The Guardian:

Arctic sea ice has melted to a level not recorded since satellite observations started in 1972 – and almost certainly not experienced for at least 8,000 years, say polar scientists.

Daily satellite sea-ice maps released by Bremen university physicistsshow that with a week’s more melt expected this year, the floating ice in the Arctic covered an area of 4.24 million square kilometres on 8 September. The previous one-day minimum was 4.27m sq km on 17 September 2007.

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Researchers at Yale have profiled American opinions on climate change. No surprise, self identified Tea Baggers are least likely to “believe in” global warming, but also, quite sure that they don’t need any more information about it, thank you.

Certainly consistent with my observations.  Hey, if you’ve got Fox News to rely on, what else do you need?

A popular bonehead meme often heard from climate deniers is, “climate models don’t work and are inaccurate”.

Sadly, in the case of arctic sea ice melt, that’s true – but not in the way we would wish. In the graph above, dotted lines are IPCC models for arctic sea ice melt. Red line is actual observations. Dot is from NSIDC graph of 9/7/11.

Stroeve et al, Geophysical Research Letters, 2007:

From 1953 to 2006, Arctic sea ice extent at the end of the melt season in September has declined sharply. All models participating in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC AR4) show declining Arctic ice cover over this period. However, depending on the time window for analysis, none or very few individual model simulations show trends comparable to observations.

We continue to move toward the annual northern sea ice minimum, increasingly a subject of compulsively glum fascination for climate wonks.  I’m gathering material for this year’s video on the subject. Meanwhile, will update here.

One of the most consistently bone-headed canards you’ll hear for climate deniers is that, though they will grudgingly, sometimes, allow that, ok, the satellite pictures are pretty clear – northern polar ice is decreasing – BUT, they quickly add, sea ice around antarctica is increasing, therefore, globally, sea ice is a wash, or increasing, or something.

The best online rebuttal is the global sea ice anomaly graph at the University of Illinois’ Cryosphere Today.  Unfortunately the graph is scaled so as to be difficult to reproduce on a page like this. So I’ve focused on the most relevant portion, which shows quite clearly the condition and trend of global sea ice. That is, downward. (click the image to see the large scale complete graph)

Northern polar ice has been decreasing at a rate of 11 percent per decade, while southern ice has been, (at least until this year, when it has been kind of stagnant) increasing at a measly 0.7 % per decade. The net is, globally declining sea ice.

Current NSIDC northern ice graph below.

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From The Pew Center on Global Climate Change:

Figure 1 shows the year of the worst 6-12 month drought for various areas in Texas. For 55.8 percent of the state, the current drought is the worst on record. No other drought was as bad in so many places. The previous standard for a one year drought, 1925, can now only be considered the worst ever in 14.6 percent of the state.

For July, the statewide Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), which is a measure of dryness that takes both temperature and moisture into account, recorded its lowest ever reading. This surpassed the worst July readings for 1918, 1925 and 1956, the droughts of record in Texas.

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Thanks to Scott Mandia for tipping me on this one. You can click the images to get larger ones.

John Nielsen-Gammon, writing on the Houston Chronicle blog:

In my recent blog entry Texas Drought: A Fingerprint, I illustrated how unusual this year’s precipitation has been compared to previous years.  Now, with just a few days left in August, I’d like to show you just how unusual the combination of summer temperatures and summer rainfall has been.

Here is a plot of Texas average summer (June-August) temperature versus Texas summer precipitation.  Records go back to 1895.  (In the first graph above..PS) ..I’ve left off 2011.

Can you spot the outlier?  The year 2011 continues the recent trend of being much warmer than the historical precipitation-temperature relationship would indicate, although with no previous points so dry it’s hard to say exactly what history would say about a summer such as this one.  Except that this summer is way beyond the previous envelope of summer temperature and precipitation.

It’s that time of year.

Time to obsessively keep clicking for updates to the National Snow and Ice Data Center’s regularly updating graphs of sea ice extent, and track the waning of northern polar sea ice. The dotted line is the record low year 2007, and the blue is the current area.

Montreal Gazette:

Last month saw the second lowest Arctic ice cover since 1979, continuing the downward trend of summer ice cover, says the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado.

Ice extent shrank in June at an average rate of 80,800 square kilometres per day, about 50 per cent faster than the average drop recorded from June 1979 to 2000.

At this rate, the Arctic Ocean may be ice free in summer by 2030, said Mark Serreze, director of the NSIDC, calling the decline of the extent of the sea ice and its loss of thickness “an overall downward spiral.”

The average ice extent for June fell below that for June 2007, which, until now, had the lowest minimum ice extent at the end of summer.


I’ll be counting down to what’s become a regular “Northern Sea Ice” video, sometime when we reach the bottom in September or so.

Below, you can review 2 that I made last year.

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This is a few years old, but Australia is showing the way to the Mad Max world of Global Warming.

The Washington Post reports:

A new report finds that the disappearing ice has apparently triggered another dramatic event – one that could disrupt the entire ecosystem of fish, shellfish, birds and marine mammals that thrive in the harsh northern climate.

Each summer, an explosion of tiny ocean-dwelling plants and algae, called phytoplankton, anchors the Arctic food web.But these vital annual blooms of phytoplankton are now peaking up to 50 days earlier than they did 14 years ago, satellite data show.

“The ice is retreating earlier in the Arctic, and the phytoplankton blooms are also starting earlier,” said study leader Mati Kahru, an oceanographer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.

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The National Weather Service’s Seasonal Drought Outlook is another reminder of what we can expect more of going forward as the planet warms.

Ironically, those parts of the US most susceptible to drought seem to be disproportionately represented by Congressmen who don’t believe in global climate change, who wish to defund government efforts to measure, understand, predict, and mitigate the effects, as a ‘waste of money’, but nevertheless are first in line to make sure their district takes advantage of taxpayer relief for the ongoing agricultural disasters in their districts.

Chris Mooney examined this paradox over at Desmogblog:

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