Bering Sea Blues

 

“Freedom’s Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose.” (Kris Kristofferson)

In May, Arctic ice extent declined as usual with the notable exception of Bering Sea, now almost ice free.  Bering still has some ice to lose, but at 23k km2 it is only 5% of the ice there March 17 at annual Bering maximum, just two months ago.  It is unusual since the Bering ice is only 10% of the 11 year average for this date.  Nearby Chukchi Sea is showing open water, somewhat ahead of schedule.  Okhotsk also in the Pacific is melting and now below average for this date.

Elsewhere things are mostly typical.   Russian and Canadian basins are frozen with high extents and Barents is now matching average.

The graph below shows how the Arctic extent has faired in May compared to the 11 year average with and without the Pacific basins of Bering and Okhotsk.  2018 (brown line lacks B&O)is tracking the orange line with some divergence lately.
NHday141less BO

The graph below shows May 2018 compared to average and some years of interest.
NHday141

Note that 2017 tracks above the 11-year average.  2018 is tracking 2007, which will match average by end of May.  The table below shows ice extents by regions comparing 2018 with 11-year average (2007 to 2017 inclusive) and 2017.

Region 2018141 Day 141 
Average
2018-Ave. 2007141 2018-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 11963940 12493152 -529212 12114407 -150467
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1046328 1025787 20541 1063324 -16996
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 790287 916151 -125864 936237 -145949
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1076816 1074527 2289 1067808 9008
 (4) Laptev_Sea 893794 866784 27009 793551 100243
 (5) Kara_Sea 934453 881645 52808 885543 48909
 (6) Barents_Sea 401369 396306 5063 327568 73801
 (7) Greenland_Sea 441882 606737 -164856 576791 -134909
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1125388 1062146 63242 968062 157325
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 839235 833381 5854 837658 1577
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1153411 1158944 -5533 1097706 55705
 (11) Central_Arctic 3132441 3231803 -99361 3235644 -103203
 (12) Bering_Sea 23001 268930 -245929 213547 -190547
 (13) Baltic_Sea 788 2344 -1556 2146 -1358
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 103188 165353 -62165 106753 -3565

As indicated Bering supplies almost half of the deficit to average, along with Chukchi and Okhotsk deficits.  Lack of ice in Greenland Sea may signify a reduced flow of drift ice out of the Arctic through Fram Strait.

20180522
Current ice chart from AARI St. Petersburg Russia. Old sea ice is in brown.

 

 

 

 

via Science Matters

https://ift.tt/2s3GiHT

May 22, 2018 at 01:31PM

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