A milestone than many are dreading will arrive within the next four months. The Arctic will be ice free, probably for the first time in the last 6000 or so years. This event has been long predicted by the eminent Professor David Barber. In 2008 the Winnipeg Free Press quoted Barber…
“We’ll always have ice in the winter time in the Arctic, but it will always be first-year ice,” Barber said on Friday. “2015 is our estimate for summer free (of) ice.”
As Barber said, the Arctic will always have ice in the winter, but some winters may have more or less than others. Data collected over time has allowed the calculation of the average ice extent for each day of the year. Of course, that average is higher in the winter and lower in the summer. The lowest average occurs in September after the long summer melt. Deviations from this average are called the “anomaly.”
In September the average ice extent drops down to about 4.5 million square kilometers. But in recent years the anomaly has been negative. So, the ice extent in September has been less than 4.5 million square kilometers.
Barber made his prediction in 2008 after
that the previous year’s anomaly had dropped to about 2.5 million square kilometers. That is, after that year’s summer melt there was only about 2 million square kilometers of ice left. The strange thing is, six out of seven years since Barber made his prediction the anomaly has been higher (i.e. there was a greater ice extent) after the summer melt than in 2007. This might surprise you, because you would expect that anomaly to get lower and lower (more and more negative) as you approached the dreaded ice free summer.
One might think that this strange circumstance indicates that Barber was wrong about his prediction. But that can’t be, because he is a SCIENTIST (SCIENTIST, Scientist, scientist, scientist).
So here is what we can expect the anomaly to do this year…
Barber could have made a lot of money (for his favorite charity) off of this prediction, because there was some blogging kook who gave him 10 to 1 odds that it wouldn’t happen. But I am sure he felt it was much more important to remain the impartial SCIENTIST (SCIENTIST, Scientist, scientist, scientist).