There is significantly more ice (extent) in the Arctic now than there was last year on Nov. 19.

Table of ice extent each year on Nov. 17

Above is a table that shows the rank, the square km. of ice and the difference between this year and other years. Keep in mind…this is just a snapshot of one day, Nov. 17. 2021 has the 2nd highest ice extent of any of the last 15 years (and may soon eclipse 2005). Last year was 2nd lowest and this represents 924,694 more acres of ice in the Arctic than on Nov. 17, 2020. Cold and snow came early to much of the Arctic.

Cold has come on strong in Alaska. The state’s lowest temperature Thursday AM was -33F at Buckland – and it’s only the 3rd week of November. On the south coast, Anchorage had a high/low of 7/-11 (average high is 28). Anchorage hasn’t been above 20 deg. in a week. King Salmon had a high of +3 (average high is 31) and a record low of -17 (34 degrees below average!). Bethel AK also set a record low temp. for the day with a -17F.

This comes after an unusually cold winter season in Antarctica. The National Snow and Ice Data Center said the continent’s temperatures in June, July and August were 6.1 degrees lower than the 1981 to 2010 average at -81.2 degrees. Scientists said it was the second coldest winter after 2004 in the 60-year weather record at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

Screen grab of the webcam at the South Pole

Here’s a screen grab early Friday from the webcam and the South Pole. Skies are clear and the sun is shining. Here the sun is out 24/7 from the end of March until the middle of September.

Weather at the South Pole

Here’s the current weather at the South Pole (as I type this). The temperature is a balmy -35F with a wind chill of -64.

Snow Forecast for the next 7 days

Here’s the GFS model snow forecast for the next 7 days. No big storms, but we get some snow. A good portion of the area gets a 2″ snow cover (mainly early next week), with a few spots up to 4″. Watch for slippery spots this Friday AM – I’ve got an inch of snow on the ground at my place in Alpine Township.