Arctic Ice Exceeds Expectations March 5

Update on Large Arctic Ice Extents as of March 5, 2020

After crashing through the 15M km2 ceiling, both MASIE and SII show the extents holding over that amount.

In addition to surpluses in Bering and Okhotsk Seas in the Pacific, Barents Sea is now growing significant ice on the European side. At 823k km2, Bering is 145% of 2019 maximum, while Barents is 94% of 2019 max.

Background from Previous Posts

As noted in a previous February post, March marks the moment of truth regarding the Arctic maximum extent. Ten days later 2020 met the challenge.

For ice extent in the Arctic, the bar is set at 15M km2. The average in the last 13 years occurs on day 62 at 15.04M before descending. Six of the last 13 years were able to clear 15M, but recently only 2014 and 2016 ice extents cleared the bar at 15M km2; the others came up short.

As of yesterday, 2020 cleared 15M km2 as recorded both by MASIE and SII.

During February MASIE and SII both show ice extent hovering around the 13 year average, matching it exactly on day 52 at 14.85M km2. Then the ice cover shrank before growing strongly the last five days to overtake the 13 year average on day 61 at 15.05M km2.

Region 2020060 Day 060 Average 2020-Ave. 2018060 2020-2018
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 14999007 14987840 11167 14535979 463028
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1070655 1070222 433 1070445 210
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 965972 963804 2168 965971 1
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1087137 1087039 98 1087120 18
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 897824 21 897845 0
 (5) Kara_Sea 919052 928455 -9403 921526 -2474
 (6) Barents_Sea 735450 634497 100953 512601 222848
 (7) Greenland_Sea 596926 621572 -24646 518130 78796
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1464407 1544205 -79798 1783076 -318669
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 854282 853074 1209 853109 1174
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1260887 1260890 -2 1260838 49
 (11) Central_Arctic 3247904 3211522 36382 3087802 160103
 (12) Bering_Sea 746111 674028 72083 340789 405322
 (13) Baltic_Sea 30173 103770 -73598 134750 -104577
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 1110709 1097753 12956 1079823 30886

As reported previously, Pacific sea ice is a big part of the story this year.  Out of the last 13 years, on day 52 only two years had Okhotsk ice extent higher than 2020, and only four years had higher Bering ice. Those surpluses offset a small deficit in Greenland Sea ice. And on day 61, the last push came from Bering and Okhotsk.

Typically, Arctic ice extent loses 67 to 70% of the March maximum by mid September, before recovering the ice in building toward the next March.

What will the ice do this year?  Where will 2020 rank in the annual Arctic Ice High Jump competition?

Drift ice in Okhotsk Sea at sunrise.

 

One comment

  1. Hifast · March 7, 2020

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

    Like

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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