Arctic Springtime Postponed

May 27, 2017 Sea ice all the way to Labrador – Cape Norman Northern Peninsula Newfoundland h/t Newfoundsander

Too dangerous to go fishing due to ice, Coast Guard warns

Weather Canada Marine Forecast
East Coast – north of Cape St. Francis

Issued 10:00 AM EDT 28 May 2017
Today Tonight and Monday
Special ice warning in effect.
1 tenth of first-year ice including a trace of old ice except 9 tenths of first-year ice including a trace of old ice near parts of the mouth of Bonavista Bay and the mouth of Trinity Bay. Unusual presence of sea ice in the western section.
Iceberg Count
More than 100 icebergs.

The Atlantic ice extents show little retreat during May.  Newfoundland coast on the upper left is still locked in ice though less now than 10 days ago.  In Barents not much has changed.

The graph below shows May extent through yesterday, May 28.

For the first time the decadal average dropped below 12M km2.  2017 is 300k km2 above average, 400k km2 above 2007 and 1.1M km2 higher than 2016.  The graph below shows the Arctic ice extents, excluding the Pacific basins of Bering and Okhotsk.

Note how persistent is 2017 ice extent, currently 500k km2 above both 2007 and the decadal average, and 1M km2 above last year at this date.

The table below shows regional extents for 2017 compared to decadal average and to 2007 on day 148.

Region 2017148 Day 148
2017-Ave. 2007148 2017-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 12294150 11990991 303159 11886249 407901
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1009369 1008031 1338 1059461 -50092
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 818347 904706 -86359 905098 -86750
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1037744 1073527 -35783 1069198 -31454
 (4) Laptev_Sea 871872 847487 24384 774503 97369
 (5) Kara_Sea 901704 845784 55920 879973 21731
 (6) Barents_Sea 502369 328055 174314 307955 194414
 (7) Greenland_Sea 635773 574248 61526 559480 76293
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1122564 928837 193727 960512 162052
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 820170 818658 1511 819338 831
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1184050 1102567 81483 1093176 90874
 (11) Central_Arctic 3247685 3221113 26572 3228660 19025
 (12) Bering_Sea 34151 212595 -178444 137425 -103274
 (13) Baltic_Sea 4542 319 4223 0 4542
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 101998 123254 -21255 89730 12269

Note the strong surpluses of ice in Kara, Barents, Greenland Sea and Baffin Bay.  Note also that Bering is nearly ice free, and is having some influence on nearby Chukchi.  The two Pacific basins of Bering and Okhotsk now have 136k km2 combined at day 148, which matches where the decadal average will be in 13 days on day 161.

Finally, the image below shows Svalbard comparing 2017 with last year on day 148.

AER provides some insight into these developments along with a forecast in the May 22 posting.

Dr. Judah Cohen:
As I discussed in my previous blog, one constant over the past decade has been the collapse of NH snow cover extent in spring, especially late spring. The rapid disappearance of snow cover across northern Eurasia and northern North America contributes to drying of the soil and warmer temperatures. The resultant warmer temperatures also likely contribute to Arctic sea ice loss.

Snow cover this spring has been more resilient to melt than in previous recent springs. More snow cover results in moister soils. Moister soils result in cooler temperatures. Snow cover and snow mass continue to be relatively high across the NH helped by in part by below normal temperatures in key regions. However the snow cover has been more resilient in Eurasia relative to North America and snow cover across North America experienced a rapid decline over the past week. And with more warm temperatures predicted across Northern Canada, the rapid decline in snow cover will likely continue.

The AO is currently neutral (Figure 1), reflective of mixed geopotential height anomalies across the Arctic and mixed geopotential height anomalies across the mid-latitudes of the NH (Figure 2). Geopotential height anomalies are positive near Greenland and Iceland (Figure 2), and therefore the NAO is negative.

The AO is predicted to remain neutral to positive next week as neutral to negative geopotential height anomalies dominate much of the Arctic (Figure 5a). And with neutral to negative geopotential height anomalies stretching from Greenland to Iceland, the NAO will likely trend positive back into positive territory as well.

One comment

  1. Caleb · May 30, 2017

    Great post. Thanks.

    You may already have seen this, but I was talking today with someone about a short-lived website called “Hide The Decline” that, back in 2012, produced some neat work about the Barents Sea sea-ice decline of the 1930’s. I thought of you, and wondered if you’d seen it:

    The old DMI sea-ice maps stop in 1939 and don’t resume until 1946, due to the occupation of Denmark by German forces. Barents Sea then became crucial to the survival of Russia, as English convoys could not risk the passage, bringing desperately needed supplies to Russia in summer daylight, (the one time they tried it they got slaughtered), and had to run the gauntlet in the dark of winter. As far as I can tell, the route was less full of sea-ice than this year. (The Germans so pulverized the first port that later on the British had to sail further to a second port, which ordinarily would have involved thicker sea-ice.) (I got interested in this history because my mother’s first boyfriend was an English sailor who went down in one of those convoys.)

    Personally I think there was a low sea-ice period over in Canada at the same time, because that is when the Canadian ship St Roch traversed the Northwest Passage both ways, (west-to-east 1942-1943, and east to west 1944, (becoming the first ship to make the passage in a single season.))

    This old history suggests that the graphs Alarmists so like, that show a steady decline of sea-ice since 1900, may be guilty of BOTH “hiding the decline” AND “hiding the incline.”

    Thanks again.


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