Arctic Sea-Ice Minimum in August?

Screen Shot 2019-08-30 at 7.41.36 AMThis is still an open question.  Have we reached it?  I am NOT a climatologist.  I am a retired parallel-code modeler using clustered computers, and a physicist.  As a physicist, we are trained to spot patterns – their existence or non-existence.   Based on this ability we can determine which tools to bring forward to solve a problem, or to assess its unsolvability  for lack of reliable data. We do this with a percentage of reliability/error in a specific time-frame.  One Arctic Sea-Ice model from the national labs I use is Los Alamos’ CICE in its public domain work-up that seems to work well, coupled with the idea that it is a specific region of the Arctic Sea-Ice that is predictive of our Winter weather.

Figure 2a. (below, credited to the National Snow and Ice Data Center).  When as a volunteer-novice GJP forecaster in the early days of crowd-polling organized Prof. Tetlock, we were introduced to the NSIDC  and looked to the results here for decisions on the 2013 arctic sea-ice melt – “Will the 2013 melt be smaller than the previous 2012 melt?” – was the question we address or something like it.  It seemed like an innocent, out-of-the-blue question to all of us.

I knew nothing, at that time, of the great effects Arctic Sea-Ice had on our weather.  This was before the now-famous paper from a group of scientist led by a Battelle-PNNL scientist (2014) on the significance of the B-K Sea region.  All this I have written about before as blogs.  This is just a short synopsis of the How and Why.


Screen Shot 2019-08-30 at 7.44.15 AMThe NSIDC hasn’t updated this Master slide  – “Arctic Sea Ice Extent (Area of ocean with at least 15% sea ice” since 14AUG2019.    I do not think it is because they doubt the data they have recorded over the last 16 days.   My assessment:  I believe they believe their data. They are competent, even brilliant scientists at work with the satellite data.  Yet it does not fit any previously recorded pattern at this time of year.


 

 

We tried to add their own raw data, but got stuck.  So we made a cheesy little video of a slice of one chart on top of another.  Look above to see where the Arctic Sea-Ice has plateau’d.  It’s smack dab in the middle of the curves from 2016-2018, not even close to the 2012 data now.


Screen Shot 2019-08-30 at 7.42.04 AMWe tried to add their own raw data, but got stuck.  So we made a cheesy little video of a slice of one chart on top of another.  Look above to see where the Arctic Sea-Ice has plateau’d.  It’s smack dab in the middle of the curves from 2016-2018, not even close to the 2012 data now.

Will it drop from the level of previous years or did we just witness the unbelievable happen – an EARLY MINIMUM?

Does it matter for my CICE modeling?  Not as of now. And maybe not really.  We concentrate on only one specific region, the Barents-Kara (B-K Arctic Sea Region).


 

 

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