Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/tc-2016-28
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Brief communication
02 Mar 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper for further review has not been submitted.
Brief Communication: Does it matter exactly when the Arctic will become ice-free?
J. K. Ridley, R. A. Wood, A. B. Keen, E. Blockley, and J. A. Lowe Met Office Hadley Centre, FitzRoy Road, Exeter EX1 3PB, UK
Abstract. Following the 2015 UNFCCC Conference of Parties in Paris there is renewed interest in understanding and avoiding potentially dangerous climate change. The loss of Arctic sea ice is one of the most directly visible aspects of climate change and the question is frequently asked: when can we expect the Arctic to be ice-free in summer? We argue here that this question may not be the most useful one to inform decisions on climate change mitigation or adaptation in the Arctic. The development of a community-wide consensus on a robust definition of "ice-free", may reduce confusion in the community and amongst the public.

Citation: Ridley, J. K., Wood, R. A., Keen, A. B., Blockley, E., and Lowe, J. A.: Brief Communication: Does it matter exactly when the Arctic will become ice-free?, The Cryosphere Discuss., doi:10.5194/tc-2016-28, in review, 2016.
J. K. Ridley et al.
Interactive discussionStatus: closed (peer review stopped)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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RC1: 'Review of: Does it matter exactly when the Arctic will become ice-free?', Anonymous Referee #1, 04 Apr 2016 Printer-friendly Version 
 
RC2: 'Review of Ridley et al.', Anonymous Referee #2, 28 Apr 2016 Printer-friendly Version 
 
EC1: 'Editors Comments', Julienne Stroeve, 02 May 2016 Printer-friendly Version 
J. K. Ridley et al.
J. K. Ridley et al.

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Short summary
The internal variability in model projections of Arctic sea ice extent is high. As a consequence an ensemble of projections from a single model can show considerable scatter in the range of dates for an "ice-free" Arctic. This paper investigates if the scatter can be reduced for a variety of definitions of "ice-free". Daily GCM data reveals that only a high emissions scenario results in the optimal definition of five conservative years in with ice extent is below one million square kilometer.
The internal variability in model projections of Arctic sea ice extent is high. As a consequence...
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