Less ice than normal in the Arctic

Both Russian and U.S. meteorologists report about shrinkening ice in the Arctic. Photo: Thomas Nilsen.

The ice covering the Arctic is 5,2 percent less than the normal and also thinner than average, Russian meteorologists report.


The Hydrometeorological Center of Russia reports that the ice on January 20 covered a 13.80 million km² large area of the Arctic. This is a little more than in 2012, but 759 000 km² or 5,2 percent less than normal. 

The ice loss is largest in the western sector of the Arctic – Greenland Sea, Barents Sea and Kara Sea, where there is as much as 15 percent less ice than normal. 

On January 20 the thickness of the ice was 15-30 cm less than normal in the Kara Sea, the center reports

The same trend is registered by the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), who earlier this month reported that the Arctic sea ice extent for December 2012 remained far below average, driven by anomalously low ice conditions in the Kara, Barents, and Labrador seas. According to NSIDC’s measuring, the average sea ice extent for December 2012 was 12.20 million km². This is 1.16 million km² below the 1979 to 2000 average for the month, and the second-lowest December extent in the satellite record.