The 2017/18 Festive Season in the Arctic

Christmas is coming, and Santa’s secret summer swimming pool has frozen over once again. However the same can’t be said for the Chukchi Sea! More on that in due course, but first let’s take a look at the PIOMAS volume graph at the end of November, courtesy of the wondrous Wipneus on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum:


2017 is currently third lowest, behind 2012 and 2016. Next let’s take a look at Wipneus’ PIOMAS Arctic sea ice thickness map:


followed by the University of Bremen’s SMOS Arctic sea ice thickness map:


Note the large area of pale blue open ocean still visible in the Chukchi Sea towards the top left of both maps.

For another perspective on Arctic sea ice thickness here’s the latest Cryosat-2 map, which currently is based on the month up to November 24th:


Finally, for the moment at least, here’s our very own Arctic Freezing Degree Days graph based on the DMI’s >80N data:


2017 is currently occupying the wide open space between the astonishingly low numbers last year and all previous years in DMI’s record. Here’s their graph for 2017 so far:



[Edit – December 10th]

Current Arctic sea ice area and extent derived from the University of Hamburg’s high resolution AMSR2 data:



Plus the latest update on the Chukchi Sea situation:


Watch this space!

7 thoughts on “The 2017/18 Festive Season in the Arctic

  1. The latest edition of the NSIDC’s Arctic Sea Ice News also leads on the record low extent in the Chukchi Sea:

    November 2017 will be remembered not for total Arctic ice extent, which was the third lowest recorded over the period of satellite observations, but for the record low extent in the Chukchi Sea. This is a key area for Arctic Ocean access, and is an indicator of oceanographic influences on sea ice extent.

    Extent at the end of the month was below average over the Atlantic side of the Arctic, primarily in the Barents and Kara Seas, slightly above average in western Hudson Bay, but far below average in the Chukchi Sea. This continues a pattern of below-average extent in this region that has persisted for the last year.

    In the summer of 2017, Rebecca Woodgate of the University of Washington, Seattle, sailing on the research vessel Norseman II, recovered mooring data that indicated an early arrival of warm ocean water in the strait, about a month earlier than the average.

  2. You mean the Bering Strait?

    I will, Jim, I will be watching this space!

    Same bat channel, Same bat time,… *** ka-pow!

  3. The good thing about the Chukchi Sea is that every year it fills up completely by January. This means that an early melt or late refreeze is in one sense, unimportant, at this stage.
    If it was to stay unfrozen in part all year round that might be a cause for concern.
    Consequently what one has to watch is the amount of ice forming in the unbounded peripheries.
    Things like the Sea of Okhotsk and Bering sea and the edges of that long island. Novaya Zemlya.
    At the moment ice on the eastern side of the latter has been as rare as hens teeth in recent years. Perhaps this year it might be better.
    Chukchi is now belatedly freezing up rapidly.
    I note that the rapid regrowth in Okhotsk was not deemed worthy of a mention, perhaps a little each way commentary would be good at times, positives as well as negatives?
    Anyway merry Christmas and keep on blogging.
    Enjoy the fact that people are prepared to work hard to get these views across.

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