GRL publication in press: Recent and future changes of the Arctic Sea Ice Cover

The interest in the Arctic Sea Ice seems inversely proportional to the area covered, and has exploded after the record minimum in September 2007, which were not beaten this year (see below articles). The Arctic ice has in many ways become the “canary in the coal mine” of global warming, but at the same time global models show a large spread in future predictions of the Arctic energy budget.

The publication “Recent and future changes of the Arctic Sea Ice Cover” by Lars H. Smedsrud, Asgeir Sorteberg and Kjell Kloster (Nansen Center) is now in print for publication in Geophysical Research Letter.

In this paper the present and future state of the Arctic sea ice cover is explored using new observations and a coupled one dimensional air-sea-ice model. Updated satellite observations of Fram Strait ice area export increase over the last four years, with ~37% increase winter 2007-08. Atmospheric poleward energy flux declined since 1990, but advection of oceanic heat has recently increased. Simulations show that the ice area export is a stronger driver of thinning than the estimated ocean heat fluxes of 40 TW. Increased ocean heat transport will primarily raise Atlantic layer temperature. The ’present 2007’ state of the Arctic ice could be a stable state given the recent high ice area export, but if ocean heat advection and ice export decrease the ice cover will recover. A 2*CO2 scenario with export and oceanic heat flux remaining strong, forecasts a summer Arctic open ocean area of 95% around 2050.

The accepted (September 4th.) draft manuscript is available at:

ftp://ftp.nersc.no/Press/Smedsrud08.pdf