Paper In Physics Today Claims Fall In Arctic Sea Ice Brings New Attention To Geoengineering

PhysicsToday  Scientists alarmed by rapidly shrinking Arctic ice cap,

By David Kramer, February 2013, page 17

 In September 2012 Arctic sea-ice extent fell to its lowest level since the first satellite records in 1979. At 3.4 million km2, the area was roughly half the median minimum coverage that occurred from 1979 to 2000. A 2011 MIT model showed the sea ice is thinning at four times the rate the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated in 2007. The Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System model developed at the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory showed last year’s minimum volume at 3263 km3, roughly half the volume it had in 2007, the year of the previous record low. Some climate scientists are now warning that an ice-free summer Arctic Ocean could appear within a few years—more than a decade sooner than existing climate models have predicted…………..

Dimming the Sun

The accelerating change in the Arctic has brought new attention to geoengineering, in particular to solar radiation management (SRM) methods that reflect sunlight back into space (see Physics Today, August 2008, page 26). Advocates of SRM acknowledge that geoengineering is a last resort to be used only if the world fails to limit greenhouse gases. The failure so far to reach a global agreement to achieve meaningful emissions reductions invites the question of how an international consensus on geoengineering might be developed. Proponents of SRM techniques that modify the atmosphere acknowledge that adverse effects on local climates are likely, including changes in rainfall patterns. And no form of SRM would address the ocean-water acidification being caused by increased CO2 emissions.


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