Seasonal low sea-ice cover in the Arctic

25 May 2020
In the Antarctic, the trend observed in the previous month continued, and the sea-ice extent developed in keeping with the long-term average. At the end of April the sea-ice extent was 8.26 million km²: just below the average value for the years 1981 – 2010 and well within the limit of two standard deviations from the mean for the reference period. In the Arctic after following the lowest-ever sea-ice extent for the month of April in 2019, this year the extent is only 204,000 km² larger, putting it in second place on the list of monthly mean values since 1979. Read more here...

 

Alarming projections for the Arctic: before 2050, the Arctic Ocean will likely be ice-free in summer!

20 May 2020
An international team of researchers from 21 institutes and led by Prof Dirk Notz from Universität Hamburg has caused analysed the outcomes of 40 different climate models, which will also be used in the upcoming sixth Assessment Report from the IPCC. One surprising finding presented in the study: even with ambitious climate protection measures, before 2050 the Arctic sea ice could largely melt in some summers, to the extent that the Arctic could be considered ice-free. meereisportal.de talked with Dirk Notz about the outcomes of the study and asked for his opinion on future developments. Read more here…

 

Rapid sea-ice drift during MOSAiC in 2020

15 May 2020
A team of scientists at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and Norwegian Polar Institute used satellite-derived sea-ice motion information to track the MOSAiC floe. They wanted to check if MOSAiC really drifted faster than it would have in recent years. The analysis described here concerns the MOSAiC expedition in the last four months. Read more here…

Making sea ice a hot topic – meereisportal.de collaborates with the FU Berlin when it comes to Social Media

30 April 2020
Since 2013 meereisportal.de has offered carefully prepared data and information on all aspects of sea ice, and gathered first-hand scientific findings (in German), so as to provide interested users with direct access to the topic. Accordingly, conveying complex interrelations and processes in an informative and straightforward way has always been a major priority for the portal, one of the most central knowledge transfer projects for the climate initiative REKLIM and the Alfred Wegener Institute. Seaiceportal.de is now exploring the advantages of modern communication channels like Social Media. It goes without saying that today, it’s not just the quality of information that counts, but also its reach and clarity. In this regard, meereisportal.de has seized the initiative and actively sought a dialogue with budding media experts. Read more…

Arctic spring begins with moderate ice conditions

20 April 2020
On 4 March 2020, the Arctic sea-ice extent reached its winter maximum at 14.98 million km² and has been steadily declining ever since. The value is now hovering near the bot-tom limit of two standard deviations and is slightly above the values from 2019. The mean value for March was 14.51 million km² (see Figure 2), which is only ca. 200,000 km² above the value for last year. Since reaching this year’s minimum (2.68 million km² on 19 February 2020), the Antarctic sea-ice extent has recovered rapidly, and is now showing a very similar development curve to the long-term average. Read more ...

 

meereisportal.de goes backt to school

17 April 2020
From 28 to 31 January 2020, the secondary school Beisenkamp Gymnasium in Hamm (Westphalia) hosted the 3rd project days; this year’s motto was “Beisenkamp for Future”. Seaiceportal.de was part of this event with the theme sea ice. In the course of the three days, 23 children from classes 5 through 11 intensively explored the topic of sea ice in different groups. Important results of the children:  We won’t forget the three days, which were full of work and new information, and we will tell others how important it is to protect the Arctic and Antarctic. Read more ...

 

Winter 2019/2020: Low sea-ice volume in the Arctic

3 April 2020
Combining satellite observations of sea-ice area and thickness allows us to compute the total amount of sea ice in the Arctic. In recent years, changes in sea-ice volume have typically ranged from 5,000 cubic kilometres for the minimum extent in October, to 20,000 for the maximum extent in April. The sea-ice volume computed from the CryoSat-2/SMOS observations for January 2020 shows the second-lowest volume since the beginning of the time series. Read more ...

Moderate Ice Conditions in the Arctic and Antarctic

10 March 2020
February / March and September are the months of the year in which Arctic and Antarctic sea ice reaches its minimum and maximum extent, respectively. While the summer minimum was reached in the Antarctic on 19 February 2020 (at 2.68 million km²), in the Arctic the extent has been growing steadily since the end of February, and hasn’t yet reached its winter maximum. Read more…

The 2019 tundra wildfires – the atmosphere hasn’t forgotten

6 March 2020
Though the devastating wildfires that raged in Canada, Alaska and Russia in the summer of 2019 have long-since become old news, in the Arctic stratosphere their impacts can still be clearly seen. The stratosphere is the part of our atmosphere beginning at an altitude of ca. 10 km. : “It’s too soon to quantify the effects of this unusual stratospheric aerosol concentration on the sea-ice formation this winter. But this is an area of research that is being investigated – by the ATMOSPHERE team on the MOSAiC expedition, and in the form of extensive measurements and probe work done both on the MOSAiC floe and at land-based stations like AWIPEV – so that it can be more accurately reflected in future climate models. Read more…

DriftStories from the 2019/2020 MOSAiC expedition through the Central Arctic

28 February 2020
With the DriftStories, once a month we’ll introduce a member of the ICE Team and share insights into the background of their research area. Together with the weekly Sea Ice Ticker, these stories will present the sea-ice-related work being done on site in more detail, and help readers understand the role of sea-ice research within the context of the MOSAiC expedition as a whole. We hope you enjoy reading them! Read more here…

 

A Stone’s Throw Away from the North Pole

24.02.2020
Four months into the MOSAiC drift campaign, the North Pole is less than 160 kilometres away. Current predictions by international forecast centres and researchers, collected and evaluated by the Sea Ice Drift Forecast Experiment (SIDFEx), suggest that there is a chance that the drift will take the expedition even further North. However, the tight grip of the westward Transpolar Driftstream makes it unlikely that the ship will pass the North Pole in the direction of North America. There is other good news: The probability to get pushed into the open ocean before October 2020 is still not more than 10-15%. Read more here...

 

Sea-ice extent in the Arctic and Antarctic at an average level

14 February 2020
In January the ice cover in the Arctic showed a comparable development to that seen in the past several years. Since the sea-ice extent in the Arctic is naturally limited by the coastlines of adjacent landmasses, the ice can only expand in the Atlantic sector, in the Barents, Bering and Greenland Seas, in the Sea of Okhotsk, and in the Davis Strait to the west of Greenland. The air temperature over the Arctic Ocean at 925 hPa was 1 to 3 °C higher than the long-term average. Further, major expanses of Siberia were much warmer than usual for this time of year. Read more here...

 

AWI’s Antarctic fast-ice monitoring programme in Atka Bay celebrates 10-year anniversary

31 January 2020
For more than ten years now, regular measurements have been taken of the fast ice, which normally breaks up during the southern summer, before drifting out of the bay into the Weddell Sea. These routine readings in Atka Bay are taken by the overwintering team at the Neumayer III station, starting as soon as the sea ice is safe to walk on (usually June), and ending when the ice starts breaking up in January or February. The team chiefly measures the thickness of the snow, fast ice and platelet ice along a 24-km-long west-to-east transect that spans Atka Bay. Read more here...

 

Climatology of atmospheric and oceanic forcing data: Essential information for understanding sea-ice formation processes

07th February 2020

The atmosphere is an important component in the climate system and is crucial to sea-ice formation. The air temperature, humidity, pressure and wind fields determine the circulation, and with it, the inflow of warm air masses from the temperate latitudes. In addition, the ocean temperature is the most important factor in determining whether sea ice grows or melts. “These new map products at meereisportal.de are an important resource for sea-ice research, but also provide valuable information for other academic and societal actors (e.g. those in the fishing industry, shipping, etc.) with an interest (ecological or economic) in climatic developments in the polar regions,” adds Dr Renate Treffeisen. Read more…

 

After two-and-a-half years, the adopt-a-buoy project draws to a close

13 January 2020
The ‘last survivor’ from the adopt-a-buoy project was the ice mass balance buoy (2018M11), which continued transmitting until 27 November 2019, when it, too, was lost in the marginal ice zone. In the course of 1 year, 9 months and 9 days, the buoy had traversed the Weddell Sea and covered a distance of more than 8200 km. To give the children a better idea of what this distance means, in the buoy biographies the sea-ice physicist described it as “the distance from Berlin to the North Pole – and back!”. Read more here...