After recent records in the Cryosphere Today global sea ice area dataset - such as lowest maximum on record and longest negative anomaly streak - it is my pleasure to announce that a new record minimum global sea ice area hasn't been hit this year. The Arctic SIA is relatively low for the time of year, but the Antarctic SIA is on the high side, and about to reach its minimum. So unless something crazy happens in the Arctic, like the maximum being hit extremely early and an extremely fast start to the melting season, this year's minimum global SIA could go lower still. But it doesn't look like the weather up North is going to allow that, and besides, we haven't reached that stage yet where things like that could happen (I think).
Here's the graph from the Polish Pogoda i Klimat blog:
As you can see there was a dip about 10 days ago. The trend has been stable since, but needs to dip again quite fiercely to threaten the current minimum (at least 250K). There was a second dip last year almost reaching a lower low, but personally I'm not seeing that happen this year.
Here's one of Larry Hamilton's bar graphs showing the minimum in relation to previous years:
It's the 5th lowest minimum global SIA. Of course, Cryosphere Today has its own global SIA graph, with the anomaly from the 1979-2008 baseline below it.
Now that the minimum global SIA has been hit, we can focus our attention on the maximum Arctic sea ice area. This year's trend has just passed the 13 million km2 mark and if the ice pack expands another 100K or so, last year's record will remain standing. Here's the graph showing the current situation (again from the Pogoda i Klimat blog):
You can discuss Arctic SIA developments in this comment thread until I open the Open Thread for March.