During the melting season I'm regularly writing updates on the current sea ice extent (SIE) as reported by IJIS (a joint effort of the International Arctic Research Center and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and compare it to the sea ice extents in the period 2005-2010. NSIDC has a good explanation of what sea ice extent is in their FAQ. I also look at other things like sea ice area, concentration, volume, temperature and weather forecasts, anything that can be of particular interest. Check out the Arctic sea ice graphs webpage for daily updated graphs, maps and live webcam images.
September 24th 2011
This is the last SIE update for this melting season, which ended about two weeks ago (feels like an eternity). I have basically said everything I think needed saying with regards to the minimum, so I won't repeat myself here. Just like last year I've had a very educative experience, and I'd like to thank the 'old' crew and newcomers for all the info and inspiring speculation they've been bringing to this little corner of the Internet. That's what's making this blog worthwhile in my opinion.
As always I'll start with the IJIS sea ice extent graph:
We can see the upswing when the melting season ended abruptly on September 9th. After a few days the increase slowed down and it's now more or less tracking 2008. The interesting thing to do is to try and find out what the mechanism is behind the uptick and the subsequent slowdown in increase.
It has obviously everything to do with the weather at this stage of the transition phase between melting/compacting and spreading/freezing, so I suggest we first have a look at this animation of images from the DMI Centre for Ocean and Ice that I've saved: