Daily Arctic Sea Ice Area Anomaly

Context: the average year-round Arctic sea-ice area is about 8.919 million sq. km. On 12 November, 2015, the Arctic ice area was 9% (.824/8.919) million sq. km) below the 1978-2008 average for the date. (Source: Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois)

You can also see what the satellite is seeing and Today's Ice versus other recent years from the International Arctic Research Center

Arctic Sea Ice Area Anomaly

Analysis: This cannot be used as an indicator of warming or cooling, because it must be viewed in concert with Antarctica. Also, it only goes back to 1979, when satellite sensors and analytical programs could get a handle on measuring sea ice. Even today it has problems, such as dealing with water on ice, as happens after a warm spell. The sensor sees water, not ice, but this does not mean the underlying ice is gone. If the Arctic loses ice, but the global balance is about the same, there

More importantly, we must wonder what the satellites would have observed when Roald Amundsen explored and sailed through the Arctic on the small ship Gjøa since the Northwest Passage was open in 1903-1905, and again in 1940-42 and 1944 (St. Roch), it is possible the 2007 reduction in Arctic ice is not an indicator of warming.


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Last reviewed or updated in September 2015