seasonal sunset for the high Arctic. Still, it remains anomalously warm across much of the Arctic basin. We'll see tomorrow whether that's enough to squeeze out another 10 or 20k drop.
Toggle Commented yesterday on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
Thank you, Jim! Photobucket is trying to force me to become a paying member, apparently. Your fix is much appreciated. Elisee, I don't think it's "too early" at all. After all, the IPCC called it at least two iterations of the Assessment Report back. And it's not as if we have to work from a statistical null: we *began* with physical theory predicting this, and as you point out, we are lacking any other successful explanation. (Not that alternatives haven't been proposed, but none have withstood testing to date.) As Jim said, 2019 has managed a 20k drop--not so shabby for this time of year--to 4.09 million km2. That's 40k ahead of 2007, and 110k ahead of 2016 (for the date of 9/12). Relative to the respective minima, 2019 needs to eke out another 20k to equal 2007, and another 70k to match 2016. Pretty darn close...
Toggle Commented 4 days ago on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
Jim, I am indeed pleased by the escape of all those middle-aged Norwegian tourists from (nearly) Certain Icy Death. But I'm "overjoyed" by finally getting something right about this year's melt season: 9/11 was in fact marked by an ice 'triple point' (at least to a reasonable approximation). To celebrate, I went so far as to do a screen grab of occasion, as you can see below. But just in case the numbers are hard to read, let me do a table, too: 2007: 4.13 million km2 2016: 4.12 2019: 4.11 So obviously 2019 is once again second-lowest for the date. Notably, the drop from 9/10 is a pretty-impressive-for-the-date 40k. I'm guessing that that can pretty readily happen with a whole bunch of pretty trashy ice in the mix. (But I'm probably returning to form and being wrong again.)
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
Hm, weird--my update on the 'horse race' just disappeared upon posting. To reiterate, hopefully with more success: As of 9/10, 2019 sat down a tick at 4.15 million km2 in the JAXA data, while 2007 was another tick lower than that, at 4.14. From here, 2016 will have made a rapid ascent from minimum--that year featured an early minimum. So in a couple of days, we could have that 'triple point' I speculated about in the last comment. In fact, I almost want to say it's likely, based on the guess that 2019 won't take off on a strong positive or negative excursion before then.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
Jim, I do love a ship with a "lovely patina!" :-)
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
Um, G-man, the PDO "flips" all the time: The AMO, true to its name, not so much: But it's a regional phenomenon. And the fact that we've been seeing historically low ice extents during this declining phase of the AMO demonstrates that the AMO is *not* in the driver's seat, so to speak.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
9/8: 4.16 million km2 9/9: Back up to 4.17 Was that the minimum? Maybe, but it's still too early to call it. Based on the historical record, further declines will be a possibility for at least a week. The other news of the day is that for 9/9, 2007 stood at 4.17, so there's a tie for 3rd place right now. But 2007 is the poster child for a melt season with 'legs', having been at its nominal minimum of 4.07 on several days between 9/15 and 9/24. In that respect, 2007 was a real outlier. So chances now are, I think, that 2019 is going to end up as the 4th-lowest minimum. Apparently G man thinks that's some kind of triumph for 'his side.' I call it pretty cold comfort for humanity, but then I can't resist a pun, even when it's low gallows humor.
Toggle Commented 7 days ago on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
9/7 sees us down a tick at 4.17. Naive extrapolation--my favorite kind, as you probably noticed--suggests the possibility of an SIE 'triple point' on 9/11, a date which has 2007 at 4.13 and 2016 at 4.12. The final order of finish still depends on whether or not 2019 has 'legs'.
Toggle Commented Sep 8, 2019 on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
For 9/6, 2019 holds steady at 4.18 million km2, as 2016 likewise holds, but down a bit at 4.02. But 2007 is coming up (or, more literally, "down") fast, at 4.24. Its minimum value--reached twice, in an unusual 'double dip' minimum--was at 4.07.
Toggle Commented Sep 7, 2019 on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
"We'll soon know," I wrote. Have you ever felt as if the Arctic is actually trying to mock you, though you know perfectly well that that is the rankest sort of anthropomorphism? I have. And that's the feeling I have today, 'cause the JAXA extent number for 9/5 came up with a 20k *increase* in extent! I'm not even going to bother with Climate Reanalyzer today; I'll just come back tomorrow and see what has happened, and until then, I'm keeping my mouth shut on the topic of ASI.
Toggle Commented Sep 6, 2019 on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
Looking once again at the Reanalyzer, it seems to me that Fram export over the end of the melt season may be a bit on-again-off-again. But it also looks as though most of the Arctic is going to be dominated by low-pressure systems, barring the inevitable Greenlandic high (and also higher pressure over the Canadian archipelago.) Should that mean generally cloudy skies, combined with the very definitely elevated SSTs currently prevailing, I'm guessing we may indeed see some sustained late-season melt. We'll soon know.
Toggle Commented Sep 5, 2019 on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
The 9/4 update shows a sizable drop of 50k, for a 20k 'gain' on 2016. The numbers for 9/4 look like this: 2007: 4.33 (+920k) 2012: 3.41 ('leader') 2016: 4.06 (+650k) 2019: 4.16 (+750k) With 2016's decline slowing over the remainder of the season--that year bottomed out at 4.02--there is a reasonable chance that this year could now re-emerge as a second place finisher, should melt continue for, say, 10 more days. AJBT--"Doc, does worldview seem to you like it's showing potential mass export is about to occur through Fram?" I don't really know, as I don't use worldview much--I've just never put in the time to get familiar with the various filters and such. I have seen, or thought I saw, some indicators of Fram export in the surface winds on the Climate Reanalyzer, though. If anyone knows more about the topic, I'd be delighted to hear more about it.
Toggle Commented Sep 5, 2019 on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
9/3 JAXA update shows this year at 4.21 million km2, 20k ahead of 2007, 120 behind 2016. The decline seems to have returned to more typical decline rates after its 'slowdown,' though. Second place may well be in play, still.
Toggle Commented Sep 4, 2019 on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
...and sure enough, as of 9/1, 2019 is at 4.25 million km2, 80k behind 2016, for third place. If there's a late minimum this year--as there was in 2007--one could imagine 2019 repassing 2016, but if there's not, then 2016 will pretty definitely keep its second place laurels for at least another year. And if there's a *really* early minimum, 2019 could end up in fourth, behind 2007. I've been having very little luck this year sussing out short-term melt from the weather maps, so no guesses from me at this point!
Toggle Commented Sep 2, 2019 on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
Intersection! As of 8/30, both 2019 and 2016 sat right on 4.3 million km2--and so in a second-place tie for the date (per JAXA). Slightly ironically, 2019 also posted the biggest daily drop in a while--30,000 km2. But 2016 posted considerably larger drops than that over the first few days of September, so the odds have to be that 2019 will be going into third shortly.
Toggle Commented Aug 31, 2019 on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
Wow, we're now entering the "orbit" of 2016, which, on 8/29/16, stood at 4.4 million km2. (2019 is at 4.33.) Since the decline in 2016 was much more rapid over the 'next few' calendar days than has been the decline over the last few days this year, it seems likely that we'll shortly fall behind 2016 in the 'horse race'. And I'm wondering about the explanation suggested above by javimoto and Robert S, in that while it is true that the concentration maps continue to show a lot of broken ice over wide areas, the actual sea ice area map from ROOS has showed an *increase* in area over the last week or so. Yet the JAXA extent isn't yet quite flat. I'm feeling quite unsure as to what is happening with the ice this August, let alone why! I don't recall a melt season finale quite like this one, and I've been watching them for a while.
Toggle Commented Aug 31, 2019 on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
Robert, javi, thanks for that. Well, sort of 'thanks'--it means the ice is more in reality much more fragile than in 2012, while we don't get the same messaging 'pop' with the general public as would be the case with a straight-up low extent. But 'it is what it is.' And I appreciate the knowledge. What about cloudiness over the period of the recent melt 'slowdown'? Has that been playing a role? (There seemed to be a hint of that in one or two of the Forum comments I looked at.)
Toggle Commented Aug 27, 2019 on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
As of 8/23, JAXA extent is definitively below the decadal average for the annual minimum, @4.38 million km2. However, I'm scratching my head, because the decline for the last week plus has been below historic norms, despite what to my not-so-acute-weather eye would appear to be conditions reasonably favorable for melt. Just a few more days like this, and 2019 will cross the 2016 track into "#3 territory." Anyone feel like they know why that is?
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2019 on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
As of 8/23, the separation with 2012 has increased to nearly half a million square kilometers, so you'd have to say that 2019 is fading badly in horse race terms. Good for the Arctic and planetary environment, less good for humanity's awakening, perhaps. Interestingly, despite what would appear to my not-very-acute eye to be pretty favorable conditions for melting, even a second-place finish is now somewhat in doubt, if you go by the current decline. Project the 2019 graph line forward, make your best guess at when the minimum turns out to be--conveniently, 2016 (early) and 2007 (late) more or less bracket the range--and you likely end up with 2019 somewhere in the vicinity of those two years, which is to say around the 4 million mark. It took a little longer than I expected, but 2019 has indeed roughly equaled the minimum of the 2010s average now--more precisely, 2019 is at 4.41k, while the 2010's average bottoms out at 4.4 for the dates 9/12 and 9/13--so a finish that's well below the decadal average is in the bag. I suppose it would be well to mention once again, for folks who are jumping in now, that this is all per the JAXA extent data, which may be found here: (Hope that link holds--otherwise, JAXA extent is in the excellent collection of 'house graphs' which Neven curates, accessible via the "Arctic Sea Ice Graphs" link in the upper right of this very page.)
Toggle Commented Aug 24, 2019 on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
As of 8/18, 2012 has opened up a bit more 'space', with the difference from this year up to ~250k. (Interestingly, that 2012 value for August 18th--4.31 million km2--is also pretty close to the 2010s average for the minimum--4.39 million km2). I expect 2019 to hit that mark later this week, barring sudden changes in conditions. It looks to me as if the chances now favor a 2nd-lowest-ever minimum in about 3 weeks.
Toggle Commented Aug 19, 2019 on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
The sub-1M km2 standard is essentially arbitrary. The idea is that at that level, the Arctic basin would be essectially bare, with just some bits floating round and/or landfast in sheltered locations. Why should it be breached? I'm not sure I understand the full context of your question, but basically because of Fudd's Law: "If you push something hard enough, it will fall over." Fudd's is obviously non-quantitative, in contrast to actual scientific laws, but given that the energy required to melt all the Arctic ice is finite; that annual minima are only about 20% the volume they used to be; and that we may confidently expect both air and sea temperatures to keep climbing (as well as GHG radiative forcing) for the near future; we appear to be in a Fudd's-type situation. Energy available for melt is going to keep increasing, while ice volume keeps decreasing, until the system 'falls over'. The analogy fails a bit at that point, because seasonal refreeze won't stop then--though it does appear that a perenially ice-free Arctic Ocean is in fact a possibility: "Fossil records verify that during the Eocene period, 50 to 55 million years ago, there was no permanent polar ice on Ellesmere Island. Instead, a lush rainforest dominated by dawn redwood trees and tropical vegetation flourished near Strathcona Fiord. This fertile ecosystem survived despite being shrouded in darkness for six months of the year. The forest thrived on rich flood plains that teemed with a diverse variety of life, including alligators, tapir, giant tortoises, primates, snakes, lizards and the hippo-like Coryphodon, all nourished by the abundant rainfall and mild climate."
Toggle Commented Aug 16, 2019 on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
2012-2019 gap still at 110K, per JAXA. More and more interesting. The Arctic weather outlook remains generally pretty warm. And am I right in thinking that the weather patterns have been favoring ice export via Fram? (That's what I think I'm seeing on the Reanalyzer.)
Toggle Commented Aug 14, 2019 on PIOMAS August 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice