The Arctic ice sheet likely already reached its yearly maximum extent about a month ago. Instead of starting to steadily decrease in the week since my last post on it, a weather system set up over Alaska and the Pacific to its west that was able to induce more ice formation than what was lost over the remainder of the ice sheet. This is a positive development as it could allow the ice extent minimum this September to be a bit higher than it otherwise would have been. Conversely, it would only take a couple analogous systems this summer to melt the ice away as more people are fearing will happen every summer. Time will tell. So to update my last post, here are the corresponding graphs showing the state of the arctic ice sheet as of yesterday:
The extent of the ice sheet graphically looks like this:
I’ll take this opportunity to remind myself and others that a moderate La Nina hung on through the end of 2008. At this time, a more neutral phase is being established. As it does so, I expect the current set of strom tracks to shift course. Again, what that means the remainder of the year will have to wait. Even with generally cooler conditions and mostly favorable storm tracks, the ice extent still couldn’t match the climatological norm this winter. I don’t expect this summer’s extent to either.