Updating Arctic ice extents for the first 20 days of March the peak ice month. Lots of changes and surprises, just like the NCAA basketball tournament.
MASIE shows March 2 as the daily annual maximum, both on average over ten years, and in 2015. March 1, 2016 was the daily max, and SII shows an extent that day lower by 635k km2. (SII refers to Sea Ice Index produced by NOAA@NSIDC)
As March has progressed, this year and last MASIE shows ice has declined. Meanwhile MASIE ten year average held steady, and 2016 SII added extent in the last week. The gap between MASIE and SII is narrowing in 2016, though SII extents still average almost 400k km2 less for March.
|Ice Extents||2015||2016||Ice Extent|
Comparing 2016 on day 80 with 2015 shows the important ice deficits are on the European and Canadian sides: Barents (even lower than last year), along with Greenland Sea, and Baffin Bay. In contrast to 2015, Okhotsk is much more normal this year and almost offsets the losses elsewhere.
With AER and CPC showing the Arctic Oscillation neutral presently, and 14-day forecasts for more of the same, no one knows what to expect. We can only watch and see.
For more on discrepancies between MASIE and SII see here.