Whither Arctic sea ice? A clear signal of decline regionally, seasonally and extending beyond the satellite record

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The Arctic sea ice has been pointed to as one of the first and clearest indicators of climate change. Satellite passive microwave observations from 1979 through 2005 now indicate a significant −8.4 ±1.5% decade−1 trend (99% confidence level) in September sea-ice extent, a larger trend than earlier estimates due to acceleration of the decline over the past 41 years. There are differences in regional trends, with some regions more stable than others; not all regional trends are significant. The largest trends tend to occur in months where melt is at or near its peak for a given region. A longer time series of September extents since 1953 was adjusted to correct biases and extended through 2005. The trend from the longer time series is −7.7±0.6% decade−1 (99%), slightly less than from the satellite-derived data that begin in 1979, which is expected given the recent acceleration in the decline.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3189/172756407782871170

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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