Arctic sea ice volume now one-fifth its 1979 level

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:52 AM GMT on February 19, 2013

Share this Blog
59
+

The stunning loss of Arctic sea ice extent in recent years is undeniable--satellite measurements have conclusively shown that half of the Arctic sea ice went missing in September 2012, compared to the average September during 1979 - 2000. But the extent of ice cover is not the best measure of how the fire raging in Earth's attic is affecting sea ice--the total volume of the ice is more important. But up until 2010, we didn't have the measurements needed to say how the total volume of ice in the Arctic might be changing. Scientists relied on the University of Washington PIOMAS model, which suggested that the loss of Arctic sea ice volume during September might be approaching 75% - 80%. The model results were widely criticized by climate change skeptics as being unrealistic. However, in April 2010, a new satellite called Cryostat-2 was launched, which can measure ice volume by beaming pulses of microwave energy off of the ice. With two years of data to Cryosat-2 data to analyze, the results of the PIOMAS model have now been confirmed by a study published on-line in February 2013 in Geophysical Research Letters. In a University of Washington news release, co-author Axel Schweiger said, "people had argued that 75 to 80 percent ice volume loss was too aggressive. What this new paper shows is that our ice loss estimates may have been too conservative, and that the recent decline is possibly more rapid." The U.K.'s Natural Environmental Research Council reported that the team of scientists found that from 2003 to 2012, the volume of Arctic sea ice declined 36% in the autumn and 9% in the winter. The measure of sea ice volume is a good indicator of how the Arctic's most stable, "multi-year" ice is fairing. As the multi-year ice declines, sea ice extent, the total area covered by sea ice, in an "Arctic death spiral". The new study shows that thick, multi-year ice has disappeared in areas north of Greenland, around the Canadian Archipelago, and to the northeast of Svalbard, Norway.


Figure 1. Arctic sea ice volume in thousands of cubic kilometers during the September minimum in 1979 compared to 2012, as estimated by the University of Washington PIOMAS model. Arctic seas ice volume has declined by more than a factor of five. Image credit; Andy Lee Robinson.


Figure 2. The Polar-5 aircraft, carrying the EM instrument that was used to validate Cryosat-2 sea ice thickness measurements, flying over the validation site. Image credit: R. Willatt.

Why care about Arctic sea ice loss?
If you remove an area of sea ice 43% the size of the contiguous U.S. from the ocean, like occurred in September 2012, it is guaranteed to have a significant impact on weather and climate. The extra heat and moisture added to the atmosphere as a result of all that open water over the pole may already be altering jet stream patterns in fall and winter, bringing an increase in extreme weather events. The record sea ice loss in 2012 also contributed to an unprecedented melting event in Greenland. Continued sea ice loss will further increase melting from Greenland, contributing to sea level rise and storm surge damages. Sea ice loss will also continue to crank up the thermostat over Arctic permafrost regions. This will potentially release a significant fraction of the vast amounts of carbon currently locked in the permafrost, further accelerating global warming.

Related Posts
Earth's attic is on fire: Arctic sea ice bottoms out at a new record low (September 2012)
Half of the polar ice cap is missing: Arctic sea ice hits a new record low. September 6, 2012 blog post
Wunderground's Sea Ice page
Arctic Death Spiral Bombshell: CryoSat-2 Confirms Sea Ice Volume Has Collapsed by Joe Romm at climateprogress.org.

Jeff Masters and Angela Fritz

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 197 - 147

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25Blog Index

00z CMC-precip map..Looks like flooding may be the upcoming news story for the next two weeks..back to work!







Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting evilpenguinshan:
funny you should mention that - my local met of choice (Paul Douglas, one of the founders of WeatherNation) is saying the same thing. drought, or tornadoes - pick your poison. i'll take the tornadoes of course :)

although, honestly, I'll take just about anything over today's weather:

Weather Station
Minneapolis (KMSP)
Elevation
840 ft

Scattered Clouds
Temperature
4 °F
Feels Like -19 °F
Wind NW(25 mph)


If they don't want to get a really terrible drought like Texas did two years ago then they batter take some tornados then.Hey at least it comes with benificial rain..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Winter looks to continue to hang around in a highly-amplified pattern across the USA. Good for the drought.

Day 4:



Day 10:



Day 16:



And bad for my severe wx.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RitaEvac:


Actually if that were to occur, and you're high and dry, the land you are sitting on would collapse and fall into the flood waters like a mountain slide, you're base would give out and the rest is history


I don't know about that, I'm on a steady slope, so all the runoff would flow a few miles down to a creek. It's not on a steep slope, instead it's very gradual, but water runs off fairly quickly.

All the land around me is at a 5 degree (or less) downhill slope (for several miles around), and water runs off fairly quickly.

I know places where water does accumulate and cause flooding downhill from me.

I'm not within 2 miles of any creek, and even if the closest creek flooded, it would need to come up maybe 20+ feet vertically and 2 miles horizontally to even come close to me..(not happening, since it would first flood the other side of its banks, at least 10 ft lower than me and miles away).
It's will never flood at my house...and my house wont wash away.

I got 20 inches in 3 days in September 2009, and although there were major floods near waterways, all i experienced was ponding of water.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
JMA Model..precip map

from the 00z/12z Suite






Member Since: Posts: Comments:
(Note: Not attempting to start a flame war here)
Climate 101
Bill Nye narrates this short film on the basics of climate change.
CLIMATE 101 from Climate Reality on Vimeo.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
funny you should mention that - my local met of choice (Paul Douglas, one of the founders of WeatherNation) is saying the same thing. drought, or tornadoes - pick your poison. i'll take the tornadoes of course :)

although, honestly, I'll take just about anything over today's weather:

Weather Station
Minneapolis (KMSP)
Elevation
840 ft

Scattered Clouds
Temperature
4 °F
Feels Like -19 °F
Wind NW(25 mph)


Quoting washingtonian115:
The pattern is defentially switching to a spring pattern.I suspect a active tornado season.Especially if winter hangs on to the north and you have the warm moist flow of air from the gulf.Your asking for trouble!.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Winter looks to continue to hang around in a highly-amplified pattern across the USA. Good for the drought.

Day 4:



Day 10:



Day 16:

Now with above average parcipitation predicted and cold air for the 8-16 day forcast one would expect more chance for snow.I don't think that's going to happen.Its never to late they say and March 2009 comes to my mind.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
189. MahFL
Quoting KarenRei:


The controversy seems kind of odd here, where horsemeat is readily available. It's not super-widely eaten but it is popular.

You could have it along with some whale, puffin, reindeer, rotted shark, and rotted skate if you wanted ;)

What is the horsemeat objection? I mean... what's the logic in eating animals like pigs and cows but not horses? Because horses are cuter?


The main problem is the horsemeat was substituted for beef, thus the consumer was being misled. Some people do indeed object to eating horse's.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:


That's a Cheery thought !

:):))


Always expect the unexpected....that's what nature is good at.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Winter looks to continue to hang around in a highly-amplified pattern across the USA. Good for the drought.

Day 4:



Day 10:



Day 16:

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32681
ICE:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Didnt know if this was posted or not but it looks like MOST of the country will be below temps and lots of rain to help with the drought for the eastern half of the US



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RitaEvac:


Actually if that were to occur, and you're high and dry, the land you are sitting on would collapse and fall into the flood waters like a mountain slide, you're base would give out and the rest is history


That's a Cheery thought !

:):))
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The pattern is defentially switching to a spring pattern.I suspect a active tornado season.Especially if winter hangs on to the north and you have the warm moist flow of air from the gulf.Your asking for trouble!.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
SOMEBODY BUY ME A BOAT!!!


I'M just jesting, my house isn't even in a flood zone.... Even if it rained 2 feet, I wouldn't be succeptivle to a flood....although areas around me might have problems:




Actually if that were to occur, and you're high and dry, the land you are sitting on would collapse and fall into the flood waters like a mountain slide, you're base would give out and the rest is history
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Nice day at the Kemah Boardwalk along Galveston Bay. How bout some Bubba Gump?



Galveston Island Pleasure Pier in distance


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting barbamz:

O sorry, I forgot where you live. And of course I'm jealous, visiting the amazing webcams of Iceland nearly every day (very weather related!!!). But nevertheless, I'm not sure I would like to eat rotten shark :-)


Haha, everyone always forgets about Iceland, it's okay ;) Cool that you know Iceland, though - if you know the areas, I live in Hafnarfjörður but am looking to buy land to build in Mosfellsdalur

Nothing much to report on the weather here lately - sometimes it's quite crazy, but the forecast is just more "drizzly and unseasonably warm". Thankfully no more storms like the one that ripped a body panel off my car a month ago ;)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
After disagreeing since the Day 8 Outlook...Kerr and I have come into agreement regarding Thursday.


Roller coaster forecaster... :P

jk...but models are terrible with instability well in advance of severe ex events
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pcola57:


Hang in there Pot..
Hope the tree planting goes well..

Thanks.
In June/July, we will be planting out about 100 trees on lands around here. Abandoned sugarcane lands.
We expect about 25% of them to get to the point where they will become real trees in a couple of years. It's an ongoing project, and the problem is grass-fires at this time of year.

Cant stop a fire in 6' grass when the wind is 15-20 mph......
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
SOMEBODY BUY ME A BOAT!!!


I'M just jesting, my house isn't even in a flood zone.... Even if it rained 2 feet, I wouldn't be susceptible to a flood....although areas around me might have problems:


Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Foot of snow in the exceptional areas, can't find a snow forecast map for the areas.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
After disagreeing since the Day 8 Outlook...Kerr and I have come into agreement regarding Thursday. The NAM has trended towards slightly more instability despite a very spatially challenged warm sector. Extremely favorable wind shear and a less stable atmosphere than previously thought, coupled with marginal lapse rates should allow the development of supercells across central Louisiana Thursday afternoon. With low-level shear near 60 knots from the south and mid-level shear near 60-70 knots from the southwest, conditions will be favorable for rotating storms. In addition, with large, looping hodographs and Effective Storm Relative Helicity values (both at 0-1km and 0-3km) over 450 m2/s2, there is a good chance we see a few strong to significant tornadoes. Thermodynamics are not all that indifferent to the system that eventually spawned the EF4 Hattiesburg tornado.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32681
Quoting pottery:

Not here !
Temp 86F, Humidity 58%, Wind ENE 15-18 mph.

Dry season is here, and getting drier every day,
By May, we will be in Trouble !


Welcome to the club
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:

Not here !
Temp 86F, Humidity 58%, Wind ENE 15-18 mph.

Dry season is here, and getting drier every day,
By May, we will be in Trouble !


Hang in there Pot..
Hope the tree planting goes well..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting LargoFl:
alot of moisture around today...............

Not here !
Temp 86F, Humidity 58%, Wind ENE 15-18 mph.

Dry season is here, and getting drier every day,
By May, we will be in Trouble !
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
12z NAM for Thursday... I generally prefer the NAM to global models at this range for severe weather events.








I thought you said it was the crazy little kid model....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Chucktown:


Its not really a trough, it looks like a cut-off low.


aT 500mb, its not really cut off.

It trends toward that later though.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
CWG has just plain rain for Friday.I'm surprised they didnt throw in a possibility of some freezing rain/snow like Fox 5 did this morning.Most local mets are not pleased by this storm.They say it looks to weak.But people on the blog seem to think other wise.Storm might weaken as it yes to my area though.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
12z NAM for Thursday... I generally prefer the NAM to global models at this range for severe weather events.





Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting mitthbevnuruodo:
This is, admittedly, from a VERY left friend. Though a bit of lefty sensationalism, I don't doubt the basic facts of this. Probably some of the same people funding anti-climate change lobby, are also knee deep in preparing for profitting off of likely results of it. Knowing everyone will be too busy bickering about to notice they have control and will charge extortionist rates...or many will be too busy worrying about what poor people on welfare get, than care that they have another global noose on what we get and what we pay for it so they can make massive profits, while we all toil away even more to get the basic necessities while they buy their next holiday home. Figuring out how to screw people over, is not working hard, like many like to say about a number of the wealthy.
Link

I know a lot of you won't like this...but this isn't really posted for those sworn to protect the status quo and protect the anti-everyone but the rich and anti-climate change backers. This is for those who care about it all, but may have not seen it yet. Has a lot of info about who's buying it all up.


Thanks for that post mitthbevnuruodo..
And as the article says,I agree that water will indeed be the new "oil"..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KarenRei:


The controversy seems kind of odd here, where horsemeat is readily available. It's not super-widely eaten but it is popular.

You could have it along with some whale, puffin, reindeer, rotted shark, and rotted skate if you wanted ;)

What is the horsemeat objection? I mean... what's the logic in eating animals like pigs and cows but not horses? Because horses are cuter?
I think the point is is that pele are being sold food that is something different than the manufacturers claim
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
We did have a period of mixed precipitation.then it turned to just plain rain.
Now as for the storm on Friday the high is suppose to be 38.Now if those temps can stay at 32-34 for most of the day then I'll be good to go.I want early leave off work on Friday.Lol.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting LargoFl:
Good morning Largo, everyone. Well, this forecast is busted already. We had a nice little rain here in Key West this morning as I was driving into work. Had to open an umbrella for a few minutes. Thank goodness it is warming up. I ran out of my winter wear....socks!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VR46L:


Its only beautiful to me because it shows no clouds and rain anywhere near me ...


Well, I find it pretty because it looks like a dance. The clouds and rain seem to be "dancing about"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
GFS is stange:

Trough 156hrs:



No LLJ:




But sudden temperature surge:




Its not really a trough, it looks like a cut-off low.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Speaking about weather; Not good news for the F35 Lighting according to this Yahoo News Article;
Link: Link
Quick Excerpt from the Article:

Bogdan, who will travel to Australia in coming weeks for talks on the F-35 Lightning II, said the aircraft was ironically unable to fly within 40 km (25 miles) of a lightning storm because its fuel tanks could ignite.
"Will this problem occur in the future? No, because we have the known fixes for it and we will fix it," he said.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Living on the snow line:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
GFS is stange:

Trough 156hrs:



No LLJ:




But sudden temperature surge:


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ncstorm:
...with all the genocide in Africa, the "Travion Martins" still existing here in the US, India still one of the worst poverty stricken countries, inequality of social races, all time high of youth/gang violence, mass murder shootings and all the human suffering still plaguing our society, I'm just thinking that both activists would still be better serving their time leading the masses with those issues than with something that still has a skeptism attached to it.

Of course, there is no true science-based skepticism about climate change; only a lot of ideological- and fear-based denial. I like to think that both Gandhi and Dr. King would have been smart enough to see that.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VR46L:


Its only beautiful to me because it shows no clouds and rain anywhere near me ...

Aye! My cousin in Scotland had to get off his digger his coal mine cause ex-nemo came in as a blizzard.

Goodnight all. Catch ya's in the morning.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
156. VR46L
Quoting WunderGirl12:


That is VERY pretty! :-)


Its only beautiful to me because it shows no clouds and rain anywhere near me ...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

The battle is on big time. I think the GFS wins this one. Euro seems to have struggled with this storm a bit, it was showing it hitting Mozambique a few days ago. I don't see it going above Cat 2, although there is at least some RI potential which could make it stronger.

24-48hrs time is its last and only chance to RI.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

The battle is on big time. I think the GFS wins this one. Euro seems to have struggled with this storm a bit, it was showing it hitting Mozambique a few days ago. I don't see it going above Cat 2, although there is at least some RI potential which could make it stronger.


Both models show it forming an eye within the next 36 hours.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FunnelVortex:
The EWMCF shows SIXTEEN hitting Madagascar as a powerful sub-960 Category 5.



The GFS shows it making landfall farther south as a much weaker 990 storm.


The battle is on big time. I think the GFS wins this one. Euro seems to have struggled with this storm a bit, it was showing it hitting Mozambique a few days ago. I don't see it going above Cat 2, although there is at least some RI potential which could make it stronger.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VR46L:
This is a beautiful image to me and its been like that since thursday....


soon they will be rationing water (Joke!!!)



That is VERY pretty! :-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
151. VR46L
This is a beautiful image to me and its been like that since thursday....


soon they will be rationing water (Joke!!!)

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Sonic The Tropical Depression

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FunnelVortex:
The EWMCF shows SIXTEEN hitting Madagascar as a powerful sub-960 Category 5.



The GFS shows it making landfall farther south as a much weaker 990 storm.


Will be interesting which, JTWC is going for a weak system.

This will be something to watch, Possible Cat 3-5 here.

GFS


ECMWF


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
139 fireflymom: You are what you eat... Food for thought.

Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
147. VR46L
Quoting yonzabam:


I think he means 'the continent'. In the UK, 'Europe' is often used as shorthand for 'continental Europe', which the UK is not part of.


But is an incorrect term strictly speaking, I am a European but not living on the Continent.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 197 - 147

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
16 °F
Overcast