Saturday, September 18, 2010

Arctic Indian Summer: Sea Ice Melt Restarts

A week after the annual sea ice minimum extent defined by the National Snow and Ice Data Center was attained, the extent of sea ice in the Arctic dropped even lower yesterday.

The NSIDC definition includes the portion of ocean covered by 15% or more sea ice. Based on the minimum reached September 10, this year's ice cover in the Arctic was already the third smallest in recorded history.

I'm wondering if it is possible that the extended period of unusually extreme 30C+ temperatures in Russia and across much of Siberia would have an impact on the Arctic ice or weather this fall. Looks like this could be a possibility.

Effect of Warm Rivers in Russia?

There are many major rivers flowing from Russia into the Arctic. These include the Northern Dvina, Pechora, Ob, Lena, Kolyma and dozens of other rivers. Given the extended hot spell through most of August in Russia, to me it would be reasonable that the water flowing into the Arctic would be significantly warmer this year.

Given the early we spring we had this year in Canada, and also a pretty warm summer, it would be reasonable to assume that our north-flowing rivers are also much warmer than usual.

I've got no idea what the effect of all these warm rivers flowing north will be. Maybe it's insignificant in proportion to the amount of water in the Arctic Ocean. But, let's just see how long this Arctic Indian summer lasts. The four years with the least Arctic ice extent in recorded history are this year and the previous three years.

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