Ice, Climate change, Earth, Melting How long can the Arctic's ' last ice' last?
You know you shouldn’t think of today as being the warmest day or the warmest month over the last hundred years. You should think of it as being the coolest month for the next hundred, not the most anomalously low sea ice extent, it’s the most the ice we’ll see until we die and for the next thousand years, or something like that. So this is the you know. The high point so there’s two main export uh regions for ice coming in the arctic, so frame straight, which is on the uh between green land, and you know, spitsbergen, is where most of the ice comes out of the arctic. The stuff that comes out through france strait is mostly first year, ice, it’s kind of thinner, ice, uh and then there’s narrow strait and the canadian arctic arc archipelago. It’S 20 20. Right now – and you know these studies from 1997 – that said, we’d be the sea ice. Would be seasonally ice for the arctic would be seasonal ice cream in 2030.. It was always a pie in the sky, it could never happen thing and it’s happening. I’Ve been going to the canadian high arctic for about 40 years and in the space of my lifetime. You can see these things dramatically. Change circulation of ice in the arctic ocean is driven by a massive current known as the beaufort gyre. The current has the effect of pushing the thickest oldest ice to the northern shores of canada and greenland near the entrance to the nearest strait, so near strait is over.
You know up against the kind of canadian arctic archipelago in northern greenland and that’s, where the oldest ice is in the arctic and also the thickest ice, and so the ice that comes through near strait tends to be much thicker uh. You know this is the ice. That uh is the oldest ice in the arctic and near straight is the way that we can lose this ice and that’s a concern because it’s the older ice that’s, the stuff that is really useful. You know, as a for instance, for polar bears to hunt. They want the thick ice to hunt on seals like thick ice because they can then you know, put their burrows deeper into the ice and protect themselves from polar bears. So the thick ice is really the important ice in the arctic. Most that old ice comes down through there straight in winter, an ice jam or ice arch forms at the entrance to the nearest strait blocking passage of all, but the smallest pieces of ice as springtime comes that ice arch gives way allowing a large flow of thick Ice to move through, if you look at the duration of the ice arch over this, is we have a 25 year record it’s decreasing by about one week per year, as the ice gets thinner and these arches become less stable. We’Ll see more of this tendency for the ice to exit the region throughout the whole year, and that just means we’re going to lose more of it over time and last year canada designated an area of the canadian high arctic as as the last ice area.
It is designated as the place where the ice will last the longest. I think most people think that by the middle of the century, we’ll be able to either through reductions in use of carbon or through carbon capture will be able to start cooling the planet down and then, of course, if these refuges then can repopulate the arctic right. But if the ice is leaving this area, you know uh if it’s more dynamic, and it may not persist as long as you think it is. Then we have to rethink our ideas that we actually have some refuges for uh. You know for these marine mammals and i’m just i’m, just stunned.