Last month's tentative conclusion has definitely been confirmed for now:
It seems that last year's rebound has been fully negated after a couple of relatively warm months (the flipside of cold outbreaks in the US) and 2014 will start out at approximately the same level as previous years.
After the last minimum ended up being 1700 km3 above that of record year 2012, the current modeled volume for March 31st is 241 km3 below last year's. The difference with 2011 was +401 km3 at the end of February, and has even increased to +480 km3. Other than that volume is now lower than all the other years in the record. Who would've thought this back in September? Well, the Arctic does as the Arctic will.
The graph produced by Wipneus shows a bit more clearly how 2014 is just below the other trend lines, with 2011 some further below:
With CT sea ice area numbers also being relatively low during March, average thickness (crudely calculated by dividing PIOMAS (PI) volume numbers with Cryosphere Today (CT)) hasn't gone lowest, although the 2014 trend line moved away from 2010 during the first two weeks of March, and joined the other low years.
Here's average thickness for March 31st in metres, with change from last month between brackets:
- 2005: 1.98 (+0.19)
- 2006: 1.92 (+0.11)
- 2007: 1.87 (+0.21)
- 2008: 1.84 (+0.17)
- 2009: 1.84 (+0.18)
- 2010: 1.76 (+0.12)
- 2011: 1.70 (+0.11)
- 2012: 1.68 (+0.11)
- 2013: 1.69 (+0.17)
- 2014: 1.73 (+0.13)
If you want to have a look at the data yourself, you can download the spreadsheet I use and update from GoogleDrive.
The Polar Science Center thickness graph looks slightly different, with 2014 jutting out above the other post-2010 years:
So, again, the recovery in volume seems to have disappeared due to a warm winter. A priori this would imply that the 2014 melting season could go every which way, as 'high' as 2013, or as low as 2012, depending on weather and distribution of volume across the ice pack.
This is something I will discuss in the 2013/2014 analysis that will be posted later this month. Just a few more weeks for volume to reach its maximum, even though the melting season has already started area/extent-wise. In the meantime I recommend reading this recent PIOMAS-related blog post by Chris Reynolds: What caused the volume loss in PIOMAS
It's all back to zero now. Could've been better, but could've been worse as well.