July Monthly Seaice (NSIDC)

July monthly seaice data from NSICD is shown below. I have no idea how this reconciles to the JAXA versions that we’ve been following or to the daily binaries. Both extent and area are shown. The SH anomaly has declined markedly with SH winter and the GLB anomaly is slightly negative.




  1. Molon Labe
    Posted Aug 7, 2008 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

    I do not understand how the one-year downturn can be reconciled with this image.

    I guess it’s my lying eyes.

  2. DeWitt Payne
    Posted Aug 7, 2008 at 8:09 PM | Permalink

    It’s a little hard to tell the point on the graph for the same time as last year. JAXA results 6.72 Mm2 on 8/5/2008 and 5.89 Mm2 on 8/6/2007 for a difference of 0.83 Mm2. That seems to be more or less in line with the picture. You have to compare 8/6/2007 with 8/5/2008 because 2008 is a leap year.

    Steve: THis is monthly data. No daily resolution.

  3. Molon Labe
    Posted Aug 7, 2008 at 9:23 PM | Permalink

    He’s talking about the daily data available at the link I posted. I thought, in haste, that the charts showed yearly data in my post.

  4. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Aug 11, 2008 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

    I find it interesting that the NH sea ice remained more or less constant during the 90’s, when global temps were rising, and that it is now diminishing, just as global temps are themselves on a down trend. I don’t know what this means, if only that melted ice has a lot of latent heat, so maybe the heat lost in the SH goes to melt the NH ice?

  5. Posted Aug 11, 2008 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    Re #4

    I find it interesting that the NH sea ice remained more or less constant during the 90’s,

    I don’t know where you get this from but the data indicates that ice extent and thickness have been dropping since before the 90s. Check out Cryosphere today or read some of Maslowski’s papers.

  6. bender
    Posted Aug 11, 2008 at 2:03 PM | Permalink


    I don’t know where you get this from

    From the data above. What FO says is true. Compute the trend stats from 1990-1998. What Phil is disagreeing with is FO’s choice of 1990 as a starting point. Which is a valid complaint. Nevertheless, FO’s point stands: ice melt did not keep pace with temp rise from 1990-98. Moreover, I think this is a good point in need of explanation.

  7. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Aug 11, 2008 at 2:12 PM | Permalink


    Thanks Bender, that was exactly my point. I was just eyeballing the graphs. There is a clear down trend starting in the early 2000’s, and no clear trend during the 90’s.

    I guess it would be interesting to plot sea ice extent vs temperature for the different hemispheres. It seems that they do not correlate that well.

    Also, Anthony Watts reports on a paper that sheds some light on the issue.

  8. bender
    Posted Aug 11, 2008 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

    The other pattern to note above (the one Steve probably picked up on) is the NH-SH divergence. I won’t speculate on my pet theory. (Y’all know what it is already anyways.) The question is, I guess, what does IPCC say about divergence between the two hemispheres. Is this an expected part of the GHG response? Or is it the kind of thing you expect from natural internal variability?

    I would ask the “experts” at RC if they didn’t spew such vitriol.

  9. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Aug 11, 2008 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    #8 Bender, the “polar seesaw”?

  10. bender
    Posted Aug 11, 2008 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

    #7 From Watt’s page:

    “Our study confirms many changes seen in upper Arctic Ocean circulation in the 1990s were mostly decadal in nature, rather than trends caused by global warming,” said Morison.

    The team, led by James Morison of the University of Washington’s Polar Science Center Applied Physics Laboratory, Seattle, used data from an Earth-observing satellite and from deep-sea pressure gauges to monitor Arctic Ocean circulation from 2002 to 2006.

    That darn ocean again.

  11. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Aug 11, 2008 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

    From Wikipedia:

    The Polar see-saw or Antarctic climate anomaly is the phenomenon that temperature changes in Antarctica are usually of the opposite sign to temperature changes elsewhere in the rest of the world.

    The most likely explanation is that the snow and ice in Antarctica is so clean that its albedo is higher than the cloud cover. Thus increased cloudiness over Antarctica causes more sunlight to be absorbed, hence warms the air, whereas the reverse happens elsewhere. Also, the air there is largely isolated from the rest of the atmosphere by vortices in the ocean and air.

    Source is apparently a paper by Henrik Svensmark.

  12. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Aug 12, 2008 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

    I guess one could argue that if ice melts in the Arctic, it actually cools the water there (much like ice cubes cool the mojito). In the Atlantic, cool water dives deep to the bottom, and quietly travels back south (thermohaline circulation), to re-emerge near the Antarctic. So, with some delay, melting of Arctic ice could possibly end up cooling the Antarctic. That is probably a naive, if not incorrect, hypothesis. I no longer have online access to journals, so can’t do much better. The little I could find about the polar see-saw is that it is still poorly understood. In any case, our knowledge of it is more about longer timescales, but that’s because paleoclimatology rarely has a fine temporal resolution. Model results are contradictory. Some show it, some don’t.

  13. Posted Aug 12, 2008 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

    Francois #12,
    I would think that at the start of the melting season, ice and water just beneath it are near an equilibrium temperature and the melting during summer of less salty water can’t cause a decrease in water temp.
    Deep ocean water, instead, forms when sea freezes because water temperature is dropping and sea salt is extruded

  14. R DeWitt
    Posted Aug 13, 2008 at 9:22 PM | Permalink

    Is it possible that there is some kind of data mix-up here? Presumably ice area and ice extent are to some degree independent, but the two sets of curves displayed here are identical within the width of the line used to plot the data. I superposed a partially transparent copy of one on the other in Photoshop, and after a slight adjustment of the vertical scale, the two sets of graphs coincide perfectly.

  15. R DeWitt
    Posted Aug 15, 2008 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

    The graphs show the extent of the sea ice to be always identical to the area of the sea ice. How can that be?

%d bloggers like this: