Arctic Melt Trend Shows 10% Chance for Ice-Free Summer in 2013


New analysis of data produced by PIOMAS shows that, if current trends hold, Arctic sea ice may completely melt by end of summer 2013.

The above image, provided by Wipneus, is a graphical representation of current Arctic melt trends observed and produced by PIOMAS. The solid lines show past years’ sea ice volume measurements. The dotted line shows the predicted levels for 2013. At the bottom of the melt trough is an error bar, the lowest 10% of which is below the zero line.

So according to this statistical analysis, there’s a 10% chance of zero sea ice by end of summer 2013. Not a high chance, but the first time in any statistical measure that the possibility has arisen. And if melt trends hold, the chances for ice free summers increases year on year. By 2015, the chance for an ice-free summer jumps to around 40%.

These observed trends follow directly with predictions by Arctic sea ice experts like Peter
Wadhams who have asserted that zero ice is likely to be reached by or before 2015-2016.

“Climate change is no longer something we can aim to do something about in a few decades’ time,” Wadham said, urging that we need to immediately reduce CO2 emissions.

“This collapse, I predicted would occur in 2015-16 at which time the summer Arctic (August to September) would become ice-free. The final collapse towards that state is now happening and will probably be complete by those dates”.

The larger body of climate scientists appears to be far more conservative, estimating a final melt date sometime between 2030 and 2050. But even these estimates are significant advances from previous estimates of around 2080-2100. In any case, if sea ice volume losses in the Arctic continue to bear out, it appears likely that the Arctic sea ice will be entirely gone within the next six years and could possibly be gone much sooner. Possibly even next year.

Such an early melt-out would indicate a climate sensitivity far greater than even the most ‘alarmist’ scientific reports indicated. It would also show that the current, very rapid, rise of CO2 caused by human fossil fuel emissions from 280 ppm to over 394 ppm since 1880 is setting off a series of unprecedented changes to Earth and key Earth systems with a speed and violence few expected.


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