Document Detail


Arctic ice cover, ice thickness and tipping points.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22259152     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
We summarize the latest results on the rapid changes that are occurring to Arctic sea ice thickness and extent, the reasons for them, and the methods being used to monitor the changing ice thickness. Arctic sea ice extent had been shrinking at a relatively modest rate of 3-4% per decade (annually averaged) but after 1996 this speeded up to 10% per decade and in summer 2007 there was a massive collapse of ice extent to a new record minimum of only 4.1 million km(2). Thickness has been falling at a more rapid rate (43% in the 25 years from the early 1970s to late 1990s) with a specially rapid loss of mass from pressure ridges. The summer 2007 event may have arisen from an interaction between the long-term retreat and more rapid thinning rates. We review thickness monitoring techniques that show the greatest promise on different spatial and temporal scales, and for different purposes. We show results from some recent work from submarines, and speculate that the trends towards retreat and thinning will inevitably lead to an eventual loss of all ice in summer, which can be described as a 'tipping point' in that the former situation, of an Arctic covered with mainly multi-year ice, cannot be retrieved.
Authors:
Peter Wadhams
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Ambio     Volume:  41     ISSN:  0044-7447     ISO Abbreviation:  Ambio     Publication Date:  2012 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-02-14     Completed Date:  2012-04-05     Revised Date:  2013-06-26    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0364220     Medline TA:  Ambio     Country:  Sweden    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  23-33     Citation Subset:  IM    
Affiliation:
Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 0WA, UK. p.wadhams@damtp.cam.ac.uk
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MeSH Terms
Descriptor/Qualifier:
Arctic Regions
Cold Temperature*
Greenhouse Effect
Ice Cover*
Models, Theoretical
Oceans and Seas
Seasons*
Thermodynamics
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