Arctic Ice Usual Suspects

Drift ice in Okhotsk Sea at sunrise.

Previous posts have noted that in March, all the Arctic seas are locked in ice, the exceptions being Bering and Okhotsk in the Pacific, and Barents and Baffin Bay in the Atlantic. And the seesaw continues, shown in the images below.  Firstly on the Atlantic side, featuring Baffin Bay and Kara, Barents, Greenland Seas.

And on the Pacific side, the only action is in Bering and Okhotsk Seas.

The overall NH extents are down from the 11-year average, and it is mostly due to deficits in the usual places: Barents, Bering and Okhotsk, somewhat offset by a surplus in Baffin. All of them melt out in September, and Bering and Okhotsk basins are effectively outside of the Arctic ocean per se.

As reported previously, 2017 peaked early, rising close to the average on day 53 in February, then losing extent and never achieving the 15M km2 threshold.  14.8 M km2 proved to be the 2017 peak daily ice extent.  2016 also lost extent throughout March, though higher than the current year, and will likely end with a higher monthly average.  2006 and 2017 are virtually tied at this point, though 2017 will likely end up higher on the month.  SII shows about 300km2 less extent for the month, but drawing closer lately.

The Table below presents the ice extents reported by MASIE for day 80 in the years 2017, 2006 and the 11-year average (2006 through 2016).

Region 2017080 Day 080
Average
2017-Ave. 2006080 2017-2006
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 14306702 14928081 -621379 14340618 -33916
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1070445 1069983 462 1068295 2150
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 966006 965416 590 962459 3547
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1087137 1086906 231 1084627 2510
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 897785 60 897773 71
 (5) Kara_Sea 845743 923038 -77295 933929 -88185
 (6) Barents_Sea 512177 624900 -112723 707363 -195187
 (7) Greenland_Sea 666783 636333 30449 635643 31139
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1567538 1514854 52684 1099497 468041
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 853214 852858 356 852715 499
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1260903 1258471 2432 1238627 22276
 (11) Central_Arctic 3246109 3229176 16933 3246726 -617
 (12) Bering_Sea 629171 819540 -190369 603351 25820
 (13) Baltic_Sea 43534 89187 -45653 153837 -110304
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 647215 940291 -293076 819326 -172111
 (15) Yellow_Sea 0 158 -158 1067 -1067
 (16) Cook_Inlet 9489 7555 1934 7101 2388

The 2017 deficit to average is largely due to Okhotsk and Bering declining early, along with Barents and Kara.  A surplus in Baffin somewhat offsets these, especially in comparison with 2006.

To summarize, central Arctic seas are locked in ice, while extents have started to decline in the peripheral basins.  As of day 80, extents in 2017 are 4% below average and tied with 2006.

 

 

 

 

 

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