Posted 3 weeks ago on May 4, 2018, 10:33 a.m. EST by factsrfun
from Phoenix, AZ
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
An updated assessment of ice age changes through the first nine weeks of 2018 shows there was essentially no multiyear ice within the Beaufort, Chukchi, East Siberian, Laptev, Kara and Barents Seas in early March (Figure 4b). There is only a small tongue of second-year ice extending from near the pole towards the New Siberian Islands. Near the pole, there are large patches of first-year ice among the multiyear ice. As averaged over the Arctic Ocean (Figure 4d), the multiyear ice cover during week nine has declined from 61 percent in 1984 to 14 percent in 2018, the least amount of multiyear ice recorded. In addition, only 1 percent of the ice cover is five years or older, also the least amount recorded. This is rather striking since September 2017 did not set a new record low minimum extent. The proportion of first-year versus multiyear ice in spring will largely depend on the amount of open water left at the end of summer over which first-year ice forms. How much ice is transported out of the Arctic through Fram Strait in winter also plays a role. The unusually high amount of first-year ice this March suggests that there was a strong Fram Strait ice export this past winter. Given that (in the absence of ridging) first-year ice grows to about 1.5 to 2 meters (4.9 to 6.6 feet) thick over a winter season, the ice age data point to a fairly thin ice cover. Nevertheless, how much ice melts out this coming summer will depend strongly on summer weather conditions."
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