2020 Pacific Ice See Saw Returns

Science Matters

By January there are not many places where Arctic ice extent can grow.  All the Eurasian shelf seas are full, as is the case on the CanAm side: Beaufort, CAA, Hudson Bay covered completely.  Barents  and Greenland Seas have some room to grow, as does Baffin Bay.  But mainly the variability is on the Pacific side, where the usual Bering/Okhotsk see saw is reappearing.

As we have seen in past winters, ice in the Pacific Arctic tends to grow in fits and spurts, often alternating between Bering and Okhotsk Seas.  The above image of the first two weeks of 2020 shows Okhotsk on the left growing ice steadily while Bering waffled back and forth ending with almost the same extent.  Combined the two seas ice extents are slightly below the 13 year average at this time, due to Bering’s slow recovery.

The January graph shows MASIE and SII reporting the…

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