View Full Version : Sea Ice Extent for 2013

Lauren Johnson
09-30-2013, 04:38 PM
Although I have posted that the volume of polar ice is the big number, and that the extent is a much more volatile number, here is the 2013 update. In short, up from last year but still well within the trend of the latest decades.

On September 13, Arctic sea ice reached its likely minimum extent for 2013. The minimum ice extent was the sixthlowest* in the satellite record, and reinforces the long-term downward trend in Arctic ice extent. Sea ice extent will now begin its seasonal increase through autumn and winter. Meanwhile, in the Antarctic, sea ice extent reached a record high on September 18, tied with last year’s maximum (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2012/10/poles-apart-a-record-breaking-summer-and-winter/).Please note that this is a preliminary announcement. Changing winds could still push ice floes together, reducing ice extent further. NSIDC scientists will release a full analysis of the melt season in early October, once monthly data are available for September.
Overview of conditions

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2013/09/Figure12-350x417.png (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2013/09/Figure12.png)Figure 1. Arctic sea ice extent for September 13, 2013 was 5.10 million square kilometers (1.97 million square miles). The orange line shows the 1981 to 2010 median extent for that day. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole. Sea Ice Index (http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index)data. About the data (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/about-the-data/)

Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2013/09/Figure12.png)

On September 13, 2013, sea ice extent dropped to 5.10 million square kilometers (1.97 million square miles). This appears to have been the lowest extent of the year. In response to the setting sun and falling temperatures, ice extent will now climb through autumn and winter. However, a shift in wind patterns (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2013/09/draft-arctic-sea-ice-reaches-lowest-extent-for-2013/#) or a period of late season melt could still push the ice extent lower. The minimum extent was reached two days earlier than the 1981 to 2010 average minimum date of September 15.
Conditions in context

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2013/09/Figure26-350x280.png (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2013/09/Figure26.png)Figure 2. The graph above shows Arctic sea ice extent as of September 19, 2013, along with daily ice extent data for five previous years. 2013 is shown in blue, 2012 in green, 2011 in orange, 2010 in pink, 2009 in navy (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2013/09/draft-arctic-sea-ice-reaches-lowest-extent-for-2013/#), and 2008 in purple. The 1981 to 2010 average is in dark gray. Sea Ice Index (http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index)data.

Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2013/09/Figure26.png)

This year’s minimum was 1.69 million square kilometers (653,000 square miles) above the record minimum extent in the satellite era, which occurred on September 16, 2012, and 1.12 million square kilometers (432,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average minimum.
Varying distribution of ice in 2013 versus 2012

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2013/09/Figure34-350x516.png (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2013/09/Figure34.png)Figure 3. This image compares differences in ice-covered areas between September 13, 2013, the date of this year’s minimum, and September 16, 2012, the record low minimum extent. Light gray shading indicates the region where ice occurred in both 2013 and 2012, while white and dark gray areas show ice cover unique to 2013 and to 2012, respectively. Sea Ice Index (http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index) data. About the data (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/about-the-data/)

Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2013/09/draft-arctic-sea-ice-reaches-lowest-extent-for-2013/#)
High-resolution image (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2013/09/Figure34.png)

Comparing this year’s minimum extent to 2012, while extent was higher on average this year, there were variations from region to region. There was considerably higher sea ice extent in the Beaufort, Chukchi, and East Siberian sea regions, with the ice edge several hundred kilometers farther south compared to last year. This year the Canadian Archipelago also retained much more ice, keeping the Northwest Passage closed. The most notable area of less ice this year compared to last was off the east coast of Greenland, south of Fram Strait. Other small areas of decreased extent were found north of the Kara and Laptev seas.
See an animation of this summer’s sea ice extent produced by the NASA Scientific Visualization Studio at http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?4104.
Previous minimum Arctic sea ice extents**



September 18

September 20

September 13

September 21

September 11

September 16

September 13

1979 to 2000 average
September 13

1981 to 2010 average
September 15

* According to near-real-time data, this year’s minimum extent is slightly lower than 2009. However, the ranking between 2009 and 2013 is close, and may change once the final version of the data are processed. See our Frequently Asked Questions: Do your data undergo quality control? (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/faq/#quality_control) for more information about near-real-time data.
** Note that the dates and extents of the minimums have been re-calculated from what we posted in previous years; see our Frequently Asked Questions (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/faq/#diff-min-values) for more information.

This post comes from Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis blog.


Charlie Prima
09-30-2013, 07:56 PM
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Lauren Johnson
09-30-2013, 08:47 PM
The ice decided to retire and move south. :)

This year Antarctica experienced a record-breaking increase in sea ice.


Charlie Prima
10-01-2013, 01:24 AM
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Lauren Johnson
10-01-2013, 01:43 AM
Charlie, I don't know you. If you meant this to be funny, its not. If you're serious, it is beyond ignorant.

I thought it was quite funny.

I'm new to this forum, and thus unaware of your religious quirks.

Perhaps you could endeavor to be less rude and insulting. It would benefit both you and the forum.

Religious quirks? And just how did I reveal my religious quirks? And what are they?

Peter Lemkin
10-01-2013, 06:22 AM
To get back to the science and not the attacks, while there is acknowledged by the majority of environmental and climate scientists, worldwide that there is climate warming [and that it is due to changes in several things humans have caused], it is to be expected that the TREND will vary slightly year to year or even in wavering of a few years. It is the trend that is important. The North Polar ice is very drastically lessened in recent years - to the extent that Polar Bears are threatened and new shipping routes have opened up for the first time in memory, along with new polar sea oil rigs being placed, etc. Antarctica is a more complex situation, with ice loss in some areas and in the last two years some ice increase in others...but this doesn't represent any proof of anything. While the Earth overall is warming, in some places temporarily, it will be cooler [while most places, on average, will warm], warmer air and sea also change the conditions everywhere - producing stronger and more storms, greater rain and floods in most areas [a few will experience less rain]. This is my field - Environmental Science - which I studied up to the graduate level and have taught and keep up on. It has always saddened me that some great researchers on other things Deep Political are blind to this - a deep political conspiracy by Big Oil, Big Money, Big Chemical, et al. They can be in denial, but the climate will warm and change for the worse for most humans and most other living things - on land and in the sea and air. We are fouling our own 'bed' - we [humans] are a plague on the Planet unless we reduce our numbers and impact [called a footprint in Environmental Science] on Gaia. No one need or should be harmed or killed to reduce the numbers and Environmental Scientists do not believe in Eugenics or the like...just realizing that any finite resource cannot support infinite use [now becoming abuse!]. Yes, the Koch Bros. have funded a few scientists in secret to produce papers saying that climate change is part of a natural cycle in Earth/Sun...blah, blah....it is not. It is due to increased CO2, methane, other chemicals and aerosols in the atmosphere, cutting of forests and damage to other carbon sinks [absorbers], pollution of all kinds, overuse and/or overhunting of resources - non-living and living. The ways in which we are damaging the Planet and life on it - including ourselves - are many. Warming of the air and seas only one. If denied by a majority [gladly this is not so, at this time] it will mean the end of most life. Technology can NOT do more than provide a temporary patch - and then only for the wealthy. Physics and science, Nature, in the end will rebalance the system, as it must....this new balance will not favor humans nor most living things. We must stop our uncontrolled growth in numbers and use [abuse; overuse] of resources. At the same time, the poor and developing have every right to 'catch up' with the wealthy and developed. It is a very delicate balancing act and THERE technology can help....along with not being in denial about the problem; ultimately greater than the political ones we face, which are more immediate and obvious, but pale next to changing the Earth for the need and greed of one species, temporarily - and even there for a few.....already most humans are beginning to suffer from the double curse of imperialism/wars/financial manipulations/deep-political-shit and environmental destruction. Watch the floods, the stronger storms, droughts, rising sea-level, pollution, habitat destruction, resource exhaustion....and more.....it has been ongoing for some time, but all too obvious since the age of oil and modern technological [over]development. We can still have our computers and such, but must, overall, reduce and change our relationship with our Mother [Earth] and all who live on her....or perish rather sooner than later. The Native Americans [and most other Native People's had it correct - 'civilized' [sic] humans have long had it wrong [their relationship with their environment]. I would suggest people look at the books or lectures by Derrick Jensen and the many other voices calling for immediate change - especially by the most 'developed' peoples to a change toward the views of the Native Peoples who lived for hundreds of thousands of years in harmony with their environment. Below, one of many good films to awaken those still asleep to where we are headed - to the extinction of OUR species and most others......but before that a horrible period of decline, wars, shortages, suffering of the EVER GROWING numbers of poor, RAPID environmental degradation, etc. The film names and interviews most of the better writers, thinkers, speakers on the subject. Change or perish...we haven't long now. ::face.palm:: Nothing short of a total paradigm shift in our mode of thinking about the meaning of life well lived [personal and societal] is needed; our inter-relationship with the living and non-living world that sustain us and won't if we abuse or over-use it/change it into an unsustainable nightmare - these changes; these paradigm shifts, I am sure are paralleled in the Environmental / Social-Philosophical / and Deep Political spheres. The same forces and the same denial - the same allowance of a small group of would-be feudal overlords are destroying our environment; our polity; our philosophy and education - everything. Change your paradigm and the path to rectify all becomes OBVIOUS - then it is just a matter of action. When will you hammer in your picket pin?! [see the film for the context of that remark]. Please watch this film - show it to others. I cry every time I see it...and I have shown it in my environmental courses over 100 times. It touches me. I hope some part of it reaches you. Its message is real in a way - in the exact way - that most of human society [especially the 'advanced' cultures technologically] have become unreal and detached from the real human nature, human philosophy, and Nature itself. Be a part of the solution to all of our problems; not just some of them; and not just a cynical watcher. Act. Feel. Be. Fight. Hammer in your picket pins and stand our ground. Win....and we win the future. Loose and we have lost the Planet for ourselves and future generations - your children and those of others - not to mention the tens of millions of other species who have as much right [or more] to survive than we do. Join those who have decided to force a paradigm shift - first on themselves, then their friends, and then the World of Humans. Join Us.


Tracy Riddle
10-01-2013, 02:45 PM
That's a great documentary, Peter. Yes, we are apes whose brains have grown too big for our skulls, and it's made us insane.

Charlie Prima
10-01-2013, 06:03 PM
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Charlie Prima
10-01-2013, 08:30 PM
- edited -

Magda Hassan
10-02-2013, 12:44 AM
No posts were deleted. Some posts were moderated as they were either off topic to the subject of this thread or were bordering on ad homs.

Lauren Johnson
10-04-2013, 07:58 PM
Predictably, the voices of denial are rising as Arctic sea ice melt season peaks and ranks only fifth-lowest ever. The clamor is being raised over Al Gore's Nobel Prize acceptance speech quote supposedly saying that Arctic sea ice would be gone by 2013.1 (http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18941-arctic-sea-ice-and-al-gores-prediction-2013#a1) What Gore did or didn't say is beside the point: For the propagandists delivering this message, the objective is "cast doubt and discredit." From Gore's speech:

Last September 21 (2007), as the Northern Hemisphere tilted away from the sun, scientists reported with unprecedented distress that the North Polar ice cap is "falling off a cliff." One study estimated that it could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Another new study, to be presented by U.S. Navy (http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18941-arctic-sea-ice-and-al-gores-prediction-2013#) researchers later this week, warns it could happen in as little as 7 years.2 (http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18941-arctic-sea-ice-and-al-gores-prediction-2013#a2)

And yes, the deniers cannot even add. Not only did Gore not say "by 2013," but it would be 2014 at the soonest. ... On to reality:

The Navy researcher that leads this "new study" team that the former vice president alludes to is Wieslaw Maslowski at the Naval Post Graduate School (http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18941-arctic-sea-ice-and-al-gores-prediction-2013#) in Monterey, California. The team's research was funded by the Department of Energy (DOE), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Maslowski also did not say "by 2013" in his original research in 2007 or when it was republished in 2009. This grandstanding about sea ice and Gore, for whatever reason, is a huge and egregious deception. The actual prediction from Maslowski's 2009 publication is, "Autumn could become near ice free between 2011 and 2016."3 (http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18941-arctic-sea-ice-and-al-gores-prediction-2013#a3)

http://www.truth-out.org/images/images_2013_09/2013_0919mel_2.jpgEven with the chaos of weather manipulating Arctic sea ice, it is easy to see the great downward trend. The image below is based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change modeling and National Snow and Ice Data Center data. The blue shaded area is the range of Arctic sea ice area coverage over time as Earth warms. The broad range represents the chaos of weather. Actual ice coverage any year could be as high or low as the shading in the blue.4 (http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18941-arctic-sea-ice-and-al-gores-prediction-2013#a4)

The red line is actual satellite measurements of ice coverage and represents our climate reality that is some 70 years ahead of the models.5 (http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18941-arctic-sea-ice-and-al-gores-prediction-2013#a5) The chaos is much more apparent in the jagged nature of the yearly measurements. But sea ice area coverage reporting is inherently a messy way to represent the real world.

Wind can blow sea ice around and bunch it up or spread it out and make the two-dimensional picture (http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18941-arctic-sea-ice-and-al-gores-prediction-2013#) appear different than what is actually happening. A better measure is ice volume.

The graphic "Annual Minimum Arctic Sea Ice Volume" even more clearly shows the collapse that is occurring as well as the last several years of data since Maslowksi published his papers. This work was done by the Polar Science Center at the University of Washington. It was funded by the NSF, NASA, NOAA and ONR. By determining ice volume rather than surface coverage, we have a much more accurate and stable picture of the way the Arctic is responding to warming.


The latest work from the European Space Agency's new CryoSat satellites maintains the rapid downward spiral. CryoSat went up in 2010 and has been providing the highest-resolution data yet on Arctic sea ice.6 (http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18941-arctic-sea-ice-and-al-gores-prediction-2013#a6)
The three images above are from the winter maximum set in spring 2013. Because of ocean warming in the Arctic, the summer minimum ice thickness usually follows the trend of the winter maximum. It is fairly easy to see with the naked eye, the decline in the red shading of the thickest sea ice caries on the long-observed trend.

The Arctic is Already Functionally Ice-Free

It has happened, just as the scientists said it would happen. Only, like almost everything else in climate science, a functionally ice-free Arctic Ocean has happened a little bit ahead of the earliest prediction.
Arctic sea ice was first deemed "almost seasonally ice free" in summer 2010 by professor David Barber. Barber is professor of environment and geography, Canada's research chair in Arctic system science and director of the Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS) at the University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg.

Dr. Barber has been searching for 200-foot thick multiyear Arctic sea ice in the Beaufort Sea, an area of the Arctic Ocean that stretches for almost 1,000 miles along the coasts of Alaska and Canada.

For his research in summer 2010, he cruised through the Beaufort Sea in the ice breaker Amundsen and never did find that multiyear ice. What Barber's team did find was vastly different from what the satellites were telling them was there. They thought they would find 20- to 30-foot thick multiyear ice covering 7 percent to 9 percent of the Beaufort Sea.

Instead, they found 25 percent open water and very small remnant multiyear and first-year floes interspersed with thin new ice in between. Unfortunately, these satellite errors are not in our favor. The problem is because these conditions are new. They simply have not existed before, so there was no way to test for them and know that this sea icescape looks, to the eye of the satellite, exactly like a sea icescape that is thick and solid.7 (http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18941-arctic-sea-ice-and-al-gores-prediction-2013#a7)

The ice the Amundsen encountered was so rotten that it did not impede the forward progress of the ship. What they found was hundreds of miles of what Barber called "rotten ice." This was 20-inch layers of fresh ice covering small chunks of older ice.8 (http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18941-arctic-sea-ice-and-al-gores-prediction-2013#a8)This discovery came as a great surprise to this researcher as he cruised through the rotten ice of the Beaufort Sea at 14 miles per hour (the top speed of his vessel in open water is 15 miles per hour). The Amundsen was designed to break 1-meter thick sea ice (3.3 feet) at 3.4 miles per hour. The ice they found was so rotten that the Amundsen could break 19 to 26 feet of rotten multiyear ice at 5.7 miles per hour.9 (http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18941-arctic-sea-ice-and-al-gores-prediction-2013#a9)

This fascinating tale was from summer 2010, remember. Carbon dioxide continues to accumulate; physics marches on. Northwest Passage exploration of this new millennia has left us with these quotes from Barber attesting to this brave new world we have created for ourselves:
"Ship navigation across the pole is imminent as the type of ice which resides there is no longer a barrier to [normal] ships in the late summer and fall,"10 (http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18941-arctic-sea-ice-and-al-gores-prediction-2013#a10)

"If you want to ship across the pole, you're concerned about multiyear sea ice. You're not concerned about this rotten stuff we we're doing 13 knots through. It's easy to navigate through. I would argue that we almost have a seasonally ice-free Arctic now, because multiyear sea ice is the barrier to the use and development of the Arctic."11 (http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18941-arctic-sea-ice-and-al-gores-prediction-2013#a11)

The recent record-breaking Arctic sea ice melt season has even greater significance if a few more details are understood. The 2007 record, which broke the recently set 2005 record by 22 percent, was considered a freak weather occurrence in the popular literature. This was because an unusual (for our old climate) weather system set up over the Arctic in summer 2007. Warmer-than normal-temperatures and high winds combined to reduce sea ice that year. The winds pushed ice up against Canada and out of the Arctic into the North Atlantic and down the Fram Straight to the east of Greenland. This weather system may or may not be unusual in our new climate.

However, the 2012 record is a different story. The 2012 record shattering comes after an "average" summer and the Barents and Kara Seas north of Russia were cooler than normal.

The past nine years have seen the lowest nine years of sea ice volume and extents ever recorded. Arctic sea ice truly is in collapse. You can see it yourself at the National Snow and Ice Data Center dynamic interactive sea ice graph (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/charctic-interactive-sea-ice-graph/). Click on each year of the record and watch the bottom fall out of the Arctic almost year after year.

After 170 years of searching for the Northwest Passage, it is almost open for business. Two Russian cargo ships made it across the top of Russia this summer without the aid of icebreakers.

But there is another piece of outlandish talk coming from conservative sources in reference to the sea ice situation that demonstrates the great lengths that they will go to, to do whatever it is that they think they are doing.

They are shouting that the Arctic has gained a record amount of sea ice this year over last. In climate science, this is about as embarrassing a statement as they come. But the public doesn't know this. They only know that their authority figures, and their authoritative sources, are the ones that they trust. This is the reason climate propaganda is so effective: blind trust.

Climate science reality however is another matter. When the record is doubly smashed as it was in 2012 and the next year is only the fifth-lowest, of course there will be a record increase year over year - It wouldn't be a record otherwise! The 2012 record shattered the 2007 record by 18 percent. The previous record (2007) shattered the record before that (2005) by 22 percent. So, why is such a large portion of the public taken in by such obvious disinformation?

It's their innocence. The vested interests' propaganda is so effective because the general public does not have the time or resources to remember the last record or do the math.

Now what do we do? Whatever you do, do not get frightened at climate change. It is only pollution. The same voices that tell us that Al Gore is a fraud also tell us that the solutions to climate change will ruin our economies; it's a massive climate science conspiracy that climate change is a myth or that it won't be good for us. These people are confused.

Cornell and Stanford have published a plan for a fossil-fuel-free New York state by 2030. The plan seems big at $569 billion. But upon completion, by 2030, the savings from health and environmental issues (not inclusive of climate change impacts), plus the higher profit margin from alternative energy sources, will equal $114 billion per year. This pays off the capital investment in less than five years. And each year thereafter, savings and profits will be higher under an alternative energy infrastructure because under a fossil fuel energy infrastructure, environmental and health costs go up only as profits diminish because of rising fuel costs.12 (http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18941-arctic-sea-ice-and-al-gores-prediction-2013#A12)

Don't get frightened; get mad. Get really mad. … Get motivated. Take action. Tell your political leaders what they need to do.

1Sea ice free by 2013… CNS News (http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-hollingsworth/wrong-al-gore-predicted-arctic-summer-ice-could-disappear-2013), Wrong: Al Gore Predicted Arctic Summer Ice Could Disappear in 2013, September 13, 2013, first paragraph
2 In as little as 7 years … Gore's Nobel Acceptance Speech (http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2007/gore-lecture_en.html): Paragraph 13.
3 Autumn could become near ice free between 2011 and 2016… Malsowski's 2009 publication of Arctic Sea Ice Modeling, FreshNor - The freshwater budget of the Nordic seas (http://www.docstoc.com/docs/41286311/The-freshwater-budget-of-the-Nordic-seas): Page 2, paragraph of narrative beneath the graphic
4 Arctic Sea Ice, Real Coverage… Stroeve et al., Arctic Sea Ice Extent: Decline Faster than Forecast, American Geophysical Letters, February 2006, Updated through 2013 by the author from National Snow and Ice Data Center data. * 2013 from September 16.
5 70 Years ahead of the models…
6CryoSat European Space Agency, three years of highly accurate ice volume measurements (http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Living_Planet_Symposium_2013/New_dimensions_on_ice)
7 Not at all what they found… Summary. Barber, et. al., Perennial pack ice in the southern Beaufort Sea was not as it appeared in the summer of 2009, Geophysical Research letters, December 2009.
8 Rotten Ice discussion… Reuters, October 29, 2009, Multiyear Arctic ice is effectively gone, paragraph
9Cruising through 26 feet of rotten ice at 24 kilometers per hour … (http://umanitoba.ca/news/blogs/blog/2009/11/27/news-release-thick-arctic-sea-ice-goes-missing/#more-476) University of Manitoba News Release, November 27, 2009, paragraph 5.
10 ibid… Ship navigation across the pole is imminent, paragraph 6.
11 If you want to ship across the pole… Reuters, October 29, 2009, Multiyear Arctic ice is effectively gone ... (http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/10/29/us-climate-canada-arctic-idUSTRE59S3LT20091029?sp=true) paragraph 5.
12A Fossil Fuel Free New York State by 2030. Melton, A Fossil Fuel-Free New York State by 2050 (http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/16540-a-fossil-fuel-free-new-york-state-by-2050), Truthout.org, May 26, 2013. Original paper: Jacobson et al.;Examining the feasibility of converting New York State's all-purpose energy infrastructure to one using wind, water, and sunlight, Energy Policy (http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/NewYorkWWSEnPolicy.pdf) 57 (2013) 585-601.