Commenter Gas Glo has just reported that Jinlun Zhang of the University of Wachington's Polar Science Center has issued a first forecast for the September 2011 average sea ice extent: 5.0 million square kilometers.
As it says on Dr. Zhang's webpage: The ensemble forecasting system is based on a synthesis of a model, NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data, and satellite observations of ice concentration. The model is the Pan-Arctic Ice-Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS, Zhang and Rothrock, 2003).
Here's a nifty animation of the forecast:
To put this forecast of 5.0 million km2 into perspective, here are the NSIDC September SIE values for the past several years:
- 2005: 5.57
- 2006: 5.92
- 2007: 4.30
- 2008: 4.68
- 2009: 5.36
- 2010: 4.90
This forecast isn't final. It's updated every month as more data is put into the model. Last year Dr. Zhang was pretty much on the ball with his final prediction of 4.8 million square kilometers for the July Sea Ice Outlook.
Mind the caveat on Dr. Zhang's webpage:
The purpose of the seasonal predictions of arctic sea ice is for scientific research and education only. There are many uncertainties with the predictions and the results must be viewed with caution. The work is conducted at the Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington. Support is provided by NSF. Neither the Government nor the University of Washington nor any individual person makes any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any responsibility or liability for the use of the prediction results or any other results in this web site.