Arctic Sea Ice. The light blue area represents summer sea-ice extent in 2013, while the dark blue the winter ice-extent in 2013. The dark pink line is the median summer ice extent 1981-2010, the light pink is the median winter ice extent 1981-2010 (map: Arctic Portal)  The 2015 Sea Ice Outlook June Report is now available online. This June Outlook report was developed by lead authors, Cecilia Bitz (UW), Ed Blanchard-Wrigglesworth (UW), and Jim Overland (NOAA), with contributions from the rest of the SIPN leadership team, and with a section analyzing the model contributions by François Massonnet, Université catholique de Louvain and Catalan Institute of Climate Sciences.

The median Outlook value for September 2015 sea ice extent is 5.0 million square kilometers with quartiles of 4.4 and 5.2 million square kilometers. Contributions are based on a range of methods: statistical, numerical models, estimates based on trends, and subjective information. We have a large spread in the Outlook contributions, which is not surprising given the wide-ranging observed values for the September extent in the past few years. The overall range (excluding an extreme outlier) is 3.3 to 5.7 million square kilometers. The median Outlook value is up from 4.7 million square kilometers in 2014. These values compare to observed values of 4.3 million square kilometers in 2007, 4.6 million square kilometers in 2011, 3.6 million square kilometers in 2012 and 5.3 million square kilometers in 2014.

A discussion of 11 dynamical model contributions shows that the variance among the individual outlooks is substantially less than last year and as a whole, dynamic models predict a larger September sea ice extent with less spread than for 2014. A section on regional predictions includes discussion on predictions for sea ice probability (SIP), showing that higher SIP is predicted in 2015 than in 2014 in the Beaufort and East Greenland seas, while smaller SIP is predicted along the East Siberian and Kara Seas. Finally, a section on current conditions includes discussion of this spring's rate of decline of ice extent, a comparison of sea ice thickness products, and atmospheric conditions.


Read the full report here