Facts About the Arctic in April 2021

As part of his March PIOMAS gridded sea ice thickness update Wipneus also produced this graph of sea ice export from the central Arctic via the Fram Strait:

So far this winter export has been remarkably subdued, but that has now changed. A persistent dipole with high pressure over Greenland and low pressure over the Barents Sea is generating strong northerly winds in the Fram Strait, and even bringing some April snow showers to South West England:

Precisely how high the pressure has been over Greenland is the subject of much debate. See for example this discussion on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum about whether a new world high pressure record has just been set. Different weather forecasting models have come to very different conclusions about the mean sea level pressure of a high pressure area situated over the Greenland ice sheet, which reaches an altitude of over 3,000 metres. Here’s GFS for example, showing 1097 hPa at 06Z on April 4th:

whereas the Canadian Meteorological Centre synopsis for the same time shows a mere 1070 hPa:

At least all the assorted models agree that the isobars are closely packed over the Fram Strait, and hence some of the thickest sea ice remaining in the Arctic is currently heading towards oblivion in the far north Atlantic Ocean:

Here’s the US Navy’s sea ice drift forecast for Saturday 10th:

Watch this space!

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