Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory
University of Washingon, Seattle, Washington

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Sea Ice Outlook for September 2010
from the Polar Science Weekend at the Pacific Science Center


The mean 2010 September ice extent from the National Snow and Ice Data Center,

Sea Ice Index page, is 4.90 million Sq km.

The mean response from the Polar Science weekend was quite close, 5.11 m sq km.

How did you do? Send me a note if you checked back here. lindsay@apl.washington.edu

Results of PSW survey:

We had a total of  N = 60 guesses from about 6 hours of discussions. 

The mean was 5.11 million sq km and the standard deviation was 2.15 million sq km.  The mean is quite near that predicted by the trend line (5.15 +/- 0.57 milion sq km) but the spread is much greater.

The verification value will be the September monthly mean ice extent reported in the Sea Ice Index by the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder.

The Polar Science Weekend is an annual event at the Seattle Pacific Science Center organized by the Pacific Science Center and the University of Washington Polar Science Center.  15 to 20 displays are created by various groups in the Seattle area to engage the general public in an outreach effort (http://psc.apl.washington.edu/psw  … don’t miss the photo album!).  Several thousand visitors visit the Science Center during our four-day event.  This year the event took place from February 25th to the 28th.  In order to stimulate discussions with the public about sea ice, how it has a strong annual cycle, and how the summer minimum has a strong downward trend, a small activity was organized to allow members of the public to consider sea ice extent and guess at the magnitude of the extent this next September.  Maps of the ice extent last September and January were displayed.  This poster was a good starting point for discussions:

Members of the public were invited to make a prediction for next September in a two step process, first a practice prediction was made for 2007 using this graph:

and of course we could show them the actual answer in the display maps.  Then they were offered a chance to guess for 2010 using this ballot:

They were then given a card with the 2010 ballot where they could write their guess. A web site address was provided where they can check in the fall to see what actually happened.  The best part of the exercise was the opportunity to engage a number of people in interesting discussions about the fate of sea ice in a changing climate.