More ice/less ice

PolarsternMore on the Arctic melt: the National Snow and Ice Data Centre updates its commentary on this year’s record ice minimum. As of yesterday, the five day moving average of ice was still moving downwards, but slowly. Their comment on the North West Passage is interesting.

The main, deep channel of the Northwest Passage (Lancaster Sound to M’Clure Strait) has been open, or nearly ice-free, for about five weeks (since August 11, approximately). Of note is the northernmost ice edge ever recorded, at 85.5 degrees North, near the 160 degrees east longitude line.

Meanwhile, the RV Polarstern (see pic), near to completing a voyage through the Arctic as a contribution to International Polar Year, reports that large areas of this year’s ice have only been 1m thick – a 50% reduction on only 6 years ago. When the ship got close to the pole, it started raining. Ursula Schauer wrote (in early September):

A whole day of rain within 150 km of the North Pole came somewhat as a surprise! For the past few weeks, one low-pressure system after another has continuously carried warm air from northern Siberia (15°C at the Lena estuary!) towards the central Arctic Ocean. In this way the sea ice disintegrates more and more right before our eyes.

Meanwhile, I’ve bet Stoat (aka William Connolley) that 2008 will beat 2007’s record low. But only £10…

19 thoughts on “More ice/less ice”

  1. You’re dealing with an NZ writer, not an international global superstar like Flim-flam Flannery.

    £10 and a signed copy of Hot Topic, and a drink if you ever pass through Christchurch on the way South.

    And that’s my limit…

  2. I’m with Stoat and I’ll make a one-sided bet: if I lose I’ll track down some Alfajors Argentinian biscuits and send them down to you and if you lose … whatever. It’s just that even when trends are strong, records are rare things so betting on them is a mug’s game.

  3. I am now, and have always been, a mug punter. On the other hand, you should have look at the article by Cecilia Bitz at RealClimate where she discusses her paper on episodes of rapid ice loss in modelling… and we’re on two records in three years at the moment.

  4. That’s
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/01/arctic-sea-ice-decline-in-the-21st-century/

    Amazing, comparing the model runs discussed there to what’s happened since they published the paper.

    “In our paper (with co-author Bruno Tremblay), we examined the September Arctic sea ice cover in the 20th and 21st centuries in climate models, and found occasional decades of very rapid retreat. The most extreme case was a decrease from 6 to 2 million square kilometers in a decade (see Fig 1). ”

    http://www.realclimate.org/images/bitz_fig1.jpg

  5. Notice that Holland et al show the NW passage as blocked pretty much until the bitter end.

    Also, Gareth, since William is basically betting on his own research being right I think you should seriously consider upping it.

    OT: NZ temps are getting a lot of attention over at Climate Audit just now. A Dr. Wratt of NIWA made the mistake of trying to engage them on the particulars.

    Very nice job with the blog, BTW. I’ll visit more often.

  6. Oh dear. DW is an exceptionally nice guy – encouraged me to get started on HT, and read chunks of the manuscript. I can see why he wanted to set matters straight, but I’ve long since given up on reading CA. Reality never seems to intrude there…

    As for my bet with William, what makes you think I can afford more than £10? In any event, he’s an Antarctic guy, and the ice down here isn’t melting.

  7. The bet is just for the Arctic. Also see this late-breaking news. I’m starting to feel guilty, though.

    Speaking of which, some company would make me feel better. What with the time-zone difference, if you move promptly you can still get an increase in. 🙂

  8. You screwed up the link. Are you talking about the San Diego piece you linked at Old Man? I was thinking of blogging that… though my emphasis on things Arctic is somewhat removed from SH reality. William would find a ready audience down here. (;-))

    Time zones: I should be flaked out in front of the TV, but as Springsteen noted, “there was fifty-seven channels and nothin’ on.”

  9. Winter’s here (or there, in the case of the N Pole) and the temperature anomaly is around +20C. It’s still below freezing though, so the ice extent is still increasing – in fact, it’s slightly more than this time last year, so there’s been some bounce back. I’d suspect, however, that the new ice is thinner than usual, and will melt very fast in the spring. I think I’m still in with a good chance.

    On other hand, William and James Annan have taken the cold side of a bet about summer ice in 2020 with Joe Romm. That looks much harder to call…

  10. Bat, Morison doesn’t seem to doubt GW: “The events of the 1990s may well be a preview of how the Arctic will respond over longer periods of time in a warming world,”

    Variations around the long term trend as a result of changes in things such as occilations in ocean currents are expected, such variations are what Gareth and stoat’s bet is all about.

    No surprises.

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