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2016 SkS Weekly News Roundup #35

Posted on 27 August 2016 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of the news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week.

Sun Aug 21, 2016

Mon Aug 22, 2016

Tue Aug 23, 2016

Wed Aug 24, 2016

Thu Aug 25, 2016

Fri Aug 26, 2016

Sat Aug 27, 2016

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Comments 1 to 7:

  1. 'Toon of the week?

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  2. `Next year or the year after, the Arctic will be free of ice’ by Robin McKie, Observer/Guardian, Aug 21, 2016

    FYI, climate scientists (Climate Feedback) judge the scientific credibility of this story to be low.

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Thank you Victor. Tomorrow, I will post a link to the Climate Feedback analysis on the SkS Facebook page.

  3. Further to Victor's link.

    Arctic sea ice this year may challenge the 2012 record as far as area at minimum goes. It won't challenge the 2012 extent record, although it may come 2nd. The state of much of the ice pack up thre is very poor, with near record low concentrations over 1/2 the Arctic. And a lot of multi-years ice has been lost this year. Ice often flows down the east coast of Greenland, through Fram strait. This year not much. Not because the ice isn't moving there, it is, but the high North Atlantic is so warm this year the ice melts when it hits that region rather than being able to drift south. This has been clear on satellite images for a couple of months.

    That said, there is still a lot of ice left, the situation is really only getting back to near the 2012 state after several colder years. With the likely state of the ice at the end of this melt season in about 3 weeks, the ice is quite possibly set up for  bigger melt next year if the right weather conditions prevail. However, there is still a lot of ice to work through before the Arctic can become ice free, particularly completely ice free.

    Most people use an operational definition of 'ice free' as below 1 million km2. Currently it is around 3.5 million km2 in area and 5 million km2 in extent.

    Could several years of weather conducive to melt lead to reaching the 1 million threshold? Possibly. But if they are poorer weather years, it could expand again. The longer term trend seems clear but how far off is quite variable. 2 years, almost certainly not. 50 years, also almost certainly not. But whether operationally ice free is 5 years away or 15 is quite unclear.

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  4. Glenn@3,

    The state of much of the ice pack up thre is very poor, with near record low concentrations over 1/2 the Arctic

    We'll have more data as the melting season concludes soon but I want to know the emerging picture now. Your statement is very vague. What do you mean by "very poor"? By PIOMAS metric (click to see the original), the ice volume runs quite low but higher than 2011, 2013 and of course 2012.

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  5. I have noticed that in the NSIDC records for Arctic Ice Extent (Charctic Interactive Sea Ice Graph) the fluctuation of extent appears to be noticeable lower one or two years after significant El Nino events (using the NOAA ONI values to identify significant El Nino events).

    • 1999 and 2000 had significantly lower extents than 1998
    • 1984 and 1985 had significantly lower extents than 1983
    • 1990 and 1991 had significantly lower extents than 1987/88 (the warm ONI values started in 1986 and continued through 1988)
    • 1993 and 1995 had significantly lower extents than 1992
    • 2005 had a significantly lower extent than 2003
    • 2012 had a significantly lower extent than 2010

    If there is a reason for the minimums to drop in the years immediately following an El Nino then 2017 or 1018 would likely be a minimum that is clearly lower than 2012.

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  6. sea ice concentrationChriskoz:
    Glenn is probably referring to this chart of the sea ice concentration. Note the large regions on the Siberian side with less than 50% concentration. With some care I guess it would be possible to maneuver a small boat between the ice floes in much of that region. After this coming winter, the so-called multiyear ice will contain lots of thin first year ice.

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  7. chriskoz

    The Uni Bremen chart shows concentration differences across the pack more clearly than the NSIDC chart HK showed:

    More interestingly, although it is more work, is to have followed the evolution of the ice pack over the season through direct imagery from Lance-MODIS. Major cracking events north of the Canadian Archipelago and often close to the Pole, lots of broken up floes across not just the peripheral seas but into the Central arctic basin on and off again over months. They move apart slightly, compact, refreeze together a bit. If 3-4 meter thick multi-year ice breaks up into flows that refreeze, the 'joints' are thinner, weaker. You can often see this in the Lance-Modis images.

    They are all indications of an ice pack that has less structural integrity. So concentrations maps such as above are an end of season consequence of a far more broken up ice pack. And a series of strong storms in the last few weeks has also contributed.

    So by poor I mean mechanical integrity.

    As to thickness, PIOMAS only updates every month. DMI update there volume product almost daily and it is suggesting a significant drop over August. There are some concerns that the model DMI uses isn't as robust as PIOMAS but still it is probably useful as indicative of relative changes until PIOMAS updates. And we all wish Cryosat 2 was operational during the melting season :-(

    If you haven't been there Neven's Arctic Sea Ice Blog is good value. His graphs page here links to all sorts of sources. Check out the Regional Graphs pages for basin level graphs produced by one of his regular users, Wipnius, from raw satellite feeds. Then visit his forum. Lots of knowledgeable people who live and breath the arctic.

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