Polar bear sea ice habitat at the start of the Arctic winter is abundant except off Labrador

polarbearscience

After a bit of ineffectual hand-wringing from polar bear specialists about low summer and fall sea ice conditions and unsubstantiated worries about impacts on bear survival – including Southern Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea and Hudson Bay  – I’ve heard no concerns expressed so far about the unusually low extent of ice off the East Coast of North America at the start of this winter. The Labrador Coast is just about the only region bereft of ice this winter but could catch up quickly at any time: ice coverage in the Barents Sea, East Greenland, and Bering Sea is similar to or above recent levels (last five years) so far, as is the overall extent.

masie_all_zoom_4km 2020 Jan 2

Northern Hemisphere

Higher this year than any recent year except 2015, although it’s pretty close:

r00_Northern_Hemisphere_ts_4km at 2020 Jan 2Arctic Seas_Regions_Labelled_NSIDC

Labrador Coast/Newfoundland

Lowest at this point in the last five years by quite a bit and even lower than…

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