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Arctic Sea Ice Extent: Lower than Normal is the Norm

The National Snow and Ice Data Center has been tracking Arctic Ocean sea ice extent for many years, and yesterday released new data on the extent of Arctic sea ice, compared to the 1981-2000 average for this time of year:

Arctic Sea Ice Extent, November 26 2015: far below the 1981-2000 average value for late November

As you can see, the 2015 Arctic Ocea sea ice extent has consistently fallen well below the old norm.

The latest monthly summary by NSIDC displays the trend in sea ice extent in the Arctic Ocean for the month of October reaching all the way back to 1979 (actual data observations in black, best fit line in blue):

Average Monthly Arctic Sea Ice Extent for Octobers from 1979 to 2015

More than 1.5 million square kilometers in Arctic sea ice extent has been lost over the past 36 years.  That’s not weather; it’s climate change.

12 thoughts on “Arctic Sea Ice Extent: Lower than Normal is the Norm”

  1. ella says:

    ENSO is still forecasting a record or near record El Nino for this winter but has revised the effect on the U.S. by region forecast. Instead they are now saying that ‘maybe the south will be colder’ and ‘maybe the north central will be warmer’. But remember that that deep El Nino’s in the past have all delivered different scenarios. That is they have all had a different effect and they are just guessing. Already the north central has had snow and the southeast is still warm. It isn’t winter yet though.

    In the meantime, the U.S. and Russia are still building their military stations around the arctic.

    1. ella says:

      The most recent (4th named winter storm this year) cold front brought heavy snows to some areas and rain to New England. The South East remained seasonal. This is not even winter yet and 4 storms have been named. Waiting for January.

      1. Mark says:

        Heavy snows are a sign of more atmospheric moisture, caused by higher global temperatures.
        I wouldn’t say the SE has remained seasonal. Here in Charleston, SC we set a record high of 80°F on Wednesday.

        1. ella says:

          That sounds good, in one way, but we know it is very unusual for December. Do you know anyone who had decreased garden yield this summer because of the heat? Or maybe other agricultural problems associate with heat?

          1. Mark says:

            We’ve had major problems with mosquitoes, fleas, and gnats this autumn. The unusually warm weather has enabled them to stay active much later in the year. Our town even been sprayed for mosquitoes in October (highly unusual) because of all the complaints.

            I have a friend with a few beehives and he has seen his bees suffer this summer due to the heat.

          2. ella says:

            There were neighbors, who had early tomatoes, that never had the chance to bloom. They need so many days of temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees. That never happened this year. My tomatoes (not hot weather) did not make either. Peppers did not make until October. Normally that is when the dead plants are pulled. Others complained bitterly about the mosquitoes and gnats. It has cooled down considerably in the past week, the cold front that came through. But it is December and it is continuing a trend to warmer days and nights. This link shows troubles some others have reported. Any one else noticing changes?

            http://business.time.com/2012/07/03/how-the-heat-waves-affecting-your-wallet-your-food-and-your-4th-of-july-plans-2/

  2. ella says:

    There it is, it is the deepest El Nino recorded at this time. Among the oceanic animals endangered is the Loggerhead turtle. The sand is becoming too hot for the eggs. The decrease or extinction, will adversely effect a large number of predator animals. But the food the turtles eat is already endangered.

    http://www.neaq.org/animals_and_exhibits/animals/loggerhead_sea_turtle/index.php

  3. ella says:

    NOAA says it is now official, this is the strongest El Nino on record. It also says that this event could effect weather for a decade. Guess it is time to get ready for it, if we haven’t already. http://www.elnino.noaa.gov/

  4. ella says:

    NOAA has updated the Arctic sea ice report stating that the Arctic may become totally ice free this year.

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