Saturday, January 8, 2011

Record Low December for Arctic Sea Ice

Arctic sea ice was slow to form this fall, and now December 2010 has officially had the least ice cover ever recorded in the month of December. The Arctic Ocean itself is substantially ice-covered, though not necessarily with solid ice everywhere. A little farther south, though, the eastern Hudson Bay, which previously would freeze over in December, still shows open waters a week into January. More significantly, the cold weather pattern that will allow ice to stick to the coast of Labrador has not yet arrived.

Ice will continue to form, but less of it than we would have expected to see prior to 2007. There is no indication of setting a record for January. This month is likely to be about the third lowest ice extent for January — but it depends on the weather.