Here’s the latest graph of Arctic sea ice extent from JAXA/ViSHOP, which looks a bit unusual to say the least:
It certainly caught my eye! Could that sudden peak on February 23rd be the maximum extent for the year? To be frank it looks more like an artifact in the underlying gridded AMSR2 concentration data, but it’s not wholly beyond the bounds of possibility. The Pacific side of the Arctic is anomalously warm at the moment:
and parts of the Bering Sea are above freezing point:
For the moment then the (extremely!) provisional JAXA Arctic sea ice maximum extent for 2022 is 14.39 million km².
By way of an AMSR2 second opinion let’s also take a look at our favourite “high resolution” AMSR2 metrics, which combine recent data from the Alfred Wegener Institute with historical data from the University of Hamburg:
The extent peak on the 23rd is of much smaller magnitude, and it’s almost non existent on the area graph.
Curiouser and curiouser.[Edit – March 1st]
The JAXA maximum on February 23rd is definitely an artifact of dodgy AMSR2 data. Take a look at the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland in particular:
The University of Hamburg version also shows an anomaly in the Barents Sea:
However the 5 day averaged NSIDC extent graph now shows a significant peak on February 25th:
Is anybody willing to put money on 14.875 million km² just yet?[Edit – March 7th]
Here are the latest “high resolution” AMSR2 graphs:
The February 23rd maximum holds, for the moment at least.[Edit – March 11th]
Here’s the latest JAXA Arctic sea ice extent graph:
A late surge is now looking exceedingly unlikely. However given that the maximum seems to have occurred during the brief period of dodgy data around February 23rd, what magnitude and date should be assigned to the 2022 maximum?
Whilst I ponder that thorny problem…
Now I’ve really gone and done it! Started the “2022 melting season” thread on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum that is:
Lots of heat heading in the direction of the North Pole sealed the deal:
According to the latest edition of the NSIDC’s Arctic Sea Ice News:
Arctic sea ice has likely reached its maximum extent for the year, at 14.88 million square kilometers (5.75 million square miles) on February 25. The 2022 maximum is the tenth lowest in the 44-year satellite record. On the same day, on the other pole, Antarctic sea ice reached a record minimum extent, at 1.92 million square kilometers (741,000 square miles).
The date of the maximum this year, February 25, was fifteen days earlier than the 1981 to 2010 average date of March 12. Only two years had an earlier maximum, 1987 and 1996, both on February 24. This year is the second earliest date on the satellite record, tying with 2015, which also reached its maximum extent on February 25.
Watch this space!