Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2011's Arctic Sea Ice Volume, Down Big Again

Sea ice volume is a better indicator of the planet's energy imbalance than area or extent. PIOMAS recently released their estimates for Arctic sea ice volume through December, so it's possible to compare last calendar year to those going back to 1979.

Daily Ice Volume

The 2011 daily average volume dropped to 12.92 Mkm2, down 5.7% from last year. It's dropped 49% since 1979 (the first full-year of data), and has dropped 35% in just the last 10 years.

You can slice it up lots of ways -- I've chosen to look at each year in relation to the volume 10 years earlier:
You could fit several different curves to that, but the trend is obvious.

By the way, PIOMAS recently published a paper in JGR about their model calibration and uncertainties. The preprint is here.

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