After a relatively linear decrease since the beginning of satellite observations in 1979, summer Arctic sea-ice extent displayed two extreme lows in 2007 and 2012. Antarctic sea ice, which had been slightly expanding on average from 1979 to 2014, has experienced a series of record lows in all seasons since then, with two historical summer minima in 2017 and 2022.
The central scientific question of RESIST, is: "Were recent observed summer sea-ice lows driven by the same factors in the Arctic and in the Antarctic, and did their impacts differ significantly"? More specifically, the objective of RESIST is to document, qualitatively and quantitatively, the cause-effect relationships between extreme states of summer sea ice and its potential interacting agents, in both hemispheres. RESIST is a BELSPO project involving UCLouvain and RMIB.
Specific research topic at RMIB: Study of causal links between sea-ice lows and their drivers and impacts
The Liang-Kleeman rate of information transfer (see also Tools) will be applied to identify causal dependencies between the different oceanic/atmospheric and thermodynamic/dynamic processes leading to sea-ice lows in both polar regions, but also to test the influence of sea-ice anomalies on autumn and winter atmospheric conditions. The method will feed on existing model simulations (large ensembles, CMIP6, HighResMIP) and runs produced within RESIST.
Dr. David Docquier, postdoc at RMIB
Dr. Stéphane Vannitsem, supervisor at RMIB