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.
September 14th 2014
The 2014 melting season is about to end. The end result is very similar to that of last year, despite large differences between both melting seasons. Last year the Arctic was dominated by persistent cyclones, keeping things cold and cloudy. This year there were more bouts of sunny weather, but it seems little heat was imported from lower latitudes. A lack of strong pressure gradients also caused relatively little movement and export, clearly to be seen on the Atlantic side of the Arctic, where in the last couple of years (even last year, see here) an onslaught had taken place.
At the same time, on the Pacific side of the Arctic, the ice that had been strengthened due to last year's rebound, managed to hold out through much of the melting season, although the late momentum seems to be sustaining the melting season now (together with weather, of course). Large areas of very thin ice and milky wisps in the Beaufort, Chukchi and Eastern Siberian Seas are disappearing, keeping many a trend line dropping on sea ice graphs.
But most of this weak ice will be saved by the bell, like we saw in 2010 and 2011, and the 2014 melting season will basically end up at the same level as last year and 2009. If not today, then later this week.
Sea ice area (SIA)
The season may already have turned the corner on the Cryosphere Today graph, after having dipped 71K below last year's minimum on the same date as last year: