Pace of Refreeze Keeps Arctic Sea Ice 55-60 Percent Below 1980s Values For This Time of Year

Today, sea ice area continued a moderate rate of advance for this time of year. Overall, values increased by about 60,000 square kilometers to reach 2.82 million square kilometers, which is still below the record low set just last year. JAXA and NSIDC are also showing moderate rates of refreeze, with extent values still below records set in 2007 before they were shattered this year.

Overall, JAXA and most monitors are showing sea ice area and extent at record lows for this date and at 55-60 percent below seasonal values for this day during the 1980s.

Yesterday’s report from NSIDC had numerous interesting highlights. One included an analysis of sea ice age showing that young ice is becoming dominant as Arctic sea ice continues to decline. You can see the difference between 2007 and 2012 sea ice age in the following graph, provided by NSIDC below:

Most telling in these graphs and images is a massive loss of five year or older ice from 2007 to 2012. The result is that Arctic sea ice is even more vulnerable to melt than it was post 2007.

The Arctic has a long way to go to have any reasonable resemblance of recovery for this time of year through winter. And with temperatures beginning to fall throughout the region it does seem likely that rates of freeze will pick up a bit. However, a lot of heat energy remains locked in the water and the Arctic has a severe ice deficit to recover from. So it remains doubtful whether winter refreeze will better the Arctic’s position to endure the summer melt coming in 2013.

Links:

http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

https://sites.google.com/site/arcticseaicegraphs/

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

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1 Comment

  1. makes me want to cry~

    Reply

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