ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Summer Thaw Delayed–

Just a quick update while I’m on vacation.

Temperatures over roughly half the Arctic Sea are now above freezing, which is quite normal and natural under the 24-hours-a-day sunshine. It comes as a surprise to some, but temperatures at the Pole average above-freezing 24 hours a day (because the sun never sets) for a period of roughly sixty days. Not that there are not some pockets of cold, especially where it snows, but when you average things out temperatures register at a degree or two above freezing. However this year the pockets of cold out-number the areas of thaw, and temperatures are late getting above the “blue line”, which indicates when the mean temperature exceeds freezing.

DMI5 0611 meanT_2018

This comes as something of a surprise to me, as a large storm just moved up and across the Pole from the Kara Sea. The west side of the storm brought north winds and record cold temperatures to western Russia,  (robbing the arctic of its cold), while the east side of the storm brought south winds and record high temperatures to the coast of the Laptev sea. I paid attention to this warm air as it moved out over the Arctic Sea. I fully expected an upward spike in the DMI temperature graph. Much to my surprise there was a tiny downward spike.

How is this possible? Did the storm have a cooling effect, in some ways like a thunderstorm on a hot summer day? Was the warm air hoisted high, and cold rain and snow dropped to the surface to replace it?

The storm is now filling and fading, stalled north of the Mackenzie River Delta and west of the Canadian Archipelago. A storm like that usually puts a good dent in sea-ice totals, but the only real change I can see is that last week’s roaring south winds, over the Laptev Sea, pushed the sea-ice north, and expanded the polynya around the mouth of the flooding Lena River.  Over all the sea-ice continues thicker than last year, with “volume” (according to DMI) at the highest levels in five years.

DMI5 0611 FullSize_CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20180611 Stay tuned.

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5 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Summer Thaw Delayed–

  1. Caleb,
    I’ve noticed that DMI has been showing ice volume vrry high compared to recent years (vs. PIOMAS, which is lower), but have you noticed that today the DMI volume graph no longer shows the 2018 line?

    For a few days lately the line appeared to turn gray (from Black) around the first of June, now it’s gone completely. I don’t see any comments about it on the site, so was wondering if you’d heard anything.

  2. Yes, it’s back, but strangely the line is gray after 6/1, vs. black befor that. It’s almost indistinguishable from the ‘average’ line, except for a few bumps here and there. Clearly this year is tracking the average pretty closely, after being lower in April, and recovering (slow melt) in May. Hard to tell that from PIOMAS (Neven), because they focus on mid-month, and the biggest part of the slowdown occurred after 5/15. June always plummets, so we’ll have to wait to see what happens, but so far things are holding up well, and it’s still (barely) possible to walk from Siberia to Canada on 3+ meter ice (i.e. 10+ feet), per DMI thickness maps. That’s a nice metric I enjoy sharing with more CAGW-oriented friends, but sadly that will probably come to an end in a few weeks as ice pulls away from the Siberian land mass.

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