Arctic Sea Ice Surges Back During First Half of October

Click to see animation of Arctic sea ice growth in Oct.

Consider the refreezing during the first half of October through yesterday, adding an average of 96k km2 per day. On the left side, the Laptev Sea has filled in, and just below it, the East Siberian Sea is also growing fast ice from the shore to meet refreezing drift ice.

At the top Kara, Barents and Greenland’s seas are all growing ice. At the bottom, Canadian Archipelago is now full of ice.

The graph compares extents over the first 15 days of October.

This year (2017) has reached 6.6 M km2, 300k km2 above the 10-year average, 930k km2 more than 2016.  2007 lags 1.2M km2 behind, and 2012 remains 1.8M km2 lower than 2017.  SII is showing similar ice gains in October.

The Table below shows where ice is located on day 288 in regions of the Arctic ocean. 10-year average comes from 2007 through 2016 inclusive.

On the Pacific side are deficits to average in BCE (Barents, Chukchi, East Siberian), more than offset by a massive surplus in Laptev, plus Kara next door.  Greenland Sea ice is below average but again offset by surpluses in CAA, Baffin Bay, and Central Arctic.

In recent years, October has seen some rapid recoveries of Arctic ice extents.  But this year may become something special.  With the early onset of Siberian snow cover and the resulting surface cooling, ice is roaring back, especially on the Asian side.

Halloween is Coming!


Some people unhappy with the higher amounts of ice extent shown by MASIE continue to claim that Sea Ice Index is the only dataset that can be used. This is false in fact and in logic.

Why should anyone accept that the highest quality picture of ice day to day has no shelf life, that one year’s charts cannot be compared with another year? Researchers do this analysis, including Walt Meier in charge of Sea Ice Index.

That said, I understand his interest in directing people to use his product rather than one he does not control. As I have said before:

MASIE is rigorous, reliable, serves as calibration for satellite products, and uses modern technologies to continue the long and honorable tradition of naval ice charting.  More on this at my post Support MASIE Arctic Ice Dataset

Footnote on MASIE Data Sources: 

National Ice Center (NIC) produces ice charts using the Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System (IMS). From the documentation, the multiple sources feeding IMS are:



Historical Summary: IMS Daily Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice Analysis

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NOAA/NESDIS) has an extensive history of monitoring snow and ice coverage.Accurate monitoring of global snow/ice cover is a key component in the study of climate and global change as well as daily weather forecasting.

The Polar and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite programs (POES/GOES) operated by NESDIS provide invaluable visible and infrared spectral data in support of these efforts.

Clear-sky imagery from both the POES and the GOES sensors show snow/ice boundaries very well; however, the visible and infrared techniques may suffer from persistent cloud cover near the snowline, making observations difficult (Ramsay, 1995).

The microwave products (DMSP and AMSR-E) are unobstructed by clouds and thus can be used as another observational platform in most regions. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery also provides all-weather, near-daily capacities to discriminate sea and lake ice.

With several other derived snow/ice products of varying accuracy, such as those from NCEP and the NWS NOHRSC, it is highly desirable for analysts to be able to interactively compare and contrast the products so that a more accurate composite map can be produced.

The Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB) of NESDIS first began generating Northern Hemisphere Weekly Snow and Ice Cover analysis charts derived from the visible satellite imagery in November 1966. The spatial and temporal resolutions of the analysis (190 km and 7 days, respectively) remained unchanged for the product’s 33-year lifespan.

As a result of increasing customer needs and expectations, it was decided that an efficient, interactive workstation application should be constructed which would enable SAB to produce snow/ice analyses at a higher resolution and on a daily basis (~25 km / 1024 x 1024 grid and once per day) using a consolidated array of new as well as existing satellite and surface imagery products. The Daily Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice Cover chart has been produced since February 1997 by SAB meteorologists on the IMS.

Another large resolution improvement began in early 2004 when improved technology allowed the SAB to begin creation of a daily ~4 km (6144×6144) grid. At this time, both the ~4 km and ~24 km products are available from NSIDC with a slight delay. Near real-time gridded data is available in ASCII format by request.

In March 2008, the product was migrated from SAB to the National Ice Center (NIC) of NESDIS. The production system and methodology were preserved during the migration.

Improved access to DMSP, SAR, and modeled data sources is expected as a short-term from the migration, with longer-term plans of twice daily production, GRIB2 output format, a Southern Hemisphere analysis, and an expanded suite of integrated snow and ice variable on the horizon.

Read more at Science Matters

Comments (6)

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover


    But still the wackos from Greenpeace will send us their usial Junk Mail offering us Free copies of Al Bores A INCONVENT SEQUEAL and DiCaprios BEFORE THE FLOOD if you send them a cool $500 plus Greenpeace Christmas Cards Stationary a little toy polar bear and a copy of THE TANTRUM THE SAVED THE WORLD for your kids to further brainwash them when their watermelon propeganda

  • Avatar



    The Inconvenient Truth Al Gore The Arctic isn’t ice free … not even close .
    What a shame . What oh what are the greenie fund raisers going to do ? All the trinkets and trash they are giving out were made with fossil fuel and by cutting down forests . Such pathetic hypocrites.
    They are giving away their crap because hardly anyone would be willing to buy it . I do like the use of Tantrum in the book title …
    so Liberal and preachy .
    Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) has been such a boost for
    failing comics and psychologists. Not so great for The Earth Has A Fever industry .
    What Spurwing Plover is describing is a clear out sale before all that crap goes to landfill .

    • Avatar



      Come next election, Americans will know that this run of prosperity is Trump’s child.
      The Democrats are wallowing in muck of their own making. The perp’s should retire if they care about the party. I hope that Hillary et al stick around and sabotage the Left’s chances.

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover


    And was’nt the Arctic suppost to be Ice Free by now according to Al Bore and his junk science fake documentry which should be listed as Propeganda rather then a Documentry

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