Predictions Are in for Arctic Sea Ice Low Point

Predictions Are in for Arctic Sea Ice Low Point

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It’s become a sport of sorts, predicting the low point of Arctic sea ice each year. Expert scientists with decades of experience do it but so do enthusiasts, whose guesses are gamely included in a monthly predictions roundup collected by Sea Ice Outlook, an effort supported by the U.S. government.

When averaged, the predictions have come in remarkably close to the mark in the past two years. But the low and high predictions are off by hundreds of thousands of square kilometers. Researchers are working hard to improve their ability to more accurately predict how much Arctic sea ice will remain at the end of summer. It’s an important exercise because knowing why sea ice declines could help scientists better understand climate change and how sea ice is evolving. This year, researchers from the University of Washington’s Polar Science Center are the first to include new NASA sea ice thickness data collected by airplane in a prediction.

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