Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Counting down to the September ice minimum in the Arctic

I don’t know how many times I can repeat this?

According to the modellers this was not supposed to happen this century but it is and if we don’t get to the million square kilometers of ice that Prof. Wadhams considers a blue sea event this year we are getting ever closer.

I imagine that the conservative IPPC and the modellers like Gavin Schmidt will be trying to cover up the inaccuracies of their models as well as the true state of affairs.

We are sure to see graphs of the sea ice extent (which shows a bad enough situation) but information that shows the disappearance of old multi-year ice and shows just how thin the ice really is (as in the graphic below) will not be so easy to come by.

How convenient that funding cuts now mean that we can no longer get photos like the one below (from the 2013 melt)!

The Vanishing of Old Arctic Sea Ice Is In Overdrive

Photo credit: NOAA, JeremyPotter.

Boomer Warrior,
3 September, 2016

The climate is changing. We know that. But in the Arctic, climate change is in overdrive —  it’s warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, on average.
One of the most obvious indicators of our warming world is melting Arctic sea ice. According to preliminary data, Arctic sea ice set a record low every day (every single day!) in May. And in June, we set an astonishing record. Arctic sea ice covered a full 100,000 square miles less ocean than the previous record low, and it was 525,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 long-term average. That’s incredible.

Check out this video from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that shows how — and why — Arctic sea ice has changed over the last 25 years.

What is Old Arctic Sea Ice?

Published on May 24, 2016
Time lapse of the age of sea ice in the Arctic from week to week since 1990, updated through the March 2016 winter maximum. The oldest ice (9 or more years old) is white. Seasonal ice is darkest blue. Old ice drifts out of the Arctic through the Fram Strait (east of Greenland), but in recent years, it has also been melting as it drifts into the southernmost waters of the Beaufort Sea (north of western Canada and Alaska, Source: NOAA).

Simply put, sea ice is frozen water from the ocean. It forms there and melts there, unlike icebergs and glaciers (which emerge on land and can float in the ocean). Old Arctic sea ice plays an important role in the global climate system.
But how? Well, sea ice is bright and reflective: 80 percent of the sunlight that hits it is reflected back into space. But when sea ice melts, the dark ocean surface is exposed which, by contrast, absorbs 90 percent of the sunlight striking it. And when oceans become warmer, more sea ice melts, and suddenly you have a dangerous and powerful positive feedback loop — a runaway train.

What is Going On?

Thirty or so years ago, the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean was mostly old, thick ice that survived year-round. It was surrounded by seasonal ice that was much younger, thinner, and more vulnerable to changing temperatures. But with climate change, more and more Arctic sea ice hasn’t lasted long enough to withstand warming summers — and that puts the entire Arctic at risk to melting, causing sea levels to rise and ice to retreat in a big, big way. That’s not good for the Arctic, and it’s not good for the planet.

Big Oil — Disaster of Their Own Making

We know that when we burn dirty fossils, harmful greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are released into our atmosphere. Because of that, the climate is changing, sea and land ice is melting, and sea levels are rising.
But Big Oil may be able to profit off of melting sea ice — a disaster of their own making. Melting sea ice makes parts of the Arctic Ocean accessible that once were not, opening up new offshore drilling opportunities for at least 90 billion barrels of crude oil. But, climate impacts notwithstanding, drilling in the Arctic is a particularly risky endeavor. Huge, moving icebergs, strong winds and big waves, along with colder temperatures during the winter, make spills more likely as well as more difficult to clean up......


  1. No one million square kilometers of ice extent this year. It was a "very, very dark, dark race horse" as a verse of one of my favourite George Harrison's songs goes. Probably not even a new record, 2012 will hold that. But 2016 was missing a probable key component of that which would most aid a record melt season. 2016 has come from behind and will probably come within a whisker of 2012 and 2012's perfect storm of sun at the right time. The amount of ice as determined by the agreed upon model, NISDC based on extent (and not area or volume) is will be still some 3 million square kilometers too much.

    But, there has never been so much open water so near to the north pole since Cro-Magnon has appeared, possibly any hominid. There has never been this much "brash" ice and so much rotten ice (as Wadhams and Barber from the University of Manitoba) would describe it). And although a few years back with the breakup of possibly 100,000 year old sea ice field from the north of Ellesmere Island just east of north-western Greenland was the foreshadow, this year was the fatal blow to the multi-year ice. Fatal, but not immediately, let us use a bloody analogy of peripheral veins cut open and no help is within reach. No, no help is anywhere within reach, that help would lie frozen (if anywhere) decades, maybe a century in the past. This is the proper time to mourn the passing of the arctic ice.

    Lest we forget, there is a new perturbation, nea, a stake through the arctic climate wheels that has caused spokes in its wheel(s) to crack or splinter. For in 2012 we had one, and now in 2016 we had several "Great Arctic Cyclones" to inject chaotic energy into a system with increasingly fragile ice at the "swan song" of the Arctic summer, a Black Swan song. The details of this new impact and the mechanisms of how it will damage the ice and how much damage will be done in the future will be very intensely studied in the next few years.

    Ah, the next few years, abandon all hope in yesterdays computer models. As Sandy and Hermine and the recent stuck in place rain deluges in northern India and Louisiana are outside the models of the past, so will the new arctic cyclones. It is not if but when they will become the norm and not GRRReat Arctic Cyclones (GAC). These cyclones make present day models moot.

    Not that the models were accurate - they kept being 5 years behind the times playing catch up between the dogmatic conservatism of the IPCC and the de facto time scale of the scientific process - scientists have to converse and consense. But the models of various storms around the planet and the melting in the arctic have gone to mush, gruel, porridge and spoiled in the heat besides.

    Abandon all models. Set a course and follow your star.

    Oh, and by the way, they moved the rugby goals, 10, 20 meters out. It is starting to sound as if the IPCC is amending the definition of an "ice free arctic" to being 5 consecutive years of one million square kilometers of ice.

  2. One cannot help but hope that the geoengineering/solar radiation management elephant in the room will be exposed and acknowledged. How long has geoengineering been fully deployed? The attached article sheds more light.

  3. The red-line is a nonsense. When the arctic is half ice-free, then half the heat is not being processed by it, but being passed to the rest of the planet. Sitting around waiting for some special event to happen, some magic number to be achieved 5 years in a row, ...