Icy Arctic January 2019

Kara and Barents Seas Chilling Out: 
The animation above shows the last two weeks on the Atlantic side, with Kara achieving its annual maximum and Barents growing ice up to 75% of its max last March. Those two regions are the last to cool down this year. In the upper right the ice solidifies next to Svalbard and fast ice forms along the mainland. Icing begins in the Baltic.  In the center Greenland Sea ice reaches out toward Iceland.  On the left, Baffin ice thickens along the Labrador coast and is filling the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  Below is the ice recovery on the Pacific side.

As we will see in the numbers below, Bering on the right has 100k km2 more ice now than  a year ago, though still lagging the 12-year average.  Okhotsk on the left is almost average and is reaching well south in its basin.

The graph below shows January progress in ice extent recovery.

2019 ice extents are tracking slightly lower than the 12-year average (2007 to 2018 inclusive).  SII lags MASIE by 157k km2 at this date. 2019 presently has 300k km2 more ice than 2017, and 500k km2 more ice than 2018

The table below shows the distribution of ice in the various Arctic basins.

Region 2019028 Day 029 
2019-Ave. 2018028 2019-2018
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 14216967 14304896 -87929 13720485 496482
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1070498 1070200 297 1070445 53
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 966006 965999 7 965971 35
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1087137 1087133 4 1087120 18
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 897842 3 897845 0
 (5) Kara_Sea 935023 904103 30921 864752 70271
 (6) Barents_Sea 594754 552640 42114 448388 146366
 (7) Greenland_Sea 559919 588686 -28767 502182 57738
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1355417 1335964 19453 1357109 -1693
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 853337 853036 302 853109 229
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1260903 1259599 1305 1260838 66
 (11) Central_Arctic 3206769 3208914 -2145 3176440 30330
 (12) Bering_Sea 557702 657897 -100194 414234 143468
 (13) Baltic_Sea 84454 79993 4462 37674 46780
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 765952 777348 -11397 718922 47030

The table shows how 2019 is matching the 12-year average almost everywhere.  Barents and Kara Seas have caught up and edged ahead of average, and are much higher than last year.  The slight overall deficit is due to Bering ice down 100k km2 to average, while being 143k km2 more than last year.


Footnote:  At his AER blog  Arctic Oscillation and Polar Vortex Analysis and Forecasts Dr. Judah Cohen writes yesterday on this cold winter in the Arctic. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The Arctic has warmed at least as twice as fast as any other region of the globe and the accelerating warming of the Arctic relative to the rest of the globe but especially the Northern Hemisphere (NH) mid-latitudes is known as Arctic amplification. The cause of Arctic amplification is surprisingly complex and not well understood but the cause is at least partially related to Arctic sea ice and snow cover melt. Certainly, heading into this winter, I was very confident that we would observe an anomalously warm Arctic this winter especially coming off of last winter where the Arctic was record warm (see Figure i) and sea ice was record low extent.

But the Arctic was surprisingly cold last summer that prevented a new record low minimum for sea ice extent in September. Since then it has been at least strategically cold in regions across the Arctic this fall and winter that allowed sea ice to grow more extensive this winter in the Arctic basin compared to recent winters except in the Barents-Kara Seas. But even more surprising to me has been how cold the Arctic has consistently been this winter, especially when compared to recent winters. The only region in the Arctic Ocean basin that has been consistently warm is the Barents-Kara Seas.


One comment

  1. Hifast · January 30, 2019

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.


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