Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Arctic sea ice news - 02/15/2016

Arctic sea ice remains at a record low for time of year

15 Febraury, 2016


For the time of year, Arctic sea ice remains at a record low since satellite records started in 1979, both for area and extent. The image below shows Arctic sea ice area up to February 12, 2016, when area was 12.49061 million square km. 


The image below shows Arctic sea ice extent up to February 12, 2016, when extent was 14.186 million square km. 

The reason for the record low sea ice is that there is more ocean heat than there used to be. The image below shows that on February 12, 2016, the Arctic Ocean sea surface temperature was as warm as 11.3°C (52.4°F) at a location near Svalbard marked by the green circle, a 10.4°C (18.7°F) anomaly.

The reason for this is that the water off the east coast of North America is much warmer than it used to be.

The Gulf Stream is pushing heat all the way into the Arctic Ocean.

The image below shows that on February 14, 2016, sea surface temperature anomalies (compared to 1981-2011) off the east coast of North America were was as high as 10.1°C or 18.1°F (at the location marked by the green circle).

While sea surface looks cooler (compared to 1981-2011) over a large part of the North Atlantic, an increasing amount of ocean heat appears to be traveling underneath the sea surface all the way into the Arctic Ocean, as discussed at this 
earlier post.This spells bad news for the sea ice in 2016, since El NiƱo is still going strong. Temperatures in January 2016 over the Arctic Ocean were 7.3°C (13.1°F) higher than in 1951-1980, according to NASA data, as illustrated by the graph on the right.

As the NASA map below also illustrates, the global January 2016 temperature anomaly (compared to 1951-1980) was 1.13 °C (or over 2°F) and the heat hit the Arctic Ocean stronger than elsewhere.

Meanwhile, methane levels as high as 2539 parts per billion (ppb) were recorded on February 13, 2016, as illustrated by the image below.

The danger is that, as the Arctic Ocean keeps warming, huge amounts of methane will erupt abruptly from its seafloor.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action as described at the 
Climate Plan.Update: Arctic sea ice extent keeps falling. Last year (2015), maximum sea ice extent was reached on February 25. Could it be that maximum extent for this year was already reached on February 9, 2016? The image below illustrates this question. discussed further at the Arctic News group.
discuss this further at the Arctic News group



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