The regrowth of Arctic ice extent was slower than usual until recently. After showing resilience in September, ending higher than 2007, ice growth lagged in October, but is now rapidly ramping up toward the averages. The map above shows the lack of ice is mainly in Hudson Bay and Barents Sea. Kara, Bering and Chukchi seas have all rebounded and everything else is locked in ice.
In the last 24 days, 2016 ice extent has grown by 123k km2 per day, compared to the 10-year average 79k km2 per day. As of day 348, 2016 ice extent is ~3% less than average (2006 to 2015). The chart also shows the variability of ice extent over the years during this season. 2015 was the highest ice recovery rate in the last decade, while 2007 was the slowest. The chart also shows 2016 Sea Ice Index (SII) from NOAA has been lagging behind by more than 300k km2.
The table below shows this year compared to average and to 2007 for day 348.
Most of the deficit to average is in Kara, Barents, Greenland Sea and Hudson Bay. Central Arctic, CAA, Bering Sea and BCE are all average, while Okhotsk and Baffin Bay are showing surpluses. Presently 2016 ice extent is 260k km2 greater than 2007 with large surpluses in BCE, Baffin, Bering and Okhotsk Seas. Only Hudson Bay and Kara were larger in 2007.
There is no need to panic over Arctic ice this year, or any year. It fluctuates according to its own ocean-ice-atmospheric processes and we can only watch and be surprised since we know so little about how it all works. Judah Cohen at AER thinks the much greater snowfall in October will make for a very cold winter. We shall see.