Research and Application News
NASA scientists seek to improve sea ice predictions
30 August 2017
Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is in a downward spiral, with summer minimum extents about 40 percent smaller than in the 1980s. But predicting how the sea ice is going to behave in a particular year is tricky: There are still many unknowns about the conditions of the sea ice cover, to say nothing of the difficulties of forecasting weather and ocean behavior over seasonal timescales.
NASA researchers are working to improve their forecasts of the size of the Arctic sea ice cover at the end of the summer melt season — but the goal is not just to have a better prediction of sea ice coverage. The challenge of making summer sea ice forecasts allows scientists to test their understanding of the processes that control seasonal sea ice growth and retreat, and to fine-tune computer models that represent connections among the ice, atmosphere and ocean.
Image credit: NASA/Robbie Russell - A collection of broken up sea ice floes of various sizes, floating north of Greenland.