Thoughts on the ocean, the environment, the universe and everything from nearly a mile high.

Panorama of The Grand Tetons From the top of Table Mountain, Wyoming © Alan Holyoak, 2011

Friday, July 5, 2013

Holy cow! The 2013 Arctic sea ice melt is accelerating like crazy!

I know I just posted on the Arctic Ocean sea ice melt, but, well, that was three days ago.  And three days ago it looked like an acceleration of sea ice melt might have been on the way, but I'd say that now it's official!  Look at the difference between the 1981-2010 baseline trend and the observed sea ice melt between the latter half of June and July 4th.  Wow!

I did a little math, and here's what I came up with.

On June 21st the historical baseline (1981-2010) showed sea ice extent at about 11.4 million km2 and 10.55 million km2 on July 4th.  That's a difference of 850,000 km2 of sea ice, or a melt rate of about 65,400 km2 of sea ice per day.

By comparison, the observed time period between June 21st and July 4th 2013 showed a sea ice extent of 11.1 million km2 on June 21st and an extent of 9.6 million km2 on July 4th.  That's a difference of 1.5 million km2 over that time period for a daily sea ice melt rate of about 115,400 km2 per day.

The observed melt rate for 2013 over the past two weeks or so is therefore nearly double the baseline melt rate for the same time period.  It's doubtful that this melt rate can be maintained for long, but the next few weeks will give us a good indication about whether the 2012 sea ice minimum extent record is in jeopardy. That is, if the current sea ice melt rate will be sustained, at least over the short term.

So, it's true, things are really starting to warm up in the Arctic.

Stay's going to be an interesting summer!

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