Warm air temps due to open water inhibits ice growth in some areas
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Arctic sea ice expanded quickly in October, with coverage doubling from the record low level of mid-September. But because the ice dwindled to an all-time low level this summer, even the record rebound in October couldn’t boost the ice extent back into the average range, according to the latest update from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
The average ice extent for October was 2.7 million square miles, the second lowest in the satellite record and about 89,000 square miles above the 2007 record low for October. The ice extent is about 884,000 square miles below the 1979 to 2000 average.
The East Siberian, Chukchi, and Laptev seas have substantially frozen up, while large areas of the southern Beaufort, Barents and Kara seas remain ice free.
The average rate of ice growth for October was 46,700 square miles per day. The ice extent temporarily climbed above the record-low extent of October 2007 for a while during October, then dipped back below it later in the month.
Sea ice growth was uneven, with the most rapid gains in the East Siberian and Laptev seas, while ice growth in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas averaged about 3,300 square miles per day, leaving large areas ice free.
The slowest rates of ice growth were in the Kara Sea, in large part because of extensive open water in the region that led to air temperatures running about 5 to 7 degrees above average for October. Air temperatures over the ice-free southern Beaufort Sea were also far above average for the month.