Saturday, October 24, 2015

Beaufort Sea Freeze-Up

Just a quick note to report that yesterday's NWS sea ice analysis showed sea ice of more than 50% concentration extending from the Alaska coastline to the Arctic pack for the first time this season.  The rate of freeze-up appears to be similar to the average of recent years; the last time the ocean surface was more or less completely frozen up east of Point Barrow by this date was in 2001.

The NWS ice stage analysis indicates that multi-year ice is now confined to regions north of 74°N (except north of Canada), and this is a change from August, when there was old ice at 72°N to the north of Prudhoe Bay (as we discussed here).
Barrow has been trending steadily warmer relative to normal this month, which is not in the least surprising on account of the warming influence of nearby open water.


  1. I plotted the mean temperature for Fairbanks from September 30th to Oct 23rd of this year. It showed no change in mean temperatures contrary to the normal rapid decreasing temperatures for this time of year. R squared was actually very slightly positive. (0.003)
    Should be interesting on how long this warmth lasts. Today's GFS was hinting at southwest flow and mild temperatures in early November. If that is true that spells good, high water to snow ratio, and Fairbanks make get a good dumping.

  2. Fascinating, Mike. The duration of the unchanging temperatures is remarkable. Contrast with 1935 when it was 64F on October 2 and -27F on October 25!

    I agree the currently expected pattern looks good for snow in early November.

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