Jan. 19 Arctic Ice Returns to Mean

A previous post noted the Pacific ice see saw had returned, with Bering Sea slow to recover.  The image above shows recovery of Arctic sea ice extent over the month of January 2020. As supported by the table later, the pace of refreezing was slow to begin but has now allowed 2020 to match the 13 year average (2007 to 2019 inclusive). Okohotsk Sea on the left has grown ice extent steadily to be currently at 66% of last March maximum.  Bering on the right waffled back and forth but gained strongly the last few days.

The graph below shows the ice extent growing during January compared to some other years and the 13 year average (2007 to 2019 inclusive).

Note that the  NH ice extent 13 year average increases about 1.2M km2 during January, up to 14.4M km2. MASIE 2020 stated with a slower icing rate, dropping 300k km2 lower than average before catching up to reaching the average on January 19.  Both 2018 and 2017 were lower at this point, while MASIE and SII are tracking closely together.

The table shows where the ice is distributed compared to average.  Deficits in Greenland Sea and Baffin Bay are offset by surpluses in Kara and Barents Seas.  At this point the surplus in Okhotsk exceeds the Bering deficit. Going forward, most of the additional ice extent will in the Pacific Seas.

Region 2020019 Day 019 Average 2020-Ave. 2018019 2020-2018
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 13933540 13939872  -6332  13431421 502118 
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1070655 1070223  432  1070445 210 
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 965972 965999  -27  965971
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1087137 1087133  1087120 18 
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 897842  897845
 (5) Kara_Sea 933810 911944  21867  902003 31807 
 (6) Barents_Sea 646750 502965  143784  286684 360065 
 (7) Greenland_Sea 525324 600387  -75063  453112 72212 
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1155618 1245934  -90317  1355009 -199391 
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 854282 853058  1225  853109 1174 
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1260192 1257480  2712  1260838 -646 
 (11) Central_Arctic 3239662 3203861  35801  3161866 77796 
 (12) Bering_Sea 443027 570321  -127294  309601 133425 
 (13) Baltic_Sea 9625 52416  -42791  24115 -14491 
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 817160 669235  147925  782693 34467 

Footnote:  Interesting comments on January 13 by Dr. Judah Cohen at his blog regarding the Arctic fluctuations. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Arctic sea ice extent

The positive AO is conducive to sea ice growth and Arctic sea ice growth rate continues to grow slowly and remains well below normal but higher than recent winters; the weather pattern remains favorable for further sea ice growth. Negative sea ice anomalies exist in three regions: the Bering Sea, around Greenland-Canadian Archipelagos and Barents-Kara Seas. The anomalies in the North Pacific sector have shrunk (Figure 16), and based on model forecasts negative sea ice anomalies in the Bering Sea can shrink further in the next two weeks. Below normal sea ice in and around Greenland and the Canadian Archipelagos may favor a negative winter NAO, though there are no signs of such a scenario. Based on recent research low sea ice anomalies in the Chukchi and Bering seas favors cold temperatures in central and eastern North America while low sea ice in the Barents-Kara seas favor cold temperatures in Central and East Asia, however this topic remains controversial. Recent research has shown that regional anomalies that are most highly correlated with the strength of the stratospheric PV are across the Barents-Kara seas region where low Arctic sea ice favors a weaker winter PV.

Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover

Despite a strongly postive AO snow cover has advanced across Eurasia and is now near decadal means. And if the snowfall forecasts for Europe ever verify it could advance further. Above normal snow cover extent in October, favors a strengthened Siberian high, cold temperatures across northern Eurasia and a weakened polar vortex/negative AO this upcoming winter followed by cold temperatures across the continents of the NH.

Illustration by Eleanor Lutz shows Earth’s seasonal climate changes. If played in full screen, the four corners present views from top, bottom and sides. It is a visual representation of scientific datasets measuring Arctic ice extents and snow cover.

One comment

  1. Hifast · January 21, 2020

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s