Study projects big thaw for Antarctic sea ice

From the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the department of unverifiable forecasts in our lifetime comes this model based projection.

Researchers say Ross Sea will reverse current trend, be largely ice free in summer by 2100

Antarctica’s Ross Sea is one of the few polar regions where summer sea-ice coverage has increased during the last few decades, bucking a global trend of drastic declines in summer sea ice across the Arctic Ocean and in two adjacent embayments of the Southern Ocean around Antarctica.

Now, a modeling study led by Professor Walker Smith of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science suggests that the Ross Sea’s recent observed increase in summer sea-ice cover is likely short-lived, with the area projected to lose more than half its summer sea ice by 2050 and more than three quarters by 2100. 

These changes, says Smith, will significantly impact marine life in what is one of the world’s most productive and unspoiled marine ecosystems, where rich blooms of phytoplankton feed krill, fish, and higher predators such as whales, penguins, and seals.

VIMS professor Walker Smith in Antarctica.

VIMS professor Walker Smith in Antarctica.

Smith, who has been conducting ship-based fieldwork in the Ross Sea since the 1980s, collaborated on the study with colleagues at Old Dominion University. Their paper, “The effects of changing winds and temperatures on the oceanography of the Ross Sea in the 21st century,” appears in the Feb. 26 issue of Geophysical Research Letters. Smith’s co-authors are Mike Dinniman, Eileen Hofmann, and John Klinck.

Smith says “The Ross Sea is critically important in regulating the production of Antarctica’s sea ice overall and is biologically very productive, which makes changes in its physical environment of global concern. Our study predicts that it will soon reverse its present trend and experience major drops in ice cover in summer, which, along with decreased mixing of the vertical column, will extend the season of phytoplankton growth. These changes will substantially alter the area’s pristine food web.”

Researchers attribute the observed increase in summertime sea ice in the Ross Sea—where the number of days with ice cover has grown by more two months over the past three decades—to a complex interplay of factors, including changes in wind speed, precipitation, salinity, ocean currents, and air and water temperature.

But global climate models agree that air temperatures in Antarctica will increase substantially in the coming decades, with corresponding changes in the speed and direction of winds and ocean currents. When Smith and his colleagues fed these global projections into a high-resolution computer model of air-sea-ice dynamics in the Ross Sea, they saw a drastic reduction in the extent and duration of summer sea ice.

The modeled summer sea ice concentrations decreased by 56% by 2050 and 78% by 2100. The ice-free season also grew much longer, with the mean day of retreat in 2100 occurring 11 days earlier and the advance occurring 16 days later than now.

Also changed was the duration and depth of the “shallow mixed layer,” the zone where most phytoplankton live. “Our model projects that the shallow mixed layer will persist for about a week longer in 2050, and almost three weeks longer in 2100 than now,” says Smith. “The depth of the shallow mixed layer will also decrease significantly, with its bottom 12% shallower in 2050, and 44% shallower in 2100 than now.”

The extent and duration of ice cover in the Ross Sea depends on a complex interplay of factors, including changes in wind speed, precipitation, salinity, ocean currents, and air and water temperature.

The extent and duration of ice cover in the Ross Sea depends on a complex interplay of factors, including changes in wind speed, precipitation, salinity, ocean currents, and air and water temperature.

For Smith, these changes in ice, atmosphere, and ocean dynamics portend major changes in the Antarctic food web. On the bright side, the decrease in ice cover will bring more light to surface waters, while a more persistent and shallower mixed layer will concentrate phytoplankton and nutrients in this sunlit zone. These changes will combine to encourage phytoplankton growth, particularly for single-celled organisms called diatoms, with ripples of added energy potentially moving up the food web.

But, Smith warns, the drop in ice cover will negatively affect several other important species that are ice-dependent, including crystal krill and Antarctic silverfish. A decrease in krill would be particularly troublesome, as these are the major food source for the Ross Sea’s top predators—minke whales, Adélie and Emperor penguins, and crabeater seals.

Overall, says Smith, “our results suggest that phytoplankton production will increase and become more diatomaceous. Other components of the Ross Sea food web will likely be severely disrupted, creating significant but unpredictable impacts on the ocean’s most pristine ecosystem.”

The authors were supported by the National Science Foundation grants ANT-0944254, ANT-0838948 and OCE-0927797.

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For the most current data on Antarctic sea ice, see the WUWT Sea Ice Reference Page: http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/

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Ray

“……global climate models agree that air temperatures in Antarctica will increase substantially in the coming decades, …………………………. When Smith and his colleagues fed these global projections into a high-resolution computer model of air-sea-ice dynamics….”
GIGO

TRG

The authors were supported by the National Science Foundation grants… what else is new.

Now, a modeling study led by Professor Walker Smith…
————
*YAWN*

Chuck L

“But global climate models agree that air temperatures in Antarctica will increase substantially in the coming decades, with corresponding changes in the speed and direction of winds and ocean currents.” Truly zombie science. It’s always “the climate models agree/show” and in this study, it happens 37 to 87 years from now when no one will be there to hold these partisan frauds accountable.

Peter Miller

National Science Foundations
Grants need to be renewed.
Complex models, but still unable to duplicate the real world.
Model predictions after most sceptics are safely in their boxes.
BS likelihood factor: >97%.

Joe Haberman

Gravy train science.

I’m waiting for the Headline “Climate Model Proved Right”
I have a prediction for 2100. I predict I’ll be dead by then.

“Now, a modeling study led by Professor Walker Smith of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science suggests
I have a model right here on this computer that suggests that pigs will fly with ease by the year 2100. We need a log of research funding to study ways to midigate the effects of these airborn porkers!
Oh my.

Gerry, England

‘But global climate models agree that air temperatures in Antarctica will increase substantially in the coming decades’…
….while actual measurement of air temperature probably won’t given that is what has happened so far. And ‘climate scientists’ will get stuck in the ice that according to the models won’t be there. I’m not sure I would have the cheek to draw a salary and then produce this sort of stuff.

Walter Allensworth

“Study projects big thaw for Antarctic sea ice”
Well, they’ve been wrong for the last 30 years on this one, so maybe, statistically, they’ll luck out and win one.
Reminds me of a common scam…
Send different stock picks to 10 different people.
One will pick will undoubtedly hit big.
Use this to convince this one person that you can do it all the time, and all they need to do to be rich is to entrust you with all of their money… Tadaaaaa!

are these the same models that cannot recreate historical climate? So lets take junk models and see what predictions we can come up with so that the co2 Munch Scream can be kept going? sept 2013 was supposed to be the last month of sea ice in the arctic?

OT
Very strong Geomagnetic storm started in the last hour (22 GMT)
http://flux.phys.uit.no/cgi-bin/plotgeodata.cgi?Last24&site=tro2a&
http://www.n3kl.org/sun/images/noaa_kp_3d.gif
Northern lights seen as far south as Norfolk, England

Tjataw

OK, take a Barbie and stuff her in a Chatty Cathy. The result is reality, right?
Models in models.

etudiant

The authors use historical temperatures and winds to verify their model. They then accept projected temperature increases of about 1.66 and 2.5 degrees C through 2050 and 2100 respectively to make their projections.
So the model may be quite reasonable, but its forecasts depend entirely on the assumed increases in Antarctic temperatures and wind shifts. Those changes remain entirely absent thus far.

Stephen Skinner

“The Ross Sea is critically important in regulating the production of Antarctica’s sea ice overall…”
Ascribing human attributes to the freezing process or likening it to a factory is not very helpful, and gives a false impression of some natural intention and is emotive.

Les Johnson

The arctic, which is demonstrably reducing in extent over the record, shows no significant change in the melt season. I show the date of maximum ice in the arctic is coming earlier by 4.5 days per century, but this is offset by the summer minimum also coming earlier by 4.0 days per century. The total melt season is only increasing 0.5 days per century.
Yet this study of the Ross Sea suggests an increase in the melt season by nearly a month?
I pray that “booster spice” is found soon, so these idiots are alive when the predictions are falsified.

Gil Dewart

One crucial factor here is the regime of the immense Ross Ice Shelf (not to be confused with “sea ice”), and its future is still very much “up in the air”.

Political Junkie

Another apocalyptic prediction that can only be tested after the authors’ projected retirement date – not that accuracy matters at all.
Paul Ehrlich made the apparently serious mistake of making predictions for the relatively short term future. He was shown to be demonstrably wrong on more things than nearly any other human being in history – yet he still enjoys rock star status with the alarmist crowd.
The scarier, the better – don’t sweat the facts.

Pat Kelly

Seems to me that a longer growth season for phytoplankton would be well received by the locals, but then I’m not a krill either. I prefer cheeseburgers.

D.J. Hawkins

The supplemental material notes that the 2046-2050 temperature increase is 1.66C plus or minus 2.58. So if there is cooling over the next 40 years, he’s still spot on. I wonder if he’d be open to a decadal bet; run the model for the endpoint delta T’s at 10, 20, 30 and 40 years based on the central values. I’ll kick in $50 per decade to see if he hits his marks. Think he’ll take me up on it?

At some point there will be enough motivation to start auditing these NSF grants on behalf of the taxpayers who are forced to pay for this drek.
Studies like this demonstrate just cause for suspending funding pending proof of competancy.

Are they EVER going to make a projection / prediction that can be verified in their own lifetime (or, preferably, career) so they have to face the results?

O. Olson

Joe says:
February 27, 2014 at 3:18 pm
Are they EVER going to make a projection / prediction that can be verified in their own lifetime (or, preferably, career) so they have to face the results?
Hansen did. Their memories are so short it doesn’t seem to matter.

MattS

Joe says:
February 27, 2014 at 3:18 pm
Are they EVER going to make a projection / prediction that can be verified in their own lifetime (or, preferably, career) so they have to face the results?
===================================================
They would loose their doomsayers license if they did that.

Lou

And?
Everyone on this thread will be dead by 2100 so what is the point to this study?

When the AMO goes negative, Antarctic Sea Ice will shrink and Arctic Sea Ice will grow.

MattS

Lou,
Human life spans are constantly increasing and people living passed 100 years is becoming increasingly common. I don’t know about you, but I’ll only by 131 in 2100.

Jimbo

The first IPCC report projected a decrease in Antarctica sea ice. Their last report acknowledged an increasing trend since 1979. They admit in the same last report that they don’t know why but still ‘project’ a decrease this century. They also project an increase in snowfall up to 2100.

Now, a modeling study led by Professor Walker Smith…
climate models agree that air temperatures in Antarctica will increase…
Smith and his colleagues fed these global projections into a high-resolution computer model
The modeled summer sea ice concentrations decreased…
Our model projects that the shallow mixed layer will persist for …

I project that I will be going to bed soon. My eyes are weary after the ADL jump shark moment.

Lars P.

Turtles, turtles all the way down….
“global climate models agree …” that current temperatures are wrong, that current ice should not be there. The models cannot be wrong as they all agree with each other.
etudiant says:
February 27, 2014 at 3:04 pm
The authors use historical temperatures and winds to verify their model. They then accept projected temperature increases of about 1.66 and 2.5 degrees C through 2050 and 2100 respectively to make their projections.
Of the 1.66 °C till 2050 we still miss 1.66 after almost 1/3 of the time in this century even with all the innovative adjustments for urban cooling.
This “urban cooling” phenomenon is one of the big recent discoveries of the CAGW science.
http://oprj.net/articles/climate-science/31
NASA GISS are currently the only group calculating global temperature estimates that explicitly adjust their weather station data for urbanization biases. In this study, their urbanization adjustment procedure was considered.
A number of serious problems were found with their urbanization adjustments: 1.) The vast majority of their adjustments involved correcting for “urban cooling”, whereas urbanization bias is predominantly a warming bias. “

I might be able to make it to 2050. If so, I will remember this 56% reduction claim and be there to remind them of it.

Their prediction “modeled summer sea ice concentrations decreased by 56% by 2050” will certainly make the “climate fail” category . The growing Antarctic sea ice is aligned with the lack of warming at the south pole and the increasing ice mass in east Antarctica, as well as declining solar activity. Antarctica’s Ross Sea ice will indeed vary with El Nino/La Ninas and their effect on the Aleutian Low, but the long term trend will continue upward as solar activity continues to wane. Antarctic sea ice is a better indicator of global climate change. Natural cycles will cause Arctic sea ice to recover while Antarctic sea ice will continue to expand. http://landscapesandcycles.net/antarctic-sea-ice–climate-change-indicator.html

I’m trying to find the FILM…the 10 year old is with the parent on “take your child to work” day.
The kid watches the parent for a few hours. Get’s taken out to lunch. The Mom (Dad) asks, “Do you have any questions?” The kid says, “Yeah! Do they really PAY adults to do this??”
I think we see the application here..
Max

sophocles

Dear Dr. Walker,
I have an important question for you, which I hope you can answer.
How long ago was it that summer sea ice cover in the Ross Sea was
last at the level your modelling attempts predict it to be by 2100?
Oh, yes, and here’s a bonus question:
And where on the planet was the landmass we now call Antarctica
located when this low sea ice event occurred?
Thank you.

Antarctica’s Ross Sea is one of the few polar regions where summer sea-ice coverage has increased during the last few decades, bucking a global trend of drastic declines in summer sea ice across the Arctic Ocean…
OK, first, unless you define ‘few’ as ‘all but one’, the first statment is obviously false. Then, it appears that he is mixxing up Arctic and Antarctic. The Arctic Ocean is in the North (near Canada and Russia), while Ross Sea is in the so called Antarctic Ociean (bits of each ocean surounding Antarctica) is in the South. Some ice reduction in the North (unrelated to this study), but almost all increased ice in the South.

Jeef

Can’t wait to see this in my local paper, masquerading as greentruth. What a steaming pile of dog’s droppings.
Abstract: when we set our computer to simulate warmer climatic conditions, we found that ice was more likely to melt.

Goldie

Unfortunately this is just one amongst a number of articles along the lines of: If this changes then this might happen……or not. I say unfortunately, because though there is little certainty in all of this, it becomes yet another article that will confirm the consensus for those who believe in such things.

Jimbo

And in some late weather news (not climate).

1935
ICE TOO SOFT Antarctic Flight Prevented (“Recorder” Special Cables) NEW YORK, Wednesday. A message from. Antarctica states that -Mr. Ellsworth, of me American expedition, was unable to begin a flight across the Ross Sea yesterday morning owing to the heat.
http://tinyurl.com/p99evso

Browse open water in Antarctica’s past.
I can now project with 99% confidence that I am now going to bed.

It’s worse than we thought.

Liz

He lost me at the “unspoiled marine ecosystems”. Wasn’t there some recent news about toxic waste at the Wilkes Base in the Antarctic??? I wonder what trash & toxic waste will be at the various research spots by 2100?

Robert of Ottawa

If I predicted a coin toss of heads 100 times in a row, I will eventually be proved correct. However, I may have to toss that coin once a second for several thousand years.
I reminds me of a version of the old saw of 10,000 monkies on 10,000 typewriters eventually producing a Shakespearian play:
If I had a computer which had a display and every second, it produced a new image, simply in black and white, every second, after some time it would produce the Mona Lisa image.
True, theoretically. Assuming the machine can survive that long. Let’s do the math:
For a black and white image, i.e. binary image, no gray scales, of say around 700 x 500 pixels – that is 350,000 pixels, definitely not HD, there are 2 to the power of 350,000 combinations. That is a number of seconds much larger than there is in the Universe; and certainly beyond the MTBF of the computer itself.
Therefore, I suggest that 10,000 monkies on 10,000 typewriters cannot produce a Shakespearian play. Either the monkies will die or the typewrites cease to function.
Therefore, I say that you Warmistas should just give up, game over. You can continue to predict death and disaster (D & D), and you will always be successful in your predictions because D&D is the lot of humanity. However, your prediction of D&D is meaningless.

Choey Tuqiri

Wow, these folks can predict the future out to 2100. Where do I get a crystal ball like that? Can I borrow their ball? I promise I’ll be very careful with it. I’ll only go out for say, 10 years at the end of which I’ll be one of the wealthiest people in the history of the world.

Worc1

How does one get a million bucks plus for these crackpot studies? Must be nice to ride the government gravy train. Have they released their data and was Mikey Mann involved in this in some way?

Joe Haberman says:
“Gravy train science.”
That says it all, in just three words.
My own model predicts that any ice loss in Antarctica will be fully offset by ice gain in the Arctic. That has always been the case in the past with the polar see-saw, as far as reliable records go.
I am a big believer in the Null Hypothesis. Nothing happening now is either unusual or unprecedented. And any changes are likely to be toward a cooling planet, as this long term Holocene chart indicates.
But of course I won’t be getting any grants for pointing out the obvious direction of the climate based on past indications. To get my ticket punched on the gravy train I would have to do a Chicken Little imitation, and sound a false alarm that the sky is falling.

Antarctica’s Ross Sea is one of the few polar regions where summer sea-ice coverage has increased during the last few decades

Heh. Given the long term increase in global sea ice, the areas must be pretty tightly constrained to make this statement true. “We only have TWO areas where sea ice is increasing! Certainly, we only created an arbitrary group of three so we could make this statement, but 2 is a small number (over 66% smaller than 3 if you study it closely) so we feel justified in saying that it’s one of the few.”

Dirk Pitt

Can’t blame this guy. Grants are highly politicized nowadays. And he’s got to feed his family.

Latitude

in the mean time it’s -41 degrees
[Well, you need to be more clear than that. Tasmania, the Cook Strait, Bass Strait, and Argentina are all -41 degrees latitude. 8<) But none of those are -41 degrees though. Mod]

Curious George

Professor Walker Smith is a wise man. He can’t be proved wrong until December 31, 2100.

Chad Wozniak

Climate models agree . . . would seem that they are therefore all wrong, since this means that if one is wrong, so are the others (basic logic, taught in freshman philosophy courses, but apparently beyond the learning ability of these mollusks).

george e. conant

I used to read the funnies for a laugh… Volcanoes are the reason for the warming pause that isn’t really happening…No, the trade winds are too fast and that is causing the cooling that isn’t really happening, No , the oceans are hiding the warming that isn’t really happening… wait the sun is not as active and that is contributing to the percieved cooling that isn’t really happening for 17 years now… Ferouscious northern hemisphere winters are caused by a drunk jet stream because the arctic is warm… Honestly, long term weather predictions are modeled with high resolution computers are good for about 3 to 6 days out. Thank you Anthony for running this site! Laughing so hard it hurts!

Hmmmmn.
Just one area was increasing, eh? Which Antarctic continent is he looking at, this supposed climate scientist “expert”?
The ANOMALY last year for the Antarctic sea ice extents AVERAGED just at 1.0 Million square kilometers all of last year … In October 2013, the antarctic sea ice extents anomaly – the difference between measured sea ice and the normal sea ice extents was larger than 1.4 Mkm^2. And it was remarkably steady through the entire year. This increase in day-to-day-to-day Antarctic sea ice extents was about 1/3 the entire area of Greenland! And at the same latitude as the middle of Greenland too.
In fact, the ENTIRE Antarctic sea ice extents has been increasing through EVERY season of the ice year since May 2011. Almost three years now the Antarctic sea ice has been increasing, on a pace to soon block the Cape Horn sea route in 8-10 years.
The entire area of Hudson Bay is right at 1.2 Mkm^2.
So, the POSITIVE ANOMALY of Antarctic sea ice extents for the entire year was larger than Hudson Bay, and as mentioned above, a substantial fraction of the entire area of Greenland.
Now, if “one bay” near Antarctica sheds “one” large iceberg, we re told everything is melting and doom will ensue! If in 96 years ONE bay near Antarctica “might” lose “some sea ice” and this “expert” gets written up as if he had discovered a new miracle.
But, just let the Antarctic sea ice extents increase by an area equal to the entire size of Hudson Bay, and does this “expert” even notice?