Well, November definitely was an Oh Jesus-month. Just like during October, the stall in sea ice extent has been reflected in the PIOMAS sea ice volume numbers. The Arctic amassed just 2904 km3 of sea ice, as compared to 3721 km3 for 2012 and 4054 km3 for 2011. The last time a November clocked in less than 3000 km3 was in 2006 (2567 km3), but right now 2016 is more than 4000 km3 lower than 2006, which means there should have been so much more opportunity for expansion. It's just crazy.
And so the differences with previous months have only become larger:
Yes, your eyes are seeing what you think they're seeing: 2016 is 749 km3 lower than 2012, a new record low. Look, here's another visual aid, the volume graph produced by sea ice data virtuoso Wipneus:
Of course, the trend line on the PIOMAS sea ice volume anomaly graph is now firmly lodged in the 2 standard deviation territory:
With extent and volume being so low at the end of October one would have expected an explosive increase of thin ice at the edges of the ice pack. The fact that this didn't happen during November, relatively speaking, means that average thickness should be somewhat higher. But the PIJAMAS graph - based on my crude calculation of PIOMAS volume numbers divided by total JAXA sea ice extent - shows a marginal increase of just 4 cm (where 10-20 cm has been the norm in the past decade):
This means that the thicker ice didn't get that much thicker either, resulting in this year going lower than 2012 on this graph as well. The thickness plot from the Polar Science Center still has 2012 lowest, but the gap has been as good as closed:
In this respect it is also interesting to see this animation posted by seaice.de over on the Forum, depicting the evolution of SMOS numbers since 2010 (remember, this ESA satellite is quite good at measuring ice thickness up to 0.5 metres):
There seems to be very little (thin) ice growth on the Atlantic side of the Arctic. As surprising as this is, it isn't all that surprising if you look at the current sea surface temperature anomalies there:
And how about sea ice volume distribution? Again, I've copied the 2010, 2011 and 2012 difference maps (the three lowest years after 2016) from the collage Wipneus posts every month over on the ASIF. This time I'm adding the PIOMAS Ice Thickness Anomaly for November 2016 relative to 2000-2015:
According to PIOMAS the ice north of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago is currently thicker than it was in those other ultra-low years. Mostly elsewhere the ice is thinner and some of that thicker ice still seems very vulnerable to Fram Strait export.
Last, but not least, here's a collage of CryoSat images as put out by CPOM at University College London, which shows sea ice volume matching the previous lows of 2011 and 2012, as well as having thicker ice north of the CAA (hat-tip to Sarat/Taras):
I'm trying to get into sabbatical mode, so I'm going to finish now. Suffice to say that if the current trend continues and the ice doesn't get a chance to thicken sufficiently this winter, things will get even more worrisome than they already are. Fortunately, the media has been writing a lot about the current unprecedentedness of events in the Arctic (and Antarctic), which is a sign that this serious situation is getting more and more embedded into the collective consciousness.