The Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research (CCAR) predicts “a 59 percent chance the annual minimum sea ice record will be broken this fall for the third time in five years.” Pretty amazing prediction when you consider we supposedly had record refreezing of Arctic ice last fall and are only now coming out of a month-long Ice Age.
According to the researchers, “63 percent of the Arctic ice cover is younger than average, and only 2 percent is older than average“:
“Based on the current sea ice conditions, aerospace engineering Research Professor Jim Maslanik said the Northern Sea Route — the shipping lane from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean along the Russian coastline — might also open up this summer. “It also is quite possible that extensive ice-free conditions could develop at or near the North Pole,” said Maslanik.
In January 2008, a team led by Maslanik and involving CCAR’s Drobot, Charles Fowler and William Emery, as well as Julienne Stroeve of CU-Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and NASA’s Jay Zwally and Donghui Yi, concluded there had been a nearly complete loss of the oldest, thickest Arctic sea ice. The team calculated that 58 percent of the remaining Arctic sea ice was thin and only two to three years old.
The researchers used passive microwave, visible infrared radar and laser altimeter satellite data from NOAA, NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as ocean buoys to measure and track sections of sea ice. They developed “signatures” of individual ice sections roughly 15 miles square using their thickness, roughness, snow depth and ridge characteristics, tracking them over the seasons and years as they moved around the Arctic.
Colarado’s Arctic Regional Ice Forecasting System group is “the only research group in the world currently making seasonal Arctic sea ice forecasts based on probability.” Significantly, “Last summer the CCAR Arctic Regional Ice Forecasting System group, which has been making Arctic sea ice forecasts for the past six years, correctly forecast the 2007 record minimum.”