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FishOutofWater here - Unfortunately, the volume anomaly in the Barents sea has started to melt out in Worldview images. Likewise, the Kara sea ice is rapidly melting and blowing out while winds are blowing Atlantic water into the southwestern side of the Kara sea.
Toggle Commented Jun 6, 2019 on PIOMAS June 2019 at Arctic Sea Ice
-FishOutofWater aka George here Wade, the winds have tightened back up around Antarctica following the El Niño so don't count on surface melting like the last 2 years. Melting from below, by intermediate water, will continue. Note that the lack of an ice arch in the Nares straight led to continued production of new ice there. This process leads to upwelling of relatively warm water along the west coast of Greenland and an increase in salinity. The result is warm salty water wells up under the Glaciers on the west coast of Greenland, destabilizing them. This situation also will tend to increase the flow of warm salty Atlantic water from the south up the west coast of Greenland. Expect an interesting year for west Greenland's glaciers.
Ice and low nutrient water in the Arctic has limited the formation of toxic algal blooms that frequently form at river mouths. But that might change. Arctic ocean water is prone to acidification because CO2 is more soluble at low temperatures and because there is a large supply of organic carbon in the water. The extremely low ice volume and ice thickness at the start of the melting season means that biological processes will get a very early start if melt ponds make a strong start in May. We need to watch the beginning of melt pond season this year to get an idea of how thin the ice will be by September. Yes, a record low minimum could have effects on the ecosystems of the Arctic.
Toggle Commented May 5, 2017 on PIOMAS May 2017 at Arctic Sea Ice
The CFS v2 model continues to forecast high pressure over the Arctic ocean for June. Model predictions are consistent with the ongoing evolution of weather patterns we are already seeing. Perhaps the model will be wrong but it looks like a warm and sunny May and June with high pressure over the Arctic ocean. The stratospheric polar vortex was displaced multiple times this winter but the cold center held. In June 2013 persistent low pressure in the Arctic followed a strong sudden stratospheric warming in January and a very weak jet stream in late spring. This year we have seen the polar vortex hold together and the jet stream has been relatively strong. I think that the CFS June forecast will verify. -FishOutofWater, known in real life as George.
Toggle Commented May 5, 2017 on PIOMAS May 2017 at Arctic Sea Ice
-Fish aka George here- The drop in the Kara sea, which doesn't look like much yet, is the big deal in the start of this melt season. A number of maps of snow and sea ice show the snow retreating in NW Europe way ahead of schedule. The heat will continue this melt pattern and the bare ground will amplify the heating. Northern Eurasia is set to have a hot spring and the ice on the Arctic shores of Eurasia is set for a very early melt out. We're on track for record low ice area, extent and volume in September and a brutally hot summer in northern Russia.
Toggle Commented Mar 19, 2017 on Lowest maximum on record (again) at Arctic Sea Ice
George aka FishOutofWater here. The oscillation of warm pulses from the Atlantic and Pacific sides into the Arctic may leave this winter's minimum extent close to last year's but all the water vapor clouds and heat will keep the ice from thickening much. Both the ECMWF and GFS models continue to predict the stratospheric polar vortex will be displaced towards western Siberia. This means that heat will continue to enter the Arctic as Atlantic air will warm western Siberia and Pacific air will warm eastern Siberia and the Arctic ocean. That's what both models show. The 240 to 384 hours GFS 10 mb progs show the polar vortex in terminal spring decline. This situation seems to indicate that snow melt will come early to Eurasia this spring. All in all the models are not forecasting good conditions for increasing ice thickness very much. Some of what we think is ice may contain submerged snow that is weak, low density material full of air bubbles. The Jennifer Francis interview is excellent. We have been observing the same patterns here and interpreting them in a similar way. She does a great job explaining it in under 2 minutes.
Toggle Commented Jan 25, 2017 on A new Arctic feedback (?) at Arctic Sea Ice
-FishOutofWater here - Open water on the Atlantic side of the Arctic allows warm water to get very close to the pole. There's a staggering thermal gradient right now between Greenland and the warm waters in the subarctic seas. This gradient helps make a storm track that moves heat and clouds into the Arctic in the dark winter months. Thus heat does not escape efficiently to space from the open water region on the Atlantic side. Heat escaped efficiently in January through March 2013 when high pressure dominated over the pole and kept skies clear. A sudden stratosperhic warming in early January apparently increased the normal subsidence pattern over the Beaufort sea and north pole. Thus after the open water summer of 2012 there was a strong recovery, but don't expect one this winter because of the ongoing storms.
FishOutofWater here I suspect that we would approximately halve the rate of CO2 increase if we cut global emissions rates in half. It certainly would not go to zero. Emission rates at some point in the 20th century were half of today's levels and [CO2] was rising back then. Obviously, if we cross some critical point where permafrost degradation releases CO2 and methane we may see a temperature jump from 1.5 to 2.0 C or greater that we cannot stop by eliminating emissions. There is evidence that at 1.5 C above pre industrial that Siberian permafrost undergoes a progressive collapse. Climate change is very complicated. Beware of simplistic answers.
Toggle Commented Jan 10, 2017 on Global warming 2016: Arctic spin at Arctic Sea Ice
FishOutofWater here: Ocean acidification and hypoxia are already impacting the Arctic ocean as sea ice retreats, permafrost melts and the organic carbon, CO2 and methane levels rise in the Arctic seas. There are a number of recent articles about Arctic ocean acidification that show impacts of acid sensitive species such as pteropods. We must rapidly reduce CO2 emissions to stop the kind of catastrophic marine chemistry changes that caused the global marine extinction event at the end Permian. We really don't want to live next to seas that produce toxic sulfurous gasses. Solar shades will not solve the problems caused by the rapid burning of earth's carbon stores. We are dealing with a rate problem. The earth has withstood much higher CO2 levels in the past but when rates rose rapidly they were frequently associated with mass extinction events. This is both a problem of rapid global warming and rapid changes in chemistry caused by release of carbon stores. One sentence summary: "Ocean acidification caused the second phase of mass extinction in the Permo-Triassic, due to a rapid and large injection of carbon which overwhelmed the buffering capacity of the ocean. "
-FishOutofWater here- The problem with getting back sea ice is that the radiation balance of the planet is way out of equilibrium. The oceans have been taking up heat and there is still a huge amount of cold water stored in the deep oceans that will continue to cool the planet. Now, that's a good thing for all of us, but it hides the effects of GHG's. It means that there's a huge amount of potential warming baked into the system because the system has a huge amount of inertia. Increasing the carbon content of our soils, planting trees and restoring ocean ecosystems can help build up the natural systems that reduce CO2. We should all be doing that because using these natural systems will probably have the fewest unintended consequences. We know from the history of volcanic eruptions that disastrous consequences like "the year without a summer" can happen when there is a change in the radiation balance caused by increasing the albedo of one part of the planet's atmosphere. Thus I think that engineered solutions could have disastrous unintended consequences.
Toggle Commented Dec 4, 2016 on Sabbatical (I hope) at Arctic Sea Ice
Neven, thanks for building this community and blogging with humility, honesty and accuracy. I don't know how you are going to be able to stay away in the coming year if what we are seeing now is an indication of things to come...and I think it is. If you do feel compelled to come back you might consider doing it as a group blog, using the talented people that post on the forum. I'll see you on the forum. Thanks for all the fish. FishOutofWater - in real life, George Birchard
Toggle Commented Nov 21, 2016 on Sabbatical (I hope) at Arctic Sea Ice
Multiple points: 1. to Neven: Upticks in the September DMI 80N temperature curve may be caused by weather, not heat released as ice forms. There was a blast of warm air off of Eurasia that may have caused the recent temperature uptick. 2. to Wayne: You have a valid point that the 15% metric isn't the same as it used to be when the central pack was solid, but changing yardsticks won't get rid of the problem. What we are really lacking today is buoys that measure ice and water column properties through the year. The reduction in funding for buoys is a very serious problem. Warmer, saltier water below and accelerated flow of water into and out of the Arctic ocean as low pressure deepens on the Atlantic side of the Arctic is a huge problem. Our problems with the 15% extent limit are small potatoes. 3: Snow that falls on sea water will take up seawater in its pores. If that sea water is salty, the salt will affect the melting point of the new snow. It the water was already about to freeze the snow may be the tipping point that causes a rapid freeze over. That may be what recently happened. -Fish
Toggle Commented Sep 19, 2016 on ASI 2016 update 7: minimum time at Arctic Sea Ice
John C's analysis sounds a lot like science. This summer there were anomalous winds blowing from Greenland across the pole & towards the New Siberian islands. Not only was July 2012 sunnier than 2016 but there was far more ice export through the Fram and far more flow of warm Pacific water through the Bering strait. This summer's weather patterns were not particularly favorable for melting. In 2016 the warm winter and the intense Beaufort high in May led to low September ice. It is disturbing that the ice is in such poor shape after a summer that was so favorable for ice retention. This year melting from below has played a much bigger role relative to 2012 where massive melting from above was driven by warm sunny weather. -Fish ps The resurgence of very warm water into the subarctic seas is not a good sign for ice in the years ahead.
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2016 on PIOMAS September 2016 at Arctic Sea Ice
The persistent storminess over the Arctic ocean increases the influx of Atlantic water to the Arctic through the Barents sea. On the other side of the Arctic this summer's winds and currents have reduced the influx of Pacific water. In 2012 winds helped push Pacific water into the Arctic and drove Arctic sea ice out through the Fram. This summer there were anomalous winds blowing from Greenland towards the new Siberian Islands. There's a lot of excess heat in the north Pacific but it's effects on the Arctic would be mostly atmospheric by increasing water vapor levels and temperatures. -Fish
Toggle Commented Sep 3, 2016 on PIOMAS September 2016 at Arctic Sea Ice
Several points are respond to below: Slowly but surely the Arctic ocean is becoming a vapor source for NH precipitation. An excess of deuterium to Oxygen 18 has been increasing in New England as the Arctic water vapor source grows. The warming of the waters in the Barents sea is affecting global atmospheric circulation patterns according to other papers. Ultimately, there is a water vapor feedback which is a major contributor to "Arctic amplification" and sea ice loss. I suspect the water vapor feedback effects are one reason this year has seen such a dramatic loss in sea ice despite the cloudy weather. --- A coupled model that makes bad forecasts but can be improved is worth working on because it may ultimately perform better than other models. A heuristic or statistical model which is not subject to improvement should be simply disregarded when it falls behind other models. Some statistical models may be subject to improvement but how do you improve an heuristic model that fails? --- There will always be a range of scientific predictions. Wadhams is now at the extreme end of the range predicting catastrophic climate change. However, there are a few scientists on the opposite extreme who think CO2 is good for plants and that a warming climate is an improving climate. The three percent on the top and bottom ends of the distribution do not reflect on the quality of the science of the 94% of scientists who fall in the mainstream. In fact, Wadhams has a far better case than the bottom 3% that think CO2 is beneficial plant food. One of these years he is going to be right. We are just arguing over the rate of change, not the ultimate result, zero ice. -Fish
Toggle Commented Sep 2, 2016 on 2016 Mega-Dipole at Arctic Sea Ice
This summer, because of the stormy Arctic weather, a little more heat went into the subarctic seas and a little less went into the Arctic waters, relatively speaking. The strong thermal gradient has intensified the storminess as summer transitions to fall. Perhaps a well constructed long-term forecast model could have picked this up. NOAA's CFS v2, however, has been unable to forecast the tropical Atlantic and the southern ocean so it cannot be trusted. However, we can always make simplistic forecasts based on our pet theories then say stupid stuff about Neven. I chose not to because I value my reputation. Clearly, there are others here who don't care about their reputations. I am hoping that the professional researchers who have invested their lives into understanding the Arctic can build better models that can more accurately predict the behavior of the polar climate systems. Until then I humbly observe what's happening with amazement. Thanks, Neven, for the excellent graphics and persistent reports. -Fish
Toggle Commented Aug 31, 2016 on 2016 Mega-Dipole at Arctic Sea Ice
These non-stop low pressure systems in the Arctic ocean increase the flow of warm water from the Atlantic into the Barents and Kara seas, then into the Siberian seas of the Arctic ocean. On the other side, the flow of water through the Bering Strait has been reduced to a minimum by the wind, pressure and sea surface height patterns. Years with maximum melt like 2007 and 2012 had a strong flow of Pacific water through the Bering Strait. The effects of Atlantic water are generally seen in later years because most of the warm water comes in at depths below 100 meters. This year warm surface water is being driven into the Siberian seas so there's likely to be an immediate impact in that area. -Fish
Wayne, I think that those papers are using large multi-year patterns that involve increased oceanic heat flow into the Arctic ocean, not the atmospheric pattern details necessary to understand why a year like 2007 had such a low sea ice extent. There are multi-year atmospheric circulation patterns that increase the flow of Atlantic ocean water into the Arctic. The AO does show this large-scale effect. Those papers aren't wrong, but they aren't very helpful for predicting the details this years minimum extent, area and volume. They can help you understand multiple year trends and variations. -Fish
Toggle Commented Aug 24, 2016 on 2016 Arctic cyclone, update 2 at Arctic Sea Ice
You have to take those 9 day forecasts with a margarita glass lined with salt. The north Atlantic has phenomenal amounts of stored heat and that heat is pushing towards the Arctic. With all that heat there's likely to be trouble from Florida to the Kara sea. The models are telling us something even if the details don't pan out this time.
Toggle Commented Aug 19, 2016 on 2016 Arctic cyclone, update 2 at Arctic Sea Ice
If the premise that more open water in the Arctic is causing stronger storms is true, then we should be seeing stronger storms in the Barents sea as well as the central Arctic. We'll see how the ECMWF forecast at 216 hours pans out. As we have recently seen forecasts for the Arctic beyond 3 or 4 days usually fail. But 954mb forecast for the Barents sea at least shows that the model is picking up an effect of the energy stored in the much warmer than normal waters there. I think we can reasonably hypothesize that increasing levels of oceanic heat are leading to stronger storms in the Arctic in August and September by destabilizing the atmosphere. A cold, reflective intact layer of ice leads to a cold, stable layer of air at the surface. When that ice is gone, atmospheric stability decreases in the early Arctic fall. -Fish
Toggle Commented Aug 19, 2016 on 2016 Arctic cyclone, update 2 at Arctic Sea Ice
The cyclone re-intensifies in 72 hours to 973mb north of the Canadian archipelago. Beyond 3 or 4 days no model is reliable in the Arctic but the dynamics keeping the cyclone near the pole will not change for weeks. Note that the wind fields are advecting warm air at low levels into the system. At this time of year the coldness is generated by radiative cooling over the ice. Warmer air from surrounding areas is pulled into the low and is cooled and lifted up. Obviously cold air does not tend to rise but this situation works because radiative cooling aloft is very effective over the ice near the north pole in mid-August. The air is rapidly cooling at 500mb over the pole this time of year. The polar vortex is beginning to form for the coming winter. -Fish
Toggle Commented Aug 17, 2016 on 2016 Arctic cyclone, update 1 at Arctic Sea Ice
Latest 12Z ECMWF has cyclone bombing to 959mb Next Weds. 192 hours out. It's clear, no matter what the details, that this year's cyclone is in competition with 2012 and the competition has weeks to go. How this will ultimately affect the ice only time will tell but it will help pull warm Atlantic water into the Siberian seas and that's not good news for ice. The intense Eckman pumping near the pole could lead to an ice free pole by 1 Sept. This is turning into an epic storm. -Fish
Toggle Commented Aug 16, 2016 on ASI 2016 update 5: big cyclone at Arctic Sea Ice
Neven, I can see why you would want to take a break since this isn't your full time job. The blog can hibernate all winter but what happens to the forum? We have a wonderful combination of wizards, elves and hobbits working their magic on the forum but as soon as you go the trolls will show up. -Fish
Toggle Commented Aug 12, 2016 on 1000 Forum members at Arctic Sea Ice
Thank you, Neven, for making it work. Are donations continuing to cover the costs of running it? Obviously, it is a labor of love but bandwidth and servers aren't free. -Fish
Toggle Commented Aug 11, 2016 on 1000 Forum members at Arctic Sea Ice
I follow global sea surface temperatures and ocean heat content very closely. What's phenomenal about this spring and summer is how much of the heat released by the El Niño has persisted in the northern hemisphere's oceans. In previous major El Niños warm water made it all the way to the Antarctic sea ice then was lost to melting ice and radiation to space in the Antarctic night. This time, the stronger winds and ocean currents that have tightened up around Antarctica greatly reduced the loss of ocean heat to the Antarctic. Both the north Pacific and the north Atlantic are warm from the surface down to the intermediate water. Water vapor levels in the northern hemispheric atmosphere are high. I think that the warm-water has been maintained by the water vapor feedback which has amplified the greenhouse effect causing radiative warming of the northern hemisphere's oceans. The storminess in the Arctic is increased by an increase in vorticity moving northward from the Atlantic as the thermal gradient on the north wall of the Gulf stream and north Atlantic drift increases. Summers with Arctic high pressure have more storminess in the Aleutians. This summer the Aleutian low is very weak and there is little subsidence over the Beaufort sea so the Beaufort high is almost non-existent. -Fish Wayne, I agree that the state of the ice is pathetic. Much of the Arctic ocean is covered with slush and pulverized ice. The question is, how much solar heat got into the ocean under the stormy conditions? History tells us that June storminess slows melting, and so far this year does not appear to be an exception to the rule, but time will tell.
Toggle Commented Jul 27, 2016 on ASI 2016 update 4: breaking point at Arctic Sea Ice