Saturday, 18 June 2016

A challenge to Peter Wadhams' prediction of a blue sea event

British claim Arctic to be ice free this year is 'incorrect' and 'hasty', say Russian scientists

Challenge to polar doom warning from respected international expert Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University.

By The Siberian Times reporter

09 June 2016

'My prediction remains that the Arctic ice may well disappear, that is, have an area of less than one million square kilometres for September of this year.' Picture: N. Fedorenko

The eye-catching assertion that the North Pole is three months away from being  free of sea ice for the first time in 100,000 years would be the most visibly shocking examples of climate change. 
The forecast came from Professor Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University, who says the evidence points to the validity of a prediction he made four years ago. 
He warned: 'My prediction remains that the Arctic ice may well disappear, that is, have an area of less than one million square kilometres for September of this year.
'Even if the ice doesn't completely disappear, it is very likely that this will be a record low year. I'm convinced it will be less than 3.4 million square kilometres [the current record low].
'I think there's a reasonable chance it could get down to a million this year and if it doesn't do it this year, it will do it next year. Ice free means the central part of the Arctic and the North Pole is ice free.' He has warned that such a scenario would lead to 'frightening' consequences, and 'a very, very serious upward jerk to global warming'.
Ice zone in late May 2016
The position of the ice edge and sparse (<8/10) and cohesive (≥8 / 10) zones for the ice of the Arctic Ocean on 30.05.2016, based on the analysis of the US National Ice Center.
But Russian expert Dr Vasily Smolyanitsky, head of the Laboratory of Sea Ice Climate Manuals at the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, St Petersburg, told The Siberian Times he treats the prediction with 'healthy scepticism'.
He said: 'Dr Peter Wadhams is a famous scientist, without a doubt, the teacher of several generations of numerical modellers, familiar to most world ice researchers.
'However, his main specialisation is field studies, including underwater sonar research, measuring ice parameters, their analysis and use in the numerical modelling, mostly for the waters of the North Atlantic. Appropriately, his climate forecasts in general for the Arctic should be taken critically, with a share of healthy skepticism.'
He explained: 'The essence of the Wadhams' logical construct is - the record low ice cover in winter, which is true, should lead to a record minimum in summer, lower than the absolute record of 2012.'
Ice thickness
Fields of the distribution of average ice thickness on the basis of a joint model of sea ice - ocean by ACNFS (HYCOM / NCODA / CICE). 
But Dr Smolyanitsky warned this was 'incorrect' because the Russian  data 'shows that the minimum (ice) in late spring-early summer  does not necessarily lead to an extreme minimum of the ice cover in September. The most balanced approach can be seen in the forecasts of the international  Sea Ice Prediction Network.'
He said: 'What seems most likely for the summer period of 2016 for the Northern Sea Route (above the Siberian land mass) and the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic (are)  the same ice conditions as in the same period of 2015.'
This Russian forecast suggests a hugely different outlook for the ice cover in the coming months since the Arctic ice cover in September 2015 was 4.41 million square kilometres.
Dr Smolyanitsky, chairman of the Joint Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology, World Meteorological Organisation, also pointed out other Western experts quoted by The Independent newspaper had also expressed scepticism. 
Polar bear

North Pole-2015
Polar bear on Bely island. Drifting research station North Pole-2015. Pictures: Sergei Anisimov, Artyom Geodakyan/TASS
Another Russian expert Dr Robert Chernov, researcher in the Department of Glaciology, Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, called the ice loss prediction this year 'hasty'.
'In winter temperatures in the Arctic are still subzero and this period lasts eight to nine months a year, so the seasonal sea ice cover will normally form every year in winter and decline in summer,' he said. 'Of course, the area of the ice cover has shrunk in the last decade. There is a lot of research about this, yet I do not see it will be so dramatic this year.' 
Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Oleg Anisimov warned last year that the Arctic could be completely ice free in 40 years. 

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