During the melting season I'm writing (bi-)weekly updates on the current situation with regards to Arctic sea ice (ASI). Because of issues with data based on the SSMIS sensor aboard DMSP satellites, I mainly focus on higher-resolution AMSR2 data from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), as reported on the Arctic Data archive System website. I also look at other things like regional sea ice area, compactness, temperature and weather forecasts, anything of particular interest.
June 11th 2016
This update could have easily borne the same title as update 1: Both sides. Two weeks ago the ice pack was shrinking on both sides of the Arctic, causing sea ice extent to drop to unprecedented daily lows. In the meantime, weather patterns have switched and the ice pack is now expanding on both sides!
Of course, a dispersing ice pack will cause extent loss to slow down, or even stall completely for a while. Especially if extent was extremely low to begin with. And so that enormous gap between this year and 2012 is getting smaller every day, fast. 2012 had perfect weather for melting during the first two weeks of June, and there was a large amount of thin ice that kept extent artificially high.
More importantly, these weather conditions set the tone for the rest of the 2012 melting season, as a large amount of melt ponds preconditioned the ice for big melts during July and August. This is where 2016 is falling behind now, even though it has been and still is lowest in many respects (extent, volume, snow cover).
2012 is punching hard in this round. Will it be enough to knock 2016 out?