Analysis of satellite data on dynamics of the extent of sea ice due to insolation contrast

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On the basis of theoretical calculations of insolation and Earth remote sensing data on the dynamics of the sea ice area in the Arctic Ocean, a close relationship between long-term changes in the sea ice area and annual insolation contrast in the Northern hemisphere was determined. The change in insolation contrast was generalized (in terms of the source and sink of heat) reflects the change in the meridional insolation gradient that regulates the meridional heat transfer in the ocean - atmosphere system. The regression model was used to make an estimated forecast of changes in the area of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. According to our estimates, the reduction of the average annual sea ice extent in the Arctic Ocean in 2050 will be 18.3% relative to 2018. The Maximum area (March) will be reduced by 10.1%, and the Minimum area (September) by 60.3%. The decrease in the area of sea ice is associated with an increase in the meridional gradient of insolation and meridional heat transfer resulting from a decrease in the inclination of the Earth's rotation axis in the present epoch.

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This paper addresses the specter of a September ice-free Arctic in the 21st century using newly available simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5). We find that large spread in the projected timing of the September ice-free Arctic in 30 CMIP5 models is associated at least as much with different atmospheric model components as with initial conditions. Here we reduce the spread in the timing of an ice-free state using two different approaches for the 30 CMIP5 models: (i) model selection based on the ability to reproduce the observed sea ice climatology and variability since 1979 and (ii) constrained estimation based on the strong and persistent relationship between present and future sea ice conditions. Results from the two approaches show good agreement. Under a high-emission scenario both approaches project that September ice extent will drop to ∼1.7 million km(2) in the mid 2040s and reach the ice-free state (defined as 1 million km(2)) in 2054-2058. Under a medium-mitigation scenario, both approaches project a decrease to ∼1.7 million km(2) in the early 2060s, followed by a leveling off in the ice extent.
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September 2008 followed 2007 as the second sequential year with an extreme summer Arctic sea ice extent minimum. Although such a sea ice loss was not indicated until much later in the century in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th Assessment Report, many models show an accelerating decline in the summer minimum sea ice extent during the 21st century. Using the observed 2007/2008 September sea ice extents as a starting point, we predict an expected value for a nearly sea ice free Arctic in September by the year 2037. The first quartile of the distribution for the timing of September sea ice loss will be reached by 2028. Our analysis is based on projections from six IPCC models, selected subject to an observational constraints. Uncertainty in the timing of a sea ice free Arctic in September is determined based on both within-model contributions from natural variability and between-model differences.
In September 2002, Arctic sea ice extent reached a minimum unprecedented in 24 years of satellite passive microwave observations, and almost certainly unmatched in 50 years of charting Arctic ice. Again, in September 2003, ice retreated to an unusually low extent, almost equaling the previous year's minimum. The Sea Ice Index (, an easy-to-use source of information on sea ice trends and anomalies, assists in observing these minima. The Sea Ice Index is intended for both researchers and the scientifically inclined general public.
In order to extend diagnoses of recent sea-ice variations beyond the past few decades, a century-scale digital dataset of Arctic sea-ice coverage has been compiled. For recent decades, the compilation utilizes satellite-derived hemispheric datasets. Regional datasets based primarily on ship reports and aerial reconnaissance are the primary inputs for the earlier part of the 20th century. While the various datasets contain some discrepancies, they capture the same general variations during their period of overlap. The outstanding feature of the time series of total hemispheric ice extent is a decrease that has accelerated during the past several decades. The decrease is greatest in summer and weakest in winter, contrary to the seasonality of the greenhouse changes projected by most global climate models. The primary spatial modes of sea-ice variability, diagnosed in terms of empirical orthogonal functions, also show a strong seasonality. The first winter mode is dominated by an opposition of anomalies in the western and eastern North Atlantic, corresponding to the well-documented North Atlantic Oscillation. The primary summer mode depicts an anomaly of the same sign over nearly the entire Arctic and captures the recent trend of sea-ice coverage.
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