Arctic Sea Ice Highly Likely To Fall Below Last Year’s Extent

The blogosphere is now filled wth Arctic sea ice projections and opinions, and why not? It’s a game that adds fun to the science. For example Steve Goddard at WUWT projects 2010 will finish above 5.5 million sq km.

My forecast remains unchanged. 5.5 million, finishing above 2009 and below 2006. Same as it has been since May.

August 22, 2010: Source: UI Atmos-Cryosphere

I’d be happy if that became true because it would be real sand in the gears of the death-spiral worshippers. But seriously I doubt it will keep above or at the 5.5 million mark. That’s a real long shot.

Maybe a different dataset is being used for this claim. The shot above shows there is still plenty of potential for melt.

Weeks ago I projected, using my crystal ball, that we would finish a bit below 5 million. That’s turning out to be a wee bit too pessimistic, but not too much though.

On August 22, Arctic sea ice according to JAXA was at 5.628 million sq km. That means only 128,000 sq km over the 5.5 million mark with still about 20 days left before reaching the average low point. That’s a lot of time.

August 22, 2010

Over the last 8 years we have seen that from August 22 until reaching the low point, Arctic sea ice has lost an average of 535,000 sq km.

The minimum loss for that period was 279,000 sq km in 2006 and the maximum was 837,000 in 2008. Over the last 4 years, the average was a loss of 582,000 for the period.

Taking the average of the last 4 years, and we get a 2010 minimum ice extent of 5.628 – 0.582 = 5.04 million sq km. So, forget the 5.5 million mark being the minimum. It aint gonna happen.

The Arctic is not projected to get very cold in the next two weeks, see here:

The temperature above 80°N latitude is also staying stubbornly near the freezing point. So expect Arctic sea ice, using JAXA, to get down closer to the 5 million mark.

High Arctic temps are back to thawing.
Source: Danish Meteorological Institute.

Yes, of course, there are lots of other factors, wind, blah blah, blah, but only 100,000 sq. km of melt over the next 20 days could only happen if Al Gore showed up at the North Pole.

UPDATE: Steve Goddard at WUWT has backed off his 5.5 million sq km projection.


One response to “Arctic Sea Ice Highly Likely To Fall Below Last Year’s Extent”

  1. R. de Haan

    For what it’s worth, I’ve opted for the 5.5 as well for what it’s worth.

    As everything comes in waves, there is nothing extraordinary about the Arctic Sea Ice melting during the summer melt period. It’s a natural process and I think there is too much focus on the subject.

    What’s more interesting is how the upcoming NH winter will develop.
    The much applauded solar ramp up is nothing more but an occasional hick up and the early frost and snow is already reported from Oregon USA to Russia.

    These are indeed interesting times as we have a front row seat and a record number of sensors and satellites to observe the upcoming events.

    I say it’s going to be colder than we thought and the most discussed problem, just like last year, is the availability of road salt.

    Governments and the media have a long learning curve.

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