4 September 2015

The Great Polar Melt Continues

Posted by Dan Satterfield


We are nearing the end of the summer melt season in the High Arctic and once again we are flirting with the lowest amount of sea ice on record. The graph above is a striking confirmation of just what is happening.

Here is the latest from NSIDC:

August saw a remarkably steady decline in Arctic sea ice extent, at a rate slightly faster than the long-term average. Forecasts show that this year’s minimum sea ice extent, which typically occurs in mid to late September, is likely to be the third or fourth lowest in the satellite record. All four of the lowest extents have occurred since 2007. In mid-August, Antarctic sea ice extent began to trend below the 1981 to 2010 average for the first time since November 2011.


Average sea ice extent for August 2015 was 5.61 million square kilometers (2.16 million square miles), the fourth lowest August extent in the satellite record. 



 The ice is currently tracking lower than two standard deviations below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average.

Sea ice extent remains below average in nearly every sector except for Baffin Bay and Hudson Bay, where some ice persists in sheltered coastal areas. A striking feature of the late 2015 melt season are the extensive regions of low-concentration ice (less than 70% ice cover) in the Beaufort Sea. A few patches of multi-year sea ice surrounded by open water remain in the central Beaufort Sea.