Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Around the Arctic July 07, 2014 - 10:36 am

Arctic sea ice extent below average for June: data center

Minimal ice in March set the stage for spring, report says

The National Snow and Ice Data Centre reports sea ice for June was below average this year. (COURTESY NSIDC)
The National Snow and Ice Data Centre reports sea ice for June was below average this year. (COURTESY NSIDC)

It was another below average June for sea ice extent in the Arctic.

According to a recent Colorado-based National Snow and Ice Data Center report, sea ice extent across the Arctic in June was 11.31 million square kilometres — 580,000 square kilometres below the 1981 to 2010 average for the month.

Although sea ice in the Beaufort Sea — located above Alaska, the Northwest Territories and Yukon — was higher than ice extent levels seen in recent years, “extent was lower than average in the Barents Sea, Hudson Bay, and the East Greenland Sea.”

June 2014 was actually the sixth lowest sea ice extent in satellite record compared to June in past years, the report said.

The report blamed March 2014 for low sea ice in June.

“Last March’s relatively low maximum extent helped set the stage for June’s low extent,” the report said.

During the past month, ice extent declined by 78,900 square kilometres per day. That means that every day the ice declined by a geographic area equivalent in size to the Czech Republic.

June is usually a month of rapid sea ice loss, but in recent years the loss has been accelerated.

“In 2012, a period of rapid acceleration occurred during the first half of the month, kick-starting the decline towards the eventual record low extent that September,” the report stated.

For the years 2007 and 2012, air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean were up four to six degrees Celsius above average.

In June 2014, however, the temperature over the Arctic Ocean was one to two degrees below the 1981 to 2010 average for most of the month.

But then at the end of June, air temperatures rose to two to four degrees above average over the central Arctic Ocean, the report said.

To see an interactive graph of the average sea ice extent over the past 30 years, click here.

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