Jeff Masters my weather hero of Weather Underground wrote today about the latest research about the arctic ice and weather. This is his report:
The Arctic sea ice extent during March was 5th lowest in the 36-year satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The winter maximum extent of Arctic sea ice came on March 21, and was the 5th lowest such peak on record. Temperatures in the Arctic were 2 – 6°C (4 -11°F) above average during the last half of the month, but a late-season surge in ice extent came as the Arctic Oscillation turned strongly positive the second week of March, with unusually low sea level pressure in the eastern Arctic and the northern North Atlantic. The associated pattern of surface winds helped to spread out the ice pack, keeping ice extent greater than it would have been. There was a modest increase in thick, multi-year ice over the winter, and the Arctic is in better shape to resist a record summer melt season this year than it was in 2013.
Although we are in the Canadian Arctic and the ice is usually much better here already, we too are astonished by the conditions. That wind spread out and strengthen the ice pack we see everyday. From the 20 days on ice and approximately 350 km from the north pole we still see hard surface, windblown slabs of snow and lots of it. Normally, there is much more ice exposed but this year there is a snow cover on every piece of ice around. Today we scrambled on top of a 30 meter high pressure ridge to do some filming. The view was not only breathtaking, it looked like he entire arctic is plastered and coated with snow and ice. It is the first time we can see a large portion of the Arctic from some elevation. Fingers crossed for this summer, but I have to agree with Jeff, the ice is in good shape for now.