Arctic sea ice volume now one-fifth its 1979 level

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

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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

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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
WINTER STORM Q... my 100th update
__________________

Major Plains snowstorm...possibly the worst snowstorm in recent years... Notice the dark purple in there!



caveat emptor... in this case it's not a just purchase for home storing, but also for immediate use. (get it?)

click image for larger view...

Actually I can't see anything as the image isn't showing up.
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Quoting Tazmanian:





when ices gets up too 3/4" what do we call that ???


doom?

i think a town in TX one time got 3/4" of ices i wounder what year that was


I can vouch for what 3/4 of an inch of freezing rain does. All you have to do is search for the ice storm of 1998 ... Link

...and all I can say is "Good Luck". Being in the middle of that nightmare was an absolute nightmare. Bring on two or three feet of snow and I'd NEVER complain.

Best of luck to all of you. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy...or maybe I would... :-)

Lindy
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Quoting Skyepony:
Torn~ Wow that was too close! Lucky it wasn't together more.

HARUNA TRMM click pic for very large quicktime animation through the eye.




Yeah it was relatively week, thankfully. We couldn't stop either, as there were cars behind us that couldn't see us, so we would have been rear ended.

I saw 5 other tornadoes that day/night, including this beauty


Warning: There is some language in the video



(Music is also by yours truly)
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WINTER STORM Q... my 100th update
__________________

Major Plains snowstorm...possibly the worst snowstorm in recent years... Notice the dark purple in there!



caveat emptor... in this case it's not a just purchase for home storing, but also for immediate use. (get it?)

click image for larger view...
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1043. Skyepony (Mod)
Torn~ Wow that was too close! Lucky it wasn't together more.

HARUNA TRMM click pic for very large quicktime animation through the eye.

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Chris Isaak Wicked Game
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5901
1041. Skyepony (Mod)
Cloudsat of HARUNA nearly through the eye..
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Your biggest threat may have come from the Ford Taurus. :) That is one time a Humvee may have served you better.


haha this taurus has been through baseball sized hail, inside a tornado, and through a hurricane.

Warning: There is some language in the video


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Similar to what happened with Nemo in New England...the governor of Kansas is ordering all non-emergency management officials to stay off the roads tomorrow.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32255
Quoting tornadodude:


I chased Hurricane Isaac solo in my Ford Taurus and a parking garage lol

Measured several 80mph gusts in Gulfport, Ms. As well as witnessed a brief tornado that caused some minor damage.


Your biggest threat may have come from the Ford Taurus. :) That is one time a Humvee may have served you better.
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Quoting tornadodude:


I chased Hurricane Isaac solo in my Ford Taurus and a parking garage lol

Measured several 80mph gusts in Gulfport, Ms. As well as witnessed a brief tornado that caused some minor damage.

I wish I could've chased Isaac, but too far away and still in HS. All I got from him in SE MI was some clouds and maybe a shower or two.
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Quoting wxchaser97:

One of my cousins is down there right now helping out with the recovery efforts.


I chased Hurricane Isaac solo in my Ford Taurus and a parking garage lol

Measured several 80mph gusts in Gulfport, Ms. As well as witnessed a brief tornado that caused some minor damage.
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Quoting tornadodude:
Hurricane Isaac Louisiana Recovery Assistance Tops Half-Billion Milestone

One of my cousins is down there right now helping out with the recovery efforts.
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That's a lot of snow, the next wave should start to develop across Texas and Oklahoma overnight as that low ejects out of the SW and interacts with this moisture

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Quoting partylight:
I remember the ice storm of 2008. Southern VT got hit hard but at my house it was all rain. If you went higher in the mountains it was all ice and at the summit of Stratton, there was over 3" on the trees.


My dad used to work at Stratton when he was a teen back in the 80s haha
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I remember the ice storm of 2008. Southern VT got hit hard but at my house it was all rain. If you went higher in the mountains it was all ice and at the summit of Stratton, there was over 3" on the trees.
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Looks like some elevated convection is forming along the dryline out in Eastern New Mexico ahead of the next round of this winter storm

Dewpoints ahead of the line are near 50, behind, teens

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to have my updated map within half an hour

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1028. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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1027. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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The graphic shows nine simplified graphs, which essentially illustrates how actual temperature change from roughly the past 100 years relates to scientific predictions of temperature change in scenarios where man is not contributing to global warming and where man is indeed contributing to global warming.

The six graphs that cover six of the seven continents on the planet all show the same thing: observed temperature increased significantly from the past 50 years onward. These changes correlate very well with predictions where man contributes to global warming. Needless to say, predictions which disregard anthropogenic (or manmade) effects point to cooler temperatures in all six continents. The continent that has been spared forceful increases in temperature was Antarctica, the one continent with no permanent residents.

This grim (and hot) state that is anthropogenic global warming is further backed by two additional graphs of temperature anomalies above land and oceans. As the IPCC report says:

"The observed patterns of warming, including greater warming over land than over the ocean, and their changes over time, are only simulated by models that include anthropogenic forcing. The ability of coupled climate models to simulate the observed temperature evolution on each of six continents provides stronger evidence of human influence on climate [...]"
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Quoting wxchaser97:

First, it is sad to hear that winter storm Q claimed a life.

Second, that was already posted twice.

And third, you are really stubborn about the naming of winter storms.


1. Yep. Loss of life from a winter storm is tragic.

2. I know, I was just posting what I saw on twitter

3. Yes, yes I am. :)
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Quoting IceCoast:


Are you farther south and east? We got crushed in Western Essex county.

I'm down in SW Norfolk Country, near the NE tip of RI. We mostly just got rain from that storm, about 3.5" of it. The storm was massive, it produced some of the highest liquid precip equivalents I've ever seen up here.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
Sadly, the winter storm in the Midwest right now has claimed a life. 18 year old kid went off the road and died.

First, it is sad to hear that winter storm Q claimed a life.

Second, that was already posted twice.

And third, you are really stubborn about the naming of winter storms.
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Sadly, the winter storm in the Midwest right now has claimed a life. 18 year old kid went off the road and died.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

It wasn't bad here, the core of ice was mostly confined to Worcester and west from there, I'm a little further east. We had a major rain event with that storm, followed by a major snow event a week or so later.


Are you farther south and east? We got crushed in Western Essex county.
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The Weather Channel reports that Q has claimed one life in Oklahoma when an 18 year old boy slid off the road.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32255
BREAKING: First death reported from Winter Storm Q in Oklahoma... RIP
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Quoting JohnLonergan:


I live just west of Worcester and I had no power for 4 days, my sister was out for 6 days and we were among the lucky ones; some people were out for weeks. Luckily none of us were hurt or suffered any great damage to our property.

Hope it went well for you.


I was one of those unfortunate ones! I was visiting home (Merrimack Valley) from school and within 30 minutes of getting back from the airport lost power. Out for 12 days. I remember going snowboarding at Crotched Mt. and that area was even worse, absolute destruction of trees everywhere. Needless to say I was happy to get back to Colorado where the Snow Gods had blessed us in Steamboat that year.
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1016. ncstorm
Updated QPF map from the HPC

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Quoting goosegirl1:


We were talking about how smart and wonderful women are, and about their overall superiority.

I'm sure of it. And you know we Never Forget.


Well, that certainly deserves a standing ovation.

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Quoting JohnLonergan:


I live just west of Worcester and I had no power for 4 days, my sister was out for 6 days and we were among the lucky ones; some people were out for weeks. Luckily none of us were hurt or suffered any great damage to our property.

Hope it went well for you.

It wasn't bad here, the core of ice was mostly confined to Worcester and west from there, I'm a little further east. We had a major rain event with that storm, followed by a major snow event a week or so later.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

We had an incredibly crippling ice storm up here in December of 2008, areas in central/western MA, as well as some other parts of the NE region, received over an inch of ice. It literally shut parts of the state down for weeks. Worcester MA, where this picture was taken, was one of the hardest hit areas:



Hopefully we don't see anything like that tomorrow in AR.


I live just west of Worcester and I had no power for 4 days, my sister was out for 6 days and we were among the lucky ones; some people were out for weeks. Luckily none of us were hurt or suffered any great damage to our property.

Hope it went well for you.
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Quoting Tazmanian:





when ices gets up too 3/4" what do we call that ???


doom?

i think a town in TX one time got 3/4" of ices i wounder what year that was

We had an incredibly crippling ice storm up here in December of 2008, areas in central/western MA, as well as some other parts of the NE region, received over an inch of ice. It literally shut parts of the state down for weeks. Worcester MA, where this picture was taken, was one of the hardest hit areas:



Hopefully we don't see anything like that tomorrow in AR.
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1011. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
winter storm 17
xx/xx/xx
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Quoting Tazmanian:





when ices gets up too 3/4" what do we call that ???


doom?

i think a town in TX one time got 3/4" of ices i wounder what year that was


I think it would still be called crippling since it is over 1/2", per the bottom graphic.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
As stated in post #944, portions of Arkansas are expecting well over 1/2" ice accumulation.






when ices gets up too 3/4" what do we call that ???


doom?

i think a town in TX one time got 3/4" of ices i wounder what year that was
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As stated in post #944, portions of Arkansas are expecting well over 1/2" ice accumulation.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32255
Quoting indianrivguy:
anyone remember what we are talking about?


We were talking about how smart and wonderful women are, and about their overall superiority.

I'm sure of it. And you know we Never Forget.
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Quoting indianrivguy:
Good morning Mate!

G'evening everyone up over!

G'afternoon mate!
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Quoting Zappy:


Scale is everything... I was confused at first, until I looked left at the scale. Perhaps you should start at 0?

Usually I would start at 0, but since no year has a tornado count of less than 900 that is where I started.
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1004. Zappy
Quoting wxchaser97:
After at least an hour of work, I have put together a graph of the number of tornadoes from 2000-2013. 2013 doesn't have a graph, however, due to not even being 2 months into 2013. Click for a bigger image.




Scale is everything... I was confused at first, until I looked left at the scale. Perhaps you should start at 0?
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After at least an hour of work, I have put together a graph of the number of tornadoes from 2000-2013. 2013 doesn't have a graph, however, due to not even being 2 months into 2013. Click for a bigger image. I had a slight issue on the bottom, as the bars don't start at 900. The numbers are graph is still correct, it just starts a little lower than I intended.


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Good morning Mate!

G'evening everyone up over!
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Quoting indianrivguy:
anyone remember what we are talking about?

Nope, Not I.
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anyone remember what we are talking about?
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Well, that storm seems to had taken a powder(literally). It left .34 of rain here and went and drifted over to Arizona and had its way with them. Heard Tucson got snow. Yesterday was 57.1 and today was 60.5 with a 30% chance of rain. Nothing today as far as precipitation.
Got about 3 degrees warmer than it was supposed to. Back to normal
by the Daytona 500 on Sunday.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5901
998. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Seychelles Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #11
CYCLONE TROPICAL HARUNA (09-20122013)
4:00 AM RET February 21 2013
=======================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Cyclone Haruna (965 hPa) located at 22.3S 41.4E has 10 minute sustained winds of 80 knots with gusts of 115 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving east at 2 knots.

Hurricane Force Winds
=======================
50 NM radius from the center, extending up to 55 NM in the northeastern quadrant

Storm Force Winds
=================
65 NM radius from the center, extending up to 70 NM in the south

Gale Force Winds
===================
80 NM radius from the center, extending up to 85 NM in the south

Near Gale Force Winds
======================
105 NM radius from the center, extending up to 120 NM in the southeastern quadrant, and up to 140 NM in the northeastern quadrant

Dvorak Intensity: T5.0/5.0/D1.5/24 HRS

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
12 HRS: 22.3S 41.8E - 85 knots (CYCLONE Tropical)
24 HRS: 22.1S 42.5E - 90 knots (CYCLONE Tropical Intense)
48 HRS: 24.2S 44.4E - 35 knots (Depression sur Terre)
72 HRS: 26.2S 48.2E - 30 knots (Depression Tropicale)

Additional Information
========================
Haruna continue to present a very well defined regular eye pattern. Top clouds are recently cooling in the eyewall. Current intensity is based on 3 hrs average of manual Dvorak analysis. It is in good agreement with others available intensity estimates. SATCON of 22z that taking into account the N19 pass of 2237z with excellent field of view suggest a max 10 min winds in the 70-80 knots range.

An upper to mid level trough, well depicted on water vapor imagery south of 30.0S and near 36.0E, is transiting south of the system. Under combined influence of a westerly steering flow present to the north of the trough and a south southeasterly steering flow associated with the mid levels highs located over southern Africa, the system should continue on a slow eastwards or northeastwards track. From Friday to Sunday, as the trough bypass the system, and Haruna should be embedded within a northwesterly steering flow on the southwestern side of the near equatorial ridge.

Over high energetic potential seas (29-30C) and under the upper level ridge, system should gradually strengthen until it gets close to Madagascar. However as the system is still expected to move slowly today, a temporarily weakening trend could still occur until the system will move away from system's self-induced cool waters..

Haruna presents an important threat for the southwestern coasts of Madagascar. An impact appear as quasi a certitude .. However, the shape of the forecast track, combined with some still significant discrepancies among the numerical guidance and the shape of the coast in that area ... Do not allow to pinpoint right now the exact location of the landfall. The potential area of landfall is still rather wide and run from Morombe southeastwards to Androka (about 120 km along the coast to the west northwest of the southern tip of Madagascar). Uncertainty exists also for the time of landfall, although Friday or Friday night is highly suggested by the guidance. Inhabitants of this area should monitor the evolution of this system and stay tuned with information provided by their national weather services.

After the system would get back over waters to the south-east of Madagascar (Sunday and beyond), the system should be within a barometric col situation and should gradually slow down. At the end of the forecast period, Haruna could miss the trough and not moves towards the mid-lats. As a low to mid-level highs should build by the southwest, a gradual turn towards the north or the northwest could be expected. Over that portion of the forecast track,environmental conditions appear unfavorable (strong northwesterly wind shear and cooler sea surface temperatures). However, some modest intensification may be possible.

Given the high spread shown by the models, there is a higher than usual uncertainty in the track forecast of that system.
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Quoting pottery:

Forgetting?
Or remembering??

Sorry, but what are you two talking about. Oh wait, maybe you've forgotten already. LOL
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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.