the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Arctic Sea Ice Video Update

Posted by Jeff Id on August 23, 2009

As we approach the Arctic Sea Ice minimum, a lot of eyes are looking and projecting what the minimum will be. In a previous post I calculated the centroid of the sea ice as a method for determining how the weather patterns were affecting the data. About a month ago, it seemed that the weather pattern was going to support a leveling off of the sea ice shrink rate so that’s what I predicted and that’s what happened. The curve cut across the 2008 line and reached over until it touched the 2005 line.

AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent[1]Unfortunately, from this centroid video, it looks like the winds from the SouthEast in the image which created the huge reduction in Sea Ice in 2007 appears the have resarted this year. It’s already starting to accelerate the melting which caused this year’s red line to dip below the 2005 green line.

The shift in weather pattern is most visible in the shadows on the ice which are actually clouds blowing through. The shadows indicate the 29GhZ microwave data is sensitive to clouds which is part of the noise in the long term signal.

Below is an updated 2007 – present video.


Click to play

If you missed the original video which is full record length and shows the unusualness of the current weather patterns in the last 30 years, it’s linked at this post below.

Arctic Ice Weather Patterns

That post explains the arrow vector and the source of the data.

I’m going to update my prediction from this shift in weather. Now I think the ice level will dip quickly downward in relation to 2005 but will still sit above the 2008 minimums. It looks like the ice has been thinned by the recent blasts of weather from the southeast and if this pattern maintains itself the dip will be fairly strong. Of course I’m an engineer and not a meteorologist so we’ll see.

14 Responses to “Arctic Sea Ice Video Update”

  1. DeWitt Payne said

    If there is a dip, it shouldn’t be very large as it’s getting late in the season. The dip in the extent anomaly in 2008 started nearly two weeks before the current date. Arctic ice area has actually increased for the last two days according to Cryosphere Today.

  2. Jeff Id said

    I agree, but I think it will still dip. Perhaps people will see it as a continued revcovery from 07 but it just looks like a pattern change in cloud motion to me.

  3. timetochooseagain said

    This will be “consistent” with the models:


  4. […] An update on Jeff Id’s excellent sea ice video 23 08 2009 Arctic Sea Ice Video Update […]

  5. MikeW said

    Hey Jeff,
    Was my comment on your prior Arctic Ice vid post made too late for you to notice or not a productive idea? I suppose I had the idea that the arrow’s point made more of a circuit of the Arctic each year than I noticed this time around.

  6. Jeff Id said


    I only recalculated 1 month of data for this video. I’ve got several ideas where I’d like to expand the information in the video. The image size is limited due to video size, I can see a much better quality level than the youtube version. I had plotted the track of the arrow through all years prior to your request.

    One thing I would like to see is where the sea ice area is in comparison to the mean is a small plot in the corner. There’s always more to do. I see you program, if you’re interested the data isn’t hard to plot, you might be able to make a better version than I can. If you made a video and uploaded it to youtube, I could link to it here.

  7. […] mathematically oriented blogger, named JeffId, has assembled this excellent video that combines the ice area extent with prevailing weather […]

  8. DeWitt Payne said

    Arctic area has increased 0.157 Mm2 the last three days while extent dropped 0.141 Mm2. The logical conclusion is that the wind shift is causing compaction. Any melting around the edges is being more than made up for by freezing in the Arctic Basin.

  9. Jeff Id said

    #8 That’s a good point. The weatehr pattern is mashing the ice against Greenland now so you’re probably right.

  10. harold said

    Off topic, but if you like pretty graphs, checkout GAPMINDER
    I can’t think of a way you could use it on the Air Vent though…

  11. The Diatribe Guy said

    Jeff, finally getting caught up on a lot of your posts. As always, it’s good stuff. Congratulations again on a great blog, and the dedication to keep plodding along. It’s tought to do that – I speak from experience and unfortunately go in too many spurts.

    Anyway, in looking at the IJIS chart (not only above, but the current one) it seems pretty much as expected. I’m going to reference a post I made in early June:

    Where I said this: “As of today, June 4, it is below the 2003 level, but holding in second position. As an aside, I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see this tail off quite a bit and dip below most of the years again. Looking at 2008 this happened, but not to the extent that it melted in 2007. It can reasonably be expected that the ice just won’t jump by leaps and bounds at maximum melt, while still in an increasing mode. So, 2009 may well dip below normal before it’s said and done, but my own guess is that it will still end up higher than 2008, thus continuing the upward trend.”

    I suppose I may still end up wrong, and there’s time for that to happen, but this isn’t rocket science, and I didn’t use Met’s 1000 pedaflop (or whatever the hell it is) supercomputer to make that observation. It’s simple reason. 2007 ice hit a new low. Had the winter ice not rebounded that year, it would have indicated even lower ice in 2008. But when the ice rebounded even at that time, I was on another discussion board debating this whole issue and I – at that time – predicted that we would see exactly what we’re seeing here. That winter’s rebound was key, because it started this process. Simple understanding of energy input and requirements of melting/freezing would indicate that the 2008 low would still be pretty low, but not as much as 2007. And as long as the ice rebounds again in winter, then 2009 will be low again, but higher than 2008. If it rebounds again this winter, we’ll have some of that 3rd year ice now that wasn’t there 3 years ago, and we can expect 2010 to be higher than 2009. It is simply not rational to expect a huge rebound at the summer ice minimum, and it’s still too early to make a long term projection. But under the initial hypothesis that the Arctic was pretty warm, and is still warm but cooling off, and that the ice is in the early stages of a rebound, this is exactly the pattern you’d expect to see.

    I think within 3-4 years we’ll see that minimum in the summer back up with the rest of the pack.

    If that happens, I wonder what we’ll worry about then? There are so many options for lunacy to reside.

  12. Jeff Id said

    Thanks Joe,

    It’s tough to keep a blog up for sure. Especially when your goal is to do something different than others do. I think Steve McIntyre compared it to radio in that you need to transmit new stuff constantly.

    I think you’re right about the ice level but it still has a possibility to sit higher than 2005. Engineers make lousy weathermen though.

  13. That post explains the arrow vector and the source of the data.

  14. […] posted this on a comment on The Air Vent but I’ll repeat it here: Anyway, in looking at the IJIS chart (not only above, but the […]

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