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.
July 13th 2014
The previous update from two weeks ago ended with this:
The next PIOMAS update might tell us more about the ice pack's ability to withstand whatever conditions the weather throws at it.
The PIOMAS update reported a slowdown in the volume decrease during June, with 2014 now highest of all the post-2010 years. Combined with the lack of melt ponds and transport, and the slow decline of sea ice area (see below), this has definitely made a new record impossible. If it weren't for this map of June sea ice thickness distribution compared to last year, I'd even be inclined to say that 2014 will end up outside of the top 5, very close to 2013.
But the map shows that except for the core of the ice pack, the ice is thinner in some key fringe areas such as the Beaufort Sea and the East Siberian Sea. Then there's the increasingly fascinating hole in the Laptev Sea (see below), which will reach who knows how far North. And so it might be possible for this melting season to end up in the top 3, despite its bad start and lack of melt ponds.
But for that to happen, a lot of weather that's conducive to melt, transport and compaction is needed.
Sea ice area (SIA)
Despite a couple of century breaks this month, the 2014 trend line (as calculated at Cryosphere Today) refuses to go down faster, and instead, is moving towards the highest position in the 2005-2014 period: