Arctic Sea Ice Has Record-Small Footprint
(Labequipment) April 18 2013 -
Arctic sea ice has never looked so thin. In the past decade, melting has sped up, shrinking the area where ice floats above the Arctic Ocean to fractions of its previous size and leaving chunks of frozen seawater uncomfortably slender. Recent research confirmed that the extent of Arctic sea ice in September 2012 was the smallest on record.
> www.laboratoryequipment.com: Arctic Sea Ice Has Record-Small Footprint
Arctic nearly free of summer sea ice during first half of 21st century
(NOAA), April 12, 2013 -
For scientists studying summer sea ice in the Arctic, it’s not a question of “if” there will be nearly ice-free summers, but “when.” And two scientists say that “when” is sooner than many thought — before 2050 and possibly within the next decade or two.
James Overland of NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and Muyin Wang of the NOAA Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington, looked at three methods of predicting when the Arctic will be nearly ice free in the summer. The work was published recently online in the American Geophysical Union publication Geophysical Research Letters.
“Rapid Arctic sea ice loss is probably the most visible indicator of global climate change; it leads to shifts in ecosystems and economic access, and potentially impacts weather throughout the northern hemisphere,” said Overland. “Increased physical understanding of rapid Arctic climate shifts and improved models are needed that give a more detailed picture and timing of what to expect so we can better prepare and adapt to such changes. Early loss of Arctic sea ice gives immediacy to the issue of climate change.”
“There is no one perfect way to predict summer sea ice loss in the Arctic,” said Wang. “So we looked at three approaches that result in widely different dates, but all three suggest nearly sea ice-free summers in the Arctic before the middle of this century.”
> www.noaanews.noaa.gov: Arctic nearly free of summer sea ice during first half
> onlinelibrary.wiley.com: When will the summer arctic be nearly sea ice free? (Feb 21 2013)
Scientists Study Peculiar Arctic Sea Ice Cracking Pattern
Anchorage, April 11, 2013
It started with an unusual storm that passed over the North Pole on Feb. 8. The National Snow and Ice Data Center says it caused the sea ice to crack, and the cracks to spread in a curving pattern, from the tip of Alaska to Canada. Similar patterns have appeared in the past, though not of this scale.
> www.alaskapublic.org: Scientists Study Peculiar Arctic Sea Ice Cracking Pattern
Met Office investigating Arctic link to record low temperatures in UK
(ITVNews) April 11, 2013 -
After some of the coldest temperatures in almost 100 years, the Met Office says it is "urgent" that we address the causes of our changing weather and the possibility that recent record melts in the Arctic are to blame.
> www.itv.com: Met Office investigating Arctic link to record low temperatures in UK
> ASIB: Met Office looks into Arctic link to weird weather
Sea Ice Max Continues Downward Trend
(NASA Earth Observatory) April 4, 2013 -
In September 2012, the ice cap over the Arctic Ocean shrank to its lowest extent on record, about half the size of the average summertime extent from 1979 to 2000. That sea ice minimum continued a long-term trend of diminishing ice cover over the past few decades.
During the darkness and bitter cold of Arctic winter, new sea ice forms and older ice re-freezes and grows. This growth typically reaches its maximum extent in late February or early March.
According to a NASA analysis, this year’s annual maximum extent was the fifth lowest in the past 35 years. The yearly maximum—15.09 million square kilometers (5.82 million square miles)—was reached on February 28, 2013, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The 2013 winter extent is 374,000 square kilometers (144,402 square miles) below the average maximum extent for the past three decades.
Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) assert that the Arctic ice maximum occurred on March 15, 2013. Their calculated extent of 15.13 million square kilometers (5.84 million square miles) was less than half a percent from the NASA maximum extent. The two institutions use slightly different methods in their sea ice assessments, but overall their trends show close agreement. In both cases, the 2013 measurement fits with the ongoing trend: nine of the ten smallest ice maximums in the satellite record have occurred in the past decade.
> earthobservatory.nasa.gov: Sea Ice Max Continues Downward Trend
> phys.org: 2013 wintertime Arctic sea ice maximum fifth lowest on record (w / Video)
> www.accuweather.com: Update on the Arctic Sea Ice Age
Melting of the Arctic sea ice
Amsterdam, March 25 2013 - (by Jos Hagelaars) -
This was the title of a discussion that was held on the recently launched website ClimateDialogue regarding the possible causes of the decline in Arctic sea ice over the past decades. Three experts participated in this discussion: Walt Meier, Research Scientist at the NSIDC, Judith Curry, professor at Georgia Institute of Technology and Ron Lindsay, Senior Principal Physicist at the Polar Science Center of the University of Washington.
In this blog post I will start off with a description of the observations of the Arctic region, followed by a short overview of the potential causes of the decline in Arctic sea ice, incorporating the views of the three experts as they were expressed on ClimateDialogue. The final parts concern the uniqueness of this decline in a historical perspective and the possibility of having an ice-free Arctic in the summer in the not too distant future.
> ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com: Melting of the Arctic sea ice
> klimaatverandering.wordpress.com: Dutch version
Scientists link frozen spring to dramatic Arctic sea ice loss
London / New York, March 25 2013 -
Climate scientists have linked the massive snowstorms and bitter spring weather now being experienced across Britain and large parts of Europe and North America to the dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice.
Both the extent and the volume of the sea ice that forms and melts each year in the Arctic Ocean fell to an historic low last autumn, and satellite records published on Monday by the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, show the ice extent is close to the minimum recorded for this time of year.
"The sea ice is going rapidly. It's 80% less than it was just 30 years ago. There has been a dramatic loss. This is a symptom of global warming and it contributes to enhanced warming of the Arctic," said Jennifer Francis, research professor with the Rutgers Institute of Coastal and Marine Science.
According to Francis and a growing body of other researchers, the Arctic ice loss adds heat to the ocean and atmosphere which shifts the position of the jet stream – the high-altitude river of air that steers storm systems and governs most weather in northern hemisphere.
> www.guardian.co.uk: Scientists link frozen spring to dramatic Arctic sea ice loss
Do Global Climate Tipping Points Exist?
(Scientific Americam), March 25 2013 -
Is there a chance that human intervention—rising temperatures, massive land-use changes, biodiversity loss and so on—could “tip” the entire world into a new climatic state? And if so, does that change what we should do about it?
As far back as 2008 NASA’s James Hansen argued that we had crossed a “tipping point” in the Arctic with regard to summer sea ice. The diminishing ice cover had moved past a critical threshold, and from then on levels would drop precipitously toward zero, with little hope of recovery. Other experts now say that recent years have confirmed that particular cliff-fall, and the September 2012 record minimum—an astonishing 18 percent lower than 2007’s previous record—was likely no fluke.
> www.scientificamerican.com: Do Global Climate Tipping Points Exist?
> www.newscientist.com: Arctic thaw may be first in cascade of tipping points (Feb 27 2013)
> www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov / Timothy Lenton: Arctic Climate Tipping Points (Feb 2012)
> Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere (June 6 2012)
Arctic Sea Ice Melt 2013: Looking Forward, Looking Back
(Arctic Sea Ice Hub), March 22, 2013 -
The spring equinox has now come and gone, opening the latest 'melt season' in the annual cycle of the Arctic sea ice. But this spring is different from the thousands of springs that have come and gone as humans began to settle in cities, grow crops in the country and create kingdoms and complex religious establishments. This spring follows a remarkably low fall minimum--one that has observers of the ice paying very close attention indeed. What will the record low mean for the future?
> doc-snow.hubpages.com: Arctic Sea Ice Melt 2013: Looking Forward, Looking Back
> Arctic Sea Ice Blog: Arctic Sea Ice Melt 2013: Looking Forward, Looking Back
Five reasons why the speed of Arctic sea ice loss matters
(The Carbon Brief), March 22, 2013 -
In the not too distant future, scientists predict the Arctic Ocean will be largely sea ice free in summer - but pinpointing when is more difficult. But does it matter if it happens sooner rather than later? Here are five reasons why it might.
Arctic sea ice is declining rapidly, with the seasonal low in summer shrinking particularly quickly. Scientists have different ways to predict Arctic sea ice decline. If melting continues as it has in recent years, it could be as soon as 2020, but climate models suggest it won't happen until 2040 or later. So far, it's not clear which is more likely.
But why does it matter how quickly it happens?
> www.carbonbrief.org: Five reasons why the speed of Arctic sea ice loss matters
Dutch readers are refered to:
> Neven Acropolis: Waarom het Arctisch zee-ijs niemand koud zou moeten laten (2608)
> Noordpoolijs verdwijnt in ongekend tempo (0109)
NASA Begins New Season of Arctic Ice Science Flights
(NASA/Icebridge), March 22, 2013 -
NASA's Operation IceBridge scientists have begun another season of research activity over Arctic ice sheets and sea ice with the first of a series of science flights from Greenland completed on Wednesday.
> www.nasa.gov: NASA Begins New Season of Arctic Ice Science Flights
When will the Summer Arctic be Nearly Sea Ice Free?
(Stoat), March 18, 2013 - (Willam M. Connoley) -
Its hardly an original question. And the answer (we don’t know) isn’t original either. In case you were wondering, this is Overland and Wang, GRL 2013, doi: 10.1002/grl.50316 (PDF courtesy of V). Different but not entirely different to A sea ice free summer Arctic within 30 years?, also in GRL; or even A sea ice free summer Arctic within 30 years-an update from CMIP5 models by Wang and Overland.
> scienceblogs.com: When will the Summer Arctic be Nearly Sea Ice Free?
> onlinelibrary.wiley.com: When will the Summer Arctic be Nearly Sea Ice Free? (Paywall)
Researchers, students partner with Naval Academy in Arctic training exercises
(Phys.org) - March 1, 2013 -
University of Delaware scientists are embarking to a remote research destination, braving freezing temperatures and high winds to study changes in Arctic sea ice. Their field site is a frozen expanse of the Arctic Ocean along the northernmost shoreline of Alaska. "We will walk out onto the water," explained Cathleen Geiger, research associate professor of geography in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. "It's not often you get to stand on the ocean."
> phys.org: Arctic sea ice: Researchers, students partner with Naval Academy in Arctic training exercises
New Research: 80 percent of polar ice is gone
(Bergen / Norway), February 23, 2013 - (AP) -
New satellite observations show that the arctic sea ice is getting thinner at an alarming rate. Researchers at the University of Washington have compared data from both an American satellite and from the satellite CryoSat2, launched by the European Space Agency (ESA).
The satellites measure the thickness of the ice and now indicates that as much as 75 to 80 percent of the total volume of summer sea ice has disappeared, the researchers say.
Others have claimed that 75 to 80 percent volume loss of ice was a too aggressive estimate. What the new research shows is that our estimates may have been too conservative, and that the recent decline may possibly take place faster, says co-author Axel Schweiger, polar scientist at the university."
The ice melts faster
Pål Prestrud, former president and now senior adviser at CICERO, called the research remarkable. "This research is remarkable in the sense that they present very good data. A decline of 36 percent in just ten years is very much. The reduction in the amount of ice is more powerful than we thought. The clear results of this research is that the ice is melting faster than the models say, Prestrud says to VG Nett.
Cold winters in Norway
Melting ice will cause local effects in the polar region and effects globally, he believes.
"It affects many species, from plankton to birds and polar bears. The area will be a far greater extent could be opened up to traffic and resource utilization. The negative effect is that it may help to reinforce global warming."
Ice reflects sunlight and cooling. When it disappears, the ocean warms up and amplifies the global warming. It also affects the weather in Norway - in the negative sense.
"These cold winters we have had in Europe since 2007, may have been driven by open water in the Arctic Ocean. It changes the distribution of low pressure and high pressure, and thus the direction of wind directions," says Prestrud.
An important contribution
Sebastian Gerland working at the Norwegian Polar Institute is one of the foremost researchers in the ocean and sea ice in Norway. He calls the study of the international researchers an important contribution to the understanding of melting.
"There is a core group that published the study. It uses a new satellite data from CroSat-2 satellite, and put them in context with previous data," says Gerland told AP.
Several Norwegian scientists working with data from satellites that monitor the polar regions, he said.
In areas around Svalbard have been several winters with little ice. Other observations in the same direction, the ice comes back later in the fall. The report shows a big change, sea ice explains the researcher.
Observations from the last 30 years shows a clear decline in sea ice. "We are now working intensively to see how this goes and what scenarios are envisaged. Some estimates indicate that a large part of the Arctic summer sea ice could disappear already before 2050, other estimates that it will hold on to 2100. "However, the models generally point in the same direction, there is less sea ice in the Arctic over the coming decades, says Gerland."
> www.vg.no: New Research: 80 percent of polar ice is gone (Translated by google)
Biologists lead international team to track Arctic response to climate change
(Physorg), February 21, 2013 -
Biologists Jackie Grebmeier and Lee Cooper from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Chesapeake Biological Laboratory have been visiting the chilly area north of Alaska near the Bering Strait for more than 20 years, but it's only in the last few years that they have seen things really start to change. And fast.
Last summer was the highest ice retreat in the Arctic record, and eight of the last ten years have seen the lowest ice on record. "We're seeing the highest sea ice retreat in the whole Arctic," said Jackie Grebmeier, research professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Chesapeake Biological Laboratory and chair of the International Pacific Arctic Group.
"It's the most productive part of the Arctic, and it's in the U.S.' backyard."
At the end of February, they travel to Seattle gather an international team of scientists to establish a Distributed Biological Observatory in the North American Arctic.
Funded by a five-year award from the National Science Foundation, researchers from Japan, Korea, China, Canada, Russia, and the United States will systematically track the biological response to sea ice retreat and the resulting environmental changes in the Bering and Chukchi Seas to the west and north of Alaska.
"It has been projected that there won't be ice in the summer in the Arctic Ocean by 2050," said research professor Lee Cooper. "But the ice is disappearing faster than all of the models."
> phys.org: Biologists lead international team to track Arctic response to climate change
> arctic.cbl.umces.edu: Bering Ecosystem Study (BEST) and Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (BSIERP)
Reduced sea ice disturbs balance of greenhouse gases
(Eurekalert), February 18 2013 -
The widespread reduction in Arctic sea ice is causing significant changes to the balance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This is shown in a new study conducted by researchers from Lund University in Sweden, among others.
According to the study, the melting of sea ice in the Arctic has a tangible impact on the balance of greenhouse gases in this region, both in terms of uptake and release. The researchers have studied the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane both in the tundra and in the Arctic Ocean.
"Changes in the balance of greenhouse gases can have major consequences because, globally, plants and the oceans absorb around half of the carbon dioxide that humans release into the air through the use of fossil fuels. If the Arctic component of this buffer changes, so will the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere", says Dr Frans-Jan Parmentier, a researcher at Lund University, Sweden.
> www.eurekalert.org: Reduced sea ice disturbs balance of greenhouse gases
> www.nature.com: Reduced sea ice disturbs balance of greenhouse gases
Arctic needs protection from resource rush as ice melts, says UN
New York / London, February 18 2013 -
As melting ice makes exploration easier, human activity threatens wildlife and ecosystems.
The Arctic needs to be better protected from a rush for natural resources as melting ice makes mineral and energy exploration easier, the United Nations' Environment Programme (UNEP) said.
> www.guardian.co.uk: Arctic needs protection from resource rush as ice melts, says UN
Arctic Death Spiral Bombshell: CryoSat-2 Confirms Sea Ice Volume Has Collapsed
(ThinkProgress), February 14 2013 -
The sharp drop in Arctic sea ice area has been matched by a harder-to-see, but equally sharp, drop in sea ice thickness. The combined result has been a collapse in total sea ice volume — to one fifth of its level in 1980.
Back in September, Climate Progress reported that the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 probe appeared to support the key conclusion of the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS) at the University of Washington’s Polar Science Center: Arctic sea ice volume has been collapsing much faster than sea ice area (or extent) because the ice has been getting thinner and thinner.
Now the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the UK’s primary agency for funding and managing environmental sciences research, has made it official.
> thinkprogress.org: Arctic Death Spiral Bombshell: CryoSat-2 Confirms Sea Ice Volume Has Collapsed
> thinkprogress.org / Death Spiral Watch: Experts Warn ‘Near Ice-Free Arctic In Summer’ In A Decade If Volume Trends Continue
> thinkprogress.org: Why The Arctic Sea Ice Death Spiral Matters
For Dutch speaking Readers:
> Waarom het Arctisch zee-ijs niemand koud zou moeten laten (2608)
> Noordpoolijs verdwijnt momenteel in ongekend tempo (0109)
Ice-free Arctic Ocean in 2030?
(Reuters), Februari 15, 2013 -
Vast uncertainty remains over the causes of melting Arctic sea ice and when it may disappear altogether during the summer, which would have consequences for oil explorers, shipping firms and the fight against climate change.
> www.reuters.com: Ice-free Arctic Ocean in 2030?
CryoSat-2 mission reveals major Arctic sea-ice loss
(ESA / NERC), 13 February 2013 -
Arctic sea ice volume has declined by 36 per cent in the autumn and 9 per cent in the winter between 2003 and 2012, a UK-led team of scientists has discovered.
Researchers used new data from the European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 satellite spanning 2010 to 2012, and data from NASA's ICESat satellite from 2003 to 2008 to estimate the volume of sea ice in the Arctic.
> CryoSat-2 mission reveals major Arctic sea-ice loss and confirms PIOMAS volume estimates
On thin ice: As Arctic Ocean warms, a scramble to understand its weather
(CSM), February 12 2013 -
Increasing summer ice melt in the Arctic Ocean could shift global weather patterns and make polar waters more navigable. But scientists say forecasting Arctic ice and weather remains a massive challenge.
The prospect of more ice-free water during Arctic Ocean summers has triggered efforts to improve ice and weather forecasts at the top of the world.
Much of the research into the interplay between the ocean, ice, and atmosphere has centered on global warming and the long-term changes it will impose on the Arctic – including a continued decline in summer sea ice. Researchers are exploring the impact that decline could have on seasonal climate and weather patterns at lower latitudes.
Declining summer sea ice, however, is also expected to lead to an increase in commercial fishing, oil exploration, cargo-ship traffic, tourist cruises, and other activities where short-term weather and ice forecasts are vital to reducing the risks of operating in the 5.4 million square mile ocean.
> csmonitor.com / On thin ice: As Arctic Ocean warms, a scramble to understand its weather
Time for Arctic Leadership on Black Carbon
(EarthJustice) February 1, 2013 -
Arctic nations have an extraordinary opportunity to show global leadership to slow regional warming and melting by embracing a proposal to launch talks on an agreement to reduce emissions of the climate pollutant black carbon. Arctic environment ministers have the power to send a strong signal to the Arctic Council when they gather next week, February 5 and 6, in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden—only the second time ever—acknowledging black carbon reductions as a priority for regional environmental protection.
> earthjustice.org: Time for Arctic Leadership on Black Carbon (Feb 01 2013)
Melt Ponds Cause Artic Sea Ice to Melt More Rapidly
Melt pond on Arctic sea ice. (Credit: www.sciencedaily.com / Stefan Hendricks, Alfred Wegener Institute)
(Science Daily), January 18 2013 -
The Arctic sea ice has not only declined over the past decade but has also become distinctly thinner and younger. Researchers are now observing mainly thin, first-year ice floes which are extensively covered with melt ponds in the summer months where once metre-thick, multi-year ice used to float. Sea ice physicists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), have now measured the light transmission through the Arctic sea ice for the first time on a large scale, enabling them to quantify consequences of this change.
> www.sciencedaily.com: Melt Ponds Cause Artic Sea Ice to Melt More Rapidly
> news.yahoo.com: Why Arctic Sea Ice Melts So Quickly
Arctic Sea Ice Decline and Ice Export Between Greenland and Svalbard
Current Arctic sea ice (bluish white) compared with the 1979-2010 average sea ice minimum (outlined in orange). The red arrow is superimposed to indicate the southward export of sea ice through the Fram Strait.. (Credit: Illustration courtesy SVS/NASA)
(Science Daily), January 14 2013 -
The Arctic sea ice is shrinking, both in extent and thickness. In addition to the humanmade contribution to the sea ice loss, there are also natural factors contributing to this loss. In a new study from the Bjerknes Centre we focus on one of these factors: the ice export through the large gateway between Greenland and Svalbard -- the Fram Strait.
> www.sciencedaily.com: Arctic Sea Ice Decline and Ice Export Between Greenland and Svalbard
> www.the-cryosphere-discuss.net: Recent wind driven high sea ice export in the Fram Strait contributes to Arctic sea ice decline (pdf May 5 2011)
Arctic Snow Cover Shows Steep Decline
Arctic Snow Cover Shows Steep Decline Graphic: earthobservatory.nasa.gov
(Arctic_ Sea Ice Blog), January 8 2013 -
The blanket of snow that covers Arctic regions for most of the year has been shrinking at an increasing pace over the past decade, researchers say.
> (Arctic_ Sea Ice Blog): Arctic Snow Cover Shows Steep Decline
> earthobservatory.nasa.gov: Arctic Snow Cover Shows Steep Decline
> Arctic Report Card: Snow (Nov 08)
> Arctic snow cover shows sharp decline (Oct 31)
Arctic Sea ice loss will cause ‘pronounced’ future melt, study finds
Brussels, January 3rd 2013 -
A new study has found that Arctic Sea ice melt is creating a warming spiral, with the thinner winter sheets that replace long-term sea ice absorbing more solar heat and energy.
The paper by scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany discovered that solar radiation through ‘first year ice’ was three times greater and allowed 50% more energy absorption than was with the case with ‘multi-year ice’.
This in turn could change the face of the Arctic.
“Ice melt and less sea ice cover will [themselves] make it more likely that more ice will melt in the next years ahead,” Marcel Nicolaus, one of the report’s authors, told EurActiv. “We see that light transmission through sea ice will increase in the future.”
> www.euractiv.com: Arctic Sea ice loss will cause ‘pronounced’ future melt, study finds
NASA's Operation IceBridge Data Brings New Twist to Sea Ice Forecasting
A Digital Mapping System (DMS) mosaic of Arctic sea ice. The dark areas are leads, or open areas of water. Identifying leads is one of the necessary steps in preparing IceBridge's quick look sea ice thickness data product. Credit: NASA / DMS team. Left-click to enlarge.
Greenbelt MD (SPX) December 24, 2012 -
Shrinking Arctic sea ice grabbed the world's attention again earlier this year with a new record low minimum. Growing economic activity in the Arctic, such as fishing, mineral exploration and shipping, is emphasizing the need for accurate predictions of how much of the Arctic will be covered by sea ice.
> www.spacedaily.com: NASA's Operation IceBridge Data Brings New Twist to Sea Ice Forecasting
The great Arctic cyclone of August 2012
Melbourne, January 3rd 2013 -
On 2 August 2012 a dramatic storm formed over Siberia, moved into the Arctic, and died in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago on 14 August.
During its lifetime its central pressure dropped to 966 hPa, leading it to be dubbed ‘The Great Arctic Cyclone of August 2012’. This cyclone occurred during a period when the sea ice extent was on the way to reaching a new satellite-era low, and its intense behavior was related to baroclinicity and a tropopause polar vortex.
The pressure of the storm was the lowest of all Arctic August storms over our record starting in 1979, and the system was also the most extreme when a combination of key cyclone properties was considered.
Even though, climatologically, summer is a ‘quiet’ time in the Arctic, when compared with all Arctic storms across the period it came in as the 13th most extreme storm, warranting the attribution of ‘Great’.
> www.agu.org: The great Arctic cyclone of August 2012
> Arctic Sea Ice Blog: All Arctic storms, great and small
> A summer storm in the Arctic
> Arctic storm threat to summer ice
> Archive 2012 and earlier years