Facts About the Arctic in August 2022

We’ll start the new month in traditional fashion. Here’s the high resolution AMSR2 sea ice extent and area:

Extent decline in July proved to be somewhat sluggish by recent standards. A week ago I posed the question:

Is 2022 more likely to follow the path of 2012, 2013 or 2016 to this year’s minimum?

At the moment the answer seems to be “2013 Jim!”. However what about the condition of all that ice? Here’s the latest AMSR2 concentration map:

It reveals a large area of lower concentration ice on the Pacific side of the Arctic. There is also, particularly given the location, a large area of lower concentration near the North Pole. Here’s a much closer look at the ice around the Pole:

“False colour” image of the North Pole on August 1st from the VIIRS instrument on the NOAA-20 satellite

A lot of ice looks vulnerable if the weather becomes unfavourable for ice survival. However whilst low pressure is currently forecast to take over the Central Arctic there is nothing similar to the “Great Arctic Cyclone” of 2012 in sight at the moment.

[Edit – August 16th]

The PIOMAS team’s July report has yet to appear on the Polar Science Center web site. However the gridded data was posted at the beginning of August so here is the “unofficial” Arctic sea ice thickness map for July 31st:

Plus PIOMAS volume via Steven/Gerontocrat on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum:

PIOMAS  Volume as at 31 Jul 2022  7,848 KM3

Volume is at position #11 in the satellite record

Watch this space!

19 thoughts on “Facts About the Arctic in August 2022

  1. Month end sea ice extent for July was well above 2010’s average.
    Since August last year it has only been below the 2010’s average once at the end of March!

    Jan.31st. 16th.lowest. +333,064 sq.km. above 2010’s average.
    Feb.28th. 11th.lowest +116,764 sq.km. above 2010’s average
    Mar.31st. 10th.lowest -127,470 sq.km. below 2010’s average
    Apr. 30th.14th.lowest +16,886 sq.km. above 2010’s average
    May. 31st. 15th lowest +395,097 sq.km. above 2010’s average
    Jun. 30th. 10th.lowest +35,744 sq.km above 2010’s average
    Jul. 23rd. 11th lowest +222,533 sq.km. above 2010’s average
    Aug.1st. 11th.lowest +203,902 sq.km. above 2010’s average

    What will happen in August this year?

  2. Interesting times! With 4 weeks or less to go, NSDIC indicates that to get to 4.6M km^2, Arctic extent will need to average roughly 500 km^2 a week, or about 70 Km^2 per day through the rest of the melt season. And that’s at a time when insolation is slowing down due to the coming solstice. My bet of 4.5 is looking pretty good now, unless there are some impending massive storms.

    I notice our friends at PIOMAS have not weighted in on volume yet, but if DMI is to be believed, 2022 is starting to separate from 2018, but is unlikely to fall below other recent years. The excitement is building!

    Jim, did you have a 2022 prediction?

      1. Very droll, Jim! So if I understand correctly you’re saying that a key metric of Climate Change depends on the weather. I can’t wait to see that headline in the Guardian!

        1. You misunderstand Taylor!

          The “key metrics” in any particular year are highly dependant on that summer’s weather.

          The long term trend in volume/extent is nevertheless down. See for example:

  3. Hi Taylor,

    August melt rate seems to be slowing down.
    Now risen to +407,387 Sq.Km. above 2010’s average.
    We can only wait to see what happens in September.

    Jan.31st. 16th.lowest. +333,064 sq.km. above 2010’s average.
    Feb.28th. 11th.lowest +116,764 sq.km. above 2010’s average
    Mar.31st. 10th.lowest -127,470 sq.km. below 2010’s average
    Apr. 30th.14th.lowest +16,886 sq.km. above 2010’s average
    May. 31st. 15th lowest +395,097 sq.km. above 2010’s average
    Jun. 30th. 10th.lowest +35,744 sq.km above 2010’s average
    Jul. 23rd. 11th lowest +222,533 sq.km. above 2010’s average
    Aug.12th. 12th.lowest +407,387 sq.km. above 2010’s average

  4. Just checked ASIF, we’re about to enter the top 20 lowest minimum (JAXA) of the now 44 year satellite era, no minimum has occurred before September of course!
    Looking at the university of Bremen map, there’s still quite a lot of ice could melt out, if the wind blew in from the south!
    Another 4 weeks will tell all!

    1. Speaking of surprises, does anyone know what’s going on with the PIOMAS folks? They’ve sometimes been late releasing their previous month’s analysis, but never this late (now in second half of following month). DMI shows steady downward trend this month, but no seeming challenge to earlier (and lower) years. Jim, have you heard anything from those folks on our left coast?

        1. Thanks for posting some PIOMAS data, Jim. Interesting to confirm, as does DMI as well, that volume continues to be above 2010s average.

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