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To play Devil's Advocate, the systems up there are so chaotic that it seems like there's the danger of falling into the "supersitious pigeon" hole, where tenuous causations become doctrine. Which isn't to say that the weather up there is tenuous, it's just that there's still several more months of it before we bottom out. Speaking for myself, I'm skeptical because I've been surprised every single year since 2007. ;)
Neven, as I said in the last post, why is it conventional wisdom that 2013 was weaksauce from the beginning of the melt season? Looking at the CT comparison, 2013 was keeping up well until it stalled out for 9 days.
Everyone's acting like 2013 was destined for weak melt from the get-go, but on day 205 (according to CT), it intersected with 2007's record. On that same day, 2008, 2009, and 2010 were all above 2013, and it had kissed the 2011 line a few days earlier, on day 199. Really, the only line for that week that was substantially below 2013 was 2012. It could have easily kept dropping, but also on day 205 it stalled out and didn't start moving again until day 214. In essence, 9 days of melt were totally lost and even though it dropped into a nice curve at the bottom, it just couldn't make up the difference in the waning sun. Had it not stalled out, I am completely confident that it would have been in the same company as all the years since 2007 but two.
Obviously melt ponds have been forming since time immemorial, but what is making the melt ponds in the last few years so deadly to the ice? Is it a change in weather patterns, something fundamental to the ice, or both? Is it possible that freezing under slightly warmer conditions creates more solid, brittle ice than would form under colder conditions? And that instead of leaching through and purifying the ice, liquid water is becoming trapped on the surface?
I'm rarely shocked, but this is the pole cam today: Their array's been wiped out.
Toggle Commented Jul 27, 2013 on Arctic time bombs at Arctic Sea Ice
Aaron, that's why I asked if melt ponds always contribute to ice loss. Just thinking about it, it seems like salt water at -2.9 degrees over old freshwater ice *could* insulate the underlying ice against a 16 degree C air mass, even with albedo taken into account. I dunno if y'all saw it, but there was a terrific article in Rolling Stone today about Greenland and a man who is studying soot deposits and the effects on albedo. From what I know about snow, melt alone increases albedo and creates a feedback loop because impurities in the snow are brought to the surface. Water on the surface could also serve to wash away soot and other small particles, refreshing the surface and making it white again.
Toggle Commented Jul 26, 2013 on Second storm at Arctic Sea Ice
Since el Lago del Polo Norte is in the news today: Does surface melt always work towards melting the subtending ice, or can it insulate the ice? Does surface melt push the ice down into the (ostensibly warmer) water, or does it have no effect? How does the salinity of the water in the interstitial space serve to preserve or melt the ice? Finally, is sea ice more like packed snow or more like an ice cube from the freezer? How much space is in there for air and water?
Toggle Commented Jul 25, 2013 on Second storm at Arctic Sea Ice
I was musing today that nobody ever talks about 2011. It came so close to beating 2007, but in the end it couldn't seal the deal. Now it's in third place, and nobody really seems to care about it. A few days ago the 2013 line kissed the 2011 line and then leveled out slightly. Here's a visual comparison between the two years: In 2011 there were areas where the ice had retreated from the coast to a greater extent, but the "core" looked a lot more solid. I don't recall there being any serious storms in 2011 to shred the ice between July 21 and the end of the melt season, whereas this year, storms are forecast. A good storm like we had last year would close the gap and then some. I see nothing to indicate that we can't bomb past 2011 (and 2007 by default), which would give 2013 at least a second-place finish.
Toggle Commented Jul 24, 2013 on Second storm at Arctic Sea Ice
There's something straightforward about naming them after American gas stations. Arctic Cyclone Amoco Arctic Cyclone BP Arctic Cyclone Chevron Arctic Cyclone (Dutch) Shell Arctic Cyclone Exxon Etc.
Toggle Commented Jul 23, 2013 on The Naming of Arctic Cyclones at Arctic Sea Ice
CT July 1 to July 18: At the beginning of the melt season, I thought this was going to be the year. Then I thought, nah, there are too many factors preserving the ice and it's not going to happen. Now I'm back where I started from. It's getting REAL up north.
Toggle Commented Jul 20, 2013 on Ice pack in full at Arctic Sea Ice
Shared Humanity, look up "blocking patterns." You're not the first person to notice this, and it's (ostensibly) the biggest sign of climate change at the mid-latitudes so far.
"My crystal ball says that the CT *triangle* with boundaries..." (This thing needs an edit function so I can hide my writing errors after the fact. ;) )
Here's my back of the envelope argument for why we're likely to pass 2012: In 2012, there was solid ice to halfway between Prince Patrick and Banks islands; this year the ice is weak and is obviously going to melt back to Borden if not further. 2013 is almost certainly going to match 2012 as far as the dramatic meltout of the CAA. In 2012, there was a huge clot of ice in the Fram Strait; this year the stuff moving through there is weak first-year ice. In 2012, there was a line of thick ice arcing between Svalbard and Severnaya Zemlya; this year the ice along that line is already fractured and rotten. In 2012, about 2/5 of the remaining ice was in the Eastern Hemisphere; this year I fully expect everything between Svalbard, Wrangel, and Russia to melt out. Unless I'm way off base about arctic currents, there's no mechanism to compact that ice against the more solid stuff in the Western Hemisphere, making it doomed for melt. Looking at the areas that are already critical this year, I don't see how we're not going to pass 2007 et al. and give 2012 a run for its money. My crystal ball says that the CT with boundaries about at a line between Svalbard and Wrangel, a line between Borden Island and somewhere slightly east of the New Siberian Islands, and the CAA is about what the final shape of the thing is going to be, and that doesn't provide the numbers to avoid a new record.
*an ice-free arctic IN APRIL sometime within the next 30 years.
Toggle Commented Jul 8, 2013 on PIOMAS July 2013 at Arctic Sea Ice
Pete, there may not be an enormous change in area or extent at the height of freeze, but there has been some change and the trend is downward. The volume trend, however, predicts an ice-free arctic sometime within the next 30 years.
Toggle Commented Jul 8, 2013 on PIOMAS July 2013 at Arctic Sea Ice
Right now on CT we're where we were in 2008, which went from being "a recovery" to almost tying 2007. In the last 6 days we've lost a million square kilometers. If the next 6 days continues the trend, we'll be 200K above 2012, and if the rally lasts for 12 days, we'll be 100K above 2012.
Toggle Commented Jul 6, 2013 on PIOMAS July 2013 at Arctic Sea Ice
Is "the cliff" more a function of insolation or a function of the areas of ice that are melting out? In 1984 "the cliff" started on day 176 and ran until day 204. Hudson Bay, with an area of 1.3 MKM^2 totally melted out during that time, as did a large part of the Kara Sea (0.8) and the Baffin/Newfoundland Sea (1.6). Even though "the cliff" has been happening earlier and earlier, there's nothing in the data that says it can't start today and run for another month.
Hans said: "I wonder if the only thing keeping the genie in the bottle is the MYI clogging the Fram drain..." Is that still the case this year? I know the CT concentration maps don't give an accurate impression of the quality of the ice, but even as recently as 2011, it looked like the MYI coming through the Fram was being extruded in a plastic manner more like toothpaste from a tube and notsomuch like iced tea being poured from a pitcher by a careless waitress at Denny's. I've wondered for a while how long it would take the basin to clear through the Fram if all the ice became unconsolidated, but most of the numbers I can find assume plastic deformation across the entire pack. That genie might be about to bust out hard.
I'm with Robert as far as what the final extent/area will look like. The only mechanism that I see working for ice preservation this year is the possibility of floes smashing into the CAA, creating summer ridging. A strong high forming over Greenland would serve to push the ice offshore, though. It's all over but the screaming. And the approval of Keystone Pipeline.
Excellent post! Within the last few days, the CT map has gone from showing mostly purple over Siberia to looking outright gangrenous. I think the mechanical energy provided by PAC-13 totally chewed the ice up, and any reduction in insolation was ineffective at preserving the already weak ice. I don't have a number for the other thread, but I'm throwing my prediction down: we're going to break the record and it's going to be ugly.
Toggle Commented Jun 18, 2013 on On persistent cyclones at Arctic Sea Ice
Hi Matt, One of the things that writing this blog highlighted for me was the poor treatment of people who are still learning. As a new birder, a person is expected to know everything immediately, and if someone doesn't know, for example, exactly how to separate Common and Spotted Sandpipers in flight, elite birders like you look down on that person. I've seen several comments in the last day in response to this blog that effectively said that it's impossible to tell in some cases if it's really sexism or if the person is just not a very good birder, as if people who do not have elite skills deserve whatever rude treatment they get. Back in the day when I was at Humboldt, I was really enthusiastic and really naive. I thought that being enthusiastic about birds should be enough, but it wasn't. Over the space of about a year I got the following comments from my friends and mentors: "Wow, you're really into it!" (I got this one several times from the same man.) "Have you seen 200 yet?" (I also got this one several times, even after I told the man that I was over 500.) "At some point I'm going to get a girlfriend, and when I do then we can't bird together any more." "Are you a FEMINIST?" Complete evisceration of my birding skills that boiled down to "Your birding skills are terrible because you're just not trying hard enough." "I don't think she likes men." (Said about me.) My boss saying that he hires women in order to get more men working for him, essentially stating that I was hired to hang out and look cute and not for any actual skills I had, while it was the men who were the good biologists. "No girls allowed!" "Why don't you quit birding and focus on something you're good at?" These comments, ranging in tone from patronizing to grossly offensive, came from six different men, all of whom were leaders in the birding community then and are still leaders today. Most of these men aren't really sexists, they were just being thoughtless. At the time I believed that I had invited these comments upon myself due to my poor birding skills. I even profusely apologized to one of the men in question saying that I would try harder to be a better birder in the future. But knowing now that the best women in the country are also treated terribly, I wish that I could go back and tell myself that I didn't deserve it. Yes, my birding skills weren't great, but I was LEARNING. But back to your post, you seem to be confused about why there are so few young women in the "most-skilled" category. Maybe you became an expert overnight so you don't understand what it's like to struggle to develop your skills, but most of us actually have to work at birding, and if young women are not given the space to learn, then they will drop out of birding. When I saw you comment on someone's Facebook page saying, "I've seen [her] birdwatch. I've even seen her correctly identify a bird," then my heart broke for that young woman. That is exactly kind of lack of respect that says to young women, "Nobody takes you seriously and nobody will ever take you seriously." You are a leader in the birding community, and you need to act like it. It's true that most young women will never be elite birders, but unless you treat women with a little more respect, there aren't going to be any young women at any level at all.
Toggle Commented Jun 13, 2013 on Open Mic: The Field Glass Ceiling at ABA Blog
How much warm water is the cyclone bringing up from the depths? The heavy snow on top of the smaller floes, instead of insulating the ice, is probably pushing the ice down into the water and exposing more ice area to the relatively warm sea water. In this case, snow on ice is a bad thing. "In the end, it will just melt away quite suddenly."
I would never argue against having a consistent style, I was merely pointing out that language is fluid and what seems outlandish and "foreign" in one era becomes completely common in another era. If the ABA adopts Hawai'ian bird names with all the 'okina and whatnot intact, people will learn to use them. Birders are flexible; there are few among us who still refer to the Brown Towhee or the Short-billed Marsh Wren. I'd personally like to see all the old colonial names done away with. Brutally subjugating Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Oceania wasn't heroic or admirable, and continuing to call birds after Governor Generals and majors and duchesses and other historical relicts is something that I hope to see ended.
Rick, I never knew you were French. :-P We're Americans from the U.S. and Canada. Most of us don't even have "English" blood, or if we do, it's a small fraction of our genetic makeup. Quite a few of us don't even have any European ancestry at all. It's more or less a sport of history that we're even conversing in this language and not German, Spanish, French, or some other language. Hawai'ian is not a foreign language. It's indigenous to the United States. If anything, English is the foreign language here. We already have "foreign" bird names that we use every day. We already use the French words avocet, cormorant, eagle, egret, falcon, grebe, grosbeak, guillemot, heron, martin, oriole, phalarope, pheasant, pigeon, plover, and rail as accepted terms for the local avifauna. I'm a fan of using native words for things, within reason. There are already too many bird names around the world that reek of colonialism and the attitude that it didn't exist until some posh British dude showed up in the 1800s and "discovered" a species that the natives had known about for tens of thousands of years. You want to use the word "monarch?" We're a democracy here.
It was a hypothetical, and the actual numbers don't really matter for the point I was trying to make. The point I was trying to make is that one dedicated person can totally eliminate a feral cat colony. You trap 'em, you take 'em to the pound, you no longer have a feral cat colony. Yes, a skyscraper also kills birds, but getting rid of a skyscraper isn't really an option for most people.