Dirk Notz When Will Arctic Sea Ice Be Gone?

Dirk Notz is Head of the Max Planck Research Group ‘Sea Ice in the Earth System’ at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology. Furthermore, he is Adjunct Associate Professor of Physical Oceanography at the University Centre Svalbard in Norway. His research interests, among other topics, include the representation of sea ice in climate models, air-ice-sea interaction and physical processes in sea ice. He is Council Member of the International Glaciological Society and Associate Editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research (Oceans) as well as Editor of The Cryosphere. In 2017, he won an idw Award for Science Communication.

Area of Research

Climate Studies, Meteorology

since 2008

Head of Max Planck Research Group ”Sea Ice in the Earth System”

Max Planck Society (more details)

Max Planck Institute for Meteorology

since 2014

Adjunct Associate Professor of Physical Oceanography

University Centre in Svalbard



Max Planck Society (more details)

Max Planck Institute for Meteorology


PhD in Applied Mathematics

University of Cambridge


Studies in Meteorology

University of Hamburg (Universität Hamburg)


- Editor's Citation for Excellence in Refereeing (2013)

- "Klaus-Tschira-Preis für verständliche Wissenschaft" in Physics (2007)

- "Rayleigh-Knight-Prize for Essays in Mathematics", University of Cambridge (2004)


- Gary Comer Postdoctoral Fellowship in Abrupt Climate Change (2005-2007)

© Maximilian Dörrbecker

Max Planck Society

Hamburg, Germany

"The Max Planck Society is Germany's most successful research organization. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide. The more than 15,000 publications each year in internationally renowned scientific journals are proof of the outstanding research work conducted at Max Planck Institutes – and many of those articles are among the most-cited publications in the relevant field." (Source)


Max Planck Institute for Meteorology

"The Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M) is an internationally renowned institute for climate research. Its mission is to understand Earth's changing climate. Scientists at the MPI-M investigate what determines the sensitivity of the Earth system to perturbations such as the changing composition of its atmosphere, and work toward establishing the sources and limits of predictability within the Earth system. For that purpose MPI-M develops and analyses sophisticated models of the Earth system. Targeted in-situ measurements and satellite observations complement the model simulations." (Source)


The Arctic sea ice is the ice that is floating on the Arctic Ocean. In recent decades, this pack ice has been disappearing very rapidly. So the question arises when the Arctic sea ice will be completely gone. DIRK NOTZ has examined this using the Arctic summer sea ice in September as example. As he explains in this video, his research group combined satellite observations with model simulations and found a clear linear correlation between the loss of Arctic sea ice and carbon dioxide emissions. For each ton of CO2 we emit, we make about three square meters of Arctic sea ice disappear. From this linear relationship the researchers could extrapolate the amount of carbon dioxide that can still be emitted before the Arctic sea ice is completely gone in summers. For the first time, these findings present very intuitive numbers that make clear the impact every individual has on the global warming.

LT Video Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.21036/LTPUB10480

Observed Arctic Sea-Ice Loss Directly Follows Anthropogenic CO2 Emission

  • Dirk Notz and Julienne Stroeve
  • Science
  • Published in 2016
Dirk Notz and Julienne Stroeve. "Observed Arctic Sea-Ice Loss Directly Follows Anthropogenic CO2 Emission." Science 354 (2016): 747-750.