Graph of the Day: 2018 Sea Ice Max

March 10, 2018


National Snow and Ice Data Center:

As temperatures at the North Pole approached the melting point at the end of February, Arctic sea ice extent tracked at record low levels for this time of year. Extent was low on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the Arctic, with open water areas expanding rapidly in the Bering Sea during the latter half of the month. On the other side of the globe, Antarctic sea ice has reached its minimum extent for the year, the second lowest in the satellite record.

Winter continues to be mild over the Arctic Ocean. Sea ice extent remained at record low daily levels for the month. Arctic sea ice extent for February 2018 averaged 13.95 million square kilometers (5.39 million square miles). This is the lowest monthly average  recorded for February, 1.35 million square kilometers (521,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average and 160,000 square kilometers (62,000) below the previous record low monthly average in 2017.

Extent was especially low in the Bering Sea where sea ice declined during the first three weeks of the month. The eastern part of the Bering Sea was largely ice-free for most of the month; extent was low on the western side, with the ice edge further north than normal. In the Chukchi Sea, extent also retreated during part of February, with open water developing north of the Bering Strait on both the Siberian and Alaskan coasts. As seen all winter, ice extent continued to be below average in the Barents Sea, and at the end of February, a wedge of open water formed north of Svalbard that extended well into the Arctic Ocean.


4 Responses to “Graph of the Day: 2018 Sea Ice Max”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Go long on both Arctic shipping routes and regular Arctic cruises.
    Go short on anything that relies on a stable northern jet stream.


  2. Sir Charles Says:

    Looking significant. The trend is alarming.

  3. schwadevivre Says:

    Doesn’t look like the sea ice will gain the 200,000 sq km to match last year

  4. dumboldguy Says:

    Ominous, but it’s the next 6 months that we really need to watch. Will this be the year that positive feedback loops kick in in the Arctic?

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