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08.15.12 News
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How Do They Do It? Predictions Are In For Arctic Sea Ice Low Point

Expert scientists with decades of experience attempt to predict the low point of Arctic sea ice each year. When averaged, the predictions have come in remarkably close to the mark in the past two years. But the low and high predictions are off by hundreds of thousands of square kilometers. Researchers are working hard to improve their ability to more accurately predict how much Arctic sea ice will remain at the end of summer. It’s an important exercise because knowing why sea ice declines could help scientists better understand climate change and how sea ice is evolving. This year, researchers from the University of Washington‘s Polar Science Center are the first to include new NASA sea ice thickness data collected by airplane in a prediction. They expect 4.4 million square kilometers of remaining ice (about 1.7 million square miles), just barely more than the 4.3 million kilometers in 2007, the lowest year on record for Arctic sea ice.
Image credit: University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory