March 2014: Where We Are

March 2, 2014



The “Warm Arctic – Cold Continents” paradox in full display this winter, as brutal arctic air bulges down over North America and Central Asia, but the Arctic is anomalously warm, with the lowest sea ice extent for February/early March in the satellite record.


Large areas of open water between Iceland and Greenland that have formerly been ice covered, as well as in the Barents Sea.
I’ll be communicating with an expert currently moving to a location in the Arctic.

Discussion is open.

27 Responses to “March 2014: Where We Are”

  1. Chris Ehly Says:

    Small clarification on Arctic Ice Extent.

    Both 2006 and 2011 were lower. (click the years on the right to turn them on/off)

    You can also check the daily totals here –

    • Chris Ehly Says:

      Here’s is the statement my original comment was based on, and what I was clarifying.

      “… but the Arctic is anomalously warm, with the lowest sea ice extent for February/early March in the satellite record.”

      If you wanted to discuss volume we could certainly do that too. Despite the current lows, 2013 happened to have been a good year for making ice due to an unusually cool Summer in the Arctic region, so volume got a good bump. That still doesn’t change a long-term trends, nor have I said that it did, but it is factual.

      Regarding your Feb.14th date, I found that 2005, and 2011 both had lower extents compared to 2014. Here is a list of extents for all of those dates, including your 2006 date:

      Arctic Ice Extent, Feb.14th (km sq. 10^6)
      2005 = 14.33806
      2006 = 14.37048
      2011 = 14.31215
      2014 = 14.34282

      The difference between 2006 and 2014 would be 27,660km sq., or 10.5 sq.mi (I rounded up for you). The smallest County in Delaware is New Castle, at 494 sq.miles.

      Regarding your Sept.14th, I’m not quite sure what you mean. Since we haven’t gotten to the month of September yet, I can only assume you meant Sept.14th, 2013, which came in higher than 5 other dates in satellite history. Perhaps you’re just pointing out that has has been diminishing in the satellite era. It certainly has….

      • Chris Ehly Says:

        or… not.

        14.37048 – 13.44282 = 0.92766

        0.92766 x (10^6) = 927,660

        927,660 = 576,421 sq.miles

        That is like… Texas and Oregon combined.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Thank you for proving my point that you are a mindless cherry picker who throws out and manipulates meaningless data in pursuit of his denialism. You have missed the point entirely with your chasing of Feb 14th. data.

        And thank you for also proving that you have the thought processes and science knowledge of a slug (although you do know how to punch the keys on a calculator, apparently—how do you keep the slime off the keys?).

        The cluelessness of this comment is awesome:

        “Regarding your Sept.14th, I’m not quite sure what you mean. Since we haven’t gotten to the month of September yet, I can only assume you meant Sept.14th, 2013, which came in higher than 5 other dates in satellite history”.

        You need to reread my closing paragraph as many time as necessary until it sinks in. You’re “not sure about 9/14”? LOL And we “haven’t gotten to 9/14 yet”? LMAO

        My point is that Sept 14th. is within a day or two of the yearly historic LOWS for ALL years, and that looking at the 2/14 data in comparison to the February data for the five most recent years JUST MIGHT lead us to a prediction that 2014 is going to be a very bad year for arctic sea ice. You are guilty of “premature assumption”, and that will lessen your enjoyment of “science sex” until you overcome it.

        (And I like “….higher than 5 other dates in satellite history”. Yes, 5 cherry picked dates from “only” satellite history. Never let it be said that Chris is clever about hiding his “game”). DUH!

        • Chris Ehly Says:

          OK, so in your mind, its ok to call something the lowest in satellite history, as long as its close.


          I linked to the data. Stating that 10 is larger than 6, 7, 8, and 9 isn’t a “cherry picked” stat. For an old guy, you really are juvenile.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            “Juvenile”? Is that the best you can do?. You are hopelessly mindless in the pursuit of your straw men. Have you figured out “September” yet?

  2. Chris Ehly Says:

    NSIDC also provides monthly and daily images on their site, complete with an outline of the typical extent for that month/day based on a 30-year (1981-2010), which was recently changed from the previous median of 22yrs.

    • Ice extent could cover the whole globe, but it doesn’t help much if the ice is 10 centimeters thick and melts as soon as the sun pops up. Its folly to look at extent only, the volume is way more important.

      I still don’t understand what your goal is about “informing” us about ice extent is? Is it recovering? And if so, why should it be recovering? The physical properties (amount of CO2 in the atmosphere) are certainly not in place for any recovery for the unforeseeable future. And the multi-year ice has been shrinking dramatically these past decades.

      • Chris Ehly Says:

        I believe both are important.

        The SIE (sea ice extent) has an effect on the planet’s overall albedo. A recent PNAS paper from USCD scientists hypothesis “this albedo decrease corresponds to a forcing that is 25% as large as that due to the change in CO2”, and is reportedly based on satellite measurements.

        That is a pretty big deal if its anywhere near accurate.

        SIV (sea ice volume), on the other hand, is our global radiator. A reduction in arctic volume is akin to removing radiator fluid from the coolant system in your car…. if you remove too much, its just not going to work properly. Remove enough, and it won’t work at all.

        Both of these arctic measurements are low. In regards to volume specifically, we’ve seen a recent uptick, but nothing that would constitute a trend or that can’t be attributed to natural anomolies. The same storms that have been chipping away at SIE are piling up some SIV.

        Current SIV for this date is at a high not seen since 2010. I wish we could say the same thing for extent.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          “A reduction in arctic volume is akin to removing radiator fluid from the coolant system in your car….” WHAT?

          Whatever the heck are you talking about? This analogy makes no sense.

        • Chris Ehly Says:

          “Interactions of the atmosphere, ice, and the oceans in the polar regions are reviewed in the context of global climate. Cryospheric processes and their feedback mechanisms are discussed with emphasis on sea ice, the polar energy balance, meridional heat exchange processes in both the atmosphere and the ocean, and the paleoclimatic record stored in ice sheets and snow. Present modeling capabilities and parameterizations of polar ice, atmosphere, and ocean processes and their interactions are described. Further advances in our understanding of polar processes call for studies of ice dynamics and of energy transfers by radiation, convection, and advection, in both atmosphere and ocean. ”

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Why do you keep looking up things and posting them? Do you think we are unaware of what these links show us? Most of us have been studying climate change for years and ARE familiar with this info.

            Many of us have also studied enough science to know that your car cooling system analogy is faulty. Instead of just being a “looker upper” and throwing more things you don’t understand at us, why don’t you instead give us a step-by-step “proof” of how your crappy analogy does in fact relate to heat transfer on earth?

        • Chris Ehly wrote:
          “I believe both are important.”

          Quite true, and good points made to support.

          My only quibble would be that Sea Ice Extent is a somewhat less good indicator of albedo loss than Sea Ice Area; not incidentally, Sea Ice Area averaged the lowest for February on record this year.

          Highly recommend Neven’s Arctic Sea Ice blog, by the way, which has a very sophisticated group of commentators and some dynamite graphics.

          “Current SIV for this date is at a high not seen since 2010. I wish we could say the same thing for extent.”

          Yes, it is worrisome, and the relative volume uptick is no real consolation, as it’s not likely to persist. In any case the anomaly as of 2/28 is almost exactly on the linear trend line since 1979 (-3,000 cubic km/decade).

      • dumboldguy Says:

        JCL says, “I still don’t understand what your goal is about “informing” us about ice extent is?”

        You’re not alone JCL, and I’m sure Chris doesn’t want to admit that he doesn’t understand what he’s “informing” us about either. I wonder what he will make of Peter’s new post on arctic sea ice—-will Chris deny the obvious truths there?

  3. dumboldguy Says:

    Chris has the arrogance to offer us a “Small clarification on Arctic Ice Extent”, and says, “Both 2006 and 2011 were lower.”? Clarify WHAT? WHAT in 2006 and 2011 was “lower” than WHAT? Does Chris not know that arctic sea ice VOLUME is a bigger concern than ice extent? There will always be “extent”, even if it is 2 inches thick and disappears almost totally each year.

    He offers us links to the always useful NSIDC, but unfortunately doesn’t seem to understand what “data” means, or more correctly, doesn’t know how to interpret it. Or perhaps he is cherry picking again to try to make some idiotic denialist point?

    Does Chris not understand the significance of the ClimateReanalyzer graphics or the little 3.8 degrees C number there? Does he not understand the NSIDC graph that Peter also included in this post?

    Just to play his game, I picked Valentine’s Day in both 2006 and 2014 for comparison, and guess what? Sea ice extent was LOWER on that day in 2014 than in 2006. A difference 0f 14.245 MILLION km2 in 2014 as opposed to 14.354 MILLION km2 in 2006. That’s .109 million km2, which is a 3/4 of 1% difference, and a little larger than the area of Delaware. (Get someone to point out Delaware on a globe for you, Chris and see how small it is). Even if he was correct, that is an insignificant difference either way, and it’s not ice on February 14th. that matters so much, but rather on SEPTEMBER 14th., which is just about the low point for both extent and volume.

    I looked at the 9/14 NSIDC figures for the last 5 years, and they range from 3.4 to 5.1 million km2, with the low being only ~66% of the high, and that is about a 100 times bigger difference than the February numbers.

    Finally. looking at the plots for 2009-10-11-12-13. the February data for 2014 is fourth lowest, leading to a prediction that sea ice extent and volume both are going to be pretty l-o-o-o-o-w in September 2014. Let’s talk again in 6 months, Chris, and maybe you can “clarify” for us what happened. Your talk now of February ice data is meaningless.

  4. climatebob Says:

    I doubt if the maximum will move much over the next two weeks so we are at a record or near record low. The ice of last year was badly broken and churned up by gales and so we will see how it fares when the Sun and the warmth return. A consistent series of storms last summer kept the Sun hidden and the temperatures low so that the melt was not as bad as feared and their was some recovery of the volume.
    We don’t need an ice free Arctic for disaster, 2 million square kilometres would be enough.

    • Chris Ehly Says:

      I’d highly doubt it will move much either.

      If 2014 has reached max ice as of 2/27/2014, it will represent almost a 12% loss in Arctic sea ice extent since 1979.

  5. redskylite Says:

    Atmospheric CO2 levels continue to rise as does methane. It was 397.83 ppm at Mauna Loa in February, higher in Barrow, Arctic (where some readings were around 400-405ppm), and up from 391.09 ppm (Dec 2012) ppm to 393.76 ppm (Dec 2013) at Cape Grim, Tasmania, in the Southern Hemisphere (which lags behind the North due to less land and industry).

    The melt continues unabated and sooner or later the summer Arctic sea ice will be gone, albedo vanished and of course yet more warming and disruption to our precious inter glacial climate.

    An interesting recent article on drought affecting the Amazonian CO2 sink:

    I sincerely hope that the US bites the bullet and the Keystone XL pipeline is rejected, this science is finally taken seriously and we are at another great turning point in US history.

    • No doubt the Arctic region has had periods of greatly increased methane concentrations too which has short time local warming in addition to the CO2 forcing. The big worry is of course that methane emissions from the northern hemisphere will rise exponentially, in which case we are all toast. But the optimist I am, I hope the methane will trickle at somewhat controlled speed.

  6. […] Arctic, cold continents". That Arctic is way above average, while mid-west USA freezes. March 2014: Where We Are | Climate Denial Crock of the Week Sign in or Register Now to […]

  7. astrostevo Says:

    Thanks for this summary – much appreciated.

    (Ditto the sea ice visualisation one now at the top of the queue too.)

  8. Jennifer Francis gets some publicity in Norway today:—Vil-fa-flere-vintre-som-i-ar-7490699.html#.UxbVuPmwLTo

    You will have to Google translate that one as its in Norwegian. 🙂

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