Total Arctic sea ice at record low in 2010: study  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

Scientific American has a post on the decline of arctic sea ice - Total Arctic sea ice at record low in 2010: study.

The minimum summertime volume of Arctic sea ice fell to a record low last year, researchers said in a study to be published shortly, suggesting that thinning of the ice had outweighed a recovery in area The study estimated that last year broke the previous, 2007 record for the minimum volume of ice, which is calculated from a combination of sea ice area and thickness.

The research adds to a picture of rapid climate change at the top of the world that could see the Arctic Ocean ice-free within decades, spurring new oil exploration opportunities but possibly also disrupted weather patterns far afield and a faster rise in sea levels.

The authors developed a model predicting thickness across the Arctic Ocean based on actual observations of winds, air and ocean temperatures. "The real worrisome fact is downward trend over the last 32 years," said Axel Schweiger, lead author of the paper, referring to a satellite record of changes in the Arctic.

He was emailing Reuters at the Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise, in the Arctic Ocean between the Norwegian island of Svalbard and the North Pole. "(It fell) by a large enough margin to establish a statistically significant new record," said the authors in their paper titled "Uncertainty in modeled Arctic sea ice volume."

The researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle checked the model results against real readings of ice thickness using limited submarine and satellite data.

The Arctic Sea Ice Blog is a good place to keep up with what is happening in this field.

1 comments

Bob Wallace   says 5:06 AM

The University of Breman has just declared that a new historical record for ice extent has just been set.

http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2011/09/historical-minimum-in-sea-ice-extent.html

This means that we have set records for volume, area and extent in 2011.

The record has just been barely bested so it would be more accurate to say that there is a clear tie. But we've still got a couple more weeks of melting possible, so we may see a clean sweep.

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