Sea Ice Minimum is Second Lowest on Record

September 20, 2020

Slight uptick in the blue line, which indicates this year’s ice – seems to indicate the bottom.
National Snow and Ice Data Center has not officially called it, will have analysis when they release it.

This year would be the second lowest in the record behind 2012. (red dotted line)

5 Responses to “Sea Ice Minimum is Second Lowest on Record”

  1. grindupbaker Says:

    The Arctic Ocean September minimum sea ice area and the Blue-Ocean-Event (BOE) are just social events and have minimal physical science value as a metric. By about mid August a vast area is open water so it has been absorbing sunshine and it doesn’t give a fig about what ice there is or isn’t several hundred kilometres away. Also, the open part has far more sunshine than the part with ice around the North Pole from about mid August so it would make hardly any difference if there were no ice around the North Pole from about mid August. It’s a low-quality metric that’s kept just because it easy (lazy), same as Blue-Ocean-Event (BOE). There’s 3.8x as much heating to be had from an ice-free August as there is from an ice-free September. There’s 7.4x as much heating to had from an ice-free July as there is from an ice-free September. If June, July & August were to have just a 4.2% reduction in their ice area that would be precisely the same extra heating as if the entire month of September had no sea ice whatsoever. So August average would be a pretty good metric but July average would be a much better metric. September is barely relevant at all.
    Here’s the AVERAGE heating of Arctic Ocean (centre circa 75N) due to less ice = more sunshine absorbed (it turns out that water/ice latent heat makes zero annual effect).
    13 23% of Arctic Ocean heating from sea ice reduction occurred over pre-industrial to 1979.
    12 22% of Arctic Ocean heating from sea ice reduction occurred 1979 to 2016.
    30 55% of Arctic Ocean heating from sea ice reduction remains to occur over whatever period of time from 2016 until there’s no ice on the Arctic Ocean all spring & summer, whenever that it happens and at whatever rate.

  2. redskylite Says:

    Well we know with strong certainty that we are going to have a summer free Arctic sea ice state in the next decade or so, and when it does arrive no doubt the press will announce and some people will be shocked, concerned and amazed for around 5 seconds.

    Watching trending statistics on the way to the inevitable conclusion can be tedious, and give a sense of helplessness, especially when there is no quick fix or upgrade available, and there is much more than just ice minimum, there is the thickness and quality also.

    All we can do is keep plugging away at reducing our carbon footprints (both individual and social), and vote wisely.

    “Ice is still present in the Arctic Ocean, and a record-low minimum extent is highly unlikely next month, experts say.

    But the low quality of the sea ice floating in the Arctic has been startling, they say.”

  3. redskylite Says:

    Improved monitoring of sea ice thickness scheduled for 2027.


    “With a launch planned in 2027, the CRISTAL mission will carry, for the first time on a polar mission, a dual-frequency radar altimeter, and microwave radiometer, that will measure and monitor sea-ice thickness, overlying snow depth and ice-sheet elevations.

  4. redskylite Says:

    More light reaching below the surface – affects algae activity.

    “What we’re seeing now is thinner sea ice and earlier snowmelts, so there’s more light actually reaching through the ice into the surface of the ocean than there used to be.”

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