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 8th 2014
Just like two weeks ago, the big question is: Will the 2014 melting season end up near 2013 (higher even), or not? Given the slow start and continued static nature of this year's melting season, and dramatic slowdown in modeled sea ice volume, this question seems to be answered already. But the Arctic wouldn't be the Arctic if it didn't do something to challenge preconceived answers.
The weather that was forecast two weeks ago, came about and persisted: a high pressure area dominated regions that matter a lot at this point of the melting season, like the Beaufort, Chukchi and East Siberian Seas. Of course, just like most of the melting season, the prolonged spell of clear skies and insolation on the Pacific side of the Arctic was offset by very little movement on the Atlantic side of the Arctic and in the centre of the ice pack, and thus the effects so far haven't become visible on the area and extent graphs.
Sea ice concentration maps tell a different story though, with vast swathes of yellow and green showing up on the Uni Bremen SIC map. At the last moment, just a few weeks before freezing becomes a factor in the final act of the melting season, the Arctic sea ice pack experiences a massive assault by the Sun and its cohorts. Some (very) late momentum is now being built up, but whether there is enough time for substantial drops, remains to be seen.
Sea ice area (SIA)
Just like last year, the trend line on the Cryosphere Today graph stalled for a while. Volatility has continued with very large drops being offset by upticks. 2014 is now clearly battling it out with 2013 and 2009: