The first Sea Ice Outlook of this year has been published. The SIO is now organized by the Sea Ice Prediction Network (as part of the Arctic research program 'Study of Environmental Arctic Change', or SEARCH), and is a compilation of projections for the September 2014 Arctic sea ice extent, based on NSIDC monthly extent values. These projections are submitted by professionals as well as amateurs (public outlooks).
Here's the summary for the June report:
The median Outlook value for September 2014 sea ice extent is 4.7 million square kilometers with quartiles of 4.2 and 5.1 million square kilometers (See Figure 1 in the full report, below). Contributions are based on a range of methods: statistical, numerical models, estimates based on trends, and subjective information. We have a large distribution of Outlook contributions, which is not surprising given the different observed values in 2012 and 2013. The overall range is also large at 3.2 to 6.3 million square kilometers. The median outlook value is up from 4.1 million square kilometers in 2013. These values compare to observed values of 4.3 million square kilometers in 2007, 4.6 million square kilometers in 2011, 3.6 million square kilometers in 2012 and 5.4 million square kilometers in 2013. Only three outlooks this year are above the 2013 observed September extent.
As the season progresses, it will be interesting to follow the relative influences of weather (i.e., warm Arctic winter in 2013/2014 and the wind and weather through the summer) and initial conditions of the sea ice, all in the context of the long-term downward trend of sea ice extent.
Read the entire report here.
And here's the figure showing all the projections (click for a larger version):
The September minimums for the last 9 years (in millions km2, found here):
Couple of points:
- Nice to see so many contributors who also comment and explain/discuss their models on the ASIB and ASIF, using all kinds of statistics and parameters (volume, snow cover, etc) to try and come up with a prediction. Great work, all of you.
- Also nice to see the contribution by the research team from Reading (Schröder et al.) who published an interesting paper a while back providing evidence for a correlation between melt pond cover fraction and the September minimum. They have received an extra round of media attention because of their current prediction, which is even higher than last year's minimum. This year could be a good test case for their theory.
- Unfortunately Larry Hamilton has been too busy to conduct a poll on the ASIB this year and submit it to the SIO. I do see though that the WUWT poll has resulted in a very high number this year, albeit not the highest. Last year their community's prediction turned out to be lower (!) than the final September average, which goes to show how much of an outlier 2013 was extent-wise. Their confidence in further recoveries must have been boosted by the previous melting season, as well as by the promotion of this one model run by Joe Bastardi (unfortunately he doesn't explain how the model comes to its conclusions) that predicts September extent levels not seen since almost 15 years.
Well, everything is possible in the Arctic, as 2012 and 2013 have shown. Which means the opposite is also true: If sea ice volume remains low, and a melting season has a start with lots of melt ponding, followed by weather that is conducive to melt and transport, ice-free conditions could even be in the cards this decade.
Either way, there has been a poll on the ASIF too (followed by a new poll next month) and the average from 95 votes predicts a September sea ice extent of 3.95 million km2, which of course would be among the lowest on the SIO chart. I've put the spreadsheet with the poll results on Google Drive, in case I've made a mistake.
I've said it before: maybe we should take an average of the WUWT and ASIF polls (5 million km2) to balance out excessive denialism and alarmism, and submit that to the SIO? :-P