Bering Sea Ice Blues Mid April 2019

“Freedom’s Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose.” (Kris Kristofferson)

In April, Arctic ice extent is declining as usual with the notable exception of Bering Sea, along with ice retreating in nearby Okhotsk.  Bering still has some ice to lose, but at 178k km2 it is only 31% of the ice there January 27, the largest Bering extent this year.  It is unusual since the Bering ice is only 25% of the 12 year average for this date.  Nearby Chukchi Sea is hardly showing any open water, down only 10k km2 from its maximum.  Open water is also gaining in Okhotsk, the other Pacific basin, but ice extent there is still 6% above the 12-year average.

Elsewhere things are mostly typical with Russian and Canadian basins still frozen with high extents.  The other two places losing ice are Barents and Baffin Bay/Gulf of St. Lawrence shown below.
On the right side is Barents losing ice along the Russian coastline, while holding onto Svalbard.  On the left, water in Baffin Bay is pushing north along the western Greenland coast.  On the extreme left is open water taking over in Gulf of St. Lawrence

The graph below shows how the Arctic extent has faired since the March maximum compared to the 12 year average with and without the Pacific basins of Bering and Okhotsk.  The green line is the 12yr. average without B&O, while 2019 appears in purple when Bering and Okhotsk are excluded.
As of day 105, 2019 ice extent is 858k km2 below the 12yr. average, a gap of 6%.  529k km2 of that difference comes from the combined losses in Bering and Okhotsk.

The graph below shows March/April 2019 compared to average and some years of interest.

All years are tracking below the 12-year average.  2019 MASIE and SII are the same and well below 2018, largely due to Pacific ice losses. 2007 is only slightly higher than 2019 at this point.  The table below shows ice extents by regions comparing 2019 with 12-year average (2007 to 2018 inclusive) and 2007.

Region 2019105 Day 105 
Average
2019-Ave. 2007105 2019-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 13443363 14301788 -858425 13588722 -145359
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1070498 1069781 717 1068692 1806
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 955995 965240 -9245 961638 -5643
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1087137 1086417 721 1078666 8471
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 893203 4642 843501 54344
 (5) Kara_Sea 932750 922684 10066 890594 42156
 (6) Barents_Sea 586518 611095 -24577 439904 146614
 (7) Greenland_Sea 601126 652308 -51182 673585 -72458
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1133317 1349987 -216669 1215526 -82208
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 853337 852527 810 848812 4526
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1238689 1252970 -14281 1208588 30101
 (11) Central_Arctic 3241460 3236044 5416 3235648 5811
 (12) Bering_Sea 177335 714883 -537548 600281 -422946
 (13) Baltic_Sea 16987 48771 -31784 23534 -6547
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 648664 640205 8459 491121 157543

Of course both of these basins will melt out long before the September minimum, along with the Russian shelf seas.

As indicated earlier, Bering supplies almost 2/3 of the deficit to average, with Baffin Bay providing most of the other 1/3. Of course both of these basins will melt out long before the September minimum, along with the Russian shelf seas.

 

 

 

 

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One comment

  1. Hifast · April 19

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

    Like

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