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Messages - Niall Dollard

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Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic Image of the Day
« on: April 09, 2020, 01:57:00 AM »
Midnight looking north over the frozen harbour at Longyearbyen, Svalbard.

The orange glow shows that it's only 10 days before the sun will be up all day there (April 19th !).

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 07, 2020, 03:40:40 PM »
The daily fatalities from Coronavirus in Sweden will be scrutinised by many because of the more liberal approach when it comes to movement of people. From what I understand there is a tightening up on some issues now. Restricting the numbers that can gather together in a public place.

UK was also a bit slow to tighten up. But then did so. I wonder will there be further tightening ahead?

Today there was a big increase again in fatalities in Sweden (+114). I don't know if this was caused by release of extra retirement homes figures.

Comparing the Swedish deaths per million population to a neighbouring country, Denmark where a tighter approach was applied early, gives the following figures:

March 29th

Sweden 11 deaths per milion
Denmark 13 deaths per million

April 1st

Sweden 24 dpml
Denmark 18 dpml

April 3rd

Sweden 33 dpml
Denmark 24 dpml

April 7th

Sweden 59 dpml
Denmark 35 dpml

At time of typing this, UK is on 79 deaths per million.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 07, 2020, 02:15:45 PM »
Big jump in daily deaths from Belgium today. +403 (more recently it had been averaging circa 185).

The big increase is due to 241 previously unreleased deaths in retirement homes.

France and UK also did likewise a few days ago.

Excluding San Marino and Andorra, Belgium now has the third greatest deaths per million population in the World after Spain and Italy. 

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: April 07, 2020, 12:14:53 PM »
Persistent east winds have caused open water to appear in the eastern Hudson Bay. This is early in the season for break up.

I presume if winds turn west or northwest again this would close in ?

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 06, 2020, 09:37:49 PM »
Finland today had -1 deaths !

Easter occuring early  ? No it was an adjustment on yesterday's figures.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 06, 2020, 04:39:40 PM »
Anyone following the official fatality figures from Sweden would need to take note of what day of the week the announcement is made.

At first glance it looked like there was a considerable dip in figures over the weekend but now today the daily figure is back up highest to date (76 deaths).

Weekday figures are a lot higher than the those over the weekends. Maybe there isn't as much reporting at the weekends ?

Attached graph shows weekend dates (Saturday and Sunday) highlighted in magenta.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 06, 2020, 08:38:33 AM »
Indigenous in Canada Turn to the Land to Survive Coronavirus

Indigenous people describe leaving towns to live off the land, learning lessons about survival from elders.

Thanks Vox-Mundi.

It's interesting to know how this affecting people in Inuvik.

I did think the A-J article misleading. It shows lovely pictures of the Mackenzie river and people fishing.

It gives the impression that this is already up and running this year. It also says :
"The trip there is long. They travel by boat on the Mackenzie River navigating various water channels they have memorised over the years, and it takes several hours."

However it is not until about mid-May before Mackenzie is broken up.

So again the quoted passage is not in the present. They could not have travelled up the Mackenzie by boat, yet.

But there is probably few better places to practice social isolation than the Arctic !

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: April 04, 2020, 12:05:52 PM »
Thanks for those comments Charles, HapHazard and El Cid.

I don't mind doing more when I can but I'm limited in that I havent taken that many screenshots from other years (unfortuantely).

Next one I have is May 1st 2018. So I could do a comparison this year with that one.

Just looking back at last year and the chart for 13th April 19 still showed a lot of pink - and we all know what happened after that.

This is what makes me all the more concerned this year, that we are only barely starting the melt season and condition is poor in many areas, especially the Russian side.

It will be interesting to see the next PIOMAS volume update to end of March. I imagine there won't be much of an increase on the mid-March and we are very near the volume max for the year,   

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 03, 2020, 04:19:18 PM »
Deaths per million population at 1pm UTC 3rd April.

Note: Some countries have not yet updated their figures for today.

It's been a cold (by night) start to April in central Europe. New monthly records in Czech republic and Hungary.

Attached list of Czech stations breaking their long term April extreme minimum.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: April 03, 2020, 01:46:48 PM »
Around this time of year I usually take a screenshot of the ESRL Ice thickness assessment. Here are the years 2018, 2019 compared with forecast thickness 7th April 2020. (not on exact same dates but within +/- 1 week).

It does n't augur well for the coming summer.

The legend is the same for each chart with max pink colour indicating thickness of 1.6m or more. For resistence against the Arctic melt season you would be hoping for pink colour spread across the whole Arctic by now. But we are far from that.

Four areas in particular have thicknesses a lot lower than previous years:

1. Kara

Very thin and expect it will melt out quickly this year. Maybe not as crucial as other areas as it usually melts out every year anyway. Having said that an early melt would not be good for preserving ice in the main basin.

2. Polarstern

(dubbed this area - after where the Polarstern research vessel started out last Autumn). This area is near the heart of the basin and is thin. As much of the good ice heads south into the Fram, outlook for this area is not good at all. Could we see the ice edge retreat back to the pole this year with most of the ice only on the American side and maybe a typical arm heading out towards the ESS ?

3. Western Beaufort/Northern Chukchi

Thinner than usual. Legacy of late freeze ups, Pacific infiltration. This century these areas melt out every year but like the Kara an early melt out would make for an aggressive melt attack on the Basin.

4. Laptev

A lot thinner than usual. Legacy of the record mild winter over Russia. Expect an early appearance of the Laptev polynya and maybe eventually melting back to the pole ?

Filed under category "Weird". Weird for Svalbard that is.

At Svalbard Airport, Longyearbyen, the mean temperature for the month of March 2020 has been below normal.

This is the first below normal* month there since November 2010. A run of 111 months !

*the normal period used is 1961-1990. 

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 01, 2020, 03:59:08 PM »
 NHS England's medical director Professor Stephen Powis, yesterday : " A bit of a plateau" in coronavirus cases.

After today's figures, there is no plateau.

Last three days for the UK :

2619, 3009, 4324.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 01, 2020, 03:53:01 PM »
Not long ago Sweden and Denmark had similar coronavirus deaths per million ratios but after today's figures Sweden is pulling away.

Sweden 24 deaths p.million (last three days 36,34,59 deaths)
Denmark 18 deaths p.million (last three days 5,13,14 deaths)

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: March 30, 2020, 11:36:04 PM »
Thanks Uniquorn.

That was one big lead in March 2010. 15 km wide just above Ellesmere.

The sun has returned to Victoria Fjord and here is that large cigar shaped piece embedded in the sea ice after overwintering.

It's located about 25 kms from the mouth of the fjord. Who knows will it escape into the Nares Strait this year ? 

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: March 29, 2020, 10:55:23 AM »
March 28th, 2020:
     13,559,443 km2, a drop of -19,954 km2.
     2020 is now the lowest on record.   :P

Greatest comeback since the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final

But not as great as the 1999 UEFA Champions League final. You would need a BOE for that !  :)

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: The Nares Strait thread
« on: March 29, 2020, 10:34:15 AM »
I dont think so td.

This would be about 3 months too early.

Just below the main arch, new ice can form over the open sea from time to time dependent on wind, tides and current. But usually this new ice does not last for long and breaks away southward.

Sometimes too the new ice, where it is adhered to the older ice, can bring away small pieces of the older original ice arch with it.

But typically most of the arch remains until early summer.

Having said all this, we do have to remember that old rules increasingly may no longer apply, which makes the Nares a fascinating area to watch.  :)

Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic Image of the Day
« on: March 27, 2020, 11:30:55 PM »
Pancake ice in the harbour at Longyearbyen, Svalbard. Still taken from webcam image this morning 27th March.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: March 26, 2020, 11:50:11 AM »
Yes the Timmerman's et al study is a very important one.

But also yes Uniquorn, I am struggling to see any other evidence that would back up the thinning in the central Beaufort.

I've perused much of the data available on the ESRL website but can't see anything to confirm concentration down to 75 % (as indicated by Bremen).

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: The Nares Strait thread
« on: March 25, 2020, 03:51:25 PM »
A "greenstick" fracture on the western side on 23rd March.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: March 24, 2020, 12:55:56 PM »
Re Bremen image and Beaufort.

It didn't look so bad on the 19th compared to 22nd.

I wonder is it sensor related or is that Beaufort thinning real ?

Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic Image of the Day
« on: March 24, 2020, 12:43:17 AM »
Freegrass, we do have a dedicated separate thread for these images.


Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: March 19, 2020, 10:39:11 PM »
Welcome TybeeDave and don't be shy !

Re the Fram foam, I wouldnt call it foam. These are strips of sea ice that are pulled off the main pack.

We see it a lot in the Bering Sea where the ice is often thin and can break away easily. Here is an image from the Bering on March 3rd. Strips of ice are very close to St. Paul Island (arrowed). This was about as far as it got this year.

This was more or less predicted by NWS Anchorage in their outlook post on Feb 25th. Quote :


"There is a 30 percent chance that the sea ice will make it to Saint Paul Island this season. The most likely scenario that would allow sea ice to reach the island is if northerly winds and cold air
persist for several days. If sea ice does reach Saint Paul Island, we expect it to generally be in the form of strips of sea ice that are pulled off the main pack. The northerly winds and cold air would likely have to persist for a couple weeks or more for the main ice pack to reach the island."

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019/2020 freezing season
« on: March 19, 2020, 10:18:37 PM »
Interesting that 2012 was not in the 10 lowest maxes and then produced the lowest minimum !

And also that 2013 was not in the top ten either. Only 6 months or so earlier and ice was at its lowest extent on record.

However I am not surprised that 2017 had the lowest max. Of all the satellite images of the Arctic  since then,  I still consider the ice was in its worst condition in late Summer 2016. It was very spread out and full of holes. The 2016/2017 freezing season then was very slow to start and temperatures remained relatively mild over the Arctic Basin.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019/2020 freezing season
« on: March 19, 2020, 12:09:04 PM »
Accepting that the max is over, according to the NSIDC extent trailing 5 day mean data, the max of 15.05 million km2 was reached on March 5th.

This is the 11th lowest max in the series going back to 1979.

In order of lowest:


Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019/2020 freezing season
« on: March 19, 2020, 09:32:40 AM »
Thanks Juan.

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: The Nares Strait thread
« on: March 17, 2020, 12:02:23 PM »
It is about 3 or 4 km2 in size. So quite small.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 15, 2020, 09:57:37 PM »
Again today Johns Hopkins is trailing the curve .

Hopkins' figures are trailing again today, for some countries.

At 6pm UTC it gave UK figure of confirmed cases to be 1,144 whereas other media outlets have updated to 1,372.

Italian deaths at 1,441 whereas figure elsewhere is quoted as 1,809

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019/2020 freezing season
« on: March 14, 2020, 09:25:10 PM »

So between 50 and 100 m and up i guess.

The article didnt say at what depth but I'd agree with you Kassy that it is an average of depths between 50m and 200m.

I'm not a big fan of answers like "natural variabilty".

I expect the current very positive AO is working to keep the sea surface temperatures cool but would this be seen at 50m to 200m depth ?

Then there is the AMOC. Is this an indication of a weakened AMOC and transport of Atlantic water at these high lattitudes ?

Another possibility is this a response to shifting and melting of pack ice towards the Atlantic side. So much ice melted out especially in the summer of 2016. Maybe this left a legacy at depth and started this recent downward trend? 

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019/2020 freezing season
« on: March 14, 2020, 03:42:24 PM »
Svalbard, March 13th:
The last time there was this much sea ice around Svalbard on this day of the year was 1998, with 532,969 sq km. That was the 3rd highest in our 54 year record, and this year is only exceeded by, in ascending order, 1989, 1969, 1979, 1977, 1998, 1997 and 1978

This article states that the Barents Sea has become cooler because the water coming in with the Norwegian Atlantic current, which is the continuation of the Gulf Stream, has been cooler.

Trend has been upwards but in the last 5 years have been cooler.

Researcher Randi Ingvaldsen puts it down to natural variation.

Ocean temperatures in the Barents Sea vary naturally. That is, the temperatures go up and down over time.

- It is well known that the Barents Sea has become much warmer over the last 40 years. But in recent years we have seen a decline, and that is part of natural fluctuations that will always be present

- This does not change that a continuous global temperature rise raises the temperature curve, so that both the highest and the lowest temperatures are generally higher than before.

 :Thanks for those links, VGV..

I've a small nitpick with the thread title. Unless you intended it to read in an "Ali G" style (why ?). grammaticly it should read : Are Our Children Learning ?  :)

Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic Image of the Day
« on: March 05, 2020, 09:34:13 PM »
Preparing the surface of the river ice on the Tanana River, Alaska, for the raising of the tripod this weekend. Lots of festivities organised for the annual Nenana Ice Classic

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019/2020 freezing season
« on: March 04, 2020, 11:53:15 PM »
I'm curious... When you have the ice pack cracked up and smashed together like it is now, don't a lot of the ice slabs stick out deep underneath the ice pack? And would that cause that ice to melt out quickly with bottom melt?

Not certain if this is a full answer to your question FG, but have a read of this snippet taken from a recent blog from the MOSAiC page :

According to the sea-ice expert, “Over the past few months, we’ve been able to observe winter at the North Pole more consistently and precisely than ever before. The ice thickness has doubled to an average of 160 centimetres since December, which corresponds to a growth rate of roughly ten centimetres per week.”

In addition, with the aid of helicopter laser-scanner readings, Polarstern’s radar system, and buoys, the researchers were able to observe how the ice deformed, and channels opened and closed again. Thanks to the warming of the Arctic Ocean, smaller and thinner ice floes are becoming more common. Driven by the wind, they can collide and overlap, producing pack ice hummocks up to four metres tall. Since a great deal of their mass lies underwater, some hummocks are 20 to 30 metres thick – a phenomenon that now represents a challenge for the resupply icebreakers.

Science / Re: Satellite Temperature Record
« on: March 03, 2020, 08:43:00 AM »
February 2020 had the third highest monthly anomaly, in all the various re-incarnations of the UAH temperature series. And no big El Nino this time.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019/2020 freezing season
« on: March 02, 2020, 11:55:41 PM »
I took a look at Bremen, picture attached for 20200301. I looked at the previous years. Never have we ever had so much "red" and "yellow" in the Kara-Laptev region. The ice there is likely very fractured and thin and will go poof extremely quickly come May...

From a preservation of sea ice in the Arctic Basin point of view, I would much prefer to have thicker/more extensive ice in the Kara/Laptev than in the Bering. This is not good at all. 

Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news
« on: March 02, 2020, 11:45:45 PM »
Thanks Steven and BL for clarifying.  :)

Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news
« on: March 02, 2020, 10:04:52 PM »
Fast-moving ice would make sense, no?

Maybe that is what is meant.  The english term for that would be "drift ice". Fast ice is the opposite ie not moving/drifting. It was probably just an unfortunate choice of words with fast sea ice referring to fast moving as opposed to fast ice ie static !

Fast ice is usually coloured grey on the colour ice charts. Here is a typical one from Norwegian Met.

Fast ice is evident sticking out from the islands of Svalbard and the red is the drift ice.

Reading more of the text, it sounds like it is the ice ridges and hummocks that were causing problems to the ice breaker. (some 20m high).


Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news
« on: March 02, 2020, 08:47:05 PM »
From the MOSAIC Blog:

For days, fast sea ice had slowed the progress of the resupply icebreaker Kapitan Dranitsyn; bound for the North Pole, her mission was to support the second exchange of researchers and crew in the MOSAiC expedition.

Perhaps it was something lost in translation but I'm wondering what is implied by "fast sea ice" in the above paragraph ?

From NSIDC definition. Fast Ice : "ice that is anchored to the shore or ocean bottom, typically over shallow ocean shelves at continental margins; fast ice is defined by the fact that it does not move with the winds or currents".

The ice is drifting, as illustrated so often in this thread.

Are they referring to the general "pack ice" ?

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019/2020 freezing season
« on: March 01, 2020, 11:29:00 AM »
Thanks Aluminium.

The state of the Russian side now, Kara to Laptev, is worrying.

Arctic background / Re: Baltic Images
« on: February 29, 2020, 05:12:43 PM »
No measurable snow at Helsinki for both January and February 2020.

(chart courtesy Mika Ratanen)

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019/2020 freezing season
« on: February 28, 2020, 12:25:06 AM »
Agreed Pavel.

And I expect the Kara Sea will melt out quickly this year.

Consequences / Re: Weird Weather and anecdotal stories about climate change
« on: February 25, 2020, 12:27:26 AM »
Never ending amount of records being broken at weather stations throughout Europe this winter. Just a few I've collated:

* Austria. The mountain station at Sonnblick (3106m ASL) set a new February alltime max of +3.6 C on 16/02/20. Records date back to 1886.

* Austria. Innsbruck Airport recorded a max of 20.5 C yesterday 23rd Feb. This was just shy of the old record of 20.6 C set on a sunny day back on 24th Feb 2008. But what made Innsbruck 2020 temperature all the more remarkable was that it was set on a day without sunshine and was set during the nighttime at circa 9pm local time.

* Switzerland. A provisional new national February max record was set today at Biasca. 24.6 C

* France. Numerous stations today set new February station records eg. Nimes 25.1 C .The old record of 24.6 C was set, yes you've guessed it, just last year on 28/02/2019.

It seems like some places will be setting new monthly records every year !

Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic Image of the Day
« on: February 22, 2020, 05:12:47 PM »
Light level building up but extremely cold, door still shut ;)

On Feb 2nd it dipped to -40 F/C. This was the first time at Ukqiagvik Airport it went to -40 or lower since Feb 2012.

Prior to 2000, only three of previous 80 winters failed to reach -40F/C. Since then, 11 winters have not been that low.

Consequences / Re: Effects of Climate Change on the biosphere
« on: February 20, 2020, 11:34:34 AM »
Increased greening of the World since the 1980s is estimated here to have cut back global temperatures by about 0.2 C.

In other words we would be 0.2 C warmer already without the extra plant life. Shows us how difficult it would be to bring down global temperatures, in the next few centuries.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019/2020 freezing season
« on: February 09, 2020, 03:16:12 PM »
ESRL ice thickness for 8th Feb 2020, also showing the thin ice in Olenekskiy Bay (Laptev Sea) as mentioned by Pavel.

Contrast ESRL ice thickness from just over a year ago (end of Janaury 2019) 

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2020 Sea ice area and extent data
« on: February 01, 2020, 02:37:27 PM »

GFS says overall Arctic temperature anomalies declining from -0.3 to -2.1 celsius over the next 5 days.

I would rephrase that by saying the anomaly (negative, as it is) is growing not declining !

Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic Image of the Day
« on: January 31, 2020, 01:26:37 AM »
Barrow cold now, but slow start is very evident in the Freezing degree days stats. Southern Alaska is well ahead of normal - but that's not where the Arctic is !

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019/2020 freezing season
« on: January 31, 2020, 12:07:48 AM »
Agreed, I was conflating "statistical insignificance" with meaningless.  Yes, there is value in knowing that something doesn't work.

Yes same here. That was my intention.

There should be no bravado about the current state of the Arctic.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019/2020 freezing season
« on: January 30, 2020, 08:48:24 PM »
XY Plot of NSIDC Average January extent versus the following September's min from year 2006 onwards.

TBH I think it is a bit of a meaningless plot because it takes no account of ice thickness and there are so many other factors that can affect ice between January and September.

Over this time period a january average of circa 13.7 was followed by a range of Sept Mins of anywhere between 3.39 and 5.05 million km2 

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