ARCTIC SEA ICE —DMI, we have a problem—


The serene spring in the arctic continues, with the 24-hour-sunshine gradually warming the air and the ice. The warming has to battle three forces of cooling, namely 1.) the cold in the ice “remembered” from winter,  2.) the cold created by the weather when cold downdrafts occur, and 3.) the cold created when windblown salt turns into brine. We haven’t yet seen much of 4.) the cold created when ice goes through the phase change and becomes liquid.

Not once, since records began being kept in 1958, have these 4 forces been able to keep the mean temperature below freezing. At best they can combine and create a small pocket of below freezing air in the height of summer, but on average thaw occurs everywhere, on the Arctic Sea, every summer. Only up at the higher altitudes in mountain glaciers or on Greenland’s Icecap can temperatures remain below freezing all summer.

This tends to be a boring time of year, as temperatures, although rising, are still below freezing,  so we don’t even get to see any melt-water pools. However the snow-scapes are lovely, which makes it sad that we have lost all but one camera, this year.

O-buoy 14 shows us the snow on the ice is still hasn’t thawed, as we await more interesting times.

May 17

Obuoy 14 0517 webcam

May 20

Obuoy 14 0520 webcam

May 23

Obuoy 14 0523B webcam

May 24

Obuoy 14 0524 webcam

Ordinarily these dull days would be a time to kick back and relax, however this year some added interest has come from the fact the satellites are malfunctioning, and giving us some false readings.

False 2 brouhaha-1-seaice-anomaly-arctic

False 1 3Xh4ptG

These false readings show an increase of sea-ice, so one would expect the sea-ice extent graph to also show a false increase. None do. Apparently the graphs were “corrected” or “adjusted”, or else they use some different data.

What people like myself do in such situations is to try to compare current satellite images with past images, to get an idea of what the reality is.

I myself have to use the most primitive rule-of-thumb estimates,  but at other site people more skilled than I use more techincal means. For example, over at the Realclimatescience site the host compared the DMI maps from the present with DMI maps from a year earlier. (2015 to the left; 2016 to the right.)

Next, because he has the ability to tell his computor to do this, he compares where there is more ice with where there is less ice.

False 5 2016-05-24-05-30-42

Lastly, it is an easy matter (for him and not me) to instruct his computer to count the red pixels and count the green pixels.  The result?  1267 red pixels   1512 green pixels. I can do the simple arithmetic, and see that there are 245 more pixels of ice this year than there were last year. Therefore, considering this is what the DMI maps show, it seems that the DMI graph should show there is more ice this year than last year. Does it?  

False 6 icecover_current_new (1)

In fact the graph shows there is considerably less ice this year.

DMI, we have a problem. Things simply are not adding up, when one compares your maps with your graphs. I am trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, assuming that the problems with the satellites are to blame, but you should face the fact the problem is glaring, and explain the reasons.

You see, DMI, laymen like myself have trusted you, because we felt the Danes would be less inclined to produce fudged data, as they have interests in arctic waters. Danish fishermen have their lives on the line. We thought you were not like the others. Others have made climate science into a farce. The general public is increasingly distrustful of what the media reports is “scientific fact.”

In other words, your reputation is at stake. You must explain why the maps differ from the graph, or change maps, or change the graph. (In the process someone, somewhere, must confess, “I made a mistake.”)

The arctic will ignore us, and simply be honest with itself.  It is a pity when humans differ.

The maps show quiet times at the Pole.

I am going to try to find time to focus on what these maps show, tomorrow, with an update.


Sorry, I couldn’t find the time. I have to put a whole garden in at my Farm-childcare. Then, when I do find a bit of free time, I am most interested in the comments my posts get. This post got some good ones, that kept my mind too busy to update.


55 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA ICE —DMI, we have a problem—

    • The sea-ice extent graph is based on 15% or more concentration. This to all extents and purposes is the “ice edge”, though on the Cryosphere Today maps the ice edge was 30%, back when they continued those maps.

      The crucial point that I am making is that the DMI maps show there was more ice this year than last year. The DMI graph does not.

      Rather than bad-mouthing Mr. Heller, who is not here to defend himself, perhaps it would be more helpful if you would do the analysis yourself, and tell us what concentration of ice you are dealing with, (15%? 30%?) and which map you are using, and show us the two maps, and produce how many pixels have more ice than 2015 and how many have less. This would be helpful, and perhaps persuasive.

  1. DMI has on their website “An appearent divergence between ice extent algorithms is an artifact -” and their explanation is …

    Which I can summarize as they claim their coastal region mask is much better now. But the obvious question this raises in my mind, is why they don’t run all the old data through the new mask, so that you can really get a good apples to apples comparison and not apples to oranges.

  2. I’ve read the DMI “excuse” for the inconsistencies in their visuals. After I had stopped laughing, I came up with this “translation”:

    “Our reported sea ice extent is probably only about 90% accurate. Use caution when comparing to other years.”

    • Thanks. That does cover their posteriors, in one sense. If you raised the ice-extent totals by 10% the ice-extent graph would be very different.

      Of course, the Alarmists would want to lower totals by 10%.

      I think the best approach will be to use our own lying eyes, as the summer passes, especially as the Minimum approaches in September.

      • Actually refreshingly honest. It sure beats talking about .001 degrees or .001% of the atmosphere, as if they were major things.

  3. Not sure how well this illustrates it, but just on a hunch that it would make it easier to see I did this:

    Grab the maps for today and same date 2015
    Add a transparency layer (.jpg, wtf?)
    Select the water with the “grab by color” tool for 2015 and 2016
    Copy and paste these as new layers
    Then use the 2015 water selection and copy from the 2016 map
    Paste that as a new layer
    Use the 2016 water selection and copy from the 2015 map
    Paste that as a new layer
    Export as gif

    Not saying it is conclusive or supports either side, just a different visualization of where the ice is/was this year/last year.

    • Think I messed up the order on a couple of the captions, it was pretty confusing juggling them and trying to remember which part was which.

    • And it seems that the colors they use for water aren’t consistent, notice the chunks in the great lakes. Still an interesting idea, needs work though.

      I think it was supposed to be captioned Frame 1: 2015, Frame 2: 2016 water, Frame 3: 2016, Frame 4: 2015 water

      • I think this is on the right track. Use their maps and not the graphs derived from the maps. Sometimes the graphs involve various steps or processes or what-cha-call-its that sometimes can, either intentionally or inadvertently, warp the picture. Referring back to the maps is simple back-checking.

        Thanks for taking the time and sharing.

  4. The whole discussion is academic and based on comparing incompatible products. Mind you, other products from NSIDC (USA), NERSC (Norway) and JAXA (Japan) show pretty much the exact same thing.

    This is unprecedented in the satellite era, understandably people are fearing that the 2012 records will be shattered this year.

    • cdqgfj – The post Paris lying and torturing of data may be unprecedented but otherwise just noise of a seasonal nature. Your first claim of summer coming early to the arctic is the bare faced lying BS that alarmists love to deal in. Go to DMI and look at the arctic temperatures and show me where the summer time temperatures are … please do that little thing for me 😉
      Why I will even give you the link
      At this time temperatures are just hitting the -5C point … tough to melt ice at those temps and as Caleb and others have pointed out Beaufort ice didn’t melt it blew to the northwest. From what I’ve observed the temps at places like Tuk are just now getting up there … ie spring like.
      Chill out man … it will be nice when the La Nina is in full gear and tools like yourself are finally shut up about seasonal and El Nino fluctuations.

      • Surely you know that soon most of the melting will happen from below, as every summer?

        Did the UHI-effect and “adjustments” to temperature datasets cause the ongoing collapse of arctic sea ice cover?

      • Wow …. more BS …. melting from below at -5C …. u never did take any science courses did u? Political science obviously doesn’t count … back to school for u!!

      • cdqgfj,

        By the way, the first graph ends at the start of April, and isn’t applicable to discussions at the end of May.

      • Stewart,

        Unfortunately a “lag time” is involved, and even though the El Nino is over at the equator the effects will continue in the north deep into the summer. If I were you I would put on my safety glasses, to protect yourself from flying……um….shhhh….um….shrapnel.

    • Yes, of course it crossed my mind. Very salty brine can still be liquid at -5C, but in most cases seawater is frozen solid at -5C.

      Did I miss something? I’m not sure what you are referring to.

    • No, cd, what sums up your idiocy is that if ALL the Arctic sea ice melted this year, it would prove NOTHING about AGW.

      But, keep trying, we’re enjoying your fruitless efforts.

      • Oh is that the new party line? That no amount/speed of warming anywhere can be evidence for AGW? Mind you the the so-called skeptics have no explanation for the recent warming, except handwaving. Where’s the beef?

      • I’m not sure what you are referring to when you say, “party line”. We are interested spectators here; that is all.

        I can think of “explanations” for warming I have mentioned. For example:

        1.) El Nino creates warm imbalance.

        2.) PDO shifting cold-to-warm creates imbalance.

        3.) AMO wobbling warm-to-cold-to-warm creates imbalance.

        4.) So-called “Warm Blob” in Pacific and “Cold Blob” in Atlantic creates imbalance.

        5.) As the planet corrects the imbalances the flow becomes meridienal rather than zonal, which brings warm air to the Pole as cold waves plunge south to Mexico, Kuwait, and Thailand (last winter.)

        6.) The meridienal flow creates cross-polar-flows and storminess at the Pole, which cracks up the ice. This exposes open water in the dead of winter which likely chills the water more, but in terms of air temperatures at 2 meters, open water would definitely induce warming.

        7.) The shifting of ice away from shores created impressive polynyas along the northwest coast of Alaska and north of the Mackenzie River Delta. This reduces area of ice without melting any. We showed it also happened in 1975.

        This is not “hand waving”. This is food for thought. You obviously haven’t been paying attention and I’m afraid you’ll have to stay after class.

      • “Recent warming”? You mean the recent warming due to El Niño?

        1) Don’t you see that the higher-than-average Arctic temps were caused by the El Niño?

        2) Don’t you see that since the El Niño has ended, the Arctic temps have returned to average?

      • Caleb, “6.) …, but in terms of air temperatures at 2 meters, open water would definitely induce warming.”
        Open water in the Arctic dead of Winter Induces warming where? Me thinks it will give up its heat more readily via evaporation, and skim over very quickly. Or am I missing something?

      • The leads ripped open can be very wide. In some cases they are many miles across. They do freeze over very quickly in the dead of winter, but a huge amount of heat is released. Then, when the ice is thin, less heat but still a lot. As the ice gets thicker the amount of heat lost to the air gets less, but even the thick ice loses a little, which is why the tundra right next to the Arctic Ocean is colder than the frozen ocean.

        You can see this warming of the air most clearly as Hudson Bay Freezes over in November. Before it is frozen the cold air (at 2 meters) is heated nearly to the melting point, so on maps where different temperatures are different colors, Hudson Bay stands out as a warmer color. Then, as soon as the ice forms, the color gets closer to the color of the land.

        Last winter the Beaufort Sea was ripped open and open water was exposed a lot. I have no facts and figures, but it had to have warmed the air, even if each and every lead was frozen over in 12 hours. When the light returned and we could first see the ice, it looked like a spiderweb, there were so many cracks. The older ones are a lighter gray and the newest are nearly black.

        I can’t say how much of the above-normal temperatures at the Pole last winter came from the water. “Some”. What I wonder is how much colder that made the water.

    • “Massacre” “slaughter” “awesome” “amazing”… is this a sports discussion or something? Do we put these people on suicide watch during years when the ice doesn’t get “butchered” or “obliterated” as they seem so eager to see?

    • Dear cdqgfj,

      Rather than using the word “idiocy” it would be more helpful if you summed up the link’s statement, avoiding all the link’s impolite language.

      I think that what you meant to say was that the “masking” along the shoreline is more narrow in the 2016 map than in the 2015 map. Because the masking is more narrow, ice that didn’t show in 2015 will be included in 2016.

      It would be helpful if you did a bit of research and told us how many pixels you are talking about. If it happened to be more than 245 pixels it would indicate the change in masking explains the apparent increase in ice. We would all hug you and slap your back and thank you for saving us from being idiots.

      Oh, wait. When I look at the map I posted I see no fringe of green pixels along the shorelines. In fact, along the East Siberian coast there are a lot of red pixels.

      Hmm. Perhaps you should have looked at the map, before you called others idiots, for if you don’t look before you leap to conclusions you are at risk of looking like an idiot yourself.

  5. Even as a “layman”, I trust your analysis a lot more than the self-proclaimed “experts” that have a huge vested interest in promoting their agenda.

    • I confess I have a vested interest. It isn’t money or free trips to Bali. It is simply that by watching ice melt, and then refreeze, I have met all sorts of interesting people, including you.

    • According to your screwed-up logic, all experts must be lying. Astroturfing by Kock-brother and other “independent” players has really worked 🙂

      • Using the term “all experts” is what is called “an appeal to authority”. I can name some “authorities” who have differing views.

        To put “independent” in quotes seems to suggest you don’t believe independent thinkers actually can think for themselves. They can and do.

        To misspell “Koch” brothers is either ignorant or rude. Calling opinions that differ “screwed up” is also rude.

        Putting a little smiley-face imogi at the end of a rude and caustic comment is downright bizarre.

  6. Well ok I should not behave in a rude way here, sorry. But, an opinion that discounts the expertise of all experts as *biased*, is bizarre, anti-intellectual and even dangerous. Scientists as a group are still the least corruptible entity out there, by far. Skeptics have not produced and published evidence that any of the datasets are corrupted, just insinuation. Of course, the purpose of propaganda often is to manufacture doubt and it looks like it has worked on a surprisingly large fraction of the conservatives. Again I see similarities to creationism, which is only supported by (mostly christian) theists.

    • Apology accepted. Tempers do tend to flare regarding a subject that seemingly should be cool: Sea ice.

      It has actually been a very hot day here, up near 90 F, and I lack the stamina to properly respond to this comment. If I had the time I probably would take you task for talking in hyperbolic terms, regarding a subject that has many shades and subtle distinctions. For example, once again you are talking about the opinions of ALL the experts.

  7. BTW I was originally responding to Andy DC who mentioned “self-appointed experts”, which funnily enough fits most vocal climate skeptic bloggers. Does reality have a liberal bias?

    • Those that receive part of the billions doled out by the Government for climate study (but can hold only one viewpoint) are definitely going to have a bias fitting that one viewpoint. They better had if they want to stay on the gravy train!

      I have seen the grant groveling process up close and personal. I know those who receive grants and those from agencies that disburse the grants. From both sides, when you get them in a lucid moment, they say the entire process is corrupt and sickening, with everyone shouting the party line, saying what true believers they are, even when they tell me in private they are not.

      • Sad but true. I suppose we mortals must do some lousy jobs for money, but I’d rather wash dishes than lie. What’s more, I’ve done it. It used to really exasperate my family when I’d tell a boss where to go, and lose what they felt was “a good job”. (Actually I think they felt any job was better than worrying about me sleeping in my car.) They didn’t see how a bum like me had any right to “act all high and mighty”. However I didn’t seem to have any choice. I simply couldn’t stomach certain bosses.

        Now I am 40 years down the road, and can look back with a sense of humor, and I’m actually glad I was so outrageously ethical. I may have lost jobs but I didn’t lose my self-respect. I may have been a bum, but I was a bum with dignity. Last but not least, I saw there was always a next job, another chance, a new morning, and developed a faith that if you stand by the Truth, the Truth will stand by you.

        There is something pitiful about people so addicted to the gravy train
        they are afraid of life without it.

  8. Here’s another take on the falsehood and misunderstandings unscrupulous skeptic bloggers are spreading:

    (Caleb’s Note: AKA “Snow White” is not welcome on this site, nor are links to his site, until he apologizes for being coy with the truth and wasting a great deal of my valuable time three years ago.)

      • Thanks, Lawrence. But why did you compare May 21 with June 21? I’m really under pressure here, and I’d appreciate it greatly if you could send the same comparison, but compare May 27 with May 27.

        Until you learn to compare the same dates, you are not even on the same playing field as Mr. Heller.

        As far as “fighting a battle” is concerned, all we ask for is data that adds up.

        And all I really want to do is watch the ice do what it does. For me it is an escape from stress, like watching the clouds in the sky.

        We are not even to the half-way point of how much ice melts each year. The ice has been shoved in towards the middle, so there is a fairly decent chance the melt will slow once the “ice edge” reaches that thicker, more piled-up ice.

        I hope to escape from reality with a new post soon, and explain further, but sometimes reality will not let you gaze at the clouds, or at the sea-ice. As I type these words I am awaiting a call from the hospital regarding the health of a family member.

      • Caleb, you completely missed the point… the ice in the Beaufort is in worse condition now than it was one month later last year. I chose that specific date because it was the last day that was relatively fog free and cloud free. A curious mind would try to find out why this year is so much worse for the ice. .
        Are you aware of the high temperature anomalies in the Arctic this winter and the persistent high pressure? Tuktoyaktuk is the closest weather station to the ice free area, literally meters from the Beaufort. Here is a link to the May temperatures.

        Neven badmouthing?
        I respectfully disagree, compared to Watts and Heller, he is Gandi. With the exception of the now infamous war thread, Neven is straight as an arrow and only does science.

        BTW, the data is all there, why not download it and do your own graphs? ASIF has bloggers doing that on a daily basis. The readers at the forum get the ice area and extent updates three days before the ice services release their numbers. Look for a century drop in area on Sunday.

    • Thanks Lawrence. Those are the maps I wanted. Thanks for doing the hard work for me. I really have no time. But when I do I’ll scan the maps.

      Just off the top of my head I can remember there was a surprising refreeze last May or June north of Alaska. At first the snowless tundra of Alaska was baking under the hot sun and warm south winds were melting the surface of the ice off shore, but then the winds swung around to the north and were cold and refroze the ice and also blew some ice back south. It caused one of those upticks in ice-extent. I think I called it “The Switcheroo.”

      Ha! Thank geeks for search engines. I found it.

      I don’t have time to reread it but I think it shows why I don’t want to compare maps from May with maps from June. The sea-ice doesn’t always retreat north in a well-behaved manner, but is capable of all sorts of skulduggery and trickery. If you don’t believe me, make a specific forecast (but don’t tell anyone) and then see how often you are humbled.

      I’m too tired to explain what it feels like to be a Skeptic and lurk on Nevin’s site. It’s probably what it feels like to be an Alarmist and lurk on Tony Heller’s site. You gather some interesting insights, but keep your mouth shut, unless you are in the mood to start a brawl. It is a bit like walking into a Boston barroom, and being Yankees fan.

      I don’t want this site to turn into a barroom. Think of it as your grandmother’s kitchen. Maybe you sip a couple of glasses of elderberry wine, but everyone stays civil.

    • I see the post you referred to. The best I could do was submit this hurried comment:

      Volume is one difference. Water temperature under-the-ice is another. The differences between the situation in 2012 and this summer’s are profound.

      In 2012 it was sunnier, and the ice had more meltwater pools and was thinner and more “rotten”, and the big gale (the worst since 1979, I believe) did make a huge amount of ice vanish in a mere week.

      This year has seemed cloudier, the ice is thicker and meltwater pools have refrozen and been dusted by snow, but the ice has been cracked and tortured, bashed and battered, and basically pulverized by a meridional pattern that has been more or less continuous. The closest thing to high pressure ruling the Pole was in April, and it involved roaring winds creating bigger-than-normal polynyas on the north coast of Alaska.

      I am only an amateur scientist, but do take notes and do post my observations. As a sort of joke I began referring to the constant low pressure at the Pole as “Ralph,” and then was somewhat intrigued to notice Ralph wouldn’t go away. This latest gale is merely the latest incarnation of Ralph. Where 2012 saw a single gale, 2016 has seen storm after storm.

      My latest notebook is here:

      It looks like Ralph is going to persist another week at least, and at the “Tropical Tidbits” website they have a cool animation of the European model which has Ralph reaching 959 mb next week, which would make it the worst storm evah! (Or since 1979.) The current storm bottomed out at 989, which makes it only 4th worst evah.)

      Do you remember the hubbub last Christmas, about the gale that sucked mild air north and brought a brief (2 hour) thaw to a buoy near the North Pole? (The media got all maudlin about Santa’s workshop needing to close due to lack of ice.) In a sense that was an earlier incarnation of Ralph.

      As much as I love to sit about and contemplate ice melting, (when my wife thinks I should be mowing the lawn,) I really think sea-ice is a secondary issue. The real issue is a changed pattern. The real issue may be the cooling of the “Quiet Sun” encouraging the oceans to “warm” cycles, and then clashing with that warmth.

      In conclusion, the real issue, ladies and gentlemen, is Ralph.

      Caleb August 18, 2016 at 9:05 pm
      Sorry. Typo. The current storm bottomed out at 969 mb, or perhaps 968 mb. (Its not like they have many weather stations on that pulverized ice.)

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