Latest Arctic sea ice figures look dire

After a very early minimum (7 September) Arctic sea ice started very strongly to get itself back above the 2 x standard deviation [2xSD] region (the very light grey area in the graph) during the remainder of September. That acceleration ran out of steam (pardon the pun) and the sea ice extent has now fallen back well below the 2xSD and is currently the lowest it’s ever been for the 19th of October since theses records started in 1978. It’s a shade lower than it was in 2007 and only 69.9 of the average for this day so less than 30% below normal.


Looking at the Arctic ocean there seems to be a dearth in sea ice along both the Russian Siberian coast in the east and the Alaskan Canadian coast in the west.  It looks pretty dire for so early in the season, and must have a knock on effect in the coming the northern hemisphere winter in some way.


I would like to report that in the Antarctic things are looking up but I’m afraid not! The gains in recent years are a thing of the past , and the early maximum this year on the 28th of August is a sign that things aren’t any better down under. The extent has just slipped out of the 2xSD area of the graph and currently for the 19th of October is the lowest it’s ever been on that day of the year. The good news is that it’s less that 5% lower than average, and not 30% lower as in the Arctic. The eagle-eyed amongst you will be wondering why 1986 isn’t top of the lowest table, the reason is that reports back then were every other day and not daily.


It’s hardly surprising in what will more than likely be the warmest year on record globally, so you’ll have to get used to more Winter’s devoid of snow as I have in Devon during recent years, running outside in a morning to grab a picture of the hoar frost before it melts.

Author: xmetman

An ex-metman passionate about all things to do with weather, climate and clouds

One thought on “Latest Arctic sea ice figures look dire”

  1. I wouldn’t call it “dire”. Weather and climate are changing constantly and warmer climates tend to be more net beneficial than colder climates, as long as it does not get too warm. For most of the last 60 million years, the earth has been much warmer than present, perhaps by as much as 10C or more for the global average at the peak and life flourished. Through most of this period, there was no ice at the poles even in winter. When the earth has been warmer in the past, the extra warmth was primarily in the higher latitudes where it should be net beneficial by extending growing seasons and expanding arable lands farther north. I’ve read there is evidence that the Arctic may have been ice-free in the summers for thousands of years in the “Holocene optimum” about 5,000 to 8,000 years ago, if I remember correctly, and nothing bad came of it. In fact, that is when many civilizations were getting started and much of the Saharan Desert was not a desert. So “dire” is an alarmist term to achieve support for political actions that may likely be net very harmful for humanity and probably would have little effect on global climate anyway. There are many bigger problems for humanity that better deserve our attention and priority.

    In a billion or two years, as the sun slowly gets warmer over time, the earth will gradually become too warm for most life forms and eventually the oceans will dry up and all water vapor will be lost to space because of the intense heat. So, in the long run, humans will have to leave this planet to survive.

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