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Arctic Sea Ice - The Refreeze 2018/19

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8 hours ago, cheeky_monkey said:

no of these charts jive with news articles at the time about the alarming reduction in sea ice in the arctic that appeared from the 1920s through the early 1950s

Goes to show that media portrayals of scientific data rarely align with the scientific data itself!

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9 hours ago, BornFromTheVoid said:

Goes to show that media portrayals of scientific data rarely align with the scientific data itself!

Good to know. Perhaps the climate will be ok after all then!

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On 31/01/2019 at 17:50, parrotingfantasist said:

image.thumb.png.9981cc32b2c6ab634f2f48dd70ded628.pngSurge of warm air might curtail further ice growth?

It has but its more because of the ice loss in the Bering sea which meant ice extent has gone down and slowed right down at the same time. Infact the weather in the Bering sea does look rather interesting with frequent southerly winds and strong lows forecast to head into the Bering stright so how much ice there will be in 7 days time in that area will be interesting too see. 

I have a feeling we are going too see a repeat of last year in the melting season of very strong Atlanticfication occurring also. I do hope the Barants and the Bering sea in particular can recover and see some proper cold air soon because whilst the peripherally ice in some regions are largely irrelevant, they are more important in the Barants Sea and the Bering sea to limit the inflow of warmer ocean waters affecting sea ice melt. 

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It just worries me to see both ocean entrances now acting this way over Winter refreeze with any passing storm able to mix up salinity/warmth enough to take ice?

Last winter ice over the Pacific side was very low so if this year ends up similar I have to think that the impacts of the oceans on the basin has passed a point that keeps the areas blocking the basin from swells/mixing are growing less and allowing both sides of the basin to see their surface layers mixed out from their old stratified setup.

This makes holding ice over summer harder for the basin than when it was supported by the deep halocline and early deep cold lasting all winter.

 

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22 hours ago, Gray-Wolf said:

It just worries me to see both ocean entrances now acting this way over Winter refreeze with any passing storm able to mix up salinity/warmth enough to take ice?

Last winter ice over the Pacific side was very low so if this year ends up similar I have to think that the impacts of the oceans on the basin has passed a point that keeps the areas blocking the basin from swells/mixing are growing less and allowing both sides of the basin to see their surface layers mixed out from their old stratified setup.

This makes holding ice over summer harder for the basin than when it was supported by the deep halocline and early deep cold lasting all winter.

 

I don't think we have passed a point on the pacific side of the Arctic as the Bering sea ice will always be influenced by wind direction although traditionally ridge patterns into the Bering sea should be a rare event although last winter it was quite a common occurance, this year there has not been many ridges until now and it really is affecting the ice in the Bering Sea 

Meanwhile the open water to the North of Svalbard could well be a game changer, not once has the true ice edge hit svalbard  since the summer of 2017 and just  in a matter of 10-14 days how the ice has retreated and edged quite far North suggests some sort of ocean current is at play here. Is this going to be a permanent thing going forward? Either way, it can't be good for the sea ice and as I said, another extreme Atlantification event for the summer looks a real possibility.

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Just to add a bit better news for the ice is that PIOMAS has updated its ice volume and January was a decent month for ice volume growth and ice volume is around 7th lowest with 2014 and 2015 being higher in the dataset. Either way, its alot higher than 2017 and even 2018. Will be interesting how the volume reacts to this month because its a right old mix bag at the moment with huge warmth in the Beaufort but much colder conditions over the pole and the Siberian side of the basin which looks like it will transfer towards the Chukchi sea eventually. 

Also interesting to note this year it seems the thicker ice is more over the Beaufort Sea and the anamolies over Siberia are not as high as last year where there was lots of compaction due to winds. Also some 2+ year ice has moved from the Beaufort through the Beaufort Gyre and into the Chuckchi which will create that "babies arm"(as Grey wolf would call it) of thicker ice which in theory should help the CAB but more vulnable to melt. Should be an interesting melt season!

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image.thumb.png.68d0351b75e57b84b61ae4f11819d282.png So far we aren't doing terribly on sea ice extent. But can consistent surges of warm air through the Bering Sea and Barents Sea slow progress?

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37 minutes ago, parrotingfantasist said:

image.thumb.png.68d0351b75e57b84b61ae4f11819d282.png So far we aren't doing terribly on sea ice extent. But can consistent surges of warm air through the Bering Sea and Barents Sea slow progress?

It's a battle between warmth over the Bering Sea and cold over Barents and Okhotsk. Personally, I think we could see a little more growth as most of the ice in Bering has already gone. Might creep over 14 million.
Given the Atlantification of the Barents sea and the lack of ice in the Bering Sea, I doubt we'll hit the highs of 2010 or 2008 though.

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I'm concerned in these days of WAA deep into the basin that 'spring storms' could disrupt the ice over our side of the basin leading to a break up and float off of the pack leading to extent growth as the ice flows into the Atlantic whilst temps being still cold enough for the 'scars' to heal further plumping up extent/area numbers?

The antarctic pack , come winters end there , can see growth of over a million sq km ( or loss of similar?) when storms pick off the peripheral ice. In the Arctic it is closed apart from the ocean entrances. With so little ice in Bering there appears little chance of this collapse and spread' there but over our side?

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The bering sea melt is now starting to make an impact on the extent numbers with 2 drops occuring and with the continued southerlies then the bering sea could end up being largely ice free. Just how much open water will we see in the chuckchi sea also because weather conditions look quite poor at the moment.

Looking forward to the volume update because unlike during winter February has been warm apart from the Atlantic side of the basin so should be interesting if there has been much impact or not. 

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https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190227111128.htm

The above is a look at the 'drip ,drip' pathway to ice free and it looms ever closer?

The flip in the I.P.O. , back in 2014, saw big changes in sea ice levels around Antarctica as well so the shelfs are now also in peril from warm water inflow?

Not only do we have the 0.5c sst hike at the hands of the 'natural' forcing but we also have the impacts , over the same region , of the reduction in dimming ffrom China allowing increased levels of solar onto the surface of the tropical and temperate Pacific basin.

150 years of slow warming has seen the climate inertia of the Arctic all but overcome ( inc. the orbital forcing that saw cooling over the region this past 1,000yrs?) so we have this forcing continue to push for ice free?

The 'perfect melt storm' type event will , IMHO, still leave us ice free should we encounter one over the coming years?

Edited by Gray-Wolf
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The situation in terms of melt has been impressive to say the least across the pacific side of the basin and the lack of ice in the bering stright got to be some cause for concern as there is already alot of open water there for the time of year. Last year did recover in this regard but will we this year and if we dont then things could well turn interesting indeed for the sunmer.

There is hints we may finally lose the southerlies over the bering region but will it be enough for ice to recover? Im not too convinced it will get all that cold really.

Also the ice on the barents side looks very diffused(ice covered but weak looking) so be interesting how this region will look in the coming months.

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If we have been seeing growing impacts from the IPO we should expect that Alaskan side, in through Bering and then around the inside of the Pacific side of the basin.

This would mean another early opening of that side of the basin again this year.?

As it is we may have already seen ice max this year?

We have fallen away from the provisional max on feb 22nd and each day of losses we see make it ever more difficult to overtake it again?

We have some pretty low concentration regions around the peripheries so other regions succumbing to the rising sun is as likely?

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Posted (edited)

 

Edited by knocker
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5 hours ago, Gray-Wolf said:

If we have been seeing growing impacts from the IPO we should expect that Alaskan side, in through Bering and then around the inside of the Pacific side of the basin.

This would mean another early opening of that side of the basin again this year.?

As it is we may have already seen ice max this year?

We have fallen away from the provisional max on feb 22nd and each day of losses we see make it ever more difficult to overtake it again?

We have some pretty low concentration regions around the peripheries so other regions succumbing to the rising sun is as likely?

Despie the early opening in 2018, sea ice melt on the pacific side of the basin was quite slow last year with the Beaufort and East siberian seas facing much slower melting than 2017. Although the weather patterns look like we will see a slow change from the pacific ridge to a trough pattern which may eventually bring colder weather again to the Bering area, we still got another couple of days of warm southerlies be interesting just how much more open water we will see. 

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Even if ice is able to again form across Bering it will be no more than a slush and so go as spring progresses leaving much more 'early open water' for the ice to collapse and spread into from Beaufort?

 

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On 02/03/2019 at 20:37, Gray-Wolf said:

Even if ice is able to again form across Bering it will be no more than a slush and so go as spring progresses leaving much more 'early open water' for the ice to collapse and spread into from Beaufort?

 

Probably end up being a mixture of ice spreading out and new ice forming once the wind switches direction(which the models have predicted will happen). Ice spreading from the Beaufort may leave open water behind but local weather patterns may allow for refreezing in anycase. People predicted last year the Beaufort could open early because of the early opening in the bering and chuckchi seas yet this was not the case last year.

Would like your thoughts on the amounts of cracks and leads in the sea ice pack to the north of wrangel island heading towards the pole. Of course its not unusual too see cracks in the sea ice but i have noticed on the concentration maps during the last 4 weeks alot of reds appearing which seems unusual for the time of year which whilst not consistent from day to day does suggest its picking up something that is going on with the ice. I have read alot of cracks could limit melt ponding forming as any melt ponds drain away yet the other argument is once any refreeze in between the cracks and leads melt it reveals open water again which could encourage more melting. Be interesting which way it does go because imo there is definately more cracked ice this year compared to last year going by the worldview images.

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So where are we at for the all-important sea ice thickness and volume as of mid-March 2019?

Well...

CICE_map_thick_LA_EN_20190316.png cryosat_awi_anomaly.2019.02.2011.2018.2. thk_28.png?ver=1.0

Different sources give different numbers, but the overall message doesn't vary too much I feel.

The one on the left seems encouraging with some good areas of 3-4 m thick ice having developed, making for mean values that are a bit above the 2011-2018 mean. The middle graph looks supportive of this, albeit only just - but it suggests that a substantial portion of the thickness gain is in the peripheral regions of the Arctic that will come under the largest energy input during the melt season. The central pack actually looks a bit thinner, on average, than the 2011-2018 mean.

The slightly less optimistic right-hand graph appears to use more similar data to what's featured in this video below from a very reputable source, so it may be a truer representation of the situation. It's not a big difference for the most part - maybe half a metre thinner ice here and there - but it does suggest that about 2/3 of the sea ice is 2 m or less in thickness. Ice of this thickness band tends to have a hard time surviving even a modest melting season.

It's possible that gains near and along the Canadian coasts (thanks in large part to an unusually strong focus of late winter cold here) are distorting the mean thickness graphs in a way that hides a deterioration of the main basin situation even compared to last year. The video below states this to have been the case, with some shocking maps to illustrate , but they used early March this year for comparison; there's been a bit of thickness and volume gain since then as is usual for the time of year so it remains to be seen whether the situation is really worse than 2018 as of mid-March. Of someone knows of a good source for comparing maps from this year and that year, that'd be much appreciated.


Broadly, I sense that with anything less than a high retention melt season (unusually cloudy, yet not stormy), 2019 has the ingredients in place for a minimum extent that has the main border roughly following the transition from greens to yellows in the right-hand map above. The lack of any coherent 'arms' of thicker extent around this main zone (as opposed to the very fragmented ones we see instead) makes for a very vulnerable look to the main pack.

With the Central Arctic Basin (CAB) being so open to attack, I believe melt pond formation Apr-Jun will be of even higher than usual importance, as this seems to be the most significant factor in what the CAB gets up to. With this in mind, the dominant weather pattern of the coming 10+ days is of some concern; once this has taken effect, the Canadian snow and ice is unlikely to be able to offer anywhere near as much of a buffer zone against continental warmth imports from the N. American side this coming Apr-Jun as it did last year. 

Meanwhile, the Asian side is also running markedly above normal across the most important snow and ice zone; Siberia. Anomalous cold is largely reserved for the ocean-bordering regions where sea ice tends to melt out anyway, and even that fades out for the 6-10 day EPS mean. 

ecmwf-ens_T850aMean_nhem_1.png ecmwf-ens_T850aMean_nhem_6.png

Last year taught me that the weather has a really big box of tricks to work with in order to minimise sea ice loss even when conditions look very bleak as we begin the melting season - but the weather patterns were nowhere near as 'priming' during the 2nd half of March as they look to be this year, so I'm wondering whether this year might show us what last year could have been had it not been for such a lucky draw with the weather patterns.

We'll see. I'm not confident in any particular outcome at this stage - just speculating out of interest.

 

 

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11 hours ago, Singularity said:

So where are we at for the all-important sea ice thickness and volume as of mid-March 2019?

Well...

CICE_map_thick_LA_EN_20190316.png cryosat_awi_anomaly.2019.02.2011.2018.2. thk_28.png?ver=1.0

Different sources give different numbers, but the overall message doesn't vary too much I feel.

The one on the left seems encouraging with some good areas of 3-4 m thick ice having developed, making for mean values that are a bit above the 2011-2018 mean. The middle graph looks supportive of this, albeit only just - but it suggests that a substantial portion of the thickness gain is in the peripheral regions of the Arctic that will come under the largest energy input during the melt season. The central pack actually looks a bit thinner, on average, than the 2011-2018 mean.

The slightly less optimistic right-hand graph appears to use more similar data to what's featured in this video below from a very reputable source, so it may be a truer representation of the situation. It's not a big difference for the most part - maybe half a metre thinner ice here and there - but it does suggest that about 2/3 of the sea ice is 2 m or less in thickness. Ice of this thickness band tends to have a hard time surviving even a modest melting season.

It's possible that gains near and along the Canadian coasts (thanks in large part to an unusually strong focus of late winter cold here) are distorting the mean thickness graphs in a way that hides a deterioration of the main basin situation even compared to last year. The video below states this to have been the case, with some shocking maps to illustrate , but they used early March this year for comparison; there's been a bit of thickness and volume gain since then as is usual for the time of year so it remains to be seen whether the situation is really worse than 2018 as of mid-March. Of someone knows of a good source for comparing maps from this year and that year, that'd be much appreciated.


Broadly, I sense that with anything less than a high retention melt season (unusually cloudy, yet not stormy), 2019 has the ingredients in place for a minimum extent that has the main border roughly following the transition from greens to yellows in the right-hand map above. The lack of any coherent 'arms' of thicker extent around this main zone (as opposed to the very fragmented ones we see instead) makes for a very vulnerable look to the main pack.

With the Central Arctic Basin (CAB) being so open to attack, I believe melt pond formation Apr-Jun will be of even higher than usual importance, as this seems to be the most significant factor in what the CAB gets up to. With this in mind, the dominant weather pattern of the coming 10+ days is of some concern; once this has taken effect, the Canadian snow and ice is unlikely to be able to offer anywhere near as much of a buffer zone against continental warmth imports from the N. American side this coming Apr-Jun as it did last year. 

Meanwhile, the Asian side is also running markedly above normal across the most important snow and ice zone; Siberia. Anomalous cold is largely reserved for the ocean-bordering regions where sea ice tends to melt out anyway, and even that fades out for the 6-10 day EPS mean. 

ecmwf-ens_T850aMean_nhem_1.png ecmwf-ens_T850aMean_nhem_6.png

Last year taught me that the weather has a really big box of tricks to work with in order to minimise sea ice loss even when conditions look very bleak as we begin the melting season - but the weather patterns were nowhere near as 'priming' during the 2nd half of March as they look to be this year, so I'm wondering whether this year might show us what last year could have been had it not been for such a lucky draw with the weather patterns.

We'll see. I'm not confident in any particular outcome at this stage - just speculating out of interest.

 

 

S..

I assume that you are aware pf the Monthly update on PIOMAS.

2 charts below at the end of Feb -

As you suggest the ice is in a reasonably average state this year.

Also of note is that the main polar ice sheet has reached the North shore of Svalbard for the first time for 18 months, and the ice thickness is greater in Barents this year than for a longer period of time. So all (as you suggest) is dependent upon the weather conditions up there this year..  

For balance it is worth pointing out the bad state of the ice thickness in Bering at the moment.

MIA

6a0133f03a1e37970b022ad39b9a1f200c.png

 

6a0133f03a1e37970b022ad39b99db200c.png

Edited by Midlands Ice Age
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Anyone brave enough to call max back on the 12th? Let us see how fast the peripheral ice goes away in these first few weeks of melt season ( Okhotsk/St Lawrence/Greenland)?

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Interesting read there singularity, i think the cryosat thickness model shows nicely the 2 areas of thicker ice that could play a key role in this years melt season. First being on the Atlantic side of the basin with that arm of thicker ice which seems to be at least 2nd year ice so does that mean Atlantification will be less pronounced this year? I have my doubts and i do feel if the weather conditions allows it especially(frequent southerly winds) then we may see another sharp retreat like last summer.

The other being in the Beaufort where an arm of at least 2nd year ice has moved across towards the Chuckchi sea, so i think the CAB does have some protection but whether it will be enough then time will tell. 

It is interesting crysoat seems to think part of the ice is thinner in the CAB than other years but i find it surprising as the CAB and the Arctic in general has been colder than previous years. WAA was more prevelent in February but that was on the pacific side of the basin so im guessing there is less snow cover over the cab than say in 2017 when the cryosat model was mistakenly snow cover for thick ice? 

It does seem both PIOMAS and crysoat are agreeing that the ice thickness in the ESS is not as thick this year than last year which is not surprising as weather patterns never really allowed for that but the Beaufort sea is thicker than last year so all swings and roundabouts really. The models do suggest ice volume is up from 2018 somewhat but still nowhere near 2007 levels and you still have to wonder how the ice will end up with a 2007 type of summer. Even a 2011 summer would be bad for the ice and especially if we have a May 2011 start to the season with a big Alaskan high ridge  bringing lots of warm air in like it did then.

All in all, its been a better freeze season for the Arctic and in fairness from where we were in October with the lack of cold developing, then its kind of amazing we are in a position volume wise that is better than some years. 

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Hi Geordiesnow!

Firstly there seems to have been a month of flushing out of Fram and down the East Greenland coast? That is is swapping out for very late formed ice inside the basin.

This leads me onto the measures of 'volume' and the error basrs we must expect from the measure? We know the 'remaining ice' at the end of melt season is progressively smaller floes which are then welded to others with new ice. So how do we gauge a 'freeboard' from such a hodge podge of freeboard heights over such a small area?

By the end of may, and the loss of late formed ice, we will see what the basin has to offer in way of resistance to the summer?

Currently I believe we are seeing high swells around Svalbard and into the ice edge of Barentsz. We might expect area/extent to increase if the storms and spring tides lead to breakup of the pack edge and float off into the open water areas.

I think we go into melt season in a worse state than last spring esp. over on the Pacific side.

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2 hours ago, Gray-Wolf said:

Hi Geordiesnow!

Firstly there seems to have been a month of flushing out of Fram and down the East Greenland coast? That is is swapping out for very late formed ice inside the basin.

This leads me onto the measures of 'volume' and the error basrs we must expect from the measure? We know the 'remaining ice' at the end of melt season is progressively smaller floes which are then welded to others with new ice. So how do we gauge a 'freeboard' from such a hodge podge of freeboard heights over such a small area?

By the end of may, and the loss of late formed ice, we will see what the basin has to offer in way of resistance to the summer?

Currently I believe we are seeing high swells around Svalbard and into the ice edge of Barentsz. We might expect area/extent to increase if the storms and spring tides lead to breakup of the pack edge and float off into the open water areas.

I think we go into melt season in a worse state than last spring esp. over on the Pacific side.

I think because its hard to measure ice volume accurately so we shouldnt take any ice volume models too much at face value but we can use it for year to year comparisons and yes no doubt fram export would of been high because of the strong PV over the pole it does suggest the cold counter acted that and helped the ice to thicken more widely. 

I think the Pacific side is perhaps less vulnable this year imo, last year saw alot of compaction towards Siberia but the ice was much thinner towards Beaufort and as i said last summer if the siberian heat was over the Beaufort region then we may well of seen a much worse melt season. 

The vulnabilty is of course the Chuckchi sea again because of the low bering ice and the upcoming weather conditions of where high pressure ridges look like are going to dominate which means southerly winds and much 'warmer' weather coming in. The devil in the detail will be important but all the models are agreeing that part of the Arctic will be warming up with high pressure replacing the current low pressure in around 3 days time. 

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