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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Quoting stillwaiting:
even w/sheer so high in the BOC it looks to be on the increase even higher......


StillWaiting.....looks like your a little over eager for the start of Tropical Season. That blob in the BOC has no chance to develop into anything Tropical over the next 3 days.
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Looks like the rain is drying up as it moves South....no Rain in Tampa!
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some of those photos reflect what South florida looked like from Wilma. Mind you that was a major when it hit the west coast, but was around a one or a two when it hit us from the backside. The photos that keep popping up in flashbacks for those of us who were around at that point in time, for some reason they have been popping up more and more this year, are the photo's from Hurricane Andrew.

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For the past few years its been so quiet here in South Florida except for the Freak Storm named Ike that we were supposed to get and instead slammed into Texas. Most of the population of south florida has in a sense taken up the belief that we are safe from storms and will not get hit.

Lets provide the information so that should something happen that all of us on here are hoping does not form, that people are ready. Thats why you see Patrap posting all this info, so that in case another system like what we saw with Ike or Katrina forms that people are ready. Thats what the information we are supposed to provide at this point in the season.

That and lets reflect on what we can learn from the forecasting done last year vs the forecast that was given.
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Those Dallas pics reminded me of what downtown Houston looked like after Ike. Asphalt from the tops of the buildings were blown through windows, etc. Scary.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 2351


BTW...
Anybody know exactly how fast "up to 200 mile an hour plus" is? LOL
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
come back from hibernation over the winter months to people talking about a nonsense system in the GOM. The shear is too high for anything to form and the only things to talk about now are preparing for the season.

Getting ready for the season, thats what is most important at least for this point in the pre-emptive part of hurricane season. Lets get the information out there so that everyone is ready, should a neutral situation occur this year with either a late forming El Nino or reoccurance of La Nina.
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Quoting HIEXPRESS:
54. LowerCal

"Our walls can take up to 200 mile an hour plus, and that's in the roof, so that's the big difference with ours, is the roof is as strong as the walls," said Dave Moffitt, Armour Homes.

Should another tornado come tearing through the town, flying debris and vehicles haven't got a chance of destroying this structure."


"On March 28, 2000, an F2 "major damage" tornado plowed through downtown Forth Worth, Texas.

It made a direct hit on a 37-story, 454-foot skyscraper then called the Bank One Tower. It blew out 80 percent of the 3,540 windows, mostly from flying debris, and destroyed many interior walls. However, the building remained sound, with a ground-floor bank and a top-floor restaurant reopened within six weeks.

The real damage was economic. It proved too expensive to repair the building, and also to tear it down. For over a year, boarded-up windows earned it the nickname Plywood Skyscraper; it now stands totally abandoned".
(Renovation was completed & the building was reoccupied in 2005)


In other instances, F5s have lifted the asphalt from roads.
Survivability still depends on the window coverings. Having a building still standing is no good if the inside becomes a blender.
Got to watch out for that false sense of security.
Quoting Ossqss:


Neither, they look just like regular windows and are a bit more expensive. PGT makes them near me in Venice, but there are many manufacturers with active NOA's under the Miami-Dade standards.


I got PGT insulated impact doors and windows... however, I wish I had the solid concrete house to go along with it...

You won't be "breaking" the windows or doors with a rock to get in. It will take the previously mentioned master key to do so.

And, unfortunately, they are epensive. But I won't worry about shutters. Even though if a major hurricane were threatening I just might, to try and save the impact windows and doors from damage.
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Quoting HIEXPRESS:
Curved Lexan Windows sound expensive.


Neither, they look just like regular windows and are a bit more expensive. PGT makes them near me in Venice, but there are many manufacturers with active NOA's under the Miami-Dade standards.
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
"Many of the underlying processes and the effects of human activities on the sensitive polar regions are still largely unexplored. In order to assess the impact of anthropogenic activities on polar habitats and climate, it is necessary to study the current spatial and seasonal distributions, the chemical-meteorological origins, and the chemical transformations of key constituents in air and precipitation of the polar troposphere. In addition, chemicals trapped in polar glaciers offer priceless clues to global atmospheric chemistry and other Earth processes (e.g., volcanic activity, forest fires, natural sulphur emissions, wind blown dust) dating back hundreds of thousands of years. The data obtained from deep ice core analysis already have provided extremely useful information for a better understanding of the atmospheric system and of the changing status of the global environment. The processes of atmosphere-to-glacier chemical exchange and of preservation of chemical signatures in glacial ice require a knowledge of glaciers, of chemical reactions in the surface snow layer, of ventilation of surface snow by air forced by wind and pressure fluctuations and, finally, of the processes of conversion of snow to firn (ice with interconnected air inclusions) to glacial ice containing air trapped in bubbles. Furthermore, the firn holds a vast reservoir of air that has ages and chemical composition covering the last two decades."

Sounds reasonable. A little more complex than making ice cream - rock salt melts the ice & the water gets colder. More compounds, more vectors.
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
Curved Lexan Windows sound expensive.

Master Key
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
Quoting HIEXPRESS:
54. LowerCal

"Our walls can take up to 200 mile an hour plus, and that's in the roof, so that's the big difference with ours, is the roof is as strong as the walls," said Dave Moffitt, Armour Homes.

Should another tornado come tearing through the town, flying debris and vehicles haven't got a chance of destroying this structure."


On March 28, 2000, an F2 (%u201Cmajor damage%u201D) tornado plowed through downtown Forth Worth, Texas.

It made a direct hit on a 37-story, 454-foot skyscraper then called the Bank One Tower. It blew out 80 percent of the 3,540 windows, mostly from flying debris, and destroyed many interior walls. However, the building remained sound, with a ground-floor bank and a top-floor restaurant reopened within six weeks.

The real damage was economic. It proved too expensive to repair the building, and also to tear it down. For over a year, boarded-up windows earned it the nickname Plywood Skyscraper; it now stands totally abandoned.


In other instances, F5s have lifted the asphault from roads.
Survivability still depends on the window coverings. Having a building still standing is no good if the inside becomes a blender.
Got to watch out for that false sense of security.


You got that right. Impact rated windows can handle just about anything if installed properly. Many folks used hurricane film,6 - 12 mil etc., which is fine if you use a proper attachment system, which anchors the glass and film together to the frame and opening structure. If not, the glass stays together alright after impact, but the whole window becomes a projectile as it breaks off on the perimiter from the load on it.

BTW, the fire dept had to obtain new tools to deal with impact windows. They could not break them in to save folks so they had to get new saws to be able to access folks in distress.
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Hi Kman, Glad to see your back w/some imput.
Member Since: November 25, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 959
54. LowerCal

"Our walls can take up to 200 mile an hour plus, and that's in the roof, so that's the big difference with ours, is the roof is as strong as the walls," said Dave Moffitt, Armour Homes.

Should another tornado come tearing through the town, flying debris and vehicles haven't got a chance of destroying this structure."


"On March 28, 2000, an F2 "major damage" tornado plowed through downtown Forth Worth, Texas.

It made a direct hit on a 37-story, 454-foot skyscraper then called the Bank One Tower. It blew out 80 percent of the 3,540 windows, mostly from flying debris, and destroyed many interior walls. However, the building remained sound, with a ground-floor bank and a top-floor restaurant reopened within six weeks.

The real damage was economic. It proved too expensive to repair the building, and also to tear it down. For over a year, boarded-up windows earned it the nickname Plywood Skyscraper; it now stands totally abandoned".
(Renovation was completed & the building was reoccupied in 2005)


In other instances, F5s have lifted the asphalt from roads.
Survivability still depends on the window coverings. Having a building still standing is no good if the inside becomes a blender.
Got to watch out for that false sense of security.
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
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Quoting tkeith:
good to see you again Kman, hows life in Paradise?

Mucho shear in GOM...

Link


Hi there

Not too bad here but the heat is ramping up and the dust is awful. No rain to speak of for months. I just took a look at the TCHP map for the Caribbean and the water around Jamaica is warming up real fast. Quite a noticeable difference in just the last week alone.
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even w/sheer so high in the BOC it looks to be on the increase even higher......
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Quoting LowerCal:
Car drops 65 feet to show roof's strength - KSN TV
....
Armour homes decided to do this unique demonstration to show how strong Greensburg's first silo-eco home is.

Even 160 thousand pounds of impact force couldn't put a dent in the building.

"There's no damage to this roof at all and having a car dropped on a normal roof would have a lot of damage."

After the massive EF-5 hit nearly two years ago, a grain elevator was one of the few buildings left standing, and that's what this new eco-home is modeled after.
....


Wow - now that's cool!
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things should start popping a little from TPA area south and east....
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Quoting kmanislander:
30. TampaSpin 3:21 PM GMT on April 20, 2009

Hi Tampa

Take a look at the shear map. More than 70 knots of shear over the entire GOM

No chance for any development
good to see you again Kman, hows life in Paradise?

Mucho shear in GOM...

Link
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Grayingwindsurfer, not trying for glib just a reality check on the drop in the bucket feeling I have about making any notable difference as an individual. Hoping for the best knowing Mother Earth has the power to heal herself but concerned for that opportunity.
Member Since: June 5, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 591
Car drops 65 feet to show roof's strength - KSN TV
....
Armour homes decided to do this unique demonstration to show how strong Greensburg's first silo-eco home is.

Even 160 thousand pounds of impact force couldn't put a dent in the building.

"There's no damage to this roof at all and having a car dropped on a normal roof would have a lot of damage."

After the massive EF-5 hit nearly two years ago, a grain elevator was one of the few buildings left standing, and that's what this new eco-home is modeled after.
....
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Quoting kmanislander:
30. TampaSpin 3:21 PM GMT on April 20, 2009

Hi Tampa

Take a look at the shear map. More than 70 knots of shear over the entire GOM

No chance for any development


Good Afternoon and Thank God......Just checking the usual Ice Loss/GW Blog from Dr. M, when things are nice a quiet across the Conus today, scrolled down, and folks talking about an "invest" in the Gulf?........Lol..
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Waiting for all of this to cross the state and see what the golf options are for this afternoon. Never fails as soon as I get the furthest distance from the clubhouse I'll see the first lightning bolt.
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Another hot and dry day in PSL.
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 2838
So far..... nothing in my part of Tampa, Fl.
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WF91...the line is now reforming new cells south of the bay area,this should be the area w/the most potential for strong weather as the storms should form and move quickly onshore while still intensifying....
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18. HIEXPRESS 2:19 PM GMT on April 20, 2009
@ the 113th Boston Marathon:
Americans
Kara Goucher -3rd! women's
Ryan Hall - 3rd! men's

Great Run!

REporting then ignoring commercial graphics loser.

Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
Ever heard of the ICESat, if not, now you have.

Link

They even posted a Youtube link.

Link
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
just what my fever riddled eyes needed, flashies. I feel like Typhoid Mary. My first day upright in 3. We will be seeing 85 by Fri, which will bring boomers. The chase will be on.
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From Hillsoborough Co north to Hernando Co is about to receive a good .75-1" of rain. The main squall has broken, but an area of intense thunderstorms is about to push ashore.
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orcasystems & fireflymom
My children get to have their birthday cake & eat it too. I hope they also inherit a planet that's slightly better than today (or at least less bad than it might be) because of small and not-so-small actions by myself and millions of others who are willing to do something for the greater good.

Although I see the comfort in ignoring available information so as to be able to deny human influence on global climate, Dr. Master's post from earlier this year (see the link in his post) clearly explains how ice could be decreasing in the Arctic but not the Antarctic. Most disturbingly, one well-supported theory (but not yet a proven fact, much like the theory that smoking causes cancer) suggests that in the Antarctic human-caused climate change from the ozone hole is currently negating human-caused climate change from CO2 emissions.

Although in the late 1970s the potential for ozone loss was widely denounced by industry-supported scientists (sound familiar?), turned out the scientists were too cautious in their estimates and it was worse than predicted. In eliminating CFCs, DuPont's profits surely suffered and many of us had to pay a little more for AC on our cars and for aerosol cans, but I think most would agree that the costs borne by society have been substantially less than the benefits and it is gratifying that worldwide atmospheric CFC concentrations peaked about 10 years ago and have been declining steadily since. We can do exactly the same thing with CO2. Sure some will cheat, but over time that will be less and less of an economically viable option, and the world will be a better place.

Sorry for the long post--it's easier to make glib comments than to make rational arguments.
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???
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Everyone hold on, but LaNina may not be going away as fast as many was thinging.....Look at this loop and pay close attention to South America in the Pacific. You will see the waters warm to orange and then is showing signs of a streak of white and blues again. HUM!

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Quoting presslord:
"...when I'll pick my top wunderphotos from the past year."

My dress picture BETTER make the cut!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Little problem in the editing room there presslord. It appears someone saw the picture
.-}

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Quoting presslord:
"...when I'll pick my top wunderphotos from the past year."

My dress picture BETTER make the cut!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Press i'm going to post that pic on my website and allow everyone to rate it....LOL GOOD LUCK with your rating....ROFLMAO
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Fantastic weather here today. Hardly a cloud in the sky, and the sun beaming down with all she's worth.

Long may it continue...
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Hello Everyone! I found this site during last year's hurricane season and I love it! I've been lurking ever since. Keep up the great work and I look forward to a very slow season. At least ours should be slow until Aug/Sept. timeframe (Houston, TX area).

The heavy rains that went through on Saturday were kind of scary though. Flooding in new areas this time. But at least it drained quickly.
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"...when I'll pick my top wunderphotos from the past year."

My dress picture BETTER make the cut!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Kman even the SST is at best marginal for anything to develop.....NO CHANCE!
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Quoting kmanislander:
30. TampaSpin 3:21 PM GMT on April 20, 2009

Hi Tampa

Take a look at the shear map. More than 70 knots of shear over the entire GOM

No chance for any development


Yep no way.....No chance of anything developing!
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Does anybody know why the "zoom satellite" link is no longer available in the features section on the top of the page? It's been gone for a few days now.
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 114
Quoting Tazmanian:
doesnt look like much but i do agree it is a big blow up!!
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30. TampaSpin 3:21 PM GMT on April 20, 2009

Hi Tampa

Take a look at the shear map. More than 70 knots of shear over the entire GOM

No chance for any development
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No spin and nothing in Vorticity



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The CAPE is very low for Tampa Bay area....don't see much in severe weather

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Quoting caribbeantracker01:
where is the invest????


it isn't.......yet,I'm just seeing what I can get started,lol......one never knows w/how unpredictable mother nature can be a times!!!!!!
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thanks for the link WF91,I saved the sounding page for the US as a shortcut,much time saved,gracias!!!!
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WSI Issues 2009 Hurricane Season Update

Andover, MA, April 20, 2009 — WSI Corporation’s updated 2009 hurricane season forecast now calls for 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes (category 3 or greater).
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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