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a core project of
2018WCRPspon col July2018 01 1

JOverland- Summer Arctic Sea Ice Loss

Description

Multiple Groups (AMAP, WCRP, National Programs), as well as the climate research community and the general public, are interested in this question for adaptation planning and as a popular indicator of climate change. The observed rapid loss of thick, multi-year sea ice over the last seven years and September 2012 Arctic sea ice extent reduction of nearly 50 % relative to 1979-2000 climatology appear inconsistent with projections of a nearly sea ice free summer Arctic of 2070 and beyond made just a few years ago.  A survey of recent scientific literature suggests three scientific approaches to estimating the timing of future sea ice loss: extrapolation of sea ice volume data, assuming several more rapid loss events such as 2007 and 2012, and climate model projections. Time horizons for a nearly sea ice free September (<1.0 M km2) for these three approaches are roughly 2020, 2030, and 2040. Loss estimates from models are based on a subset of the most rapid ensemble members. It is not possible to choose one approach over another depending on relative weights given to data versus models.  Observations and citations support the conclusion that current rapid Arctic change is likely out of sample for many Global Climate Models’ results in the CMIP5 archive due to multiple causes.  Recent data and expert opinion should be considered in addition to model results in suggesting the timing of future sea ice loss.

Jim proposed that CliC and its Arctic Sea Ice Working Group address the question: What is a reasonable composite summer sea ice loss estimate and range, based on model projections, data, and expert judgment? This should be a short report.

Presented by James Overland, NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Seattle, WA, USA, at the 9th CliC Scientific Steering Group meeting in Potsdam, Germany 2013.


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