Resilient Arctic Ice

 

Source: NASA Worldview July 18, 2017. Click on image to enlarge.

July is showing again the resilience of Arctic ice this year. The graph below shows 2017 extents for the first 19 days of July compared to the average for the previous 11 years, to 2016, to 2007 and the SII (Sea Ice Index) estimates for 2017.

The graph shows 2017 holding to the decadal average and just yesterday dropping below 8M km2, one day ahead of average.  Meanwhile the other extents are much lower than 2017: 2016 is down 357k km2, 2007 is 379k km2 down, and SII shows 2017 480k km2 less than MASIE day 200.

As we shall see, this year’s extents are in surplus on the Atlantic side, offset by deficits on the Pacific side and in Hudson Bay.  The image shows the evolution of Arctic ice from 2007 to this year for day 200.

Click on image to enlarge.

The Table compares 2017 day 200 ice extents with the decadal average and 2007

Region 2017200 Day 200
Average
2017-Ave. 2007200 2017-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 7997823 8064957 -67133 7618029 379795
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 806596 819503 -12906 797272 9324
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 514591 619294 -104704 488952 25638
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 744800 937942 -193142 707353 37447
 (4) Laptev_Sea 666317 584009 82308 455463 210854
 (5) Kara_Sea 321934 310630 11304 377648 -55714
 (6) Barents_Sea 74053 45893 28160 55933 18120
 (7) Greenland_Sea 478308 388587 89721 375816 102492
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 371429 238537 132893 278443 92986
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 624373 685089 -60717 686749 -62376
 (10) Hudson_Bay 172045 258697 -86652 170690 1355
 (11) Central_Arctic 3222235 3173093 49143 3221912 323

2007 overall ice extent on day 200 was lower by 380k km2, 2017 showing surpluses everywhere except Kara and CAA (Canadian Arctic Archipelago).  Compared to the decadal average, the 2017 larger deficits are in the Pacific ( Chukchi and East Siberian) and in Canada (Hudson Bay and CAA).  These are offset by above average extents elsewhere, especially in Laptev, Greenland, Baffin and Central Arctic. Barents is still surplus to average, but has now fallen behind 2014 as the highest in the last decade.

The black line is average for the last 11 years.  2007 in purple appears close to an average year.  2014 had the highest annual extent in Barents Sea, due to higher and later maximums, holding onto ice during the summer, and recovering quickly.  In contrast, 2016 was the lowest annual extent, melting out early and recovering later.  2017 in blue started out way behind, but grew rapidly to reach average, and then persisted longer to exceed even 2014 before falling behind just recently.

For more on why Barents Sea matters see Barents Icicles

 

July 10 Arctic Ice Report

The extent of Arctic ice fell to a new wintertime low in March 2017. But springtime ice persisted and June and July are hanging around the decadal average.

The graph shows the last two weeks ending day 190, July 9, 2017.  2016 and 2017 are nearly average and lower than 9M km2, while 2007 is about 150k km2 down, and SII 2017 even lower. The recent drop was largely due to Hudson Bay going to open water in just ten days (images at Ten Days in Hudson Bay).

As we shall see, this year’s extents are in surplus on the Atlantic side, offset by deficits on the Pacific side and in Hudson Bay.  The image compares day 190 with one year ago.

The Table compares 2017 day 190 ice extents with the decadal average and 2007

Region 2017190 Day 190
Average
2017-Ave. 2007190 2017-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 8877716 8991896 -114181 8732146 145570
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 825960 866156 -40196 860404 -34443
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 563718 683345 -119626 609005 -45287
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 868691 1000309 -131618 871751 -3060
 (4) Laptev_Sea 719324 674515 44809 647038 72285
 (5) Kara_Sea 538340 437243 101097 499369 38971
 (6) Barents_Sea 125872 69548 56324 77180 48692
 (7) Greenland_Sea 563021 450768 112253 475611 87410
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 419134 364194 54941 379529 39606
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 702592 750592 -48000 743621 -41030
 (10) Hudson_Bay 306542 499414 -192873 360041 -53499
 (11) Central_Arctic 3243319 3183825 59494 3205488 37831

The deficits in BCE (Beaufort, Chukchi, East Siberian) are offset by surpluses elsewhere.  2017 would be above average were it not for the 193k km2 deficit in Hudson Bay.

The graph below shows Barents this year continues to be above average matching the record year of 2014.  It will be interesting to see if 2017 hits its minimum around day 210 like 2014 did.

 

The black line is average for the last 11 years.  2007 in purple appears close to an average year.  2014 had the highest annual extent in Barents Sea, due to higher and later maximums, holding onto ice during the summer, and recovering quickly.  In contrast, 2016 was the lowest annual extent, melting out early and recovering later.  2017 in blue started out way behind, but grew rapidly to reach average, and then persisted longer to exceed even 2014.  It may yet beat out 2014 as the highest in the last 11 years.

For more on why Barents Sea matters see Barents Icicles

 

Climate Compilation II Arctic Sea Ice

 

The background for the compilation series is provided in the first post along with my starting point analyzing temperature records. See Climate Compilation Part I Temperatures

Compilation II Arctic Sea Ice (link to category) 

Another preoccupation has been the fluctuating Arctic Sea Ice extents. I noticed that warmists were quite focused on this issue, especially the annual minimums in September. And despite the long record of ice charts prepared by naval authorities, all the ice watchers referred almost exclusively to the satellite estimates, especially the NASA team results published as the Sea Ice Index (SII) on NSIDC.

In the past some researchers had preferred the ice charts from the NIC (US Naval Ice Center, now National Ice Center) and noted differences between operational observations from NIC and the satellite estimates that rely on passive microwave sensors. The NIC index is called MASIE (Multisensor Analyzed Sea Ice Extent), has a higher resolution, higher threshold for declaring a grid cell ice-filled, and generally shows more ice extent than SII.

MASIE: “high-resolution, accurate charts of ice conditions”
Walt Meier, NSIDC, October 2015 article in Annals of Glaciology.

My concern is to raise awareness of a high quality sea ice record that has been largely ignored by a myopic focus on satellite estimates. Periodic ice reports can be found on this blog, the latest one being June Arctic Ice Report.

Sometimes there are storms or other surprising events to report, such as the late additional freezing in January that trapped Russian ships shown in the image above and posted as Arctic Ice Takes Revenge.

Last year it was also interesting to follow the progress of the Polar Challenge sailing ship Northabout as well as the cruise ship Serenity passing through the Arctic seas and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. For example see Arctic Ships Past Halfway from Aug. 29, 2016.

This category also includes several discussions of research into the Arctic climate system from lesser-known but highly regarded sources like the prestigious AARI: Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute St. Petersburg, Russia. See Arctic Sea Ice: Self-Oscillating System

Over time I have learned how to use the visual files MASIE provides in Google Earth formats. For example, these images of sea ice waxing and waning in Hudson Bay.

Hudson Bay is providing a great example how ice extents can change dramatically in such a relatively shallow basin near the Arctic circle. Last December 2016 some concerns were expressed about the lack of ice in Hudson Bay, which were suddenly overcome in ten days starting December 9. Watch:

Now fast-forward to this spring 2017 when ice was persisting strongly in both Baffin and Hudson Bays. Starting ten days ago on June 18 Summer is showing us how quickly goes the opposite effect, including a major meltdown the last two days. On the right side you can see Newfoundlanders are finally rid of their ice.

For an overview of Arctic Ice Watching along with some amusement, see Ice House of Mirrors.

For a comparison of SII and MASIE see A Tale of Two Indices

 

 

 

June Arctic Ice Report

The extent of Arctic ice fell to a new wintertime low in March 2017. But springtime ice persisted and in June is hanging around the decadal average.

The first half of June this year’s extent was above the decadal average despite early melting in Bering and Okhotsk Seas,  Those two Pacific basins are now ice-free, typical for end of June.  Presently 2017 is tied with 2016 and 2007 about 200k km2 below average.  The recent drop was largely due to Hudson Bay going to open water in just ten days (images at Ten Days in Hudson Bay).

For the month, average extent in 2017 was 11M km2 compared to the the decadal average of 10.9M km2, ranking this year fifth since 2006.  SII 2017 average for June was 10.7M km2 and is presently showing 200k km2 less ice than MASIE does with its higher resolution.  During June more than 2M km2 ice extent was lost and presently stands at 65% of the March maximum.

The Table compares 2017 day 181 ice extents with the decadal average and 2007.

Region 2017181 Day 181
Average
2017-Ave. 2007181 2017-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 9620537 9846173 -225636 9672969 -52433
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 855383 920779 -65397 939209 -83826
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 614011 743161 -129151 670088 -56077
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 926510 1029639 -103129 901963 24547
 (4) Laptev_Sea 788796 734392 54403 658742 130053
 (5) Kara_Sea 585573 563477 22096 657478 -71904
 (6) Barents_Sea 177110 112663 64447 130101 47010
 (7) Greenland_Sea 575056 518393 56663 548399 26657
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 489797 497536 -7739 450461 39336
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 775934 777916 -1982 773611 2323
 (10) Hudson_Bay 585228 705394 -120166 718441 -133212
 (11) Central_Arctic 3245272 3210630 34642 3218999 26273
 (12) Bering_Sea 0 11808 -11808 981 -981
 (13) Baltic_Sea 0 6 -6 0 0
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 695 18917 -18222 2983 -2288

The pattern continues with seas on the Pacific side showing deficits to average, while Atlantic Arctic seas show surpluses.  Bering and Okhotsk averages are still 30k km2 higher but will soon disappear.  The noticeable deficits are in BCE (Beaufort, Chukchi and East Siberian) and in Hudson Bay.

Barents Sea demonstrates the surplus of 2017 sea ice extents inside the Arctic Circle.  The graph below shows Barents this year continues to be above average matching the record year of 2014.

The black line is average for the last 11 years.  2007 in purple appears close to an average year.  2014 had the highest annual extent in Barents Sea, due to higher and later maximums, holding onto ice during the summer, and recovering quickly.  In contrast, 2016 was the lowest annual extent, melting out early and recovering later.  2017 in blue started out way behind, but grew rapidly to reach average, and then persisted longer to exceed even 2014.  It may yet beat out 2014 as the highest in the last 11 years.

For more on why Barents Sea matters see Barents Icicles

 

Ten Days in Hudson Bay

Hudson Bay is providing a great example how ice extents can change dramatically in such a relatively shallow basin near the Arctic circle.  Last December 2016 some concerns were expressed about the lack of ice in Hudson Bay, which were suddenly overcome in ten days starting December 9.  Watch:

Polar bears of course were delighted to have a white Christmas.

Now fast-forward to this spring 2017 when ice was persisting strongly in both Baffin and Hudson Bays. Starting ten days ago on June 18 Summer is showing us how quickly goes the opposite effect, including  a major meltdown the last two days.  On the right side you can see Newfoundlanders are finally rid of their ice.

For the record, Hudson Bay grew 663k km2 of ice in ten December days, and it lost 474k km2 of ice in these last ten days of June.

Don’t worry about the polar bears, they also love to swim.

There is no predicting the Arctic ice situation week in and out, though many are trying.  The polar bears adapt and so shall we.  Meanwhile, it is a joy watching to see what happens.

Ice Ice Everywhere, Not a Drop to Drink

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Three weeks into June, Arctic ice is still plentiful  The graph below show ice extents up to yesterday, June 23, 2017, day 174.

After a dip, 2017 is again above the decadal average, 300k km2 greater than 2007, and 500k km2 larger than 2016.  SII 2017 is presently showing 400k km2 less ice than MASIE does with its higher resolution.  2016 went below 10M km2 for the first time on its way to an annual minimum of 4.2M in September.

Barents Sea shows a surplus of 2017 sea ice extents inside the Arctic Circle.  The graph below shows Barents this year compared to average and other years.

The black line is average for the last 11 years.  2007 in purple appears close to an average year.  2014 had the highest annual extent in Barents Sea, due to higher and later maximums, holding onto ice during the summer, and recovering quickly.  In contrast, 2016 was the lowest annual extent, melting out early and recovering later.  2017 in blue started out way behind, but grew rapidly to reach average, and then persisted longer to exceed even 2014.  It may yet beat out 2014 as the highest in the last 11 years.

What a difference a year makes.

The table below shows day 174 ice extents in total and by regions for 2017 compared to the decadal average and 2007.

Region 2017174 Day 174
Average
2017-Ave. 2007174 2017-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 10526281 10452265 74016 10222886 303395
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 879223 950985 -71762 937004 -57781
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 654738 779757 -125019 702860 -48122
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 995761 1050504 -54742 991145 4616
 (4) Laptev_Sea 802192 761406 40785 698410 103781
 (5) Kara_Sea 684120 650542 33578 687443 -3323
 (6) Barents_Sea 223133 150741 72392 206816 16317
 (7) Greenland_Sea 558685 549299 9386 549654 9031
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 713168 627004 86164 624502 88666
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 788679 790846 -2167 780041 8637
 (10) Hudson_Bay 961113 880059 81054 810482 150632
 (11) Central_Arctic 3245726 3213273 32452 3219126 26599
 (12) Bering_Sea 3489 21931 -18442 5743 -2254
 (13) Baltic_Sea 0 9 -9 0 0
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 15063 24399 -9335 7983 7080

You can see that Pacific melting is producing deficits to average that are more than offset by surpluses elsewhere.  Bering and Okhotsk started first, but are now inconsequential.  BCE ( Beaufort, Chukchi and East Siberian) combined are about 250k km2  below average.  On the Atlantic side, the largest surpluses appear in Barents, Baffin and Hudson Bay, while the Central Arctic is still at its annual maximum.

For more on why Barents Sea matters see Barents Icicles

Meanwhile, some Newfoundland harbours are still full of ice.

Ice in the harbour – Raleigh, Great Northern Peninsula. Still blocked by ice a week ago. h/t Newfoundsander

 

Mid-June Arctic Ice Persisting

Environment Canada photo shows ice on the water near Newfoundland.

Icebreaker CCGS Amundsen diverted from science mission, continues search and rescue work

CBC June 12, 2017
Environment and Climate Change Canada said ice conditions improved slightly on Monday in the Strait of Belle Isle but continue to be troubling off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, which is seeing a higher than normal concentration of ice.

“Typically there would be very little or no ice left in either of these areas at this time of year, let alone the thick ice pack we are currently seeing off the northeast coast of Newfoundland,” a spokesperson for the federal department said in an email.

PolarBearScience described how the ice situation was not a matter of climate change but developed this spring caused by winds, cold temperatures and icebergs.

The tour (record of reports) is illuminating because it shows the development of the thick ice over time and shows how strong winds from a May storm combined with an extensive iceberg field contributed to the current situation. . .By 11 June the ice charts show little ice off southern Labrador but thick first year ice but lots of “old ice” in many places around northern Newfoundland. These must be crushed or compressed icebergs incorporated into the thick first year pack ice.

The image above shows the icing pattern on the European side. beyond Canada.  Compared to 2016, Svalbard  and Franz Joseph Land coastlines are much more enclosed.  Along the Russian coast of Kara, the water is opening up sooner. The graph below shows the first 14 days of June.  2017 was holding a lead of  200k km2 above average and 2007, and much greater than 2016.  Yesterday 2017 extent dropped 270k km2 to erase the lead at this time.

The graph below excludes the Pacific seas of Okhotsk and Barents, which are melting early (~70k km2 below average as of yesterday) somewhat obscuring what is happening in central and Atlantic Arctic seas.

On this basis, 2017 is matching both average and 2007, and about 200k km2 more than 2016.

Barents Sea shows how unusual are 2017 sea ice extents inside the Arctic Circle.  The graph below shows Barents this year compared to average and other years.

The black line is average for the last 11 years.  2007 in purple appears as an average year.  2014 had the highest annual extent in Barents Sea, due to higher and later maximums, holding onto ice during the summer, and recovering quickly.  In contrast, 2016 was the lowest annual extent, melting out early and recovering later.  2017 in blue started out way behind, but grew rapidly to reach average, and is still persisting to exceed even 2014.

The table below shows extents on day 165 in the various Northern seas where ice is found.

Region 2017165 Day 165
Average
2017-Ave. 2007165 2017-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 10928458 11000746 -72289 10959202 -30745
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 935191 975491 -40301 952869 -17678
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 682164 821629 -139465 770182 -88018
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 999972 1058898 -58926 1040890 -40918
 (4) Laptev_Sea 823309 788892 34417 755629 67680
 (5) Kara_Sea 656401 731264 -74864 770755 -114355
 (6) Barents_Sea 289358 208784 80574 264253 25105
 (7) Greenland_Sea 586915 577208 9707 574726 12189
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 826222 728139 98083 778469 47753
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 810834 796994 13841 781578 29256
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1053785 995845 57940 997061 56724
 (11) Central_Arctic 3232751 3219736 13015 3224700 8051
 (12) Bering_Sea 13160 51203 -38043 15285 -2126
 (13) Baltic_Sea 0 9 -9 0 0
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 17207 45161 -27955 31131 -13924

The difference between 2017 and average is matched by the early losses in Bering and Okhotsk.  Otherwise, there are some early meltings in BCE (Beaufort, Chukchi, East Siberian) and Kara, offset by surpluses everywhere else.

For more on why Barents Sea matters see Barents Icicles

 

June Arctic Ice Still Strong

June 8, 2017. Boats are shown trapped in heavy ice off La Scie, Newfoundland in a handout photo from the Department of Fisheries and Ocean. Thick Arctic pack ice has trapped multiple vessels and triggered a high-stakes rescue operation from a sinking ship off Newfoundland. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Department of Fisheires and Oceans)

Thick Arctic ice pack traps boats, triggers rescue operation off Newfoundland

Unusually heavy Arctic pack ice has trapped multiple vessels, stymied the fishing season and triggered a high-stakes rescue operation from a sinking ship off Newfoundland.

Trevor Hodgson, the Canadian Coast Guard’s superintendent of ice operations for the Atlantic region, said the heavy ice is more than two metres thick in some areas off the province’s northeast coast.

What’s unusual this year, Hodgson said, is the way the winds have pushed the thick pack ice towards land rather than out to sea.

He said ice conditions are so bad the Coast Guard has been unable to free trapped vessels with its icebreaker Amundsen. Three fishing vessels remain trapped in ice off northeastern Newfoundland.

The image above shows Arctic Atlantic sea ice continues to hold most of the coastline in its grip.  Svalbard is still mostly enclosed and Newfoundland upper left with packed ice as in the photo. The graph below shows the last 10 days with 2017 holding a lead of  260k km2 above average, 320k km2 more than 2007 and 900k km2 greater than 2016.

The graph below excludes the Pacific seas of Okhotsk and Barents, which are melting early (~100k km2 below average as of yesterday) obscuring what is happening in central and Atlantic Arctic seas.

On this basis, 2017 is running 400k km2 higher than both average and 2007, and the same 900k km2 more than 2016.

Barents Sea shows how unusual are 2017 sea ice extents inside the Arctic Circle.  The graph below shows Barents this year compared to average and other years.

The black line is average for the last 11 years.  2007 in purple appears as an average year.  2014 had the highest annual extent in Barents Sea, due to higher and later maximums, holding onto ice during the summer, and recovering quickly.  In contrast, 2016 was the lowest annual extent, melting out early and recovering later.  2017 in blue started out way behind, but grew rapidly to reach average, and then persisted longer to exceed even 2014.

For more on why Barents Sea matters see Barents Icicles

The Iceberg Festival wraps up this weekend.

Arctic Ice Song: Hey June, Don’t Let Me Down

The Iceberg Festival takes place every June on the Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland, now underway.

Weather Canada Iceberg Bulletin
Issued 11:00 AM EDT 2 June 2017

Special ice warning in effect.
Bergy water except 7 tenths of first-year ice including a trace of
old ice in the northern section. Unusual presence of sea ice.

Iceberg Count
More than 100 icebergs

East Coast Newfoundland Sea Ice 2016 and 2017.

Arctic ice had a remarkable May. The April NH ice extent in April was a 343k km2 deficit below the decadal average, and May ended with a monthly average surplus of 131k km2. The graph below shows in recent weeks how 2017 took a lead of ~300k km2 above average and is holding it entering June.

On June 1, this year’s ice extent is running 280k km2 above average, and a full 1M higher than 2016. Out of the last twelve years, only 2013 and 2014 had more ice on this day than 2017.

The graph below excludes the Pacific seas of Okhotsk and Barents, which are melting early (~150k km2 below average) and distort what is happening in central and Atlantic Arctic seas.

On this basis, 2017 is running 280k km2 higher than 2007, 430k km2 above average, and 910k km2 more than 2016.

Good news for the Iceberg Festival, for the Fishermen not so much.

Twillingate fishery stuck in ice, shrimp plant future uncertain
CBC June 1, 2017:  No boats coming and going through ice-filled harbour

Ice has started to break up near the wharf in Twillingate, but it could take another couple of weeks before boats could come and go freely. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

The town hasn’t seen ice last this long for decades, according to Gord Noseworthy, mayor and harbour master. It means many boats can’t get out of Twillingate, and those that do aren’t coming back to the wharf.

 

Arctic Springtime Postponed

May 27, 2017 Sea ice all the way to Labrador – Cape Norman Northern Peninsula Newfoundland h/t Newfoundsander

Too dangerous to go fishing due to ice, Coast Guard warns

Weather Canada Marine Forecast
East Coast – north of Cape St. Francis

Issued 10:00 AM EDT 28 May 2017
Today Tonight and Monday
Special ice warning in effect.
1 tenth of first-year ice including a trace of old ice except 9 tenths of first-year ice including a trace of old ice near parts of the mouth of Bonavista Bay and the mouth of Trinity Bay. Unusual presence of sea ice in the western section.
Iceberg Count
More than 100 icebergs.

The Atlantic ice extents show little retreat during May.  Newfoundland coast on the upper left is still locked in ice though less now than 10 days ago.  In Barents not much has changed.

The graph below shows May extent through yesterday, May 28.

For the first time the decadal average dropped below 12M km2.  2017 is 300k km2 above average, 400k km2 above 2007 and 1.1M km2 higher than 2016.  The graph below shows the Arctic ice extents, excluding the Pacific basins of Bering and Okhotsk.

Note how persistent is 2017 ice extent, currently 500k km2 above both 2007 and the decadal average, and 1M km2 above last year at this date.

The table below shows regional extents for 2017 compared to decadal average and to 2007 on day 148.

Region 2017148 Day 148
Average
2017-Ave. 2007148 2017-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 12294150 11990991 303159 11886249 407901
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1009369 1008031 1338 1059461 -50092
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 818347 904706 -86359 905098 -86750
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1037744 1073527 -35783 1069198 -31454
 (4) Laptev_Sea 871872 847487 24384 774503 97369
 (5) Kara_Sea 901704 845784 55920 879973 21731
 (6) Barents_Sea 502369 328055 174314 307955 194414
 (7) Greenland_Sea 635773 574248 61526 559480 76293
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1122564 928837 193727 960512 162052
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 820170 818658 1511 819338 831
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1184050 1102567 81483 1093176 90874
 (11) Central_Arctic 3247685 3221113 26572 3228660 19025
 (12) Bering_Sea 34151 212595 -178444 137425 -103274
 (13) Baltic_Sea 4542 319 4223 0 4542
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 101998 123254 -21255 89730 12269

Note the strong surpluses of ice in Kara, Barents, Greenland Sea and Baffin Bay.  Note also that Bering is nearly ice free, and is having some influence on nearby Chukchi.  The two Pacific basins of Bering and Okhotsk now have 136k km2 combined at day 148, which matches where the decadal average will be in 13 days on day 161.

Finally, the image below shows Svalbard comparing 2017 with last year on day 148.

AER provides some insight into these developments along with a forecast in the May 22 posting.

Dr. Judah Cohen:
As I discussed in my previous blog, one constant over the past decade has been the collapse of NH snow cover extent in spring, especially late spring. The rapid disappearance of snow cover across northern Eurasia and northern North America contributes to drying of the soil and warmer temperatures. The resultant warmer temperatures also likely contribute to Arctic sea ice loss.

Snow cover this spring has been more resilient to melt than in previous recent springs. More snow cover results in moister soils. Moister soils result in cooler temperatures. Snow cover and snow mass continue to be relatively high across the NH helped by in part by below normal temperatures in key regions. However the snow cover has been more resilient in Eurasia relative to North America and snow cover across North America experienced a rapid decline over the past week. And with more warm temperatures predicted across Northern Canada, the rapid decline in snow cover will likely continue.

The AO is currently neutral (Figure 1), reflective of mixed geopotential height anomalies across the Arctic and mixed geopotential height anomalies across the mid-latitudes of the NH (Figure 2). Geopotential height anomalies are positive near Greenland and Iceland (Figure 2), and therefore the NAO is negative.

The AO is predicted to remain neutral to positive next week as neutral to negative geopotential height anomalies dominate much of the Arctic (Figure 5a). And with neutral to negative geopotential height anomalies stretching from Greenland to Iceland, the NAO will likely trend positive back into positive territory as well.