NSIDC: Arctic ice melts quickly through July


Arctic sea ice extent for the month of July was the third lowest for that month in the satellite record, after 2007 and 2006. The average rate of melt in July 2009 was nearly identical to that of July 2007. A strong high-pressure system, similar to the atmospheric pattern that dominated the summer of 2007, brought warm winds and clear skies to the western Arctic, promoting ice melt.

You can read more of the National Snow and Ice Data Center’s update here.  Breaking the 2007 sea ice area record seems unlikely, as NSIDC explains in the update.  But breaking the 2008 sea ice volume record is still a serious possibility (see “Will we see record low Arctic ice VOLUME this year?“).

10 Responses to NSIDC: Arctic ice melts quickly through July

  1. Neil Hampshire says:

    The loss of ice on a daily basis for the END OF JULY dropped quite significantly. The table below, in sq kms, is the loss of ice from the previous day.

    July 21 118,281
    22 168,437
    23 121,719
    24 131,250
    25 110,781
    26 74,063
    27 80,156
    28 62,500
    29 65,156
    30 31,094

    This, of course, gives absolutely no indication of what is going to happen in the future, but I still waiting for early September before making claims regarding record levels.

  2. Gary says:

    What are the implications of a melting Arctic for international security? Norway, Canada, Denmark, the US and Russia all claim parts of the Arctic. There may even be billions of barrels of hydrocarbon under there that Russia wants access to. Has Congress begun to think of the national security implications of climate change?

    check out !

  3. t_p_hamilton says:


    Joe is talking about volume, cubic km. In other words area times thickness. Your comment was about area only.

  4. Jeff R. says:

    For starters, Gary, the Senate is likely to make efforts to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which codifies principles of territorial rights.
    [With reference to

  5. Neil Hampshire says:

    T P Hamilton
    I, like most observers, tend to watch the NSDIC graph of sea ice extent and the AMSR-E sea ice extent graphs.
    I notice Joe shows the NSDIC graph yet talks about VOLUME.
    Is there a historical record of volume figures?
    If so, where are the VOLUME figures published?

    [JR: Uhh, try the link on VOLUME.]

    By the way both the above sites show a reduction in melt rate has continued in August. I am still waiting to see what happens by September

  6. jorleh says:

    Remember IPCC saying we will see ice free Arctic sea 2100. This said 2007. Looks like IPCC gave a long shot by some 800%.

    Have a look of IJIS web site. 06 August showing 2009 to be second after 2007. But 2009 drop from winter just the same as 2007.

    And we know the more important ice volume to be much lower than 2007. Especially 1-2 year ice predominant.

    There will be long faces in September around.

  7. dhogaza says:

    By the way both the above sites show a reduction in melt rate has continued in August.

    Check out the Arctic Roos graphs.

    They show ice area continuing to decline sharply, while ice extent has leveled off.

    This is consistent with the melt rate continuing at a high level, with ice being blown around in a way that decreases density in some areas, but not enough to fall below the 15% threshold used by the various groups to determine ice extent.

    I’ve been following the ice density maps at cryosphere today for the last week or so, and they’re changing rapidly on a daily basis in a way that’s consistent with ice being moved around a lot.

  8. Greg Robie says:

    I am considering—and trying to figure out—what is behind the (now) two “tablings” in this summer’s melt data. I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to find out what’s been happening in terms of cloud cover and types of clouds that might contribute to these (I believe new and) periodic shallowings of the curve. In any event, and to the degree they are new, they suggest to me that the change in climate is going to unfold in ways that will change what we know about Arctic climate dynamics. Is there a “tipping point” relative to what it thought to be known about Arctic climate dynamics that these tablings point to (or am I trying to make something out of nothing—in part, because I was so prepared for a new record decline this year and motivated reasoning is getting the best of me)?

  9. Neil Hampshire says:

    Thanks for the advice Joe regarding the request for VOLUME data
    I don’t see the need for “Ughh”
    A civil response is normally proffered to a civil question.

  10. Neil Hampshire says:

    NSIDC have given a mid August update

    During the first half of August, Arctic ice extent declined more slowly than during the same period in 2007 and 2008. The slower decline is primarily due to a recent atmospheric circulation pattern, which transported ice toward the Siberian coast and discouraged export of ice out of the Arctic Ocean. It is now unlikely that 2009 will see a record low extent, but the minimum summer ice extent will still be much lower than the 1979 to 2000 average.