Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Update on Arctic Snow and Ice

Above image, adapted from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), shows that Arctic sea ice extent has roughly followed the same path it did in 2012 when it reached a historic record low. Highlighted on above image is the highest extent the sea ice reached in 2013, i.e. 15,113 million square km on May 14, 2013.

The animation below, by Neven of the Arctic Sea Ice blog, shows the impact of a cyclone over the sea ice from May 26th to June 2nd.

Siberia on the top right, black dot is north pole

For more details on this cyclone, see the coverage at the Arctic Sea Ice blog. Also see the animation below, from the Naval Research Laboratory, showing sea ice thickness (in m) over the past 30 days.

Finally, the snow cover anomaly map below shows the situation for May 2013, compared with average snow cover for May from 1971 to 2000. Areas in orange and red indicate lower than usual snow cover, while regions in blue had more snow than normal.
Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center, courtesy Rutgers University Global Snow Lab 

NSIDC adds that monthly snow cover anomaly data from Rutgers University Global Snow Lab show that snow cover for the month of May 2013 was significantly low in eastern Siberia, northern Europe, and the Rocky Mountains in North America. Data also show a few greater-than-average regions in Alaska—owing to low temperatures there—and the Tibetan Plateau.

Weekly and daily data from the Global Snow Lab show that May began with greater-than-average snow cover in Tibet and the Great Plains of Canada and the United States. By the end of the month, however, snow extent was near average to lower than average throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and much lower than average in northeastern Siberia. Overall, snow cover in May 2013 was the lowest on record in forty-seven years of data for Eurasia, and third lowest overall for the Northern Hemisphere, trailing only 2012 and 2010.

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