From Pole to Pole, Global Sea Ice Values are Plummeting

During the record hot year of 2016, both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extents took a huge hit.

Extreme warmth in the Arctic helped to produce leading losses there. Values that began during January at 1 million square kilometers below average have steadily declined as the months progressed to near 2 million square kilometers below average. Meanwhile, the Antarctic — which began the year at near average sea ice extent values — saw significant losses as the region grew anomalously warm during austral spring. Today, sea ice extent values surrounding the Antarctic are now also just shy of 2 million square kilometers below average.

labe-sea-ice-anomaly-graph

(Zachary Labe, one of the most well-recognized up and coming U.S. climate scientists, has produced this graph based on NSIDC recorded global, Arctic, and Antarctic sea ice values. As you can see, global sea ice extent during the hottest year on record has steadily plummeted to near 4 million square kilometers below average as the months progressed. Image source: Zack Labe’s Sea Ice Figures. Data source: NSIDC. You can also follow Zack’s informative twitter feed here.)

In total, global sea ice coverage is now about 3,865,000 square kilometers below average.

If you think that number sounds really big, it’s because it is. It represents a region of lost ice nearly 40 percent the size of the land and water area of the entire United States including Alaska and Hawaii. To visualize it another way, imagine all of the land area of Alaska, California, Texas, Montana, Arizona and New Mexico combined and you begin to get the gist.

Sea Ice Coverage — An Important, But Complex Climate Indicator

Many climate specialists have viewed sea ice as a kind of climate change canary in the coal mine. Sea ice sits upon the warming oceans and beneath a warming atmosphere. And these oceans are now taking up the majority of the heat being trapped in the atmosphere by fossil fuel emissions. Warming ocean surfaces have a higher specific heat value than the air and this greater overall energy capacity in warming regions generates a substantial blow to ice coverage even if the initial water surface temperature swing is only moderate.

Once sea ice is lost for a significant period, a kind of feedback loop comes into play where dark ocean surfaces trap more of the sun’s rays during polar summer than once-white ice coverage — which previously reflected radiation back toward space. This newly absorbed heat is then re-radiated back into the local atmosphere during polar fall and winter — creating an inertial barrier to ice reformation and ultimately generating a big jump in seasonal ocean and atmospheric surface temperatures.

image

(Highly pronounced ocean surface warming coupled with warm air invasions appears to be generating the extreme losses to sea ice now seen in the Arctic. The Barents Sea, shown above, has seen particularly extreme warming. Note the 11 C above average hot spot near the sea ice edge zone. In the Antarctic, the causes of losses remain uncertain. However, atmospheric warming and shifts in the circumpolar winds appear to be producing this effect even as slightly cooler than average surface waters remain in place — possibly due to storm related Southern Ocean upwelling and increasing fresh water outflows from Antarctic glaciers. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

This dynamic is particularly pronounced in the Arctic where a thawing ocean surrounded by warming continents tends to readily collect heat even as atmospheric energy transfers from the south, in the form of warm wind events, have grown more pronounced. An effect related to the climate change influence known as Northern Hemisphere Polar Amplification.

In the Antarctic, the stormy Southern Ocean generates up-welling. This dynamic tends to cool the ocean surface even as it transfers heat into the deeper ocean. And increasing stormy conditions surrounding Antarctica related to climate change can intensify this effect. In addition, warm bottom waters melting sea-fronting glaciers in Antarctica produce a lens of fresh water which cools the surface and also traps heat below. So the signal coming from Antarctica with regards to sea ice has tended to be more mixed — with atmospheric warming and changes in wind patterns generating more variable sea ice impacts relative to the Arctic. So this year’s sea ice losses there are more difficult to directly link to climate change even though climate change related influences on the physical system in the Antarctic and among its surrounding waters are becoming more and more apparent.

Zack Labe notes that:

The Arctic sea ice anomaly, however, fits with the ongoing Arctic amplification trend of thinning sea ice and loss of old ice. Additionally, it has been well noted in previous literature (i.e., ) concerning the increasing fall temperatures in the Arctic and possible causes.

Major Volume Losses From 2015 to 2016

Despite big losses to sea ice surrounding the Antarctic this fall, it is the Arctic where the damage and risk of further loss is most pronounced. Particularly, reductions to thicker, multi-year ice in the Arctic during 2015 to 2016 have been exceptionally severe:

image image

In the above images, we see a comparison between late November sea ice coverage and thickness as provided by the U.S. Navy ARCc model. The left frame represents late November of 2015 and the right frame represents projected values for November 20, 2016. Note the greatly reduced coverage in the 2016 image. But even more noteworthy is the substantial loss of thicker ice in the Arctic Ocean north of the Canadian Archipelago and Greenland.

These two images tell a tale of a great loss of sea ice volume. One that the sea ice monitor PIOMAS confirms. According to PIOMAS, ice volume values during October were tracking near lowest levels ever recorded. And continued heat into November generates a concern that a period of new record low volume levels may be on the way.

But it’s not just the record low values that should be a concern. It’s the location of the remaining thick ice that’s a worry as well. For a substantial portion of the remaining thick ice is situated near the Fram Strait. Wind and ocean currents tend to push ice out of the Arctic Ocean and through the Fram. Ice tends to then be funneled down along the coast of Greenland and on into the North Atlantic where it melts. So the fact that a big chunk of the already greatly reduced remaining thick ice now sits on the edge of the sea ice version of Niagra Falls is not a good sign.

La Nina Years Tend to Push More Heat Toward the Poles

It is notoriously difficult to accurately forecast sea ice melt and refreeze trends in the various seasonal measures for any given individual year. And even many of the top sea ice experts have had a devil of a time forecasting the behavior of sea ice during recent years. However, one thing remains quite clear — the long term trend for sea ice in the Arctic is one of rapid decline.

arctic-sea-ice-death-spiral

(Arctic sea ice ‘Death Spiral’ by Andy Lee Robinson. Image source: Haveland.)

We are now entering a situation where one very warm winter followed by one warmer than normal summer could push Arctic sea ice values to near the zero mark. A situation that could effectively set off a blue ocean event in the near future. A number of prominent sea ice experts have predicted that it’s likely that such a state will be achieved rather soon — by the early 2030s under current trends. Others point toward nearer-term loss potentials. But there is practically no-one now saying, as was often stated during the early 2010s, that a blue ocean event could hold off until the early 2050s.

All that said, the trajectory going into 2017 for the Arctic at present doesn’t look very good. Both sea ice extent and volume are now at or well below the previous low marks for this time of year. Remaining thick ice positioned near the Fram Strait generates a physical disadvantage to the ice in general. In addition, NOAA has announced that La Nina conditions are now present in the Equatorial Pacific. And La Nina events tend to push more ocean and atmospheric heat toward the poles — particularly toward the Arctic.

Links/Notes/Disclaimer:

Note: This article is written as a follow-on to the previous blog post — For The Arctic Ocean Above 80 North, It’s Still Summer in November — and they should be read together for context.

Disclaimer: I asked PhD student Zachary Labe to make a general comment on sea ice trends, to which he generously provided his particular take on the Arctic. I have also made my own best-shot science and observation-based analysis of the situation given current trends. Because of the fact that the present situation is new and evolving, some of my statements may well pass outside the bounds of currently accepted science. The fact that Labe commented in this post does not, in this case, mean that he agrees fully or in part with my particular initial rough analysis of the subject.

Zack Labe’s Sea Ice Figures

NSIDC

Permafrost and Arctic Sea Ice — Climate Canaries in the Coal Mine

Increasing Fall-Winter Energy Loss From the Arctic Ocean and its Role in Arctic Temperature Amplification

Earth Nullschool

Arctic Sea Ice Graphs

PIOMAS

U.S. Navy ARCc Model Sea Ice Thickness

Haveland

NOAA

Hat tip to Andy Lee Robinson

Hat tip to Cate

Leave a comment

132 Comments

  1. Spike

     /  November 15, 2016

    +7.5C anomalies over much of Arctic looking likely at WE on climate reanalyzer. Momentous times for all sorts of reasons. I wonder if we are living through the start of the first big tipping point.

    Reply
    • My thoughts/fear too, Spike. This could be pretty much what crossing a blue Arctic Ocean tipping point would first look like, no? Nobody knows for sure because it’s never happened to humans in modern history, and climate models are what they are.
      Ultimately, we can’t be certain we have crossed a tipping point until we tip wildly to the “other side” and find some different new place of relative stability. (Unless the new regime is only temporarily stable as yet another tipping point is crossed, you know, like unbridled clathrate methane release…). Terrifying to contemplate.

      Reply
      • mulga mumblebrain

         /  November 17, 2016

        Dan, there are too many positive feed-backs, too many other, synergistic, ecological destructions and too much determination by the omnicidists to keep burning fossil fuels for lovely money, to hope for any future stability, even brief . Once this juggernaut gets rolling, and these Arctic anomalies are just the beginning, it will only accelerate, crushing its victims as it goes.

        Reply
    • Current 80 N values are now +20 C above average or about equal to usual weather conditions during early Sep or even late Aug for that region. It’s just nuts.

      Reply
    • litesong

       /  November 21, 2016

      Hi Spike….This is a huge High Arctic Berserker of a tipping point. But past High Arctic temps have been pointing the way. Three+ years ago, High Arctic temps had been staying above “average” for nearly 100 straight days. Two+ years ago for 140 straight days, HA temperatures were above “average”, with one run to 16degC above “average”. From the end of 2015 to deep into 2016, HA temps were above “average” for 150 straight days. Whereas everyone is aghast (rightly so) about the sky high temps, the timespan temperature above “average” could go to100+ days & keep going. If the 2016-2017 period doesn’t (its already 75 straight days above “average”), sometime (soon?) HA temperatures will hang above “average” continually from September to May(200+ days?).

      Reply
  2. bostonblorp

     /  November 15, 2016

    It’s not just the SE that’s burning. White Mountains in New England are having their first forest fire in over a century.

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/11/15/brush-fire-white-mountains-consumes-acres/j279pmOeZOb83RS7NMnH8I/story.html

    Reply
    • So sad… On this next… The SE US looks like Russia in the sat maps from earlier this year. The burning appears to have been very extensive. Authorities say that a number of the fires were arson related. But without the abnormal hot, dry conditions, these fires wouldn’t even be possible this time of year. Pretty certain that we’d have fires regardless of arsonists. But I don’t at all understand why people feel the urge to light these things and make a bad situation that much worse. We’ve got people across the SE now who’re wearing protective masks… Nuts.

      Reply
      • bostonblorp

         /  November 15, 2016

        That’s what makes me cautious about reforestation as a carbon sink. With the world’s weather convulsing as it is can we count on 30 years of regional stability for saplings to do their work? And now the Amazon is at times a carbon emitter?! Of course it’s worth trying but I wouldn’t want to see too many eggs in the reforestation basket.

        As to the arsonists.. I don’t know. One thinks back to Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred, when he remarks about the Joker – “some men only want to see the world burn.” The whole situation is horrifying.

        Reply
      • Blaming arsonists for wildfires seems to be a tactic for shifting blame from the ultimate cause of increased wildfires – climate change – to the immediate causes.

        The Australian government and the corporate press have been doing this for years, I think.This seems like a deliberate corporate press tactic to skew the public perception of increased wildfires, to me.

        Reply
        • I´m not sure to which degree this is shifting blame, and to which degree it´s just real. Here in Brasil, evidence of human iniciative was found in 90% of the fires in the Amazon, and I do trust the scientist and investigators that found those numbers, having even worked with some of them. But the Amazon is a rain-forest, and not expected to have “natural” fires at all (that 10% number seems to be more than historical data would imply, but there´s not enough historical data to allow hard conclusions).

          In other places and biomas, where fire is supposed to be present, numbers for natural fires are bigger, but not big. I remember my teacher of fire-fighting investigation in the police academy, the chief fire-fighter from Brasília, in the biome of Cerrado (which is prone to natural fires, with several fire-resistant tree species) telling that about 80% of the fires are spontaneous… spontaneously a jerk (the term that my teacher used was a little less polite than this) decides to set things in fire. I frankly have no reason to believe that he was lying.

          There are several reasons why people would want to set things on fire, many of those coming from money (trying to settle new land using the clearing of land to assert dominion over it, for ex.), many coming from hate (some people can´t stand the notion that bush exists), and some from both (trying to scare people out of land, for ex). Besides the few times the fire is started by humans for confort (people using fire for warmth and forgetting to properly blow it out) or to draw attention (truck helpers here in Brasil stay at the side of the roads with fires lit. They hardly ever blow those fires out when they get jobs, and those are the beginnings of lots of road-side fires).

          Dry and hot climates allow for longer and more dangerous fires, more lightining for more natural fires, but lightining normally occurs with rain. Human idiots, in the other hand, are always available.

        • Agree with Leland that blaming arson is slight of hand. The lead should be that global warming has produced forests are tinder dry and the global level of forest fire activity is first and foremost a symptom of global warming.

          Arson is a crime, I wonder how many of the forest fires attributed to arson are associated with a charge or conviction for arson? I did a quick anecdotal search on the question and found a few interesting items:

          from NBC news: “two men were arrested Monday on charges related to setting separate fires along roadsides in Tennessee. Of the 1,238 wildfires in the state so far this year, officials suspect arson in almost half of them.

          In Alabama, Fire Marshal Scott Pilgreen said state officers are investigating two of nearly 1,100 statewide wildfires as possible arson-related incidents. No arrests have been made, but officers have issued misdemeanor citations for violations of the statewide no-burn order. ” http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/drought-fuels-tens-thousands-acres-southern-wildfires-n684501

          NBC story mentions drought conditions, but does not mention global warming.

          Fox Charlotte has a story on forest fires with discussion of arson, but no mention of global warming.

          Anybody seen the heroic movie about the Deepwater Horizon accident? Anybody see the narrative that is always being constructed through news and entertainment?

          I can see why a lot of folks don’t believe in global warming. They read about forest fires and droughts and arson, but the news coverage fails to mention global warming. Connect the dots, kemosabe.

        • Global warming increases the fire hazard. And that should absolutely be the lead. But arson does appear to be an issue. And I think you’re right in that arson has been used to shift attention away from global warming. My point here is that we should probably talk about both and, in particular, how arson would not have been able to produce such large fires without the added heat and drought and that even if arson hadn’t set some of the fires we’d still have an odd new incidence of wildfires nonetheless. The issue is that warming intensifies the impact of any and all ignition sources through the mechanism of heat and drought.

        • See, it’s politically OK to talk about arson in the South, but not climate change. We liberal elitists are not the only ones with a political correctness obsession.

        • I agree with umbrios27 that there are localities that are more prone to arson than other localities. In Brazil, there seems to be a clear profit motive for setting fires – to clear land for other uses. So, arson is profitable sometimes there, for some people, or for the big land owners.

          There are other places in the world – Siberia and parts of Africa come to mind – in which burning fields is part of the regular agricultural cycle, and I get the impression that wildfires are increasingly getting started there when these agricultural burns get out of hand, due to heat and drought connected to global warming.

          In the Western U.S., the size of the wildfires has been increasing with climate change, and likely that increase in area burned doesn’t have much to do with arson.

          In Australia it seemed to me a couple years ago that the conservative government there (heavily influenced by the coal industry) almost invariably sought scapegoats and engaged in biased coverage during their raging firestorms there. It often seemed that those firestorms occurred during record heat waves – associated with global warming.

          Different places would seem to require different solutions – enforcement, education, controlled burning in different seasons, etc. But, around the world, an acknowledgement of global warming and its impact on wildfires is necessary, I think.

        • Good point. And to add —

          So the direct impact of human-lit fires has been in play for some time now. The factor that is changing the game is global warming.

  3. Cate

     /  November 15, 2016

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/11/foehn-winds-melt-ice-shelves-antarctic-peninsula-larsen-c/

    Scientists have discovered that warm foehn winds are causing rapid melting in Antarctica.

    “After studying Antarctica’s warming climate for decades, scientists are making a surprising discovery: In some places, much of that abnormal warmth is invading in the form of powerful, downhill winds called föhn (pronounced “fone”) winds. Pettit, a glaciologist from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks and a National Geographic explorer, now suspects that these winds contributed to a series of dramatic glacial collapses that have been steadily redrawing the map on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula for the last 30 years. Föhn winds may have escaped scientists’ notice because they don’t just blow during summer—some of their most impressive heat waves actually strike in the dead of winter, eroding glaciers at a time of year that no one thought possible.”

    “They seem to impart a lot more melt onto the ice shelf than we had imagined,” says Adrian Luckman, a glaciologist at Swansea University in the United Kingdom, who studies this region of Antarctica. The winds result from subtle changes in the atmospheric circulation due to climate warming; they could have major consequences.”

    Reply
    • I’m so glad to see that scientists have taken up the ‘melt during winter’ line of research. We’ve seen some hints of such events here. But this kind of excellent research and amazing detail is much-needed to provide clearer focus on an issue that we’re now facing. Kudos to these scientists. And I must say, it’s pretty scary to think about Antarctica seeing surface melt during Winter.

      Reply
    • Tweet scheduled on this, thanks.

      Reply
    • “Themes of political and social justice also recur in Cohen’s work, especially in later albums. In “Democracy”, he both acknowledges political problems and celebrates the hopes of reformers: “from the wars against disorder/ from the sirens night and day/ from the fires of the homeless/ from the ashes of the gay/ Democracy is coming to the USA.”[122] He made the observation in “Tower of Song” that “the rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor/ And there’s a mighty judgment coming.” In the title track of The Future he recasts this prophecy on a pacifist note: “I’ve seen the nations rise and fall/ …/ But love’s the only engine of survival.” In “Anthem”, he promises that “the killers in high places [who] say their prayers out loud/ [are] gonna hear from me.””

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Cohen

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  November 16, 2016

        So he was not just a poet and songsmith, but in his imagery and his narrative, a prophet in real Old Testament mode.

        Reply
  4. Michael Rigney

     /  November 15, 2016

    What, in your estimation, are the monitoring programs that will likely be cut by the Trump administration? Can you rank those in order of importance in tracking climate change?

    Reply
    • GISS is already a bare minimum operation. Any cuts to that branch of NASA will negatively impact climate research. If you wanted an assessment of key programs there, I’d ask someone like Gavin Schmidt who directly works in the sciences there and probably has a far better knowledge of key programs. But at this time, we should be expanding operations due to the fact that risks are currently on the rise and the less eyes you have monitoring the problem, the more likely you are to miss a key event.

      I’d say the same for NOAA’s ESRL and any other US program.

      Lack of funding by Congress has already caused a number of critical sensors to be lost. So degrading capabilities have been the order of the day for some time now.

      To name just a few — EOSDIS, GRACE, all the Earth Observation Satellites, global thermal wildfire imagery, all the cryosphere monitoring sensors, carbon gas monitoring sensors, aerosol and particulate monitoring, the GOES weather satellite array and supported sensors, GPS, and so many more all increase our national readiness to climate/weather events. Again, any cuts to these programs hurts US weather/climate situational awareness and limits are timeframe for event response and awareness of needed mitigation actions.

      Reply
      • George W. Hayduke

         /  November 16, 2016

        Is there any chance people like Elon Musk could step in to help with this? It would be great to see NASA and Space X possibly partner, not sure if that’s possible due to government/private sector overlap. If some of the ultra-rich that recognize CC and are concerned would step up to help fund where others are going to cut funding maybe we could find a work around?

        Reply
    • Dave Person

       /  November 15, 2016

      Hi Mike,
      A great deal will be lost and defunded almost certainly. Look for NASA being repurposed to colonize Mars. That will distract the ignorant public and make American great again.

      dave

      Reply
      • Trading a dead planet for a live one never seemed like a great exchange to me…

        Reply
        • Dave Person

           /  November 16, 2016

          Hi,
          You do understand, Robert, that I am being sarcastic about Mars making America great again? However, I am willing to bet that Trump and his minions will defund most earth sciences at NASA and retask it it focus on space exploration if anything. After all, that would be a great distraction from realities on earth. David Ehrenfeld in his book “Arrogance of Humanism” destroyed the idea of space colonization on any significant scale. Also look to the Minerals Management Service of the US government to be well funded. They tend to be in bed with the mining and oil companies. I think there is a very good probability that Trump will be unable to psychologically and temperamentally separate his personal business from the government’s business and that will get him into trouble. He may never finish out his term but that will leave us Pence. Also watch that little weasel Ryan wag like a little dog and wet himself over the opportunity to sidle up to Trump.

          dave

      • I think those of us who support all of what NASA does carry on the hope that we can preserve life here, learn to husband the life support system here better while exploring other worlds and learning to live on them. But Mars is no escape hatch.

        Reply
        • The people that have the pipe dream of colonizing Mars with an eye to the future are delusional. This is the only planet humans have and if they murder it they will perish. And now the new administration is most likely to worsen things with wanton destruction of the environment. All I can do is lament the loss of beautiful Earth. The Ol’ Hippy, JA

      • Abel Adamski

         /  November 16, 2016

        Poetic almost, I can also see underground cities and shelters to hide from the heat and the weather, no different just choosing imprisonment of themselves in the truest sense of the word. Like in the extremely hot Opal Mining town of Cooper Pedy. The citizens live in sometimes quite palatial and spacious underground homes to escape the heat.

        The problem is those Conservatives who are so fearful of and wish to destroy the others will be walling themselves off from the hated others to find that in an environment of like programmed people differences will arise and the others will be among them from their own and they will be killing each other off

        Reply
  5. Suzanne

     /  November 15, 2016

    NIne hours of protesting today for stopping the North Dakota Access Pipeline. In our little neck of the woods…about 60 people there for the first two hours…and then a couple dozen, like myself, stayed all day. It felt great after a week of shock and grief…to get off the couch and do something good. The response from the commuters was for the most positive…and engaging.

    Here is one of the local news stations piece on the protest if anyone interested:
    http://www.wpbf.com/article/pipeline-protest-held-in-palm-beach-gardens/8292744

    I know there were much bigger numbers of protesters going on today…but I felt good about the numbers we had especially on a work day. Met some really nice people..and everyone is fired up after the election…and for them, again like me…this is only the beginning of our RESISTANCE to tyranny.
    I wish I knew how to post pictures…because I would if I could. LOL…Maybe someone could teach this “old dog” some new tricks?

    Reply
    • If you post the links, I’ll post the pictures. You just need an image url, though.

      Thanks so much for all that you are doing. I wish I could have been there with you. It’s going to be a long four years. But each protest, each action, helps to raise awareness. Your work is very important!

      Reply
    • Shawn Redmond

       /  November 16, 2016

      Suzanne, if possible it might be a good backdrop to be standing in the waters of a sunny day flood when protesting FF in Florida. Just a thought, it may be a logistical nightmare to pull this off, but what a statement if possible.

      Reply
  6. Ridley Jack

     /  November 15, 2016

    Nasa has released the October Global Temperatures at 0.89 very close to Septembers 0.90 October came in Second place Globally to last years October Values which were in the mist of a Strong El Nino. November seems to look like it will turn out warmer then October and September and closer to the readings of August based off http://www.karstenhaustein.com/climate.php

    Reply
  7. Cate

     /  November 16, 2016

    “Ice shelves can behave like dominos. When they are lined up and the first one collapses it can cause a rippling effect like dominos. We have seen this with the Larsen ice shelves. Named in series, the Larsen A, B and C shelves extended along the northeastern edge of the West Antarctic Peninsula, and covered a large swath of coastline as recently as 20 years ago. Bordering the western edge of the Weddell Sea, each extended from a separate embayment yet merged into a large expanse of ice, considered one ice shelf complex. All this was before 1995, before the dominoes began to collapse.”

    http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2016/11/14/the-domino-effect/

    Reply
  8. Jay M

     /  November 16, 2016

    phase change?

    Reply
    • wili

       /  November 16, 2016

      Basically

      Reply
    • It looks like that may be what we are starting to witness now on a mass scale. If things keep trending the way they are. Each day has looked worse in this context recently. The current trend line is bad. Very bad. If we don’t get off it soon there will be serious down-stream consequences.

      Reply
  9. wili

     /  November 16, 2016

    Another stunning graph that gets across the title of this excellent piece rather well, I thought:

    http://peakoil.com/forums/resources/image/1125?sid=de064a3acc9e34d9f864d3acdbffdd68

    Image 1

    Reply
      • wili

         /  November 16, 2016

        Can anyone get that image to show?

        Reply
        • Mark in OZ

           /  November 17, 2016

          Wow! Talk about straying from the group- a trailblazer. Suggests that unlike its ‘relatives’ who have behaved similarly, this one is being ‘permitted’ to depart by a very different rule book which has historically guided the others.

          When events like this occur that are far from ‘expectation’, the initial shock of what happened needs to be expanded to what may now ‘possibly’ happen.

          As a native Minnesotan, each spring would always reveal a stubborn vestige of the winter snow that seemed to challenge and defy the warming air temps that naturally made the snow and ice disappear.

          At first, it’s presence was a peculiar oddity and worthy of note. And, as some of these frozen ‘stayers ‘persisted through April and into May, it was easy to celebrate and then revere their tenacity and ability to postpone somehow Nature’s unequalled power and inevitability and we’d hope they would stay forever.

          As always, these once mighty communities of snow, that had selected shady or northern exposures to extend and prolong their existence would gradually succumb to the heat; even if it was just slightly above their own. This fine line of distinction, one of many marvels to witness on Earth, illustrates just how sensitive a system w have to protect.

          And, some years, if there was snow that happened to still exist past that arbitrary day when all the snow should have ‘gone’, it was always the rain that was employed as the practical relative to gently convince the snow and ice underneath it was now time to go. And the snow and ice never resisted that final journey back to where they could be together again.

        • Well said, Mark.

    • Got it. And thanks for this, Wili. Absolutely stunning.

      Reply
    • I thought I stole this graphic from someone’s comment here – maybe not. Anyway, here’s the same data (almost) with a legend:

      Reply
  10. Phil

     /  November 16, 2016

    I have seen some interesting if not frightening speculation on Neven’s site about possibility of an SSW event and possible problems for Polar Vortex through January to get going and the potential for continuing very warm winter into 2017.

    As an additional issue of interest, what conditions are the snow packs in with respect to contributing to continuing or emerging drought conditions in 2017 in USA?

    I remember seeing some projections by NASA for most of the Southern states that recently voted for Trump becoming dust bowls under BAU by 2100. Are these States experiencing any noticeable drying trend?

    Reply
    • The models pretty much show drying over the entire US. It’s most pronounced in the SW and Central US, though. But the NE and SE take a hit as well. Most of the mid latitudes around the world dry out…

      Reply
  11. PlazaRed

     /  November 16, 2016

    Ongoing background insanity continues with the Trumped up appointees?
    Its going to be interesting what will happen when they are faced with something going wrong?
    Then again they will probably already have appointed a “Department of Scapegoats?”

    http://www.msn.com/en-ca/video/news/sarah-palin-may-have-a-place-in-the-white-house-in-this-job/vi-AAkjWkj?ocid=mailsignout

    Reply
    • June

       /  November 16, 2016

      Great phrase, PlazaRed…Dept of Scapegoats. All too accurate I’m afraid.

      Reply
    • I think there are a lot of people in denial about how bad these appointments really are. We’ve got folks around the world asking Trump not to withdraw from Paris. I hope he listens to them and not his cabinet. A pretty hollow hope at the moment.

      Reply
  12. Matt

     /  November 16, 2016

    Over on the Arctic sea ice forum (from Neven’s Blog) Espen has been tirelessly posting the IJIS extent maps…. This is how it currently looks;
    https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=230.0;attach=38303;image
    Two things strike me looking at the graph. 1, obviously how low the extent is, but 2, how similar 2016 is tracking with 2006 (albeit approx 2M km squared less) (I am also hoping my colour blind eyes have got 2006 correct :))
    We all know what happened following on from the 2006 re-freeze season…….

    Reply
    • Good point, Matt. Thanks for the insight. I think it’s also worth noting that the greatly reduced ice coverage at this time may also have an additive effect through a far greater volume of heat ventilating into the atmosphere. The inertia shrug in this case is a pretty high bar for ice refreeze to cross.

      Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  November 16, 2016

      From SMH, for one reason, the statement of Eliot Cohen

      Eliot A. Cohen, a former State Department official who had criticized Mr. Trump during the campaign but said after his election that he would keep an open mind about advising him, said Tuesday on Twitter that he had changed his opinion. After speaking to the transition team, he wrote, he had “changed my recommendation: stay away.”

      He added: “They’re angry, arrogant, screaming ‘you LOST!’ Will be ugly.”

      Mr. Cohen, a conservative Republican who served under President George W. Bush, said Trump transition officials had excoriated him after he offered some names of people who might serve in the new administration, but only if they felt departments were led by credible people.
      “They think of these jobs as lollipops,” Mr. Cohen said in an interview.

      (from NYT)

      Reply
  13. Abel Adamski

     /  November 16, 2016

    JAXA is back with the 15 Nov

    https://ads.nipr.ac.jp/vishop/#/extent

    back she goes

    Reply
  14. Ryan in New England

     /  November 16, 2016

    I found this to be quite troubling…

    Truthout recently reported that the Navy has admitted to releasing chemicals into the oceans that are known to injure infants’ brains, as well as having left large amounts of depleted uranium in US coastal waters. Now, the Navy’s own documents reveal that it also plans to use 20,000 tons of heavy metals, plastics and other highly toxic compounds over the next two decades in the oceans where it conducts its war games.

    According to the Navy’s 2015 Northwest Training and Testing environmental impact statement (EIS), in the thousands of warfare “testing and training events” it conducts each year, 200,000 “stressors” from the use of missiles, torpedoes, guns and other explosive firings in US waters happen biennially. These “stressors,” along with drones, vessels, aircraft, shells, batteries, electronic components and anti-corrosion compounds that coat external metal surfaces are the vehicles by which the Navy will be introducing heavy metals and highly toxic compounds into the environment.

    Just some of the dangerous compounds the Navy will be injecting into the environment during their exercises are: ammonium perchlorate, picric acid, nitrobenzene, lithium from sonobuoy batteries, lead, manganese, phosphorus, sulfur, copper, nickel, tungsten, chromium, molybdenum, vanadium, trinitrotoluene (TNT), RDX [Royal Demolition eXplosive] and HMX [High Melting eXplosive], among many others.

    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/38374-us-military-plans-to-dump-20-000-tons-of-heavy-metals-and-explosives-into-the-oceans

    Reply
  15. Cate

     /  November 16, 2016

    Arctic oscillation and polar vortex: analysis and forecasts by Dr Judah Cohen at AER, dated 14 November and to be updated every Monday.

    https://www.aer.com/science-research/climate-weather/arctic-oscillation

    Reply
  16. coloradobob

     /  November 16, 2016

    From Andy’s link –

    “Reindeer are used to sporadic ice cover, and adult males can normally smash through ice around 2 centimetres thick,” says Bruce Forbes at the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, Finland, who led the study. “But in 2006 and 2013, the ice was several tens of centimetres thick.” …………….
    Knock-on effects
    In both 2006 and 2013, ice in the Barents and Kara seas near the Yamal peninsula began to retreat in early November, a time when it normally builds up rapidly following the summer thaw. A lack of sea-ice cover led to soaring evaporation and humidity. This, combined with unseasonal warm air temperatures, led to abundant formation of rain clouds.

    Prevailing winds blew the clouds over the southernmost tip of the peninsula, where indigenous Yamal Nenet herders were leading huge reindeer herds south. Torrential rain for 24 hours left all snow cover in the region sodden.

    But within hours, temperatures plunged to -40 °C for the rest of winter, suddenly turning the waterlogged snow into impenetrable, solid ice for months that prevented feeding.

    In 2013, these events led to the starvation of 61,000 of the 275,000 reindeer on the peninsula. “Losing 22 per cent of the population has never happened before,” says Forbes.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2112958-80000-reindeer-have-starved-to-death-as-arctic-sea-ice-retreats/

    Reply
    • wili

       /  November 16, 2016

      Jesus.

      That’s the kind of specific destruction people don’t tend to imagine when they hear that GW will lead to ‘increased precipitation events’ and such general language. We’ve pushed all ecosystems everywhere passed what the long term residents in those systems were evolved to deal with. Some will still muddle along, some will move, some may be able to evolve in time, most will go extinct.

      Reply
    • labmonkey2

       /  November 16, 2016

      How many more of these ‘canaries in the coal mine’ are we, as a global village, willingly going to ignore? Many species are on the brink – including OURS if something isn’t done, and done soon.
      But I have little confidence at this point in time that we’ll be able to mitigate the worst of these impacts. Heck, some folks have a hard time even believing the science.
      The ‘momentum of inaction’ will be our story.

      Reply
    • Thanks for this, Bob. You basically get warm winds blowing in from the North over the Kara and Laptev. This produces a very odd freezing rain effect that can severely harm local wildlife. Another big physical change that has huge consequences.

      Reply
  17. Spike

     /  November 16, 2016

    Lecture on sea level by Stefan

    Reply
  18. I do not know if this has been mentioned previously, but soil CO2 respiration is said to be nine times that of all human activities combined, particularly in the Arctic! See: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161114162228.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fearth_climate%2Fclimate+%28Climate+News+–+ScienceDaily%29

    Reply
  19. I attended the #noDAPL protest in Raleigh yesterday as part of the nationwide gatherings. http://abc11.com/1608705/

    There were about 300 folk, considerably up from the 30 of the first protest a couple of months ago. A very peaceful but vocal group that did garner local news coverage at least. It was held on the sidewalk of the Wells Fargo building in downtown Raleigh. However, it was very sad to look at the facade of the grand, and quite lovely, stone building and realize that all of the protestors could be put in the outside foyer with room for more.

    For whatever it’s worth given recent experience, “The Corps on Monday called for more study and input from the Standing Rock Sioux before it decides whether to allow the pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe.” However, pipeline construction is still in progress across land that is supposed to belong to the tribes, and is approaching (per one of the demonstrators) 1-2 miles of the Missouri River, where the planned crossing is one mile above of the intake site of the Reservation’s water supply. Not only that, but the pipeline will cross the Missouri River in two places and the Ohio River once. Another protestor spoke about the pipeline carrying essentially bitumen containing sand under pressure, which will certainly erode the connections and cause spills. He choked up as he spoke.

    How a free country’s populace can allow such travesty is beyond my ken. I have nice, conciliatory, assuring letters from the White House and politicians of both parties.

    Reply
    • Josh

       /  November 18, 2016

      “The path to 2°C is tough, but it can be achieved if policies to accelerate further low carbon technologies and energy efficiency are put in place across all sectors.

      It would require that carbon emissions peak in the next few years and that the global economy becomes carbon neutral by the end of the century.”

      I thought the view from COP21 was to achieve neutrality significantly earlier than the end of the century, and some scientists are saying pretty loudly that even then it might not be enough (e.g. Kevin Anderson, not to mention the points he has around over-reliance on NETs: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6309/182.long )

      Reply
      • Actually, becoming carbon neutral by 2100 is way too late to avoid 2 C this Century and will probably lock in 4 C or more. We have probably locked in 2 C this Century now. We need to be carbon neutral by before 2050 to hit 3 C warming or below this Century.

        Reply
        • Josh

           /  November 20, 2016

          I think that says something about the realism of the IEA’s pathway then…!

          Thanks for all your hard work Robert.

  20. Cate

     /  November 16, 2016

    Of course, it could still plummet. Plenty of winter left, as Mum used to say. Still room for hope, n’est-ce pas?

    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

    Reply
  21. Construction workers getting paid good money watched soft looking clouds float overhead as they worked on “the great wall” of New Orleans. It was being built to hold off flooding from the sea. The clouds proceeded over the great wall to produce flooding that rendered them homeless.

    (The IPCC Record on Global Warming Temperature Projections – 3)

    Reply
  22. Keith Antonysen

     /  November 16, 2016

    Abbott, the former Australian Prime Minister of Australia says Trump will bring climate change back to the status it should have. Abbott, tried to create a facade to show that emissions in Australia were going in the right direction; it is very apparent that the goals created will not be reached. The neo con Turnbull government is pushing for huge new coal mines to be created in Queensland; which if successful, would override any modest gains created .

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/nov/16/tony-abbott-says-moral-panic-about-climate-change-is-over-the-top

    The continuing decrease in volume of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, and instability of ice sheets in Antarctica are more than a moral problem. Clearly, with an ice free Arctic Ocean the question becomes how quickly will global temperatures increase with extreme weather conditions becoming worse.

    Reply
    • Not sure I would want to look to Tony Abbott for moral guidance.

      Reply
    • Spike

       /  November 17, 2016

      “We should take reasonable steps to limit our emissions, but the last thing we should do is impose socialism in the name of misguided environmentalism, and that has been the risk for a very long time”. WTF?? I struggle with the profound psychopathology here – we have had scientists warning us for decades, and now clear evidence of multiple deteriorating conditions in many areas of the planet at 1C of warming, and these guys want to rush toward the cliff edge of 2C, likely 3C, then 4C if they get their way. And they mutter something about socialism – is that all they have? Future generations will curse these people and rightly so.

      Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  November 17, 2016

      Abbott perfectly exemplifies how this struggle over the fate of humanity is one between Reason and Ignorance and, morally and spiritually, between Good and Evil. I believe it is an hideous mistake NOT to make this moral dimension paramount in our efforts to wake people up. That these creatures are going to cause the premature deaths of billions, if not all humanity, is the greatest moral abomination, not just in history, but ever possible. Yet we still treat them merely as ignorant, moronic, lunatics, when they are something far more diabolical than that. As things are going, we will wake up, soon, to find that we are but a few years away from a by then unavoidable rush to destruction.

      Reply
      • Josh

         /  November 18, 2016

        Very true. It is hideous to watch these kind of decisions being made.

        All of humanity has a moral interest in fighting this evil. It is a shame that the connection between climate denial and moral harm is not viscerally (or “automatically”) obvious, but I suppose that just means we have all the more reason to spell it out.

        Reply
  23. coloradobob

     /  November 16, 2016

    The Reindeer story has several items in it beyond the tragic loss of life of these creatures, and the folks who depend on them. It confirms on a grand scale, one of the many facets the hypothesis predicted.
    That periods of rain would fall, or ice would fall, in the cold parts of the year in the very far North. Another thing that is telling is that this study is on the Yamal peninsula. Where blow out craters have been seen.
    And lastly, this fall we have seen the reports of 5 months of snow in the first month of winter in Siberia. Here’s hoping another of those 24 hour rain events doesn’t fall on this snow pack there, one does not shovel ice to get to the out house.

    Reply
  24. coloradobob

     /  November 16, 2016

    From the we’re so screwed file –

    ‘Largest’ Shale Oil Reserve Discovered in US

    Oil explorers in the U.S. state of Texas say they’ve discovered the largest deposit of shale oil in a region known as the Permian Basin.

    The so-called Wolfcamp formation, explorers believe, could hold up to 20 billion barrels of oil, worth up to $900 billion. The find could be three times bigger than the state of North Dakota’s Bakken rock formation, the largest find of unconventional oil ever discovered.

    “The fact that this is the largest assessment of continuous oil we have ever done just goes to show that, even in areas that have produced billions of barrels of oil, there is still the potential to find billions more,” said Walter Guidroz, coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey’s energy resources program, in a statement.

    Link

    Reply
  25. coloradobob

     /  November 16, 2016

    In the past, I have looked up these oil shale deposits ages, they are very very, old. 250 to 300 million years. We are now burning well over 250 million years of stored sunlight, every day, just to visit Aruba in the winter, or to haul the kids to Disney World.

    Reply
  26. coloradobob

     /  November 16, 2016

    This is a reef setting on top of the Wolfcamp shale formation in West Texas –

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  November 16, 2016

      One more shot –

      Reply
      • coloradobob

         /  November 16, 2016

        This where they haul all the oil babies (petroleum engineering students) in Texas to, so they can understand the power of tiny little creatures fixing sunlight everyday for tens of millions of years.

        Reply
        • Spike

           /  November 17, 2016

          Yes what was the highest level of atmospheric CO2 in Earth’s history? Apparently around 5000 ppm. That carbon went somewhere.

  27. Mark

     /  November 16, 2016

    Why show modeled sea ice thicknesses when we routinely measure thickness using the Esa CryoSat and SMOS satellites? Models are notoriously wrong, especially given that they don’t use the majority of available satellite measurements.

    Reply
    • Modeled data from the US Navy provided and apples to apples comparison from 2015 to 2016. There are noted problems with the ARCc model, but it is still useful from time to time. If you have other images that provide valuable cryosphere apples to apples comparisons for sea ice thickness, please feel free to post. –R

      Reply
  28. coloradobob

     /  November 16, 2016

    For decades, when I think of this subject of modern American energy, I have tried to see those ancient seas , with their tiny creatures taking in long gone photons in their bodies with weeks long life spans. Then dying and drifting to the floor of some sea that only a thousand people ever heard of. And by the most magic thing we have ever seen , taking that sunlight to seafloor with them, and covered by mud. And not by tens of years, as is our view, but tens of millions of years.

    Here’s the best thought experiment about this I ever saw –

    Put one gallon of gas in your car, drive it till it stops. Now push it back home. That is work, of all those tiny creatures over tens of millions of years collecting all those photons.

    When one rolls that marble around one’s head.

    Reply
  29. coloradobob

     /  November 16, 2016

    Many years ago, I bought my internet hot rod, shortly after that I met –

    He was a master of images . He refused to “teach” me, he would only hint at me. Nothing like being a 58 year-old grass hopper. See I believed, sound beats print, and pictures beat sound. Which is why the all the old news sites are begging for money.

    Anyway, Here his today –

    Professor Smartass
    Blind obedience and leader worship is patriotic….

    (if you live in North Korea).

    http://professorsmartass.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  30. coloradobob

     /  November 17, 2016

    And one my best after I met Professor Smartass. …………. A 14 sec effort

    Bear in the Rotunda

    Reply
  31. coloradobob

     /  November 17, 2016

    My entire file. , is playing I have no control .

    Reply
  32. coloradobob

     /  November 17, 2016

    I made this for Lori at the peak of my powers.
    Dave & Lori

    Just so some one remembers me some where. I was really really good.

    Reply
  33. coloradobob

     /  November 17, 2016

    Sorry the is who I am , long before my time. here.

    Reply
  34. coloradobob

     /  November 17, 2016

    7 25 09 2

    Reply
  35. coloradobob

     /  November 17, 2016

    FUCK.

    Reply
    • Josh

       /  November 18, 2016

      Go to “Share” underneath the video, then untick “Share with playlist”. It will give you a URL that doesn’t have the playlist details embedded. Hopefully!

      Reply
  36. climatehawk1

     /  November 17, 2016

    Tweeted.

    Reply
  1. From Pole to Pole, Global Sea Ice Values are Plummeting | GarryRogers Nature Conservation
  2. Sea Ice | Beyond Capitalism
  3. 095 | keep resisting!
  4. De Pólo a Pólo, Os Valores Globais do Gelo Marinho Estão a Cair
  5. Donald Trump is Betting Against all Odds on Climate Change – WORLD NEWS ENTERTAINMENT.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: