Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Boulder Scientists Involved In Effort To Study Arctic Warming

Date:
July 29, 1998
Source:
University Of Colorado At Boulder
Summary:
CU-Boulder researchers are participating in a major international field experiment to understand climate change trends in the Arctic and whether the Arctic Ocean ice pack is thinning as fast as climate models are predicting.

CU-Boulder researchers are participating in a major international field experiment to understand climate change trends in the Arctic and whether the Arctic Ocean ice pack is thinning as fast as climate models are predicting.

The Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean project, known as SHEBA, was designed to understand how the Arctic Ocean, the atmosphere and the ice cap interact to affect the climate of both the Arctic region and the globe. Three Boulder institutions -- the University of Colorado at Boulder, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- are playing major roles in the project.

"There was an early onset of melt of Arctic snow and ice this year," said Judith Curry, a CU-Boulder professor of aerospace engineering and atmospheric and oceanic sciences participating in SHEBA as a project scientist. Once the Arctic snow and ice start melting, water puddles on the ice and accelerates the creation of ice cracks known as "leads," she said. This increases solar radiation melt on the sides and top of Arctic ice.

"When the snow and ice start melting depends on what is going on with the clouds in terms of how much of the sun's radiation they are reflecting and when precipitation switches over from snow to rain," she said.

Normally about 7 meters thick at the end of September, the Arctic ice cap was measured at less than 2 meters thick in September 1997, according to SHEBA researchers. But even though there was significant melt occurring -- likely tied to El Niño -- it is difficult to separate human-caused climate changes from natural variation, she said.

Curry is the principal investigator on the NCAR C-130 research aircraft making overflights of the Arctic ice. By the end of July, the team will have made 16 flights with C-130 planes, documenting changes in the clouds and surface features, including melt ponds and leads.

The SHEBA project involves aircraft, satellites, a ship, submarines, and even scuba-diving scientists. The effort is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Department of Energy and NASA, as well as the countries of Japan, Canada and Russia.

A SHEBA icebreaker ship equipped with high-tech instruments has been drifting with the sea ice in the Arctic for the past eight months as part of the project, measuring ice, atmospheric and ocean conditions.

The C-130 flights Curry coordinates has been flying out of Fort Wainright in Fairbanks. Because the SHEBA ship has drifted so far north, it has taken the C-130 three hours to reach the research area from Fairbanks.

"The primary goal is to improve our climate models of the Arctic," said Curry. "The aircraft we use provide a data set that is an intermediate scale between satellite images and information gathered from ships, helping us to fill in additional pieces of the puzzle."

Interactions between sea ice, atmospheric radiation and clouds in the Arctic appear to exert a strong influence on both global and regional climate sensitivity, said Curry. But the effects of clouds are a big question, she said. While clouds may prevent some solar radiation from reaching the ice, the clouds also trap heat and warm the ice.

SHEBA researchers have been testing and implementing models involving Arctic air, atmosphere and sea-ice processes to better understand climate variability since 1997. About 10 CU-Boulder researchers and graduate students are involved in the project.

The SHEBA project will continue until October 1998, said Curry, who is returning to Boulder July 25. It will take scientists about five years to fully analyze the data and improve the climate models in the Arctic, she said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Colorado At Boulder. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Colorado At Boulder. "Boulder Scientists Involved In Effort To Study Arctic Warming." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/07/980729063245.htm>.
University Of Colorado At Boulder. (1998, July 29). Boulder Scientists Involved In Effort To Study Arctic Warming. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/07/980729063245.htm
University Of Colorado At Boulder. "Boulder Scientists Involved In Effort To Study Arctic Warming." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/07/980729063245.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) — New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) — A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

AFP (July 19, 2014) — A spectaCular lightning storm struck the UK overnight Friday. Images of lightning strikes over the Shard and Tower Bridge in central London. Duration: 00:23 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) — As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins