Tag: sea ice extent

Climate: Sea ice at both poles way below average

Antarctic sea ice retreat could set stage for ice shelf collapses

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Melting Greenland glaciers in September 2015, photographed from a passenger jet. @bberwyn photo.

Staff ReportMonths of above-average temperatures in the Arctic slowed the growth of sea ice formation to a crawl during the second half of October, the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported in its latest monthly update.The ice scientists said that, starting Oct. 20, Arctic sea ice started setting daily record lows for extent.  After mid-October, ice growth returned to near-average rates, but extent remained at record low levels through late October. Both sea surface and air temperatures have remained unusually high, extending from the surface high up into the atmosphere. Continue reading “Climate: Sea ice at both poles way below average”

Arctic sea ice maxes out at record low extent

‘The Arctic is in crisis’

This NASA Blue Marble image shows Arctic sea ice extent on March 24, 2016, which averaged 14.52 million square kilometers (5.607 million square miles) on March 24, beating last year’s record low of 14.54 million square kilometers (5.612 million square miles) on February 25. Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center/NASA Earth Observatory.
This NASA Blue Marble image shows Arctic sea ice extent on March 24, 2016.  Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center/NASA Earth Observatory.

Staff Report

After a winter that saw average temperatures across most of the Arctic hover between 4 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit above average, sea ice in the region peaked at a record low extent for the second year in a row.

“I’ve never seen such a warm, crazy winter in the Arctic,” National Snow and Ice Data Center director Mark Serreze said in a press release that also explained how this year’s maximum sea ice extent came much later than average. See the full NSIDC report here.

“The Arctic is in crisis. Year by year, it’s slipping into a new state, and it’s hard to see how that won’t have an effect on weather throughout the Northern Hemisphere,” said Ted Scambos, NSIDC lead scientist. Continue reading “Arctic sea ice maxes out at record low extent”

Climate: Arctic sea ice sets another record low in February

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Arctic sea ice has been near record-low levels all winter long. Graph courtesy NSIDC.

Winter brings extraordinary ‘heatwave’ to the far north

Staff Report

Arctic sea ice was at a record low extent for the second month in a row in February, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Ice researchers said sea ice grew hardly at all during the first three weeks of the month during a time of year when the sea is extent is usually nearing its peak.

According to the NSIDC’s latest monthly update, the ice did expand a bit toward the end of the month, but above-normal temperatures in the Arctic have persisted all winter long. Arctic sea ice usually reaches its maximum extent in mid to late March, but last year, it peaked early, on Feb. 25, and at a record low extent. Continue reading “Climate: Arctic sea ice sets another record low in February”

Climate: Arctic sea ice near record-low extent

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Antarctic sea ice is back to a near average extent after running well above average for several years. @bberwyn photo.

End of year heat wave slowed expansion

Staff Report

Arctic sea ice extent in December ended up as the fourth-lowest on record, and is still hovering near a record low in mid-January, according to the latest monthly update from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Through 2015, the linear rate of decline for December sea ice extent is 3.4 percent per decade (about 17,000 miles) per year.

For the month, the sea ice extent averaged 4.74 million square miles, about 301,000 square miles below the 1981 to 2010 average for the month. The rate of sea ice growth slowed slightly throughout December and nearly stopped early in January, federal ice trackers said, suspecting that a period of unusually warm temperatures in the Arctic caused the slowdown. Continue reading “Climate: Arctic sea ice near record-low extent”

Global warming: Study shows Arctic sea ice melt season lengthening by five days per decade

Autumn freeze coming 11 days later in some regions

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There’s probably no stopping the decline of Arctic sea ice.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Averaged across the Arctic, the melt season is lengthening by five days each decade, with much of the change coming in the fall, when a warmer ocean simply takes longer to freeze than in the past.

“The extent of sea ice in the Arctic has been declining for the last four decades,” said University College London researcher Julienne Stroeve, part of a research team that studied satellite data to track sea ice trends in the age of global warming.

The data confirm that the Arctic Ocean absorbing ever more of the sun’s energy in summer, leading to an ever later appearance of sea ice in the autumn. In some regions, autumn freeze-up is occurring up to 11 days per decade later than it used to. Continue reading “Global warming: Study shows Arctic sea ice melt season lengthening by five days per decade”

Study: Arctic storm didn’t cause record-low sea ice

Super storm churned up sun-warmed water to speed melting

A new study suggests a massive Arctic storm last summer wasn't the main factor in record-low sea ice extent.
A new study suggests a massive Arctic storm last summer wasn’t the main factor in record-low sea ice extent. Photo courtesy NASA Earth Observatory.

By Summit Voice (Adapted from a University of Washington press release)

FRISCO — A huge Arctic cyclone last August was a factor in the record-low sea ice level last summer, but the ice would have melted to almost the same extent even without the storm, according to University of Washington scientists who studied the effects of the unusual storm over the high latitudes of the far north.

The study was published online this week in Geophysical Research Letters.

“The effect is huge in the immediate aftermath of the cyclone, but after about two weeks the effect gets smaller,” said lead author Jinlun Zhang, an oceanographer in the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory. “By September, most of the ice that melted would have melted with or without the cyclone.” Continue reading “Study: Arctic storm didn’t cause record-low sea ice”

Climate: ‘On the verge of a new Arctic’

Credit: Dr. Kathy Crane, NOAA Arctic Research Office
A polar bear perches on an iceberg. Photo courtesy Dr. Kathy Crane, NOAA Arctic Research Office.

Top U.S. and Canadian scientists taking hard look at the implications of shrinking sea ice

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Top U.S. and Canadian researchers are trying to develop a systematic way of studying the ongoing and impending changes in the Arctic. This week, the Navy’s chief of naval research, Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, met with leaders from U.S. and Canadian government agencies to address research efforts in the Arctic, in response to dramatic and accelerating changes in summer sea ice coverage.

“We are surely on the verge of seeing a new Arctic,” said Arctic science expert Dr. Martin Jeffries. “And, since the Arctic is not isolated from the global environmental system … we can expect to see Arctic change have global environmental and socio-economic consequences.” Continue reading “Climate: ‘On the verge of a new Arctic’”