A Few Things Ill Considered

August Monthly Anomaly Smashes Previous Record

August sea ice extent in the Arctic this year was 640,000 square kilometers below the previous record set in 2007.  It is also already a record monthly low for any month, though that record will not last as it is going to be broken this September when the lowest extent of the year is normally reached. In less than the last two months, multi-year ice declined by 33% and the oldest ice (over 5 years) declined by 54% (and that ice ain’t coming back).  While the unusual Arctic Cyclone probably had a noticeable impact on the evolution of this year’s (still deepening) record ice loss, it must be noted that the average melt rate for August is 55,100 km^2/day and ice loss after the cyclone dissipated proceeded at the remarkable rate of 77,800 km^2/day.  So no, Anthony, it was not just a freak weather event.

Here is the full update from the NSIDC:

Following the new record low recorded on August 26, Arctic sea ice extent continued to drop and is now below 4.00 million square kilometers (1.54 million square miles). Compared to September conditions in the 1980s and 1990s, this represents a 45% reduction in the area of the Arctic covered by sea ice. At least one more week likely remains in the melt season.

Overview of conditions

Figure 1. Arctic sea ice extent for August 2012 was 4.72 million square kilometers (1.82 million square miles). The magenta line shows the 1979 to 2000 median extent for that month. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole. Sea Ice Index data. About the dataCredit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image

Throughout the month of August, Arctic sea ice extent tracked below levels observed in 2007, leading to a new record low for the month of 4.72 million square kilometers (1.82 million square miles), as assessed over the period of satellite observations,1979 to present. Extent was unusually low for all sectors of the Arctic, except the East Greenland Sea where the ice edge remained near its normal position. On August 26, the 5-day running average for ice extent dropped below the previous record low daily extent, observed on September 18, 2007, of 4.17 million square kilometers (1.61 million square miles). By the end of the month, daily extent had dropped below 4.00 million square kilometers (1.54 million square miles). Typically, the melt season ends around the second week in September. 

Conditions in context

Figure 2. The graph above shows Arctic sea ice extent as of September 3, 2012, along with daily ice extent data for the previous five years. 2012 is shown in blue, 2011 in orange, 2010 in pink, 2009 in navy, 2008 in purple, and 2007 in green. The 1979 to 2000 average is in dark gray. The gray area around this average line shows the two standard deviation range of the data. Sea Ice Indexdata.Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image

In 2012, the rate of ice loss for August was 91,700 square kilometers (35,400 square miles) per day, the fastest observed for the month of August over the period of satellite observations. In August 2007, ice was lost at a rate of 66,000 square kilometers (25,400 square miles) per day, and in 2008, the year with the previous highest August ice loss, the rate was 80,600 square kilometers (31,100 square miles) per day. The average ice loss for August is 55,100 square kilometers (21,300 square miles) per day. This rapid pace of ice loss in 2012 was dominated by large losses in the East Siberian and the Chukchi seas, likely caused in part by the strong cyclone that entered the region earlier in the month and helped to break up the ice. However, even after the cyclone had dissipated, ice loss continued at a rate of 77,800 square kilometers (30,000 square miles) per day.

August air temperatures at the 925 hPa level (approximately 3,000 feet above the surface) remained slightly above average (1 to 3 degrees Celsius, or 2 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit) over the much of the Pacific sector of the Arctic Ocean as well as at its central sector, with slightly higher temperatures in the Beaufort Sea (approximately 4 degrees Celsius, or 7 degrees Fahrenheit above average). On the Atlantic side, the Kara and Barents seas continued to have air temperatures around 1 to 4 degrees Celsius (2 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit) below average.

At the end of August, ice remained in the Western Parry Channel, and neither the northern or southern routes of the Northwest Passage were open. While much of the ice has cleared out, ice still remains, as confirmed by our colleague Steve Howell at the Canadian Ice Service. In the latter half of August, more ice actually moved into the passage routes when ice was pushed down into the channels from the north. Whether that ice will clear out remains to be seen.

August 2012 compared to previous years

Figure 3. Monthly August ice extent for 1979 to 2012 shows a decline of 10.2% per decade.Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image

The monthly averaged ice extent for August was 4.72 million square kilometers (1.82 square miles). This is 2.94 million square kilometers (1.14 million square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average extent, and 640,000 square kilometers (247,000 square miles) below the previous record low for August set in 2007. Including 2012, the August trend is -78,100 square kilometers (-30,200 square miles) per year, or -10.2 % per decade relative to the 1979 to 2000 average.

Evolution of sea surface temperatures in August

sea surface temperature imagesFigure 4. A buoy deployed on August 8, 2012 in open water during the storm initially shows a very warm 10-meter (33-foot) thick surface mixed layer (upper left image). On August 12 (upper right image), the buoy enters a relatively cooler patch, gradually warms, enters another cool patch 12 days later (bottom left image), and then starts to warm again through August 26 (bottom right image). Red, orange, and yellow indicate higher temperatures, while blues and purples indicate lower temperatures.Credit: University of Washington Polar Science Center
High-resolution image

In recent summers, Arctic Ocean sea surface temperatures (SSTs) have been anomalously high (see our 2010 and 2011 end-of-summer posts), in part linked to loss of the reflective ice cover that allows darker open water areas to readily absorb solar radiation and warm the mixed layer of the ocean. According to Mike Steele, Wendy Ermold and Ignatius Rigor of the University of Washington, SSTs in the Beaufort, Chukchi, and Laptev seas were once again anomalously high before the strong cyclone (mentioned earlier and discussed in our previous post) entered the East Siberian and Chukchi seas on August 5, 2012. SSTs were as much as 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal along the coastal areas in those seas. After the storm, the warm water that developed through summer was interspersed with large areas of cold water created by ice melt. By the third week of August, sea surface temperatures were mostly back to levels observed before the storm, but with a few more patches of colder water interspersed from additional ice melt.

A closer view of the variation in SSTs before and after the storm is recorded in the University of Washington Polar Science Center UpTempO buoy data. A buoy deployed on August 8, 2012 in open water during the storm initially shows a very warm 10-meter (33-foot) thick surface mixed layer, likely the result of solar heating. On August 12, the buoy enters a relatively cooler patch, gradually warms, enters another cool patch 12 days later and then starts to warm again through August 26. These patches of cooler water may be a result of ice melt and/or the impact of advection from the storm.

Old ice continues to decline

Figure 5. These images from March 2012 (left) and August 2012 (right) show the age of the ice cover in spring and at the end of summer. Much of the Arctic ice cover now consists of first-year ice (shown in purple), which tends to melt rapidly in summer’s warmth. However, the oldest ice, that had survived five or more summers (shown in white), declined by 51%.Credit: M. Tschudi and J. Maslanik, University of Colorado Boulder
High-resolution image

Ice age is an important indicator of the health of the ice cover. Old ice, also called multiyear ice, tends to be thicker ice and less prone to melting out in summer. The last few summers have seen increased losses of multiyear ice in the Pacific sector of the Arctic; multiyear ice that is transported into the Beaufort and Chukchi seas tends to melt out in summer before being transported back to the central Arctic Ocean through the clockwise Beaufort Gyre circulation. This summer, the tongue of multiyear ice along the Alaska coast mostly melted out by the end of August, with a small remnant left in the Chukchi Sea. The ice on the Pacific side of the Arctic has melted back to the edge of the multiyear ice cover, which should help to slow further ice loss in the region. In the Laptev Sea, by contrast, a large amount of first-year ice remains. In the last two weeks, open water areas have developed within the first-year ice in the Laptev Sea, helping to further foster melt in that region.

Between mid-March and the third week of August, the total amount of multiyear ice within the Arctic Ocean declined by 33%, and the oldest ice, ice older than five years, declined by 51%.

Comments

  1. #1 kai
    September 14, 2012

    huhuhuhu, what a catastrophe, the ice has gone, and will never appear again, huhuhuhu, i am depressed, but only when it will reappear in october 2012, and will gain size to it’s greatness in april 2013 when it’s cold and very cold during the arctic summer, amen

    global warmists, calm down. since the arctic sea ice is already swimming in the water you will not be drowned

  2. #2 Wow
    September 14, 2012

    “but only when it will reappear in october 2012″

    Since it hasn’t gone, you will be depressed forever.

    PS here’s a geography tip for someone who obviously hasn’t been on this planet for a full year yet: after october, it will become winter in the northern hemisphere where the arctic is.

    huhuhuhuhhuhu.

  3. #3 kai
    September 15, 2012

    huhuhuhu, incline in front of your incredible intelligence, wow.

    two logical statements in row that’s something for a warmist hysteric. but there is still tremendous space for improvement.

  4. #4 Wow
    September 15, 2012

    and you’ve yet to manage a single logical (heck, not even managed COHERENT) statement.

  5. #5 kai
    September 15, 2012

    wow, you are victim of a tremendous misunderstanding: you are a mean representative of mainstream agw believers, and since mainstream is never and nowhere elite, you belong to the folks whose intelligence and knowledge lie by nature and definition in the lower part of the distribution of a people. bad luck for you.

  6. #6 Wow
    September 15, 2012

    what are you? 12? 13 years old? Still failing to make any coherent point.

    The evidence of AGW is incontrovertible. The effects are worse than predicted. The science solid. The conclusions have stood the slings and arrows of outrageous idiots and come back stronger.

  7. #7 kai
    September 16, 2012

    only mediocre mainstream people like you, wow, without any track record in science generally and meteorology in particular can state that “the scienc is solid” (what rubbish, hahaha, rubbish at its best, hihihi hahaha), “the evidence is incontrovertible” (hahahahaha, pure bullshit, hahahaha), “effects worse than predicted” (hahahahahaha, huhuhuhuhuhu, more popcorn please, wow is exalineating himself, hihihihihihi).
    the mainstream dreamer wow with his green leftist political agenda is concerned that his grandgrandgrand…..grandchildren in 5000 thousand years might die from sea floodings, hahahahha, more popcorn please, hahahahaha, such a bullshit, hahahahaa

  8. #8 Wow
    September 16, 2012

    Yup. 12 years old was probably high ball.

    Here’s something to get you started on learning. It may help you get a job other than as a Nielson Ratings subject:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.htm

  9. #9 kai
    September 16, 2012

    wow, your last comment: content and form: extremely weak, missing all goals of intellectual improvement. read my last comment again and try to react in a way that shows that you have understood the lesson. as a mediocre mainstream person you need a lot of improvement in realism and scientific knowlege. you are soooo far away from any acceptable level of scientific standards that you disqualify from the very beginning of any useful discussion of missing agw and sea level rise.

  10. #10 Wow
    September 16, 2012

    BWAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    ***YOU*** are whning about how I’ve not added any useful discussion????

    THAT
    IS
    HILARIOUS!

  11. #11 kai
    September 17, 2012

    wow, i am whining? hahahahah, hahahahaha, hahahahaha, i am laughing all the time about confronting one more time a warmist hysteric with his extrremely narrow limitations, which is a very amusing leisure entertainmaint for me. ten such instructions for improvement for co2 warmist cognitive and intellectual limitations per afternoon is easy amusement for people like me with superior knowledge, intelligence and talent, as compared to folks like you and other mediocre mainstream people.

  12. #12 Wow
    September 17, 2012

    Yes, you’re whining.

    Hysteric? You’re the one hysterically laughing since you started posting here, kid.

    When you find a clue, let us know, ‘k?

  13. #13 kai
    September 17, 2012

    wow, your bla bla bla which is so typical for warmist hallucinators is so disgusting

  14. #14 mandas
    September 17, 2012

    I wouldn’t worry about kai at all wow.

    The come – they go. Typical drive-by idiot with nothing to add to the debate other than ad homs and memes. He would be right at home in the Republican party, according to Rick Santorum:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0n5oa55EsmI&feature=player_embedded#!

  15. #15 Wow
    September 17, 2012

    I wonder what the idiot thinks he’s doing that is helpful to his cause, though?

    Either he’s just trolling or he REALLY IS that much of an idiot he can’t stop displaying his inadequacies and can’t stop doing it.

  16. #16 kai
    September 17, 2012

    mandas, and you are democrat and sooooo right, just by nature and self-jurisdiction??? yes, of course, because it’s you the truth is clear and warmists are insane and without any perception that hysterics like mandas, wows and the-likes are the full-blown idiots the think others are. hahaha, hahahahaha

  17. #17 mandas
    September 17, 2012

    Thanks kai – that’s brilliant!

    I have to give you credit. For someone who obviously does not speak English as their first language, you have done a remarkabe job stringing some semi-literate sentences together. If you keep working at it and take some classes, you might even be able to construct something that makes sense.

    But could I ask you to get someone who speaks English better than you to edit that second sentence so that it makes sense. It would make our conversation so much easier if: a) we were speaking the same language, and b) I had any idea what you were on about.

    There’s a good chap.

  18. #18 kai
    September 17, 2012

    mandas, you like al gore, you are on the side of the democrats, you hate the tea party, you are a true bipartisan climate church idiot without own thinking and null language skills. at school you were always among the poorest performers among your class mates and you suffer from severe narcisstic self delusion disease. i recommend you consult your therapist asap

  19. #19 kai
    September 17, 2012

    mandas, people like you make us doubt that there was some civility progress since stone age

  20. #20 kai
    September 17, 2012

    nandas, i recommend as therapy of your various diseases that you go to the toilet and stay there for 6 hours. afterwards you will fill better

  21. #21 kai
    September 17, 2012

    and, mandas, when you go to the toilet don’t forget your napkin

  22. #22 mandas
    September 17, 2012

    Kai – since you did not follow my advice about having an English speaker look over your work, I have done it for you:

    Mandas, people like you make us doubt that there was some civility progress (you have used this clause incorrectly – it should be “progress in civility”) since…. (missing word – “the”) …stone age.

    nandas, (should be capital “M” at the start of a sentence) i (should be capital “I”) recommend as therapy of (should be “for” not “of”) your various diseases that you go to the toilet and stay there for 6 hours. afterwards (should be capital “A” at the start of a sentence) you will fill (incorrect word- should be “feel” not “fill”) better.

    and, (do not start a sentence with “and”, and there is no need to use a comma here mandas, when you go to the toilet don’t forget your napkin (don’t forget to use a full stop at the end of a sentence)

    So your three posts should have read like this:

    Mandas, people like you make us doubt that there was some progress in civility since the stone age.

    Mandas, I recommend as therapy for your various diseases that you go to the toilet and stay there for 6 hours. Afterwards you will feel better.

    Mandas, when you go to the toilet don’t forget your napkin.

  23. #23 mandas
    September 17, 2012

    And let me answer your assertions as well kai:

    “You like Al Gore”

    I have never met the guy, but he seems like a congenial enough person.

    “you are on the side of the democrats”

    I’m not an American, so it doesn’t really matter does it? Some of their policies seem good, some not so good.

    “you hate the tea party”

    No – but their policies are deluded and most members are naïve and hypocritical.

    “you are a true bipartisan climate church idiot without own thinking and null language skills”

    I have no idea what this even means. English please?

    “at school you were always among the poorest performers among your class mates”

    I was actually one of the highest performers – but you would have known that if you used evidence rather than ideology for your views.

    “you suffer from severe narcisstic self delusion disease”

    Whilst I am certainly narcissistic, I think it’s because I am such a good looking genius and I hate false modesty.

    “I recommend you consult your therapist asap”

    I don’t have one. Do you have any recommendations?

  24. #24 kai
    September 17, 2012

    mandas, regardless of what you write in your anger and insufficiency it’s just mean and coming from a pupil of a political, extremely partisan church, the agw church, holy gore who inspires you, will bless you and your descendants. as a politically correct warmist and global climate humanist your place in heaven is garantueed. in 500 years your grand grand grand grand …. grand children will praise your wisdom and thank you forever that you saved ther lives.

    hahahahaha, stupid

  25. #25 Wow
    September 17, 2012

    It’s like driving on holiday with a three-year-old having a tantrum in the back, isn’t it mandas?

  26. #26 Wow
    September 17, 2012

    “you hate the tea party”

    I think we have the explanation for this idiot. He’s a homeschooled teabagger.

  27. #27 adelady
    city of wine and roses
    September 18, 2012

    Schooled? In what exactly?

    I know homeschoolers aren’t very wonderful on maths and science usually, but I would have thought they’d pay some attention to logic or rhetoric. Well, vocabulary and grammar at least.

  28. #28 Wow
    September 18, 2012

    Not if the parents are teabaggers, adelady. Not if The Good Book ™ is the SOLE source of authoritative truth. In either case, education leads to skepticism of the dogma of the Randians or Xtians, hence must be avoided else the children won’t grow up thinking like their parents.

    In fact, a new fad with some parents is called “no-schooling”. I.e. the kids work on what they want to learn for as long as they wish to.

  29. #29 mandas
    September 18, 2012

    Hi Adelady, wow

    I have a movie for you on how to deal with kai:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLEo7H9tqSM

  30. #30 Wow
    September 18, 2012

    kai’s not that big.

Current ye@r *