By Steve Goddard
August 16, 2010 offered a great opportunity to put all the Arctic data together in a coherent picture. DMI showed a large drop in extent.
You can see the drop between August 15 and August 16 clearly in red in the modified NSIDC map below.
So what happened? Did 300,000 km2 of ice suddenly melt?
Not exactly. There were very strong winds pushing the ice in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas towards the pole on August 15. This compacted the ice, reducing extent while increasing the average thickness.
You can see the August 15 movement of ice in Beaufort Sea in the satellite blink map below. Note how the ice edge is tightening up and compacting.
Will this continue? Probably not. The weather forecast calls for a return to colder and calmer weather in a couple of days. Look for the DMI graph to flatten out by the weekend.