The Cloudy Future of Arctic Sea Ice

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/15oct_seaice2/

The Cloudy Future of Arctic Sea Ice

**Oct 15, 2014: ** Climate change is a global phenomenon, yet Earth scientists are keeping a wary eye on one place in particular–the Arctic.

“Polar regions are important for us to study right now,” explains Tom Wagner of NASA’s Earth Science Division in Washington DC. “They are changing rapidly.”
One of the most visible of signs of warming is the retreat of Arctic sea ice. Every year, sea ice waxes and wanes in a normal response to the changing of seasons; the annual sea ice minimum occurs near the end of northern summer. Since the 1970s, researchers carefully watched to see if the rhythm of Arctic sea ice would respond to global warming.
At first there was little systematic change. Then came the 2000s.
“We started to see dramatic changes around 2005,” recalls Walt Meier of NASA Goddard. “In 2007 the bottom seemed to fall out.” By the end of that year’s melt season, the Arctic Ocean had lost a chunk of ice cover equivalent to the combined size of Alaska and Texas. “There was a lot of shock in the sea ice community. I don’t remember anyone thinking it could get that low that quickly,” Meier says.

What had been missing from most analyses, which focused on the shrinking area of sea ice, was the fact that the ice had also thinned over the past decades, making it much more vulnerable to weather and warming.

Since 2007, sea ice has continued to decline, on average, with annual ups and downs. The current minimum in Sept. 2014 is slightly lower than 2013’s, making it the sixth lowest in the satellite record. At one point a small area of the Laptev Sea ice edge was only five degrees of the North Pole.

“Every day we are learning more about the implication these changes have for the rest of the planet,” continues Wagner. “Change in Arctic sea ice is probably influencing our weather.”
Click to visit the ARISE home page
To investigate that possibility, NASA is flying an airborne mission over the Arctic Ocean. Its name is ARISE, short for “Arctic Radiation-IceBridge Sea and Ice Experiment.”

Bill Smith, the project’s Principal Investigator from the Langley Research Center, explains the mission’s goals: “We have reason to believe that loss of sea ice creates more clouds. Basically, we want to find out if that’s true and to determine the impacts.”

Ice reflects sunlight back to space. If the ice melts, that sunlight is no longer reflected; it is absorbed. Moisture released from the warming sea surface rises up to form clouds. Clouds themselves reflect sunlight, but they also act like a blanket, keeping the earth beneath them warm.

The interplay between clouds and ice, cooling and warming, is complex. ARISE aims to unravel the knot by taking a lot of data:

“Our C-130 is instrumented with a unique complement of sensors,” says Smith. “We have radiometers pointed up and down to measure incoming and outgoing sunlight; an infrared thermometer to measure the temperature of the sea surface, a laser altimeter to measure the height (and thus the thickness) of the ice; and more.”

Earth-orbiting satellites regularly make measurements of the Arctic, but the region is big and complex, so the data can be difficult to interpret. By comparing C-130 measurements with satellite data taken at the same time, Smith and colleagues hope to add some “ground truth” to the problem.

“We need more information to understand how to interpret satellite measurements, and an aircraft can help with that,” he says.

If climate change continues apace, future summers could bring an ice-free Arctic Ocean. ARISE could tell us some of the implications … before that happens.
Credits:
Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Production editor: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA
More information:
ARISE – home page
2014 Arctic Sea Ice Minimum 6th Lowest on Record – Science@NASA
One of the most visible of signs of warming is the retreat of Arctic sea ice. Every year, sea ice waxes and wanes in a normal response to the changing of seasons; the annual sea ice minimum occurs near the end of northern summer. Since the 1970s, researchers carefully watched to see if the rhythm of Arctic sea ice would respond to global warming.
At first there was little systematic change. Then came the 2000s.
“We started to see dramatic changes around 2005,” recalls Walt Meier of NASA Goddard. “In 2007 the bottom seemed to fall out.” By the end of that year’s melt season, the Arctic Ocean had lost a chunk of ice cover equivalent to the combined size of Alaska and Texas. “There was a lot of shock in the sea ice community. I don’t remember anyone thinking it could get that low that quickly,” Meier says.

What had been missing from most analyses, which focused on the shrinking area of sea ice, was the fact that the ice had also thinned over the past decades, making it much more vulnerable to weather and warming.

Since 2007, sea ice has continued to decline, on average, with annual ups and downs. The current minimum in Sept. 2014 is slightly lower than 2013’s, making it the sixth lowest in the satellite record. At one point a small area of the Laptev Sea ice edge was only five degrees of the North Pole.

“Every day we are learning more about the implication these changes have for the rest of the planet,” continues Wagner. “Change in Arctic sea ice is probably influencing our weather.”

Click to visit the ARISE home page
To investigate that possibility, NASA is flying an airborne mission over the Arctic Ocean. Its name is ARISE, short for “Arctic Radiation-IceBridge Sea and Ice Experiment.”

Bill Smith, the project’s Principal Investigator from the Langley Research Center, explains the mission’s goals: “We have reason to believe that loss of sea ice creates more clouds. Basically, we want to find out if that’s true and to determine the impacts.”

Ice reflects sunlight back to space. If the ice melts, that sunlight is no longer reflected; it is absorbed. Moisture released from the warming sea surface rises up to form clouds. Clouds themselves reflect sunlight, but they also act like a blanket, keeping the earth beneath them warm.

The interplay between clouds and ice, cooling and warming, is complex. ARISE aims to unravel the knot by taking a lot of data:

“Our C-130 is instrumented with a unique complement of sensors,” says Smith. “We have radiometers pointed up and down to measure incoming and outgoing sunlight; an infrared thermometer to measure the temperature of the sea surface, a laser altimeter to measure the height (and thus the thickness) of the ice; and more.”

Earth-orbiting satellites regularly make measurements of the Arctic, but the region is big and complex, so the data can be difficult to interpret. By comparing C-130 measurements with satellite data taken at the same time, Smith and colleagues hope to add some “ground truth” to the problem.

“We need more information to understand how to interpret satellite measurements, and an aircraft can help with that,” he says.

If climate change continues apace, future summers could bring an ice-free Arctic Ocean. ARISE could tell us some of the implications … before that happens.
Credits:
Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Production editor: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA


I saw nothing to note the record amount of ice in Antarctica this year…looks like they left important facts out…again. Climate changes live with it! When it’s not cold up north I bet it is really cold down south. Picking and choosing facts to match your belief is not science. It is now an opinion piece not a scientific article

Thanks for your thought but I only post what comes to me .
This from NASA science ,
They seem to be a leader in many things .
If you have any info to dispute what they say it sure would be nice of you to post it .

Thanks … Roy

Looked at the above post and it took me to this INFO ,that you ,might like to read

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/12may_noturningback/

West Antarctic Glaciers in Irreversible Decline

May 12, 2014: Over the years, as temperatures around the world have ratcheted upward, climate change researchers have kept a wary eye on one place perhaps more than any other: The West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and particularly the fastest melting part of it, the glaciers that flow into the Amundsen Sea.
In that region, six glaciers hang in a precarious balance, partially supported by land, and partially floating in waters just offshore. There’s enough water frozen in the ice sheet that feeds these icy giants to raise global sea levels by 4 feet—if they were to melt. That’s troubling because the glaciers are melting. Moreover, a new study finds that their decline appears to be unstoppable.
We’ve passed the point of no return," says Eric Rignot, a glaciologist working jointly at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California, Irvine. Rignot and colleagues have used 19 years of satellite radar data to map the fast-melting glaciers. In their paper, which has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, they conclude that “this sector of West Antarctica is undergoing a marine ice sheet instability that will significantly contribute to sea level rise” in the centuries ahead.
A key concept in the Rignot study is the “grounding line”—the dividing line between land and water underneath a glacier. Because virtually all melting occurs where the glaciers’ undersides touch the ocean, pinpointing the grounding line is crucial for estimating melt rates.
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The problem is, grounding lines are buried under thousands of feet of glacial ice. “It’s challenging for a human observer to figure out where they are,” Rignot explains. “There’s nothing obvious that sticks out on the surface to say, ‘This is where the glacier goes afloat.’”
To find the hidden grounding lines, they examined radar images of the glaciers made by the European Space Agency’s Earth Remote Sensing satellites from 1992 to 2011. Glaciers flex in response to tides. By analyzing the flexing motions, they were able to trace the grounding lines.
This led to a key discovery. In all the glaciers they studied, grounding lines were rapidly retreating away from the sea.
Click on the image to view more animations related to this story. More
“In this sector, we are seeing retreat rates that we don’t see anywhere else on Earth,’” Rignot says. Smith Glacier’s line moved the fastest, retreating 22 miles upstream. The other lines retreated from 6 to 19 miles.
As the glaciers melt and lose weight, they float off the land where they used to sit. Water gets underneath the glacier and pushes the grounding line inland. This, in turn, reduces friction between the glacier and its bed. The glacier speeds up, stretches out and thins, which drives the grounding line to retreat farther inland.
This is a “positive feedback loop” that leads to out of control melting.
The only natural factor that can slow or stop this process is a “pinning point” in the bedrock – a bump or projection that snags the glacier from underneath and keeps it from sliding toward the sea. To investigate this possibility, the researchers made a novel map of the bed beneath the glaciers using radar and other data from satellites and NASA’s airborne IceBridge mission. The map revealed that the glaciers had already floated off many of their small pinning points.
In short, there seems to be no turning back.
“At current melt rates,” concludes Rignot, “these glaciers will be ‘history’ within a few hundred years.”
Credits:
Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Production editor: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA
Web Links:

The Unstable West Antarctic Ice Sheet – a primer

Loss of Glaciers Appears Unstoppable

And I can find 15 articles that say the opposite. Here is one after a 5 second search

Thanks Louis now here is the rest of the NATIONAL story and it seems to confirm what NASA has reported .

increasing.
In fact, in late September, satellite data indicated that Antarctica was surrounded by the greatest area of sea ice ever recorded in the region: 7.51 million square miles (19.44 million square kilometers), the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center announced Thursday. Even so, it’s a slow rate of growth—about one percent over last year—not nearly enough to offset melting in the Arctic, which broke records just weeks ago.

National Geographic asked Eric Rignot, a NASA researcher and earth systems professor at UC Irvine, whether the data is good news, and what it means for the rise of global sea levels, which are fueled by melting ice.
This Antarctic record seems counter to what we often hear about sea ice shrinking. How can we explain growing sea ice?
If the world was warming up uniformly, you would expect the sea ice cover to decrease in the Antarctic, but it’s not. The reason for that is because the Antarctic is cooler than the rest of the world. It’s warming up as well but not as fast as other places.
So you have the warming world and a cold Antarctica, and the difference between the two is increasing. That makes the winds around Antarctica move a little bit faster. There’s also a difference that comes from the depletion of ozone in the stratosphere in the Antarctic, which makes the stratosphere colder.
That’s the leading explanation for what we’re seeing in the Antarctic, but you have to acknowledge that the effect is very small.
How does this news relate to other studies showing that the melting of Antarctic continental ice is contributing to a rise in sea level?
[Growing sea ice] has no effect whatsoever on sea level, because sea ice is already floating on the ocean. It does not displace sea level. It’s frozen seawater, so whether it’s frozen or liquid, it doesn’t change the sea level.
While Arctic sea ice is decreasing, the Antarctic is now slightly increasing. Why is there so much variation between Arctic and Antarctic ice?
Well we have a continent on the South Pole. On the North Pole we have nothing but ocean. In the Arctic you see full-fledged warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, plus increased ice transport [out of the region, which removes cold air and water]. So all of these effects contribute to reduce the sea ice cover in the Arctic.
In the Antarctic, you have to think of it as its own climate system. It’s a big continent isolated from the rest of the world. It has ocean all around it. It has wind regimes that blow clockwise around it and isolate it. It acts differently from the Arctic, which is completely connected to the rest of the North Hemisphere.
Considering we regularly hear about the planet’s stressed climate system, is this good news?
Really, it’s consistent with our understanding of a warming world. Some of the regional details are not something we can easily predict. But the general trends of decay of the sea ice cover and decay of the Greenland ice sheets and ice caps is in line with what we expect.
The Antarctic has not been warming up as fast as the models thought. It’s warming up, but slower. So it’s all consistent with a warming planet.
Note: Interview has been condensed and edited.

More on Melting Ice and Antarctica

That is ALL speculation and is not SCIENTIFICALLY backed! That is the problem. I get tired of everyone speculating and pawning it off as science. It even says in the article it is speculation. Sorry Roy. When there are facts I will listen.

Thanks I do feel we are both reading good scientific reports .
Be interesting to see what next summer brings us .
It is obvious there was more open water in the Canadian Artic this year .
Canada has been looking for http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/10/01/franklin_expedition_ship_identified_as_hms_erebus.html

September 2014 was the hottest on record
Record temperature follows broken records this past May, June and August

‘This is one of many indicators that climate change not stopped.’- Donald Wuebbles, University of Illinois

Here is another story speaking about how people use the word science when they are exaggerating and are bluffing. This is what I am talking about. What these people are referring to as science is not actually science
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/10/21/paypal-co-founder-is-skeptical-of-man-made-global-warming-for-this-reason/

Even though I thing NASA is one of the most corrupt government agencies in America, here is another story on it(since you seem to like to post NASA stories)