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 2005-2014 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 19th 2015
We are now entering the final weeks of the 2015 melting season. A relatively cold and cloudy start (not as cold and cloudy as the two previous rebound years) was compensated by a July that was ideal for melting. A continuous bombardment of heat and sunshine for weeks on end has caused some late melting momentum which is now keeping sea ice extent and area numbers dropping relatively evenly, despite a switch in weather conditions since the beginning of the month (see ASI 2015 update 5: late momentum).
As expected, the 2015 trend line on most graphs is hovering between top 3 years 2012, 2007 and 2011, and rebound years 2013 and 2014. It's difficult to tell how low things will end up. Melting momentum is one thing, but at this stage of the melting season weather conditions have the last word. It's compaction rather than melting that determines the final shape of the ice pack, and compaction depends on which way the winds are blowing, which in turn depend on the constellation of cyclones and anti-cyclones, or high pressure areas. See this blog post from an eternity ago, 2010, that explains how it works.
And now for the details...
Sea ice area (SIA)