Stop the presses! Arctic melt ain’t over ’til it’s over.

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"Stop the presses! Arctic melt ain’t over ’til it’s over."

So the fat lady sang, but I guess she hit just the right note and  shattered some more ice.  Or it could be those pesky greenhouse gases, which  always seem to be causing trouble….

http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent_L.png

That plot is from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (click to enlarge), whose latest value for sea ice extent (yesterday) is 4,832,813 km2.  There appears to be a chance JAXA’s extent will drop below the 2008 level.

Their data for the last ten days shows how sharp this new downturn is:

09,07,2010:  5027188
09,08,2010:  4989375
09,09,2010:  4972656
09,10,2010:  4952813
09,11,2010:  4986406
09,12,2010:  5005000
09,13,2010:  5008750
09,14,2010:  4998594
09,15,2010:  4948438
09,16,2010:  4890938
09,17,2010:  4832813

UPDATE:  The National Snow and Ice Data Center, which tentatively called a minimum a few days ago, now shows a full double dip [note -- the image below updates daily]:

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_stddev_timeseries.png

JAXA explains how it differs from NSIDC:

In general, sea-ice extent is defined as a temporal average of several days (e.g., five days) in order to eliminate calculation errors due to a lack of data (e.g., for traditional microwave sensors such as SMMR and SSM/I). However, we adopt the average of two days to achieve rapid data release. The wider spatial coverage of AMSR-E enables reducing the data-production period.

NSIDC uses the less volatile five-day average, which  bottomed out first on  September 10 at 4.72.

The sea ice area  picture seems a little muddier:

http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Area.png

I can’t find  the actual data for this plot.  If  anyone knows where it is, please post the link.

NSIDC told me that as of Wednesday, it’s “only in the E. Siberian Sea where you’ve had consistent ice growth over the last few days, whereas the other seas still show decreases, or oscillate between increases and decreases.”

So it seems possible to me that  volume never went back up and could possibly have continued declining, as the  thicker ice continued to be melted from underneath.  But  there is no real way of knowing at this point.

Stay tuned!

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57 Responses to Stop the presses! Arctic melt ain’t over ’til it’s over.

  1. Colorado Bob says:

    A storm the size of Australia has whipped New Zealand, leaving tens of thousands of people without power and sending a stadium roof crashing down.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/09/18/3015545.htm

  2. John Mason says:

    I’ve tried to find the area data before without success (though I’ve not gone so far as to email the orgs. concerned). Given IARC-JAXA state:

    “The area of sea-ice cover is often defined in two ways, i.e., sea-ice “extent” and sea-ice “area.” These multiple definitions of sea-ice cover may sometimes confuse data users. The former is defined as the areal sum of sea ice covering the ocean (sea ice + open ocean), whereas the latter “area” definition counts only sea ice covering a fraction of the ocean (sea ice only). Thus, the sea-ice extent is always larger than the sea-ice area. Because of the possible errors in SIC mentioned above, satellite-derived sea-ice concentration can be underestimated, particularly in summer. In such a case, the sea-ice area is more susceptible to errors than the sea-ice extent. Thus, we adopt the definition of sea-ice extent to monitor the variation of the Arctic sea ice on this site.”

    it is extent I would go along with.

    Cheers – John

  3. Colorado Bob says:

    Question: Was this storm really the size of Australia?

    Answer: Yes – in fact, it may have even been larger. WeatherWatch.co.nz estimates the whole system covered an area about 4000kms wide.

    The two maps below, courtesy of the NZ Govt, clearly show the size of the low covering the entire map from left to right.

    http://www.weatherwatch.co.nz/content/storm-highlights-and-facts

    Winds reached hurricane force on the coast west of the main city of Auckland, said weatherwatch head analyst Philip Duncan as gusts up to 154 kilometres (96 miles) per hour swept in from the Tasman Sea.

  4. Colorado Bob says:

    Climate change expert Ross Garnaut has defended the decision of mining companies with which he has been involved to use a controversial method of releasing mining waste into rivers and the ocean in Papua New Guinea.

    Professor Garnaut, who conducted the Rudd government’s 2008 climate-change review, was the chairman of Lihir Gold, a mining company taken over by Newcrest Gold last month.

    He is also a director of OK Tedi Mining Limited, another company that operates in PNG.

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/garnaut-defends-dumping-mine-waste-in-river-20100915-15caf.html

  5. John Mason says:

    Aye – but it was area not extent that Joe was asking after….

    Cheers – John

  6. Colorado Bob says:

    German-led research tackles climate sceptics head on

    In an attempt to rebalance the debate on global warming, the German research branch of Deutsche Bank has commissioned a report that refutes the claims of climate sceptics.

    http://www.euractiv.com/en/climate-environment/german-led-research-tackles-climate-sceptics-head-news-497877

  7. I doubt anything rational will alter the perceptions of the deniers. It’s like pushing a string.
    Is it perverse of us to hope that 2010 sets some record? Do we think the MSM will take note?

  8. Artful Dodger says:

    Joe, the current policy of IJIS is not to release Sea Ice Area data, which is produced for internal research uses. So, no Public numerical data is available.

    What we have seen in the last 4 days is not ‘melt’, but rather ‘compaction’. In the Fall, wind consolidates loose floes in the main ice pack, squeezing out the open areas and further reducing Extent.

    What this really means is that at the peak of the melt season, “Sea Ice Extent” dramatically overstates the size of the ice pack. However, we continue to use this metric so we can have a consistent comparison with Satellite extent measurements which goes back to 1979. It is Climate trends that are most important, and we now have 31 years of homogeneous data all showing rapid and accelerating lose of Arctic Sea Ice in all seasons.

  9. BBHY says:

    I like the NSIDC graph that shows the 1979-2000 average. Without that, the recent years are all grouped fairly close together, making them all look kinda normal. When you compare with the long term average, and see how many std deviations we are down, it is shocking. You can also see from that graph that the minimum level has also moved back in the season by about 2-3 weeks, another dramatic sign of the shift in the climate.

  10. BBHY says:

    Beam Me Up,

    It would be perverse, except that something like that is needed to push our dinosaur politicians into action. Maybe the marches in Wash this Oct will help, Tom said desperately.

  11. John Mason says:

    Scotty #8,

    I would agree, to an extent. However, like other people on here, I have found it instructive to research the sector variously known as “deniers”, “skeptics” or (as I prefer) “Political opponents of science” – because that latter term frames almost all of them as neatly as can be done.

    It is a field worthy of study, and it is fascinating to watch the ructions that can develop within the sector – for example recently on the Watts site, involving a post by Fuller, and what was in no uncertain terms outright denial from some regulars in response. There are all sorts of potential PhD’s in this, in terms of human psychological responses when presented with probabilities of risk.

    Many of us have noted a shift in “mainstream anti-science politics” towards an acceptance of the Greenhouse Effect, and a change in onus towards instead, from “it’s all bollocks” to “there are many unknowns, so that the figure of climate sensitivity re – carbon dioxide is poorly understood”. It isn’t, of course: it is not 100% understood but that goes for everything on the planet one way or another. Compared to many things it is, relatively, extremely well understood. But that doesn’t stop some people ranting and raving in terms of “only 0.3%” (they’ve never volunteered to test nerve-gas I guess), “Plant Food” and other memes that are getting increasingly dropped by others in the opposition.

    Perhaps the more accurate analogy might be – in terms of the political opposition – to take a bowl of noodles and attempt to find a consistent trend within…. taken in bulk they are as inconsistent as a randomly-selected bunch of 500 people polled along a shopping-mall.

    Cheers – John

  12. Neven says:

    There appears to be a real chance JAXA’s extent will drop below the 2008 level.

    Hardly. Looking at the weather forecast, we have a maximum of 2 days of extent decline ahead of us, after that it’s definitely over. I don’t think we’ll see 125K disappear in those 2 days. But who knows…

    [JR: True, but it dropped 116K from Wed to Friday.]

  13. Neven says:

    Everything’s possible, Joe. Unfortunately the number 1 indicator, the PIPS ice displacement map, is down at the moment.

    Anyway, it’s a virtual tie between 2008 and 2010, extent-wise.

  14. Guillaume Tell says:

    The final JAXA September 17 sea ice extent is 4,842,031km2, which is down 110,782km2 from the first called minimum.

    We’re still waiting for Anthony watts and Steve Goddard to mention any new minima.

  15. Peter M says:

    Sort of a last death spiral down– guess that enhanced C02 had the last laugh.

  16. It is little discussed, but in general the planetary water vapor streams eventually carry the energy from hurricanes and typhoons up to the Arctic Sea. Typhoon energy goes up through the Bering Strait. Naturally, if they make landfall, a lot of energy is dissipated, but if they do not make landfall, then it usually ends up in the far North.

    This year, China was hit with 10 typhoons already, and I don’t know how many did not reach land but were just sucked up to the Arctic Sea, instead, much like in 2007.

    Looks like another one is set to hit China:

    http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic/real-time/mosaic/movies/moswwvbbm/moswwvbbmjava.html

    Since I tend to watch the Univ. Wisc. WV satellite animations nearly every day, and could see this occurring, especially over the past few weeks, I am not at all surprised that there was a double dip.

    This link shows the entry to the Bering Strait better, but nothing of note is occurring today — if you look at it regularly like I do, then you begin to get a sense of how the energy is transported. If the energy were not continuously transported away from the Equator and toward the poles, the temperature at the Equator would be much higher and that of the poles much lower.

  17. Anu says:

    Artful Dodger says: (#9)
    What we have seen in the last 4 days is not ‘melt’, but rather ‘compaction’.

    So it seems possible to me that volume never went back up and could possibly have continued declining, as the thicker ice continued to be melted from underneath. — Joe Romm

    I think you’re both right.
    The extent, and maybe even dodgy “area” numbers are decreasing due to end of season winds and currents, yet given the trend towards warmer Arctic waters, the bottom melt might be continuing late into the summer. This bottom melt might not make the sea ice disappear (“run out of thickness” at the margins of the Arctic Basin), but it could be affecting the Arctic Sea Ice Volume Anomaly by 100 km^3 or so (another 10 cm bottom melt over 1 million km^2 of sea ice at the margins, for the last few weeks of summer):
    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/ArcticSeaiceVolume/images/BPIOMASIceVolumeAnomalyCurrent.png

    CryoSat-2 will give accurate Arctic sea ice volume numbers all next summer, hopefully.

  18. Paul K2 says:

    This year seems to be showing quite a different melt mechanism… The ice is clearly melting from the warmer than normal seawater, and not so much from the warm air temperatures. Earlier in the season, the main pack opened up holes and some significant polynyas (this showed up as a drop in ice area). Then later in the season, the winds pushed the weakened ice pack around, and the warmer than normal seawater did a good job in melting off the ice floes.

    Although Joe is expecting a little bit more melt than we are likely to get, the main pack is freezing up again as the holes freeze and bridge over in due to lower air temperatures. In the open water, the freeze mechanism is quite different. According to the sea ice experts, as the surface waters cool, the water sinks through the mixed layer (the top 50m or so), and is replaced by warmer water. So the entire mixed layer must cool to minus 1.8 deg C, before the ice forms again, and this takes some time. So the edges of the main ice pack aren’t likely to start growing quickly quite yet.

    In meantime, the big ‘peninsula’ of ice extending down into the East Siberian Sea is being hammered by seawater in that area that is apparently 5-8 deg C. This peninsula should continue to shrink for at least a week, and perhaps longer. So its not clear that the drop in ice extent is over, even though the ice area is likely rising as the main ice pack freezes up. This year could see a fairly late ice extent minimum.

  19. Daniel J. Andrews says:

    Someone tell Lawrence Solomon. He’s managed to make a fool of himself regarding Arctic ice. Be interesting to see how he’d spin this one. Friends of Gin and Tonic have the story.

  20. PaulK2:

    In meantime, the big ‘peninsula’ of ice extending down into the East Siberian Sea is being hammered by seawater in that area that is apparently 5-8 deg C. This peninsula should continue to shrink for at least a week, and perhaps longer. So its not clear that the drop in ice extent is over, even though the ice area is likely rising as the main ice pack freezes up. This year could see a fairly late ice extent minimum.

    I have been thinking the very same about that finger of ice using nothing more sophisticated than Photoshop to cut out the 2007 area and place it on a new layer and in a different colour on top of the 2010 image area, and this from the graphic with that dreadful Richard Black BBC article that I am sure will become notorious.

    When compared in this way the area is not all that different in total now from 2007. Of course the distinction between area and extent is too subtle a notion for the likes of Black let alone considerations of area and how hard – i.e. how cold the ice is from top to bottom through the layers. He should watch Professor Barber’s presentation.

    I doubt very much that Black has considered how much heat the ice has to absorb to get to around melting point either. If he has, and he has enough science to understand these points then he is an ideological bullshitter or a moral coward scared for his job.

  21. Oops.

    Of course the distinction between area and extent is too subtle a notion for the likes of Black let alone considerations of area and how hard

    for ‘…considerations of area…’ substitute ‘…considerations of volume…’ in my previous – had a senior moment!

  22. MapleLeaf says:

    Daniel @21. Aah, ye, one of Canada’s premier misinformers is Solomon. It would not be so bad if he were deluding just himself, but he insists on misinforming the gullible.

    I’m waiting for Lorne Gunter’s take on this….could be mind boggling.

  23. Andy Revkin says:

    As Joe notes, the “minimum” called by NSIDC was caveated, and other sea ice specialists (Jennifer Francis at Rutgers and Ignatius Rigor at the University of Washington) saw signs days ago that the minimum had not been reached):
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/14/arctic-sea-ice-continues-its-summer-slide/

  24. NeilT says:

    The SST anomaly temps show a very interesting story at DMI.

    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/satellite/index.uk.php

    I don’t know how you would link to the anomaly page but just change the paramater to (anomaly) from the default (SST) and go back the last 4 days.

    What is interesting is that the anomaly gives a completely different picture to the SST. Odd…..

    SST’s in the peninsula of ice (heading down from the chuchki), are showing the ice vanishing and reappearing. Clearly it’s not really any kind of pack and the sea temps are fluctuating because there is so little ice there and the sea is responding to the cloud cover and air temperatures.

    John #12. You want to be very careful making nerve agent similarities when making comparisons….. :-) All sensitive military detection systems detect fly spray as nerve agent. Because? Simply it is. Just very, very, very diluted.

    The comparison might be useful as a teaching aid though….

  25. Steve Bloom says:

    Re #21: Daniel, if Friends of Gin and Tonic had a link in addition to the story they’d get a lot more readers.

  26. Steve Bloom says:

    OT: Joe, this new perspective on the economic cost of increasing temperatures seems very important (h/t Only in it for the Gold).

  27. Marie says:

    North Pole Trek in 5 Days!

    Parvati, a Canadian musical artist and yogi, is taking a courageous journey to the most northern Canadian soil: a small, desolate island in the Arctic Ocean known as Ward Hunt Island. The location is just kilometres from the Magnetic North Pole and 200 kilometres from 90 degrees North.

    Parvati’s mission is to bring awareness to the urgent ecological effect of melting polar ice caps. Charged with purity of heart, clear intention, and the willingness to serve, Parvati will become the first artist to ever perform this far North. There she will offer her songs to help raise awareness of just how quickly the ice caps are disappearing and the devastating effect this is having on the entire planet.

    Born in Montreal and now living in Toronto, Parvati is an internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter, performer and producer of electronic dance pop. Her music celebrates the gift of life and her debut album and multimedia show, Yoga in the Nightclub, has had people from Toronto to Berlin shaking to its joyful rhythms. After a summer of increased signs of environmental distress, Parvati decided to postpone her Canadian tour to trek to the North Pole. She says she simply cannot turn away from the effects climate change is having.

    “I feel the global ecological crisis is a wake up call for us all, a call to awaken I AM consciousness, the magnificence of who we are,” says Parvati.”The planet reflects how we collectively treat ourselves, each other and our environment. A collective is only as strong as its individuals. If we want to change our environment, we need to transform ourselves.”

    Parvati will be joined on the trip by Satish Sikha (www.ourearth-wewill.com), another environmental activist. In Resolute, Canada’s most remote city, Satish will unveil the world’s longest piece of woven silk. Each segment is signed by a celebrity, politican or international dignitary who shares their thoughts on climate change.

    Parvati leaves Toronto on September 23, 2010 to meet with city council in Iqaluit andperform for school children in Nunavut. She will singat the top of the world on September 26th.

    The timing of Parvati’s trip is significant. Recent news reports that many ice shelves in Greenland and Canada have cracked. At the end of August, NASA reported an ice crack on Ward Hunt Island that is 40 metres deep and the size of Bermuda. Meanwhile, the sea ice levels are at an unprecedented low land as such wreaking havoc on our fragile ecosystem.

    More information about Parvati’s trip is available at http://www.parvati.ca.

  28. catman306 says:

    Question: What happened to the missing oil in the Gulf?
    Answer: Much of it is covering many square miles of sea floor 2-4 inches deep, a mixture of crude oil and dispersants. This oily mess will probably be difficult for oil eating bacteria to deal with because of the cold temperature, lack of oxygen, and lack of mixing on the bottom.

    Next question: Is it economically feasible to ‘harvest’ this oil with some kind of suction equipment (with the usual robot submarines looking on) and separate out the water, sand, oil droplets and dead marine life on the surface. The sea floor is already quite dead, smothered in oil, so very little harm could be added there. The oil/dispersant would go to the refinery. The sand/dead marine life could go back down a long pipe to be released far into the depths.

    I hope someone (BP maybe?) looks into this ecological disaster as a new potential source of oil and revenue. Lemons to lemon aid. They can make money cleaning up their mess or at least cut into the costs involved. Or wildcats could clean the seabed making money off the oil.

  29. Doug M. says:

    After seeing this chart often enough, and having watched way too much kids’ TV, I just have this to say:

    “I’ve replaced your ice cap with Fruit By The Foot!”

  30. Pavel says:

    It can be just a measurement error. Look at the antarctic extent graph: http://iup.physik.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/ice_ext_s.png

  31. Greg says:

    Does anyone else find this statement from a local official in Mexico regarding hurricane Karl remarkable?:

    “Local forecasters said the storm dumped 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain in the city (Veracruz) just in the first 90 minutes after arriving.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/18/AR2010091800726_3.html?hpid=moreheadlines

  32. Bob Wallace says:

    Catman – “a mixture of crude oil and dispersants”.

    More correctly a mixture of microbe snot, oil and dead stuff.

    Looks like there is a layer of sludge over some of the Gulf floor. That’s bad, but let’s not make the problem larger than it is. Remember the Gulf floor covers 600,000 square miles.

    Here’s what appears to be a fairly good article on the issue – http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39150640/ns/us_news-environment/

    There are microbes which eat oil at those depths/temperatures and live in areas with little oxygen. It sounds like the mucus from higher up microbes might be causing much of the sludge layer found down low.

  33. Michael says:

    Cryosphere Today shows Antarctic sea ice area peaking a month ago; also, the change/month graph on the Bremen site shows 2010 as having the earliest crossover from growth to melt (only since 2003, but by a fair margin). Also, the recent months of record high extent were mainly due to high ice growth back in April and May, as opposed to afterwards. The recent drop could be due to the Antarctic Oscillation reversing from the extreme positive values in recent months, as the NSIDC mentioned several times.

  34. catman306 says:

    Bob Wallace, I’m not sure that Dr. Joye would agree with

    There are microbes which eat oil at those depths/temperatures and live in areas with little oxygen. It sounds like the mucus from higher up microbes might be causing much of the sludge layer found down low.

    How long would that take? Perhaps so long that sand from above will cover it all and this area will be shale oil a hundred years from now.

    My point is that there is an oil content to this sludge and it may be economically feasible to mine it. Naturally, any operations would only happen where there is sludge, not all over the Gulf. This sludge covered area is already a disaster and will not be getting better within our lifetimes. Removing the oil from the sea floor may speed up that process.

  35. catman306 says:

    poor proof reading, sorry

    How long would if take for the microbes to eat the oil? Perhaps so long that sand from above will cover it all and this area will be a shale oil deposit a hundred million years from now.

  36. jyyh says:

    And anyway them microbes would themselves for most part turn into oil by then. Abiotic carbon cycle isn’t very fast.

  37. Bob Wallace says:

    This is from an interview with Terry Hazen, the head of the Lawrence Livermore team that published the Science paper on microbes in deep water….

    “Terry Hazen: Now according to Ian McDonald of Florida State University, there is the equivalent of two Exxon Valdez spills going into the Gulf of Mexico every year from natural seeps. And this has been going on for millions of years. So if I had to bet where I would find oil-degrading bacteria down deep, this would have been one of the spots. And indeed, we showed that.

    Back in the lab, said Hazen, cloned samples of the newly discovered bacteria appear to be able to digest a quantity of oil half volume of the Gulf oil plume about every three days. They eventually break the oil down to CO2 and water, he said.

    Terry Hazen: Now, did they degrade every single component of the oil? It’s doubtful. And there could be some long-term effects from some of these very, very low concentrations. We don’t know. That remains to be seen.”

    http://earthsky.org/energy/terry-hazen-on-bacteria-eating-gulf-oil-spill-plume

    It sounds to me that the majority of the oil might have been eaten pretty quickly.

    In addition to the microbe-produced mucus one would expect to find asphalts. There are no know microbes with consume asphalts, tar balls are an ancient feature of beaches.

    But reading the article I linked in the previous post, it doesn’t sound like there’s lots of oil left. Mostly other stuff. And in the greater scheme of things when one considers the size of the Gulf….

  38. Hello Everyone

    This article is so timely. I have been thinking a lot about this issue lately, as a dear friend of mine is actually travelling to the North Pole this week to try to help create awareness about just how serious this is. You might’ve seen Marie’s posting earlier. My friend is named Parvati – she’s an electronic dance pop musician of all things! But she has become so concerned about the environmental impact of the melting polar ice caps that she wants to do something to get others to notice. So this week she is travelling to the North Pole to sing! She will be the first person to ever perform there… But more importantly she is hoping to use this mission to get people to notice what’s going on. If you’re curious, her site is http://www.parvati.ca . She’s looking for any kind of support from people, even well wishes and spreading the word. Many thanks again for this important information. Best.

  39. Paul K2 says:

    Update: the preliminary September 18 JAXA ice extent is out at just under 4.80 million square km, and only 0.09 above the 2008 minimum. This is likely to be revised up a bit tomorrow, but we are within three days of reasonable melt of the 2nd lowest ice extent in the records.

    And clearly the volume of Arctic ice set the lowest level in the records this year. The pattern of the late season melt also adds credence to the Arctic amplification and albedo feedback theories. The feedback theory claims that the seas that uncover earlier in the year end up absorbing a lot more solar radiation energy than ice cap covered seas; so this year when the ice retreated quickly in June, the seas absorbed a large amount of solar radiation and warmed considerably above normal. Now those warm seas are continuing the ice melt into late September. This seems to be what is happening, and clearly the water temperatures in the Arctic seem to support this feedback mechanism.

    So yet another theory that is part of the overwhelming scientific evidence for AGW, is proving out to be on the mark.

  40. J'en ai marre says:

    Link to Friends of Gin and Tonic article mentioned earlier

    http://friendsofginandtonic.org/files/6166eaf8c7215ae8ec5d68e0cadbfab3-214.html

  41. Timothy Chase says:

    IJIS Arctic SIE Update

    From:
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/plot.csv

    2010-09-17: 4842031
    2010-09-18: 4798750

    We dropped 43281 in one day

    2010-09-18: 4798750
    2008-09-09: 4707813

    Would need to drop 90937 to tie 2008. Equivalent to a little more than 2 days (2.1) at the same rate.

  42. The latest value ai at 4,798,750 km2…

    pretty close to Tamino’s extrapolation…

  43. Orkneygal says:

    Data Analysis of Recent Warming Pattern in the Arctic

    http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/sola/6A/SpecialEdition/6A_1/_article

  44. diogenes says:

    Lawrence Solomon making a fool of himself? That would imply that he wasn’t one to begin with.

  45. Hot Tropics says:

    Dynamic Volume Loss?

    Sea ice extent or surface area is academic of course, because the real issue is the rapid arctic volume loss that can be viewed at this website.
    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/zhang/IDAO/seasonal_outlook.html

    Watch how fast arctic sea ice volume was lost this year, and is still being lost well into September.

    The real crux of this issue is that Greenland ice volume is probably being lost almost as fast which means huge volumes of land based water are being expelled into the sea and will soon be viewed as a faster sea level rise.

    The dynamic melt fazes are here now, something that the IPCC did not factor into their original sea level equations and, very few scientists have since. Clearly it is time to throw away the linear graphs and represent what is really happening with exponential graphs. Surely there is a mathematic model available now to get a real world view of sea level rise by 2020, 2050 and 2100, which would be far more impressive for world policy makers. A 50 cm rise to some areas could be devastating.

    If there is anyone that can link, say to end of August 2010, on what volume was lost from Greenland this year compared to recent years, I would be very interested.

  46. catman306 says:

    Hot topics,
    The ice is all going to melt. The only question is WHEN. Either within your lifetime or within your children’s lifetime. And like when I defrost my refrigerator, when it starts to melt, it goes fast. If we could only define the word ‘fast’.

    Any model of sea level rise can only be as accurate as the science. New forcings will be discovered as the ice melts. This will effect the accuracy of the today’s models, the exact WHEN of some melting effect might be in err in some small way, but not the fact that the effect will happen. An asteroid striking the earth might kick up enough dust to cool the earth for a few years and get the glaciers and icecaps growing again. But only for a few years, then the CO2 will force a warming. There’s no modeling for that sort of thing,

    So don’t buy any real estate near the coast based on some sea level modeling you saw. If you live near the coast, when you move, move to higher ground.

  47. Bob Wallace says:

    Anyone notice that the Antarctic ice seems to have peaked and started melting early? A few weeks earlier than normal….

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/S_stddev_timeseries.png

  48. adelady says:

    Anyone thought about the possibilities following an el Nino of 1998ish strength in the next 10 years? Give the Pacific Ocean a year or so to mix things up and watch the warm water track through the Arctic.

    It’ll be like watching a newly sharpened scythe cutting through soft grass.

  49. Neven says:

    If the PIPS ice dicplacement map is showing small arrows again today, the melting season will definitely be over. And I think it will, because the ECMWF weather forecast is showing a big high on the wrong side of the Arctic.

  50. JeandeBegles says:

    Paul K2, comment 20 and 42: thank you for these clear statements. The sea ice peninsula in east Siberia is continuing its melting according tn NSDIC picture on september 19 (http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/)

  51. Timothy Chase says:

    Depending on what server you hit you might not see it yet – you may still see 2010-08-31 – but…

    Arctic Sea Ice Volume Anomaly 2010-09-15
    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/ArcticSeaiceVolume/IceVolume.php

  52. Neven says:

    Joe, like I said the melting season appears to be over. But look what an interesting image one of my commenters sent. 2010 had less high-concentration ice than 2007, and it’s probably thinner too, because 2007 was a much bigger compaction event.

  53. Neven says:

    Joe, in case you haven’t heard yet: the Norwegians have exited the NWP and thus completed their circumnavigation of the Arctic. You will probably want to do a blog post on that.

    Here’s the link.