Barents Sea Grows Ice in May



Something surprising is happening with Arctic ice.  It is May and ice should be melting, but instead it is growing and in the unlikely place of Barents Sea.  The images above show the ice positions since April, and you can see on the left how ice refused to leave Newfoundland, and on the right how Barents is not backing down but increasing.

The graph below shows how in recent days 2017 NH ice extents have grown way above average, even including the exceptionally low amounts of ice in the Pacific, Bering in particular.

Much of the growth is due to Barents adding 85k m2 in the last 5 days to reach 572k km2, an extent last seen two weeks ago.

The graph below shows Arctic ice excluding the Pacific seas of Bering and Okhotsk.  This provides an even more dramatic view of this years ice extents.  Mid April Arctic ice was average, and look what has happened since May began on day 121.

Some insight into the unusual Arctic ice growth comes from AER Arctic Report and Forecast May 8, 2017

Currently positive pressure/geopotential height anomalies are mostly focused on the North Atlantic side of the Arctic with mostly negative pressure/geopotential height anomalies across the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere (NH). This is resulting in a near record low Arctic Oscillation (AO) and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) for May.

It might be the second week of May but an unusually strong block/high pressure exists in the northern North Atlantic including Iceland and Greenland and is more commonly associated with winter. The unusually strong block is contributing to not only below normal temperatures to both sides of the North Atlantic, including Europe and the Eastern US but late season snowfall to Southeastern Canada, the Northeastern US and Russia. The negative geopotential height anomalies that have developed both downstream across western Eurasia including Europe and upstream across the Eastern US are predicted to persist for much of the month of May helping to ensure a relatively cool month of May for both Europe and the Eastern US.


Do not be mislead by reports of declining sea ice in the Arctic; it is a distraction based on early melting in the Pacific, especially Bering sea.

Meanwhile, on the Atlantic side of the Arctic, we have sightings and reports of ice surges along the coast of Newfoundland, such amounts not seen since the 1980s. Below is a NASA satellite photo of Newfoundland Sea Ice, May 5, 2017 Source: Newsfoundsander



  1. joekano76 · May 15, 2017

    Reblogged this on Floating-voter.


  2. craigm350 · May 15, 2017

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    Certainly bears watching

    Liked by 1 person

  3. angech · May 15, 2017

    Fingers crossed further hope of a delayed melt year, thanks.
    Comments Arctic Sea Ice blog have dried up. May need Jim Hunt to go over and boost them a little.
    DMI still being slow getting there act together, query another adjustment due.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steven Mosher · June 7, 2017

      err no. Neven has taken a rest from blogging.
      comments are going strong in the forum. which you dont read


  4. Caleb · May 22, 2017

    It is hard not to notice the shift from how things were in the winter, in Barents Sea. My take on it is here:

    I am watching to see if there is a big flush of sea-ice into the North Atlantic, as happened in 2007. This might please Alarmists, as the ice would melt and reduce “extent”, however it would have a cooling effect on Atlantic waters and, as the situation is very different from 2007, it could very well have cooling effects unseen before, (perhaps tipping the AMO into its “cold” phase,) (and/or cooling the supply of water entering the Arctic from the Atlantic.)

    If you have time, check out the troll in the comments in my above post. I tend to rely on my naked eye, and to avoid math, but the troll is big on things that not obvious, just using your eyes. Very big on on “volume” (determined by PIOMAS as opposed to DMI) and “mass” of Greenland ice (as determined by GRACE mass-balance.) As you are wiser, concerning such subjects, have you any suggestions about what I should read that might increase a layman’s understanding?

    Thanks again for doing the work you do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ron Clutz · May 22, 2017

      Thanks Caleb for commenting and expressing appreciation. I don’t know more than anyone else why Arctic ice does what it does at any point in time. I note that Barents, at least in the last decade, rarely has an “average” year. Ice extents there follow a “dumbbell” distribution: either Barents melts out early and completely, or it hangs onto significant ice throughout. So maybe this year ice will hang on there. I also note that the cold blob in the North Atlantic has been around for awhile but never ventured higher up to affect Barents and the Arctic directly. Maybe that is changing. Thirdly, AER observed an unusual high ridge over Greenland and Iceland giving NA and Europe colder temps this May. No one knows if that weather anomaly will persist. I don’t know the impact on ice either way.

      I just keep on watching and reporting the unfolding of the spectacle.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Caleb · May 25, 2017

        Thanks for adding your insights. I like the concept of the “dumbell”. I think it has a lot to do with whether the flow is predominately from the south (last year) or from the north (this year).

        Once things become more tranquil in the summer the ice often just sits roughly where it is. What I am keeping an eye out for is the unusual. I think the reason the extent was so low in 2007 was because the ice didn’t remain in Barents Sea, but was discharged down into the Atlantic, which left less ice up in the Arctic Sea.

        But the granddaddy of all discharges seemed to be around 1816-1817, when an enormous amount of ice came south into the Atlantic. Whaling ships apparently sailed north to 84 degrees latitude, and even over the top of Greenland and down its west coast. Though there was less ice in the Arctic, the Atlantic was filled with bergs even down to 40 degrees latitude, and bergs were grounding on the coast of Ireland. The chilling of the Atlantic may have contributed to “The Year With No Summer” in Western Europe.

        Imagine if anything like that happened again! The press would bust a blood vessel.

        Anyway, thanks again for the input. I’m going to mention the “dumbell” idea in a post and refer to your site, which I greatly enjoy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ron Clutz · May 26, 2017

        Thanks for your comment Caleb. The whole issue of Arctic ice export into the Atlantic is still a puzzler. I am working on a post on the topic but still have unresolved facts and interpretations. I am still intrigued by the Russian research showing that increased flows of ice through the Fram Strait leads to increased transport of shelf sea ice into the Arctic basin 4 to 6 years later. My problem is finding recent datasets to update their finding.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Caleb · May 26, 2017

        I look forward to your take on the topic. I’m not aware of the Russian research. Sounds interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ron Clutz · May 26, 2017

        You can read some of it toward the end of this post:

        Liked by 2 people

      • Caleb · May 26, 2017

        Great post, Ron. Thanks for the link. I missed that one. (I wish I could be all places at all times, but can’t.)

        There’s a lot to think about in your report about Russian research. I like surprises, and the idea that more ice flushed through Fram Strait may be indicative of a sea-ice increase is a real eye-opener. I’m going to need to mull that over, because several million brain-cells allotted to preconceptions are freaking out.

        I’m jealous that the Russians apparently have data for the war years, 1940-1945. The Danes are blank for that time.

        Thanks again for your hard work (though it is great fun at times!)

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ron Clutz · May 22, 2017

      I also wanted to add to your comments about albedo. To me it is one factor only, but it does have an effect. For instance Judah Cohen at AER noted that persistent snow cover in June does retard ice melting. Of course, declining summer ice extents is only partly melting, along with drifting, compacting and breaking up from windy conditions.

      Liked by 1 person

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  7. Steven Mosher · June 7, 2017

    you should study more before you write posts


    • Ron Clutz · June 7, 2017

      Thanks Steven. I know of that source and of the bias that goes with it. This is a source of facts otherwise ignored by you and Neven,


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  12. uwe.roland.gross · May 26, 2019

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.


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