I didn’t expect to be sharing another Arctic Sea Ice update just 3 days after my last one but something remarkable has happened in that interval.
I said then that 2020 – the blue line – would not break the 2012 – the red dashed line – all-time record for sea ice melt, and it won’t, but look how it is challenging that record, pushing for all it is worth to get somewhere close to it.
I fully expected the blue line to trail somewhere close to but below the other four previous low point lines but the extent of Arctic Ocean with no measurable ice cover today (within the rather loose – scientifically reticent – parameters of the graph) is on a surge. As it stands, there is only half a million more ice covered kilometres of ocean than there was at the low point of 2012 – and that margin is falling rapidly.
Half a million square kilometres may sound a lot but put into the context that 11.1 million square kilometres of ice has already melted since this year’s winter high point on March 7 (exactly 6 months) it is but a drop in the ocean (so to speak). And there is possibly another 2 weeks of melt time left in this summer season.
Like I said, it is not going to get there, but it is setting the stage for the next decade, which I think, with intensifying climate change, could see consderably less ice covered ocean than we have ever seen before.
Just one more point. With a maximum winter ice cover of a little over 11 million km2 (why didn’t I think of the abbreviated version before) this year and a record high approaching 16 million km2 earlier in the 42 years of satellite records, coupled with the stated size of the Arctic ocean as 14.06 million km2, we can say two things.
One. Much of the ice reported by NSIDC actually lies outside the actual Arctic ocean – but presumably within the boundaries of the Arctic Circle.
Two. Much of the Arctic ocean must now never have any significant level of ice cover even at mid-winter.
Ok, I haven’t specified how much ‘Much’ is, but the points bear mentioning.