"All the World's a Stage We Pass Through" R. Ayana

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Global Warming in the Arctic: A Sensitive Climate Gone Off the Rails



Global Warming in the Arctic: A Sensitive Climate Gone Off the Rails


Graphic: Climate Change Institute

 



It is polar night in the Arctic—a darkness that lasts from early October to early March. Temperatures rarely escape freezing in that darkness, averaging -30° F until the light begins to return in spring. Right now, however, temperatures across much of the Arctic are 36 degrees F above normal. Large areas are well above freezing. And instead of rapidly expanding, sea ice extent is in decline.

Taken together, this is not unusual. It’s unheard of.

The degree to which current Arctic conditions are straying from the norm may prove to be the greatest change yet measured there—the latest signal from the Arctic that all is not well.

And while the frozen top of the world may seem remote and unimportant at the moment, what happens there matters greatly to both our immediate and long-term future.


80th-parallel-meant_2016
2016 temperatures (Kelvin) above Latitude 80. The green line shows daily mean historic average temperatures from 1958-2002. The red line shows the daily mean average from 2010 to present. The blue line is 32 degrees F, or freezing. Recent days have seen departures from the long-term average of up to 36 degrees F. At and above this latitude, roughly days 1-45 and days 300-365 are spent in darkness. Source: Danish Meteorological Institute

 

Breaking down the Arctic breakdown

 

 

The Arctic plays an important role in moderating global climate. When heat from the tropics is delivered north to the Arctic by winds and ocean currents, the region exerts a cooling effect on both. Without this distribution of energy, the lower latitudes would overheat. Sea ice and snow- and ice-covered land (known as the “cryosphere”) help the Arctic to stay cool by reflecting most of the incoming solar energy back to space.

But the Arctic, like the rest of the planet, is warming, and unlike the rest of the planet, warming in the Arctic can feed rapidly on itself.

To describe one of the feedbacks: Warmer temperatures drive greater melt of sea ice, which exposes open ocean, and exposed water absorbs heat from sun that was previously reflected. Ocean temperatures rise as a result, and when winter comes, the sea ice has a harder time rebounding amidst warmer air and water temperatures. The following year, the melt season begins with sea ice cover that is thinner and smaller in extent.

There are other feedbacks, and all are complex. For a closer look at these reinforcing cycles, see my colleague’s blog on Why the Arctic Matters. As the National Snow and Ice Data Center puts it:

A small temperature increase at the poles leads to still greater warming over time, making the poles the most sensitive regions to climate change on Earth. According to scientific measurements, both the thickness and extent of summer sea ice in the Arctic have shown a dramatic decline over the past thirty years. […] The loss of sea ice also has the potential to accelerate global warming trends and to change climate patterns.

Okay. With this in mind, let’s look at the state of the Arctic at this time.

 

Sea ice extent

 

 

In the polar night, Arctic sea ice historically rebounds from summer melt as both the water and air cool. In recent decades, the ice has been declining in both extent and volume.

This year, with warm ocean temperatures and continued delivery of warm air from the lower latitudes, the ice is struggling to rebound. October saw new record lows for Arctic sea ice extent.


sea-ice-use-this-one
Global sea ice extent began 2016 (thick red line) at low levels. Just in recent days , the Arctic has lost more than a million square kilometers of sea ice, reaching a new record low and contributing to a steep decline in November’s total global sea ice extent. Antarctic sea ice extent is also at record low levels.  Source: Arctic News


In November, Arctic sea ice extent remains well below average for this time of year. In each of the last three days, a time of year when sea ice is normally growing, it has shrunk instead (see figure below). Arctic sea ice is melting up there in the polar darkness.

According to experts following this closely, as of Sunday, November 20, Arctic sea ice is now ~1.1 million square kilometers below the previous record low.

Okay, maybe time to let the #Arctic know what season it is -> another drop in #seaice extent from the last 24-hours (3rd day in a row, JAXA) pic.twitter.com/2Fl1pQUsD4
— Zack Labe (@ZLabe) November 20, 2016

 

Sea surface temperatures

 


With larger areas of the Arctic ice-free each year, and for longer periods of time, the Arctic Ocean is absorbing more heat.

This fall, sea surface temperatures are well above average, with anomalous warmth persisting into November as seen in the figure below. Scientists have reported ocean temperatures 25° F above average in some locations.


ssts
Sea surface temperatures are unusually high and well above freezing in some areas of the Arctic, contributing to ice melt. Credit: Climate Change Institute

 

Air temperatures

 

 

The chart below looks at this warmth by a different measure: “freezing degree days.” By many available measures, the oncoming Arctic winter is in a nose dive unprecedented in recent record keeping.

Another way of looking at Arctic:
"Freezing degree days" (# of degrees below freezing x # of days) = open water where there's normally ice. pic.twitter.com/hczBWuvun9

— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) November 20, 2016

A weakened polar vortex and wobbly jet stream have been identified as factors in recent anomalous winters, both colder and warmer, and indeed, meandering winds are currently delivering warm air far northward to the Arctic, and a deep, snowy freeze in Eurasia.

The combination of factors driving Arctic air temperatures today has resulted in a stunning temperature anomaly—persistent, vast areas of 36° F above normal, shown in the map below.


arctic-temp-anomaly-sunday
The exceptional Arctic temperature anomaly. Source: Climate Change Institute


Wild cards, like the unusual cyclone that struck the Arctic last winter, driving temperatures 50 degrees above normal, may compound and accelerate ice loss, according to a recent NASA study.

It’s as if the Arctic is trying to be heard.  It’s hard to imagine stronger signals to send.

 

Meanwhile, in la-la land

 


Meanwhile, around Latitude 39, Myron Ebell—one of the world’s most prominent and vocal climate change deniers—has been tasked with overseeing the transition of the nation’s Environmental Protection Agency. The very agency tasked with implementing the nation’s leading plan for curbing global warming pollution—the Clean Power Plan.

And Stephen Bannon—a man who oversaw, as chief of Breitbart News Agency, the disparaging of climate scientists and their overwhelming body of science—has assumed the role of chief strategist for the new administration. A role in which he can advise the new president on whether the US continues to reduce its global warming emissions or reverses course—matters vital to the future of everyone.

And today [November 21], Steven Groves of the Heritage Foundation was named to lead president-elect Trump’s State Department transition. Groves penned, just last week, an article advocating a speedy withdrawal from the the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to which we’ve been a party since its ratification in 1992. It’s a move that would scrap our commitments under the landmark Paris Climate Agreement—you know, that thing that stands between us and catastrophic warming.

File this under irony. No, madness.


bering_sea_sunset_-_noaa




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4 comments:

  1. climates change naturally, this is undeniable. Are we a part of the natural climate or separated? Meaning, do our activities here on earth significantly contribute global heating within this natural earth system, or do they not?

    The difficulty in finding the reality based science of facts related to this topic are obvious, simply because these scientific issues have been politicized (fictionalized). There is a group of people who would profit greatly from a carbon tax, is there not? If there is a group who would profit from pacing a new tax on industry because of carbon emissions then corruption of these issues become evident. The question remains, can we weed through conflicting political points of views on this topic as we analyze the realities of uncorrupted science and will we know the differences between uncorrupted science and political science?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Here we go again. So the lying mainstream media is outed on every other issue, but for some reason, the media is telling us the truth about "climate change".
    And who is changing the climate? The 70 year old science known as geoengineering, that's who. Geoengineering was developed post WW2 as a METHOD TO CONTROL THE WEATHER, THEREBY CONTROL THE BATTLEFIELD. Did you get that? The key word being CONTROL THE WEATHER.
    God damn it, are people complete morons?
    The public debate about Arctic ice started in the 70’s when climate experts stated their beliefs and/or agenda of a coming ice age. One of those climate experts was IPCC Scientist Stephan Schneider. Schneider not only spoke publicly about what he called “a coming ice age”, he also suggested purposefully melting the planet’s ice sheets to preclude any damage that could result from a coming ice age.

    Interestingly enough, close to ten years later, Schnider would completely reverse his stance on “the coming ice age”. Instead, he chose to promote the opposite agenda and lead the charge in attempting to convince the world that the planet was in a period of warming and CO2 was the primary cause. He pointed to the melting ice in the Arctic as proof of global warming.

    Why would a scientist dramatically change his position within such a short period of time? The predicted ice melting in the Arctic brings with it many economic and financial, geopolitical and military implications. Therefore, both government and corporate interests have been raging all around this highly consequential issue. As a matter of fact, approximately 13% of the World’s oil reserves and other resources are under the ice in the arctic region.

    The melting of the Arctic, as stated by various governments, would also create the opening of new shipping lanes in those regions. The opening up of these iced waters would save massive amounts of time, money and fuel for shipping companies, creating opportunities for economic growth. Because of this, there are major plans afoot by all the concerned nations to take control of their piece of the Arctic pie.

    Governments and corporations alike are now fighting a silent war to determine who will take control of the whole region. As a matter of fact, Russia, Canada and the United States have the biggest stake and have all deployed their militaries in the region in what appears to be a quest for establishing themselves as the Arctic region’s superpower.
    So go on sheep, swallow your own demise by accepting the BS gov. paid scientists psychological operations. You will fight for your own enslavement,just as the eugenicist social engineer Aldous Huxley predicted, via AGENDA 21, the controller's "answer" to human induced "climate change". I hope you relish living in mega cities in stack-n-packs, after it becomes illegal to own even a bit or private property. I hope you like having every single exchange of energy monitored and controlled by the technocrat experts. Those same gov paid scientists and lacky weazel academic professors who insist the pyramids were contructed with ropes and pullies, and the great pyramid in Bosnia is just discarded stones, and the ruins discovered under the sea off the coast of Japan are "natural formations" & pyramids found on a global scale are just discarded rocks in a pile, are now using their computer models to control your mind. But somehow, according to the mind-duped, these paid-off, frightened whores are telling the truth about human induced C02 climate change. It's YOUR fault humans, not the controllers, so you should give up private property and move into a stack-n-pack.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Free speech means allowing people who get their 'scientific data' from corrupt politicians to display their scientific illiteracy here, whether or not they realise they're shills for Big Oil and Big Coal. Denialists miss the seminal point in their relentless drive to own fosssil fuelled SUVs with impunity - the planet is being polluted beyond capacity in many, many ways by coal, oil and gas burning. Ever hear of fracking, for instance? Or oceans full of mercury? Or hundreds of thousands of deaths each year from air pollutuon, and millions sickened? Those who would shoot the messengers need to examine their own motives - and motors. Try running a hose from your exhaust pipe into your passenger cabin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Try running a hose from your exhaust pipe into your passenger cabin." Hey, sounds like a good idea, my beautiful cousin Nikki did that because she became terrified about all the insanity in her life as she was losing her home to the bank, she Died in 2004 at 36... Fucked up world we live in isn't it? And yes, my thoughts here are related to this article in way not yet comprehended by most people.

      Delete

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