Arctic ice … No recovery. Going very fast.

28th May, 2010 - Posted by admin - Comments Off

On April 4, 2010, the Sunday Times had a large spread for a piece by Jonathan Leake, “Arctic ice recovers from the great melt” (April 4, 2010). He says
IF you thought it was cold in Britain for the time of year, you should see what is happening around the North Pole. Scientists have discovered that the size of the Arctic ice cap has increased sharply to levels not seen since 2001.
(http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7086746.ece)
This claim comes two months after the graph on the NSIDC website showed ice cover at its lowest level for millenia.
http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2010/040610.html
The “recovery” is thin ice the NSIDC points out
“As sea ice extent approaches the seasonal maximum, extent can vary quite a bit from day to day because the thin, new ice at the edge of the pack is sensitive to local wind and temperature pattern.”
The “recovery” didn’t last long. On 28th May 2010 the Arctic sea ice extent is at it’s lowest for half a million years for this time of year.
The Sunday Times piece also says
… in 2007 when the north polar ice cap suffered a spectacular summer melt.
It hit an all-time low size of 1.65m square miles, about 39% below average, prompting many scientists, including some at the NSIDC, to suggest that global warming had pushed the Arctic to a tipping point from which it might not recover.
By last summer, however, the ice cap had expanded to 2m square miles and this year’s figures show it approaching normal levels for the time of year.

On April 4, 2010, the Sunday Times had a large spread for a piece by Jonathan Leake, “Arctic ice recovers from the great melt” (April 4, 2010). He said

IF you thought it was cold in Britain for the time of year, you should see what is happening around the North Pole. Scientists have discovered that the size of the Arctic ice cap has increased sharply to levels not seen since 2001.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7086746.ece

This was published two months after the graph on the NSIDC website showed ice cover at its lowest level for half a million years – for that time of year.

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2010/040610.html

The “recovery” is thin ice the NSIDC points out

As sea ice extent approaches the seasonal maximum, extent can vary quite a bit from day to day because the thin, new ice at the edge of the pack is sensitive to local wind and temperature pattern.

The “recovery” didn’t last long. On 28th May 2010 the Arctic sea ice extent is again at it’s lowest for half a million years for this time of year.

The Sunday Times piece also says

… in 2007 when the north polar ice cap suffered a spectacular summer melt.

It hit an all-time low size of 1.65m square miles, about 39% below average, prompting many scientists, including some at the NSIDC, to suggest that global warming had pushed the Arctic to a tipping point from which it might not recover.

By last summer, however, the ice cap had expanded to 2m square miles and this year’s figures show it approaching normal levels for the time of year.

Professor Peter Wadhams, who has been studying the Arctic ice since the 1960s, may be one of those many who have scientists suggested that global warming had pushed the Arctic to a tipping point. He says

The case of Arctic ice is somewhat of a tipping point since the open water created during summer warms up, to about 5C at present, and this slows down the subsequent autumn freeze up, giving less winter growth. It may grow back a little in a cold winter but in my view it can never get back to its original situation of, say, 40 years ago.  In this sense it has passed through a tipping point.

For the latest on Arctic sea ice extent see:

http://psc.apl.washington.edu/ArcticSeaiceVolume/IceVolume.php

For the latest on Arctic sea ice volume see:

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

June 14th. Update from the International Polar Year’s Oslo Science Conference.

Prof. David Barber: “On Thin Ice: The Arctic and Climate Change” is here:

http://video.hint.no/mmt201v10/osc/?vid=55

He reconts his journey to the thicker multi-year Arctic sea-ice. It’s weakening and breaking up fast.  Professor Barber was also reported earlier this year on climatechangepsychology;

http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2010/02/arctic-ice-melt-alarms-scientists-local.html

Here he is reported as saying:

“We’re seeing it happen more quickly than what our models thought would happen,” Barber said at a student symposium on climate change at FortWhyte Alive. “It’s happening much faster than our most pessimistic models suggested.”

and
“If you go into the rainforest and you cut down all the trees, the ecosystem in that rainforest will collapse,” he said. “If you go to the Arctic and you remove all the sea ice or if you remove the timing of the sea ice, the system will change.”

Posted on: May 28, 2010

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