According to the Europe’s Cryosat satellite, Arctic sea ice volume has increased by a third in 2013 and that this growth continued into last year. Researchers have been examining data from the satellite to study the loss of Arctic sea ice volume. Researchers involved in the study believe that shifts in summer temperatures have a much bigger effect on sea ice volume than previously expected, the BBC reports.
Compared to the average of the period between 2010 and 2012, a 33 percent increase in sea ice volume was found in 2013 and and in 2014 there was still a quarter more ice than during that period. The satellite uses a sophisticated radar that is capable of measuring the thickness of sea ice from its orbit in space.
The researchers have been studying sea ice volume over the last five years using the polar monitoring spacecraft to estimate the volume of the Arctic. They used “88 million measurements of sea ice thickness from Cryosat and found that between 2010 and 2012, the volume of sea ice went down by 14%.” This is far less than what computer models predicted would happen in the Arctic.
Measurements for 2014 showed there was still a quarter more sea ice than there was between 2010 and 2012. Lead author Rachel Tilling, from University College London, told BBC News, “We looked at various climate forcing factors, we looked at the snow loading, we looked at wind convergence and the melt season length of the previous summer.”
The colder temperatures in the polar region allowed more multi-year ice to persist northwest of Greenland because there were fewer days when it could melt. Temperature records also showed that the summer was about 5 percent cooler than 2012. “It would suggest that sea ice is more resilient perhaps – if you get one year of cooler temperatures, we’ve almost wound the clock back a few years on this gradual decline that’s been happening over decades,” said Rachel Tilling.
In 2009, Al Gore predicted the polar ice cap would disappear by 2014. Gore cited new scientific work at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School for his statement. The “computer modeling at the school stresses the “volumetric” and looks at both the surface extent of ice and its thickness.”
The Ocean and Ice services of the Danish Meteorological Institute shows that “Arctic ice extent is right where it always is this time of year, and tracking 2006 – the year with the highest extent of the past decade.” Real Science notes this is due to “cold temperatures over the Beaufort sea that is forecast for the next two weeks, making the odds of a big melt occurring pretty close to zero.”
And Dr Peiser, from the Global Warming Policy Foundation, says that the poles are “much more stable” than climate scientists once predicted and could even be much thicker than previously thought. The Daily Express also notes that Arctic sea ice volumes in October and November this year averaged at 10,200 cubic kilometres. “This figure is only slightly down on the 2013 average of 10,900 cubic kilometres, yet massively up on the 2011 low of 4,275 cubic kilometres and the 6,000 cubic kilometres recorded in 2012.”