The yin-yang of polar sea ice

ice
The Antarctic ice sheet. Credit: Stephen Hudson / Wikipedia

It comes as no surprise, therefore, when researchers announce as they did this past September that Arctic sea ice extent is still below normal, continuing a years-long downward trend, covering less and less of the north polar seas with a frozen crust. On the heels of that announcement, came another, a little more puzzling.  While Arctic sea ice was melting, Antarctic sea ice was at an all-time high.  In 2014, sea ice surrounding Antarctica covered more of the southern oceans than it has since satellite record began in the late 1970s.

Is this also a sign of global warming?   

"There is no doubt that climate change is real," says Walt Meier of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.  "The two poles are just responding in their own unique way to the same global phenomenon."

He points out that Earth, taken as a whole, is losing sea ice. According to satellite measurements from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the Arctic has lost an average of 20,800 square miles of sea ice a year since the late 70s.  Meanwhile, the Antarctic has gained an average of 7,300 square miles per year—not enough to balance loses at the other end of the planet.

But why do the Arctic and Antarctic behave in different ways? 

"The increase we've seen in Antarctic sea ice is a little bit of a mystery," allows Meier.  "We're still trying to figure out how a warmer global climate leads to these regional increases in ice cover."

The culprit could be weather.  Climate change is altering weather patterns around the planet, and one of those changes is an increase in windiness around the continent of Antarctica.  Cold air blows from the ice-covered continent out over the sea, freezing the waters and pushing sea ice outward to cover record-setting areas.

"That's one theory," says Meier.  "I think that winds are definitely playing a substantial role.  But other factors could be at work, too." For instance, he points out that glaciers melting around the edges of the continent could, ironically, produce more ice in the surrounding ocean.  "Fresh meltwater from glaciers is easier to freeze than briny seawater," he explains.

Snowfall could be important, too.  Snow landing on thin sea ice can weigh the ice down and push it just below the water. Cold ocean water seeps up through the ice and floods the snow – leading to a slushy mixture that freezes and thickens the sea ice.

Some scientists feel that these processes could simply be due the natural variations in the Antarctic region's climate. While it is clear that is playing a significant role in the loss of Arctic sea ice, the trend in the Antarctic is small enough that it could be explained simply due to natural variations in the region's climate. "Ultimately," says Meier, "we expect that continued warming will take its toll, and even Antarctic will begin to decline."

What we are seeing, he suggests, is the quirky regional way Earth responds to a global stimulus.  Earth's climate system is complex, and will continue to have fascinatingly unpredictable consequences in the years ahead.


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Poles apart: Arctic sea ice has shrunk but Antarctic sea ice has grown

Citation: The yin-yang of polar sea ice (2014, December 7) retrieved 16 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-12-yin-yang-polar-sea-ice.html
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Dec 07, 2014
the Arctic has lost an average of 20,800 square miles of sea ice a year since the late 70s. Meanwhile, the Antarctic has gained an average of 7,300 square miles per year—not enough to balance loses at the other end of the planet.


While the difference in numbers is probably large enough to warrant the notion, wouldn't you actually need to compare the two in cubic miles instead? After all, is the ice the same thickness?


Dec 07, 2014
Comparing the two poles is an AGW shill's desperate attempt to support the creed. There are too many differences between the two.

Dec 07, 2014
the Arctic has lost an average of 20,800 square miles of sea ice a year since the late 70s. Meanwhile, the Antarctic has gained an average of 7,300 square miles per year—not enough to balance loses at the other end of the planet.


While the difference in numbers is probably large enough to warrant the notion, wouldn't you actually need to compare the two in cubic miles instead? After all, is the ice the same thickness?


Yes, yes you would.

But then you would generate the controversy you need to distract from the real issues and truths.

Seems like these scientists are honing in on my "shot from the hip" conjectures.
Does this show you which way the wind blows team?

Dec 07, 2014
Another theory is that we don't know.

Dec 07, 2014
Well, the answer to the question is that the arctic sea-ice is thicker because it is constrained by landmasses and piles on top of itself.

Therefore the loss of ice in volume is greater than the loss in area would suggest.

Dec 07, 2014
Interesting thought Eikka! I hadn't thought of that. So I looked it up:

I compared Nasa images that represent the data on sea ice thickness 2005 to 2008.. It seems both Arctic and and Antarctic sea ice range between 0.5 and 1.5 meters thick.

Since both lean heavily towards the lesser number: I would hazard that thickness doesn't play much of a role for volume calculations.

I think that once the ice reaches a certain thickness that it's insulating properties slow freezing below. So there is kind of a cap on the thickness of seasonal ice.

Does anyone else have thoughts on this?

Here are my references:
Arctic Reference: http://svs.gsfc.n...aid=3593
Antarctic Reference: http://neptune.gs...tion=272

Dec 07, 2014
@richard f cronin

Off topic and pseudoscience trolling.
Reported.

Dec 07, 2014
Vietvet - "Pseudoscience" ? And your scientific qualifications are what ? Please study up on nuclear physics and examine "www.nuclearplanet.com".

Dec 07, 2014
Examining Paleoclimatological data, the full heating / cooling cycle is about nine (9) centuries. The GeoReactor generates all small molecules. CO2 too.

@RFC:
Regardless of whether or not there is a fission reactor at earth's core, fission does not generate significant quantities of carbon or of oxygen. The lightest common fission products is 79Se, which is FIVE TIMES heavier that carbon or oxygen.

Also the mantle is thick enough that any given pulse of CO2 would diffuse out over millions of years, so even if a core heat pulse drove off CO2 (rather than creating it), the fastest variations caused at the surface would be several orders of magnitude longer than nine centuries.

Dec 08, 2014
I think that once the ice reaches a certain thickness that it's insulating properties slow freezing below. So there is kind of a cap on the thickness of seasonal ice.

This makes sense to me. My previous opinion was based on a Wiki entry that stated that Arctic ice was twice as thick. However of course the Arctic has multi -year ice which is thicker than the average and has also been declining, whereas almost all Antarctic sea-ice melts away during the Austral summer.

Dec 08, 2014
Two or three decades ago it was established that aerosol black carbon fallout from Asia accelerates polar ice melt. That study seems to have been eclipsed by the potential of profiteering from CO2 management.

Dec 08, 2014
@dustywells - so profiteering off of limited natural resource exploitation is dandy, but "profiteering from CO2 management" is not. As far as I know, no one is profiteering from CO2 management, unless you are referring to companies that are developing technologies for recovering and using CO2 that is emitted now via smokestacks, etc. Who else is profiteering from CO2 management?

Dec 08, 2014
The point is that the deterioration of the arctic ice cap and its potential disappearance was noted decades ago; long before AGW became a religion. As to who profits from suppressing those reports to flog the CO2 horse, why not start at the UN . . . But that's a topic for another article.

Dec 08, 2014
I see a number of posters are still unclear on the data about the arctic ice. while it was in decline from 79 to 1996, it has not declined much except for 2012 from that lower low ice coverage. In 2013 and 2014 the low ice coverage has increased. The present ice coverage as of Dec 3 is the same as it was in 2003 at this time. The ice is not declined and has not for years. You get a downward trend by ignoring the present and what was happening in-between. You could say Summer was a declining trend if you started in Jan 1 and went through the whole year which is simply nonsense if you lived in say Alaska with its short summers.

Dec 08, 2014
I see a number of posters are still unclear on the data about the arctic ice. while it was in decline from 79 to 1996, it has not declined much except for 2012 from that lower low ice coverage. In 2013 and 2014 the low ice coverage has increased. The present ice coverage as of Dec 3 is the same as it was in 2003 at this time. The ice is not declined and has not for years.

It is you that are "unclear".
look at min/max extents my friend otherwise you invoke weather. Have you not noticed that it's winter in the Arctic and it don't take much "weather" to form v thin ice that would easily melt should warmer conditions arrive.

Current Arctic ice....
http://nsidc.org/...icenews/
Well below the below '81-'10 average ('03 is a cherry-pick).

Minimum ice extent...
http://www.arctic...ep14.png

Look at the falling trend.
"not declined much since '96"
Only by 20% on the trend line.


Dec 08, 2014
while it was in decline from 79 to 1996, it has not declined much except for 2012 from that lower low ice coverage. In 2013 and 2014 the low ice coverage has increased. The present ice coverage as of Dec 3 is the same as it was in 2003 at this time. The ice is not declined and has not for years.

This information would be much more interesting if it weren't for the facts that 1) The arctic sea ice is growing despite increased warming in the area, 2) "Arctic sea ice recovery" has happened before during the current melt and the melt just continued (http://psc.apl.uw...V2.1.png ), and 3) Glaciers in the arctic are still melting and not growing and the melt rate of the glaciers is increasing.

Dec 21, 2014
Elsewhere Water_Prophet claimed
They show everything you need to know about why CO2 doesn't work
That is ONLY from Sol to Earth, U miss SO MUCH !

WHY Water_Prophet do U REFUSE to look at absorption/re-radiation of Earth to Space ?

You seem to have a very serious reading/comprehension neglect bias problem !

Please FOCUS on these SIMPLE questions, do U accept:-

1. Your TSI graph ONLY shows Sol to Earth - largely Shortwave (SW) ?

2. Earth converts SW to Longwave radiation (LW) ?

3. Negligible SW is emitted to space ?

SIMPLE logic by way of SUBTRACTION re energy PROVES LW to space is CORE issue !
.
.
.
Water_Prophet, this is a VERY simple issue, WHY do U ignore it & look intellectually feeble ?

Please be GENUINE & smarter & not come across with some form of disability... :-(

I await the clarity of response a REAL Physical Chemist (PC) can actually muster to this link:-
http://phys.org/n...day.html

Dec 21, 2014
Mickey_Moussen attacks again
WHY do U ignore it & look intellectually feeble ?
Why do YOU insist that CO2 is the only cause of warming? Even to insist that it is the major cause makes you look like your saddle is cinched too tight. Almost every day new evidence is nibbling away at the hypothesis. Even the peer reviews can't suppress the evidence.

Maybe you too should try to broaden your narrow gauge one track perspective and embrace some of the newer findings.

Dec 21, 2014
dustywells claimed
Why do YOU insist that CO2 is the only cause of warming?
No, please don't lie even though it seems to be your best skill... Besides my post is reminder/attempt for Water_Prophet, who claimed to be Physical Chemist, to look at the WHOLE issue.

Where did I EVER claim CO2 was only cause ?

dustywells claimed
Even to insist that it is the major cause makes you look like your saddle is cinched too tight
Be accurate !! It is a major causal factor atop TSI, U should have access to same info - LOOK ?

dustywells claimed
Almost every day new evidence is nibbling away at the hypothesis. Even the peer reviews can't suppress the evidence
How & No. There r odd (some new) ideas many rehashed but, NO actual evidence, where please, show it or STFU ?

dustywells claimed
Maybe you too should try to broaden your narrow gauge one track perspective and embrace some of the newer findings
I embrace evidence !

Clearly U avoid embracing an education.

Dec 21, 2014
dustywells claimed without ANY supporting evidence
Even the peer reviews can't suppress the evidence
How could this attempt function ?

What attempted form ? Internet; Denial of service attacks, police seize computers, courts silence critics, universities laboratories closed, what ?

Top 3 examples of "your evidence" ?

dustywells' naive suggestion
Maybe you too should try to broaden your narrow gauge one track perspective and embrace some of the newer findings
What r your top three 'findings' ?

Who found the 'findings' ?

Any 'findings' with causal relationships ?

Do the 'findings' attach any significance to combinatorial issues Eg relative specific heats ?

Anything close to comparative temp/CO2 graph ?
http://woodfortre...ormalise

Evidence of ANYTHING with comparable effect please ?

Dec 21, 2014
"Why do YOU insist that CO2 is the only cause of warming?"
------------------------------------------------
Does Dusty NOW admit it is warming???

Dec 21, 2014
Does Dusty NOW admit it is warming???
gkam, you read so many posts that you can't recognize the players any more. When did I ever say that there is no warming or even that climate change does not occur.

My focus is on the hypothesis that CO2 is the cause and with the religious fervor that some of the adherents proselytize. There are too many other variables at play to pin it all on CO2.

By focusing exclusively on CO2 we lose sight of the big picture and fail to take remedial steps while it's still possible.

Dec 21, 2014
dustywells misunderstood the process
My focus is on the hypothesis that CO2 is the cause and with the religious fervor that some of the adherents proselytize
What a strange thing to say. Process of scientific enquiry does not start with a fervor as such, as U imply, ie Did your hypothesis begin with fervor or did fervor arise once it was clear there is fundamental property of CO2 which Proves irrefutably it has a major role ?

dustywells muttered
There are too many other variables at play to pin it all on CO2
To claim there variables is incorrect. It is more appropriate to view there r factors. By using the term 'variables', which sounds like you were induced to say such a propagandizing term incorrectly, implies there is some (hidden) combinatorial function or facet which can amplify or attenuate the effect of CO2.

These so called 'variables' have been investigated thoroughly as competing or collaborating factors & found, so far, to be causative.

cont

Dec 21, 2014
dustywells again misunderstands
By focusing exclusively on CO2 we lose sight of the big picture and fail to take remedial steps while it's still possible
Really ?

Your statement implies a chance thought:- "Hey lets only focus on CO2 since it's going up".

Do U really think >100 yrs of investigation & enquiry by many researchers & experimentalists is so remarkably shallow like a bad soap opera eg "Bold & Beautiful"/"Days of our lives" etc. Unfortunately I've visited homes where people r glued to such drama's & discovered their thinking is oddly damaged - they achieve nothing but, fizzle out & die slowly...

The reason to focus (mainly) on CO2 is its properties r very well known for >100yrs AND other contributory effects r failing.

Eg. Water_prophet's seeming discovery (when prompted) that we burn somerhing like 230,000 Litres of petrol/sec raises atmospheric heat - now he is only focused on that.

He has NO interest in doing ANY comparison analysis re CO2.

Sad

Dec 21, 2014
So, now anti-AGW has been re-defined to be only anti-CO2 as a causative agent?

Dec 21, 2014
So, now anti-AGW has been re-defined to be only anti-CO2 as a causative agent?
How do you get that from my post? You are reading your preconceived bias, not my words.

Dec 21, 2014
I was referring to many other folk, Dusty.

It got caught up in our discussion thread.

Dec 22, 2014
dustywells claimed
How do you get that from my post? You are reading your preconceived bias, not my words.
Ah interesting point in response to gkam...

Seems U dustywells, don't have ready easy reply to my questions, which implies U havent got the data before you made a claim or had it but refused to supply it wasn't it relevant, not the scientific process that requires integrity is it ? maybe you made another mistake ?

So dustywells, I await answers to my questions posed on this thread, don't take too long, there are other barrels to walk around & inspect, those fish sure look ripe for the pickings & I don't have unlimited rounds ;-)

Oh btw, edit re an earlier post, typo, meant to say:-

"These so called 'variables' have been investigated thoroughly as competing or collaborating factors & found, so far, to be NOT significantly causative."

Sry bout that, lots on my plate, brain ahead finger typing resistivity, damn those kinesthetic conundrums ;-)

Dec 22, 2014
dusty, I like your posts recently.
Just let me ask you a dangerous question:

Why do you think warming is the only effect of climate change?
There are some many aspects to climate, humidity, winds, rainfall/drought, seasons, not only that, there is my own private dragon/windmill of polar and glacial ice.

Although, you must admit, that windmill provides a pretty good metric for change: It takes energy to melt ice, the ocean has risen 6 cm, 6 cm x area of the ocean x heat required, well, everybody but the CO2 AGW-ers get it. Ironically.

Best regards,
W_P

Dec 25, 2014
Elsewhere Water_Prophet expounded by showing us example of Hypocrisy
The biggest problem is from pretenders or people with no education who spout their opinions out, which is fine, but then deny even when they do not know, and of course are uninterested in learning or even considering a fact that contradicts their opinion
Agree fully with that pattern.

Your opinion Water_Prophet that CO2 is not significant re TSI is correct, agree with U :-)

People who graduated as a Physical Chemist (PC) of which Water_Prophet claims, should KNOW energy flows in 3D, so Y do U completely IGNORE Earth's emissions which any person with intelligence & Physics training easily determine it MUST be overwhelmingly Long Wave (LW) ie. Plain to "see" Short Wave (SW) from Earth is negligible !

Why do U ignore LW, where CO2's absorbance/re-radiation is the HIGHEST ?

Water_Prophet muttered
..having only a fork's understanding of how the food tastes
What does this even mean?

Dec 25, 2014
Why do you think warming is the only effect of climate change?
There are some many aspects to climate, humidity, winds, rainfall/drought, seasons, not only that, there is my own private dragon/windmill of polar and glacial ice.
Warming is not the effect of climate change.

Weather is driven by heat and that heat arrives through insolation.
The amount of sunlight that reaches Earth is modulated by the Milankovitch cycles.
The amount of sunlight that reaches the surface is further modulated by water vapor and aerosols.
The sunlight that penetrates to the surface heats the soil, plants, water, etc.
Sunlight makes plants grow.
Heat makes water evaporate. Water vapor forms clouds, carries latent heat.
Heat makes winds blow. Wind carries water and latent heat toward poles. Temperature differences generate storms and water drops out.
Heat makes ice melt.

I believe that all the above is general, grade school knowledge and that no references are required.

Dec 25, 2014
The amount of sunlight that reaches Earth is modulated by the Milankovitch cycles.
The amount of sunlight that reaches the surface is further modulated by water vapor and aerosols.
The effects of the Milankovitch cycles are slow and unstoppable. They account for the thousands of years of warming that we have experienced since the glacial maximum but have little influence over a short time span.

Water vapor, CO2, methane, and aerosols, especially in the upper reaches of the troposphere have been shown to dramatically affect insolation through reflection and absorption. Similarly, they affect outgoing thermal radiation. Therefore the temperature difference between daytime and nighttime is reduced.

Dec 25, 2014
Sunlight makes plants grow.
A simple statement, and a factor that is usually ignored when considering weather; but plants hold water in their leaves, stems and roots, and as they absorb light and heat they emit water vapor. The air over a rain forest is cooler and holds more moisture than the air over a desert. When we remove a rain forest we unavoidably change the weather by replacing relatively cool, moist air with dry, hot air, thereby eventually desertifying land that depended on the rain from the rain forest. Over Water, the dry, warm air will elevate the surface temperature and absorb more water vapor more quickly, then draw it higher than would cool, moist air. Sharper gradients of temperature humidity and pressure generate more vicious storms.

Dec 25, 2014
Heat makes water evaporate. Water vapor forms clouds, carries latent heat.
Heat makes winds blow. Wind carries water and latent heat toward poles. Temperature differences generate storms and water drops out.
Hot air rises and carries with it water vapor. When the hot air rises it is replaced with cooler air at the surface. The warmer the rising air, the faster it rises, leading to lower pressure below and higher wind velocities of the in-rushing air mass. Water vapor condenses at the boundary between the warm and cold air masses; as clouds form, heat released during condensation causes turbulence which in turn intensifies the disturbance and the ensuing storm.

Dec 25, 2014
Heat makes ice melt.
One argument is that warm ocean currents are responsible. On the surface that seems plausible, but it is a shallow hypothesis since it does not account for melting ice caps on Greenland and Antarctica, nor on other glaciers. Neither does it account for the arctic ice cap gaining volume during winter

Another argument postulates that CO2 retains enough infrared radiation to melt the ice. If that were the case, melting would continue year round, but evidence indicates that the volume of ice grows and shrinks in step with the seasons

That leaves one other plausible explanation, one suggested by one of Benjamin Franklin's experiments in the mid-eighteenth century. Dark Matter in the form of black carbon and other particulates from dust storms, volcanos, and the most effective - fossil fuel and bio-fuel particulate emissions. As I indicated elsewhere, I have seen high latitude snow and ice disappear under direct sunlight at -30F, well below the melting point

Dec 25, 2014
In summary, CO2 alone can not account for the "weather anomalies" that frequently occur. The destruction of the equatorial and sub-tropical rain forests reconfigures weather patterns from pole to pole.

The daily injection of tens of thousands of tons of water vapor, CO2, and particulates into the upper troposphere distorts the H2O cycle.

The particle fallout from fossil fuel and bio-fuel aerosols enhance snow and ice melt. Dry air can not provide replenishing snowfall.

These three are the only man made influences on global weather and climate. Others are caused by, or are subsets of these three.

I sincerely hope that this is not too simple for the trolls.

Dec 25, 2014
When did the deniers switch from "No Climate Change" to "CO2 can't do it "?

Dec 26, 2014
Elsewhere Water_Prophet claimed
How can you say I ignore longwave radiations?
By evidence U ignored long wave (LW) radiation re CO2's interference to space, U only saw TSI.

U write fossil fuel (FF) proportion of TSI, yet U IGNORE FACT Earth converts short wave (SW) to LW & CO2 interferes with emission to Space. Nobody is disagreeing FF adds heat & CO2. But, U, as a claimed Physical Chemist (PC) haven't acknowledged CO2's interference U even claimed "CO2 is a red herring", which is obviously completely WRONG !

Water_Prophet claimed
..1998 was a very hot year; Industry was booming and the Sun was at/near a max
Huh? U claim Sun TSI was at max ? Not according to this
http://www.skepti...asic.gif

Water_Prophet claimed to be a PC, yet doesn't write like one, does Water_Prophet accept:-

1. TSI mainly SW
2. Earth converts SW to LW
3. LW to space interfered by CO2

Simple issue Water_Prophet I asked before, WHY do u evade ?

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