Albedo-Warming Potential (AWP)

The Albedo-Warming Potential is an attempt to quantify the additional warming from a lower ice cover at the poles. At the moment these calculations don't include cloud cover, therefore it is called "Warming Potential" and not actual warming. However, over six-month weather tends to average out and warm areas correlate well with low ice extent in September. The basis of all calculations is a self-developed global surface radiation model and NSIDC Sea Ice Concentration data.

All anomalies are calculated against the 10 year 2007-2016 sea ice concentration average. Only since 2008 the Arctic pole hole is small enough to get a confident estimate on the actual sea ice concentration near the pole. Before 1988 the Arctic pole hole is almost all of the central Arctic region and during the period 1988-2007 the pole hole is half of the central Arctic. The pole hole is always estimated from a 2 pixel wide ring around it.

Arctic cumulative AWP anomaly




More info in Documentation

Below is a graph showing the percentage of total yearly solar energy considered by the Albedo-Warming Potential



The next graph shows the solar surface radiation per square meter for different latitudes. Unlike "top of the Atmosphere solar radiation" the high latitudes are not highest during peak summer. The low angle of solar radiation in high latitudes means more energy is absorbed by the atmosphere. This energy can also raise the surface temperature but is not relevant for the AWP calculation: ice vs water
Astronomical summer: 20 March to 22 September


The results could be used as a basis for sea ice forecast models and an analysis tool for scientists in combination with wind maps and ice drift maps. The cumulative results also give a better view of the whole melting season than just one single value for the final September sea ice extent.







Antarctic cumulative AWP anomaly