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Arctic Sea Ice Update and Forecast

June 18, 2012; 3:16 PM ET

Here is the latest plot of the Arctic sea ice extent, courtesy of the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Image courtesy of the NSIDC.

Earlier in May, the sea ice extent was approaching normal, but as many have stated, a large portion of that ice was thin, first-year ice and the June sun is now doing quick work of that ice and we now see a steady drop in extent. For now, the extent is running well below the record low sea-ice extent year of 2007, but that could change again in a few weeks due to changes in wind and weather.

It is still way too early to know how the extent will end up at the end of the melt season in September as there is little correlation between what we see late in the Spring and in September, but there is a new forecast out from the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS).

New forecast.....

Below is the latest Arctic sea ice extent consensus forecast for the end of the melt season in September 2012. According to ARCUS, the forecasts are based on a range of methods: statistical, numerical models, comparison with previous rates of sea ice loss, composites of several approaches, estimates based on various non-sea ice datasets and trends, and subjective information.

Image courtesy Arctic Research Consortium of the US (ARCUS).

The new outlook projects a total sea ice extent median value of 4.4 million square kilometers. Last year the observed total was 4.6 million sq/km.

The record low Arctic sea ice extent since records began in 1979 was 4.28 million sq/km back in 2007.


Latest estimated Arctic sea ice volume, courtesy of the Polar Science Center at the University of Washington.

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


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