Clear seas in the Arctic by 2015

NASA published this report a month ago on the Arctic sea ice conditions over the past two years.

A couple of very suggestive observations are made and need to be noted. Of course, the fact that ice coverage has been reduced is obvious to everyone and the known 60% reduction in total ice volume between the two data collection dates of 1957 and 2000 has also been commented on extensively by myself. In fact, this has led to my own analysis and prediction of a likely date for total sea ice disappearance as early as 2015.

I am only able to say for sure that it should not be much sooner. The NASA report calls even that into question.

The last two years saw a significant shift in the arctic wind regime that has had the effect of speeding the clearing of the sea ice off most of the Arctic and inducing the release of substantial long term ice into the lower latitudes. The article reads as if this has never happened before or has never been observed before.

This presumably implies that a lot more atmospheric heat is now finding its way into the Arctic helping the process of melting along. This is new, then the next question is whether it will be stable. It certainly supports a global transition in the weather regime and explains the warmer winters that we have experienced in the temperate climes.

In any event, hugely larger open water areas allowed a lot more solar energy to be absorbed by the Arctic Ocean this summer, perhaps because this switch was turned on. The question is whether this is a new wind regime that helps bring northern temperate zones back to their pre little ice age highs.

It actually makes a lot of sense that this is exactly what will happen. The high temperatures experienced in Scandinavia over five hundred years ago could well be the result of a natural wind regime adding a couple of degrees of extra warmth in combination with a clearing out of sea ice from Arctic waters.

In other words, we have already reached the optimum temperatures previously established in the past and it is simply taking time for all the effects to be fully expressed.

The past two years have seen the Arctic start the clearing process in a fairly convincing manner. Even though I was even predicting the rapid decline long before the process was underway, I did not fully recognize the actual onset.

A permanent wind system that delivers heat into the Arctic is a natural and predictable outcome of an atmospheric warming cycle regardless of it's causes. How else might we get rid of surplus heat in the Northern Hemisphere?

A wind system sustained by an ice freed Arctic in the summer should be a powerful engine in spreading the new regime around the Arctic Basin.

The next interesting question will be if this trend is sustained as we go into the next season. I thought that last season's behavior was very much a part of the normal ebb and flow of the warming process itself.

I can now suggest that if this climate trend is shifting to a new Arctic regime, that the winds and related heat transfer will actually be as strong or stronger than this season and will continue to strengthen over the next several seasons until all the summer sea ice is gone and the system can stabilize.

In other words, clear sailing in the Arctic by 2015 is possibly more likely than ever.

No comments:

Post a Comment