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.
July 20th 2016
Three weeks have passed since the previous ASI update, but I must say that I haven't become much wiser since then. I was expecting this year to start falling behind on the extent and area graphs, as weather conditions that aren't really conducive to melting, have continued to dominate the Arctic.
More than one month and a half of cloudy weather, not exceptional warm, little compaction, hardly any Fram Strait export, but this year somehow still manages to stay among the lowest on record. Such circumstances would have inevitably led to a major stalling on the graphs in previous years, but not this year. It would seem the lack of melting momentum is being compensated by another kind of momentum, brought on by the mild winter, early melt onset/opening up, extreme low snow cover and anomalously high sea surface temperatures.
The question still is whether this year has the oomph to end up in the top 3 September minimums, but whereas three weeks ago I thought it probably wouldn't, I'm not so sure anymore.