Category Archives: News

Facts About the Arctic in September 2022

As in previous years there is already a thread devoted to this year’s minimum extent. By way of a summary here are the end of August numbers for our favourite “high resolution” AMSR2 area and extent metrics:

Extent is currently near the top of the range of the last 10 years.

We have now reached the stage of the “melting season” when “refreezing” has started in the Central Arctic but melting at the periphery is outpacing it. However the Canadian Ice Service stage of development charts now show the arrival of new ice in the high latitudes of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago:

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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:

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The North Pole in the Summer of 2022

After a long hiatus courtesy of the demise of the annual Barneo ice camp and the Covid-19 pandemic we are pleased to be able to report that an ice mass balance buoy has once again been installed on a floe in the vicinity of the North Pole. Here’s the evidence:

The ship in the background is not a traditional research icebreaker. It is Ponant Cruises’ Le Commandant Charcot, one of a number of new ice hardened cruise ships voyaging across the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas. Le Commandant Charcot reached 90N on July 13th:

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Polarstern in the Svalbard Marginal Ice Zone

In a press release last week the Alfred Wegener Institute announced that:

From her home port in Bremerhaven, the Polarstern will set course for Fram Strait and the marginal ice zone north of Svalbard, where warm, nutrient-rich Atlantic Water flows into the Arctic Ocean.

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Facts About the Arctic in July 2022

After a relatively rapid decline at the beginning of June Arctic sea extent is now very close to the 2010s average:

Both 2020 and 2021 began relatively rapid declines of their own at the beginning of July, so it will be interesting to see if 2022 follows suit.

Most of the fast ice off Utqiaġvik has recently disappeared:

Meanwhile further out into the Chukchi Sea the sea ice looks to be in poor shape at the moment, with surface melting apparent across the entire region:

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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.

Traffic along the main Northern Sea Route has already begun. Marine Traffic reveals that the liquified natural gas carrier Nikolay Yevgenov is heading for the Bering Strait and has already sailed north of the New Siberian Islands. He is now entering the “average” ice area in the eastern ESS:

Meanwhile the recently commissioned nuclear powered icebreaker Sibir is patiently waiting in the Vilkitsky Strait:

The Northern Sea Route is evidently already “open” for ice hardened LNG tankers, but not yet for more conventional vessels. Here is the current AMSR2 sea ice concentration map:

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Facts About the Arctic in June 2022

May 2022 proved to be fairly uneventful in the Arctic. High resolution AMSR2 Arctic sea ice extent has remained towards the top of the recent pack:

However Arctic sea ice area has been declining more quickly recently, and compaction is now lowest for the date in the AMSR2 record:

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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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