August 4th 2013
"As the weather is switching again, things will probably slow down." That's what I wrote two weeks ago for the conclusion of ASI 2013 update 5, and never has a greater understatement been made. At least not on this blog.
The weather did switch from an ideal set-up for ice decrease (causing one of the most rapid decreases on record) to a situation that is next best for ice decrease, with a fierce, but short storm at its heart, finally followed by the neither-fish-nor-flesh set-up where weather is fickle in the Arctic and never really settles on a stable pattern that can deepen to one of the other two states.
This almost always slows down ice decrease, and I say 'almost' because last year it didn't. Frankly, I was expecting it wouldn't have as much of an impact as it did in the past two weeks, because we started the year out with a record amount of first-year ice. And despite (or because of) the slow start to the melting season the melting potential is huge.
But huge or no huge, the impact of the weather has been huge as well. In fact, it's so big that I'm starting to doubt my eyes.
Sea ice area (SIA)
I don't know what is going on over at Cryosphere Today, but the melting has come to a complete standstill. In the past 10 days the ice pack has not lost, but gained 20K km2! That's so crazy for this phase of the melting season that I barely have words for it. It's unique as far as the record goes.
Here are the graphs for this month and the previous one: