Probability Assessments of an Ice-Free Arctic: Comparing Statistical and Climate Model Projections

29 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2020

See all articles by Francis X. Diebold

Francis X. Diebold

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Glenn D. Rudebusch

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Date Written: December 26, 2019

Abstract

The downward trend in Arctic sea ice is a key factor determining the pace and intensity of future global climate change; moreover, declines in sea ice can have a wide range of additional environmental and economic consequences. Based on several decades of satellite data, we provide statistical forecasts of Arctic sea ice extent during the rest of this century. The best fitting statistical model indicates that sea ice is diminishing at an increasing rate. By contrast, average projections from the CMIP5 global climate models foresee a gradual slowing of sea ice loss even in high carbon emissions scenarios. Our long-range statistical projections also deliver probability assessments of the timing of an ice-free Arctic. This analysis indicates almost a 60 percent chance of an effectively ice-free Arctic Ocean in the 2030s – much earlier than the average projection from global climate models.

Keywords: sea ice extent; climate models; climate change; climate trends; climate predition; cryospheric science

Suggested Citation

Diebold, Francis X. and Rudebusch, Glenn D., Probability Assessments of an Ice-Free Arctic: Comparing Statistical and Climate Model Projections (December 26, 2019). PIER Working Paper No. 20-001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3513025 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3513025

Francis X. Diebold (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-1507 (Phone)
215-573-4217 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ssc.upenn.edu/~fdiebold/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Glenn D. Rudebusch

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco ( email )

101 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

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