Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Arctic: Current Sea Ice Situation

16.09.2014

Ongoing Retreat in the Arctic, new maximum in the Antarctic

The area of sea ice in the Arctic fell to a summer minimum of around 5.0 million square kilometres this year, which is about 1.6 million square kilometres more than the record low in 2012. However, according to sea ice physicist Marcel Nicolaus from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) and Lars Kaleschke from the Hamburg Cluster of Excellence for Climate Research (CliSAP) this confirms the long-term downward trend in the Arctic.


Arctic, 31. August 2014: Scientists take sea ice samples out of Polarstern's mummy chair.

Photo: Ruediger Stein / Alfred Wegener Institute

On the other hand, the winter ice sheet in the South Polar Ocean has expanded to an area of 20.0 million square kilometres, as the researchers report, which exceeds the 30-year-maximum from the previous year. This Thursday, September 18, Marcel Nicolaus, Lars Kaleschke and other leading sea ice experts will be available for discussions and interviews at an international sea ice symposium in Hamburg.

“The current minimum sea ice in the Arctic illustrates the continuation of a long-term downward trend. With an area of 5.0 million square kilometres, the 2014 minimum approximately equals last year’s minimum. This by no means represents a trend reversal in Arctic sea ice developments – despite the fact that the remaining sea ice area is larger than in the two ‘extreme years’ 2007 and 2012,” says sea ice physicist Marcel Nicolaus from the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research.

... more about:
»AWI »Antarctic »Arctic »Climate »Laptev »Ocean »explains »long-term »meltwater

In the negative-record years, weather phenomena led to a particularly large reduction in sea ice. “In 2007, a stable high pressure area in early summer resulted in numerous melt pools forming on the ice. They absorbed energy from the sun, which further intensified the melting. In summer 2012, there was exceptional melting on the underside of the ice, and in August that year there was a severe storm, which stirred up the ice. Such extreme weather was largely absent in 2014,” explains Lars Kaleschke from the Hamburg Cluster of Excellence for Climate Research CliSAP.

Large Regional Differences
In the last few weeks, there have been unusually marked regional differences in ice development. For example: In the last two weeks of August, on its way to the region of the undersea mountain chain Alpha Ridge, the German research icebreaker Polarstern was unable to break the ice north of the Canadian Archipelago, while the ice in the Russian Laptev Sea retreated further north than ever before observed by satellites. “In the first days of September, the ice edge in the Laptev Sea was north of the 85th parallel, only about 500 km from the North Pole. In 2006, the distance from the North Pole to open sea was more than more than twice that,” says Lars Kaleschke.

Expanding Ice Sheets in the Antarctic
There are currently exceptionally large areas of sea ice in the Antarctic, where the ice sheet generally reaches its spring maximum in September or October. “At the moment, ice covers a sea area of around 20 million square kilometres and therewith exceeds the 30-year-maximum of 19.65 million square kilometres from the previous year. This data backs up our observation that sea ice coverage in the Antarctic has increased in recent years. This is especially true for the Weddell Sea, where we do most of our research,” says Marcel Nicolaus.

However, the researchers do not feel the sea ice situation in the Antarctic can be compared with the conditions in the Arctic, given the differences in their geographical and meteorological circumstances. “Whereas the Arctic Ocean represents a Mediterranean of sorts surrounded by land masses, what we see in the Antarctic is an ice-covered continent surrounded by the Southern Ocean. Here the Antarctic Circumpolar Current limits the maximum sea ice expansion. Wind and waves greatly influence the ice edge – and the amounts of precipitation and glacial meltwater determine the percentage of fresh water, which in turn helps to determine how much sea ice forms in winter,” explains Lars Kaleschke. 

The international scientific community is currently discussing a variety of factors as possible explanations for the major expansion of Antarctic sea ice. For example, the growth in area could have been set off by changed wind currents and rising meltwater. (For more on this discussion, visit our sea ice portal: http://bit.ly/1rtLX44 )

Invitation to the Symposium in Hamburg
Lars Kaleschke, Marcel Nicolaus and other international sea ice experts will meet this Thursday and Friday (Sept. 18-19, 2014) at a sea ice symposium in Hamburg, which will primarily focus on satellite-assisted ice measurement. The researchers hope to develop methods that will allow them to combine a variety of different satellite datasets to generate reliable and mutually comparable long-term data series on sea ice expansion, concentration and thickness. (For details on the workshop, please see: http://www.climate-cryosphere.org/meetings/seaice-conc-2014)

Interested journalists are warmly invited to use the workshop as an opportunity to talk with the researchers, who will be available for interviews on sea ice from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 18, 2014. For more information, please contact Markus Dressel at the Public Relations Office for the Cluster of Excellence CliSAP (contact details below).

The workshop will be held at the Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN), Universität Hamburg, Bundessstraße 53, 20146 Hamburg (formerly the ZMAW building).

Notes for Editors:

We will be pleased to provide contact information for the participating researchers on request.

Our multimedia resources:

• The latest sea ice maps and time series from the Arctic and Antarctic: http://www.awi.de/en/news/press_releases/
• Sea ice photographs from the Arctic and Antarctic: http://www.awi.de/de/aktuelles_und_presse/bild_film_ton/bildergalerien/fotogalerie_meereis/
• Animation: Sea ice development in the course of 2013 – the Arctic and Antarctic in comparison: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55p5ygKgxio&list=PLFCwd9Up8tvCdlCyXKSWxggqim0gy3TLw
• AWI Fact Sheet on sea ice (released September 2013): http://www.awi.de/de/aktuelles_und_presse/hintergrund/ipcc/fact_sheet_meereis/

Your academic contact partners are:

• Dr. Marcel Nicolaus (tel.: +49 471 4831-2905, e-mail: Marcel.Nicolaus(at)awi.de)
• Prof. Dr. Lars Kaleschke, (tel.: +49 40 42838-6518, e-mail: lars.kaleschke(at)uni-hamburg.de )

At the press offices of the Alfred Wegener Institute and the Cluster of Excellence CliSAP, the following contact partners will be happy to assist you:

• Sina Löschke, Alfred Wegener Institute (tel: +49 471 4831-2008; e-mail: medien(at)awi.de)
• Markus Dressel, CliSAP/CEN (tel: +49 40 42838-7596, e-mail: markus.dressel(at)uni-hamburg.de)

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.awi.de/en/news/press_releases/detail/item/current_sea_ice_situation_o...
http://www.clisap.de/clisap/about-us/news/current-sea-ice-situation:-ongoing-ret...

Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: AWI Antarctic Arctic Climate Laptev Ocean explains long-term meltwater

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target
22.05.2018 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH

nachricht Monitoring lava lake levels in Congo volcano
16.05.2018 | Seismological Society of America

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target

22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences

Achema 2018: New camera system monitors distillation and helps save energy

22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>