Arctic Sea Ice On The Edge (literally!)

Continuing in my investigation of how “unfair” the situation is regarding Arctic sea ice and its forever-negative anomaly (forever-negative since it is calculated against a reference is pretty much the most sea ice the Arctic will ever going to see), some curious results about where the 1.1 million square kilometers are missing from.

The edges, that is.

As of Jan 16, Cryosphere Today reports 1.131M sq km of missing Northern Hemisphere sea ice area.

If you go into more details, the situation is:

  1. Bering sea, missing .1M sq km
  2. Sea of Okhotsk, missing .15
  3. Greenland sea, missing .1
  4. Baffin/Newfoundland area, missing .4
  5. Hudson Bay, missing .3

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Total is 1.05M sq km already. If you then look at all the other areas, you will find them pretty much all

  • At around zero anomaly
  • Full of ice (i.e. there is no space for additional ice area)

In other words, there is no way that those places could contribute a positive anomaly that would balance out the negative ones listed abov. The only Arctic place that could contribute anything positive to the anomaly is actually the Barents Sea (where it is currently zero).

And where are all these non-full negative-anomaly areas placed? Why, they are all at the edges of the Arctic ocean.

This strongly indicates it’s not a generalized Arctic warming that is behind the “missing Arctic sea ice area”/negative anomaly, but something connected to sea currents.In fact, the Hudson Bay situation shows this nicely: it’s not the actual Bay that is missing most of the ice, it’s the Hudson Strait linking the Bay to the (negative-anomaly) Baffin/Newfoundland area.