Happy Arctic New Year 2019


2019 with bears
With the end of December, Arctic ice is rebuilding in the dark up to its annual maximum before the beginning of dawn in March.  Since many of the seas are already at their maximum extents, the coming months will only add about 2M km2 to the approximately 13M km2 of ice in place.


The map above shows the remarkable growth of Bering Sea ice in December.  The Bering ice extent grew from 57k km2 to 459k km2 yesterday, exceeding the March Bering maximum of 451k km2.  Okhotsk has grown ice more slowly, now at 347k km2 slightly below average.  Note Chukchi Sea north of Bering froze completely as of day 350.

The regrowth of Arctic ice extent was slower than usual until recently. After showing resilience in September, ending higher than 2007, ice growth lagged in October, then recovered in November and kept pace with average through most of December.


In December, 2018 ice extent has grown by close to 11 year average until the last 10 days.  As of Dec. 31, 2018 ice extent is ~300k km2  (2%) less than average (2007 to 2017).  The chart also shows the variability of ice extent over the years during this month.  2007 ramped up to match average, while 2017 was almost 200k km2 lower than 2018 at year end.  SII is showing 2018 lower than MASIE 2018, closely matching MASIE 2017.

The table below shows this year compared to average and to 2017 for day 365.  Since several years in the dataset were missing day 365, I am making the comparison a day later.

Region 2018365 Day 365 
2018-Ave. 2017365 2018-2017
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 12805066 13107229 -302163 12628187 176880
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1070498 1070245 253 1070445 53
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 966006 963990 2016 943883 22124
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1087137 1087133 5 1087120 18
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 897842 3 897845 0
 (5) Kara_Sea 773183 889865 -116682 892689 -119507
 (6) Barents_Sea 261190 437725 -176534 331819 -70629
 (7) Greenland_Sea 522009 582349 -60340 555757 -33748
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1069626 1023935 45691 978074 91552
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 853337 853059 279 853109 229
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1260903 1230818 30086 1260838 66
 (11) Central_Arctic 3194383 3206157 -11774 3191526 2858
 (12) Bering_Sea 458758 422870 35888 194350 264408
 (13) Baltic_Sea 20842 35624 -14782 13345 7497
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 347016 375834 -28818 336595 10421

The main deficit to average is in Barents and Kara Seas on the Atlantic side, partly offset by surpluses in Hudson and Baffin Bays and in Bering Sea on the Pacific side.  Note the huge increase in Bering ice this year compared to 2017.  This coincides with the disappearing warm water Blob in the North Pacific, as reported by Cliff Mass.

No one knows what will happen to Arctic ice.

Except maybe the polar bears.

And they are not talking.

Except, of course, to the admen from Coca-Cola


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 much greater snowfall in October and since will make for a very cold winter.  We shall see.  It is already adding more mass to the Greenland ice sheet than in previous years.


See Natural Climate Factors: Snow

In any case, the early and extensive ice in the Canadian Arctic regions was well received by our polar bears.




  1. Hifast · January 1, 2019

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.


  2. ArndB · January 2, 2019

    Best wishes for a peaceful Year 2019 !!!,
    which was very different at the start of the year 1940, which marked the beginning of a period of global cooling, lasting until about mid-1970s, and commenced with three extreme winter in Europe, excellent reported by The New York Times, but ignored when writing on the climate change issue, as discussed HERE
    “Trump Imperils the Planet” says NYT Editorial (12/26/18)
    About Right and Fake Facts and About Ignorance
    Post: 29 December 2018


    • Ron Clutz · January 2, 2019

      Thanks Arnd. All the best to you as well. I also hope for a peaceful year. And as you suggest, modern warfare can affect the climate, not in a good way. Let’s hope the global warming fears can be defeated without a cold war, or even a hot one.


  3. rw · January 3, 2019

    “No one knows what will happen to Arctic ice.

    Except maybe the polar bears.

    And they are not talking.”

    Clearly, it’s time for the U.S. Dept. of Justice to call for a Special Investigation. I’m sure that some disinterested group like GPS Fusion can put together an Arctic dossier that will show us the real culprits to go after – and maybe even explain why the ice hasn’t all melted away – just yet.

    In the meantime, Happy New Year! And I look forward to another 365 days of thrilling reports on the great AGW charade, er, crusade.



    • Ron Clutz · January 3, 2019

      Thanks rw. Let’s hope for 2019 to exceed all of our expectations. As for getting the polars bears to talk, why not sic the FBI on them?


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