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Author Topic: Will we see it before it happens?  (Read 1362 times)

Neven

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Will we see it before it happens?
« on: July 09, 2018, 08:54:30 PM »
With it I'm referring to the first melting season that results in ice-free conditions (for all practical purposes, below 1 million km2 SIA) or what has become popular as 'blue ocean event' (BOE).

The past three melting seasons all started with big expectations, because of record warm winters, PIOMAS showing low volume numbers, and March/April having very low extent numbers. But somehow, weather conditions would switch during May and/or June, effectively making record-breaking minimums highly unlikely, come September.

This has led to recurring annual discussions around this time of year, where I and others slowly start to announce that this won't be the big year, while others maintain that it's still very much possible, because there are certain things going on that aren't easy to discern (like salinity or buoy temperature profiles), or because some models show the situation is actually a lot worse than remote sensing-based observations are reporting (like the HYCOM/ACNFS or TOPAZ sea ice thickness models).

I guess the idea is that the ice is in a much worse state, more 'rotten', more porous, darker on the underside (algae), all things that wouldn't be picked up by microwave sounders or radar. In theory.

Do you guys think that it is possible that none of the more conservative/reticent members here (including myself) will notice anything before the ice suddenly goes POOF? Will we be totally surprised?

I tend to think not, because I think that collectively we have quite a good view on the real-time stuff (maximum two weeks out), and because I also think that the first BOE will still depend on extraordinary weather conditions, and for this the weather models are reliable enough (up to one week out). But I might be wrong.



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jacksmith4tx

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Re: Will we see it before it happens?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2018, 09:16:48 PM »
As a corollary, will it change any skeptic minds when we get a BOE? I bet 20 quatloos WUWT will have it debunked in 24hrs.. Like everybody knows they already have the obituaries written for Jimmy Carter and GHW Bush they have assembled a lengthy list of reasons why it's fake news etc..

I personally think some of the new climate AI models will give us a much better prediction window and more importantly, what the feedback's will do to the rest of the planet.
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Dharma Rupa

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Re: Will we see it before it happens?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2018, 09:19:04 PM »
First of all, NO.  We will only know after the fact.

I am more inclined to use the measure that the DMI 80N cannot keep the Summer temperature pinned near 0; which is in some conflict with...

I see no reason why the melt out will happen in Summer.  It will happen when the combination of Atlantic Water and loss of Fresh Water dictates; which could be any time of year.  Summer Sun is a minor perturbation to the whole; which might slightly favor melt-out during Summer.

oren

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Re: Will we see it before it happens?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2018, 09:46:14 PM »
As a lot of the processes are random, I don't think we'll know for sure. But I think we do have a feel for how many chances each year has in the BOE lottery, depending on the date and the available "conservative" measures for the state of the ice such as volume, extent, area, melt extent, bluishness, compactness, regional distribution of the ice, etc.
So in the first BOE year we will probably know throughout the summer that the risk is high and refusing to go away.
IMHO on June 1st there is hardly any information available to refute a possible BOE, July 1st can give good indications for some years that the risk is lowering, and August 1st can cross out most years. But a small risk still remains even for seemingly innocent years and relatively late dates.

Stephan

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Re: Will we see it before it happens?
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2018, 10:10:52 PM »
Probably much more science in the field (...in the CAB) is necessary to really be able to evaluate the state of the ice (its thickness, its porosity, its albedo, the T profiles beneath it etc). To get a good judgement about it there should be direct observations at many different places to get the whole picture of the ice. And then projections into the near future might be much more precise than they are today.
I am pretty sure that - before even half of this work will be finished - the first BOE will have occured (in 2025 ± 2 years) and we were not able to fully understand why it exactly happened that year...

jdallen

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Re: Will we see it before it happens?
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2018, 10:20:10 PM »
Quote
Do you guys think that it is possible that none of the more conservative/reticent members here (including myself) will notice anything before the ice suddenly goes POOF? Will we be totally surprised?

I actually think it's quite possible, even with our increasing understanding of how the pieces affect one another.

I will caveat - that while I don't think we'll likely see it at the start of the season, or even by the time we reach the solstice - I think our skill looking a month out is reasonably good, and that's probably about the window we will have.

I will also caveat - that those among us who suggest a BOE is about to happen will similarly be lucky rather than surprised.  I really haven't seen anything to suggest folks of that bent are any more skillful than the rest of us.
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Dharma Rupa

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Re: Will we see it before it happens?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2018, 02:10:42 AM »
I will also caveat - that those among us who suggest a BOE is about to happen will similarly be lucky rather than surprised.  I really haven't seen anything to suggest folks of that bent are any more skillful than the rest of us.

If I always predict a BOE then the year it actually happens will not be luck.

Richard Rathbone

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Re: Will we see it before it happens?
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2018, 02:13:01 AM »
I think it might not happen at all. I think it takes 10 years of fossil fuel BAU to bring it in range of an extreme melt season and I'm not convinced fossil fuels have 10 years left of BAU. I don't think there's a tipping point waiting in the physics of ice melt, but I do think there's one in the economics of their replacement and once past it they go out of business faster than they can comprehend is possible.


Feeltheburn

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Re: Will we see it before it happens?
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2018, 02:41:27 AM »
The best chance to obliterate ice is for there to be a huge wind storm as in 2008 that pushed the ice late in the season and likely had lasting effects, notably, lots of open water that needed to ice over, leading to younger ice.

I don't think warmth has been or will be the biggest determining factor. It will be wind.
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Michael Hauber

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Re: Will we see it before it happens?
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2018, 03:13:46 AM »
I think most of us will have some idea of a blue ocean event at least a week or two before it occurs - if the ice is at 1.5m half way through August even the most conservative of us on this forum will have to start suspecting something is up.  Unless we see flash melting like no flash melting in the past.

The question is how early will be able to tell?  And an interesting corollary is how early can we tell for certain that this is not the year of the first blue ocean event?  Depends on how it happens.  Some (most?) of us suspect that freak weather conditions could result in a blue ocean event any year.  I know I do even though I believe that regular blue ocean won't happen until the second half of this century.  Such a freak would be very difficult to predict - we might think we have a perfect storm melting situation in June, but how do we know it won't turn cloudy and cool in July.  Alternatively we may see continued gradual lowering of the record until the existing record is about as close to a blue ocean event as typical annual variation.  Then any strong start to the melt season should lead to much speculation about whether that will be the year.
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