Computer models ‘greatly overestimate’ summer Arctic melt pond formation, say researchers

Posted: July 4, 2022 by oldbrew in data, modelling, predictions, research, sea ice
Tags: , ,

Arctic sea ice [image credit: Geoscience Daily]


Hardly surprising, given the endless overestimates of global warming by climate models. They found that ‘Melt ponds covered 21% of the observed area during the summer, while the two models indicated 41% and 51%’.
– – –
New research shows two widely used computer models that predict summer melt pond formation on sea ice greatly overestimate their extent, a key finding as scientists work to make accurate projections about Arctic climate change, says Phys.org.

The finding comes from measurements made during a year-long expedition aboard the research vessel Polarstern.

For the Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate expedition, or MOSAiC, the ship was allowed to freeze into place in the Arctic and drift with the ice pack from September 2019 to October 2020.

The NASA-funded work, which compared computer model assessments to observations made during the last four months of the expedition, was led by Melinda Webster of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute. Webster, a research assistant professor, spent several months aboard the Polarstern.

The results were published in the journal Elementa in May.

“No model is perfect,” Webster said. “This study uses a combination of surface-based, airborne and satellite data to reveal the possible imperfect representation, or missing physics, of sea-ice melt processes, which we can focus on improving.”

Melt ponds form when water from melting snow and sea ice settles into surface depressions.

The extent of melt ponds and the timing of their seasonal formation affect the surface albedo, which controls the amount of solar radiation reflected from the surface. Ponds reduce the albedo, allowing solar radiation to be absorbed and transmitted to the seawater below.

Increased absorption of solar energy enhances the warming of the upper ocean and hastens sea ice melt. It can also lead to increased growth of certain phytoplankton species that are better adapted to higher light levels in the upper ocean. That has ramifications for the rest of the food chain.

The amount of absorption also affects the net change in new ice growth versus ice melt.

Full article here.

Comments
  1. […] Computer models ‘greatly overestimate’ summer Arctic melt pond formation, say resea… […]

  2. JB says:

    “No model is perfect,” Webster said. “This study uses a combination of surface-based, airborne and satellite data to reveal the possible imperfect representation, or missing physics, of sea-ice melt processes, which we can focus on improving.”

    Yet they are compelled to make predictions knowing a priori they are inaccurate. Not useful.

  3. oldbrew says:

    The models aren’t ‘imperfect’ — they’re not even in the ballpark.

  4. Kip Hansen says:

    Can this be right? “Ponds reduce the albedo, allowing solar radiation to be absorbed and transmitted to the seawater below.” Solar radiation (heat, warmth) gets transmitted through the ice to the sea water below? Can ice be warmed above ~0°C thus transmitting the warmth to sea water below? Really? (I may be having a senior moment of confusion?)

  5. catweazle666 says:

    ““No model is perfect,” Webster said.”

    “In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

    So stated the IPCC’s Working Group I: The Scientific Basis, Third Assessment Report (TAR), Chapter 14 (final para., 14.2.2.2), p774.
    El Niño and La Niña

  6. oldbrew says:

    Understanding arctic melt ponds…

    https://unews.utah.edu/melt-ponds/
    — with link to Research Article…
    ‘Percolation blockage: A process that enables melt pond formation on first year Arctic sea ice’

  7. Bloke down the pub says:

    I contend that while water may absorb more energy from the sun than sea ice, this is only true at high angles. As, even at the height of Arctic summer, the sun never gets high above the horizon, there is practicably no increase in the absorption of solar energy. I dare say that this alone would explain why their models are so far out.

  8. Russell Cook (@QuestionAGW) says:

    There’s always more. Today at his Real Climate Science blog, Tony Heller’s video explains the ongoing misinformation that’s coming out of the U.S. National Public Radio news outlet (among others) about the “melting Arctic,” versus what the real world situation actually is in the Arctic: https://realclimatescience.com/2022/07/the-biggest-scam-of-all/ / https://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=UT59gmwPKRc

  9. Phoenix44 says:

    Why they try and model in such detail is beyond me. Build a basic model that gets pretty close, then refine it to make it more accurate. As it is, they’ve decided what the model should do and so try and model the detail and then wonder why that rarely gets it right. It is stupidity, the opposite of what sensible modelers would do. They are just getting spurious accuracy all the time.

  10. oldbrew says:

    “No model is perfect,”

    But believe everything they come out with 🙄

  11. stpaulchuck says:

    this cagw nonsense is only designed to support the politicians grab for more of our money and our freedoms. This will make Piltdown Man and Teapot Dome look like kid stuff.

    what is nowadays problematic is that the average jamoke has ZERO science training, not ever ‘Introduction to General Science’. So, the NPC’s and mouth breathers nod their heads and then go about whatever the scaremongers order them to do.

    side note: why do NONE of these sheeple consider that Russia, China, and India are building dozens of HUGE coal fired power plants while we are relegated to spastic windmills and solar arrays?

  12. as/re the post by catweazle666… It only seems chaotic because we do not understand it.

  13. ivan says:

    One has to wonder why industry gets its models right yet the academics in global warming get theirs so wrong. Maybe the fact that if industry gets it wrong there are consequences – bridges collapse etc. yet there are no consequences for those from the ivory towers.

  14. catweazle666 says:

    “It only seems chaotic because we do not understand it.”
    No, it SEEMS chaotic because it IS chaotic, in the exact meaning of the term, that is precisely our understanding of it.
    It was meteorologist and mathematician Edward Lorenz who was the founder of chaos theory due to his observations of weather and climate, in fact.
    Read James Gleick’s excellent work “Chaos” for an excellent explanation of this very important concept.

    Click to access James%20Gleick%20-%20Chaos.%20Making%20a%20new%20science.pdf

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