Monday, 6 August 2018

Arctic sea ice is MUCH thinner than the previous sea ice extent record in 2012

 Reflections on the Arctic sea ice melt - 08/05/2018
Many thanks to Margo and her excellent analysis and report.

Here are some interesting comparisons on sea ice thickness in the Arctic.

As of today very little of the ice is thicker than 1.0-1.5 meters outside of the very small area of multi-year ice at the top of Canada.

Compare that with two years ago (2016) when the amount of multi-year ice was much greater than what it is today

The point of comparison is with 2012 which set the record for small sea ice extent.

However, this is most interesting. Compare the sea ice extent. The sea ice thickness in 2012 shows that much of the ice was 2-4 meters thick and the area of multi-year ice was much larger than today.

This is thanks to Margo as I have yet to work out how to access the archives.

Because the ice is thinner it is going to melt far more quickly. As an example here is an area quite close to the Pole where the ice is starting to break up.

The photo above is an enlargement of this from the central polar region and is the are right at the centre of the photo.
This created the greatest impression because I am not sure I have seen this before.  This representation shows that temperature throughout the whole region is above zero Celsius except for an area above the Bering Strait

If you look here you can see large temperature anomalies in the area around the periphery of the ice.

All of this is going to facilitate the further melting of the ice

Here is a .gif showing the decling ice thickness over the last 30 days


  1. Just watched Margo's video. Another good piece of research. The comparison between sea ice extent and thickness is astonishing. Given the differences between 2012 and 2018, it would be fair to say that the Arctic has lost 60-75% of it's 2012 total ice volume.