Tuesday 24 November 2015

Record low Arctic sea ice

Arctic Ocean Shows New Record Low Sea Ice

23 November, 2015

Both the sea ice thickness and sea ice area have fallen to new record lows for this time of the year (22.11.2015), even surpassing all of the worst previous years.

From Naval Research Laboratory image - view animation

Immense thrust of fast moving sea ice is pushing through at the full width of the Fram Strait between Norway and Greenland. This amounts to huge transport of latent coldness out of the Arctic Ocean to North Atlantic, while the constantly forming new sea ice (as temperatures are below 0°C) is generating heat to keep the surface air temperatures higher across the Arctic Ocean. Thus, heat is constantly being added to the Arctic Ocean while heat is taken away from the North Atlantic Ocean.

The normal sea ice area for this time of year is 9,625,000 km2, whereas the sea ice covers currently just 8,415,890 km2,, which makes that 1,209,120 km2 sea ice is missing from the normal (22.11) sea ice area.

The combination image below shows the jet stream (November 23, 2015, left panel) and surface wind (November 24, 2015, right panel).

Jet stream is wavy and strong, showing speeds as high as 219 mph or 352 km/h (at location marked by the green circle). Left panel shows cyclonic winds between Norway and Greenland speeding up movement of sea ice into the North Atlantic.

[ further updates will follow ]

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