Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Arctic Sea Ice

Sea ice coverage in the Arctic Basin was pretty close to normal during the spring, but has been decreasing much faster than usual the past several weeks. To the right below is the Alaska-centric view of coverage as of Monday, June 18th. Notice that the Bering Sea is nearly ice free now. On the left is the plot of total areal coverage from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, illustrating the dramatic decrease since the end of May, and is a result of so much of the Arctic sea ice now being first year ice, that is, ice that formed this past winter, which is not very thick and susceptible to summer melt.This is evidently the lowest total sea ice coverage for mid June in the satellite era (1979-present)
Courtesy of the University of Illinois
Courtesy of NSIDC

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