Easter Ice Hunt

As the photo shows, back in February 2017 you didn’t have to go looking for ice, it came after you. A convoy including icebreakers was trapped by ice in Chukchi, reported in Siberian Times and posted here as Arctic Ice Takes Revenge.

Now we are two weeks into April and about a month into the Arctic melt season. The hunt is on to see how ice extent reacts to the sun, warmer water and weather.

Firstly the graph shows that both this year and last have dipped below 14M km2, 400k km2 below average but still ahead of 2007. Day 104 refers to April 14.

As noted before, the heart of the Arctic is still frozen solid, with changes in extent occurring mainly in the marginal seas that usually melt out by September. Comparing the last two weeks in the Atlantic side, we can see almost no change overall, with an unexpected small increase in Barents Sea.

On the Pacific side is where the deficit to average appears in the melting of both Bering and Okhotsk Seas.

The table compares 2017 regional extents to average and to 2007.

Region 2017104 Day 104
Average
2017-Ave. 2007104 2017-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 13938957 14340901 -401944 13862996 75960
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1068514 1068895 -382 1058157 10357
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 966006 964512 1494 960944 5062
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1085191 1085618 -427 1074001 11189
 (4) Laptev_Sea 892613 894687 -2073 866524 26090
 (5) Kara_Sea 928904 922891 6012 912398 16505
 (6) Barents_Sea 551153 603811 -52658 521344 29808
 (7) Greenland_Sea 698685 655565 43120 691751 6934
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1436054 1316043 120010 1222152 213902
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 853214 852229 985 846282 6933
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1257536 1243402 14135 1212987 44549
 (11) Central_Arctic 3246909 3232793 14116 3245148 1761
 (12) Bering_Sea 507510 794989 -287480 645687 -138177
 (13) Baltic_Sea 25977 50160 -24183 20075 5902
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 417538 648579 -231042 576913 -159375

Clearly, Barents is down slightly to average but more than offset by surpluses in Baffin and Greenland. The 2017 differences from average and from 2007 arise from Bering and Okhotsk in the Pacific.

Summary

Despite what you may hear from alarmist sources, there is plenty of Arctic Ice if you know where to look for it.

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