Arctic sea ice minimum extent typically occurs about half September. In 2012, minimum extent was reached on September 17, 2012, when extent was 3.387 million km².
On July 28, 2019, Arctic sea ice extent was 6.576 million km². How much extent do you think will be by September 17, 2019? From July 28, 2019, to September 17, 2019, that’s a period of 52 days during which a lot of melting can occur. Could there be a Blue Ocean Event in 2019, with virtually all sea ice disappearing in the Arctic?
Consider this. Extent was 6.926 million km² on September 17, 1989. Extent was 3.387 million km² on September 17, 2012, so 3.539 million km² had disappeared in 23 years. Over those years, more ice extent disappeared than what was left on September 17, 1989.
The question is how much sea ice extent will be left when it will reach its minimum this year, i.e. in September 2019. The red dashed line on the image at the top continues the path of the recent fall in sea ice extent, pointing at zero sea ice in September 2019.
That may sound alarming, but there is good reason to be alarmed.
Very high temperatures are forecast for the Arctic over the next few days. Above map shows temperature forecast for Greenland for July 31, 2019, with temperatures at one location as high as 22.9°C or 73.1°F and at another location – in the north – as high as 14.1°C or 57.3°F.
The map on the right shows sea surface temperature anomalies compared to 1961-1990 as on July 29, 2019. Note the high anomalies in the areas where the sea ice did disappear during the past few months. The reason for these high anomalies is that the buffer has disappeared that kept consuming heat in the process of melting.
Where that buffer is gone, the heat has to go somewhere else, so it will be absorbed by the water and it will also speed up heating of the atmosphere over the Arctic.