UCL Earth Sciences


UK sea ice workshop and public event at UCL: Understanding the Arctic September 2016 sea ice minimum

13 September 2016

The Arctic has undergone some of the most rapid transformations over the past 50 years, with global implications for the Earth’s climate. A dramatic indicator of Arctic climate change is the shrinking summer sea ice cover. Recently Arctic sea ice loss has accelerated with the ten lowest minima sea ice extents (SIE) all occurring in the last ten years, and the Arctic is now expected to become ice-free during summer at some point this century.


This year, expectations for a record sea ice minimum were high following an unusually warm winter Arctic with the lowest ever recorded maximum March sea ice extent. While most forecasts in June and July forecasted a below average but not extreme summer minimum with a median predicted extent of 4.3 million square kilometers it now seems that the unusually warm conditions and the strong cyclonic activity observed during the second half of August and the last stages of the melt season could lead to the 2016 SIE minimum being the second ever recorded. 

This year our event will take place only a few days after the September SIE minimum and we will take this opportunity to ask five leading sea ice scientists to reflect on the conditions that lead to the sea ice summer conditions in 2016 as well as the implications of a rapidly declining Arctic sea ice cover beyond the Arctic region and in the context of long term climate change. 

Following these short presentations a dialogue between the speakers and the audience will be lead by Helen Czerski.

Speaker and panelist information:

Mark BrandonReader in Polar Oceanography, Open University
Julienne StroeveProfessor of Polar Observation & Modelling, UCL
Andy ShepherdProfessor of Earth Observation at the University of Leeds, Director of the NERC Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling
Ed BlockleyHead of the Polar Climate Group at the Met Office Hadley Centre
Chris RapleyProfessor of Climate Science, UCL


Host: Helen Czerski, Lecturer at UCL and science presenter for the BBC 

Contact: Michel Tsamados +44 (0)20 7679 3017 | m.tsamados@ucl.ac.uk

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