Greenland's Melt Factor

Greenland's melting is real: It is visible from space and from the ground. Radar reflectivity shows the signature of water instead of ice, temperatures went above melting point on top of three kilometers of ice, an anti-cyclone made months long summer holidays over the ice sheet, the albedo is down and giga tons of ice get lost every year. Next year's IPCC WG1 contribution will be an interesting reading in this context.

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Burning Sea Ice

My favorite radar image this year so far. It shows Franz-Josef-Land unusually ice free and the ice edge throwing flames direction South. Anybody keen to speculate what's going on?

Sea Ice is not flat - Let's discuss Thickness

The season 2011 again revealed sea ice extent is the less informative the lower sea ice concentration is in the Arctic. Actually you may call it a red herring hiding the true nature of sea ice decline. It is time to put on 3D glasses and talk about volume and thickness.

To the end of this season the discussion focused on whether the ocean surface covered by sea ice was less or more this September or in 2007’s. That’s like comparing the buying power of different currencies by measuring the size of the banknotes.

These rose-colored spectacles called extent and area do not tell us winter sea ice currently looses thickness at an averaged rate of 10 centimeters and more per year. They filter out bottom melting during summer easily sums up to a meter during a month with a maximum rate of 10cm per day.

Finally both parameter prevent us from realizing that if melting trends continue or accelerate we’ll witness in a few years how millions of square miles of first year ice a few centimetres thick surprisingly turn into sea water just within a few days leaving only scattered floes of older ice.

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More Envisat Radar Images

Terry started to contribute with more daily Envisat radar zooms - highly appreciated.

If you want to compare changes from day to day open the links in multiple browser tabs and switch between them.


I'll update this list as new links arrive. So far we have:

Credit goes DTU Space and seaice.dk.

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