The growth of Arctic ice extent has been slower than usual this year. After showing resilience in September, ending higher than 2007, ice growth lagged in October, and is only now ramping up toward the averages. The map above shows the lack of ice is mainly in Hudson Bay, and the slow freezing of Kara and Barents Seas. Everything else is locked in ice, except for some open water in Bering and Chukchi.
In the last five weeks, 2016 ice growth has surged twice, firstly from day 303 to 314, and then the current surge the last 10 days starting day 325. The chart also shows the variability of ice extent over the years during this season. 2015 was the highest ice recovery rate in the last decade, while 2006 was the lowest. The chart also shows Sea Ice Index (SII) from NOAA is lagging over 300k km2 behind.
There is no need to panic over Arctic ice this year, or any year. It fluctuates according to its own ocean-ice-atmospheric processes and we can only watch and be surprised since we know so little about how it all works. Judah Cohen at AER thinks the much greater snowfall in October will make for a very cold winter. We shall see.