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Posts Tagged ‘Arctic sea ice maximum extent’

Arctic sea ice maximum extent shrinks to new record low

Posted by feww on March 22, 2015

Record low Arctic sea ice maximum extent also occurs early this year

Arctic sea ice extent appeared to have reached its annual maximum extent at 14.54 million square kilometers (5.61 million square miles), on February 25, 2015, marking an early start of the melt season, said National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). 

The 2015 maximum extent occurred 15 days earlier than the 1981 to 2010 average date of March 12, however, a late season surge in ice growth could still occur, said NSIDC, adding that it will post a detailed analysis of the winter sea ice conditions in April.

Measured at 14.54 million square kilometers (5.61 million square miles), the lowest in the satellite record that began in 1979. the ice probably reached its maximum extent for the year on February 25.  The maximum extent was 1.10 million square kilometers (425,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average of 15.64 million square kilometers (6.04 million square miles) and 130,000 square kilometers (50,200 square miles) below the previous lowest maximum that occurred in 2011, said NSIDC.

Below-average ice conditions were observed everywhere except in the Labrador Sea and Davis Strait.  This year’s maximum occurred 15 days earlier than the 1981 to 2010 average date of March 12. The date of the maximum has varied considerably over the years, occurring as early as February 24 in 1996 and as late as April 2 in 2010.

“Over the next two to three weeks, periods of increase are still possible. However, it now appears unlikely that there could be sufficient growth to surpass the extent reached on February 25.”

arctic sea max ice 25feb2015
Arctic sea ice extent for February 25, 2015 was 14.54 million square kilometers (5.61 million square miles). The orange line shows the 1981 to 2010 median extent for that day. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole. Sea Ice Index data. About the data. Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center. High-resolution image

Temperatures throughout the eastern Arctic were several degrees Celsius above average at the 925 hPa level (approximately 1,000m, or 3,000 feet altitude) during the first half of March, and climbed as much as 8 to 10 degrees Celsius (14 to 18 degrees Fahrenheit) above average in the Barents Sea between Svalbard and Franz Josef Land, reported NSIDC.

Minimum Ice Extent

The Arctic sea ice will reach its annual minimum extent in September (assuming that there would still be some ice left this year!)

The ice reached its lowest minimum cover in 2012 with 2.11 million square kilometers (1.31 million square miles), which was about 483,000 square kilometers (300,000 square miles), or 18.6 percent, lower than the previous record low of 2.59 million square kilometers set in 2007.

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‘Surreal’ Melt Season Begins in Arctic Sea

Posted by feww on March 26, 2013

Arctic Sea ice reaches annual maximum extent at 15.13mkm²

Arctic sea ice likely reached its maximum extent for 2013, at 15.13 million square kilometers (5.84 million square miles), the 6th lowest in satellite record, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reported.

sea ice extent - nsidc
Arctic sea ice extent on March 15 was 15.13 million square kilometers (5.84 million square miles). The orange line shows the 1979 to 2000 median extent for that day. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole.  —Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The maximum ice extent was 733,000 km² below the 1979 to 2000 average of 15.86 million square kilometers.

  • The maximum occurred on March 10, five days later than the 1979 to 2000 average date of March 10.
  • The 2013 maximum ice extent was the 6th lowest in the satellite record, said NSIDC.
  • The lowest maximum extent occurred in 2011; ten lowest maximums have occurred in the last ten years (2004 – 2013).

ASIE- 15pct ice
Arctic sea ice extent as of March 24, 2013, along with daily ice extent data for the previous five years. 2012 to 2013 is shown in blue, 2011 to 2012 in green, 2010 to 2011 in pink, 2009 to 2010 in navy, and 2008 to 2009 in purple. The 1979 to 2000 average is in dark gray. The gray area around this average line shows the two standard deviation range of the data. —Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

Over the 2012 to 2013 winter season, sea ice extent grew a record 11.72 million square kilometers (4.53 million square miles). The record growth was primarily a result of the record low minimum last September, leaving a greater extent of ocean surface uncovered in ice to re-freeze this winter. This seasonal ice gain is 645,000 square kilometers (249,000 square miles) higher than the previous record (2007 to 2008) and 2.63 million square kilometer (1.02 million square miles) higher than the 1979 to 2000 average. Last autumn’s record low and this winter’s record ice growth indicate a more pronounced seasonal cycle in Arctic sea ice and the increasing dominance of first-year ice in the Arctic. —NSIDC

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