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August Seas Warmest in at Least 120 Years; 2009 Arctic Ice Minimum Predicted as Third Lowest on Record 9/16/09
10/12/2009 | Marilyn Sigman, Alaska SeaGrant/MAP
Tags: Climate Change, Changing Arctic Sea Ice, Arctic Ocean, Water Temperature Patterns


The National Climatic Data Center has released its review of worldwide sea surface temperatures for August (link to NOAA website with video visualization) and for the stretch from June through August and finds that both the month and the “summer” (as looked at from the Northern Hemisphere) were the warmest at least since 1880, when such records were first systematically compiled.

Sea ice in the Arctic appears to be starting the slow late-summer freeze after reaching its minimum extent several days ago according to estimates by the National Snow and Ice Data Center and the International Arctic Research Center / Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). This season’s Arctic ice retreat ranks well behind the extraordinary ice retreat of 2007and also last year’s but remains below the average ice extent for the stretch since 1979, when satellites started monitoring Arctic conditions with some precision.

Here’s a compilation of various groups’ experimental ice forecasts for this year and the results.

Daily updates are available at the National Snow and Ice Data website or you can sign up for the Arctic Sea Ice News RSS feed for automatic notification of analysis updates. Updates are also available via Twitter.

Additional information: Inuit Knowledge of Sea Ice in a Geophysical Setting" prepared by Dan Elsberg at the University of Alaska Fairbanks as part of a student course project and a short, annotated Glossary of sea-ice terms.

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