Global WarmingScience

Arctic Sea Ice Reaches Third Lowest in History

The 2010 Arctic sea ice minimum extent appears to be the third lowest in recorded history, reaching out only 4.76 million square kilometres (1.84 million square miles).

While the minimum extent is still greater than the first and second lowest minimum extent’s – 2007 and 2008 – this year’s minimum is still well below the long-term average and well outside the average explained by natural climate variability.

“We are still looking at summers with an ice-free Arctic Ocean in perhaps 20 to 30 years,” said Mark Serreze, a professor in CU-Boulder’s geography department.

Here are the stats;

  • The 2010 minimum extent is 240,000 square kilometres (93,000 square miles) above the 2008 numbers
  • The 2010 minimum extent is 630,000 square kilometres (240,000 square miles) above the record low in 2007
  • The 2010 sea ice extent is 340,000 square kilometres (130,000 square miles) below the 2009 numbers
  • The 2010 minimum is 1.95 million square kilometres (753,000 square miles) below the 1879-2000 average minimum
  • The 2010 minimum is 1.62 million square kilometres (625,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2010 average minimum.

Source: University of Colorado at Boulder

  1. Orkneygal

    Data Analysis of Recent Warming Pattern in the Arctic

    Masahiro Ohashi1) and H. L. Tanaka2)

    1) Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba
    2) Center for Computational Sciences, University of Tsukuba


    In this study, we investigate the mechanism of the arctic warming pattern in surface air temperature (SAT) and sea ice concentrations over the last two decades in comparison with global warming since the 1970s.
    According to the analysis result, it is found that the patterns of SAT and sea ice before 1989 are mostly determined by the Arctic Oscillation (AO) in winter. In contrast, arctic warming patterns after 1989 are characterized by the intensification of the Beaufort High and the reduced sea-ice concentrations in summer induced by the positive ice-albedo feedback.

    It is concluded that the arctic warming before 1989 especially in winter was explained by the positive trend of the AOI. Moreover the intensified Beaufort High and the drastic decrease of the sea ice concentrations in September after 1989 were associated with the recent negative trend of the AOI. Since the decadal variation of the AO is recognized as the natural variability of the global atmosphere, it is shown that both of decadal variabilities before and after 1989 in the Arctic can be mostly explained by the natural variability of the AO not by the external response due to the human activity.


    Author’s Commentary

    “According to our result, the rapid warming during 1970-1990 contains a large fraction of unpredictable natural variability due to the AO. The subsequent period of 1990-2010 indicates a clear trend of the AO to be negative. The global warming has been stopped by natural variability superimposed on the gentle anthropogenic global warming. The important point is that the IPCC models have been tuned perfectly to fit the rapid warming during 1970-1990 by means of the ice-albedo feedback (anthropogenic forcing) which is not actually observed. IPCC models are justified with this wrong scientific basis and are applied to project the future global warming for 100 years in the future. Hence, we warn that the IPCC models overestimate the warming trend due to the mislead Arctic Oscillation.”

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