Over the past few months, the science media and those of us in the echo-chamber known as the blogosphere has been following the Arctic sea ice melt season with a fervour normally reserved for only for the hurricane season, and that arguably should also be applied to the summer fire season.
The chattering about this year’s record low may be giving the false impression that the Arctic sea ice dynamics are simple. A recent short paper in Geophysical Research Letters reminds us that the Arctic climate is complicated and the sea ice decline will not be smooth or orderly. The authors Jennifer Francis and Elias Hunter from Rutgers find that the factors influencing sea ice cover in the Bering Sea (that’s the Pacific side) and the
Between 1979 and 2005 in the
If you want a simple climate-ice connection, try a small temperate lake. There, mechanical (wind) action and ice dynamics have a relatively small effect on the areal ice coverage. The net accumulation of below-freezing temperatures in the fall is a very good indicator of the date of “ice on” – basically the inverse of how we predict coral bleaching. So when the late fall and early winter is warm, as happened last year in eastern North America, the lakes either freeze later or not at all. That’s little
Yes, limnologists do say “ice on” and “ice off” as if they are in a Canadian adaptation of the The Karate Kid. These days, it is probably safer for Ralph Macchio to clean the ice by hand. If this winter is as warm, I wouldn’t recommend driving a Zambonie out on the lake.