Monday, July 10, 2023

Arctic sea ice July 2023

World temperatures during each of the past 16 days have been higher than they have been for millions of years. Moreover, the temperature is now rising faster than during any period before, and could rise 18.44°C (versus pre-industrial) by the year 2026.

In each of the past 16 days, the temperature has been higher than the peak temperature reached in previous years in the record going back to 1979, i.e. 16.92°C (62.46°F) reached on July 24, 2022 (orange), as well as on August 13+14, 2016.
July   3, 2023: 17.01°C or 62.62°F
July   4, 2023: 17.18°C or 62.92°F
July   5, 2023: 17.18°C or 62.92°F
July   6, 2023: 17.23°C or 63.01°F
July   7, 2023: 17.20°C or 62.96°F
July   8, 2023: 17.17°C or 62.91°F
July   9, 2023: 17.11°C or 62.80°F
July 10, 2023: 17.12°C or 62.82°F
July 11, 2023: 17.08°C or 62.74°F
July 12, 2023: 17.04°C or 62.67°F
July 13, 2023: 16.98°C or 62.56°F
July 14, 2023: 16.94°C or 62.49°F
July 15, 2023: 16.99°C or 62.58°F
July 16, 2023: 17.03°C or 62.65°F
July 17, 2023: 17.11°C or 62.80°F
July 18, 2023: 17.17°C or 62.91°F
The comparison with the year 2016 is important, since 2016 was a strong El Niño year and the peak temperature in that year was reached in August. Therefore, if indicative, temperatures in 2023 may reach even higher peaks later this month and in August, which seems confirmed by predictions of the currently unfolding El Niño, such as the above image from Copernicus, showing El Niño gaining in strength.

Arctic Ocean heating up

The Arctic reached high temperatures on July 9, 2023, as illustrated by the combination image below, created with images.

[ click on images to enlarge ]
1. Firstly, the water of the Arctic Ocean heats up as it receives direct heat from sunlight. The globe on the right on the above combination image shows that on July 9, 2023, a temperature of 33°C or 91.3°F was recorded in Canada over land near the Arctic Ocean and near the Mackenzie River (green circle), with the heatwave on land extending over the Arctic Ocean. As the globe at the center shows, sea surface temperature anomalies as high as 13.2°C or 23.7°F were recorded that day nearby, in the area marked by the green circle. 

2. Hot water from rivers ending in the Arctic Ocean is another way the water is heating up, as also illustrated by the above image. 

The above globe on the left shows that, on July 9, 2023, sea surface temperatures as high as 13.5°C or 56.4°F were recorded at a location nearby location where the Mackenzie River flows into the Arctic Ocean (at the green circle), while on July 23, 2023, the sea surface was 13.8°C or 24.8°F hotter than in 1981-2011, at a nearby location where the Mackenzie River is flowing into the Arctic Ocean.  

As illustrated by the image on the right, the sea surface was 18.4°C or 33°F hotter than in 1981-2011 where the Ob River meets the Kara Sea (at the green circle) on July 24, 2023.  

The image on the right shows sea surface temperatures in the Bering Strait as high as 18.8°C or 65.4°F on July 27, 2023. The water heats up strongly where hot water from rivers and run-off from rainwater enters the Bering Strait. 

3. Yet another way heat is entering the Arctic Ocean is from oceans, i.e. from the North Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, and this is melting the sea ice from below. 

The image below, created with Climate Reanalyzer images, shows that the North Atlantic sea surface temperature was 24.8°C on July 21, 2023 (black), no less than 1.2°C higher than the 23.6°C recorded on July 21, 2022 (orange).

As the above image also shows, a record high temperature was reached on the North Atlantic of 24.9°C on September 4, 2022. 

The comparison with the peak in 2022 is important, as it was reached at a time when La Niña was suppressing the temperature, whereas now El Niño is strongly pushing up the temperature. Therefore, if the 1.2°C difference is indicative, temperatures above 26°C can be expected for the North Atlantic in September this year.

The image on the right shows sea surface temperatures as high as 33.6°C or 92.4°F off the Florida coast (green circle) on July 13, 2023.

A buoy in Manatee Bay in the Upper Keys south of Florida recorded a water temperature of 38.89°C or 101.1°F on July 24, 2023.

The image below shows sea surface temperatures as high as 33°C or 91.4°F on July 27, 2023.

The video below gives a sequential view of the situation:

The Gulf Stream is pushing ocean heat toward the Arctic Ocean, as illustrated by the image below.

It takes some time for peak ocean heat to reach the Arctic Ocean. Arctic sea ice typically reaches an annual minimum extent about mid-September.

As the above image also shows, a sea surface temperature east of Svalbard of 10.6°C or 51°F was recorded on July 15, 2023 (at the green circle).

Arctic sea ice under threat

As described in earlier posts such as this one, this rapid temperature rise threatens to cause Arctic sea ice to disappear.

The three images on the right, adapted from University of Bremen, shows that Arctic sea ice thickness is very vulnerable. 

The top image shows that most Arctic sea ice was less than 20 cm thick on July 16, 2023.

The second image on the right shows Arctic sea ice concentration on July 9, 2023.

The image underneath shows sea ice age for the week of June 25 to July 1, 2023, from NSIDC.

More generally, the rapid temperature rise threatens to cause numerous feedbacks to accelerate and further developments to occur such as crossing of tipping points, with the danger that the temperature will keep rising.

Ominously, some very high methane levels were recorded recently at Barrow, Alaska, as illustrated by the NOAA image below.


The outlook is dire and is getting more dire every day.

This calls for a Climate Emergency Declaration and implementation of comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan with an update at Transforming Society


• Nullschool

• Climate Reanalyzer - sea surface temperature

• Potential world record: South Florida ocean temperature surges beyond 100 degrees 

• Copernicus

• University of Bremen - Arctic sea ice

• The Threat

• Climate Plan

• NSIDC - Mid-summer bliss - sea ice age

• NOAA - Global Monitoring Laboratory - Barrow, Alaska