Nordic Sea Ice Expansion 

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Arctic Forecast: Nordic Sea Ice Expansion

18 Jan 07 - What’s the first image that comes to mind when you hear the term "global warming"? The most common is that of melting ice. (The image that comes to our mind is that of Al Gore recently pretending to be a research professor on The Oprah Winfrey Show.) What we hear little about from the global warming crusade is research findings that suggest that a measure of the recent atmospheric warming is part of a natural cycle or that the impacts are far less than what is portrayed.

In an article recently appearing in the Journal of Geophysical Research, Dmitry Divine and Chad Dick (2006) of the Norwegian Polar Institute report on their use of historical observations of ice cover in the Nordic Seas region to construct time series of warm season ice edge position dating back to 1750.

Divine and Dick found a persistent ice retreat within the region since the second half of the 19th century. However, their analysis also indicates that the decreasing trend is being superimposed on multidecadal oscillations in ice edge position. Their work suggests the presence of a 60-80 year variability and two- to three-decadal oscillations in ice extent. Divine and Dick associate the multidecadal oscillations "with the so-called low-frequency oscillation found in Arctic climate and possibly associated with the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation variability." 

The researchers further conclude that since the last Arctic cold period occurred in the late 1960s, it is likely that the Arctic ice pack is now at the height of its low frequency variability. They also note that "a similar shrinkage of ice cover was observed in the 1920s–1930s, during the previous warm phase of the low-frequency oscillation, when any anthropogenic influence is believed to have still been negligible." 

So, maybe greenhouse gas induced warming has a lot less to do with the recent retreat in ice extent than what has been portrayed.

Based on their, Divine and Dick offer an interesting forecast for the Nordic seas region of the Arctic: "We suppose therefore that during decades to come, as the negative phase of the thermohaline circulation evolves, the retreat of ice cover may change to an expansion."

An expansion of Arctic sea ice! Now that’s a forecast that you probably haven’t heard anywhere else!

See entire article:
Thanks to Rick Fanning for this link


Divine, D.V. and C. Dick. 2006. Historical variability of sea ice edge position in the Nordic Seas, Journal of Geophysical Research, 111, 10.1029/2004JC002851



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