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Friday, January 23, 2009

Arctic Conditions, January 23, 2009: Arctic Sea ice in fragile state -- Greenland melting apace


[Please click on the image of January 23, 2009, to enlarge it and see the details. The details are larger if you go to the original image at the site, but they don't keep images up more than a day or two. Credit: Envisat.]

Dear Readers,

I don't often write a personal post in this blog ("Just stick to the facts, ma'am.").

But, I have been looking at the daily composite satellite photos from Envisat of the Arctic Sea ice and of Greenland, and it is very clear that the sea ice is in an extremely fragile and thin state in areas where once multi-year ice was fast, firm, and thick. And, as to Greenland, to my untrained eye, it seems that the amount of snow cover over land is much less than I would have expected, and the small grey dots that indicate melt ponds are just as numerous as they were some months ago.

It is not a very heartening sight, that is for sure.

To see the most recent images, first go to this page:

http://www.seaice.dk/latest-ice.html

Then click on the far left rectangle.

5 comments:

B Buckner said...

The temperatures across Greenland are -20c to -30c. How can there be melt ponds?

Tenney said...

Well, that is a good question. Maybe they are frozen lakes for the moment. But why aren't they covered over with snow? What happened to the usual snow cover that extended out over the land to the coasts? And Nuuk was at -5°C. There is bound to be a lot of inertia. Anyway, I am far from knowing the physics of the matter, but it looks like Swiss cheese compared to last year.

And the Arctic Sea ice is just pitiful looking.

ccpo said...

The NSIDC pics and graphics are helpful. They have extents and concentrations w/ trends and anomalies for both. Here's the current graph for extent.

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

Notice it is tracking last year's extent while keeping in mind there is even less multi-year ice than last year. I think few are aware we saw a new low in ice MASS last summer. I.e., there was less sea ice last year than in any previous year since satellite coverage began.

Here's the page the above comes from:

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/daily.html

Tenney said...

Thanks for the links -- the National Snow and Ice Data Center did a great job of explaining what was going on in their latest update.

The usual suspects carped about the "extent" for months.

Tenney said...

In fact, I copied the entire end-of- the-year review into my blog because the NSIDC updates that page and the old stuff is lost:

http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2009/01/nsidc-2008-year-in-review-arctic-sea.html

Or just do a search of my blog for NSIDC.