Arctic Ice Hits New January Low
February 5, 2016
Every picture tells a story.
See below for more.
Above: Greg Laden says:
“For the heck of it, I turned on all the weak, moderate, strong El Nino years on the interactive graph to see how the present year compares. As expected:”
UPDATE – Bob Henson in Weather Underground:
This winter’s freezing season in the Arctic is falling short. The extent of Arctic sea ice this week is hovering near record-low values for early February, based on observations that extend back to the start of satellite monitoring in 1979. Data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) shows that last month had the lowest overall Arctic sea ice extent of any January in the satellite record (Figure 1). As detailed in an NSIDC report on Thursday, the total extent of 13.53 million square kilometers (5.2 million square miles) was 1.04 million sq km below the 1981-2010 average and 90,000 sq km below the record from January 2011.
Only a few weeks are left before the return of polar sunshine puts an end to the freeze-up that typically starts in September and peaks in late February or March. Last year’s maximum extent occurred quite early–on February 25–and it was the lowest in the satellite record, at 14.54 million square kilometers. This year appears to have a reasonable shot at breaking that record.
The not-so-frozen North
Hand in hand with the skimpy ice cover, temperatures across the Arctic have been extraordinarily warm for midwinter. Just before New Year’s, a slug of mild air pushed temperatures above freezing to within 200 miles of the North Pole. That warm pulse quickly dissipated, but it was followed by a series of intense North Atlantic cyclones that sent very mild air poleward, in tandem with a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation during the first three weeks of the month