Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Arctic could lose most ice in 30 years

03.04.2009
A nearly ice-free Arctic Ocean in the summer may happen three times sooner than scientists had previously estimated.

A new analysis of computer models coupled with the most recent summer ice measurements indicates that the Arctic might lose most of its ice cover in summer in 30 years.

Scientists don't expect the Arctic to become totally ice free, because ice will remain along northern Canada and Greenland. Powerful winds there sweep across the Arctic Ocean, forcing ice layers to slide on top of each other, building up a very thick ice cover.

"The Arctic is changing faster than anticipated," says James Overland of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). "It's a combination of natural variability, along with warmer air and sea conditions caused by increased greenhouse gases."

Overland and Muyin Wang of the University of Washington, in Seattle, will publish their findings on April 3 in Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

The amount of the Arctic Ocean covered by ice at the end of summer by 2037 could be only about 1 million square kilometers (about 620,000 square miles.) That's compared to today's ice extent of 4.6 million square kilometers (2.8 million square miles.) So much more open water could be a boon for shipping and for extracting minerals and oil from the seabed, but it could also cause an ecosystem upheaval.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 assessed what might happen in the Arctic in the future by running 23 global climate models. But Wang, a climate scientist, and Overland, an oceanographer with NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, reasoned that dramatic declines in the extent of ice at the end of summer in 2007 and 2008 called for a more refined approach.

The new projections are based on those six of the 23 models that are most suited for assessing sea ice, according to Wang, the lead author of the study. She and Overland sought models that best matched what has actually happened in recent years. Among the models eliminated were those showing way too little ice or way too much ice compared to conditions that have occurred.

Wang says she and Overland chose models that accurately reflect the difference between summer and winter ice packs. That distinction demonstrates the model's ability to take into account changing amounts of solar radiation. Among the six models fitting the researchers' criteria, three have sophisticated sea-ice physics and dynamics capabilities.

Once the extent of ice at the end of summer drops to 4.6 million square kilometers -- it was actually 4.3 million square kilometers in 2007 and 4.7 million in 2008 -- all six models show rapid sea-ice declines. Averaged together, the models point to a nearly ice-free Arctic in 32 years, with some of the models putting the event as early as 11 years from now.

Maria-Jose Vinas | American Geophysical Union
Further information:
http://www.agu.org

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>