Arctic Ice Movember Update

Click on image to enlarge

Arctic Ice Extents have roughly doubled since the Sept. minimum and are now up to 10M km2.  The last 1/3 of maximum will take until March, principally because several basins are frozen over and cannot add coverage.  To date, Beaufort and CAA (Canadian Archipelago) are full, as are Laptev and East Siberian on the Russian side.  Kara is 3/4 covered and the Central Arctic wil add only 3% from here.

During the first half of November we can see at the bottom Beaufort  and East Siberian filling in, leaving only Chukchi with open water.  On the right, Both Baffin and Hudson bays are now growing more strongly.   At the top Kara ice extent has reached 75% of its March maximum.

The graph compares extents over the first 17 days of November.

2017 has reached 9.9M km2, 2007 nearly the same, and both are close to the 10 year average of 10M km2.  2012 lags 300k km2 lower than 2017, while 2016 is 877k km2 behind.  At this point MASIE and SII are tracking the 10-year average, with SII about 200k km2 lower.

The Table below shows where ice is located on day 321 in regions of the Arctic ocean. 10 year average comes from 2007 through 2016 inclusive.

Region 2017321 Day 321
2017-Ave. 2016304 2017-2016
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 9904268 10013895 -109626 9026577 877691
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1052982 1067181 -14199 1056304 -3322
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 449182 702958 -253776 616755 -167573
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1076201 1077799 -1598 1087137 -10936
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 897517 328 896732 1113
 (5) Kara_Sea 696550 649727 46822 254492 442058
 (6) Barents_Sea 68869 174077 -105208 25907 42962
 (7) Greenland_Sea 394494 499069 -104575 390593 3901
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 761453 552922 208531 524708 236745
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 852865 851728 1137 853180 -315
 (10) Hudson_Bay 460631 273706 186925 185679 274952
 (11) Central_Arctic 3158068 3183076 -25008 3077808 80260

The deficits to average are primarily in Chukchi, also Barents and Greenland Seas. Surpluses are large in Hudson and Baffin Bays, along with Kara Sea.


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 analysis, 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 uses modern technologies to continue the long and honorable tradition of naval ice charting.  More on this at my post Support MASIE Arctic Ice Dataset

Movember Foundation encourages growing mustaches in support of men’s health and fitness.



  1. Hifast · November 18, 2017

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.


  2. oz4caster · November 22, 2017

    Thanks for the update Ron. I have been following Arctic and Antarctic ice using NASA’s WorldView imagery, including the 7-2-1 and 3-6-7 MODIS band composites in combination with the GCOM-W1/AMSR2 12km ice analyses available there. I find it interesting to see the differences and the MODIS imagery often offers some high resolution peeks at the ice distribution when lack of clouds allows. I see a lot of day-to-day variation in these analyses. Here’s an example of the 3-6-7 Terra MODIS imagery combined with the GCOM 12 km ice concentration analysis in case you may not have seen these tools. The mouse roller will zoom in and out and the GCOM overlay can be toggled on and off using the overlay menu at the top right.

    I’ve noticed on your MASIE animations that often there are static holes in the ice that don’t look realistic and are oddly bounded on the north side by a latitude parallel. I see three of these in the animation included with this post. One is between Greenland and Iceland and the other two are north of Siberia. I’m guessing they are some kind of analysis artifact, but I’m curious if you have heard what might be causing them.


    • oz4caster · November 22, 2017

      Oops. Make that overlay menu at the top left.


    • Ron Clutz · November 22, 2017

      I am also guessing that those are artifacts. I do not know how such are dealt with in calculating extents. I also assume that day to day fluctuations are partly due to difficulties observing anything in the Arctic.

      Thanks for the link to NASA Worldview.


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