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Arctic Sea Ice Update

May 02, 2013; 3:36 PM

The Arctic sea ice extent declined at a fairly normal seasonal rate during the month of April, but the actual extent is still running slightly lower than what it was last year, which eventually ended up as the lowest extent in the satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

Sea ice extent for the month of April was 630,000 sq. miles below the 1979-2000 average and ended up as the seventh-lowest April extent in the satellite record.

Image courtesy of the NSIDC.

Keep in mind, a large portion of this ice cover is the thin, 1st year ice, in which most will completely melt out by the end of the melt season in September. We continue to see an increasing proportion of 1st year ice compared to the thicker, multi-year ice in the Arctic.

The image below shows the 2013 estimated sea ice extent in the Arctic (solid maroon line) compared to the record low year of 2012 (dashed line) and the 1979-2000 average (solid black line).

The final image below is a computer generated estimate of the sea ice extent as of yesterday (May 1st). You can see that the extent is running well below normal northeast of Scandinavia, but once again running above normal in the Bering Sea off of Alaska. Image courtesy of the NSIDC.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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