March 1, 2021 Arctic Ice Recovers from PV Hit

Science Matters


Update March 1, 2021 to previous post

This update is to note a dramatic effect on Okhotsk Sea ice coincidental with the Polar Vortex (PV) event that froze Texas and other midwestern US states mid-February.  When Arctic air extends so far south due to the weak and wavy vortex, warmer air replaces the icy air in Arctic regions.  In this case, the deficits to sea ice extent appeared mostly in the Sea of Okhotsk in the Pacific and Barents Sea in the Atlantic.  After a sharp drop, ice extents are again building toward the Arctic annual maximum, typically mid-March.

The animation above shows the drop and recovery in the last two weeks.  In the Pacific, the PV did little to Bering Sea ice on the lower left, ending the month up about 50k km2.  More dramatic was the PV effect in Okhotsk upper left, where 200k km2 of ice…

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