Average Arctic Melt July 7

In the chart below MASIE shows 2016 Mid-June  Arctic ice extent drew near to average and close to 2015, then dropped lower before again converging on average by the end.  Now in July 2016 is matching the average extent measured over the last ten years, 2006-2015.  With SII back on line, it was reporting similar extents during June (as it has in the past).  Recently it is starting to underestimate again, ~400k km2 lower. (SII and MASIE comparison is here.)

MASIE 2016 day188

Looking into the details, some marginal seas are melting earlier than last year, while the central, enduring ice pack is relatively unaffected.  In fact, a large difference between 2016 and 2015 comes from the losses from maximums in a single place: Sea of Okhotsk.  To date 1303k km2 of ice was lost this year vs. 753k km2 lost in 2015 in that sea at the same date.

Despite greater losses in Okhotsk, 2016 ice extent in July is fairly ordinary with slight differences across the regions.  At the present pace of declining ice extents, the last three days 2016 matches the ten-year average, and is four days ahead of 2015.

Comparing the Arctic ice extents with their maximums shows the melting is occurring mostly in the marginal seas, now including Kara Sea as expected in June.  Most of the additional ice loss in July comes from Baffin and Hudson Bays.

2016188 NH Max Loss % Loss Sea Max % Total Loss
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 5880825 39.00% 100%
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 243265 22.73% 4%
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 214347 22.19% 3%
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 26723 2.46% 0%
 (4) Laptev_Sea 35559 3.96% 1%
 (5) Kara_Sea 648206 69.33% 10%
 (6) Barents_Sea 589137 98.29% 10%
 (7) Greenland_Sea 300055 45.48% 5%
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1266759 77.03% 20%
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 88793 10.41% 1%
 (10) Hudson_Bay 533623 42.32% 9%
 (11) Central_Arctic 80724 2.49% 1%
 (12) Bering_Sea 768232 100.00% 12%
 (13) Baltic_Sea 97582 100.00% 2%
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 1306657 99.84% 21%

It is clear from the above that the bulk of ice losses are coming from Okhotsk, Barents and Bering Seas (95+% melted), along with Kara Sea and Baffin Bay-St. Lawrence (70+% melted).  Hudson  Bay has lost 42% of max extent.  All of them are marginal seas that will go down close to zero by September.  Note: Some seas are not at max on the NH max day.  Thus, totals from adding losses will vary from NH daily total.

For additional context on Arctic melt see last Arctic Ice Watch June 30





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