Arctic Sea Ice: 2013 Arctic Sea Ice Minimum

Arctic Sea Ice: 2013 Arctic Sea Ice Minimum

Thu, 28/11/2013 - 15:19
Posted in:
0 comments

Image: Arctic sea ice extent on 13 September 2013. The yellow line shows the 1981 to 2010 median extent for that day. Credit:  NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio/Cindy Star

In 2013 the Arctic sea ice seemed to regain its coverage after 2012 year's record low minimum. Although the arctic sea ice extent was up by over 30 % from 2012, it was still the 6th lowest on record. In 2012 the Arctic sea ice minimum was recorded on 16 September at 1.32 million square miles. That is about half the size of the average minimum extent from 1981 to 2010. In 2013, analysis of satellite data by National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA showed the sea ice reached its annual minimum summer extent on 13 September at 1.97 million square miles.  

A cooler spring and summer in polar latitudes last year led to a late start in the melt season and overall lee melting. Typically, while the ice melts, there is a region of high pressure over Arctic, but ""last year, there was low pressure, so the cloudiness and the winds associated with the cyclones expanded the ice"" Richard Cullather, an atmospheric scientist at Goddard and at the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center of the University of Maryland, explained.

Sea ice covers about 12% of the world’s oceans on average and it can grow or melt rapidly depending on the season and meteorological conditions.  Last November for example, the ice cap covering the Arctic Ocean grew as fast as 28,900 square miles per day!

The ice cover has changed over the last 30 years; not only in size, but also in thickness - it is thinner and more broken up. As you can imagine, thinner ice melts quicker. There are some scientists who project that by the end of this century we will see an ice free Arctic.

Image: Arctic sea ice extent on 13 September 2013. The yellow line shows the 1981 to 2010 median extent for that day. Credit:  NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio/Cindy Star

In 2013 the Arctic sea ice seemed to regain its coverage after 2012 year's record low minimum. Although the arctic sea ice extent was up by over 30 % from 2012, it was still the 6th lowest on record. In 2012 the Arctic sea ice minimum was recorded on 16 September at 1.32 million square miles. That is about half the size of the average minimum extent from 1981 to 2010. In 2013, analysis of satellite data by National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA showed the sea ice reached its annual minimum summer extent on 13 September at 1.97 million square miles.  

A cooler spring and summer in polar latitudes last year led to a late start in the melt season and overall lee melting. Typically, while the ice melts, there is a region of high pressure over Arctic, but ""last year, there was low pressure, so the cloudiness and the winds associated with the cyclones expanded the ice"" Richard Cullather, an atmospheric scientist at Goddard and at the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center of the University of Maryland, explained.

Sea ice covers about 12% of the world’s oceans on average and it can grow or melt rapidly depending on the season and meteorological conditions.  Last November for example, the ice cap covering the Arctic Ocean grew as fast as 28,900 square miles per day!

The ice cover has changed over the last 30 years; not only in size, but also in thickness - it is thinner and more broken up. As you can imagine, thinner ice melts quicker. There are some scientists who project that by the end of this century we will see an ice free Arctic.

"