I'm regularly writing updates on the current sea ice extent (SIE) as reported by IJIS (a joint effort of the International Arctic Research Center and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and compare it to the sea ice extents in the period 2006-2009. The IJIS graph is favoured by almost everyone, probably because it looks so nice compared to other graphs (like the one by Arctic ROOS, the University of Bremen and the Danish Meteorological Institute). All the years have a nice colour of their own which makes it easy to eyeball the differences between trends. Most of the betting on minimum SIE is based on the IJIS data. NSIDC has a nice explanation of what sea ice extent is in their FAQ.
July 13th 2010
After the dramatic 30K melts reported in the previous SIE update 2010 has improved a bit and moved on to the 40's. The 10th of July saw a melt of 48,750 square km and the 11th enjoyed an extent loss of 47,500 square km. So not just 40's, but late 40's. This has been topped by today's reported melt of 59,531 square km. There were some big 15-25K revisions in the past week, but the last few days didn't see such drastic adjustments.
2007 is still in century break mode and has been extending its lead over 2010 rapidly. The other years are struggling too, though, so 2010 has managed to hold on to that second position for the time being. But some of those favourable weather conditions will have to return soon if it wants to keep competing. 2009 has a series of century breaks coming up soon (7 in 12 days) and 2008 is also starting to gear up for the last 2 months of the melting season. 2006 had pretty much burnt out by this time of year.
The current difference between 2010 and the other years is as follows:
2006: -111K (70,025)
2007: +154K (98,609)
2008: -698K (81,069)
- 2009: -518K (92,127)
The average daily melt for the month of July is between brackets. 2010's average daily melt for July is currently 57,799 square km per day.
And here's the IJIS graph:
The Sea Ice Area trend on Cryosphere Today keeps plummeting. It is currently 1.333 million square km below the 1979-2008 mean (it was almost 2 million square km below it two weeks ago):
A few days ago I wrote the people that are running the website for the Polar Ice Prediction System (PIPS) if they could switch off the falling snow flash animation on their website because it was doubling the power consumption of my computer, as these nifty animations always do. I was really pleased to see today that they have done so. My computer is nice and quiet now and emitting less CO2. Thanks, PIPS people!
I've made a small animation to show the PIPS daily forecast of ice displacement from the last 3 weeks:
It can be seen clearly that things changed radically at the end of the month. Up till then a strong Beaufort Gyre and the Transpolar Drift Stream were pushing the ice out of the Arctic Basin. Now it has been chaos for the past two weeks with arrows pointing everywhere. I wonder if and when the arrows will point in a clockwise direction again, and if we will then see daily melt numbers pick up again. Wait and see.
TIPS - Other interesting blog posts and news articles concerning the Arctic and its ice:
Highly recommended: Patrick Lockerby's Arctic Ice July 2010 - Update #2, describing some of the recent Arctic weirdness.
Over at SkepticalScience John Cook has a piece up explaining that Steven Goddard can claim fraud all he likes, the Greenland ice sheet is still losing ice at an accelerating rate.
Patrick Lockerby has put up the very handy ChatterBox Arctic Index that collects all his articles on the Arctic so far.
Freelance science journalist James Hrynyshyn has written an interesting overview of the Arctic on his Class M blog, called 'Obsessing over ice cover'.
The BBC has a comforting article telling us that seeds from some of North America's hottest food crops have arrived on the Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard to be stored in a "doomsday vault".
The Voice of Russia reports that scientists at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee are planning a large-scale, long-term ecosystem experiment to test the effects of global warming on the icy layers of Arctic permafrost.