||Projections of future Sea Ice Concentration (SIC) were prepared using a 13-member
ensemble of climate model output from the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project (CMIP5).
Three climate change scenarios (RCP 2.6, RCP 6.0, RCP 8.5), corresponding to low,
moderate, and high climate change possibilities, were used to generate these projections
for known Harp Seal whelping locations. The projections were splined and statistically
downscaled via the CCAFS Delta method using satellite-derived observations from the
National Sea Ice Data Center (NSIDC) to prepare a spatial representation of sea ice
decline through the year 2100.
Multi-Model Ensemble projections of the mean sea ice concentration anomaly for Harp
Seal whelping locations under the moderate and high climate change scenarios (RCP
6.0 and RCP 8.5) show a decline of 10% to 40% by 2100 from a modern baseline climatology
(average of SIC, 1988 - 2005) while sea ice concentrations under the low climate change
scenario remain fairly stable. Projected year-over-year sea ice concentration variability
decreases with time through 2100, but uncertainty in the prediction (model spread)
increases. The general decline in sea ice projected by climate models is detrimental
to Harp Seal survival, but the effect of the decreased year-over-year variability
is less certain.