Arctic Sea Ice volume lowest ever seen

NSIDC director: “The volume of ice left in the Arctic likely reached the lowest ever level this month.” – Serreze: “I stand by my previous statements that the Arctic summer sea ice cover is in a death spiral. It’s not going to recover.”

[Via Climate Progress]

We are proud of being the first sailing vessel, together with “Peter 1st”, that ever has sailed through both the Northeast and Northwest Passage in one short Arctic summer.”

This amazing Arctic melt season is finally coming to an end. We just about equaled 2008 for the second lowest sea ice extent and area. But volume matters more — and here it looks like we’re setting the record.

We’ve seen that National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) scientists have tracked a sharp drop in oldest, thickest Arctic sea ice. So it’s no surprise that the Polar Science Center’s PIOMAS model for mid-September shows a record low volume for the month and hence the year and hence “any time in recent geologic history”:


Daily Sea Ice volume anomalies for each day are computed relative to the 1979 to 2009 average for that day. The trend for the 1979- present period is shown in blue. Shaded areas show one and two standard deviations from the trend.

This graph shows more than a 1000 km^3 drop in ice volume over the record low last year of 5,800 km^3 (67% below its 1979 maximum). I did check with PSC about their confidence level in this relative decline.


We might see a new climate regime here. More summer open ocean means more heat is stored. More heat storage means less ice forms. Less ice means more open water. This results in a positive feedback which will result in less volume as time goes on.

Not good news.