A new study has come out that used an extensive amount of data from multiple sources. They used data collected by under-ice submarines, IceBridge plane flights, satellite data and even onsite measurements made by hand. Their research led to the conclusion the thickness of sea ice has decreased by 65% between 1975 and 2012. The specific number for September, when the ice is at its least extent, is even worse. They found the September thickness had decreased by 85% over that same time period. Not only has the extent decreased by 40% since 1980, but what is left is also 65% thinner. This means we can expect to see the rate of sea ice extent loss accelerate in the years to come. We can't be sure of the exact time table on that loss, but we can be sure it is coming.
With that in mind, I have to wonder what the data are telling us about the state of the ice right now. It appears there may be a serious problem with the ice extent.
This is a plot of the ice extent as reported by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC):
In fact, the data indicate we may have already passed maximum ice extent for this year. Take a look at the ice temperature data from the Polar Portal:
|Source: Polar Portal|
Take a look at one more graphic:
|Source: Climate Reanalyzer|
This data all leads me to believe we have already witnessed the sea ice maximum extent for this year. Like I said, there are still a couple of weeks to go in the season so I might be wrong. Hopefully, I am. Because if I'm right, the sea ice extent is not only much smaller this year, but it is also much thinner and we might be facing a bad melt season.