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.
They found that from 2003 to 2008, autumn volumes of ice averaged 11,900 cubic kilometers (2,855 cubic miles) But from 2010 to 2012, the average volume had dropped to 7,600 cu. km. (1,823 cu. mi.) a decline of 4,300 cu. km (1,032 cu. mi.) The average ice volume in the winter from 2003 to 2008 was 16,300 cu. km. (3,911 cu. mi.), dropping to 14,800 cu. km (3,551 cu. mi.) between 2010 and 2012 – a difference of 1,500 cu. km. (360 cu. mi.).
‘The data reveals that thick sea ice has disappeared from a region to the north of Greenland, the Canadian Archipelago, and to the northeast of Svalbard,’ says Dr Katharine Giles, a research fellow at the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at University College London (UCL) and a member of the scientific team.
Giles and her colleagues report their findings in a paper that has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. AGU has posted the manuscript online as an accepted article.
The findings confirm the continuing decline in Arctic sea-ice volume simulated by the Pan-Arctic Ice-Ocean Modelling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS), which estimates the volume of Arctic sea ice and had been checked using earlier submarine, mooring, and satellite observations until 2008.
Other satellites have already shown drops in the area covered by Arctic sea ice as the climate has warmed. Indeed, sea-ice extent reached a record minimum in September 2012. But CryoSat-2, launched in April 2010, differs in that it lets scientists estimate the volume of sea ice – a much more accurate indicator of the changes taking place in the Arctic.
‘While two years of CryoSat-2 data aren’t indicative of a long-term change, the lower ice thickness and volume in February and March 2012, compared with same period in 2011, may have contributed to the record minimum ice extent during the 2012 autumn,’ says Professor Christian Haas of York University, Canada Research Chair for Arctic Sea Ice Geophysics, co-author of the study and coordinator of the international CryoSat sea ice validation activities.
CryoSat-2 measures ice volume using a high-resolution synthetic aperture radar altimeter, which fires pulses of microwave energy down towards the ice. The energy bounces off both the top of sections of ice and the water in the cracks in between. The difference in height between these two surfaces let scientists calculate the volume of the ice cover.
The team confirmed CryoSat-2 estimates of ice volume using measurements from three independent sources – aircraft, moorings, and NASA’s Operation IceBridge.
The research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, the European Space Agency, the German Aerospace Center, Alberta Ingenuity, NASA, the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation.
“CryoSat-2 estimates of Arctic sea ice thickness and volume”Authors:
Contact information for the authors:Dr Katharine Giles of UCL is the lead scientific contact for this study, as the lead author, Professor Seymour Laxon of UCL, tragically died in early January. Dr Katharine Giles, +44 (0)776 525 2960, firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Christian Haas of York University, Canada is the second contact 001 416 736 2100 x77705, email@example.comAGU Contact:
Peter Weiss | American Geophysical Union
Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute
Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine