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Over on the ASIF commenter Romett1 posted this table showing Bering sea icea area numbers according to NSIDC:


Hi Neven

I have rarely seen the Bering area, in particular Alaska being so warm all winter, Bering Russian side area apparently has no stations for good data.
I can recall only 2 small periods of normal cooling. This was largely due to near static circulation associated with weak polar vortices, as reported in January,


At least the equally warmer Novaya Zemlya region finally got cold about a week or 2 ago, but Alaska remained above normal all winter , and true enough, its ice footprint or lack of ice, describes this quite well.

Jeff Kuper

Thanks for the write up on Bering, Neven.

Looking at the forecast for Nome for April, it would seem that very rarely is Nome expected to crack the melting point of fresh water. Thus, it would seem that the ice built up in and around the Norton sound will have to have the SST do the melting instead of the ambient air temp.

Question that might be ideally suited for FishoutofWater would be how does the record low ice extent for the Bering play into forecasting for cities such as Nome? One would expect that since large ice sheets in the Bering would normally cause temps to remain low in the Alaskan coastal cities this time of year that this bias may be included into the models. Since the ice sheet is much smaller than normal would the modeling for 4 weeks out be significantly adversely affected?

Meanwhile, while the Bering is an appropriate focal point, the action is about to heat up in the Okhotsk. Significant ice extent drops (more than 300k km squared) are about to commence in the next 3 weeks given the forecast, the current ice extent and the historical norm for this time of year.

Kevin McKinney

Fascinating, and a little unnerving. One possibility for Nome would be extra spring snow, if conditions set up a storm. That open water could bring the 'lake effect' to bear, theoretically.


Nice write up and this certainly seems unusual, although nowadays unusual is becoming normal. The Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook https://www.arcus.org/siwo merely reinforces this as well as providing some information on how this impacts the people living in that area.


"how does the record low ice extent for the Bering play into forecasting for cities such as Nome? "

Greetings Jeff

That would also create a great deal more influx from the North Pacific, making temperatures much warmer and wet, a lot of sea ice would have favored a more often presence of anticyclones which would have made your area drier and colder. What I have seen from Alaskan winter past was amazing, are the people there quite struck by all this warming?

Jim Hunt

Hi Wayne - Whilst not directly relevant to the Bering Sea of course, you might be interested in this snippet of information? I've just received this note from Don Perovich regarding Arctic IMB buoys this season:


We developed the next generation of our seasonal ice mass balance buoy and are deploying them. The new buoys have a number of improvements including a customized controller board. They also have a new format for the datastream, which means rewriting our data processing software. The plan is to finish the software revisions by June, so that the web site automatically gets updated.

We do have some deployment plans for this year.

1. Beaufort Sea – deployed last week.

2. Just north of Prudhoe Bay – deployed on Monday

3. Two deployed in Beaufort Sea in conjunction with WARM buoy – to be deployed later this week.

4. Three in Eastern Arctic – to be deployed in September

5. Two in Beaufort Sea – to be deployed in September.


That is awesome. Don Perovich is awesome. :-)

Rob Dekker

Thanks for the update Neven.

It is indeed quite spectacular what is happening in the Bering. It would be interesting to keep an eye on how this anomaly works its way into the ice cover of the Chukchi sea going into the melting season.

P.S. The Arctic Sea Ice Forum seems to be down.
I get this message :

Table './arcticse2/smf_messages' is marked as crashed and last (automatic?) repair failed


That is good news Jim

Did they fix top thermistors overheating by sun rays problem I wonder?


Thanks, Rob. I'll see if I can get it up again.



The gyre is displaying continued unsettling behaviour!


The ASIF is back up again. Thanks to Fred the Easter Bunny. :-)

Jim Hunt

Wayne - What was the CRREL web site hasn't been updated in ages, so there's no news on the design of the new buoy as yet. I guess I could ask Don?

Meanwhile, although it doesn't sound as though there'll be an IMB buoy installed near the North Pole this year, the first news has finally started flowing from the Barneo Ice Camp 2018 edition:



Now the question is whether this will remain an isolated phenomenon or help putting the Fram into export mode during the melting season...

Jim Hunt

It has been reported in certain quarters that some submarines have recently become "stuck in the Arctic ice".

Needless to say the truth of the matter is rather different:


Jim Hunt

Neven is no doubt working on a new post even as we speak, but Wipneus has already crunched the March PIOMAS gridded thickness numbers:



I actually haven't started on a new PIOMAS update yet, Jim, so thanks. As expected sea ice volume has gone back a bit towards the pack. I'll wait for the official data.


Interesting comment from 2015
Comment by One Planet Only Forever at 28 October, 2015 to article:
Gavin Schmidt interview Skeptical Science.com 2015-10-26

"Regarding the minimum Arctic Sea Ice extent, reviewing the minimums presented by NSIDC it appears that minimum ice extent values that are noticeably lower than adjacent years occur within a few years after an El Nino. Values significantly lower than adjacent years in the minimum extent occurred in the following years (with El Nino event years in brackets based on the NOAA ONI history):
2012 (2009/10)
2007 and 2005 (extended mild El Nino 2002 through 2007)
1999 (1997/98)
1995 (1991/92)
1990 (1986/87/88)
1985 (1982/83)
If this is a significant correlation between El Nino and Arctic minimum extents then a minimum below 2012 levels would be expected in 2017 or 2018."



That was a good catch by Gavin, and is easily explainable. less ice accretes during a very cloudy and warmer = long night exacerbated by El-Nino, but after a severe period, such as 2005, 2010 and 2016 , there was an extensive period of la-Nina. Far less clouds , theoretically good for winter, not so for summer. In effect, El-Nino winters are bad for accretion, diminish ice volume, subsequent La-Nina bad for summer minima, ripe for melting sea ice a whole lot more. So far this year La-Nina has vacillated and ENSO is considered Neutral, http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/

But it may have been enough to create a drier summer, doom for sea ice,
I have observed a dominance of blue skies during the last month, if continuing so till July , Gavin will be proven right (nothing unusual!).

John Christensen

Hi wayne,

I agree with you on the effect of El Nino/La Nina, which is often overlooked.

For Arctic weather conditions during summer:
- The natural tendency is for low pressures to develop over the Arctic Ocean due to the difference in temperature between cold ocean/ice surface relative to heated surrounding continents.
- However, La Nina conditions during early/mid summer increases probability of colder temps and more precipitation in northern US/southern Canada, which again increases probability of a high pressure area developing and persisting in Beaufort and the CAA - exactly as we saw in 2007.

The summers of 2007, 2013, 2016, and 2017 follow this pattern well. The summer of 2012 appears to be exceptional, as we had high melting rates, but maybe Neven's old word of wisdom is helpful for summer conditions: "Neither fly nor fish" I believe.
El Nino during summer probably increases risk of warm moisture reaching the Arctic, while moisture in the Arctic during neutral ENSO conditions is cold (Again being caused by temporal difference between ice and land).

Luckily the ENSO is forecast to become neutral, as you mentioned, which has caused me to reduce the risk of negative ENSO impact on summer 2018 melting:

"Most models in the IRI/CPC plume predict La Niña will decay and return to ENSO-neutral during the Northern Hemisphere spring 2018 [Fig. 6]. The forecast consensus similarly favors a transition during the spring, with a continuation of ENSO-neutral conditions through the summer."


Bill Sokeland

The very unusual melt in Bering and Chukchi seas occurred beginning in 1981 due to the same source. NGC 40 a recurrent exploding will have its way again.

Bill Sokeland

exploding star

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