Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How will the Arctic sea ice cover develop this summer?

08.07.2008
Climate scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute present their own prognosis for the first time.

The ice cover in the Arctic Ocean at the end of summer 2008 will lie, with almost 100 per cent probability, below that of the year 2005 - the year with the second lowest sea ice extent ever measured. Chances of an equally low value as in the extreme conditions of the year 2007 lie around eight per cent.

Climate scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association come to this conclusion in a recent model calculation. They participate with their prognosis in an international scientific contest, in which some of the most renowned institutes on climate research want to fathom out possibilities for seasonal predictions on Arctic sea ice cover by means of different methods and climate models.

"After the strong decrease of the Arctic ice during the last summer, climate scientists all around the world are constantly asked: how will the ice develop in the next years?" describes Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Gerdes from the Alfred Wegener Institute his motivation. "To answer this question, we did not want to guess, but to rely on sound calculations." The scientists' problem: scenarios of the long-term development of sea ice clearly indicate a decreased ice cover - exact prognoses for the following summer, however, are not yet possible. This is mainly due to the fact that the short-term development of sea ice depends strongly on the actual atmospheric conditions, namely the weather and in particular wind, cloud cover and air temperatures.

Because the exact atmospheric conditions which determine the weather patterns in the Arctic Ocean during the coming months are not predictable, Rüdiger Gerdes and his team have entered atmospheric data of the last twenty years into an ocean sea ice model developed at the Alfred Wegener Institute. "Through this, we are still not able", says Gerdes, "to make a definitive statement on sea ice cover in September. However, This 'trick' enables us to compute the bandwidth of possible ice covers, and to quantify the probability of extreme events." Apart from the variability of atmospheric quantities during the melting season, ice thickness at the beginning of the season determines the new ice minimum. Accordingly, computations of ice thickness enter the models of the researchers from Bremerhaven. Start conditions from June 27th 2008 were used for their current prognosis.

Different from long-term prognoses, the researchers' forecasts can quickly be checked by reality. This is all right by Rüdiger Gerdes and his team. "It is a first test, and all participating researchers are eager to know how their prognosis has fared at the end of the summer. In the end, this small competition serves the optimisation of our models, so that we are able to improve our predictions concerning short-term seasonal fluctuations. It has to be added, however, that even perfect models would not be able to rule out a component of chance regarding the atmosphere. These forecasts will always be about probability, and not exact prognoses."

The Alfred Wegener Institute carries out research in the Arctic and Antarctic as well as in the high and mid latitude oceans. The institute coordinates German polar research and makes available to international science important infrastructure, e.g. the research ice-breaker "Polarstern" and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic. AWI is one of 15 research centres within the Helmholtz Association, Germany's largest scientific organization.

Margarete Pauls | idw
Further information:
http://www.awi.de

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht A new dead zone in the Indian Ocean could impact future marine nutrient balance
06.12.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht NASA's AIM observes early noctilucent ice clouds over Antarctica
05.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

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...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

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...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

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...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Speed data for the brain’s navigation system

06.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization

06.12.2016 | Life Sciences

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>