All bets are off as the Arctic literally enters uncharted waters amid continuing high temperatures.
Sea ice extent and thickness are recovering more slowly than any year on record following the official 2016 summer minimum recorded Sept. 10. That minimum tied the second lowest extent ever recorded (2007).
Not surprisingly, the extended streak of high temperatures in the Arctic has slowed the expected sea ice recovery to the point that on October 26 it dipped below the record breaking year 2012.
If the slow re-freezing recovery continues, the ice field extent will be below 9.8 million km2 by November . That number is significantly less than the record breaking year 2012.
Arctic air temperatures have been averaging 18 degrees Fahrenheit higher than normal, driven by sea surface water temperatures. This meteorological scenario sets up a feedback loop, which fuels strong, unseasonable storms that can further contribute to the collapse of the thinning ice on the perimeter.