Sunday, June 16, 2013

Arctic Sea Ice September 2013 Projections

What will the Arctic Sea Ice look like in September 2013?

Several projections for Arctic sea ice extent are being discussed at places such as ARCUS (Arctic Research Consortium of the United States) and the Arctic Sea Ice Blog. The image below, from ARCUS, shows various projections of September 2013 arctic sea extent (defined as the monthly average for September) with a median value of 4.1 million square kilometers, with quartiles of 3.8 and 4.4 million square kilometers.

Note that sea ice extent in the above projections is defined as area of ocean with at least 15% ice, in line with the way the NSIDC calculates extent. By contrast, the Danish Meteorological Institute includes areas with ice concentration higher than 30% to calculate ice extent.

Rather than looking at the projected average for September, one could also project the minimum value for September 2013. And rather than looking at sea ice extent, one could also look at sea ice area, which differs from sea ice extent as the NSIDC FAQ page describes:
A simplified way to think of extent versus area is to imagine a slice of Swiss cheese. Extent would be a measure of the edges of the slice of cheese and all of the space inside it. Area would be the measure of where there is cheese only, not including the holes. That is why if you compare extent and area in the same time period, extent is always bigger.

Above image shows Sam Carana's projected minimum area of 2 million square km for 2013, based on data by Cryosphere Today and on numerous factors, such as continued warming of the water underneath the ice, stronger cyclones, etc.
Roughly in line with above image, by Wipneus, Sam Carana's projection for Arctic sea ice minimum volume is 2,000 cubic km in September 2013.

Readers are invited to submit comments below with further projections.

1 comment:

  1. With a month to go, it looks like we will be at the high end of the range, 4.9 to 5.0 m. sq. km.