Friday, April 1, 2016

New Minimum on the Maximum Arctic Sea Ice

In case you didn't hear the news over the din of the anti-science crowd saying there is no global warming, the Arctic sea ice experienced yet another record low maximum extent this spring. The maximum occurred on March 24th and was 14.523 million square kilometers (5.607 million square miles) compared to last year's previous record low of 14.536 million square kilometers. That number is 1.12 million square kilometers (431,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average of 15.64 million square kilometers (6.04 million square miles).

I have to confess I was a little bit relieved by this record low. That's because I thought it was going to be much worse. Twice before I thought we had reached the maximum and they looked disastrous. On February 9th it reached 14.214 million square kilometers before declining. But, it turned upwards before repeating this pattern and reaching 14.478 million square kilometers on March 2nd. Both of these measurements would have put the maximum extend well outside of 2-standard deviations from the long-term average.