After a rather lengthy hiatus for a well deserved vacation, I’m settling back into things. That includes keeping an eye on the Arctic ice sheet for my monthly post. The state of the Arctic in June 2009 could be better. In a continuation of the trend established during May 2009, Arctic areal sea ice extent continues to be characterized as being nearly as sparse as it was in what ended up being the modern-day record low of the 2007 season. Helping this unfortunate trend along is the lack of multi-year ice, as I’ve detailed before. One- and two-year old ice is thinner than multi-year ice and is thus more susceptible to fully melting during the Arctic summer.
So to update my last post, here is an ice extent picture (as detected by satellite) and an ice extent graph (note that the picture includes data only through the 20th of June, the most up-to-date on the University of Illinois’ website today):
As can be seen from the time-series graph, ice extent continued to decrease at a very rapid pace from late May through mid-June. Conditions briefly matched those from 2007 before moderating ever so slightly. The areal extent of ice has nearly matched 2007’s for the better part of 3 weeks or so. Late June 2007 produced negative weather conditions for ice, as can be seen by the very rapid drop in extent of a couple of million square kilometers. Will late June 2009 conditions be as severe? Time will tell. The fact that conditions are already so far below climatological norms is unsettling.
The satellite composite shows a large amount of ice that is moving toward 20% or less concentration. The amount of area with next to 100% coverage is steadily decreasing.