Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Water, water everywhere

And all the bergs did shrink ;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any left to shrink

The very caps did rot : O Christ !
That ever this should be !
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy land!

OK, Eli is getting carried away. Using Alastair's Criterion
"Since I get to choose I will propose this chart which is updated daily

When there is a clear passage in pink from the Beaufort Sea to the Baffin Bay then we declare the NW Passage open. Otherwise we may have to wait for ESA to produce a report which the Telegraph picks up and then four weeks later appears in Wikipedia."
We are a day or two away. However, for those who want to jump the gun, the AMSR picture from the University of Bremen shows there now does appear to be a way through the Northwest Passage although the path is a bit crooked (the microwave sounder based AMSR underestimates ice coverage a bit).

But enough of that obsession. You may remember certain commentators last year going on and on that the ice extent at the butt (aka Aussie) end of the Earth was growing. For example Roger Pielke Sr. said
Former Colorado State Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., presently senior scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder, chastised the media’s Antarctic reporting as “typical of the bias that many journalists have.” Pielke wrote on March 25, “The media has ignored in their reporting the increase in Antarctic sea ice cover in recent years, with, at present, a coverage that is well one million square kilometers above average.” Pielke added, “Unfortunately, it appears that most journalists just parrot the perspective of the first news release on these climate issues, without doing any further investigation. If this is inadvertent, they need to be educated in climate science. If deliberate bias, they are clearly advocates and the reporters should be clearly and publically identified as having such a bias. In either case, the public is being misinformed!
and how this proved, well it's hard to say what it proved, but they did go on and on as our friend Steve McIntyre would say
Four of the past 5 months are “all-time” records for Southern Hemisphere sea ice anomalies, “unprecedented” since the data set began in 1979 . . .On a global basis, world sea ice in April 2008 reached levels that were “unprecedented” for the month of April in over 25 years. Levels are the third highest (for April) since the commencement of records in 1979, exceeded only by levels in 1979 and 1982. This continues a pattern established earlier in 2008, as global sea ice in March 2008 was also the third highest March on record, while January 2008 sea ice was the second highest January on record. It was also the second highest single month in the past 20 years (second only to Sept 1996).
and Eli does believe that a certain John S who graces the comment section here at RR had a pleasant word or two on the subject

Today's interesting news is that the Antarctic anomaly is now negative after having fallen off the cliff in the past few days. This, together with historically low ice extent in the Arctic (not a record yet) has pushed the total ice anomaly into negative numbers (figures from Cryosphere Today)

Click to enlarge the global sea ice area graph below

Something is happening. It is probably not a good thing


Anonymous said...

Rabett, you are a tease!
A quick glance at graphs you so kindly provided, would convince your most ardent admirers that Antarctic ice area and total ice area have both gone into negative anomaly pretty well evey year of the graph period. And this is something amazing Rabett, it recovered. Yes, Antarctic ice and total ice area then moved into positive anomaly.

The "nigh" is still not upon us Rabbet.


Anonymous said...

I await Roger's post on this development.

EliRabett said...

It fell off the southern fried table John (click on the figure to blow it up. It went from +1 million sq km to -0.5 in a few days.

Nick Barnes said...

The SH anomaly seems to have gradually declined from +1Mkm^2 over the course of about a month.

Nick Barnes said...

It has been pretty clear from MODIS for several days now that the northern route is clear from the east as far as Resolute, and that the southern route is clear from the west as far as Queen Maud Gulf. That leaves the bit in between. There were a couple of MODIS shots at the weekend which seemed to show this route (Peel Sound, James Ross Strait, Simpson Strait) clear enough. Frustratingly I can't find them now. More frustratingly, there is now cloud over Larsen Sound etc, and also the near-real-time MODIS page isn't being updated today.
However, there's high pressure over the northern passage, and temperatures of around 12, and a fair easterly breeze to push the ice out into the Beaufort Sea. I still think the northern passage will be visibly clear at the weekend.

Hank Roberts said...

Soon, they're saying
(hat tip to Wayne at RC)

Anonymous said...

OMG, Less Arctic ice and more AntArctic ice, but obviously you major on the AntArctic. World temperatures down, what to do? Divert, divert.

Dano said...

World temperatures down


Who are these bullsh*tters bullsh*tting around here? Are they unit testing their FUD?



Anonymous said...

Don't get it. Looking at the last two charts, that cover a very short period, it is not clear that anything unusual is happening even for that short period. Yes, it fluctuates. Is anything more than this happening?

In the top one by the way, what happened in 1980? That was a dip to dwarf the present one. Presumably that was not GW caused?

anon 11.17

TheChemistryOfBeer said...

Anonymous needs glasses, if he thinks that 1980 has a dip to dwarf the present one.

Rabett's post was about global sea ice. I had a peek at the arctic sea ice decline, and it appears that the melting rate is quite rapid the past few days.



Anonymous said...

Maybe I do need glasses. What I see is an anomaly of -1.5 in 1980, a level not equalled in any other year since.

Or am I misinterpreting the graph?

Anonymous said...

anonymous, are we looking at the same graph?


There are numerous dips below anomaly -1.5 and long stays below it too...

Anonymous said...

Ah, you were looking at the southern hemisphere. Weird indeed...


Henk L. said...

Actually a sailor is on it's way trying to do the NW passage, following the smell of carrots.
See http://baloumgwen.canalblog.com/

Anonymous said...

flavius, yes, the SH. What happened back then? Its really marked.

Anonymous said...

Actually, there are 4 known boats in the NW Passage. One coming from west, is BELLOT Strait mouth by 71 50N 95 30W.
3 others coming east, are near Resolute.

Anonymous said...

lat year at this time, sea ice had already pretty much bottomed out but this year it shows no signs of doing so.

Even if ice melt continues at a slower pace for the next couple weeks (unless ice melt pretty much goes from the current rate to zero in a few days -- immediately flattens out), ice area will drop below last year's minimum.

The median time for the minimum is actually the end of the first week of September, so if i were a betting man, I'd say this year's min will beat last year's.

Arun said...

NW passage opening - I said aug 4. Pretty close, I think.