Facts About the Arctic in February 2018

Whilst the official PIOMAS volume figures for January have yet to be released Wipneus has worked his usual magic on the gridded thickness numbers to reveal:


not to mention the calculated volume:


and the volume anomaly:


As Wipneus puts it:

Estimated from the thickness data, the latest value is from 31st of January: 17.57 [1000 km3], which is the second lowest value for that day, 2017 is lowest by a rather large margin at 16.16 [1000 km3].

Here are the “measured” thickness maps from SMOS:


and CryoSat-2:


Here are the end of January Arctic wide high resolution AMSR2 graphs based on University of Hamburg data:



In addition, since it’s that time of year, here too is Wipneus’ NSIDC global sea ice extent:


The minimum thus far is very slightly above last year’s value, but perhaps like last year there will be a “double dip”?

Getting back to the Arctic, here is the DMI >80N temperature plot for January:


together with the associated freezing degree days graph:


Here’s a video showing the effect of the mid January cyclones on the sea ice in the Fram Strait and north of Svalbard:

Finally, for the moment at least, here is the current Fram Strait surf forecast for 12:00 UTC on February 5th:

Significant_height_of_combined_w in multi_1.glo_30mext.20180203_00021

Mean_period_of_wind_waves_surfac in multi_1.glo_30mext.20180203_00021

Those maps shows 10 meter high, 15 second period waves heading straight for the ice edge north of Svalbard.


[Edit – February 7th]

The latest edition of Arctic Sea Ice News has been published. As the NSIDC put it:

January of 2018 began and ended with satellite-era record lows in Arctic sea ice extent, resulting in a new record low for the month. Combined with low ice extent in the Antarctic, global sea ice extent is also at a record low.


Air temperatures at the 925 hPa level (about 2,500 feet above sea level) remained unusually high over the Arctic Ocean. Nearly all of the region was at least 3 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) or more above average. The largest departures from average of more than 9 degrees Celsius (16 degrees Fahrenheit) were over the Kara and Barents Seas, centered near Svalbard. On the Pacific side, air temperatures were about 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) above average. By contrast, 925 hPa temperatures over Siberia were up to 4 degrees Celsius (7 degrees Fahrenheit) below average. The warmth over the Arctic Ocean appears to result partly from a pattern of atmospheric circulation bringing in southerly air, and partly from the release of heat into the atmosphere from open water areas.



[Edit – February 10th]

The University of Hamburg’s high resolution AMSR2 derived area is bouncing back after the recent cyclone, but extent is currently still declining:



The recent drop in Arctic sea ice extent has pushed the NSIDC global extent to a new all time (satellite era!) low:


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