Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



The Cryosphere, 8, 2089–2100, 2014


© Author(s) 2014.

Open access



An updated version (Version 3) of the Snow Melt Onset Over Arctic Sea Ice from SMMR (Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer) and SSM/I-SSMIS (Special Sensor Microwave/Imager-Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder) Brightness Temperatures data set is now available. The data record has been reprocessed and extended to cover the years 1979–2012. From this data set, a statistical summary of melt onset (MO) dates on Arctic sea ice is presented. The mean MO date for the Arctic Region is 13 May (132.5 DOY – day of year) with a standard deviation of ±7.3 days. Regionally, mean MO dates vary from 15 March (73.2 DOY) in the St. Lawrence Gulf to 10 June (160.9 DOY) in the Central Arctic. Statistically significant decadal trends indicate that MO is occurring 6.6 days decade-1 earlier in the year for the Arctic Region. Regionally, MO trends are as great as -11.8 days decade-1 in the East Siberian Sea. The Bering Sea is an outlier and MO is occurring 3.1 days decade-1 later in the year.