A Tale of Two Indices

Science Matters


Sorry to be serious on April 1.  I am not a fan of ice charts restricted to one month, for reasons illustrated in the post Ice House of Mirrors (some humor there in honor of this day.) But March monthly average sets the baseline for the year’s melt season, and so there is considerable attention and significance attached to the month just concluded.

Here is a chart showing March 2016 compared to the previous ten Marches according to two different indices of Sea Ice Extent: MASIE (Multisensor Analyzed Sea Ice Extent) produced by the National Ice Center and SII (Sea Ice Index) produced by NOAA (both accessed at NSIDC).

MASIE and SII March

It is evident that the March annual maximum is trending slightly upward in MASIE and slightly downward in SII. Note that the indices were quite similar the first five years. Then since 2010, SII has declined quite strongly.

Note on Sea Ice Resolution

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