We have released the summer Arctic sea-ice forecast.
The forecast shows the daily sea ice concentration map from July 1 to November 1. First report was released on May 25, and the second report updated considering the June distribution was June 30. Our forecast is based on the relationship between the spring ice thickness and summer ice area. First, we estimate the distribution of the spring ice thickness from the ice movement during last December through April. Then, we predict the summer ice area assuming that thick ice remains until later while thin ice melts sooner. For this calculation, daily sea-ice concentration and ice velocity are derived from the satellite images by passive-microwave sensors, AMSR-E and AMSR2.
Arctic sea ice extent in this May was the smallest on record. Majority of organizations participating June Report of Sea Ice Outlook predicted that the minimum ice area in this summer would be smaller than the last year. On the other hand, our prediction shows that whole Arctic ice area in the minimum season will be a little larger than the last year. Sea ice in the Canadian side is expected to be thin and retreat more quickly than the last year, while the retreat of ice in the East Siberian Sea will be late compared with the last year because the area is covered by thicker ice that was piled up by the winter convergence of sea ice.
We are planning to release the third report of the forecast at the end of July and fall-winter report in September. Our sea-ice forecast looking several months ahead should be useful for safe and efficient use of the Arctic sea route.
Noriaki Kimura (The University of Tokyo)
Website of the Arctic sea-ice forecast