Category Archives: News

The Northern Sea Route in 2022

On June 17th the Northern Sea Route Administration published the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute forecast of ice conditions for June to August 2022. Here’s the summary:

“Favorable” conditions in most areas, but “average” in the eastern East Siberian Sea and south west Chukchi Sea.

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Facts About the Arctic in May 2022

By way of a change we’ll start the month of May with a closer look at one of the ice mass balance buoys deployed in the Beaufort Sea last Autumn. IMB buoy 569620 was deployed at 78.5 N, 147.0 W on September 3rd 2021, and since then it has drifted to 81.0 N, 147.7 W. Here is the buoy’s record of atmospheric conditions above the ice floe it’s embedded in since then:

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Facts About the Arctic in April 2022

The April edition of the NSIDC’s Arctic Sea Ice News summarises March 2022 as follows:

Average Arctic sea ice extent for March 2022 was 14.59 million square kilometers (5.63 million square miles), ranking ninth lowest in the satellite record…

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Facts About the Arctic in March 2022

For detailed analysis of Arctic sea ice extent over the next few weeks please see the 2022 maximum extent thread. However to get the new open thread going here is the current JAXA/ViSHOP extent graph:

It’s looking more and more as though the real maximum for 2022 occurred close the false peak on February 23rd.

Arctic sea ice volume will keep increasing for a while longer. Here is the current AWI CryoSat-2/SMOS volume graph:

The recent “flat line” in extent is in part due to recent events on the Pacific periphery of the Arctic. Take a look at this animation of AMSR2 sea ice concentration:

The gap varies depending on how the wind blows, but there is still evidence of open water (or very thin ice) along the shore of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Here’s the Mackenzie Delta and the adjacent Beaufort Sea on March 5th:

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Facts About the Arctic in February 2022

Following the “Great Arctic Winter Cyclone” towards the end of January, here are the latest high resolution AMSR2 area and extent graphs:

The sudden reduction in sea ice area due to the cyclone is very apparent, as is the subsequent refreeze of the affected area. Here’s an animation of AMSR2 concentration revealing more detail:

Here too is the latest AWI CryoSat-2/SMOS Arctic sea ice volume graph:

It doesn’t reveal a similar “blip” towards the end of January, suggesting that reduction in area was due to compaction rather than melt. The current AWI thickness map shows the freshly formed ice north east of Svalbard is still very thin:

The latest thickness anomaly map from the Finnish Meteorological Institute shows that the ice which was exported from the Central Arctic via the Fram Strait is nevertheless still anomalously thin, although there is now an area of thicker ice north of Greenland:

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Facts About the Arctic in January 2022

2021 has been and gone, so first of all may I wish all our readers a very Happy New Year.

Sadly it’s not been a happy start to 2022 for the inhabitants of Boulder, Colorado, home of the National Snow and Ice Data Center. According to the Denver Post:

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Facts About the Arctic in December 2021

Christmas is coming. Santa’s secret summer swimming pool has frozen over. The time has come for a new monthly Arctic update.

The JAXA/ADS/ViSHOP web site is undergoing maintenance for a week, so let’s start the festive season with a look at high resolution AMSR2 area and extent:

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Facts About the Arctic in November 2021

It’s not November until tomorrow, but Andy Lee Robinson has just published the 2021 edition of his long running “Arctic ice cube” video series, based on the PIOMAS volume data. Here it is for your edification:

You may also wish to keep tabs on our deep dive into CERES top of the atmosphere energy flux data. Here’s a sneak preview:

[Edit – November 3rd]

In stark contrast to other recent years, northern hemisphere snow cover is very low at the moment:

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