Arctic Sea Ice Sets New Low December Record

arctic sea ice photo

photo: DorkyMum/Creative Commons

The UK may have just had the coldest December in a century, but here's an example of how the rest of the planet as a whole is still warming, even more so in the northern latitudes: As Climate Progress reports, the National Snow and Ice Date Center has just released its December report on Arctic sea ice, which shows the lowest extent at this time of year in the satellite record.

december arctic sea ice extent graph

From the NSIDC summary:

The low ice conditions in December occurred in conjunction with above-average air temperatures in regions where ice would normally expand at this time of year. Air temperatures over eastern Siberia were 6 to 10 degrees Celsius (11 to 18 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal in December. Over the eastern Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Baffin Bay/Davis Strait and Hudson Bay, temperatures were at least 6 degrees Celsius (11 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than average. Southern Baffin Island had the largest anomalies, with temperatures over 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than normal. By sharp contrast, temperatures were lower than average (4 to 7 degrees Celsius, 7 to 13 degrees Fahrenheit) over the Alaska-Yukon border, north-central Eurasia, and Scandinavia.

The warm temperatures in December came from two sources: unfrozen areas of the ocean continued to release heat to the atmosphere, and an unusual circulation pattern brought warm air into the Arctic from the south. Although the air temperatures were still below freezing on average, the additional ocean and atmospheric heat slowed ice growth.

More from NSIDC: Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis
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More on Arctic Sea Ice:
Melting Arctic Sea Ice May Actually Cause Colder Northern Winters
Arctic Sea Ice Loss Confirmed As Main Cause of Faster Polar Warming
Arctic Sea Ice Not Only Covers Less Area, It's Thinner Too
Melting Arctic Sea Ice Won't Expand Ocean's Carbon Storage Potential

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