Persistent Arctic Ice Mid June

cice_combine_thick_sm_en_20180614
In June, ice extents are declining as usual, except for the early melting in Bering and Okhotsk Seas.  The image above from DMI shows widespread thick ice across the Arctic core, likely to melt more slowly.  The graph above shows how much volume was added since March 2018, bringing it close to 2014, a particularly icy year.

The graph below shows how the Arctic extent from MASIE has faired the first two weeks of June up to yesterday, compared to the 11 year average and to some years of interest.
MASIE2018165
Note that 2018 is now matching the 11-year average, as well as 2017 and 2007.  SII 2018 is tracking MASIE 2018 closely.

The table shows regional ice extents compared to average and 2007.

Region 2018165 Day 165
Average
2018-Ave. 2007165 2018-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 10915601 10987296 -71695 10959202 -43601
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1029988 964246 65742 952869 77119
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 756185 803037 -46852 770182 -13997
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1067948 1051979 15968 1040890 27058
 (4) Laptev_Sea 722052 786204 -64152 755629 -33577
 (5) Kara_Sea 870277 716595 153682 770755 99522
 (6) Barents_Sea 201802 222598 -20796 264253 -62451
 (7) Greenland_Sea 444260 578046 -133786 574726 -130465
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 763976 741257 22719 778469 -14493
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 808464 798083 10381 781578 26886
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1063014 1014784 48230 997061 65953
 (11) Central_Arctic 3165771 3224235 -58464 3224700 -58929
 (12) Bering_Sea 8803 42373 -33570 15285 -6482
 (13) Baltic_Sea 0 7 -7 0 0
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 11757 42495 -30738 31131 -19373

Note that Bering and Okhotsk account for the 2018 deficit to average.  Chukchi, Laptev and Greenland Seas are down somewhat, but offset by surpluses in Kara Sea, Beaufort Sea and Hudson Bay. The differences from 2007 are similar.

The Pacific basins of Bering and Okhotsk are the first to lose ice, and it will be interesting to see how the core Arctic Seas holds up this summer.  Chukchi is down, perhaps influenced by the early melting in Bering, but is offset by surpluses in Beaufort and East Siberian.

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Ice Alive: Uncovering the secrets of Earth’s Ice

You have to respect glaciologists whose curiosity takes them to the most extreme places, in this case the Arctic.  Joseph Cook received the Rolex award for Science in Extremis and he provides at his blog a wonderful 20 minute video explaining his work.  From Ice Alive: Uncovering the secrets of Earth’s Ice by Joseph Cook and Chris Hadfield.  Excerpts from below in italics.

In collaboration with Rolex Awards for Enterprise, Proudfoot Media and I have produced a documentary film explaining the latest research into the surprising hidden biology shaping Earth’s ice. The story is told by young UK Arctic scientists with contributions from guests including astronaut Chris Hadfield and biologist Jim Al-Khalili. We went to great lengths to make this a visually striking film that we hope is a pleasure to watch and communicates the otherwordly beauty and incredible complexity of the Arctic glacial landscape. We aim to educate, entertain and inspire others into exploring and protecting this most sensitive part of our planet in their own ways.

We think the film is equally suited to the general public as school and university students, and we are delighted to make this a free-to-all teaching resource. Please watch, share and use!

Albedo is the survival probability of a photon entering a medium. Light incident upon a material partly reflects from the upper surface, the remainder enters the medium and can scatter anywhere there is a change in the refractive index (e.g. a boundary between air and ice, or ice and water, etc). Where there are opportunities for scattering, light bounces around in the medium, sometimes preferentially in a certain direction depending upon the optical properties of the medium (ice is forward-scattering) but always changing direction to some extent each time it scatters, until it is either absorbed or it escapes back out of the medium travelling in a skywards direction.

The albedo of the material is the likelihood that the down-welling light entering the medium exits again later as up-welling light. The more strongly absorbing the material, the more likely the light is to be absorbed before exiting. Ice is very weakly absorbing in blue wavelengths (~400 nm), becoming generally more strongly absorbing at longer wavelengths into the near infra-red (hence ice often appearing blue). Solar energy is mostly concentrated within the wavelength range 300 – 5000 nm and the term albedo concerns the survival probability of all photons with wavelengths within this range either at a particular wavelength (spectral albedo) or integrated over the entire solar spectrum (broadband albedo).

For a single material, its absorbing and scattering efficiencies are described using the scattering and absorption coefficients. The ratio of these two coefficients is known as the single scattering albedo (SSA), which is a crucial term for radiative transfer. A higher SSA is associated with a greater likelihood of a particle scattering a photon rather than absorbing it. a particle with SSA = 1 is non-absorbing.

Algal cells are strongly absorbing and their effect on snow and ice albedo is to increase the likelihood of a photon being absorbed rather than scattered back out of the medium. For this reason, the better term to use would be bio-co-albedo, where co-albedo describes the fraction of incident energy absorbed by the particles (i.e. 1-SSA).

Albedo is a primary driver of snow melt. For clean snow and snow with black carbon, radiative transfer models to an excellent job of simulating albedo, yet there remain aspects of snow albedo that are poorly understood. In particular current models do not take into account algal cells that grow and dramatically discolour ice in some places (except our 1-D BioSNICAR model) and few take into account changes in albedo over space and time.

This led me to wonder about using cellular automata as a mechanism for distributing albedo modelling using radiative transfer over three spatial dimensions and time, and also enabling a degree of stochasticity to be introduced to the modelling (which is certainly present in natural systems).

As an Arctic scientist I am privileged to be able to explore the coldest parts of our planet, making observations and measurements and helping others to understand how these areas function by writing papers and giving talks, lectures and writing for magazines and newspapers. But to truly understand an environment, we must also explore the intangible and immeasurable. To communicate it to diverse audiences, we must use not only facts and observations, but aesthetics and emotion. The piece above is a bridge connecting music and science – an effort to understand and communicate the hidden beauty, complexity and sensitivity of the Greenland Ice Sheet through sound. I hope that projects like this will bring new audiences to Arctic science, using music, art and aesthetics to pique their curiosity.

Footnote:

The video mentions algae as a positive feedback:  more warming>more algae>less albedo>more warming.  However, there are also negative feedbacks operating in summertime.  More warming>more open water>more evaporation>more clouds>less sunshine on the surface.  Also, more evaporation>more snowfall>whiter surface>higher albedo>less solar absorption.

More on sea ice dynamics: Climate on Ice: Ocean-Ice Dynamics

 

Bering Sea Blues

“Freedom’s Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose.” (Kris Kristofferson)

In May, Arctic ice extent declined as usual with the notable exception of Bering Sea, now almost ice free.  Bering still has some ice to lose, but at 23k km2 it is only 5% of the ice there March 17 at annual Bering maximum, just two months ago.  It is unusual since the Bering ice is only 10% of the 11 year average for this date.  Nearby Chukchi Sea is showing open water, somewhat ahead of schedule.  Okhotsk also in the Pacific is melting and now below average for this date.

Elsewhere things are mostly typical.   Russian and Canadian basins are frozen with high extents and Barents is now matching average.

The graph below shows how the Arctic extent has faired in May compared to the 11 year average with and without the Pacific basins of Bering and Okhotsk.  2018 (brown line lacks B&O) is tracking the orange line with some divergence lately.
NHday141less BO

The graph below shows May 2018 compared to average and some years of interest.
NHday141

Note that 2017 tracks above the 11-year average.  2018 is tracking 2007, which will match average by end of May.  The table below shows ice extents by regions comparing 2018 with 11-year average (2007 to 2017 inclusive) and 2007.

Region 2018141 Day 141 
Average
2018-Ave. 2007141 2018-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 11963940 12493152 -529212 12114407 -150467
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1046328 1025787 20541 1063324 -16996
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 790287 916151 -125864 936237 -145949
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1076816 1074527 2289 1067808 9008
 (4) Laptev_Sea 893794 866784 27009 793551 100243
 (5) Kara_Sea 934453 881645 52808 885543 48909
 (6) Barents_Sea 401369 396306 5063 327568 73801
 (7) Greenland_Sea 441882 606737 -164856 576791 -134909
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1125388 1062146 63242 968062 157325
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 839235 833381 5854 837658 1577
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1153411 1158944 -5533 1097706 55705
 (11) Central_Arctic 3132441 3231803 -99361 3235644 -103203
 (12) Bering_Sea 23001 268930 -245929 213547 -190547
 (13) Baltic_Sea 788 2344 -1556 2146 -1358
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 103188 165353 -62165 106753 -3565

As indicated Bering supplies almost half of the deficit to average, along with Chukchi and Okhotsk deficits.  Lack of ice in Greenland Sea may signify a reduced flow of drift ice out of the Arctic through Fram Strait.

20180522

Current ice chart from AARI St. Petersburg Russia. Old sea ice is in brown.

 

 

 

 

Arctic Ice May 11

cice_combine_thick_sm_en_20180511

Sea Ice Thickness and Volume from DMI. H/T NoTricksZone

In May, ice extents are declining as usual, except for the early melting in Bering Sea.  The image above from DMI shows widespread thick ice across the Arctic core, likely to melt more slowly.  The graph above shows how much volume was added since March 2018, bringing it close to 2014, a particularly icy year.

The graph below shows how the Arctic extent from MASIE has faired the last 26 days up to yesterday, compared to the 11 year average and to some years of interest.
NHday131
Note that 2017 is now matching the 11-year average, while 2018 and 2007 are tied ~360k km2 below average.  SII 2018 is tracking ~250k km2 lower at this point.  The graph below shows 2018 ice extents are matching the 11 year average once Bering and Okhotsk are excluded from the calculations.
NHday131less BO

The table shows regional ice extents compared to average and 2017.

Region 2018131 Day 131 
Average
2018-Ave. 2017131 2018-2017
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 12701360 13058129 -356769 13075378 -374017
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1070445 1047690 22755 1059451 10994
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 890598 950844 -60246 938716 -48117
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1087048 1083143 3906 1073762 13286
 (4) Laptev_Sea 896588 889502 7087 897845 -1256
 (5) Kara_Sea 925975 903277 22698 929156 -3182
 (6) Barents_Sea 530424 452492 77931 505439 24984
 (7) Greenland_Sea 460748 638101 -177353 710167 -249419
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1264692 1146815 117877 1312382 -47690
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 853109 844456 8653 851119 1990
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1255514 1207449 48065 1247480 8034
 (11) Central_Arctic 3173427 3233754 -60327 3248013 -74586
 (12) Bering_Sea 37974 412141 -374167 136049 -98075
 (13) Baltic_Sea 16848 9483 7365 11830 5018
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 236246 236354 -108 152156 84090

Note the Bering accounts for the 2018 deficit to average.  Chukchi and Greenland Seas are down somewhat, but offset by  surpluses in Baffin Bay, Barents and Hudson Bay.  Compared to last year, the Bering deficit is much less, but Greenland Sea difference is much greater.

The Pacific basins of Bering and Okhotsk are the first to lose ice, and it will be interesting to see how the core Arctic Seas hold up this summer.  Barents is still up, but less dramatically than in April.  Chukchi is starting to open up, perhaps influenced by Bering.

Persisting Arctic Ice April 30

 


In April, Arctic ice extent showed typical losses, with two exceptions.  Bering Sea has melted out ahead of schedule, while Barents Sea Ice is remarkably high this Spring. The image above shows Barents ice extents on day 120 from 2012 to 2018 (yesterday).  Note how both shelf ice and central ice are greater this year and last.  The graph below shows 2018 exceeds even 2014, the previous decadal high, stubbornly holding onto 700k km2.

The graph below shows how the Arctic extent has faired in April compared to the 11 year average and to some years of interest.
Note that 2018 is close to 2017 and slightly below the 11-year average.  SII 2018 tracks about 200k km2 lower, while 2007 is another 200k behind.   The table below shows ice extents by regions comparing 2018 with 11-year average (2007 to 2017 inclusive) and 2017.

Region 2018120 Day 120 
Average
2018-Ave. 2017120 2018-2017
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 13360026 13650051 -290025 13519865 -159839
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1069887 1067233 2654 1070445 -558
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 897588 962679 -65091 960509 -62921
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1084975 1085634 -659 1083984 991
 (4) Laptev_Sea 895710 891029 4680 897556 -1846
 (5) Kara_Sea 934470 908342 26128 933484 986
 (6) Barents_Sea 710238 526176 184062 570066 140172
 (7) Greenland_Sea 589041 657057 -68015 678737 -89696
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1249752 1242545 7206 1452133 -202382
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 853109 845536 7573 853214 -106
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1258712 1239854 18857 1260903 -2192
 (11) Central_Arctic 3219128 3237929 -18801 3248013 -28885
 (12) Bering_Sea 58432 556317 -497885 256470 -198037
 (13) Baltic_Sea 35281 21596 13685 18836 16446
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 501401 404448 96953 232763 268638

2018 is 290k km2 below average (2%) and 160k below last year.  The deficits are entirely due to Bering Sea, which is down 500k km2 to average and 200k to 2017.  OTOH both Okhotsk and Barents are showing large surpluses.  The graph below show April 2018 is on average once Bering and Okhotsk are removed form the calculations

The latest diesel-electric Ilya Muromets icebreaker of the Northern fleet began trials in the ice of the eastern Barents Sea. It approached the ice edge of average thickness, the Northern fleet said.  “The ice is from 50 to 100 centimeters thick in the area. Ice compaction is 9-10 points. Thus, trial conditions are favorable and correspond to the technical capabilities of the icebreaker. The trials are to continue until the end of the month and the icebreaker will return to Murmansk after them,” it said.  From http://www.navyrecognition.com

Barents Sea Ice Stays Put

Barents104to113

In the last nine days, sea ice in Barents persists, remaining above 700k km2, well above the decadal average and the previously high 2014.  The melting is confined mostly to Bering Sea on the Pacific side, and less so in Okhotsk next door.

BeringOk104to113

The April pattern of ice extent decline is shown in graph below:

NH ice1132018

2018 is tracking close to 2007 and 2017, all more than 400k km2 below the 11 year average (2007 through 2017 inclusive).  SII is showing ~200k km2 less ice throughout.  The graph below shows 2018 ice extent is close to the decadal average, except for Bering and Okhotsk Seas, the two Pacific basins.

NH less BO 1132018

The table below shows regional  ice extents on day 113 comparing to decadal averages and 2017.

Region 2018113 Day 113 
Average
2018-Ave. 2017113 2018-2017
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 13515699 14083321 -567621 13651810 -136111
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1070445 1069106 1339 1070445 0
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 954262 965239 -10977 961723 -7461
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1086737 1086195 542 1083967 2770
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 894453 3392 897326 518
 (5) Kara_Sea 934867 916778 18090 932153 2715
 (6) Barents_Sea 724756 572825 151931 546422 178334
 (7) Greenland_Sea 516420 670606 -154186 673722 -157302
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1239506 1338185 -98679 1444616 -205110
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 853109 850093 3015 853214 -106
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1244858 1252135 -7277 1258453 -13595
 (11) Central_Arctic 3208617 3242368 -33751 3245713 -37096
 (12) Bering_Sea 88256 689111 -600856 374254 -285998
 (13) Baltic_Sea 44869 32599 12270 23289 21579
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 648464 499591 148873 283164 365300

Overall, the 2018 deficit to average is 4%,  or 570 k km2. The difference is entirely due to open water in Bering Sea, now a deficit of 600k km2 (down by 90%).  Barents and Okhotsk are both above average, by ~30% with Greenland Sea down about 20%.  It remains to be seen how fast or slow will be the melting of the Arctic core regions, solidly frozen at this point in the year.

20180424en

Current Arctic ice conditions according to AARI, St. Petersburg, Russia. Old ice shown in brown.

 

32670_banner

Boris Vilkitsky, the 172,000 m3 Arc7 ice-class LNG carrier, violated a number of safety rules on a ballast voyage to Yamal LNG terminal in the Russian High Arctic port of Sabetta earlier in April.

An Arc4 rating effectively prohibits the ship from operating independently or even with an icebreaker escort in the waters of the Kara Sea when ice conditions are medium to heavy. Roshydromet, Russia’s Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, has reported recently that first-year ice in the region is up to 2 metres thick.

Image from 4 days ago, source LNGworldshipping.

Arctic Ice Mid April

 

BOday1042012to2018

Click on image to enlarge.

The most obvious Arctic ice feature this year has been the shrinkage in the Pacific basins, especially Bering Sea (on the right).  The image shows extents on day 104 from the decadal high in 2012 to 2018 (yesterday).  Bering has only 200k km2 mid April 2018 compared to 1100k km2 six years ago.  On the left, Okhotsk has gone through ups and downs, but 2018 is comparable to 2012.  It appears Bering is dominated by Northeast Pacific warming, whose effects are moderated in Okhotsk by Siberian conditions.

This is evident in the current nullschool simulation of wind patterns in the region (link to animation):

https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-182.77,53.61,1130/loc=-167.641,51.083

On the European side, Barents continues to show more ice than in recent years. Ice in Barents Sea has retreated lately, but extent there is still above average and slightly larger than 2014,the iciest year.  As the graph shows 2017 came on late in Spring to surpass 2014 for awhile.

The graph below shows how Arctic extent over the last six weeks compared to the 11 year average and to some years of interest.

Note the average max on day 62 and 2018 max on day 74.  In recent weeks 2018 is matching 2017 and slightly higher than 2007. SII (NOAA) continues to show ~200k km2 less extent. The graph below shows that the deficit to average is entirely due to Bering and Okhotsk Seas, since removing those two basins eliminates the shortfall.

The table below confirms that the core Arctic ice remains firmly in place.

Region 2018104 Day 104 
Average
2018-Ave. 2007104 2018-2017
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 13956065 14373298 -417234 13862996 93068
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1070445 1068880 1565 1058157 12288
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 962477 965131 -2654 960944 1532
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1087137 1085763 1374 1074001 13136
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 894331 3514 866524 31321
 (5) Kara_Sea 934919 925323 9596 912398 22521
 (6) Barents_Sea 708699 609715 98984 521344 187355
 (7) Greenland_Sea 575274 663379 -88104 691751 -116477
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1340040 1352819 -12779 1222152 117888
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 853109 852426 683 846282 6827
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1260022 1245760 14263 1212987 47035
 (11) Central_Arctic 3200334 3238761 -38426 3245148 -44813
 (12) Bering_Sea 189180 780469 -591289 645687 -456507
 (13) Baltic_Sea 68363 44683 23681 20075 48289
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 805400 639794 165606 576913 228487

The overall deficit is~3%, entirely due to Bering Sea.  Okhotsk and Barents are above average, but not enough to offset lack of ice in Bering.

Drift ice in Okhotsk Sea at sunrise.

 

This Persistent Winter

As many have experienced, Springtime has been slow to arrive in the Northern Hemisphere this year. The data on snow and ice confirm what people are seeing for themselves.  The image above shows how Spring snow cover has been increasing lately on day 98 (April 7-8) 2008 to 2018.

At Rutgers snow lab, such images are digitized into statistics suitable for graphical analysis.  The graph below shows how March snow cover has varied over the decades of satellite observations

The first two decades averaged ~41.5M km2 snow cover in March.  The next two decades averaged about 2M kn2 less, 39.5M.  Since 2008, there was a rise to 2011, a drop to 2016, recovering the last two years.

As for ice extent, the 2018 picture in Barents Sea is exceptional, holding onto ~800k km2 of ice extent, 26% above the 11 year average.

Elsewhere the Arctic ice core is unchanging, the only deficit mostly being in Bering and, somewhat in Okhotsk, the other Pacific basin.

Barents Ice March

Barentsday60to90The month of March saw rapid ice growth in Barents Sea.   It is in a strategic location at the gateway where warm Atlantic water from the gulf stream flows into the Arctic, 90% of all incoming water. In 31 days, the extent went from 513k km2 to 790k km2, a gain of 278k km2, or 54%.  As the graph below shows, Barents ice today is unusual in the last 12 years.

Barents day090

March is the time of the annual Arctic ice maximum, as the graph below shows.  2018 started slow and peaked later than average, and has held on to March end.

NHday090

2018 is running about 200k km2 above both 2017 and 2007.  SII shows ~200k km2 less than MASIE.  The ten year average extent is almost 400k km2 higher, entirely due to 2018 lack of ice in Bering Sea. The table below shows ice extents in the various basins at day 90 or March 31.

Region 2018090 Day 90 
Average
2018-Ave. 2017090 2018-2017
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 14456459 14842431 -385972 14228992 227467
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1069836 1070178 -342 1070445 -609
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 964121 966000 -1879 966006 -1885
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1087137 1085933 1204 1086168 969
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 896562 1283 897845 0
 (5) Kara_Sea 934790 915735 19055 831189 103601
 (6) Barents_Sea 790204 652874 137329 525362 264841
 (7) Greenland_Sea 533694 669996 -136302 705581 -171886
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1380945 1452576 -71631 1467334 -86390
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 853109 852782 327 853214 -106
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1259857 1252696 7161 1260903 -1047
 (11) Central_Arctic 3202650 3236293 -33643 3247995 -45345
 (12) Bering_Sea 277469 849159 -571690 702504 -425035
 (13) Baltic_Sea 99317 68831 30486 29767 69550
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 1097524 860025 237498 575084 522440

 

 

Barents Ice Machine

Barents Sea on the right adding ice in March 2018.

Arctic ice watchers looking for holes in the ice found one in Bering Sea and raise alarms about it.  Yes, the annual maximum is lower, entirely due to open water in Bering Sea, which melts out every summer anyway.

Elsewhere Arctic ice is ordinary, except for Barents Sea where there seems to be an ice machine that added 238k km2 to the extent there, an increase of 46% since March 1.

To see how unusual is this year in Barents, consider 2018 compared to other years:
To paraphrase George Custer at Little Big Horn:  “Where is all the damn ice coming from?”

To paraphrase David Viner:  “Where is all that damn snow coming from?”

US Submarine breaks through ice in Beaufort Sea March 17.