Ice conditions

Photo: Jon Aars, Norwegian Polar Institute.

Meteorological and oceanographical conditions 2019
Typography
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In December 2018, the Barents Sea ice extent (expressed as a percentage of the total sea area) equalled 15% and was the lowest since 1951. However, in January–March 2019, ice formation accelerated significantly, and in March (a month earlier than usual), the ice-covered area reached a seasonal maximum of 51% and was close to the long-term average (1981–2010) (Fig. 3.1.3).

The ice extent reduction began in April, not in May, as usual, but intensive ice melting started only in June. During the low-ice season (August–October), ice coverage equalled 1–4% that was 3–9% below average but 1–4% higher compared to the previous year. Freezing began in October and ice formation went much faster than in 2018. The November and December ice coverage were respectively 10 and 9% lower than average but 9 and 16% higher than in 2018. Overall, the 2019 annual mean ice coverage of the Barents Sea was 10% below average but 4% higher than in the previous year.

Figure 3.1.3. Annual (upper) and monthly (lower) ice coverage anomalies in the Barents Sea. Figure 3.1.3. Annual (upper) and monthly (lower) ice coverage anomalies in the Barents Sea. </p>

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