Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Dramatic fall of Arctic ice

Further Confirmation Of Arctic Sea Ice Dramatic Fall

16 May, 2016

Since early April, 2016, there have been problems with the sensor on the F-17 satellite that provided the data for many Arctic sea ice images. On April 12, NSIDC issued a notice that it had suspended the provision of sea ice updates. On May 6, NSIDC announced that it had completed the shift to another satellite. The red dotted line in the image below shows data from the F-18 satellite from April 1 to May 15, 2016.

The JAXA site also provides sea ice extent images, obtaining data from a Japanese satellite. They show that Arctic sea ice extent on May 15, 2016 was 11,262,361 square km, 1.11 million square km less than it was on May 15, 2012.

The Cryosphere Today is still using data from the F17 satellite, showing some weird spikes. Albert Kallio has taken a recent image and removed faulty spikes, resulting in the image below showing sea ice area up to May 3, 2016.

[ yellow line is 2016, red line is 2015 ]

Importantly, above image confirms that Arctic sea ice in 2016 has indeed been very low, if not at its lowest for the time of the year. Especially since April 2016, sea ice has fallen far below anything we've seen in earlier years. Below, Albert elaborates on comparing data.


A corrected Special Sensor Microwave Imager and Sounder (SSMIS) data set on the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F-17 satellite that provides passive microwave brightness temperatures (and derived Arctic and Antarctic sea ice products) has been corrected here for the system instrumentation error. This agrees with the Japanese JAXA curve, and has been accomplished by removal of the uncharacteristic upward 'ice growth' spikes by linear intrapolation of the corrupt data points. This reinforces the JAXA data that shows the Northern Hemisphere sea ice area is seasonally at new record low which has continued in May 2016.

Smoothened F-17 curve agrees with the Japanese JAXA satellite curve. The reconciliation of the two has been accomplished by removal of the uncharacteristic upward spikes by linear intrapolation of the corrupt days' data points which incorrectly showed immense sea ice area growth in the middle of spring melt season. This reinforces the JAXA data that shows the sea ice area is seasonally at record lows. Therefore, media who are citing recent F-17 satellite sea ice area figures are intentionally distorting the facts with their claims of the Northern Hemisphere having a record sea ice area for this time of season - whereas in reality - the exact opposite has been happening.

Arctic sea ice is in a bad shape and looks set to deteriorate even further, for a number of reasons. The year 2016 is an El NiƱo year and warming is hitting the Arctic much stronger than the rest of the world. Ocean heat is also very high and rising. Greenhouse gases are at record levels, CO2 was 408.2 ppm on May 12, 2016, and methane levels are high and rising, especially over the Arctic.

Chances are that Arctic sea ice will be largely gone by September 2016. As the ice declines, ever more sunlight gets absorbed by the Arctic Ocean. This is one out of numerous 
feedbacks that are hitting the Arctic. The danger is that, as these feedbacks start to kick in more, heat will reach the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean and trigger methane to be released in huge quantities from the Arctic Ocean seabed.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action as described in the 
Climate Plan.

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