Friday, September 21, 2012

Arctic sea ice gone in September 2014

NSIDC have already made a preliminary call that September 16 was the date that sea ice extent was at its minimum in the year 2012.

Volume is something else and the record low hasn't been called yet. Nonetheless, it's interesting to look at where the trend might point at, once a value for 2012 has been added into the picture. On the interactive graph below, data for September 2nd have been added.

Granted, when making projections, it's good to have sophisticated models. I don't claim to have used those, but I've got a good eye and by the looks of it, sea ice will be gone in September 2014.

I look forward to your comments.


  1. Sam: This is a "nitpick"....but obviously one could draw in "trend lines" that show something slightly different. But certainly the trend + the speed of the trend, are towards less ice.

    Also, some of the remaining ice, especially north of Greenland, will be "tougher" to get rid of, since Greenland likely helps to keep that ice in place.

    I think MOST of the ice will be gone by end of September 2015.....with the exception of some ice that will likely remain north of Greenland and stretching west into the Canadian Archipelago area.

    What I find amazing, is that many scientists (which I am NOT) have seemed to "miss the boat" on why the Arctic ice has been diminishing at a logarithmic pace over the last 30 years. As the ice sheet gets thinner and thinner, and as a larger % of the remaining ice is "attacked" by warmer and warmer water, the ice HAS TO MELT FASTER.

    1. ...Staying calm is always the best strategy in every tragedy. A big one is coming, big effort to stay calm is needed.

  2. We can eventually learn to swim, but most of our industry will be completely flooded before 2050.

    1. Do you mean that Greenland and Antarctics melts completely? That should not happen that fast. Compare 15 feet sea ice melting and 5000 feet Greenland ice melting.
      Complete climate change threats are much worse: all traditional agriculture must probably be relocated

  3. Hello Sam,

    yours projection is not in line with mainstream climate science, where the AIF summer is dated anywhere between 2020-2040 as of now. True, many of them did not expect such a fast arctic decline, but 2015 is in 3 years from now and CIMP-5 models do not suggest such soon melting, eve though they catch most of the variability in ice in the past, though not perfectly. Givan natural variability I think 2014, or 2015 is bit too early...

    but still, is there any fundamental difference is there is AIF is in 2014, or 2020?

    We are not going to do geo-engineering anyway, I think...

    thanks for your work,


    1. Hi Alex, I'm aware there are models that claim there won't be an ice-free Arctic in summer before 2040 or even later than that. Perhaps these models have incorporated some elixir that they claim will start to kick in next year or so, somehow magically reversing the decline in sea ice volume. Let me add that variability does not qualify as such. Variability works both ways, it could either delay the decline of sea ice or it could speed it up. Storms, for example, can break up the ice, as happened in August. Storms could push a lot of ice from the Arctic Ocean into the Atlantic Ocean. There are further variables, and I see a lot of feedbacks that could accelerate the decline in volume, but I fear there is no magic force that will somehow reverse this decline. I believe it's time for scientists to accept reality and start working together on a comprehensive plan of action that can effectively deal with the dangers.

    2. Hello Sam.

      Yes, I agree that we should act. I just do not see how, when even environmentalists are not unified regarding the solutions...


    3. The comprehensive plan of action that I propose does allow for a great amount of flexibility, i.e. local communities are encouraged to choose the methods they believe will work best in their areas, provided of course they each do genuinely reach their reduction targets. Personally, I believe that local feebates will be most effective, but one community may prefer to put more emphasis on, say, taxes, while another community may prefer subsidies and yet another community may prefer standards.

    4. With public sentiment all things are possible but without it nothing is.
      This is Abraham Lincoln's opinion on likelihood of success and winning..
      If the goal is to keep Earth alive so man can stay alive and Nature too.
      Perhaps a Change in the direction of public sentiment is key to success.
      Properties of elements that make up the sky, they don't lie.. Trap heat.
      Heat it is on the rise and won't quit likely which is past error margin.
      Since heat trapping properties of elements act together in unity -force.
      Mankind must make a response which likely is beyond error margin -force.
      So the plan set forth needs to be robust and universal in application -force.
      It is doubtful anything said here can create a mindset change in man -force.
      But without error margin of time to work within to create a response it's hard force of the properties of elements that will work and win but the magic within what amounts to the elixir of Life, the children
      the hope that brings to the showdown. I hope that proves triumphant..
      For Billions of Years the force of life has held Earth in a trance to overpower the forces of thermodynamics with a force contained within -cumulative will to live. Actually not defying principle but sideswipe
      by as though some growing crystal complexity of biological design DNA.
      So perhaps as a trade off the worth of money can be equated to DNA too
      Mineral rights or resource exploitation v DNA presence in Nature equal
      In all transaction so nothing is done that wantonly destroys ecosystem
      With highest priority given to Earth herself and ability for life DNA.

  4. A plan made now to go into effect on continued trajectory of line in graph of this article could if people so allow at world scale set up beginning of hope.
    It pertains to food, food distribution, health, namely in prosperous, relatively prosperous countries and how they could become entangled in a spreading mutually harmonic way with less fortunate nations and people there..
    Fact - food everywhere will increasingly become harder to grow without action.
    That is fact whether briefly for, for a few rainfall and temps may exception..
    So since it is also a fact that in a lot of the developed world eating less helps longevity and health.
    So, make it so then take what isn't eaten and use it to help the poor to live.
    Take it to far flung long forgotten places and help the peoples there..
    Have that which is given and taken be endowed with what the people there in poor nations can manage to scrape together build, help build, help finance lighter than air semi robotics to deliver cargo and to bring shade and help as needed including hospital help an emergency medical aid but more importantly hope.. Have it so the mission is able to be shaped as a bendable metal that makes itself stronger and able to withstand changes as they arise.
    Like the sword from the stone that was of story of old, not of fable but real
    Made real by creativity today.. To create the jobs of the future and propel prosperity, the creation of a transition of power in a peaceful way for life.
    so Earth her heart can stay alive and the poor won't be forgotten and crime and hate can go away.. And so the little guys everywhere start to get helped.
    And it helps the rich nations to create respect for the forgotten potential of their hearts and of their children's desires and besides that it's something that's potentially quite down right doable if only we draw a line in the sand.. Sand, shifting sand.. The waves break the sound on the beach now.. A sound in the universe hopefully with potential still to see life there with ear to hear and eyes to see and a willingness to compete and have fun trying new things in order to survive.. by not forgetting the little the little voices and power of trust, advancement so emphatic and ubiquitous in the heart of the universe where the rally by the Sea rages on.. For peace...
    That is something I was thinking and a bit off key of normal range here.
    Still I needed a place to write what I was thinking and a place to speak loud.. Sorry for the imposition.

  5. So -specific to the graphs presented overlap of two trajectories or two graphs of increase would have better described what is happening in them and the data shown.
    One prior to about 2006 or 7 before spiked CH4 emissions became strongly divergent upward to strongly influence by volume of Methane emissions from the Arctic region's large shallow sea floor.. Then natural background increase with heat couples to increase line of decent, also a curve of exponentially enlarging or increasing proportion.. Essentially a transition within a graph or two graphs would be a better description of what the data progression shows.
    No matter what the theory Earth is in deep trouble up to the gills and in need of a plan initiation immediately and at very huge scale to get things rolling in response in a very great hurry -so life can have chance to perhaps survive. That's my interpretation of what I see and what should be said about the info shown.

  6. Sam,

    Thanks for your work.

    Viewing it one is almost sorry for the guy who happens to win the 2012 Presidential election. If this projection holds true, that person will be President when the population wakes up, panics, and demands action. Balancing the demand for action against the desires of certain very influential segments of the society to maintain BAU is going to be very,very tough.

    I recently wrote the NSIDC asking them to use this more realistic line on their charts instead of the linear one they now use. This one fits the data best, is more logical because of the feedbacks, and presents a more useful picture to the still unconcerned public.