Published on : Jun 16, 2014
A team of UK researchers claim that meaningful predictions can be made from the amount of water ponding in floes as the floes warm during springs.
Using the technique, the team has estimated that the maximum ice that could melt in this September would be about 5.4 million square km - about the same amount as after the end of the melt season observed in the last year.
Floes in the Arctic regions have become a source of intense study in the past few years owing to their rapid decline during summers now-a-days.
Speaking of numbers, the extent of such floes has reduced from nearly 7 million square kilometers in 1990 to less than 5 million square kilometers in the past seven years. Especially in the year 2012, the extent had reduced to a record low of 3.6 million square kilometers.
What’s alarming is their year-on-year variation, which has not yet been correctly gauged by any computer model available.
Researchers say that the three month prediction they are making would be useful for people operating their businesses in the Arctic region, such as shipping companies, for purposes like better navigation.
If it works out as expected, the physics model this research team has presented would also be helpful in improving climate models drawn for longer terms.
But it should be noted that this is only the first forecast of the research group and how useful it could prove is still uncertain.
Weather conditions, which have a tendency of going haywire - more so observed in the past few years, could well knock the predictions off the course and what actually draws from these predictions is a matter yet to be seen.