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
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.
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
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.
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].
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
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.
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
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.
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.'
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.'
of the distribution of average ice thickness on the basis
of a joint model of sea ice - ocean by ACNFS (HYCOM / NCODA / CICE).
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.'
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.'
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.
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.
bear on Bely island. Drifting research station North
Pole-2015. Pictures: Sergei Anisimov, Artyom Geodakyan/TASS
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'.
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.'