Last week, Arctic Sea began a gradual re-freeze from the extreme record low values set this year. Now, after about a week of re-freeze, values remain below the records for extent and area set in 2007 and 2011.
According to JAXA, sea ice extent is now 3.87 million square kilometers, nearly 400,000 square kilometers below the record low set in 2007. Cryosphere Today is showing sea ice area at 2.57 million square kilometers, about 350,000 square kilometers below the 2011 record. At the current rate of refreeze, it will be sometime in early October before sea ice area and extent begins to surpass the record lows for these years.
In total, sea ice area and extent are tracking nearly 4 million square kilometers below the 1980s average and about 2.4 million square kilometers below the average range for 1979-2008. For the date of September 25, both sea ice area and extent are currently at an all-time record low.
With the seasonal shift, we are currently beginning to see refreeze. But it important to put this refreeze into context — it will likely be mid-November before the Arctic even begins to reach extents usually experienced during late summer as near back as the 1980s. To forget the vast melt of 2012 and continue on as if we are in a state of normalcy would be a vast failure of rational thinking.
Please also watch this fantastic summary of the great sea ice melt experienced this year and over the past 30 years: