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Earth Science

NOAA: Arctic Likely Free Of Summer Ice By 2050 — Possibly Much Sooner 335

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have published research into the shrinking levels of sea ice in the Arctic. They wanted to figure out how long it would take before summer sea ice disappeared entirely. Since there's no perfect model for predicting ice levels, they used three different methods. All three predicted the Arctic would be nearly free of summer sea ice by the middle of the century, and one indicated it could happen as early as 2020. Two of the methods were based on observed sea ice trends. If ice loss proceeds as it has in the past decade, we get the 2020 timeframe. If ice loss events are large, like the 2007 and 2012 events, but happen at random some years, the estimate is pushed back to 2030. The third method uses global climate models to 'predict atmosphere, ocean, land, and sea ice conditions over time.' This model pushes the timeframe back to 2040 at the earliest, and around 2060 as the median (abstract). One of the study's authors, James Overland, said, "Rapid Arctic sea ice loss is probably the most visible indicator of global climate change; it leads to shifts in ecosystems and economic access, and potentially impacts weather throughout the northern hemisphere. Increased physical understanding of rapid Arctic climate shifts and improved models are needed that give a more detailed picture and timing of what to expect so we can better prepare and adapt to such changes. Early loss of Arctic sea ice gives immediacy to the issue of climate change."
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NOAA: Arctic Likely Free Of Summer Ice By 2050 — Possibly Much Sooner

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  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @01:53PM (#43441311) Homepage

    The only chance (and it's a damned small one) of getting the various political entities motivated to actually do something is for major shifts to happen in a time frame so obvious that even Rush Limbaugh can figure out there is an issue. If the Arctic weather system collapses, pushes the jet stream away and lets Europe freeze ...
    Damn it again.
    That'll just confuse them even more.
    We're doomed.

    • by emilper ( 826945 )

      what, will the political entities regulate the sun to run smoother ?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ColdWetDog ( 752185 )

        Left up to some US state legislators, they'd probably try.

        Look you loons, the climate IS changing, humans ARE pushing the carrying capacity of the planet, things ARE going to come to a head. Most likely in the lifetimes of some of the younger Slashdotters or at longest, their progeny (assuming a few will, like the original land dwelling animals, crawl out of the swamp and reproduce).

        Details left as an exercise for the student or their favorite dystopian author.

      • by tmosley ( 996283 )
        No, they will simply command the tides. Of both the seas and the people fleeing from the countries that these politicians have destroyed.
    • What makes you think Limbaugh doesn't know GW is happening?

      • by tmosley ( 996283 )
        I don't think ANY partisan has any sort of grasp on reality.

        Which is probably why I always get downmodded by members of both parties.
  • Finally (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 13, 2013 @01:56PM (#43441323)

    Do you know how long we've waiting for the Northwest Passage to open up? Finally we will be able to move goods between Europe and Asia in weeks rather than months!

  • There are other models that are based on solar modulation having to do with orbits and magnetic field strength. According to them, we're going back into the deep freeze 2020-2040, so don't worry about it.
  • Too late (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @01:57PM (#43441341) Journal
    Professor Wadhams at Cambridge already predicted the collapse by 2015. Here is a reference []. This site predicts 2030 at the latest [].

    Climatology isn't a dart board, you don't make a ton of predictions and then claim you are right when one of them hits. You go back and do further research to understand the climate better.
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Climatology isn't a dart board, you don't make a ton of predictions and then claim you are right when one of them hits.

      When there's a lot of scientists, there is likely to be a lot of predictions. Some may be well founded, some may just be lucky but the one scientist who made the right prediction is probably going to say he was right because he was. It's the model's performance over time that'll matter.

  • by dr2chase ( 653338 ) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @01:59PM (#43441353) Homepage

    One approach looks only at ice volume measurements, and explicitly ignores theory because the existing theoretical models failed to predict anything like the ice loss that we observed. Using the simplest accelerating-curve-fit, we get first ice free in September 2017, and six months per year ice free by 2025. []

  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @02:40PM (#43441625)

    We took a look at past average temperatures and plotted the standard deviation and where the last 10 years of temperatures lie. The odds of this being a natural trend basically exceeded the age of the universe.

  • When wasn't it? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Troed ( 102527 ) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @03:24PM (#43441857) Homepage Journal

    The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at Bergen, Norway.

    Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm.

    Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.

    - Washington Post, 1922

    ( based on this original: [] )

  • How quickly can you say BS?
  • Is the next real estate bubble.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?