From time to time I update you on the status of the Arctic sea ice volume, which is actually a better indicator of the overall health of the Arctic sea ice compared to its extent.
Speaking of extent, the Arctic sea ice extent is still slightly growing after showing a sharp increase over the past few weeks. A big reason for this is a continuation of very cold weather and favorable winds over the Bering Sea. Sea ice extent in this region is well above normal, while most of the remainder of the Arctic is running well below normal.
The NASA image below from yesterday shows that much of the Bering Sea is still covered with sea ice. However, it is important to note that most of that ice is thin, first-year ice that will completely melt out later this Spring and early summer.
Sea ice volume still well below normal
The sea ice volume, which takes into account the area and thickness of the ice is still running well below normal across the Arctic as we continue to lose older, thicker ice and replace it with younger, thinner ice that is much more prone to completely melting away during the summer months.
The University of Washington BPIOMAS sea ice volume chart below shows the updated, estimated annual sea ice volume in the Arctic with the trend (blue line).
The second chart compares the daily sea ice volume in the Arctic from so far this year to 2011,2010, 2007 and the mean. Last year experienced the lowest sea ice volume and it appears that 2012 is on a similar pace.
Images courtesy of the Polar Science Center from the University of Washington.
Climate model projections can become quite uncertain at more localized levels.
Arctic sea ice melt season trend this year.
Last month was the warmest of any month on record globally going back to the late 19th century.
Why hasn't global sea level rise accelerated over the past 20+ years?
Researchers recently compiled a new historical record of sea ice extent in the Arctic going back to the mid-19th century.
The annual "State of the Climate" report was just released and the results are quite sobering.