According to reports from Cryosphere Today, sea ice area is now in record territory. Currently measuring 2,986,000 square kilometers, this is the third lowest sea ice area in the satellite record. It is also just 81,000 square kilometers above the previous record low of 2,905,000 square kilometers. Yesterday, sea ice area values were 111,000 square kilometers higher. A similar one-day drop would break the all-time record low for sea ice area.
With about one month of melt still remaining, it appears likely that a new record low will be set. Perhaps one that is substantially below past measures of sea ice area at end of summer.
Sea ice extent measures have also continued their plunge into record territory over the past few days. The current map from NSIDC shows sea ice extent currently well below the 2007 value for this date:
Not only is the current value lower than the record low for today set in 2007, the trend line is also steeper showing a higher rate of melt day after day than during the same period of 2007.
What this means is these numbers are coming in earlier in the season than even the previous record values. For sea ice area, even these record low numbers were occurring 9-10 days later in the season. From this time of year ’til end of season, sea ice area declines have ranged from around 200,000 square kilometers to 1.1 million square kilometers. Even if only 200,000 square kilometers were lost in this period, sea ice area would reach a substantial new record low. If 1.1 million square kilometers were lost, this year would make 2007 look like a mere footnote in a tragic story of epic sea ice decline.
As with any period of Arctic weather, end of summer conditions can be very unpredictable. Needless to say, it seems increasingly likely that 2012 will result in new record lows for sea ice area, volume, and extent continuing a trend of unprecedented melt far exceeding the range of scientific prediction by those at NASA, NOAA, or the IPCC.