Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Less ice, more water in Arctic Ocean by 2050s

03.11.2015

By the 2050s, parts of the Arctic Ocean once covered by sea ice much of the year will see at least 60 days a year of open water, according to a new modeling study led by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder.

"We hear all the time about how sea ice extent in the Arctic is going down," says Katy Barnhart, who led the study while at CU-Boulder's Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR). "That's an important measurement if you are trying to understand broad impacts of climate change in the Arctic, but it doesn't tell us about how the changes in the sea ice in the Arctic are going to affect specific places."


The Arctic Ocean will experience more days of open water by the 2050s.

Photo by Katy Barnhart

So Barnhart and her colleagues, including CIRES Fellow Jennifer Kay and INSTAAR Fellow Irina Overeem, set out to investigate the very local impacts of open water expansion patterns in the Arctic. Their work is published today in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The researchers used climate simulations from the National Center for Atmospheric Research-based Community Earth System Model to see how the number of open water, or sea-ice-free, days change from 1850 to 2100 in our planet's northernmost ocean. They also wanted to understand when open water conditions in specific locations would be completely different from preindustrial conditions.

Because most economic activity in the Arctic is along the coastline, the team focused on four coastal locations that demonstrated the range of sea ice change: Drew Point, along Alaska's North Slope; the Laptev Sea, along Siberia's northern coast; Perry Channel in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (part of the Northwest Passage route); and Arctic Ocean regions east of Svalbard, Norway.

For example, at Drew Point, open water is already shifting from preindustrial conditions. Once present about 50 days a year on average (~1900-2000), open water is now present about 100 days a year. By the 2070s, the modeling study concludes, there could be close to 200 days a year with no sea ice at Drew Point, which is likely to worsen coastal erosion.

"We wanted to highlight places that had interesting or different stories with respect to the patterns of Arctic Ocean, atmosphere, and sea ice motion--things like coastal erosion or connections to potential sea routes," said Barnhart, now a postdoctoral fellow at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. "Since we don't expect the impacts of Arctic sea ice loss to be exactly the same in Alaska as in Greenland, we looked at open water days to provide a more nuanced picture of sea ice change at specific locations."

For the study, Barnhart, Kay and their colleagues relied on climate projections from 1850 to 2100 and analyzed multiple runs or "realizations" from a single climate model.

According to their analysis, the entire Arctic coastline and most of the Arctic Ocean will experience an additional 60 days of open water each year by the 2050s, and many sites will have more than 100 additional days.

"The Arctic is warming and the sea ice is melting, with impacts on Arctic people and ecosystems," Kay said. "By the end of this century, assuming a scenario of continued business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions, the Arctic will be in a new regime with respect to open water, fully outside the realm of what we've seen in the past."

###

The study was authored by Katherine R. Barnhart (Department of Geological Sciences and Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research, CU-Boulder; Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania); Christopher R. Miller (independent statistician); Irina Overeem (Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research, CU-Boulder); Jennifer Kay (Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, CU-Boulder).

CIRES is a partnership of NOAA and the University of Colorado Boulder.

Katy Barnhart | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: Alpine Research Arctic Arctic Ocean CIRES CU-Boulder INSTAAR coastal erosion conditions sea ice

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht How much biomass grows in the savannah?
16.02.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

nachricht Canadian glaciers now major contributor to sea level change, UCI study shows
15.02.2017 | University of California - Irvine

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Switched-on DNA

20.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>