Slowly Melting Arctic Ice May 2023

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From Science Matters

By Ron Clutz

The image above shows 2023 Arctic ice extents from May 1 (day 121) to May end (day 151).  The Pacific basins of Okhotsk (center left) and Bering (bottom left) rapidly turn to open water.  Baffin Bay (center right) melts more slowly. Barents Sea (top center steadily loses ~200k km2 ice extent.  Note Hudson Bay (bottom) mostly keeps its ice, ending the month with 86% of its March max.  And Canadian Archipelago (lower center) retains 97% of its ice. On the left center, the Eurasian coastline remains mostly frozen.

The graph below shows 2023 compared to 17 year average and some recent years for this time period.

Firstly, on average this period shows ice declining 1.73 M km2 down to 11.72 M km2,  Note that  2023 matched the average May 1,  then retained more ice than usual during May, ending with a decline of 1.24 M km2.  Most of May Sea Ice Index (SII) tracked higher than MASIE, an average 100 km2 extra ice extent..  The other years, including 2006, were 200 to 300k km2 lower than average.

Region2023151Day 151 Average2023-Ave.20061512023-2006
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere119961641172024327592011425616570548
 (1) Beaufort_Sea10501781007125430531063879-13700
 (2) Chukchi_Sea9263678668515951690760918758
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea10580131065740-77271073889-15876
 (4) Laptev_Sea84034082772712614856108-15768
 (5) Kara_Sea761159832280-71121848172-87013
 (6) Barents_Sea214069313115-9904618090633163
 (7) Greenland_Sea785442568692216750522040263402
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence95897390238556588721606237367
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago8317288135891813880056131167
 (10) Hudson_Bay10790401091081-1204198955089490
 (11) Central_Arctic3243187321835724830318869654491
 (12) Bering_Sea13113011571315417179378-48248
 (13) Baltic_Sea0243-243720-720
(14) Sea_of_Okhotsk11515695869192878973925417

The table shows the distribution of ice in the Arctic basins.  Arctic Ice Note that 2023 exceeds May 2006 by  more than half a Wadham (1M km2 ice extent).

Resources:  Climate Compilation II Arctic Sea Ice