Bering Sea Reduces Arctic Minimum

Bering035to047

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

The good news was that the ice was found just next door in Okhotsk Sea.  As the image above showed, Bering did reduce its coverage, but Okhotsk was gaining at the same time. Over those 12 days, Bearing lost 173k km2 of ice extent while Okhotsk gained 185k km2.

Now we have perhaps already passed the annual maximum, which on average was 15.1M km2 on day 62.

NH arctic ice day 066r

2018 has reduced ice extent the last three days since peaking on day 63.  It came near to 2007 and 2016 before retreating.  And as in the past, SII is tracking about 200k km2 lower.  The regional extents are shown in the table below.

Region 2018066 Day 066 
Average
2018-Ave. 2017066 2018-2017
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 14380231 15084354 -704123 14706492 -326261
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1070445 1070178 267 1070445 0
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 965161 966001 -840 966006 -845
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1087120 1087134 -14 1087137 -18
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 897842 3 897845 0
 (5) Kara_Sea 934934 926489 8445 912664 22270
 (6) Barents_Sea 624841 647307 -22466 597521 27320
 (7) Greenland_Sea 537737 641220 -103484 615726 -77989
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1557754 1560371 -2617 1545548 12206
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 853109 852753 356 853214 -106
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1260838 1259900 938 1260903 -66
 (11) Central_Arctic 3152831 3219866 -67035 3223471 -70640
 (12) Bering_Sea 232461 757199 -524738 628542 -396081
 (13) Baltic_Sea 138089 94664 43425 69380 68708
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 1041074 1070088 -29014 953551 87522

The 2018 deficit to average is almost entirely due to Bering Sea lack of refreezing, now 525k km2 below recent normal.  On the European side, Barents and Kara are nearly average, with Greenland Sea down about 20%.  It remains to be seen if this year’s maximum is past or if more extent is gained in the coming week.

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

via Science Matters

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March 8, 2018 at 01:03PM

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