Old ice at a record low in Arctic as melting season begins

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:33 PM GMT on April 20, 2009

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March 2009 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent was the 6th lowest since 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The record March low was set in 2006, and it has now been nearly two years since we have set any record monthly minimums for Arctic sea ice. While it is good news that the area of sea ice coverage has not been reaching record lows recently, there is concern about the recent record loss of thick, multi-year ice in the Arctic. Strong winter winds pushed a considerable amount of multi-year-old ice out of the Arctic this year, leaving the Arctic Ocean with its lowest amount of old sea ice on record (Figure 1). Sea ice more than two years old fell below 10% for the first time since satellites began observing the ice in 1979. This is a factor of three lower than the 30% coverage for the period 1981 through 2000.


Figure 2. These images show declining sea ice age, which indicates a thinning Arctic sea ice cover more vulnerable to melting in summer. Ice older than two years now accounts for less than 10% of the ice cover. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center, courtesy J. Maslanik and C. Fowler, University of Colorado.

As the ice melting season begins this year, the exceptionally low amount of old, thick ice leaves the Arctic very vulnerable to melting. Air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean this past winter were 1 - 2°C (1.8 - 3.6°F) above average, and a continuation of conditions this warm would probably cause record melting of the Arctic ice cap this summer. On the other hand, the amount of 1 - 2 year old in the Arctic increased in 2008 compared to 2007, so if the Arctic experiences below average temperatures this summer and throughout 2010, the potential exists for old ice to make a comeback. However, the Arctic has experienced very warm temperatures in excess of 1°C above average for most of the past decade (Figure 2). The latest Arctic Report Card 2008 concludes that "it is becoming increasingly likely that the Arctic will change from a perennially ice-covered to an ice-free ocean in the summer". The best hope I see for the Arctic sea ice to recover in the next few years is for a major volcanic eruption in the tropics to create a "Volcanic Winter" cooling effect for a year or two. Such an eruption would probably not allow for a complete recovery of Arctic sea ice, but might delay the transition to a summertime ice-free state by several years.


Figure 2. Arctic-wide annual averaged surface air temperature anomalies (60°-90°N) based from 1900 - 2007 on land stations north of 60°N relative to the 1961 - 1990 mean. From the CRUTEM 3v dataset, (available online at www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/). Note this curve does not include ship observations. The year 2007 was the warmest year on record in the Arctic. The year 2008 (not plotted) was cooler than 2007. Image credit: Arctic Report Card 2008.

As usual, I'm saying little about Antarctic sea ice, since the ice at the bottom of the world is not changing much and has a small impact on global climate compared to Arctic sea ice. Antarctic sea ice is currently quite a bit above average in extent, making total global sea ice above average this month. However, as I explained in a post earlier this year, drawing attention to this statistic is not a very intelligent thing to do, and hides the important fact that Arctic sea ice is in serious danger.

My next post will be on Wednesday--Earth Day--when I'll pick my top wunderphotos from the past year. I'll talk more about "Volcanic Winter" on Friday.

Jeff Masters

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talking about hurricane that strorm overe the back E sure looks like one nic baning on it too
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
well could be like the 1940s too---the paths of hurricanes making USA landfalls at Cat 3 or more from 1941-1950:



looks like most of them formed close to home.
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 2838
312. tampabos 8:18 PM GMT on April 21, 2009
I hope our season is not like 2004. Florida would not survive!


You say that, but for some reason FL always seems to bounce back quickly! I guess that's cause ya'll deal with so many!
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Anybody see the spin at 25n and 58w. I see a nice swirl moving westward.
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If you have any questions pertaining to the 2009 hurricane season, email me as I am schedule to post a FAQ blog next week on that same topic. The Bermuda High this year, number of storms, ssts, risk areas, enso, etc.
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Check out this early map of the gulf stream from 1770. You can click to enlarge and zoom in, etc.

Link

From the new World Digital Library.

Main page: Link
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316. Skyepony (Mod)
Cyberteddy~ 2004 El Nino started offically with the 3 month average of May June July. It peaked at +.9 in Aug sept oct..with the peak being sept. But were the hurricanes during peak fish like one might expect in an atmosphere at reflects El nino? No~ cause it lags & unforchant that was for me. But do take notice that most the storms at the very end of the season were El Nino fish.. the K, L, N, O storms.. & that was with a earlier start to El Nino.
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Quoting presslord:
Pat!!!!!!! Please take that picture down immmediately...before my wife sees it and tells me I have to buy it for her.....




Why,its a Perfect Stone....amazing

How much you want for it,eh?

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Quoting muddertracker:
Hey, I have three people in my ignored list from last season, but I can't for the life of me remember why they are there. Does anyone remember STORMTTOP, Sammywammybammy or Alexking? I usually don't use the thing and was surprised I had anyone in there.


All troublemakers from last year STORMTTOP probably the most famous on this blog
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 863 Comments: 15114
Quoting muddertracker:
Hey, I have three people in my ignored list from last season, but I can't for the life of me remember why they are there. Does anyone remember STORMTTOP, Sammywammybammy or Alexking? I usually don't use the thing and was surprised I had anyone in there.


Remember stormtop is stormkat always saying that the storm was going to hit New Orleans and his sotrmkat weather office. Sammy always wanted a storm to hit florida, and i'm not sure about alexking.
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 2838
I hope our season is not like 2004. Florida would not survive!
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Hey, I have three people in my ignored list from last season, but I can't for the life of me remember why they are there. Does anyone remember STORMTTOP, Sammywammybammy or Alexking? I usually don't use the thing and was surprised I had anyone in there.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 2316
Quoting Skyepony:
TampaSpin~ The weekly numbers come out on monday for ENSO.. This week..
reg 1+2 = +.8C
reg 3 = +.1C
reg 3+4 = -.1C
reg 4 = -.1C

Remember here La Niña begins at & is or colder than -.5C in reg 3+4. It is now -.1C there & has been above -.5 atleast 6 out of the last 8 weeks & all it takes is a 3 month average above -.5 for it to be offically dead. CPC & NOAA expects to see that happen sometime in this last bit of April. Probibly won't be offical til the monthly (that should come out in 2nd thursday in May). Transition is more than 1/2 there & the Kelvin waves are coming faster & harder. The ESPI took a dive this week (down to -1.53) so we may see a little cooling occur soon but should be short lived between Kelvin waves, the little ups in downs in nature between the bigger trends. Especially looking at the link I left where you see the ocean heat from the side. Your basing a La Niña comeback on a little pool of cool water on the surface while most the rest of the Pacific is recharged with warmer than normal water well into the depths, & summer has yet to arrive.

Kori~ I totally agree. The atmosphere lags by atleast 3 months. Not sold on El Niño developing during season but I'll give it 65% chance region 3,4 makes it there by end of Aug (compared to NASA's 50%, put out a few weeks ago) But if it did we wouldn't see El Niño's effects in the atmosphere til least NOV, which is a little late to affect season.



2004 didn't develop a El Nino to August of that year, and it showed already by the end of the season. So an El Nino isn't a saving grace.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23015
Pat!!!!!!! Please take that picture down immmediately...before my wife sees it and tells me I have to buy it for her.....
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PATRAP-How much would that puppy be worth at todays market prices?Probrably a little beyond my financial grasp.
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Found this kind of interesting. Door dams to replace sandbags.

Link
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Diamond star thrills astronomers

A diamond that is almost forever

Twinkling in the sky is a diamond star of 10 billion trillion trillion carats, astronomers have discovered.

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Interesting article from Science Today-
Cyclones Spurt Water Into Stratosphere, Feeding Global Warming
Scientists have found that tropical cyclones readily inject ice far into the stratosphere, possibly feeding global warming. The finding provides more evidence of the intertwining of severe ... > full story
Member Since: June 5, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 574
302. Skyepony (Mod)
TampaSpin~ The weekly numbers come out on monday for ENSO.. This week..
reg 1+2 = +.8C
reg 3 = +.1C
reg 3+4 = -.1C
reg 4 = -.1C

Remember here La Niña begins at & is or colder than -.5C in reg 3+4. It is now -.1C there & has been above -.5 atleast 6 out of the last 8 weeks & all it takes is a 3 month average above -.5 for it to be offically dead. CPC & NOAA expects to see that happen sometime in this last bit of April. Probibly won't be offical til the monthly (that should come out in 2nd thursday in May). Transition is more than 1/2 there & the Kelvin waves are coming faster & harder. The ESPI took a dive this week (down to -1.53) so we may see a little cooling occur soon but should be short lived between Kelvin waves, the little ups in downs in nature between the bigger trends. Especially looking at the link I left where you see the ocean heat from the side. Your basing a La Niña comeback on a little pool of cool water on the surface while most the rest of the Pacific is recharged with warmer than normal water well into the depths, & summer has yet to arrive.

Kori~ I totally agree. The atmosphere lags by atleast 3 months. Not sold on El Niño developing during season but I'll give it 65% chance region 3,4 makes it there by end of Aug (compared to NASA's 50%, put out a few weeks ago) But if it did we wouldn't see El Niño's effects in the atmosphere til least NOV, which is a little late to affect season.

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interesting stuff on TWC now
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Good day, all! I see a lot of the regular cast of characters still here. That's a good thing.

As to the recent GW/AGW discussion, here's a Link
that is interesting.

BoynSea
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wish we had some of that rain yesterday,it just dried up as it moved our way,air was way to stable,I don't think i've had a wind gust over 25mph when the front passed,they're definately loosing steam!!!
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
*stumbles* Greetings from a very soggy So Fla. Hello Tampa, Orca and everyone else. Been a awhile.
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297. GBlet
Funny how Buck Rogers flew a shuttle just a couple of years before we launched one...
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Considering most US military innovation is made public 10 years after implementation, who knows what is above our heads right now ?

Just look at your GPS, yep, offspring of military innovation.
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8183
294. Ossqss 10:59 AM EDT on April 21, 2009
With my ice melting,CO2 producing weapon, I can rule the world. And they all thought I wanted nukes. HA !

Makes one wonder! What would 1 large nuclear explosion do in the Artic! Talk about screwing up the weather big time...WOW! Scary!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
With my ice melting,CO2 producing weapon, I can rule the world. And they all thought I wanted nukes. HA !
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8183
Quoting Orcasystems:


I could be wrong... I normally am.
It would seem that right now, Florida would pay a lot of money to have either a torrential TD or TS, maybe even a small Cat 1 with lots of rain.

So lets assume there may be one on the way, but someone with some dollars pays this yahoo to zap it... who sues who?


Or the opposite, Florida you pay $xx or we don't zap the cane.
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i got a weather ray gun on the roof i'll point at that 1008mb low exiting nw south america into pacfic and see what i can spin up

lol
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Quoting Orcasystems:


I could be wrong... I normally am.
It would seem that right now, Florida would pay a lot of money to have either a torrential TD or TS, maybe even a small Cat 1 with lots of rain.

So lets assume there may be one on the way, but someone with some dollars pays this yahoo to zap it... who sues who?


Good One! KMan is a Lawyer.....LOL
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
How's this for crazy?: A company files a patent to destroy hurricanes as they form by beaming them with energy from a space-based solar plant.



Hurricane-Killing, Space-Based Power Plant



I see a resort in the Canadian Arctic in the middle of winter including warm sandy beaches and sun bathing as a result.

The term weaponize climate is bothersome.
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8183
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
How's this for crazy?: A company files a patent to destroy hurricanes as they form by beaming them with energy from a space-based solar plant.



Hurricane-Killing, Space-Based Power Plant



Not an active person in wanting to see property and lives destroyed but, when we want to disrupt something that Mother Nature produces to keep the planet Clean are we not doing more harm possibly than good. I don't know!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
Tunnels..first,
Now Lasers.

Will it not end?



LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
How's this for crazy?: A company files a patent to destroy hurricanes as they form by beaming them with energy from a space-based solar plant.



Hurricane-Killing, Space-Based Power Plant



I could be wrong... I normally am.
It would seem that right now, Florida would pay a lot of money to have either a torrential TD or TS, maybe even a small Cat 1 with lots of rain.

So lets assume there may be one on the way, but someone with some dollars pays this yahoo to zap it... who sues who?
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26493
.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
How's this for crazy?: A company files a patent to destroy hurricanes as they form by beaming them with energy from a space-based solar plant.



Hurricane-Killing, Space-Based Power Plant

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I'm not convinced that LaNina is over and ElNino is coming that fast!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
Problem with WD is it's receiving data, and the station isn't even plugged in can't figure it out.
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Click to enlarge...hum....don't know Skyepony


Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
281. GBlet
Did Vortfix win a permaban?
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276--Check your start up tab in MSCONFIG and see if you have any legacy programs that could mess it up. If so, un check them and reboot. Click, run, type msconfig and click the start up tab, spread the path so you can see where it is coming from. If you don't know what it is, don't touch it. Be careful.

This is an area that many old weatherbug and or IM type programs can still live and boot up with the machine each time even though you have deleted them.
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8183
Quoting stoormfury:
nice area of convection north of panama. a little swirl associated with it. wind shear near 40 knots


Is that the remnants of the little swirly that moved out of the Bay of Campeche yesterday and over the penninsula?
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8183
278. GBlet
Hey Char, can I get that in English? Good morning everyone! Thank God, I feel better today. The meds are kickin today. Nobody wants a sinus infection in warm weather! We are getting our garden in the ground this week and the weather here will be great. Then severe weather will creep up and I will be guarding against hail for the next 6 weeks or so.
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nice area of convection north of panama. a little swirl associated with it. wind shear near 40 knots
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Morning everyone. Relocated sensor on Weather Station #2. Should take care of the temp problems. Still working on what to do with the cam. Having MAJOR issues with Weather Display for Windows, so I'm using a free program for right now. Only thing that stinks is it doesn't do rapid fire. So every 5 mins is the best I can do for now.


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tomorrow's earth day everyone!!!!!,find a good spot to plant a tree,go to your local home depot or garden center,buy one and plant it!!!!....that new disney move "Earth" looks like a great idea for those of you with kids or even take the wife,if you go see the movie to disney w/plant a tree for you,so if you do both thats 2 new trees and w/how many they cut down every day,we could use as many as can be planted!!!!!
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.