Skip to comments.Major Arctic sea ice melt is expected this summer
Posted on 05/04/2008 10:45:34 AM PDT by kingattax
WASHINGTON - The Arctic will remain on thinning ice, and climate warming is expected to begin affecting the Antarctic also, scientists said Friday.
"The long-term prognosis is not very optimistic," atmospheric scientist Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University said at a briefing.
Last summer sea ice in the North shrank to a record low, a change many attribute to global warming.
But while solar radiation and amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are similar at the poles, to date the regions have responded differently, with little change in the South, explained oceanographer James Overland of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
What researchers have concluded was happening, was that in the North, global warming and natural variability of climate were reinforcing one another, sending the Arctic into a new state with much less sea ice than in the past.
"And there is very little chance for the climate to return to the conditions of 20 years ago," he added.
On the other hand, Overland explained, the ozone hole in the Antarctic masked conditions there, keeping temperatures low in most of the continent other than the peninsula reaching toward South America.
"So there is a scientific reason for why we're not seeing large changes in the Antarctic like we're seeing in the Arctic," he said.
But, Overland added, as the ozone hole recovers in coming years, global warming will begin to affect the South Pole also.
The briefing covered data being reported in a paper scheduled for publication next week in Eos, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
Overland said he used to be among those skeptical about the effects of global climate change. The new findings, which he termed "startling," were developed at a recent workshop, he said.
There is agreement between weather observations, the output of computer climate models and scientific expectations for what should happen, added Francis.
All the evidence points toward human-made changes at both poles, she said, a conclusion that "further depletes the arsenals of those who insist that human-caused climate change is nothing to worry about."
Climatologist Gareth Marshall of the British Antarctic Survey said that while the term global warming is widely used, things are more complicated at the regional level.
In the Antarctic, he explained, climate change strengthened winds blowing around the continent, helping trap colder air. But that will decrease in the future, allowing warmer conditions to begin, he said.
And, Marshall added, all studies now show that human activities are the drivers of climate change in the Antarctic.
Asked if this summer will match last year's record low sea ice in the North, Overland that is likely.
"The tea leaves point to a minimal amount of sea ice next September, that would be the same as we had last summer, 40 percent loss compared to 20 years ago," he said. Overland added that the winter freeze got a late start last fall.
Francis added: "Over this entire fall, winter and right up 'till today the ice concentration, the amount of ice that's floating around on the Arctic, has been below normal every single day."
"All arrows are pointing towards, certainly not a recovery, something like we had last summer and possibly worse," she said.
Sunlight shines just after midnight on a fjord near the Norwegian Arctic town of Longyearbyen in this April 26, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
Great! Maybe the Canadians can start raising corn and wheat in the Northwest Territories and help with the food crisis. It couldn’t come at a better time.
Didn’t the “so-called” experts predict a warmer/dryer winter too?
They have to keep the HOAX going somehow.
How about conditions a thousand years ago when it was warmer than it is now?
Ice melts in summer who knew ?!
Who knew -Oh, and they already warned us that the mid-west desert is getting warm - WOW
So that's where the global warming scientists are getting their information.
LOL...this discovery will stand modern 'science' on it's ear
“all studies now show that human activities are the drivers of climate change in the Antarctic”
What at crock!
Overland added, as the ozone hole recovers in coming years
Now it’s recovering?
Somehow the article managed to avoid mentioning that more Arctic sea ice developed this winter than in about 100 years.
I wonder why?
Just another sad consequence of Global Warming.
Uhhhh . . . no, you don’t. You really don’t.
Yes, interesting, it kinda melts in July and August in the northern hemisphere, and then it kinda melts in December and January in the southern hemisphere. This is a perplexing scientific mystery. //sarc//
Was talking to a moronic moobat last night. Showed him the spaceweather.com photo for the day showing no sunspots. His response? Spaceweather.com is run by the government, which is owned by the oil companies, so the picture was a fake. Not kidding, he really was that stupid. Sad thing is he votes...
Even leaving aside the absurdity of trying long-term prediction of a chaotic dynamical system, it seems the climate models left out the negative feedback effect of Arctic ice melting: the extra moisture falls as snow on land (of which there is a disproportionate amount in the Arctic, sub-Arctic and northern temperate zones) increasing the albedo of the earth, resulting in cooling sufficient to produce a colder and longer (in weather terms) winter.
(I’ve been pointing this flaw out for years to anyone who would listen, but then again I’m just a pure mathematician, so what could I know about mathematical models?)
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.