Ice Dance in the Pacific

With the Arctic ice extent maximum due in March, there are only two places where ice will grow or not, making the difference between this year and others.  Yesterday, we looked at one of them Ice Taking Hold in Barents Sea and saw dramatic growth in a single week.

This post features the Pacific seas of Okhotsk and Bering, where a peculiar dance can be seen.  The images come from MASIE showing the difference between Feb. 1 and Feb. 4, yesterday.


In those three days Okhotsk grew 103k km2 of ice, while Bering lost 33k km2.  Bering has the same extent now as on Jan. 19, having gained and then lost 140k km2 over those two weeks.  Okhotsk is now at 1.2 M km2, 25% above the 11-year average.

The only place where Arctic ice extent is down this year is in Bering Sea.

Update February 6

Pethefin provides in his comment an informative link to the current wind patterns over these seas:,46.95,606/loc=143.378,43.684

As the nullschool graphic shows, the polar gyres are pulling southern air up and over Bering Sea.  The Kamchatka Peninsula protects Okhotsk from that pattern, and may explain why ice formation is not inhibited as it is in Bering.

Meanwhile, on the Atlantic side, nullschool shows why Barents has been gaining ice.  The gyre is positioned southwest of Iceland and drawing most of the southern air away from Barents.,68.10,459/loc=2.182,47.571





  1. Pethefin · February 6, 2017
  2. Ron Clutz · February 6, 2017

    Thanks Pethefin for the graphic. It really shows the polar gyres pulling air from the south across Bering.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s