16 yr. Plateau September Arctic Ice 2022

September daily extents are now fully reported and the 2022 September monthly results can be compared with those of the previous 15 years.  MASIE showed 2022 at 5.1M km2  and SII was close behind, reaching 4.9M for the month.  Analysis below shows that the 2022 Minimum was ~ 300k km2 higher than the 15 year average, and on day 273, this year was 1.2 Wadhams (1 M km2) more than 2007.  The 16 yr. trendlines are virtually flat and matching the averages for the period.

In June, 4.6M km2 was the median estimate for the September monthly average extent from the SIPN (Sea Ice Prediction Network) who use the reports from SII (Sea Ice Index), the NASA team satellite product from passive microwave sensors. The SII actual ice extent was 300k km2 higher than estimated.

The graph below shows September comparisons through day 273 (Sept. 30).

Note that MASIE was higher than average throughout September, with a brief minimum slightly after day 260, before increasing the surplus in the last half. SII tracked much lower before rising close to MASIE at the end.  The other years, 2007 and 2020 were much lower than average. The animation below shows the ice extents for the last twelve days, depicting the ice recovery since day 261.

Note the ice in Canadian Arctic Archipelago (lower center) increasing rapidly, doubling from 175k km2 to 367k km2.

The table shows ice extents in the regions for 2022, 15 year averages and 2007 for day 273. Averages refer to 2007 through 2020 inclusive.

Region 2022273 Day 273 Average 2022-Ave. 2007273 2022-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 5259935 4969083 290853 4086883 1173053
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 652439 567821 84618 498743 153696
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 186014 219952 -33938 51 185963
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 381043 309836 71207 311 380732
 (4) Laptev_Sea 228810 151002 77808 235245 -6434
 (5) Kara_Sea 29831 34778 -4947 15367 14464
 (6) Barents_Sea 217 15648 -15430 4851 -4633
 (7) Greenland_Sea 283444 238081 45364 353210 -69766
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 89205 53386 35819 42247 46957
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 367175 392202 -25028 307135 60040
 (10) Hudson_Bay 0 3627 -3627 1936 -1936
 (11) Central_Arctic 3040615 2981627 58988 2626511 414104

The only deficits are small ones in Chukchi and CAA, more than offset by surpluses in Beaufort, Laptev, East Siberian and Greenland Seas, along with  Baffin and Central Arctic.   Overall, the NH ice extent is surplus by 290k km2 or 6% over 15 year average.


Earlier observations showed that Arctic ice extents were low in the 1940s, grew thereafter up to a peak in 1977, before declining.  That decline was gentle until 1996 which started a decade of multi-year ice loss through the Fram Strait.  There was also a major earthquake under the north pole in that period.  In any case, the effects and the decline ceased in 2007, 30 years after the previous peak.  Now we have a plateau in ice extents, which could be the precursor of a growing phase of the quasi-60 year Arctic ice oscillation.


A commenter previously asked, where do they get their data? The answer is primarily from NIC’s Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System (IMS). From the documentation, the multiple sources feeding IMS are:



Summary: IMS Daily Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice Analysis

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NOAA/NESDIS) has an extensive history of monitoring snow and ice coverage.Accurate monitoring of global snow/ice cover is a key component in the study of climate and global change as well as daily weather forecasting.

The Polar and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite programs (POES/GOES) operated by NESDIS provide invaluable visible and infrared spectral data in support of these efforts. Clear-sky imagery from both the POES and the GOES sensors show snow/ice boundaries very well; however, the visible and infrared techniques may suffer from persistent cloud cover near the snowline, making observations difficult (Ramsay, 1995). The microwave products (DMSP and AMSR-E) are unobstructed by clouds and thus can be used as another observational platform in most regions. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery also provides all-weather, near daily capacities to discriminate sea and lake ice. With several other derived snow/ice products of varying accuracy, such as those from NCEP and the NWS NOHRSC, it is highly desirable for analysts to be able to interactively compare and contrast the products so that a more accurate composite map can be produced.

The Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB) of NESDIS first began generating Northern Hemisphere Weekly Snow and Ice Cover analysis charts derived from the visible satellite imagery in November, 1966. The spatial and temporal resolutions of the analysis (190 km and 7 days, respectively) remained unchanged for the product’s 33-year lifespan.

As a result of increasing customer needs and expectations, it was decided that an efficient, interactive workstation application should be constructed which would enable SAB to produce snow/ice analyses at a higher resolution and on a daily basis (~25 km / 1024 x 1024 grid and once per day) using a consolidated array of new as well as existing satellite and surface imagery products. The Daily Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice Cover chart has been produced since February, 1997 by SAB meteorologists on the IMS.

Another large resolution improvement began in early 2004, when improved technology allowed the SAB to begin creation of a daily ~4 km (6144×6144) grid. At this time, both the ~4 km and ~24 km products are available from NSIDC with a slight delay. Near real-time gridded data is available in ASCII format by request.

In March 2008, the product was migrated from SAB to the National Ice Center (NIC) of NESDIS. The production system and methodology was preserved during the migration. Improved access to DMSP, SAR, and modeled data sources is expected as a short-term from the migration, with longer term plans of twice daily production, GRIB2 output format, a Southern Hemisphere analysis, and an expanded suite of integrated snow and ice variable on horizon.



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?

MASIE is rigorous, reliable, serves as calibration for satellite products, and continues the long and honorable tradition of naval ice charting using modern technologies. More on this at my post Support MASIE Arctic Ice Dataset


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