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    Sea Ice Update

    January 10, 2014; 1:30 PM ET

    Sea ice extent in the Arctic for December 2013 was the 4th lowest December extent in the 36-year satellite data record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). December sea ice extent was decreasing at a rate of 3.5 percent per decade.

    Sea Ice in the Antarctic region for December 2013 was the 2nd highest for December going back to 1979. December sea ice extent was increasing at a rate of 2.1 percent per decade/


    Currently, sea ice extent in the Arctic is running well below normal.

    The orange line in the image below shows the normal (1980-2010) extent.

    Sea ice in the Antarctic continues to run above normal.

    Summary of 2013

    Overall, sea ice extent in the Arctic was much greater during the end of the melt season in September than the record setting low year of 2012, but still below normal.

    Key excerpts from the NSIDC report....

    Summer weather patterns during 2013 were very different from those seen in 2007 to 2012. Overall it was considerably cooler. There was little evidence of the summer dipole pattern seen in recent years. Relatively cool conditions also characterized the Greenland Ice Sheet, and surface melt was much less extensive than for 2012. The year 2013 reminds us that natural climate variability is very strong in the Arctic.

    In Antarctica, sea ice extent has been well above average, setting record extents for both the summer minimum and winter maximum. For a long period over the winter and spring months, ice extent was at a record for the modern satellite era. While remarkable, it is important to note that trends in Antarctic sea ice extent remain small (1 to 4%) and are statistically significant relative to inter-annual variation only for the late autumn, winter, and early spring months. Early satellite records (the Nimbus satellite series in 1964, 1966, and 1969) provide further evidence that Antarctic sea ice extent is highly variable; the three years covered by Nimbus show September extents that were both higher and lower than seen in the modern continuous, calibrated satellite record.

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


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