Anomalous blocking over Greenland preceded the 2013 extreme early melt of local sea ice

The Arctic marine environment is undergoing a transition from thick multi-year to first-year sea-ice cover with coincident lengthening of the melt season. Such changes are evident in the Baffin Bay-Davis Strait-Labrador Sea (BDL) region where melt onset has occurred ~8 days decade−1 earlier from 1979 to 2015. A series of anomalously early events has occurred since the mid-1990s, overlapping a period of increased upper-air ridging across Greenland and the northwestern North Atlantic. We investigate an extreme early melt event observed in spring 2013. (~6σ below the 1981–2010 melt climatology), with respect to preceding sub-seasonal mid-tropospheric circulation conditions as described by a daily Greenland Blocking Index (GBI).

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