Aug 30, 2016

2016 Mega-Dipole

Arctic Sea Ice

[The] forecast Dipole has now set up. [The August 29] analysis chart provided by Environment Canada, at 18Z, showed the high pressure moving in via the Bering Strait at 1037 hPa, while a rapidly weakening storm that had moved in from Siberia (lowest central pressure was 967 hPa, on August 28) was still at 974 hPa on the other side of the Arctic. This then evolved to a massive 1041 hPa on one side of the Dipole, and 977 hPa on the other:

That's a humongous pressure gradient of 63-64 hPa! You don't see that often around this time in the Arctic, a not so nice story for the grandkids. Right now, the high is still at 1041 hPa, but the low has weakened further to 980 hPa. That's still a pressure gradient of 61 hPa.

It means very strong winds are blowing over the ice pack, from Siberia to Canada, compacting the ice pack and further pushing open water towards the pole...

The 2016 trend line has already dipped well below the 2007 minimum. It looks highly likely that 2016 will end up second on record for this data set...

The Dipole will persist for another 2-3 days, but the high gets stretched out in the process and is then pushed aside by a weak low. So, in a few days the game of guessing when the minimum is reached will start. We'll have to see how much lower extent and area can get due to compaction and the melting out of the Wrangel Arm