Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September 2010 Sea Ice Collapse Continues

The extra heat continues to be pumped into the Arctic as has been happening over the past thirty years at least.  This has nothing to do with climate change but everything to do with an increase in the heat transfer rate of the Gulf Stream.  The offset is a cooling effect in the Antarctic.

Again I posted in mid 2007 that the sea ice would be entering its final collapse in and about 2012.  It appears that we are well on schedule for just that.

This year, both the North West Passage and the North East Passage are open for easy navigation.  We still have a decade of possible interference from wind blown ice, but after that it should be generally clear seas until the cycle actually switches back.  I have argued in other postings that that could be a couple of centuries if my conjecture regarding an apparent millennia long cycle is correct.

Here are the appropriate maps and an article in the recent Vancouver Sun.

I can now make a major prediction.  Unless we have a reversal with an abrupt chill such as happened a couple of times in the last two thousand years around the fifth century AD and around the seventeenth century AD, The Arctic will have a much warmer summer because the winter ice will be purely seasonal and will be cleared early enough to provide a period of heat accumulation during a couple of summer months.

This will mean a warmer northern hemisphere and that means recovering to the highs of the Medieval Warm period at the least in Europe.  The Arctic itself will have season in which the climate will not be heavily cooled by melting sea ice, though I expect some ice integrity on the North side of the Arctic Islands.

I am astonished to see the degree with which the press and the climate science are presently silenced.  Their climate models completely missed this altogether.  When I published my original prediction in 2007, everyone was arguing that it would be a century before this happened, though NASA chimed in about three months later with a low key release.  Likely the mathematically competent knew better but had been told to be quiet and my actual press release likely forced someone’s hand. 

There continues to be no good reason to link this to a climate change model but should be seen the other way around.  It is changing seas that are the climate drivers that really matter.

Another big-ice Arctic thaw, say experts

Randy Boswell September 8, 2010 Comments (3)

Arctic Ocean sea ice has experienced another severe meltdown this year, with the approaching end-of-summer minimum representing the third-biggest thaw since satellite monitoring began about 30 years ago.
Photograph by: Denis Sarrazin/Center for Northern Studies/Handout/Reuters,

Arctic Ocean sea ice has experienced another severe meltdown this year, with the approaching end-of-summer minimum representing the third-biggest thaw since satellite monitoring began about 30 years ago.

This year's retreat from a winter maximum of about 15 million square kilometres to a September coverage area of just five million square kilometres also means that the four greatest melts since satellite measurements began in the late 1970s have occurred in the past four years.

In a report released Tuesday, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center described the opening of the Northwest Passage through Canada's Arctic islands and the "unusually fast" melting of ice in the Beaufort Sea as highlights of another extensive circumpolar thaw that has all northern nations — including Canada — scrambling to cope with increased Arctic ship traffic and to plan for potential oil and gas development.

"There are claims coming from some communities that the Arctic sea ice is recovering, is getting thicker again," Mark Serreze, director of the Colorado-based centre, told Postmedia News on Wednesday.

"That's simply not the case. It's continuing down in a death spiral."

Arctic sea ice typically reaches its minimum annual extent in mid-September.

In September 2007, scientists and governments around the world sounded alarms when an extreme meltdown reduced the ice cover from a winter maximum of about 14 million square kilometres to an end-of-summer minimum of just over four million square kilometres.

Since then, summer ice cover has repeatedly fallen below the 30-year average minimum of about seven million square kilometres.

Serreze said this year's retreat offers further evidence of the "overall downward trend" but only tells half the story of the declining Arctic ice cover.

Scientists have also determined that along with the overall shrinkage in ice area, the polar region's oldest and thickest slabs are increasingly being replaced by younger and thinner ice — a phenomenon that's widely expected to result in ice-free Arctic summers in the coming years.

"Every bit of evidence we have says the ice is thinning," said Serreze.

"That means there's less energy needed to melt it out than there used to be."

Sea ice trends, he cautioned, will continue to be affected by natural variations in temperature and wind patterns throughout the circumpolar world.

But Serreze said the overall pattern is unmistakable: "The decline in the extent of ice — the square kilometres — is being attended by a decrease in the volume of ice."

Canada and the four other Arctic Ocean coastal nations — Russia, the U.S., Denmark and Norway — have pledged to co-operate in creating new search-and-rescue and environmental protection regimes to manage increased shipping, tourism and economic development in the melting Arctic.

This summer's stranding of an Arctic adventure cruise ship and a second vessel carrying millions of litres of diesel fuel has underlined the growing risk of a tourism emergency or environmental catastrophe as once-frozen shipping lanes become unlocked in Canada's Far North.

Meanwhile, Canadian and U.S. scientists have been collaborating for the third straight year on mapping the Arctic Ocean seabed north of the Yukon-Alaska border, part of a bid by each country to secure huge new swaths of undersea territory under a UN treaty.

The push for extended continental shelves in the Arctic is considered potentially lucrative because it's estimated that up to one-quarter of the world's untapped oil and gas reserves can be found in the region.

The prospect of offshore petroleum operations in an increasingly accessible Arctic — despite growing environmental concerns fuelled by the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico — continues to shape the Canadian government's northern economic agenda.

No comments: