Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Topping Out

The Northern Ocean sea ice reaches its maximum about now each year, and the 'average' extent of the ice is, for the period 1979-2000, about 15.75 million square kilometers in 14 separate areas. Right now, using a new and possibly more reliable satellite sensor system, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), the sea ice extent is 15.25 msk, about .5 msk down, or 3.2%.

The particular areas where the sea ice is down for the NSIDC are: The Sea of Okhotsk (near Kamchatka); Barents Sea (east of Norway); the Greenland Sea; the Bering Sea (north of Alaska) and, Baffin Island/Newfoundland Bay.

This data coincides generally with the still suspect data at the Cryosphere Today, which says that the sea ice area (different from extent) is only 13.6 msk, but, again, that's down only about .6 msk. The areas of ice deficiency are different for this site. The Sea of Okhotsk is about .12 off; the Greenland Sea is about .05 off; the Baffin Island/Newfoundland Bay is off about .05; and, as usual for the last several seasons, Barents Sea is down about .2. All of those measurements are msk and all the other areas are at or just slightly above the 1979 -2000 average. If you added up the down areas and got only .42 msk down rather than the reported .6 msk down, join the puzzled club. The site has not added up for months now.

But let's not get bogged down in detail (if that's not too late). The Northern Ocean sea ice at its greatest area or extent is about 3 or 4% below the 29 year average starting in 1979. Not particularly alarming to me, but of course I'm neither a Warmie nor given to chicken little alarmism.

What about the future? I predict the northern sea ice, at its minimum at the end of summer this year, will be more in area and extent than the last two years and will have indeed recovered (or survived) to 'normal' or at least within 1% of the so called normal. That's where the southern sea ice is at its minimum right now.
Anyone care to bet against me?


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