Facts About the Arctic in September 202111 September 2021
A detailed dissection of the 2021 minimum of various Arctic sea ice extent metrics can be found on a dedicated thread. All other Arctic news in September will be found below.
Let’s start with a map of sea ice age at the beginning of August:
Firstly notice the absence of 3+ year old ice off the coast of north east Greenland. Also visible is a band of 4+ year old ice across the Pacific side of the Arctic Basin, which has slowed melting in the region and explains the following regional sea ice area graphs:
Next here’s the current AMSR2 concentration map:
There is currently a large area of open water in the Wandel Sea to the north of Greenland. There is also an arm of old ice across the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas which is still clearly visible, but also visible is the recent reduction in sea ice concentration in the region. By way of explanation, here’s another look at the thickness of an ice floe currently situated to the north of the Chukchi at 74.84 N, 164.29 W, as measured by an ice mass balance buoy:
As the 2021 melting season draws towards its conclusion the floe is experiencing rapid bottom melt. How much longer will this floe and others like it last? Will it survive to become an “old ice” dot on next year’s ice age maps?
As Wipneus puts it on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum, “PIOMAS has updated the gridded thickness data up to the 31st of August”. Here’s the latest modelled thickness map, which shows the thickest remaining ice located north of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago rather than north of Greenland:
The accompanying volume graph shows 2021 in 7th lowest position, at 4.7 thousand km3:
Here too are the current PIOMAS volume trends for each month of the year:
The Swedish icebreaker Oden has recently been exploring the area between northern Greenland and the North Pole as part of the Synoptic Arctic Survey expedition:
Here are the measurements of water temperature it has recorded over the past few days:
Ranging between -0.4 °C and -1.0 °C it doesn’t look as though the 2021 refreeze will be starting in the Wandel Sea just yet.
Watch this space!