Sunday, April 22, 2012

Will Arctic sea ice collapse in 2014?

         Will sea ice collapse in 2014?

There has been some discussion recently about extrapolating Arctic sea ice data, particularly for data relating to annual minimum sea ice.

I've been trying which kind of trendline fits best and my conclusion is that a trendline pointing at 2014 fits the data best (image left).

The respective dataset, on the left underneath, was produced by thePan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System(PIOMAS, Zhang and Rothrock, 2003) developed at Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, and is displayed below interactively (hover over blue line to see the respective volume data for that year).

As mentioned in the discussion, some ice may persist close to Greenland for a few years more, since Greenland constitutes a barrier that holds the sea ice in place. Similarly, it is suggested that natural variability could prolong the ice longer than expected.

However, such arguments offer no reason to rule out an imminent collapse of the sea ice, since natural variability works both ways, it could bring about such a collapse either earlier or later than models indicate.

In fact, the thinner the sea ice gets, the more likely an early collapse is to occur. It is accepted science that global warming will increase the intensity of extreme weather events, so more heavy winds and more intense storms can be expected to increasingly break up the remaining ice in future, driving the smaller parts out of the Arctic Ocean more easily. Much of the sea ice loss already occurs due to sea ice moving along the edges of Greenland into the Atlantic Ocean.

Could you think of any reason why Arctic sea ice would NOT collapse in 2014?

Editor's note: This post earlier featured at the Arctic-News blog.

Also see:
When the sea ice is gone
Arctic Sea Ice

Arctic sea ice volume on track to reach zero around 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment