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 2005-2012 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.
June 28th 2014
A few weeks ago it looked as if the Sun was already setting on this year's melting season, but as usual things aren't what they seem in the Arctic, and the opposite has happened. The two previous ASI updates announced that the Sun was coming, and it did, bringing sunshine to compensate for the 2013-esque start of the melting season.
The absolute prerequisite for insolation over (parts of) the Arctic, is high atmospheric pressure. There has been plenty of that in the past weeks, so much so that there has been very little transport, as transport requires wind, caused by low and high pressure systems acting as cog wheels. And so melt rates depend mostly on solar energy, and air and sea surface temperatures.
Apparently this has been enough to let 2014 decline steadily, despite the lack of transport. Not so fast to battle it out with the lower trend lines, but not as slow as the higher trend lines either. The question now is how fast peripheral areas will melt out, as 2014 still has quite a bit of potential there, and if and how the Central Arctic Basin and the multi-year ice in the Beaufort Sea will respond to these high times.
Sea ice area (SIA)
Sea ice area numbers, as calculated at Cryosphere Today, had some very large drops in the past two weeks (4 almost double century breaks), with smaller drops interspersed. The steady drop causes 2014 to stick with years like 2006, 2008 and last year, instead of going the way of big droppers like 2010 and 2012. But, as Wipneus announces on the ASIF, CT will still drop a couple of century breaks before the month is out: