Monday, January 31, 2022

Sea Ice Update

It's high time for an update on sea ice in Alaskan and Arctic waters.  In the Bering Sea, the relatively cold weather of early winter produced a strong start to the ice season in November and early December, and further gains have been seen in January with temperatures closer to normal.  As a consequence, Bering ice extent is considerably above normal for the time of year, although not to the level of the last strongly negative PDO winter of 2011-2012.

Assuming we don't see an unusual pullback in February and March, it looks like the heart of the ice season (January through March) may see average extent above 600,000 km2, which would be the first time since 2013.  This would mark a further recovery from the lows in 2018 and 2019, as illustrated in the chart below.

Across the northern hemisphere as a whole, sea ice is also seeing a modest recovery for the time of year, although there are deficits relative to earlier decades in several regions, including - notably - the Sea of Okhotsk, as well as Baffin Bay and southeastern Canada.

Here's a site to bookmark, with a collection of nice graphics as well as data resources:

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