Assessing trend and variation of Arctic sea-ice extent during 1979-2012 from a latitude perspective of ice edge
Arctic sea-ice extent (in summer) has been shrinking since the 1970s. However, we have little knowledge of the detailed spatial variability of this shrinking. In this study, we examine the (latitudinal) ice extent along each degree of longitude, using the monthly Arctic ice index data sets (1979–2012) from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Statistical analysis suggests that: (1) for summer months (July–October), there was a 34-year declining trend in sea-ice extent at most regions, except for the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Greenland and Svalbard, with retreat rates of 0.0562–0.0898 latitude degree/year (or 6.26–10.00 km/year, at a significance level of 0.05); (2) for sea ice not geographically muted by the continental coastline in winter months (January–April), there was a declining trend of 0.0216–0.0559 latitude degree/year (2.40–6.22 km/year, at a significance level of 0.05). Regionally, the most evident sea-ice decline occurred in the Chukchi Sea from August to October, Baffin Bay and Greenland Sea from January to May, Barents Sea in most months, Kara Sea from July to August and Laptev Sea and eastern Siberian Sea in August and September. Trend analysis also indicates that: (1) the decline in summer ice extent became significant (at a 0.05 significance level) since 1999 and (2) winter ice extent showed a clear changing point (decline) around 2000, becoming statistically significant around 2005. The Pacific–Siberian sector of the Arctic accounted for most of the summer sea-ice decline, while the winter recovery of sea ice in the Atlantic sector tended to decrease.
Keywords: NSIDC ice index; Arctic; sea-ice extent; ice-edge latitude.
(Published: 11 September 2014)
Citation: Polar Research 2014, 33, 21249, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v33.21249
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Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to the Norwegian Polar Institute.