Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Arctic sea ice decline and ice export between Greenland and Svalbard

Date:
January 14, 2013
Source:
University of Bergen
Summary:
The Arctic sea ice is shrinking, both in extent and thickness. In addition to the humanmade contribution to the sea ice loss, there are also natural factors contributing to this loss. In a new study researchers have focused on one of these factors: the ice export through the large gateway between Greenland and Svalbard – the Fram Strait.

Current Arctic sea ice (bluish white) compared with the 1979-2010 average sea ice minimum (outlined in orange). The red arrow is superimposed to indicate the southward export of sea ice through the Fram Strait..
Credit: Illustration courtesy SVS/NASA

The Arctic sea ice is shrinking, both in extent and thickness. In addition to the humanmade contribution to the sea ice loss, there are also natural factors contributing to this loss. In a new study from the Bjerknes Centre we focus on one of these factors: the ice export through the large gateway between Greenland and Svalbard -- the Fram Strait.

Most of the sea ice that leaves the Arctic, exits through the Fram Strait. In recent years, this ice export has been higher than in any decade between the late 1950s and up to today. The area of the ice floating through the Fram Strait is now about 200 thousand km2 larger than in the late 1950s, which is similar to the total area of the United Kingdom.

This increase in the export contributes to the Arctic sea ice loss, as shown in a recent study (Smedsrud et al., 2008). Our climate models also show that the Arctic is loosing sea ice, but it is not known how they represent the ice export in the Fram Strait.

We have therefore investigated the ice export in 6 current climate models that provides 24 different simulations. Perhaps surprisingly, most of these coarse resolution models manage to reproduce a realistic seasonal cycle of the ice export, with more ice floating through the strait during winter than summer.

Not all simulations show an increase in the ice export from the late 1950s and up to today. Some simulations actually show a decrease in the ice export.

Because the simulations do not show similar behaviour, we interpret that changes in the ice export is not governed by external forcing, such as changes in the CO2 concentration or changes in the incoming sunlight. The ice export is rather controlled by internal climate variability within each model, for instance, variability in the wind pattern over the Arctic. The spread in the simulations from one model indicate the extent of the internal climate variability in that model.

Because the models show different outcomes for the ice export, it is possible to investigate how the Arctic sea ice responds to an increase or decrease in the export. According to the model with the largest number of simulations (10), we find that a thinning of the Arctic sea ice is associated with an increase in the ice export, whereas a decrease in the ice export is related to a smaller thinning. All simulations underestimate the thinning of the Arctic sea ice compared to observations. This means that the simulations would have been closer to the reality today if they were able to reproduce the increase in the Fram Strait ice export.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bergen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. H.R. Langehaug, F. Geyer, L.H. Smedsrud, Y. Gao. Arctic sea ice decline and ice export in the CMIP5 historical simulations. Ocean Modelling, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.ocemod.2012.12.006

Cite This Page:

University of Bergen. "Arctic sea ice decline and ice export between Greenland and Svalbard." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130114092521.htm>.
University of Bergen. (2013, January 14). Arctic sea ice decline and ice export between Greenland and Svalbard. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130114092521.htm
University of Bergen. "Arctic sea ice decline and ice export between Greenland and Svalbard." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130114092521.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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