ARCTIC SEA ICE –The Thaw Starts–

I have been remiss with my map discussions, partly because it has been somewhat boring, but mostly because I’m busy planting on the farm-childcare. I’m just going to skim through the happenings, but watch how the temperature maps slowly warm (aware that DMI maps tend to be warmer than other maps, and at times were contradicted by the thermometer on O-buoy 14, which read colder.)

Back in mid-May storms invaded the Siberian side of the Pole, creating a cross-polar-flow down through Fram Strait.

A week later a ridge had built across the Pole, blocking that flow.


A low came up the east coast of Greenland, reversing the flow in Fram Strait.


Then it headed east across Svalbard.

The low was pushed along the coast of Siberia by a strong high pressure that built over the Beaufort Sea, but then the low swung up towards the Pole and charged right into the gut of the high pressure, completely changing the Beaufort situation. Sea-ice that had been persistently blown away from shore reversed direction.


A second duo of Siberian lows began a Fujuwhara dance towards the Pole, until a low stood right on top of the Pole. Another mini-low zipped up to Fram Strait and across Svalbard, first pushing ice north in the strait and then sucking it south., before a summer-like calm prevailed.

Low pressure over the Pole in some senses reverses the Beaufort Gyre, and may spread out some of the ice that had been crunched together.  It looks like the pattern will persist, with the models showing high pressure beginning to reestablish itself in the Beaufort Sea next Sunday.


The current pattern is very different from the strong high pressure between the Pole and Alaska that brought strong southeast winds that tore up the ice in Beaufort Sea.

A good view of a more than hundred mile long chunk of fast ice (IE ice attached to the shore) (Hat tip Lawrence Martin) breaking loose, has especially good resolution. Look carefully at the patterns in the ice. Beaufort Crack 2 p7ys6GK

What the patterns show is how often the ice was cracked, and how often the cracks refroze, during the winter. When the light first came back to the north this spring that was one thing I noticed immediately. The winter must have been wild up there, for the ice all over looked like it have been riven by leads many times. and froze over again many times. My guess is that this sort of winter cools the water more, and also increases the volume of the ice.

The one feature most difficult to see in satellite views, such as the one above, are the pressure ridges, which is one reason it is so hard to determine the thickness and volume of the ice. Using what we have, we can compare this year with last year using the maps below, (2016 to the left; 2015 to the right.)

While there is less ice in Barents Sea and the south of Beaufort Sea, ice continues thicker between the Pole and the East Siberian Sea. The shifting winds have shifted ice back into formally open waters, creating a slight blip in the ice extent graph.

DMI3 0607 icecover_current_new (1)

My guess is that the extent graph will start to flatten as the edge of the ice reaches the thicker ice. Also, if the water is colder as I guess, it may effect temperatures, as it seemed to do the summer of 2013. Temperatures actually dipped below normal for the first time in six months last weekend.

DMI3 0607 meanT_2016

Of course the wild card is the “Quiet Sun,” again spotless.

Spotless latest

According to Svenmark’s ideas, the neurons neutrons that go hand in hand with a quiet sun create more cloud particles, and more clouds reflect more heat than they hold back on earth  beneath them. The neuron neutron count is getting up there:

Neuron Count Junw 1 clip_image006_thumb1

And O-buoy 14 has seen a lot of Gray weather, shown by the flat temperatures. (Note how it gets down to -10, but the DMI maps showed no temperatures below -5.)

Obuoy 14 0607 temperature-1week

Obuoy 14 0601 webcamObuoy 14 0605 webcam Obuoy 14 0606B webcam

Obuoy 14 0607B webcam

That last picture shows some fog, which can be a real “snow eater”, so I’ll be keeping an eye on the little drift on the yellow buoy. We are at the start of the thaw, and should start to see some changes at the surface.

8 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA ICE –The Thaw Starts–

  1. Good analysis and nice pictures. Hardly looks like a death spiral anymore.

    Also Hudson Bay ice seems slow to melt again this year. There seems to be a cold vortex sitting over it quite frequently this year.

    • Thanks. I wish I had more time to spend delving more deeply on certain aspects, but I figured I’d just try to jot some notes down, “for the record.”

      I really shouldn’t have spent so much time writing the “D-day” post, but for some reason felt compelled to look back and think about the people we are suppose to think about on Memorial Day. Now I have to look forward. There is only so much time to plant in the spring, and if you miss the window-of-opportunity, well, you’ve missed it.

      Hudson Bay is always interesting to watch. This year the ice seemed to be pushed southeast away from the northwest shore at first, but now is surging back that way as it is pushed from the east shore by east winds as storms dig south and pass under the Bay.

  2. How deep do you plant children for best results?

    Oh! You effect a result, when you do something which has an affect on something else, like the effect I get from my speech affect.

    • They plant themselves, usually in mud.

      I always screw up “effect” and “affect.” It comes from hanging around kids too much.

      Hmm, The effect of sea-ice will be to affect Alarmists? Aurgh! I’ll never get it right!

      • Steven Mosher has been around for a long time. I think I recall him bringing up hot topics at the old Accuweather “Global Warming Site”, which long ago was a delightful barroom brawl of thought, until it sadly was moderated into parrots in an echo chamber. He seems to own a blind spot, but he always gets people talking. It was interesting reading all the comments that followed his recent comment at wattsupwiththat.

        The accuweather spot was where I hung out back before Anthony Watts started his site. I’d guess it was 2005-2007. I hope they have those old brawls archived somewhere. Some of the exchanges were really funny. It was a rare site where Alarmists and Skeptics seemed evenly devided.

        In any case, I think I can recall Steven Mosher duking it out (intellectually) with Alarmists as well as Skeptics, back in the old days. In any case, its hard for me to utterly scorn an internet acquaintance I’ve known for so long, and been through so much with, even when at times he makes me go, “Aurrgh!”

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