Christmas is rapidly approaching, and Santa and Snow White send festive greetings to one and all from the North Pole:
JAXA extent currently seems to be stuck on December 17th, but here’s how it looked a couple of days ago:
Having been comfortably in 3rd lowest position in the satellite era a few days ago, AMSR2 extent is now 5th lowest and very close to the 2010s average for the date.
The Alfred Wegener Institute have been releasing reanalysed CryoSat-2/SMOS merged thickness data for a few days, and here is the resulting Arctic sea ice volume chart:
Near real time volume is currently lowest for the date in the CS2 record, but is likely to be revised upwards when the reanalysed data is eventually released. The associated NRT thickness map looks like this for December 15th:
The mid-month PIOMAS modelled gridded thickness data has also been released. The calculated volume is 5th lowest in the satellite era:
Here too is the PIOMAS thickness map for December 15th:[Update – December 24th]
Merry Xmas everyone, especially Matt! Here’s a couple of images from the National Snow and Ice Data Center’s latest edition of Arctic Sea Ice News. In the short term sea ice is always melting somewhere:
From November 21 to 28, a series of three extratropical cyclones followed a common track from the northeast coast of Greenland eastward along the northern edge of the Barents, Kara, and Laptev Seas. As each storm moved into the Arctic Ocean, it merged with its predecessors, creating a persistent cyclonic (counter clockwise) wind regime. The first and third of these storms originated in the Icelandic Low region before migrating up the east side of Greenland. The second storm originated just north of Greenland. Simultaneously, a center of high pressure developed over the ice-free part of the Barents Sea, becoming especially strong on November 26 to 28.
This combination of persistent low pressure to the north and west of Svalbard and a high-pressure center to the southeast created a strong, persistent flow from the south of relatively warm and moist air from the North Atlantic Ocean toward Svalbard, which then turned eastward along the marginal ice zone. This is seen as an extension of an atmospheric river into the Arctic. Atmospheric rivers are long narrow corridors that carry a large amount of water vapor. A recent study suggests that atmospheric rivers lead to ice loss by transporting warm, moist air into the Arctic that can limit sea ice growth. This is consistent with the observed pause in seasonal ice growth in late November.
And over the longer term:[Update – December 26th]
From being near the bottom of the recent pack at the end of November, Arctic sea ice extent is now edging towards the top of the 2010s range. Here’s the AWI high resolution AMSR2 metric:
However sea ice volume has not followed suit, and remains near the bottom of the range:
Here’s an animation of sea ice motion over the last month, revealing amongst other things the recent rapid refreeze of the Chukchi Sea (click to animate):[Update – December 29th]
Matt is getting very excited about the allegedly “high Arctic sea ice extent” over on XTwitter. So is Tony Heller, although he has also helpfully provided convincing empirical evidence that the IPCC’s global warming “predictions” are correct!
However neither of them seem to be at all interested in the age of Arctic sea ice. Here’s the early December update:
Drifting off topic only slightly, whilst perusing social media I also found this animation from Kev Pluck highly amusing:
The conversation continues on the New Year 2024 open thread.