Arctic Ice Going and Coming

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As I said previously, most of the Arctic seas are now frozen solid, so all the action is confined to just two places where ice will grow or not, making the difference between this year and others.  There is a lot of fussing from alarmists about a storm bringing warm air from the North Atlantic, and this is indeed affecting the ice extent in Barents Sea, one of the two dynamic places at this point in the year.

https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-18.40,68.10,459/loc=2.182,47.571

The wind pattern is visible in the nullschool image link above.  And we can see some ice retreating in Barents at this time.  However, Nature has a way of giving back when she takes away, and in this case, Baffin is growing more than Barents is losing.

In these two weeks, Barents first grew 144k km2 of ice up to 492k km2 extent, besieging Svalbard, then lost 53k km2.  At the same time, Baffin grew steadily to gain 240k km2 in 10 days to arrive at 1523k km2, more than 100k above average.

Similarly, both freezing and melting appear in the other dynamic place, the Pacific seas of Okhotsk and Bering.

https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-195.48,46.95,606/loc=143.378,43.684

There a pair of subpolar gyres are diverting southern air away from Bering and Okhotsk, allowing normal freezing to return.

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In the Pacific, Okhotsk grew 154k km2 of ice to reach 1.2 M km2, 25% above the 11-year average, and then gave back 94k.  Meanwhile in the last 16 days, Bering first gained 69k km2, then lost 163k km2, then gained back 90k in the last 5 days, almost the same extent as the beginning.

Summary

The end result of the fluctuations is an overall  gain of 450k km2 in Arctic ice extent despite the influence of weather events.  The only place where Arctic ice extent is down this year is in Bering Sea, more than offset by Baffin and Okhotsk.

Footnote:
The nullschool image shows that Kamchatka Peninsula protects Okhotsk from prevailing wind, and may explain why ice formation is not inhibited there as it is in Bering.

 

 

 

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