Physicist: “If temperatures change just a few tenths of a degree then this oh-so-thin ice cap is doomed.”
Memo to media: Ignore the misreporting on the Arctic that focuses on sea-ice extent or area. The big Arctic news is the staggering decline in multiyear ice — ice volume. No study has yet been published undermining our understanding that human emissions are the primary cause of that long-term decline — a decline that shows no sign of reversal.
The real news from the Arctic is the staggering decline in thicker, multi-year ice [red line] — as seen in the above figure from leading cryoscientists who authored the 2009 study, “Thinning and volume loss of the Arctic Ocean sea ice cover: 2003-2008″ (discussed here). Studies that focus on trying to correlate sea ice extent (i.e. area) with variables that might reduce ice cover border on purely pointless right now because:
- Trends in multi-year ice — ice volume — are what matter most in terms of the long-term survivability of the Arctic ice in the summer (see New study supports finding that “the amount of [multi-year] sea ice in the northern hemisphere was the lowest on record in 2009″).
- It now appears that an unfortunate trick of Nature helped hide the ongoing decline of Arctic ice from satellite and other measurements — measurements that suggested two-dimensional recovery of sea ice extent in 2009. See the study “Perennial pack ice in the southern Beaufort Sea was not as it appeared in the summer of 2009.”