Climate Change

Share |

Update on Sea Ice Volume

March 21, 2012; 2:40 PM ET

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.

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


Comments left here should adhere to the Community Guidelines. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.

More Climate Change

  • State of the Climate report

    August 3, 2016; 3:26 PM ET

    The annual "State of the Climate" report was just released and the results are quite sobering.

About This Blog

Climate Change
In the Climate Change Blog, you will find links to the latest research, commentary by experts with various points of view on all aspects of global climate change.