During the melting season I'm writing (bi-)weekly updates on the current situation with regards to Arctic sea ice (ASI). Central to these updates are the daily Cryosphere Today sea ice area (SIA) and IJIS sea ice extent (SIE) numbers, which I compare to data from the 2005-2013 period (NSIDC has a good explanation of sea ice extent and area in their FAQ). I also look at other things like regional sea ice area, compactness, temperature and weather forecasts, anything of particular interest.
July 27th 2014
The 2014 melting season so far:
- coming out of an over-all mild winter
- prolonged cold, cloudy start, very little melt ponds
- at the end of the start some weather patterns conducive to melting
- after a couple of weeks high pressure areas are replaced with lows
And that's the point where we are at right now. As forecasted two weeks ago, the low times have led to slow times. Not that there has been any prolonged period of fast declines this year. Sure, high pressure was dominating the Arctic for a while, leading to clearer skies and thus more insolation. But more is needed for sea ice area and extent numbers to drop substantially. Things like wind to bring in warm air and move the ice around.
Like a band once sang: "You're perfect, yes, it's true, but without me you're only you." The same applies to high pressure areas. Yes, they are conducive to melting, but without lows, there are no strong winds to speak of, there's no transport, things get static. There has been relatively very little movement this year. At least when lows dominate (like last year), the ice pack gets dispersed, with holes showing up all over the place.
The big question now is whether 2014 ends up near 2013 (higher even), or not.
Sea ice area (SIA)
Occasional century breaks are offset by low daily losses, keeping the 2014 trend line on the Cryosphere Today graph near the top of the 2005-2014 range: