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 2005-2013 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.
August 24th 2014
Purely from a melting perspective - never mind the consequences which are already happening, or the way the public views AGW - this has been quite a boring melting season. It has some interesting features nevertheless, like the Northern Sea Route opening yet again and clear sailing up to 85N (more on that later this week). And we still don't have an answer to the question which of the two rebound years, 2013 and 2014, will end up with the lowest minimum. Which in itself is still kind of exciting.
The late momentum that started 2-3 weeks ago has kept ice decline steady, but it wasn't enough to cause massive drops. There was some compaction and quite a bit of melting on the Pacific side of the Arctic, but this was offset somewhat by refreezing melt ponds and a lack of transport on the Atlantic side of the Arctic. The momentum has now stopped building up, as insolation has practically stopped playing a role and the minimum will largely be determined by compaction and transport.
We'll have to see what the year of in situ melting can come up with as we enter the last few weeks of the melting season.
Sea ice area (SIA)
With that massive melt pond refreeze on the Pacific side of the Arctic, the 2014 trend line (on the Cryosphere Today graph) was highest in the 2005-2014 period for a couple of days, but has now started dropping again. According to Wipneus, who estimates the CT SIA numbers two days ahead on the ASIF, it will continue to do so, and thus will get closer to the 2013 trend line: