Category Archives: Arctic

Animating global sea ice changes

Scientists can’t do everything by themselves. We need to engage the millions of citizens who are passionate about knowledge to help solve scientific mysteries and improve our understanding of the world around us.

There are many ways that anyone with a computer can help – volunteer to rescue old weather data or loan your computer’s CPU to simulate the climate, for example.

Those with more technical knowledge might also contribute by communicating climate change in novel ways. Recently, Kevin Pluck (a software engineer) created a global sea ice spiral which gained widespread attention on social media – here he tells Climate Lab Book how he did it. Continue reading Animating global sea ice changes

Predicting an ice-free Arctic summer

The melt of the summer sea ice in the Arctic is dramatic. Each September, when the ice reaches its annual minimum, there used to be around 7.5 million sq km of ice. It is now regularly below 5 million sq km, and hit a record low of 3.6 million sq km in 2012. This downward trend is projected to continue as global temperatures increase, but somewhat erratically.

The year at which the Arctic first becomes ‘ice-free’ (traditionally defined as 1 million sq km) is much discussed by scientists and the media, but is often a controversial topic. Continue reading Predicting an ice-free Arctic summer

Arctic sea-ice decline erratic as expected

Imagine a ball bouncing down a bumpy hill. Gravity will ensure that the ball will head downwards. But, if the ball hits a bump at a certain angle it might move horizontally or even upwards for a time, before resuming its inevitable downward trajectory. This bouncing ball is an analogy for the behaviour of Arctic sea-ice.

Post based on Swart et al., Nature Climate Change, or see a less technical summary. Continue reading Arctic sea-ice decline erratic as expected

Predictable September Arctic sea-ice minimum?

Arctic sea-ice extent varies considerably from year-to-year, especially in the summer. Skillful forecasts of the expected extent could be valuable to a wide range of Arctic stakeholders. But, how predictable is the Arctic sea-ice extent in summer? And, can more complex sea-ice models with improved representations of key physical processes improve forecasts? Continue reading Predictable September Arctic sea-ice minimum?