22 March 2017

Record Low Ice at Both Poles

Posted by Dan Satterfield

We are getting used to hearing about a record melt out of the Arctic in the early autumn each year, but now we are seeing the lowest wintertime ice on record as well. It’s not official yet, but it looks like the Arctic Ice is now in a steady melt, and the maximum extent this winter was the lowest on record. Neven, over at the Arctic Sea Ice Blog thinks so and he watches the numbers on a daily basis. At the bottom of the planet, the Antarctic ice also set a record summertime low. 

From NSIDC today:
On March 7, 2017, Arctic sea ice likely reached its maximum extent for the year, at 14.42 million square kilometres (5.57 million square miles), the lowest in the 38-year satellite record. This year’s maximum extent is 1.22 million square kilometres (471,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average maximum of 15.64 million square kilometres (6.04 million square miles) and 97,000 square kilometres (37,000 square miles) below the previous lowest maximum that occurred on February 25, 2015. This year’s maximum is 100,000 square kilometres (39,000 square miles) below the 2016 maximum, which is now third lowest.

Much farther south, in the Gulf of Mexico, we meteorologists are talking about how warm the water is there and how it might impact the severe weather season. Warm and muggy air is a necessary ingredient in severe weather but without the proper weather pattern to produce wind shear, it will just be hot and muggy, rather than stormy.

Data NOAA, Image plot from WX Bell Analytics.

That said, this warm water is something to watch.