Arctic Sea-Ice Minimum is not close

From the NSIDC –

“While Arctic sea ice extent was tracking at record low levels in July and August, the pace of ice loss slowed considerably after the middle of August, despite above-average air temperatures over much of the Arctic Ocean.

“By August 14, extent started tracking above levels observed in 2012, resulting in the second lowest August extent in the satellite record. Although Arctic air temperatures are now falling below freezing, sea ice loss will likely continue for several weeks as heat stored in the ocean melts the underside of sea ice. Winds can also compress the pack further reducing sea ice extent. As of this post, the rate of sea ice loss has sped up again…

“On August 14, Arctic sea ice extent began tracking above 2012 levels, and continued to do so for the remainder of the month, resulting in a monthly average extent of 5.03 million square kilometers (1.94 million square miles). This is 310,000 square kilometers (120,000 square miles) above the 2012 average extent, the lowest in the satellite record, and 2.17 million square kilometers (838,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average for August.  On August 13, ice extent dropped below 5 million square kilometers (1.9 million square miles).

This never occurred prior to 2007, but has occurred every subsequent year apart from 2009 and 2013. Overall sea ice retreat during the second half of August was modest, taking place along the periphery of the ice edge within the Arctic Ocean. Sea ice concentrations remain low over many areas, especially along the ice edge in the Beaufort Sea and within the Laptev Sea.

“For the month as a whole, sea ice loss was most pronounced in the East Siberian Sea as the ice that had persisted in that region finally melted out. The ice edge is presently far north of its climatological average position everywhere except for a tongue of ice in the eastern part of the Beaufort Sea west of Banks Island, and around the island of Svalbard, where the ice edge remains near or slightly south of its average location for this time of year.

“While sea ice concentrations from the passive microwave record suggest that the Northwest Passage southerly route, or Amundsen’s route, is free of ice, operational ice analyses, which employ higher resolution visible band and radar satellite data, show some remaining ice around the Prince of Wales Island. The more northerly route through the Parry Channel and M’Clure Strait still has significant amounts of ice and will likely not open this year.” – NSIDC, report released 06SEP19, using data from 05SEP19

Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 6.59.02 AMIt appears that an extensive part of northeast Greenland coastline is in flux and has transformed.  This is young ice, as we remember that most old-age ice had melted earlier in the season.  Compare 03SEP19 to 05SEP19 at the northeast Greenland coastline.  It appears the re-growth phase has begun? At least along the Greenland coast.

Screen Shot 2019-09-04 at 7.26.03 AM

Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 6.59.40 AM



The updated NSIDC report took some time.  We might write this delay off to the Labor Day Weekend.  However, this chart now matches well the Danish View of events, and so far, confirms it.  As does the chart of Sea-Ice extent.   New trends in Sea-Ice melting and the effects of rising global temperatures, effects like compacting fresh sea-ice are all generating new phenomena. This takes time to analyze and correctly.

One, as yet unexplained event that we can record is this, as it is mentioned throughout the NSIDC update: the lack of a definitive correlation between Sea-Ice melt and extent, and the Arctic Air Temperature.  In other words, the ‘Hot European’ air mass blamed in part for the rapid August Arctic Sea-Ice melt, does not jive with what is observed.


Two posts are missing, one re-couped and updated The Danish View.  The other devolved into more of a political commentary of an underlying scientific observation, unacceptable in “I Really Appreciate Science”. While the posts here are “fluid” in the sense they do not end in content nor sceinitifc conclusions or re-writes for the matter, they never should become political commentary.  Sorry.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s