There are a couple of reporters out there who write really good articles about the Arctic, and Alaska Dispatch News' Yereth Rosen is one of them. Just a couple of days ADN published this article of hers on the extreme temperature anomalies in the Arctic this year. Below is an excerpt, and below that I have a couple of notes on recent temperatures and the short-term forecast.
Persistent Arctic and sub-Arctic warmth expected to continue for months
The Arctic has been gripped in extraordinary warmth since December, when an Atlantic storm blew in from the south and pushed temperatures near the North Pole to about the point of thaw.
Expect that unusual warmth to continue, at least in the short term, experts advise.
Temperatures in eastern Siberia and parts of Alaska could reach above 80 degrees in coming days, according to the University of Maine's Climate Reanalyzer. Temperatures are likely to be above normal in all of Alaska this June and all the way through October, according to the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center. Most of Canada is also likely to have higher-than-normal temperatures, at least through fall, according to Environment Canada's seasonal forecasts.
"It has been an outlier year," Slater said.
He identified four "notable zones" of unusual warmth in the Arctic and circumpolar north — the central Arctic, which was warmed up by the December storm; the Barents and Kara seas, where lack of winter ice allowed heat and moisture to stream into the atmosphere; southwestern Alaska, where ice was especially low in the Bering Sea; and the land areas of Siberia.
Read the rest here.
Finally, fi-nal-ly, the trend line on the DMI 80N temperature graph has dipped below average, after being in positive territory for the entire year so far (something never seen before). This graph shows the (modelled) daily mean temperature of the Arctic area north of the 80th northern parallel, shown on the image to the right (found here):
As the entire region north of 80° is filled with ice it's difficult for temperatures to stray too far from the average during Summer. So far, the warm temperatures have mainly hindered sea ice growth, but as freezing temperatures have now all but vanished from almost the entire Arctic, the heat will aid solar radiation in melting the ice.
But not just the ice. As I've pointed out in various blog posts, snow cover has been very low all over the Northern Hemisphere (especially in North America) for months now. This is important, as there seems to be a correlation between June land snow cover and the Arctic sea ice September minimum. Compared to previous years 2016 is looking low, second only to 2012 (see here).
In Alaska and East Siberia all the snow has almost completely melted out, and the largest remaining patches of snow are situated in Nunavut, just south of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, and Central Siberia, south of Taymyr Peninsula. And this is where the current temperature forecast comes in. According to Climate Reanalyzer a lot of anomalously high temperatures are forecast to envelop just these last snow-covered regions:
This animation is a combination of the GFS temperature anomaly forecast and the IMS Snow & Ice Chart as provided by the US National Ice Center. We'll see how much snow is left after next week. Build that snowman while you still can.
Current weather conditions aren't as conducive to extent decrease as they were the past couple of weeks, and will remain so for the coming week, but there's plenty of stuff going on nonetheless. We now await the PIOMAS update to see what May has meant for sea ice volume.
PS Here's May SAT for the 2005-2016 period (NCEP Reanalysis Dataset):
PPS Over at The Great White Con, Jim Hunt has posted some additional info on what the anomalous warmth in Siberia is doing to the ice. Check it out.