PIOMAS update

PIOMAS tracks the total volume of sea ice floating on the Arctic Ocean and surrounding seas. September generally sees the end of the melt season, so it’s time to see how 2013 went. For those paying attention, this year has been something of a breather in a breakneck decline. Are we perhaps seeing the beginnings of an S-curve tail out, or will next year again plummet towards zero summer ice?


PIOMAs northern sea ice volume

PIOMAS northern sea ice volume


Update (may need a browser refresh):  Red dots are data from CryoSat-2 direct measurement of ice thickness and volume, from Table 1 of Laxton et al1. More on the graph page.


1. Laxon S. W., K. A. Giles, A. L. Ridout, D. J. Wingham, R. Willatt, R. Cullen, R. Kwok, A. Schweiger, J. Zhang, C. Haas, S. Hendricks, R. Krishfield, N. Kurtz, S. Farrell and M. Davidson (2013), CryoSat-2 estimates of Arctic sea ice thickness and volume, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, 732–737, doi:10.1002/grl.50193

2 comments to PIOMAS update

  • Alastair B. McDonald

    Do you realise that if the trend in minimum volume anomaly seen in 2010, 2011, 2012 is continued, there will be no ice in the Arctic in 2014?

  • Gerg

    Possible, but unlikely I think. The downward ticks in the anomaly trace you refer to don’t coincide with the September minimums; they occur in June/July. I guess they reflect a change in ice behavior at the much reduced current thickness and extent, so that the 1979-2008 mean curve used to compute the anomalies is now not so representative of the annual cycle. It may be better to use a more recent period for the mean curve — say the last 5 years, but then many would claim that the interval is too short.