June 7, 2023

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7:15 AM | *Arctic sea ice showing some resiliency in recent years…summertime (melting season) Arctic temperatures very likely to again run at nearly normal levels* — Arcfield Weather

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In recent years, however, the sea ice has held its own and summertime melting seasons have generally featured nearly normal temperatures in the Arctic region.  In fact, while the cold season has often featured warmer-than-normal temperatures, the trend of nearly normal temperatures in the summer months across the Arctic has been taking place for much of the past couple of decades. The timing of this is important since the summer is the ice melting season in the Arctic region and as long as temperatures remain nearly normal during this period, the chances of Arctic sea ice disappearing completely – as feared by some – will be greatly diminished.  The latest observations from satellite observations (EUMETSAT) show Arctic sea ice extent is actually in roughly the middle of the pack for late May in the period from the 1980’s to the present. 

One possible explanation of the behavior of temperatures in the Arctic region during the past many years has to do with water vapor in the atmosphere. Overall water vapor content has been higher-than-normal in the Arctic region during the past couple of decades largely as the result of warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures in both the North Atlantic and the northern Pacific Ocean. Given the warmer-than-normal water temperatures, there has been increased evaporation and this, in turn, generates more water vapor in the atmosphere. An increase in water vapor can have a much bigger impact on temperatures in cold, dry atmospheric conditions and less of an impact in more humid, warmer surroundings. As a result, an increase in water vapor in the Arctic region during the past couple of decades could very well produce warmer-than-normal temperatures during the winter, spring seasons when it is cold and dry and it can have little impact during the warmer, more humid summer (melting) season.

Paul Dorian

2022-06-03 11:15:00

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