The record lows for Arctic sea ice area and volume are generally set in mid- to late September.
But as Neven’s Arctic Sea Ice Blog reports, we’re already starting to see those September minimum records being broken in mid-August. Cryosphere Today, for instance, reports that the Arctic has just dropped below its lowest sea ice area on record:
We are all but certain to set the record low volume this year. In fact the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 probe confirms what the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS) at the Polar Science Center has been saying for years: Arctic sea ice volume has been collapsing faster than sea ice area (or extent) because the ice has been getting thinner and thinner.
In fact, the latest satellite CryoSat-2 data shows the rate of loss of Arctic sea ice is “50% higher than most scenarios outlined by polar scientists and suggests that global warming, triggered by rising greenhouse gas emissions, is beginning to have a major impact on the region.”
A key point is that the thinner ice is much more vulnerable to winds and Arctic storms, like this month’s “Arcticane” (see “Massive Storm Batters Melting Sea Ice“).
That is the true death spiral, and I’ll do a separate post on volume shortly.
For Americans, the latest science suggests the loss of Arctic ice is already making our weather more extreme — and further losses will likely accelerate the trend (see Arctic Warming Favors Extreme, Prolonged Weather Events ‘Such As Drought, Flooding, Cold Spells And Heat Waves’). I’ll do a separate post on this shortly, too. Indeed, Climate Progress will be reporting regularly on the record Arctic ice loss — and what it means for the nation and the world — for the duration of the melt season.
Here is more from Neven on Cryosphere Today’s new record low sea ice area: