Arctic Sea Ice Continues Inexorable Plunge Toward New Record Lows


Today, Arctic sea ice continued its record plunge. Measurements for sea ice area from Cryosphere Today were 2,968,000 square kilometers or just 63,000 square kilometers above the all time record low. At the current rate of melt, it is likely this record will be breached within the next few days.

Looking at the image above reveals an ailing Arctic ice sheet bearing the scars of multiple large holes and fringed by thin and dispersed sections of ice. With a month of melt still remaining, the sheet appears to have very little in the way of resiliency for new weather impacts coming down the pipe.

Sea ice extent also continued its rapid decline with the Japanese Space Agency showing 4,800,000 square kilometers of sea ice extent, about equal to the third lowest measurement set in 2008.


Meanwhile, a very strong high pressure system has formed directly over the North Pole. This weather pattern tends to draw winds in from the south and lead to sea ice compaction into a smaller mass as well as melt along the fringes. This weather pattern was the dominant one that led to such low sea ice values in 2007. So a shift to this pattern for end of summer 2012 is likely to enhance melt and shrink sea ice even further.


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