For the first time since the 3rd of October last year, this Winter’s (2016-17) sea ice extent in the Arctic is higher than last seasons (2015-16), which is something of a minor miracle if you had last looked at the figures just after the New Year when the trace had flatlined (fig 1). In fact the latest total is less than 0.253 million square kilometres shy of the lowest maxima set in 2014-15. I make the average date that the maxima occurs in the Arctic is the 9th of March, so it still could be at least a couple of weeks away, and it may well be, that the Arctic is not going to go along with most people’s expectations of record low sea ice extents at both Poles this year.
Pardon me for my simplistic unscientific view on what’s go on, but perhaps the Arctic is not venting as much of its cold air south (fig 3), and is consolidating more deep cold air for itself, and allowing the sea ice to flourish this late in the season.
Certainly last week’s incredible warm spell in Svalbard has come to an abrupt end, and temperatures there at the moment are as cold as anytime during this Winter (fig 4).