Report on the Expected Arctic Sea Ice Minimum

Monthly reports released throughout the summer summarize all available data and observations on sea ice in the Arctic. Read the July report from SEARCH: Study of Environmental Arctic Change here. 

Summary

Sea ice extent for the beginning of June 2011

Sea ice extent for the beginning of June 2011, relative to climatology (1979–2000 median, denoted by the orange line). Figure: SEARCH Study of Environmental Arctic Change

The data show a continuing low value of sea ice extent at the beginning of the summer season and an appearance of a weather pattern (the Arctic Dipole) that tends to favor summer sea ice loss, in contrast to weak and variable summer winds of previous decades. Ocean changes may also be involved. According to the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), arctic sea ice extent for June 2011 was the second lowest in the satellite data record since 1979.

The reports also include a more detailed discussion of sea ice thickness information provided from field measurements and model results. This year, several airborne campaigns have collected ice thickness or surface topography data in the North American Arctic. Such surveys can help inform predictions of summer and fall ice conditions.

NPI contribution

Wahlenbergfjorden in Nordaustlandet

From Wahlenbergfjorden in Nordaustlandet, Svalbard. Photo: Harald Faste Aas / Norwegian Polar Institute

Scientists at the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) have contributed to the current report. Read their article here:

Regional sea ice outlook for Greenland Sea and Barents Sea - based on data until the end of June 2011

The complete report from SEARCH can be found here:

September Sea Ice Outlook: July Report

About SEARCH Sea Ice Outlook

The SEARCH Sea Ice Outlook is an international effort to provide a community-wide summary of the expected September arctic sea ice minimum. Monthly reports released throughout the summer synthesize community estimates of the current state and expected minimum of sea ice - at both a pan-arctic and regional scale.

The intent of the SEARCH Sea Ice Outlook effort is not to issue predictions, but rather to summarize all available data and observations to provide the scientific community, stakeholders, and the public the best available information on the evolution of arctic sea ice.