Before 2050 and possibly within the next decade or two, there will be nearly ice-free summers,
but "when," say scientists studying summer sea ice in the Arctic.
"Rapid Arctic sea ice loss is probably the most visible indicator of global climate change; it leads to shifts
in ecosystems and economic access, and potentially impacts weather throughout the northern hemisphere," said
James Overland of NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory.
Cold air is normally trapped in the Arctic in winter by strong Polar Vortex winds, which circle
the North Pole from west to east and the strong pressure field that is shown in purple/blue colors in Figure 1a,
below left. This pattern broke down in December 2009, and in February 2010, (Figures 1b and 1c, below middle
and right). North-south winds increased, allowing cold Arctic air to spill southwards. Credits: NOAA/ESRL Physical Sciences Division.
"Increased physical understanding of rapid Arctic climate shifts and improved models are needed that give a more
detailed picture and timing of what to expect so we can better prepare and adapt to such changes.
Early loss of Arctic sea ice gives immediacy to the issue of climate change."
"There is no one perfect way to predict summer sea ice loss in the Arctic," said Wang.
"So we looked at three
approaches that result in widely different dates, but all three suggest nearly sea ice-free summers in the
Arctic before the middle of this century."
Overland and Wang emphasized that the term "nearly" ice free is important as some sea ice is expected to
remain north of the Canadian Archipelago and Greenland.
The "trendsetters" approach uses observed sea ice trends. These data show that the total amount of sea
ice decreased rapidly over the previous decade. Using those trends, this approach extrapolates to a nearly
sea ice-free Arctic by 2020.
The "stochasters" approach is based on assuming future multiple, but random in time, large sea ice loss events
such as those that occurred in 2007 and 2012. This method estimates it would take several more events to reach
a nearly sea ice-free state in the summer.
Data shows that this approach suggests a nearly
sea ice-free Arctic by about 2030 but with large uncertainty in timing.
Click on image to enlarge
An analysis from the CryoSat-2 satellite indicates that 900 cubic kilometres of Arctic
ice has disappeared each year since 2004. At such a rate, scientists warn the Arctic could be
ice-free in 10 years. (Kathryn Hansen/NASA/Reuters)
The "modelers" approach is based on using the large collection of global climate model results to predict
atmosphere, ocean, land, and sea ice conditions over time.
These models show the earliest possible loss of sea ice to be around 2040 as greenhouse gas concentrations
increase and the Arctic warms. But the median timing of sea ice loss in these models is closer to 2060.
"Models are based on chemical and physical climate processes and we need better models for the Arctic as the
importance of that region continues to grow," Overland said.
The work was published recently online in the American Geophysical Union publication
Geophysical Research Letters.
Incredible Images Show Giant Sinkhole In Sweden Keeps Expanding!
It looks like something taken straight from a horror movie. An enormous hole leading to hell, some would say. But this is not a movie.
This is a real and dangerous phenomenon. New shocking images clearly show the enormous pit in Sweden is expanding.
The 200 foot wide open pit is called the "Fabiangropen" (Fabian pit) and is in the Malmberget area is located at Gällivare, 75km from Kiruna, Sweden.
UPDATE: Huge Stripe On The Sun - Is Earth In Serious Danger? UPDATE: This article has now been updated with additional information from NASA including images and video!
The Sun's odd behavior has been mentioned on many occasions recently. As we all await the Solar Cycle 24, scientists keep a close eye on the Sun.
Thousands Of Dead Fish Wash Ashore Texas Coast
Thousands of dead fish are washing ashore along the Texas coast, from the Colorado River
to Galveston Island. Most of the dead animals are Gulf Menhaden, or shad fish. The cause of death remains unclear for the moment.