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Thread: 2011 Arctic Sea ice on the way to new record low

  1. #1 2011 Arctic Sea ice on the way to new record low 
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    The National Snow and Ice Data Center, which tracks sea ice is showing the Arctic sea ice melting at a rate that will set another record ice minimum for area coverage and estimated volume.

    Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis
    Heading towards the summer minimum ice extent « Icelights: Your Burning Questions About Ice & Climate


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    Are the wind patterns carrying more soot from Asia over the Arctic ice than normal?

    Just remember, it's not there yet. The anomaly isn't nearly as much as past years.



    Last edited by Wild Cobra; July 22nd, 2011 at 12:00 AM.
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    Are the wind patterns carrying more soot from Asia over the Arctic ice than normal?

    Just remember, it's not there yet.
    Surface wind patterns over the arctic greatly affect the ice drift and surface area.
    The soot is definitely part of the melting both by direct absorption of the SW radiation and by adding to the LW radiation captured by the increased greenhouse gasses. To what degree is still uncertain.

    The anomaly isn't nearly as much as past years.
    Not sure what you mean here. Compared to the 1970-2000 average it's the greatest ever recorded by this time of year. Did you simply mean that we aren't at the seasonal minimums as yet? If so, you are correct; minimum Arctic ice volume and extent is in about six weeks. Even with unfavorable wind patterns ice extent and volume are quite likely to be among the lowest three of the past 40 years.
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    N_timeseries.jpg

    Arctic ice extant now lower than in the record breaking low tear of 2007.
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    Are there any estimates of the mass of H^2O released from the melted ice, and where has most of it gone? Vapor, ocean level, other?
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    Volume is shown here.

    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/schweiger/ice_volume/BPIOMASIceVolumeAnomalyCurrentV2_CY.png?%3C?php%20 echo%20time%28%29?

    Multiply Y-axis by density, roughly 10^12 kg/km3, so the minima are approximately:

    Mean 1979-2010:12 x 10^15 kg
    2007: 6 x 10^15 kg
    2011 by visually extrapolating: 5 x 10^15 kg

    So it looks as if there may be 7 x 10^15 kg less sea ice this September than the average over 1979-2010 if I got the number of zeroes right. It won't affect sea level (except for small temperature effect) because it was floating.
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    Ice melts in summer, who knew? Meanwhile in Antarctica is plenty ice and cold as hell, must be global warming at work there too. (Edit: "Cold as hell", defined in this case -90* F, approximately.)
    Last edited by The Finger Prince; August 8th, 2011 at 02:32 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Finger Prince View Post
    Ice melts in summer, who knew? Meanwhile in Antarctica is plenty ice and cold as hell, must be global warming at work there too. (Edit: "Cold as hell", defined in this case -90* F, approximately.)
    Your pointless sarcasm aside, ice mass seems to also be decreasing in Antarctica. We don't have as long a record though and it is more complex because while the Continent is losing ice, the seasonal winter sea ice extent has been increasing.
    Increasing rates of ice mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets revealed by GRACE
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; August 8th, 2011 at 04:12 PM.
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    Does anyone know why it's the Siberia side of the Arctic that seems to have disappeared, and why the area near Nova Zembla remained relativley ice-free throughout the winter ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by test_pig View Post
    Does anyone know why it's the Siberia side of the Arctic that seems to have disappeared, and why the area near Nova Zembla remained relativley ice-free throughout the winter ?
    It has to do with the weather conditions (primarily wind) for the season. So which part melts the most (or has less ice pushed into it) varies from year to year. But the overall trend is down,down,down.
    I think I can find a link that explains it, but don't have time right now. I'll try to remember to come back later and add it.

    Oh here's the link

    Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis

    They don;t really discuss it too much this month; there's an archive dropdown box in the upper right. I know they discussed it in the previous month or two.

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    My, my, how INteresting...

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/02/03/arctic-sea-ice-increases-at-record-rate/

    There APPEARS to be some regular fluctuation going on- comments, esteemed moderator?
    Last edited by The Finger Prince; August 25th, 2011 at 12:53 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    We don't have as long a record though and it is more complex because while the Continent is losing ice, the seasonal winter sea ice extent has been increasing.
    True, but the global sea ice area is steadily decreasing (i.e. the Arctic loss exceeds the Antarctic gain), and the mass decrease is greater than the area decrease since the ice is thinner.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by test_pig View Post
    why it's the Siberia side of the Arctic that seems to have disappeared, and why the area near Nova Zembla remained relativley ice-free throughout the winter ?
    It has to do with the weather conditions (primarily wind) for the season.
    There is also the local variation in ocean temperature, and the way that undersea depths and ridges collect and divert river-water which floods into the arctic ocean each spring to semi-chaotically perturb the saline/thermal layers. I suspect. But that only applies to the melt.

    If you overlay a time-lapse of the melt progression with a depth map (also showing rivers) you'll see what I mean.

    I think it's semi-chaotic because it appears the melt-accelerating perturbation follows different regimes from year to year. Kinda ENSO of the Arctic.
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    Sea Ice Reference Page | Watts Up With That?

    Lots of graphs for the sea-ice obsessed. Enjoy!
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    Both Canada's Northwest Passage and Russia's Northern Sea Route are open simultaneously.

    "They're often open at the same time in the sense that with some ingenuity you can get through them," observed Peter Wadhams, an Arctic ice expert from the University of Cambridge. This year again confirms that we are in a new regime with substantially less summer ice. But this time they've really been open, with a proper Suez-size tanker going through the Northern Sea Route with a full cargo - that's a real step forward," he told BBC News.
    I don't know that I'd call it a step forward.

    BBC News - Arctic sea routes open as ice melts

    There seems to be confusion in the article among area, extent and volume. Area is an estimate of the actual area of ice, with clear water between floating blocks of ice excluded from the total. Extent is the total area of sea occupied by floating ice including the clear water and is necessarily a larger number than area but the article's author seems to think they are the same. The article does confirm that "The volume of sea ice continues to decline annually." The area and the extent alone I would think are somewhat meaningless without reference to thickness and one of the major findings recently has been that there is less old thick ice. The ice that is measured is thinner than in previous years so the volume is less even if the area is the same.
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  17. #16  
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    Last week the Arctic reached it's lowest ice extent for the year and turned out to be the 2nd lowest year on record.
    Ice volume estimates, which have a greater margin of error, were at their lowest ever recorded.

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  18. #17  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    what i find most intriguing is that the sea off the northern coast of siberia has been free of ice for a far longer period than in any other year i can remember

    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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