Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory
University of Washingon, Seattle, Washington

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2012 Prediction Season

End of May 2012: This prediction is made with model data from May 2012. The best single predictor is the fraction of the area with open water or ice less than 1.0 m thick, G1.0. This predictor explains 79% of the variance. The predicted extent in September is 4.06 +/- 0.42 million square kilometers (orange star below). If the prediction is accurate it will be a new record low (the 2007 record low was 4.3 M sq km), however the previous record is within the error bars of the prediction. The region most influential in making the prediction this year is an area stretchng from the eastern Beaufort Sea and also in the Kara Sea (right map in the figure) where there is a greater than normal fraction of thin ice (middle map) and the G1.0 variable has a significant correlation with the September ice extent (left map). The top figure shows the time series of the observed September ice extent (solid line), the predictions of the satistical method for past years (cyan diamonds), and the prediction for this year (orange star and error bars). The error bars are the standard deviation of the error in the fit of the regression. The trend line (dashed) and the prediction of the trend line (black star) are also shown.

end of July prediction