Science Network Uses Open Collaborative Process to Predict 2015 Arctic Sea Ice Minimum

The Sea Ice Prediction Network (SIPN) released its first report of the Sea Ice Outlook for the 2015 season on Wednesday, 24 June. The Sea Ice Outlook is a public exercise that allows anyone interested in Arctic sea ice to share predictions and ideas about the amount of sea ice that will remain in the Arctic in mid-September, when sea ice extent is at its annual minimum.

The Sea Ice Outlook reports have been published in June, July, and August each summer since 2008.  These monthly reports include contributions that reflect a range of perspectives from advanced numerical models to statistical analysis to qualitative submissions from citizen scientists. The monthly Sea Ice Outlook reports include a summary of those predictions and discussion about the range of predictive methods, current Arctic sea ice and weather conditions, and other variables that affect sea ice.

In the June 2015 report, the combined estimates from 32 contributions predict an average September sea ice extent of 5.0 million square kilometers (1.9 million square miles). This figure is less than the sea ice extent observed by satellite in September 2014 but remains higher than the record low extent 3.6 million square kilometers (1.4 million square miles) observed in September 2012.

“The open and highly collaborative process to develop this report is what makes it so unique and valuable,” says Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) Program Director Helen Wiggins. “Instead of scientific groups and individuals working in isolation, we are sharing results and predictions in real-time and on the web. It is much faster than the typical scientific process where research outcomes are only communicated at an annual scientific meeting or after publishing an article in a scientific journal.”

The June 2015 report was developed by lead authors Cecilia Bitz (University of Washington), Ed Blanchard-Wrigglesworth (University of Washington), and Jim Overland (NOAA) with contributions from the rest of the SIPN leadership Team. François Massonnet (Université catholique de Louvain) contributed a section analyzing the model contributions.

Sea Ice Outlook activities are supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the office of Naval Research (ONR), the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), and through the volunteer efforts of contributors. A partner of the Network, the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS) is a 501(c)(3) membership organization of educational and scientific institutions that have a substantial commitment to Arctic research.  For more information, visit:



Categories: Water, Sewage, and Septic Systems, Environmental, Research