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Friday, January 30, 2009

Global Sea Ice Update

I think it's a good time to see how the global extent of sea ice is doing compared to the longer term normal. Let's start in the Antarctic, where the peak of the summer melt off is not that far away.........


The image below is courtesy of the Polar Research Group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Based on their sea ice graph it looks like the current area of Antarctic sea ice is right on normal.


The second image is courtesy of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). This image shows the updated Arctic sea ice extent compared to the 1979-2000 average. As you can see, the current sea ice extent is running very close to the 2006-2007 line, which was the year of the record low sea ice extent.


Here is an explanation by NSIDC on why they use the 1979-2000 period as the average and not 1979-2008.


The image below, courtesy of the NSIDC, shows the entire 2008 plot of Arctic sea ice extent compared to the 1979-2000 normal.


Finally, courtesy of the Polar Research Group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, we have a global plot of sea ice area with the anomaly at the bottom. Global ice area appears to be slightly below normal at this current time. If look from 2000 to to current and try to visualize a trend line it is clearly, in my opinion, trending slightly lower (negative trend in global sea ice area).

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