Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Arctic sea ice in steep decline

Arctic sea ice area is in steep decline. The yellow line on the image below shows the sea ice area for 2014 up to June 1st, showing an almost vertical fall over the past few days.

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The Naval Research Laboratory image below compares the May 14, 2014, sea ice concentration (left) with the sea ice concentration forecast for June 10, 2014 (run on June 2, 2014, on the right).

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The NOAA image below shows sea surface temperature anomalies on June 3rd, 2014.

The NOAA image shows the huge sea surface temperature anomalies all over the Northern Hemisphere on June 3rd, 2014. Large areas with sea surface temperature anomalies up to 8 degrees Celsius and higher show up in and around the Arctic Ocean

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The image below shows sea surface temperature anomalies up to 1.5 degrees Celsius over the May-June 2014 period, with global average anomalies that hover just above 1 degree Celsius.

Above sea surface anomalies are very high, much higher than historic annual temperature anomalies over land and oceans, as shown on the image below for comparison.

In conclusion, the situation spells bad news for the sea ice, also given the prospect of an El NiƱo event projected to occur later this year. As discussed in earlier posts, the sea ice is already very thin, and as this image shows, ocean heat is melting the sea ice from beneath, while the sun is warming up the ice from above. At this time of year, insolation in the Arctic is at its highest, as Earth reaches its maximum axial tilt toward the sun of 23° 26'. In fact, insolation during the months June and July is higher in the Arctic than anywhere else on Earth, as discussed at this earlier post.

Feedbacks further accelerate warming in the Arctic, as described in the earlier post Feedbacks in the Arctic. Temperature rises of the water close to the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean is very dangerous, as heat penetrating sediments there could cause hydrate destabilization, resulting in huge amounts of methane entering the atmosphere over the Arctic Ocean.


Arctic sea ice in steep decline
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