The Antarctic 2016 sea ice anomalies

This is the the full years data to 21 November for the anomalies of the sea ice extent in 2016. See my blog post Antarctic sea ice 2016: Historic lows for full context.

The plot shows the difference between the daily ice extent, in each grid cell, for the year to 21 November 2016, and the mean, for each day, based on historical data for the 5 year period 1989-93.

Blue shades imply more sea ice and reds imply decreased sea ice compared with the mean.

The five year average sea ice extent - the extent for the same day in 2016. Red colours indicate less sea ice than the 5 year mean.
The five year average sea ice extent (1989-93) - the extent for the same day in 2016. Red colours indicate less sea ice than the 5 year mean.

To make the plot for each day of the year and each grid cell I worked out the mean sea ice extent for 5-year period 1989-1993. I then used this calculated mean taken away from the 2016 data for the same day to derive the anomaly maps.

For example if the plot shows very dark blue that means that there is 100% sea ice cover in that grid cell in 2016 and none in the 1989-93 mean.  A dark red means there is no sea ice in 2016 where we would expect 100% sea ice cover.

The original data come from  the DMSP SMMI data set at the NSIDC.

A post describing this data is Antarctic sea ice 2016: Historic lows

6 thoughts on “The Antarctic 2016 sea ice anomalies

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  2. Who decided that Antarctic ice MUST have a certain boundary? When you are delving in the unknown, on what authority do you prosecute 'less or more' ice at a particular time? We are dealing with nature, the unknown and scientists never delve in facts. The less time spent on trivial points, and it is in this case, the better off the global population will be. The 0.05% of the latter, who earn an income from this may disagree.

    1. David Monkey-Buttons Smythe

      Why is all the ice in tne north, & the south poles anyway? It's unfair to ther parts of the world who have no ice. For example, I bet the people of Nigeria would love an ice sheet of their own. Who is to say that Nigeria should not have an ice sheet of their own, & by what boundary? Facts are great, unless they are annoying.

    2. The total ice cover is a factor in the planet's albedo, and this in turn can impact the total amount of incoming sunlight reflected into space, which in turn can impact the amount of energy absorbed.

      Less Antarctic ice in spring and summer time can influence water temperature. However, thus far Antarctica continues to be surrounded by a ring of water that's a bit colder than normal.

  3. Robert Burns

    I have a concern that the composition of the sea ice is changing and the extra run off from the Antarctic continent during the summer months which fell as snow over thousands of years ago, is causing a lowering of the salt content. This in turn may be causing more ice to form during winter but, that ice melts more easily due to its lower salt content. I have noticed this past winter in Australia, a succession of cold fronts have regularly crossed the southern coast, bring cold wet weather more frequently. Now at this time, well into Spring, almost summer, those cold fronts are not reaching so far and the hot westerlies are taking over. I assume those fronts were generated by an extended ice sheet but. now comes the real change for southern Australia.
    Is any of this making sense to you scientists?

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