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Climate: Arctic sea ice near record low in December

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Arctic sea ice extent in December hovered near the record low.

Significant negative trend seen in peripheral seas

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Arctic sea ice extent stayed well below average during December, especially in the Kara, Barents, and Labrador seas. For the month, the extent was the second-lowest in the satellite record, dating back to 1979.

Sea ice extent is slightly above average on the Pacific side of the Arctic edging farther south into the Bering Sea — the only part of the Arctic that has shown a slightly positive trend in ice extent during the winter months, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Continue reading

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Arctic sea ice stayed near record low levels during November

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Arctic sea ice grows fast in November, but the average extent is decreasing from year to year. Graph courtesy NSIDC.

Despite above-average growth, the ice sheet did not catch up to average

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Even though Arctic sea ice grew at an above-average pace during November, the overall extent still remained one of the lowest on record during the satellite era, reaching 9.9 million square kilometers. Only a couple of other years have seen a lower sea ice extent at the end of November, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

During November, the ice sheet grew at an average rate of 98,600 square kilometers per day. The ice extent remained below the all-time record low for most of November before just matching those record low levels at the end of the month. Continue reading

Climate: Arctic sea ice near record low

Spring northern hemisphere snow cover extent has been dropping rapidly for 15 years.

Arctic air temps soaring well above average

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Along with the heat wave gripping a large part of the lower 48 states, some exceptional mid-June warmth in the far north helped speed Arctic sea to some record daily low levels in mid-month.

The ice extent on June 30 (3.70 million square miles) would not normally be expected until July 21, based on 1979-2000 averages. This puts extent decline three weeks ahead of schedule.

While weather patterns over the Arctic varied widely, air temperatures in the area stayed above the 1981 to 2010 average by as much as 7.2 degrees, and as much as 12.6 to 16.2 degrees above average over northern Eurasia and near southern Baffin Bay.

Continue reading

Global warming: Arctic sea ice extent dips toward new lows

Arctic sea ice in early June melted quickly after lingering near average levels in April and May.

Too early to tell if ice extent will reach new record low, but long-term downward trends are clear

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Arctic sea ice extent, which hovered near average in May, has declined rapidly in the past few weeks to dip well below average and below the level it was this time of year in 2007, when it reached a record low in September.

“Basically, right now, we’re quite a ways below 2007, and neck and neck with 2010, which was the lowest for this time of year … we’re very near record low levels for this time of year,” said Dr. Walt Meier, a sea ice expert with the Boulder-based National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The steady decline of Arctic sea ice extent is considered to be one of the key symptoms of global warming, with serious implications for climate, weather, ocean currents and sea level rise. Several recent studies suggest that the warming in the Arctic is directly affecting seasonal weather patterns by changing air pressure gradients that drive the speed and shape of the jet stream. And just last month, atmospheric scientists reported monthly average carbon dioxide levels at remote Arctic sensing stations hovered above 400 parts per million for the first time on record. Continue reading

Climate: May Arctic sea ice extent dips below average

Arctic sea ice extent dipped down toward historic low levels by the end of May. GRAPH COURTESY NATIONAL SNOW AND ICE DATA CENTER.

Average May sea ice extent has been declining by 2.3 percent per decade

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After hovering near average in April, Arctic sea ice melted rapidly in early May, dipping to near the extent seen in 2007, when the year ended with a record low sea ice extent.

But in the monthly update, scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center said there is little historic correlation between May levels and the extent at the end of the melt season in September.

For the month, Arctic sea ice extent averaged 5.07 million square miles, which is about 185,000 square miles below the 1979 to 2000 average. Record low sea ice extent during the satellite measurement era was in 2004. Continue reading

Climate: Seasonal Arctic ice cap meltdown begins

 Arctic sea ice starting melting quickly in late April

Sea ice extent in Antarctica has been above average during the Austral summer.

Antarctica. IMAGE COURTESY NASA.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After staying near average levels during much of April, the Arctic sea ice extent started a rapid decline late in the month, marked by the meltdown of freshly formed thin ice that can’t persist from year to year.

The linear rate of decline for April ice extent over the satellite record is 2.6 percent per decade.

For the month, the ice extent averaged 5.69 million square miles. Because of the very slow rate of ice loss through the last half of March and the first three weeks of April, ice extent averaged for April ranked close to average out of 34 years of satellite data, according to the latest update from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Continue reading

Climate: Arctic sea ice peaks for the season

Thin ice formed in late season expected to melt quickly; thick, multi-year ice continues to decline

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Arctic sea ice extent peaked in late March, reaching its highest level in the past 10 years, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center’s monthly update.While sea ice extent in March was higher than in recent years, most of the ice that formed late in the season is very thin and expected to melt rapidly.

The average March sea ice extent of 5.87 million square miles is ranked ninth lowest out of the 34 years of satellite data for the month, but it was the highest March average ice extent since 2008 and one of the higher March extents in the past decade. Continue reading

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