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Impacts of the Record Arctic Sea Ice Minimum of 2012 - Presentation

 

 

93rd AMS Annual Conference:  from 5th to 10th January, 2013 at Austin Convention centre

 

Session 1 on 8th January, 2013:  "Global Weather Impacts in 2012"

 

Presenters:     Mark C. Serreze

 

Presentation Date (time):      8th January, 2013 (0915)

 

Presentation Summary:

On 16 September, 2012, Arctic sea ice extent dropped to the lowest level recorded over the satellite era, which at 3.49 million square km was 18% lower than the previous record low extent set in September 2007. The summer of 2007 featured unusually high sea level pressure centered north of the Beaufort Sea and Greenland, paired with unusually low pressure along northern Eurasia, bringing in warm southerly winds along the shores of the East Siberian and Chukchi seas, favoring strong ice melt in these sectors and pushing the ice away from the coast, leaving open water. The pressure pattern also favored the transport of ice out of the Arctic Ocean and into the North Atlantic through Fram Strait. By sharp contrast, apart from an unusually strong low pressure system in the first week of August centered over the northern Beaufort Sea, weather patterns during the summer of 2012 were unremarkable. While evaluations are ongoing as this abstract is written, it appears that in response to a warming Arctic over the past several decades, the spring ice cover is now so thin that large parts of the sea ice cover are now simply unable to survive the summer melt season. Through the summer of 2012, the Arctic Ocean absorbed a great deal of solar energy in dark open water areas. The release of this stored heat to the atmosphere during the autumn and winter, manifested as strong positive anomalies in surface and lower tropospheric temperatures, serves as an exclamation point on the ongoing process of Arctic amplification – the observed outsized rise in air temperatures over the Arctic compared to the globe as a whole. Whether this outsized warming will influence autumn and winter weather patterns beyond the Arctic region, as has been argued to have been the case in other recent years with low end-of-summer sea ice extent, remains to be seen. What is clear is that the events of 2012 have further raised awareness of the economic and strategic importance of the Arctic through its growing accessibility to marine shipping and extraction of natural resources. 

 

Link to full video presentation (15 minutes):  https://ams.confex.com/ams/93Annual/flvgateway.cgi/id/24392?recordingid=24392&entry_password=777465&uniqueid=Paper224917

 

 

Link to the full conference agenda:    https://ams.confex.com/ams/93Annual/webprogram/meeting.html

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