With things looking so serious in the Arctic right now, it was high time for another corny pun!
Instead of doing three different posts, I'm combining three different comparisons of fringe regions for today's date. Of course, I'll be using the excellent University of Bremen sea ice concentration maps. If you prefer the holistic view, you can go to the concentration maps page on the Arctic Sea Ice Graphs site. A reminder from the UB webpage: "As we are using SSMIS data instead of AMSR-E data, the quality of the resulting maps has yet to be assessed." There are probably some differences between this year's SIC map and those of previous years - probably in colouration -, but IMO they're small enough to discard.
Let's start with Bering and Chukchi (click on the image for a larger version):
2012 seems to have made up the deficit and looks very similar to all other years except 2011. Which is not surprising as the Bering Sea is almost devoid of ice. Yes, all that ice that was used to mislead a couple of extra people here and there in some quarters, is now gone. On the MASIE chart we can see 2012 right in there with the other years, except for 2011 diving down:
Things haven't changed much here. Where other years seems to have just started losing ice in that region between Novaya Zemlya (that big island) and the Siberian coast, 2012 has practically no ice left there. Only 2011 comes close to it, but has more ice around Svalbard. Speaking of Svalbard, look at how spectacularly ice-free and circumnavigable it is in 2006 around this date. 2006 has been the big guy in this region, but 2011 and 2012 are in a league of their own now. Can anyone tell me why those waters won't heat up big time and we see the same thing next year all over again?
Finally, we have Hudson Bay:
The 2012 sea ice in Hudson Bay is a tad slow to melt out this year, as can be seen on the MASIE chart:But all this means is that there is more melting potential, on top of the lead 2012 has already established on most SIE and SIA graphs. Because I can guarantee you this ice will melt out. The only thing of importance here is how much solar energy the bay's waters will soak up, as that will determine in part how fast things will freeze over again, and how thick the ice will be next year. And so on, and so on.
I might return to Hudson Bay in a week or two, but maybe I won't as it doesn't really matter for the rest of the melting season. All the action will now take place in the Laptev, East Siberian and Beaufort Seas. And then the Arctic Basin and Canadian Archipelago, where all the thick ice is. Or maybe I should say 'thickish'. The really thick ice is a thing of the not too distant past.