Evolution of Antarctic Sea Ice Ahead of the Record Low Annual Maximum Extent in September 2023

The 2023 Antarctic sea ice extent (SIE) maximum on 7 September was the lowest annual maximum in the satellite era (16.98 × 106 km2), with the largest contributions to the anomaly coming from the Ross (37.7%, −0.57 × 106 km2) and Weddell (32.9%, −0.49 × 106 km2) Seas. The SIE was low due to anomalously warm (>0.3°C) upper-ocean temperatures combined with anomalously strong northerly winds impeding the ice advance during the fall and winter. Northerly winds of >12 ms−1 in the Weddell Sea occurred because of negative pressure anomalies over the Antarctic Peninsula, while those in the Ross Sea were associated with extreme blocking episodes off the Ross Ice Shelf. The Ross Sea experienced an unprecedented SIE decrease of −1.08 × 103 km2 d−1 from 1 June till the annual maximum. The passage of quasi-stationary and explosive polar cyclones contributed to periods of southward ice-edge shift in both sectors.


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Authors: Jena, Babula, Kshitija, S., Bajish, C.C., Turner, John ORCIDORCID record for John Turner, Holmes, Caroline ORCIDORCID record for Caroline Holmes, Wilkinson, Jeremy, Mohan, Rahul, Thamban, M.

On this site: Caroline Holmes, Jeremy Wilkinson, John Turner
16 April, 2024
Geophysical Research Letters / 51
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