Vinnikov et al. (1999) Vinnikov, Konstantin Y., Alan Robock, Ronald J. Stouffer, John E. Walsh, Claire L. Parkinson, Donald J. Cavalieri, John F. B. Mitchell, Donald Garrett, and Victor F. Zakharov, 1999: Global warming and Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent. Science, 286, 1934-1937.


Surface and satellite-based observations show a decrease in Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent during the past 46 years. A comparison of these trends to control and transient integrations (forced by observed greenhouse gases and tropospheric sulfate aerosols) from the Geophysical Fludi Dynamics Laboratory and Hadley Centre climate models reveals that the observed decrease in Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent agrees with the transient simulations, and both trends are far larger than would be expected from natural climate variations. From long-term control runs of climate models, it was found that the probability of the observed trends resulting from natural climate variability, assuming that the models' natural variability is similar to that found in nature, is less than 2% for the 1978-1998 sea ice trends and less than 0.1% for the 1953-1998 sea ice trends. Both models used here project continued decreases in both sea ice thickness and extent throughout the next century.

Click here for pdf file of Fig. 2, showing observations compared to model simulations.

Prepared by Alan Robock ( ) - Last updated on May 9, 2000