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Arctic Sea Ice Continues Decline to Set New Records

20070904_extent
Updated map of sea ice extent for September 3, 2007; the magenta line shows the median September extent based on data from 1979 to 2000. Click to enlarge. Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center

The Arctic sea ice extent continues to decline, and is now at a record low of 4.42 million square kilometers (1.70 million square miles), according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. This puts the sea ice extent yet further below the record absolute minimum of 5.32 million square kilometers (2.05 million square miles) that occurred on September 20–21, 2005.

Between the NSIDC report on 3 September and 28 August, the date of the prior report, the Arctic lost an additional 360,000 square kilometers (138,000 square miles) of ice, an area larger than the size of the state of New Mexico. In the report of 28 August, the NSIDC noted that the daily rate of ice loss was starting to slow; the loss rate has since accelerated again. (See chart below.)

20070904_timeseries
Data derived from Sea Ice Index data set. Click to enlarge. Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center

The August 2007 monthly average extent of 5.32 million square kilometers (2.05 million square miles) is sharply lower than all previous Augusts, and was 31% below the long-term average of 7.67 million square kilometers (2.95 million square miles).

Even more stunning is that the August 2007 monthly average is the lowest extent in the satellite record for any month, including any previous September, which is typically the lowest month each year. September 2005, the previous record, had a monthly mean extent of 5.56 million square kilometers (2.14 million square miles).

—NSIDC
20070904_augtrend
August sea ice extent. Click to enlarge. Source: national SNow and Ice Data Center

Another notable aspect of August was the opening of the Northwest Passage, which was “the most navigable that people have see since monitoring began,” according to the center. Although the Northeast Passage is still blocked by fairly heavy ice conditions north of the Taymyr Peninsula, the NSIDC suggests that passage might open as well during the next few weeks.

Reduced sea ice during the summer—when more solar energy reaches the surface than during the winter—has a big impact on the Arctic’s overall energy balance, according to the NSIDC. Whereas sea ice reflects much of the sun’s radiation back into space, dark ice-free ocean water absorbs more of the sun’s energy.

In its analysis of the 2005 record minimum, NSIDC noted that lower minimum extents affect the comeback in the following winter. The lack of recovery means that the sea ice is not building back up to prior levels after a summer of melting—leaving it even more susceptible to warmer summer temperatures.

Feedbacks in the system are starting to take hold. Right now, our projections for the future use a steady linear decline, but when feedbacks are involved the decline is not necessarily steady—it could pick up speed.

—NSIDC Lead Scientist Ted Scambos, 2005

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Comments

jack

Do you want to shut down industry and leave people sick and hungry in the dark? Do you want to build a massive nuclear worldwide grid system...and allow the nuclear material to fall into the hands of terrorists? those are the options.

That's a heaping portion of bull.

GOD

Rick,

"Us" at the expnse of "them" will never work. If you want to start a real global terrorist war, then keep thinking that way.

A Global problem needs a global solution. But poverty and AIDS are also global problems and ignoring them will have equally dire concequences. And as has been pointed out, poverty and GW are intimately linked as growth in incomes drives an increase in power requirements and consumption. and sadly, cheap power is almost always dirty power.

Every one on this planet has a RIGHT to use the earth's resources to improve thier well being. just as everyone on this planet has a RESPONSIBILITY to use thoese reseources wisely and to share them equally.

Solving Global warming falls under the "wisely" category. Avoiding war and conflict falls under the "share" category.

Stan Peterson

Jack,

You are an ignorant person. I never denied Warming. If you actually read and were capable of interpreting any scientific argument, it would be one thing. But you can not or will not. But thanks for the pre-emptive insult.

I and other scientists, question the anthropogenic basis for Global Warming through the mechanism of expanded GHG levels, now reduced to only CO2 levels. Science is revealing proof that the Sun is warmer today, hence the Solar system is warmer. The Sun is periodic and will cool, and the Solar system will cool, in response. In fact, it has started to do so already. Even the AGW people have questions, since the warmest year recently, occurred a decade ago. Why has it not accelerated since then? Serious AGW proponents are seeking answers to that problem,if you read the literature which obviously, you can't.

I have watched you ruin these pages by your diatribes against myself, Matthew, Andrey, and any other fellow who makes the mistake of a attempting a rational discussion with a person such as yourself, who has deep religious belief and doesn't want it contradicted. That and a warped desire for attention and a facility for mindless one-liner insults.

Of all the unexpected efforts that you have undertaken, I was amazed that you sought posts all over the Internet to use in your ad-hominem attacks.

For example, Yes I did say in sarcastic response to a fatuous editorial published in the New York Times itself the previous day, that we should just accept the idea that terrorists would periodically kill and destroy certain targets, and we should just get used to the idea. I pointed out the fatuousness of that observation, by sarcastically suggesting they, as any target would, might object if the target was the Times HQ building itself.

How you dragged that out of the depth of some other post, a long time ago, is a credit to the search powers of the Internet. Taking it out of context and using it as a put-down here is amazing. Why didn't you research and post some data in contradiction to the argument currently than advanced?

I can only infer that is impossible to you, by your limitations and inability in any Science discussion. You did indeed teach me something; I now understand why you hide under an acronym and won't use your own name, Jack...!

Why you would go through all that effort and do so simply to use it, as a put down, says much about your inability to produce any rational discussion. You even seem to have recruited a juvenile comrade who his trying to perfect your studied ability for one line insults. Too bad.

I urge you to cease creating and criticizing a non existent argument, in you blind animosity to anyone who doe not share you revealed Religion.

jack

I and other scientists

What's your scientific background? Credentials, please.

We already know you can't tell N2O from NO2.

tthoms

I have included two quotes from various researchers concerning the rapid melt:

"Danish researchers warn of melting Arctic ice cap"-Eurekalert
"Global warming was a contributing factor, but this year strong currents have also swept large masses of ice from Siberia via the North Pole past eastern Greenland and further south where it melted", Pedersen said.

"Arctic ice shrinks to record low, melting faster than computers predicted"-AP
The center said this led to an unusually high amount of solar energy being pumped onto the Arctic ice surface, which accelerated the melting process. Fairly strong winds also brought in some warm air from the south.

But, Serreze said in a telephone interview, while some natural variability is involved in the melting, "We simply can't explain everything through natural processes."

So we have two measurable reasons for the ice reduction; fast currents and unusually high solar energy. It is believed that these factors don't account for everything, so the unmeasured factor must be man-made global warming.

I'm sorry, but that's a crappy conclusion. It assumes that they have such a detailed comprehension of the climate engine that they know every possible variable and its effects, ergo; the only factor that remains is CO2 emissions.

Of course none of this means that atmospheric CO2 concentrations play no role either. We don't know. It just seems to be that CO2 has become a convenient bogeyman whenever something unaccounted for happens.

I am not advocating the endless use of "fossil fuels"; I wouldn't be interested in this site if I was. However, I am very skittish about handing over to governments the kind of power they need to solve the "problem" of "climate change". I want to be darn certain that it is a man-made problem, it's serious, and that it can be stopped before I would support that kind of handover.

Stan:
Take a breath. Yes, Jack exist to pick a fight and he sees the world as he is. Yes, his Internet searches on people he doesn't like is a little creepy. But, you just have to ignore him.

jack

Take a breath. Yes, Jack exist to pick a fight and he sees the world as he is. Yes, his Internet searches on people he doesn't like is a little creepy. But, you just have to ignore him.

Spoken like a true denialist crank.

jack

I am very skittish about handing over to governments the kind of power they need to solve the "problem" of "climate change". I want to be darn certain that it is a man-made problem, it's serious, and that it can be stopped before I would support that kind of handover.

Translation: I have an irrational fear of black helicopters coming to get me, so I'll just make up concocted rationalizations to support a viewpoint long dismissed by the global scientific community.

Robert Schwartz

I Deny!

Stan Peterson

No Jack, I have those credentials. You sir have no name, and obviously haven't graduated yet from secondary school.

You please produce your credentials. You have added not a single technical contribution in any discussion. So you have no ability to do so. You sir, have demonstrated and contributed nothing but insults to many posters here, Andrey, Mike, myself and many others.

When I offered that bet, I was duplicating the famous Paul Erlich wager who was a Prophet, (more accurately a Profit) of the '70s; and a religious totem of the doomsday loons, of that era.

He of the "Population Bomb" and the claim that the Oceans would be Dead and Sterile, without even bacteria surviving by 1975, and for certain by 1976, at the latest.

I don't have a spare $100k to put up in a neutral place for 5 years, to cover and collect on the bet; but you sir, don't have a dime, and couldn't cover even the nominal wager.

Moreover you were too ignorant to even see the literary reference.

jack

I have those credentials.

I'll reiterate.

What's your scientific background? Credentials, please. What are they? Weak insults do not qualify as credentials.

We already know you can't tell N2O from NO2 and think that North American forests absorb all the world's CO2 emissions.

I don't have a spare $100k

Why am I not surprised? A brilliant, seasoned individual such as yourself has no wealth? Miracle.

but you sir, don't have a dime, and couldn't cover even the nominal wager.

Keep believing that. I knew you'd try to weasel out of your bet.

jack

Hey, Climate Denialists who fear the Black Helicopters:

Where are your comments over at RealClimate? Published papers in scientific journals? I keep hearing you proclaim your illustrious scientific prowess, so if you could just demonstrate that in the real world, that would be much appreciated.

Funny that you would bombard every thread concerning climate change on a site which accepts climate change theory, yet somehow avoid interaction with your supposed peers.

noname

Jack, Jack, Jack! I'm completely on your side with this. But you so very much need to relax. The rest of us just see loons from each side, squawking at one another. Take a deep breath. Query them with respectful posts. Let them make utter fools of themselves. Then we all get a nice laugh at their expense.

Remember, their day will come. The multi-verse tends to dole out justice in unexpected ways. You may not be there to enjoy it, but rest easy knowing that it will happen.

jack

Big mistake.

noname

What, me? I hope agreeing with you is not a crime.

John

jack's only here to get into flame wars.

noname

Maybe sometimes, but not this time. He's right, they're wrong. He just needs to stop letting them get him all wound up.

Jack, here's a nice link that will make you feel better, and the denialists dissolve into the backround:

http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/2007/09/contrarians.php

Jack and Stan are.... The same person.
yikes.
leave us alone jackstan.

Lets not forget that we had major climate/temperature cycles before and more will come. What seems to be different this time is a quicker rate of change and possibly a much wider swing before it eventually starts cooling down again (after some/many of the GW reasons cease to exist).

Are we in for and ICE FREE world by 2100 or 2200?

What effect will it have on the ocean level, tropical storms and desert lands?

What will be the 'net' effect on global agriculture, if any?

Etc.? Do we really know?

http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/2007/09/contrarians.php

Whoa! A blog post calling deniers liars and cranks! That's pretty heavy stuff - guess I best get on with dissolving into the background before someone posts a link suggesting I'm in the pay of the oil companies.

Andrey

What Global Warming, guys?

To be precise, last decade was pretty warm. But according to newest reevaluated NASA data, last decade was slightly cooler than 1930 for continental US. Temperatures of the rest of the world (and there is not many weather stations in the rest of the world with record spanning to 1930s: Antarctica has zero, whole Africa has 8, India has about 30, China and Russia has almost nothing because of Cultural and Communist revolutions, Europe also has few because of two World Wars, versus US 2500 stations) is re-evaluated right now. Note, that in 1930s CO2 emissions were less then 1GTC, and only began to increase in 1950, reaching about 7GTC now. CO2 concentrations in atmosphere increased from about 320 ppm in 1930 to current 390, yet the temperatures are the same on both peaks of PDO warming phases in 1930 and 1990. New data is in much better agreement with satellite measurements (commenced in 1979) and weather balloon measurements of last 50 years. If there is CO2 forcing of climate, it is very small.

The changes in temperatures were done due to Steve McIntire discovery of so-called Y2K correction mistake in Hunsen’s adjustments of temperature records. Some could call it a mistake, but considering that Hansen refused and still refusing to disclose raw data and algorithms to independent re-evaluation, (discovery of McIntire was simply reverse engineered), in my books it is called scientific fraud.

Such adjustments have far reaching effects. Climate models are not valid, because they rely on flawed temperature data. Increase of hurricanes activity (registered only in North Atlantic comprising 1/6 of hurricane-prone areas) could not be attributed to AGW, because there is no such thing. Alleged increase in extreme weather events (it is, actually, non-existed) could not be attributed to AGW, because it is not existed. Same with more droughts, more floods, more deserts, less glaciers, “starving” polar bears (they are, actually thriving), damage to agriculture (also non-existed), or any changes in local and regional weather, biosphere or agriculture. All of it could not be attributed to AGW, because it is non-existed. Court cases against automotive manufacturers filed by California are without merits and are frivolous. Governator, blaming anything happening in California such as wild fires to AGW is simply a liar.

There are numerous reasons for all observed phenomena of ever-changing climate and regional weather, such as PDO, ENSO, AMO, TSO, solar wind, volcanoes, Thermohaline Circulation, UHI, etc. (take a look at Wikipedia).

As for decreased Arctic Ice cover, it will re-freeze in couple of month, in winter, when it will be -60C and half year night. In Polar Antarctica current temperatures are -80C. Ice is floating over the water, so it melting could not contribute to ocean level rise, except for individuals who prefer not believe in Archimedes’s law. And Arctic sea ice dynamics is dominated by currents and winds, not solar irradiance. Reduced ice cover does not decrease albedo – increased evaporation from open water surface increases cloudiness, which compensates for less reflective ice. Google the article, if you want.

Cheers.

Andrey:

Not 'ALL' ice is floating over water. I don't know the current exact percentage but I would dare to say that the vast majority (in cubic meters) in still over land areas such as Antartica, Greenland, high mountain ranges etc. Since the picture is changing every year, does anybody has the latest numbers?

I was around in the thirties and you just can't compare the snowfalls and cold temperatures with today's. We use to skate on frozen places in late October early November not in late January as of late. Those of you who have being around long enough have certainly noticed the significant changes.

I also spent many years in the high Canadian artic in the late fifties and early sixties and we could hardly see any open water areas on the ocean. Not so today.

If you live long enough and your memory does not fail you, you will notice the changes.

jack

Ice is floating over the water, so it melting could not contribute to ocean level rise, except for individuals who prefer not believe in Archimedes’s law.

As was said, Antarctica is a land mass, not a body of water. If I take an ice cube off a counter and put it in a glass of water, does the water level in the glass rise?

Rudimentary error on your part.

Ben

Ok ok what if global warming was not real, does that do anything for the need to change our present energy economy? Does that change the fact that we are running out of cheap oil, or that much of the oil we do get comes from people that wish death upon the west on a regular basis?

jack

what if global warming was not real

What if the sun didn't rise?

Domenick

Polar bears are doing better than expected but that's not to say they aren't threatened by global warming. You ought to read the articles beneath the headlines.

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