Bering Sea Ice Lost (& Found Next Door)


Breathless headlines from Inside Climate News:  Alaska’s Bering Sea Lost a Third of Its Ice in Just 8 Days

Well, I have good news for them.  The ice was found just next door in Okhotsk Sea.  As the image above shows, Bering did reduce its coverage, but Okhotsk was gaining at the same time. Over the last 12 days, Bearing lost 173k km2 of ice extent while Okhotsk gained 185k km2. Bering is currently at 35% of last year’s max, while Okhotsk is at 88%, with a month of the freezing season yet to go.

Drift ice in Okhotsk Sea at sunrise.

The graph below shows 2018 NH ice extents since day 1, with and without the Pacific basins Bering and Okhotsk, compared to 11 year averages (2007 to 2017 inclusive).
The deficit comes mostly from Bering Sea, while Okhotsk is above average, and Barents has grown recently.  Greenland Sea and Central Arctic are down to a lesser extent, nearly offset by Baffin surpluses. A month remains to reach annual maximum with the standard this decade being about 15M km2. For perspective, 2018 has to gain about 6% by mid March to reach 15M and gain 4% to reach 14.78, last year’s maximum. It should also be remembered that all of these dancing basins will likely melt out by September as usual.

For a more comprehensive report see Feb. Arctic Ice Dance


  1. hunter · February 18, 2018

    Your diligence in following Arctic ice is thorough. It is clear that skeptics are vindicated: Arctic sea ice is highly dynamic. For me your posts justify the impression that Arctic ice is a very small tail on the climate dog. Its extent has little if any impact on the climate.
    The claims by the clumate extremists regarding alleged climate impacts are always after some weather event, and are little mire than post hoc rationalizations.


    • Ron Clutz · February 18, 2018

      Hunter, agree with most of that. I do think that Arctic sea ice influences weather and thus climate, especially in NH. Ice fluctuations however are a complex result of the 3 Ws: Water, Wind and Weather (clouds in particular).


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