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.
August 1st 2010
Another month has gone by and 2010 ends it just below the 7 million mark. The last few days since the previous SIE update saw a gradual increase and went from 45,312 square km reported for the 29th to 77,969 square km for the 30th, ending the month with a very decent 86,719 square km. And so 2010 has at least managed to end a disastrous month with two highest reported daily melts in a row.
Lord Soth has worded it perfectly in a comment on the last SIE update, so I'll happily plagiarize:
led 2010 for just 4 days. 2010 will now leave 2009 in the dust. With
an average melt of 48,654, and no century melts, 2009 will not stand a
chance of competing. The new race will be with 2008. With 5 century melts and an average
melt of 70,121; 2008 will stand a good chance of overtaking 2010.
Things will be much clearer in seven days, as the average melt for the
first seven days of august 2008 was an amazing 102,567 sq. km. per day.
2009 led 2010 for just 4 days. 2010 will now leave 2009 in the dust. With an average melt of 48,654, and no century melts, 2009 will not stand a chance of competing.
The new race will be with 2008. With 5 century melts and an average melt of 70,121; 2008 will stand a good chance of overtaking 2010. Things will be much clearer in seven days, as the average melt for the first seven days of august 2008 was an amazing 102,567 sq. km. per day.
The current difference between 2010 and the other years is as follows:
2006: -221K (70,025)
2007: +547K (98,609)
2008: -348K (81,069)
- 2009: -33K (92,127)
The average daily melt for the month of July is between brackets. 2010's average daily melt for July was 62,601 square km per day, much, much lower than in the previous 4 years, fully compensating the record melts in May and June.
Here's the IJIS sea ice extent graph:
The trend on the Cryosphere Today sea ice area graph is still declining slowly but steadily, and currently stands at -1.544 million square km. I'll be writing a post later today on the interesting dynamics between area and extent that we have been witnessing the past week or so. In the meantime here's the CT sea ice area graph:
The steady decline must be caused by the drops in sea ice area in the Arctic Basin as well as the East Siberian Sea, where the spreading out of the ice seems to have finally reached a point of saturation, helped by winds blowing northwards (as the smoke from the extensively burning tundra is showing). The Kara Sea is almost empty of ice and will be followed soon by the Laptev Sea and the Beaufort Sea. As we have seen whenever the clouds moved aside a bit, the ice in the Canadian Archipelago is also disappearing.
Atmospheric conditions still aren't optimal for the melting/compacting of sea ice, as can be seen on the weather map from the University of Cologne, with the Arctic Oscillation staying in positive mode, meaning low pressure areas continue to dominate the Arctic, keeping temperatures low and cloudiness high:
As Jim Dowling mentions in the comment section of the last SIE update, things might change in a few days from now:
The massive wildfires in eastern siberia will be depositing a lot of soot on the ice pack - see
From Aug 6 for at least 5 days, it is expected that a large high pressure will sit over the pole:
That will cause in-situ melting, although the sun aint so strong. However, the soot from the fires should increase the albedo effect.
Hopefully this comes about so I can make/update some animations, as we are entering the most interesting time period of the melting season, with the Passages opening up and Norwegians sailing through both of them in one season.
TIPS - Other interesting blog posts and news articles concerning the Arctic and its ice:
I have updated the Cloudy Interlude blog post with the animation of the big ice floe breaking off on the northeastern coast of Greenland, not just to show how the ice floes has completely disintegrated, but also that it has hardly moved during the whole process of disintegration. This implies there isn't much ice transport out of Fram Strait.
Not directly to do with the Arctic, but as it is about two subjects that interest me greatly I recommend reading Patrick Lockerby's latest piece: Peak Oil and Global Warming.
SkepicalScience has a good overview of scientific papers that deal with mass loss of the Greenland ice sheet.
ScienceDaily: "Parts of the Arctic have cooled over the past century, but temperatures have been rising steeply since 1990. This is the finding of a summer temperature reconstruction for the past 400 years produced on the base of tree rings from regions beyond the Arctic Circle." Read on...