Originally published on
by at Arctic News
Arctic sea ice extent has fallen strongly in June 2022. On June 19, 2022, Arctic sea ice extent was among the lowest on record for the time of year, as illustrated by above image, adapted from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC Chartic).
The image below, from an animation by Zachary Labe, shows Arctic sea ice extent up to June 20, 2022, based on Vishop data. The yellow line is the year 2022. The white line shows extent for the year 2012, when it reached a record minimum in September. The blue line shows extent the year 2020, when the minimum in September was second lowest.
The image below, adapted from Vishop, shows that on June 19, 2022, global sea ice extent was close to a record low for the time of year.
|[ adapted from NOAA ]|
The fact that sea ice is so low for the time of the year is the more striking as we are currently in the depths of a persistent La Niña, which suppresses the temperature rise.
The NOAA image below indicates that going from the bottom of a La Niña to the peak of an El Niño could make a difference of more than half a degree Celsius (0.5°C or 0.9°F).
Furthermore, the rise in sunspots from May 2020 to July 2025 could make a difference of some 0.15°C (0.27°F). The next El Niño looks set to line up with a high peak in sunspots, in a cataclysmic alignment that could push up the temperature enough to cause dramatic sea ice loss in the Arctic, resulting in runaway temperature rise by 2026.
The NSIDC compilation below illustrates how much multi-year sea ice has already declined over the years. The top panel shows the age of Arctic sea ice for the March 12 to 18 period in (a) 1985 and (b) 2022. The oldest ice, greater than 4 years old, is in red. Plot (c) shows the timeseries from 1985 through 2022 of percent cover of the Arctic Ocean domain (inset, purple region) by different sea ice ages during the March 12 to 18 period.
On June 18, 2022, Arctic sea ice volume was among the lowest on record for the time of year, as illustrated by the image below, adapted from Polarportal.
The Naval Research Laboratory one-month animation below shows Arctic sea ice thickness up to June 18, 2022, with 8 days of forecasts added.
Heatwaves look set to continue on the Northern Hemisphere, extending heat over the Arctic Ocean and thus affecting Arctic sea ice from above, while warm water from rivers will cause more melting at the surface, and while rising ocean heat will continue to cause more melting of the ice underneath the surface. If this continues, we can expect a new record low for sea ice in September 2022 and the joint loss of the latent heat buffer and the loss of albedo will push up temperatures dramatically over the Arctic.
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• NSIDC – Charctic
• Zachary Labe – sea ice extent and concentration
• Vishop sea ice data
• NSIDC – Springtime in the Arctic
• NOAA – ENSO: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions
• Cataclysmic Alignment
• Albedo, latent heat, insolation and more
• Climate Plan