Predicting when the Arctic will have an ice-free summer

November 03, 2016

For every metric ton of carbon dioxide that's emitted into the atmosphere, there is a direct correlation in the amount of Arctic sea ice that is lost, a new study shows. Scientists have had difficulty predicting when the Arctic will be completely free of ice during the summer months, but this new analysis could help provide much more accurate predictions of such an occurrence. Dirk Notz and Julienne Stroeve analyzed Hadley Centre Sea Ice and Sea Surface Temperature data over time, deriving a linear relationship between the average monthly abundance of sea ice in the Arctic in September and cumulative carbon dioxide emissions, for a roughly 30-year period. The data reveal that for every metric ton of carbon dioxide that's emitted, 3 meters squared of sea ice is lost. The authors used this robust relationship in a collection of climate models that are part of the Climate Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5), to project Arctic summer sea ice loss. These models often underestimate the extent of ice loss, they found; Notz and Stroeve suggest that CMIP5 models, based on existing knowledge of processes that shape ice loss, may not be accurately capturing the amount of incoming longwave radiation from the Sun, and the climate's related response. The results of this study suggest that any measure to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions will directly slow the ongoing loss of Arctic summer sea ice. Therefore, the authors note that achieving a global warming target of 1.5°Celsius, which would involve reducing carbon dioxide emissions, would help extend the lifespan of diminishing summer ice.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Sea Ice Articles from Brightsurf:

2020 Arctic sea ice minimum at second lowest on record
NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder shows that the 2020 minimum extent, which was likely reached on Sept.

Sea ice triggered the Little Ice Age, finds a new study
A new study finds a trigger for the Little Ice Age that cooled Europe from the 1300s through mid-1800s, and supports surprising model results suggesting that under the right conditions sudden climate changes can occur spontaneously, without external forcing.

How much will polar ice sheets add to sea level rise?
Over 99% of terrestrial ice is bound up in the ice sheets covering Antarctic and Greenland.

A snapshot of melting Arctic sea ice during the summer of 2018
A study appearing July 29 in the journal Heliyon details the changes that occurred in the Arctic in September of 2018, a year when nearly 10 million kilometers of sea ice were lost throughout the summer.

Antarctic penguins happier with less sea ice
Researchers have been surprised to find that Adélie penguins in Antarctica prefer reduced sea-ice conditions, not just a little bit, but a lot.

Seasonal sea ice changes hold clues to controlling CO2 levels, ancient ice shows
New research has shed light on the role sea ice plays in managing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

Artificial intelligence could revolutionize sea ice warnings
Today, large resources are used to provide vessels in the polar seas with warnings about the spread of sea ice.

Antarctic sea ice loss explained in new study
Scientists have discovered that the summer sea ice in the Weddell Sea sector of Antarctica has decreased by one million square kilometres -- an area twice the size of Spain -- in the last five years, with implications for the marine ecosystem.

Antarctic sea-ice models improve for the next IPCC report
All the new coupled climate models project that the area of sea ice around Antarctica will decline by 2100, but the amount of loss varies considerably between the emissions scenarios.

Earth's glacial cycles enhanced by Antarctic sea-ice
A 784,000 year climate simulation suggests that Southern Ocean sea ice significantly reduces deep ocean ventilation to the atmosphere during glacial periods by reducing both atmospheric exposure of surface waters and vertical mixing of deep ocean waters; in a global carbon cycle model, these effects led to a 40 ppm reduction in atmospheric CO2 during glacial periods relative to pre-industrial level, suggesting how sea ice can drive carbon sequestration early within a glacial cycle.

Read More: Sea Ice News and Sea Ice Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to