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Not sure if people have seen this - or simply don't think it's very good - but on the site, 4,difgferent forecast animations centered on the arctic basin became available this year, and I believe they are excellent. For example:
Toggle Commented Jul 21, 2014 on ASI 2014 update 5: low times at Arctic Sea Ice
Two comments on the current state of the arctic ice cover: First, the NH snow cover anomaly has now fallen below the long-term mean - and by using the HI-RES MODIS (250m) imagery, it's quite clear that the ice concentration is lower than almost all 'charts' & 'graphs'seem to be depicting. There are a number of locaions where ice cover is shown on the 'charts' - but close examination of imagery shows there is considerable sea fog fooling the sensors. (Surface temps over the arctic ocean clearly point to advectionb fog situations in some areas as well.) In other areas, low clouds induced by cold air aloft and a low level inversion are also causing some sensor mis-interpretations. 'Blue ice' as seen in higher REZ images that has appeared over the past week over portions of the arctic ocean (similar to the appearance taken on by the still frozen inland lakes) also supports either no snow cover or very little, atop the arctioc ocean ice. Sometimes, we seem to rely on way too many algorithms and 'sensor interpretations' for what is going on when a close-up examination of VIS imagery can tell a more complete story. Not unlike operational forecasters who fail to 'look out the window' before issuing their forecasts. Steve
Toggle Commented May 30, 2013 on ASI 2013 update 1: a slow start at Arctic Sea Ice
In a former life, I taught Weather for the FAA Mandated annual Flight Dispatch Recurrent Training at a major airline. This is one of, if not the best overview of the jetstream and associated features I've ever seen, A little too advanced for the average Dispatcher - but as complete as any one of them would need.
SteveG is now following Neven
May 21, 2013
4.1 CLIMO / stats for the 'trend' argues strongly for a number higher than last summer, though not by much as the ice thickness in the Bering Strait and Chukchi Sea is markedly lower than at the same time last year. Though a strongly negative AO has dominated the last 6 months, a flip to a modestly positive AO and NAO during the summer will help to spread out the new and multi-year ice during the next few months. The overall motion of the ice pack over the winter was the first time I can recall seeing such a large shifts - and this tends to force cracking/fractures like we've seen. A big factor that will became apparent within the next 60 days is just how much snow cover built up over the ice. It was an extremely cold winter in much of the western Arctic north of Alaska/N. Central Canada - but this doesn't always mean the ice thickened up in a major way *IF* there was a thicker than normal snowcover which would of 'insulated' the ice and mitigated much thickening. Otherwise - this is nothing more than a WAG thios early in the melt season because predicting large-scale weather patterns 3-5 months out is not really that easy. ;-| Steve
Alex; Chicago has had above normal temps on 27 of the last 28 days - with DEC temps now averaging 9.6 degF above normal. We've officially had 0.3" of snow. Numeous recors for 'streaks' of warm and snowless days have been set; and no major change is expected thru mid JAN. Considering we're now entering the 'bottom of winter' (average Temps begin to rise starting JAN 26)the chances of a prolonged, super cold event is quickly diminishing (assuming the ensembles and oher forecast tools are reasonably correct for the next 30 days).
Toggle Commented Dec 26, 2012 on Looking for winter weirdness 3 at Arctic Sea Ice
Before believing everything in news articles - check out the latest NCAR Temp Anomaly chart for the last 30 days. Most of SIBERIA has been (and still is) warmer than normal - not colder. Most of the 'cold' has been over western and south central Russia - and mostly during the past 10 days in these more populated areas of Russia. 10 days of intense cold does not make this the 'coldest Russian Winter in decades'.
Toggle Commented Dec 26, 2012 on Looking for winter weirdness 3 at Arctic Sea Ice
As the arctic ice meltdown progresses over the coming decade - we really need higher resolution data if climate model forecasts (for the whole gamut of ice related impacts) is to improve. The ongoing dissertation on the anomalous 'warm water' centered to the east of PRU is just 1 more example of the need for more in-situ measurements. A fairly strong storm over western AK brought very warm temps and 'torrential' rains across south central Alaska with 1-3 inch rainfall totals during the past day and extensive river flooding in the ANC area. 50mph wind gusts (not really unusual for late SEP) within the ANC city limits with much higher gusts to over 80mph across the ice fields at Portage, Whittier and Exit glaciers. Also of note is the record low temperature set at Saint Paul Island (27 deg) with a widespread snow cover now in place across far eastern Siberia as well. Steve
Just 1 of the operational ICE Graphics produced by the ANC WSFO. Note that there is an arera of ice to the NW of Barrow, and a lmuich larger area of significant ice around Wrangell Island extending to the eastern Siberian coast. The point being - the 15% 'threshold' for 'Ice Free' conditions can be too misleading when calculating sea ice area among other derived metrics. The same WEB site has a fairly hi-res SST chart for the north coast of AK.
The link is: re: Seke Rob "It was thought the Shell ice report was a ruse." I doubt it was a 'ruse' - I heard from 2 very reliable sources last week they were in fact forced to disconnect from the semi-permanent anchoring position for almost 36 hours due to ice floes. Were they being extra cautious or even paranoid? May be. But that applies to many oceanic operations in warm waters as well.
Shell has suspended drilling in the Chukchi Sea ( - after ice began threatening the new containment vessel. What's interesting is that the rig is about 200NM NW of Barrow - where there ius supposedly totally 'open water'. Not quite as 'totally ice free' as we tend to think it is. Similar observations have been reported by shipping companies that are taking advantage of the shorter poolar routes. Yes, I know all about the '15%' threshold - just pointing out these in-situ observations.
Maybe someone posted this b4; but great visualization of ice retreat this year:
I don't mean to 'rain on anyone's parade' so to speak, but the GFS model forecast for arctic storms over the upcoming 2 weeks are not unusually strong in intensity or frequency for this point in the season. Real-time, full 384hr GFS forecast charts are available at: Just click on the model and the projection you want (GFS and Polar, for example) and then pick what forecast paramaters you want to see. High arctic basin SFC temps are already running around -1 to -3 degC, and SEP 15-22 appears the most likely time frame for when ice extent will bottom out. If it does occur later, it will almost certainly mean that sub-surface water temps are in fact much warmer than 'normal'. Steve
Been watching the arctic ice on and off last few weeks while keeping both feet in the tropics... but thought I'd add my 2 cents since there is a nice lull in meaningful TC activity. After 25 yrs of watching ice meelts, it really should not have been that surprising to have seen this seasons' monster melt. But it was, to many of us. With last winter's extreme cold across the high arctic (especially in the western hemisphere and in particular, across Alaska and northern Canada) we saw total aerial ice extent reach levels not seen in almost a decade, with all-time record breaking extents in the Bering Sea. The primary storm track in the fall & early winter also put down an early and heavy snow cover from Alaska to northern Canada. Even spring breakup and arctic ice melt season began somewhat later than we've seen in recent years. When asked last April if I thought we'd break and extent record by SEP, I said 'probably not'(I actually gave the classic 'WX guy' reponse of a '50/50 chance'). But by late June and early July, it became obvious that melt season was proceeding at a rapid pace, and it continued with and without the overly emphasized 'dipole pattern'. Indeed, we had a highly vaiable weather pattern throughout the summer; and this was not thought to be conducive to a rapid melt - let alone a rcord melt rate. I id fully expect the NWP to open up again this year because the early and deep snow cover acted as a 'blanket' over the thickening winter ice there, and it stood to reason the actual ice thickness by spring was not any greater than it was in recent years. The almost overnight vanishing of the ice across the NWP waterways seems to have confirmed this reasoning. The loss of multi-year ice since 2007 has been well documented, and as we've seen with the ice sheet over Greenland, as older ice becomes exposed each year, the net albedo of the ice decreases, and with all things being equal, will help accellerate the melt rate. Back in 2007, I openmly questioned wheyther we had, indeed, reached the 'tipping point' in cie loss that would allow for an ice free arctic much sooner than earlier projections of 2040-2050. Initially, I thought 2020-2025 seemed about right, but after observing the 2008 and 2009 extents, thjough 2030 was probablky most likely. However, with the new, higher resolution thickness and volume data now being readily available, and the remarkable melt of this summer - I'm inclined to believe that ice free summers will become the new norm by 2020. And while the 'dipole' pattern, summer storms and other 'indicators' (known and yet to be discerned) will play a role in any given seasons' ice loss - IMHO it's the loss of multi-year ice that will be the primary force driving future season's ice loss and the date when we experince the first summer without arctic ice since modern man first set his eyes on the arctic ocean, and when the Polar Bear first walked away from it's Brown Bear cousin about 100,000 years ago.
Re: Artful Dodger: "Look at the predicted ice transport through Fram strait the next couple of days!" Actually, take a look at the Arctic Buoy drift chart (ASI page or available links from the NP Web Cam) which has shown virtually all the buoys drifting towards the Fram St. for months now. Steve
Thanks to Dr Jeff Masters (who I've known since 2004 and blogged for during the super storm years of 2004 and 2005 - which led to me leaving United Airlines and quickly establishing a full-time biz forecasting tropical cyclones for energy traders ever since) - I've 'discovered' this blog. It's been a true pleasure to finally hear from so many scientists who have also become as fanatically interested in Arctic ice and the Greenland ice sheet. I officially began my career as a forecaster in Alaska in the 1970's, and this remarkable storm is not some new type of 'bizarre / freak' type of storm. (The global models handled this just fine - a 'unique' type of storm would not have been picked up on). It's also not a polar or arctic hurricane in the traditional sense. Those relatively small cyclones can produce hurricane force winds - usually 'triggered' baroclinically as very cold arctic air moves out over relatively warmer waters (and usually eaat of Greenland) - and get much of their energy through latent heat release from the open waters just off the ice pack edge. They also dissipate once they move over land or the ice pack itself, and have only been observed in the winter. This is 'The Great Arctic Basin Storm' (or whatever). But my point is that it is a synoptic scale event normally seen in the cold season - but for reasons already mentioned - are likely to occur with greater frequency within the arctic basinduring the warm season due in part to GW and large areas of open water within it. I began 'watching' the arctic ice dince the SATY record began (gfirst thru military contacts - and then whilee doing my research work at UAL in the 1980's. I've become pretty proficient at interpreting the imagery & data; and predicting what kind of melt season we would have. For instance, despite the intense cold this past winter in northern Canada - which normally would of caused a very thick ice formation in the NW Passages (north and south routes) - we've seen it melt out very quickly - pretty much at the same time it has over the last svereal seasons. I suspect that happened because of the very intense and numerous storms last autumn and early winter that moved from the Bering Sea on across Alaska and then northern Canada and put down an early and relatively heavy snow cover on top of the newly formed ice. This snow cover no doubt reduced the rate of ice thickening - just about offsetting what the much colder winter was doing. In many ways - the hemispheric circulation pattern has not totally given up on the La Nina pattern of the past winter. I suspect 'normal seasonality' forcing simply shifted the high latitude storm track from the Bering Sea / northern Canada further north - and once the upper level cold core polar vortex began to deepen (as the models correctly foreecast) we suddenly found ourselves with a huge and very deep surface storm that has essentially occluded out and will spin itself away over time. Once the dust settles (so to speak) - we'll have just 1 example of what a major storm within the arctic basin during the summer does to the ice pack. Drawing too many 'conclusions' from it may not be a good idea. It will take several of these over the coming years before anyone will be able to model the impact they have on the ice pack - and just how much of a role it plays in the rate of meltout.
Toggle Commented Aug 9, 2012 on Arctic storm part 3: detachment at Arctic Sea Ice
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Aug 7, 2012