The first Sea Ice Outlook of this year has been published. The SIO is organized by the Sea Ice Prediction Network (as part of the Arctic research program 'Study of Environmental Arctic Change', or SEARCH), and is a compilation of projections for the September 2016 Arctic sea ice extent, based on NSIDC monthly extent values. These projections are submitted by professionals as well as amateurs (public outlooks).
Here's the summary for the June report:
The distribution of Outlooks for statistical and dynamical models have a median extent that is 0.15 million square kilometers different from each other, with a slightly larger spread for the statistical models than the dynamical models. The same sort of spread difference was seen in 2015. Separating out fully-coupled dynamical models from ice-ocean models shows that fully coupled models give a slightly lower forecast with a median of 4.57 versus 4.62, yet have a larger spread (Figure 2). The median forecast of heuristic forecasts is 4.0 million square kilometers and the spread is small. However, actual contributions to the two polls show a diverse range from 2.9 to 5.3 million square kilometers.
The overall width of the distribution of Outlooks has narrowed compared to last year: the interquartile spread across all types of contributions is 0.53 million square kilometers, which is a decrease of 0.27 million square kilometers since last year. The overall range is also reduced to 3.4 to 5.23 million square kilometers.
And here's the figure showing all the projections (click for a larger version):
The September minimums for the last 11 years (in million km2, found here):
There has also been a poll on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum with 105 people voting. The most voted for bin was 'between 3.75 and 4.0 million km2' and the average was 3.59 million km2. The median, however, was 3.81 million km2, which is almost half a million km2 lower than the June SIO median of 4.28 million km2. If either of these two medians - or any number between them - turns out to be correct, 2016 will end up second lowest on record.
Not that I have any favourites, but the predictions I pay most attention to, are those from the PIOMAS team (4.2 million km2), the CPOM team (4.5 million km2) that has melt pond distribution as its basis (see here), and those from people who regularly comment here and on the Forum, such as Chris Reynolds (4.6 million km2) and Rob Dekker (3.8 million km2).
One other prediction I find interesting, is that by Ionita-Scholtz and Grosfeld (4.7 million km2), because I met the former at EGU2016 where she told me she's researching how sea ice loss affects atmospheric patterns (for instance, winter weather in Europe due to sea ice loss in the Barentsz-Kara region). It'd be cool if she could predict these things in advance, so I know when to start digging the plants out and put them in the attic. ;-)
It'll be interesting to see how these predictions evolve as the melting season progresses. It's very difficult to do a prediction based on May data alone, but we'll know more after June and July. In the meantime there's a new poll up on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum, where you can vote on what you think the NSIDC 2016 Arctic SIE September minimum will be. Voting closes on July 12th. Things are about to get exciting/interesting in the Arctic, so be sure to vote!
Read the entire 2016 June Outlook Report, a summary of current conditions and more detailed predictions here.