Arctic sea ice area at record low for time of year
30 January, 2016
Arctic sea ice area on January 28, 2016, was only 12.17902 million square km. At this time of year, sea ice area hasn't been as low as this for at least since satellite records started in 1979, as illustrated by the image below.
Furthermore, on January 29, 2016, Arctic sea ice reached its second lowest extent since the satellite records began, as the image below shows.
Why is sea ice at record low?
The sea ice is in a bad shape due to very high temperatures. A forecast for January 30, 2016, shows surface temperatures over the Arctic that are 2.7°C (4.86°F) warmer than they were in 1979-2000. The image below further illustrates this, showing temperature anomalies at the top end of the scale, i.e. 20°C (36°F) above 1979-2000, in many places in the Arctic.
At this time of year, there is very little sunshine in the Arctic. Therefore, these anomalies are caused by sea water that is warmer than it used to be. The image below shows that on January 24, 2016, sea surface temperature was 12.3°C (54.2°F) at a location near Svalbard marked by the green circle, a 10.4°C (18.7°F) anomaly.
Such anomalies are in turned caused by water that is much warmer than it used to be, and that is being carried by the Gulf Stream all the way into the Arctic Ocean.
Water much warmer off the North American coast
The water off the coast of North America is much warmer than it used to be due to emissions that extend from North America over the Atlantic Ocean due to the Coriolis effect, as discussed in the earlier post 2015 warmest year on record.
[ to be continued, check later ]
Comprehensive and effective action needed
The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.