So much going on… A great paper slipped past in February – It has been 14 million years since the Arctic has been ice free in summer. The National Snow and Ice Data Center has declared the arctic sea ice maximum for the winter. It is the 5th lowest on record, and the lowest 6 years ever recorded have all occurred in the last 6 years.
The current Arctic sea ice projections are that we will see ice free conditions in the Arctic sometimes starting between 2013 and 2020. With the sunspot cycle and La Nina waning, it will be just a few years until the ocean oscillations re-align themselves so that the warming mask is removed. The anticipated continuance of accelerated warming coinciding with accelerated CO2 emissions and greenhouse gas feedback reactions is universal among climate scientists.
The implications of an ice free Arctic Ocean are significant while in reality being quite unknown. Fourteen million years is along to time to hind cast. What is known is that open ocean absorbs 93% of the suns heat while snow absorbs 7%. So an ice free Arctic will retain 13 times more heat than we have seen retained in 14 million years. It is understood that this heat is easily transferred to adjoining land masses and this could be one of the reasons that drive the polar amplification process that sees climate change happening first in the arctic and happening with much greater impacts.
Loss of Sea Ice in the Arctic, US Army Engineering Research Center Cold Regions Research and Engineering, 2009