Record early sea ice melt outside Utqiagvik (Barrow), Alaska

The 2019 sea ice melt outside the Alaskan city Utqiagvik (Barrow) happens record early. The regional sea ice extent of June 2019 is comparable to the July extent for the previous record year of 2017. The 2019 regional sea ice extent curve is two months earlier than for the 1980s. The shorter sea ice season has large consequences for the inhabitants of Utqiagvik.

The figure shows the regional Sea Ice Extent* within the area marked in red on the map, and is based on data from EUMETSAT OSI SAF. Regional sea ice extent data for 2019 is represented by the red curve, while the green curve shows 2017, and the grey curves represent data back to 1979. Read more about sea ice climate products here and sea ice climate indicators here.

(* Sea Ice Extent (SIE) is the area of ocean that is covered with significant amount of sea ice. For the passive microwave data record, a commonly used definition is the area of ocean having more than 15% Sea Ice Concentration. )

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