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This is a map of my alternate Earth with a focus on ocean currents, courtesy of Mikael Asikainen:

enter image description here

As you can see here, Greenland looks smooshed, but that is because it is arranged to the extent that Mont Forel, its highest peak, is the North Geographic Pole. Incidentally, this creates and Arctic Ocean with more room for ocean currents to pass through.

Based on this map, how frozen would the Arctic Ocean on this alternate Earth be during the summer months?

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    $\begingroup$ Doing this science-based is pretty tough. You might be able to run a climate model and get something useful. With several hundred hours of work entering the data in an existing model, and several hundred hours on a big computer. Heh, when I was in university, a climate guy on another floor kept getting accused of running real-time ice age simulations. Getting these details correct is a huge task. $\endgroup$
    – puppetsock
    Aug 20 '20 at 2:51
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    $\begingroup$ @puppetsock, we had plenty of climate model questions like that from the OP, often with an answer like yours. $\endgroup$
    – o.m.
    Aug 20 '20 at 4:31
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    $\begingroup$ Might be more helpful to show a polarcentric map. Problem with this projection is the very smooshiness you mention: makes it difficult to see exactly how much space there is around the Arctic continent. Looks like Wrangel Is would be along the south coast of that continent --- you might find mammoths up there yet! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Aug 20 '20 at 4:37
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    $\begingroup$ @Renan, it takes extremely detailed starting conditions and asks us to calculate the new equilibrium. Doing that is difficult for a planet where predictions can be compared with reality (i.e. splitting historical data into training and verification data). Doing it for a fictional world is either close to impossible or overly broad. $\endgroup$
    – o.m.
    Aug 20 '20 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ @Renan, there have been many questions by the OP where he asked about changed geography with four or five significant digits, and expected answers with similar precision. It does not matter which detail of planetology this concerns, it is about the near-impossibility of getting answers for that kind of question. $\endgroup$
    – o.m.
    Aug 20 '20 at 15:58
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Under roughly present climate conditions (well, ignoring anthropogenic global warming), Greenland (um, "Arctica" would be more fitting) is going to be like Antarctica. Ice sheets are likely to be continuous from there into northern Siberia, Alaska and the Canadian Arctic islands, and quite likely much more extensive and extending further south. Odds are that the Beaufort Sea has permanent ice cover.

Without being as nearly surrounded, you can't really talk about an "Arctic Ocean" any more, it's the Atlantic proceeding nearly to the pole. That's going to cause some interesting climatic effects; without the narrowing of the GIUK Gap that restricts some currents a bit and locks cold water into the present Arctic Ocean, the high ocean latitudes there are unlikely to experience a permanent polar cap, so you might get a bizarre situation where you could sail almost to the North Pole while ice sheets extend significant distances south on land.

ADDENDUM: One thing I forgot: the highest peak in Greenland isn't Mount Forel, it's Gunnbjørn Fjeld (about 300 meters taller). It's further north but on the same side of the island, so the map won't change that dramatically.

Also, thinking about it some more, I'm not even sure the preceding example is necessarily true. While I assume Arctica might look like Antarctica, that's not a given: Antarctica only became permanently covered in ice beginning 34 million years ago, and required not just a global drop in temperature but the presence of the Southern Current to isolate it from warmer waters. That isn't going to be the case in this scenario because there's nothing preventing warmer water from getting to very high latitudes.

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  • $\begingroup$ A bit short, but I give points for the specifics. $\endgroup$ Aug 21 '20 at 1:01
  • $\begingroup$ +1 for the last point. The circumpolar southern current completely...circumpoles...Antarctica. This allows the ocean waters to be isolated amd colder than they would be if they had to mix more thoroughly with the warmer currents. It will definitely contribute some warming in your northern scenario (I'm not sure of the amount though, at least a degree C or two, potentially up to ~5 degrees C or more??). $\endgroup$ Aug 21 '20 at 18:52
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There are thousands of variables needed to create a precise prediction

But why do you need precise, or even accurate? What you need is believable.

So, start with the current world's map including the ice pack. As you shift Greenland (etc.), shift the pack above it along with it (the ground is acting like an anchor for the ice, so it would move). As it moves, it's opening up space that the current would whittle into. Not a ton, because currents are only one of the proverbial thousands of variables, but some.

Bear in mind that ice grows and shrinks over the year (and decade, and century, there are many cycles). So you might consider asking what time of year you want to base your ice pack on.

Result? A completely believable map.

I think that sometimes we authors get too caught up in the pursuit of technical perfection when, realistically, that level of perfection won't benefit a story, or a game, or anything else at all. If you need a better answer than this, please explain why it's that important. Cheers.

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  • $\begingroup$ "But why do you need precise, or even accurate?" Because that is what is expected at the Speculative Evolution Forum. $\endgroup$ Aug 20 '20 at 22:59
  • $\begingroup$ John, When it comes to climatology, no answer you receive to this question will be any better than my own. That's the point of my answer. They may provide tons of detail, but you're belief in that answer will be nothing short of religious. Climatology is that complex. $\endgroup$ Aug 21 '20 at 2:23

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