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ARCTIC MELTING: Sea ice in the Arctic and the Antarctic set record low extents every day in December

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ARCTIC MELTING: According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), ice lost goes on in both poles … Arctic sea ice extent for December 2016 was the second lowest extent for the month in the satellite record. Low ice extent is not just about December 2016 and not just the arctic pole: for the year 2016, sea ice extent in both polar regions was at levels well below what is typical of the past several decades.

 
December 2016: arctic ice extent averaged 12.10 million square kilometers, 1.03 million square kilometers below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average.
 
Arctic sea ice extent during December 2016 averaged 12.10 million square kilometers (4.67 million square miles), the second lowest in the satellite record for the month. December extent was 1.03 million square kilometers (397,700 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average.
 
Through 2016, the rate of decline for the month of December is 44,500 square kilometers (17,200 square miles) per year, or 3.4% per decade.  
Compared to the record low for the month set in 2010, sea ice for December 2016 was less extensive in the Kara, Barents, and East Greenland Seas, and more extensive in Baffin and Hudson Bays.
 
Considering data for 2015 and 2016 we can see Arctic Ice Lost range from 750,000 Square kilometers in winter 2015 and 1.4 million Square Kilometers in summer 2016. We can also see how ice lost is increasing over time (compare June 2016 with June 2015 and December 2016 with December 2015).
 
 
Figure - Ice Extent Loss in December 2016 compared to the 1981-2010 average
 Source: LTEconomy on NSIDC
 
 
 
2016 in review…
 
Record low monthly extents were set in the Arctic in January, February, April, May, June, October, and November; and in the Antarctic in November and December. For the Arctic, the year opened with daily sea ice extent at near record low levels. Sea ice extent in March tied with 2015 for the lowest maximum in the 37-year satellite period.
January: Arctic sea ice extent averaged 13.53 million square kilometers (5.2 million square miles), which is 1.04 million square kilometers (402,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average. This was the lowest January extent in the satellite record. The trend for January is -3.2% per decade.
February: Arctic sea ice extent averaged 14.22 million square kilometers (5.48 million square miles), the lowest February extent in the satellite record. It is 1.16 million square kilometers (448,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average of 15.4 million square kilometers (5.94 million square miles). The linear rate of decline for February is 3.0 percent per decade.
March: Sea ice extent reached its seasonal maximum on March 24 of 14.52 million square kilometers (5.607 million square miles), barely beating out February 25, 2015 for the lowest seasonal maximum in the satellite record. Arctic sea ice extent averaged for the entire month of March 2016 was 14.43 million square kilometers (5.57 million square miles), the second lowest in the satellite record. This is 1.09 million square kilometers (421,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average extent. Through 2016, the linear rate of decline for March extent is 2.7 percent per decade, or a decline of 42,100 square kilometers (16,200 square miles) per year.
April: Sea ice extent remains far below average for the satellite record period. Sea ice since mid-April has remained at record low daily levels, and is approximately 400,000 square kilometers (154,400 square miles) below the previous daily record extents at this time. The April rate of decline for 2016 is slightly faster than the long-term average.
May: May 2016 set a new record low for the month for the period of satellite observations, at 12.0 million square kilometers (4.63 million square miles), following on previous record lows this year in January, February, and April. May’s average ice extent is 1.39 million square kilometers (537,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average. Through 2016, the rate of decline for the month of May is 34,000 square kilometers (13,000 square miles) per year, or 2.6 percent per decade.
June: Arctic sea ice extent during June 2016 averaged 10.60 million square kilometers (4.09 million square miles), the lowest in the satellite record for the month. So far, March is the only month in 2016 that has not set a new record low for Arctic-wide sea ice extent (March 2016 was second lowest, just above 2015). June extent was 1.36 million square kilometers (525,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average. Through 2016, the rate of decline for the month of June is 44,600 square kilometers (17,200 square miles) per year, or 3.7 percent per decade.
- July: Arctic sea ice extent for July averaged 8.13 million square kilometers (3.14 million square miles), the third lowest July extent in the satellite record. This makes July only the second month so far this year that did not have a record low extent. July’s extent is 1.65 million square kilometers (637,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average. Through 2016, the rate of decline for the month of July is 72,700 square kilometers 28,070 square miles) per year, or 7.3 percent per decade.
August: Average sea ice extent for August 2016 was 5.60 million square kilometers (2.16 million square miles), the fourth lowest August extent in the satellite record. This is 1.03 million square kilometers below the 1981 to 2010 average for the month. Through 2016, the linear rate of decline for August is 10.4 percent per decade.
September: Arctic sea ice extent during September 2016 averaged 4.72 million square kilometers (1.82 million square miles), the fifth lowest in the satellite record. Average September extent was 1.82 million square kilometers (703,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average. Through 2016, the linear rate of decline for September is 87,200 square kilometers (33,700 square miles) per year, or 13.3 percent per decade.
October: In October 2016, Arctic sea ice extent averaged 6.40 million square kilometers (2.5 million square miles), the lowest October in the satellite record. The average extent was 2.55 million square kilometers (980,000 square miles) below the October 1981 to 2010 long-term average. Through 2016, the linear rate of decline for October is 66,400 square kilometers or (25,600 square miles) per year, or 7.4 percent per decade.
November: In November 2016, Arctic sea ice extent averaged 9.08 million square kilometers (3.51 million square miles), the lowest November in the satellite record. This is 800,000 square kilometers (309,000 square miles) below November 2006, the previous lowest November, and 1.95 million square kilometers (753,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average for November. Through 2016, the linear rate of decline for November is 55,400 square kilometers (21,400 square miles) per year, or 5.0 percent per decade.
 
 
Bad news also for early 2017…
 
Both January and February arctic sea ice extent were the lowest extent (for the month) in the 38-year satellite record.
 
January: Arctic sea ice extent for January 2017 averaged 13.38 million square kilometers (5.17 million square miles), the lowest January extent in the 38-year satellite record. This is 260,000 square kilometers (100,000 square miles) below January 2016, the previous lowest January extent, and 1.26 million square kilometers (487,000 square miles) below the January 1981 to 2010 long-term average. Through 2017, the linear rate of decline for January is 47,400 square kilometers (18,300 square miles) per year, or 3.2 percent per decade.
February: Arctic sea ice extent for February 2017 averaged 14.28 million square kilometers (5.51 million square miles), the lowest February extent in the 38-year satellite record. This is 40,000 square kilometers (15,400 square miles) below February 2016, the previous lowest extent for the month, and 1.18 million square kilometers (455,600 square miles) below the February 1981 to 2010 long term average. The linear rate of decline for February is 46,900 square kilometers (18,100 square miles) per year, or 3 percent per decade.
 
 
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Source: NSIDC

 

LTEconomy, April 02, 2017
 
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