Arctic Ice September Strong

Click on image to enlarge.

The image above shows ice extents for yesterday, day 244, from 2007 to 2017.  Particularly interesting is the variation in the CAA (Canadian Arctic  Archipelago), crucial for the Northwest Passage.  (The region is located north of the word “Extent” in gold.)  While 2016 was a fine year for cruising with the passage completely open at day 244 that was not the case in 2014, and this year also has places frozen solid. By September 1, ice is still clogging some channels.

The graph of August NH ice extents shows 2017 has remained above the decadal average in recent days. (Ten-year average is for 2007 to 2016 inclusive).

This year is now 600k km2 greater than 2016 and exceeds the 10 year average by 50k km2.  SII (Sea Ice Index) 2017 is closer now, only 200k km2 lower.  2007 is running 400k km2 lower.  A previous post Beware the Arctic Storms of August discussed how late summer storms have dramatic impacts, and the graph shows both 2012 and 2016 plummeting in late August.  Note that just 2 weeks ago 2012 was tied with 2017, and then lost 1.6M km2.  2016 lost 1.3M km2 in the same period.

The table below compares 2017 with 2007 and the 10-year averages for Arctic regions.

Region 2017244 Day 244
2017-Ave. 2007244 2017-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 4934548 4884191 50357 4525136 409412
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 424479 542957 -118477 629454 -204974
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 204972 225008 -20036 96232 108740
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 314746 348577 -33831 196 314550
 (4) Laptev_Sea 216679 182883 33796 245578 -28899
 (5) Kara_Sea 34099 45628 -11528 74307 -40208
 (6) Barents_Sea 16638 23603 -6965 11061 5577
 (7) Greenland_Sea 142702 183941 -41239 288223 -145521
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 55689 24864 30825 32804 22885
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 384879 294120 90759 234389 150490
 (10) Hudson_Bay 3848 23575 -19727 28401 -24553
 (11) Central_Arctic 3135439 2988097 147342 2883201 252238

2017 has deficits mainly in BCE, especially Beaufort Sea, but those are more than offset by surpluses in Central Arctic and CAA (Canadian Arctic Archipelago).  As shown in the post Arctic Heart Beat Central Arctic and CAA are the two regions providing most of the ice extent at annual minimum.


Some people unhappy with the higher amounts of ice extent shown by MASIE continue to claim that Sea Ice Index is the only dataset that can be used.  This is false in fact and in logic.  Why should anyone accept that the highest quality picture of ice day to day has no shelf life, that one year’s charts can not be compared with another year?  Researchers do this, including Walt Meier in charge of Sea Ice Index.  That said, I understand his interest in directing people to use his product rather than one he does not control.  As I have said before:

MASIE is rigorous, reliable, serves as calibration for satellite products, and continues the long and honorable tradition of naval ice charting using modern technologies.  More on this at my post Support MASIE Arctic Ice Dataset


  1. George Todd · September 3, 2017

    Ron I see that the Crystal Serenity has made it to Pond Inlet. Appears they were able to navigate through the ice. Do you have any updates on ice in this area? George

    Sent from my iPad



    • Ron Clutz · September 3, 2017

      Thanks for commenting George. Yes they formed a convoy with two icebreakers and another smaller cruise ship. Details on the post Serenity faces Ice Aug. 30. They made two stops at Devon Island (Beechey Island and Croker Bay, before sailing down to Pond Inlet. Likely they will do sightseeing at the park there, as no ice remains for the rest of their itinerary. Note they made no stops in the channel before heading through Bellot Strait. Wise move, since there is still lots of ice near Prince of Wales island.


  2. Hifast · September 3, 2017

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.


  3. angech · September 4, 2017

    Support MASIE Arctic Ice Dataset. Yes.
    Weird to think that the more accurate daily record is somehow then not reliable for longer use.
    Keep plugging away.
    Less ice today hopefully a temporary phenomenon.


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