Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Wieslaw Maslowski, Ph.D.

Department of Oceanography, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

Arctic Climate Change:
Understanding Causes and Rates to Improve Predictions

Wednesday - September 16, 2009
Pacific Forum — 3:00 p.m.

Recent changes in the Arctic sea ice cover since the late 1990s provide one of the top examples of warming climate. However, the causes of the ice melt and its rate are not fully understood. Most climate models predict up to 50% reduction of summer sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean by the end of this century, as a result of an amplified response to global warming. Satellite aerial observations of ice imply much faster rate of melting which may result in ice-free summers in the Arctic Ocean by 2040. Our regional model results indicate that the rate of ice thickness and volume decline has been even faster than the rate of aerial change determined from satellite observations. We argue that high resolution is required to realistically model sea ice variability, oceanic heat fluxes, air-sea interactions, and to improve predictive skills in general circulation models.


Next: September 30 — Peter Guest