Long-term warming and environmental change trends persist in the Arctic in 2013
According to a new report released today by NOAA and its partners, cooler temperatures in the summer of 2013 across the central Arctic Ocean, Greenland and northern Canada moderated the record sea ice loss and extensive melting that the surface of the Greenland ice sheet experienced last year. Yet there continued to be regional extremes, including record low May snow cover in Eurasia and record high summer temperatures in Alaska.
“The Arctic caught a bit of a break in 2013 from the recent string of record-breaking warmth and ice melt of the last decade,” said David M. Kennedy, NOAA’s deputy under secretary for operations, during a press briefing today at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting in San Francisco. “But the relatively cool year in some parts of the Arctic does little to offset the long-term trend of the last 30 years: the Arctic is warming rapidly, becoming greener and experiencing a variety of changes, affecting people, the physical environment, and marine and land ecosystems.”
Kennedy joined other scientists to release the Arctic Report Card 2013, which has, since 2006, summarized changing conditions in the Arctic. One hundred forty-seven authors from 14 countries contributed to the peer-reviewed report.
What if all the ice melted?
The ocean holds most of Earth’s water. After that, it’s ice. 5.7 million cubic miles of the stuff.
What if, thanks to natural and man-made climate change, it all melted? What if, by burning enough deep-Earth carbon (dead dinosaurs, prehistoric plants, or as we call it… fossil fuels) we raised Earth’s average temperature to around 80˚ F?
Thanks to National Geographic we know: This is is what 216 feet (66 meters) of sea level change looks like.
The islands now called Kiribati have been inhabited since 3000 BC, but if the seas continue to rise they could be gone in as little as a century.
For a decade, Anote Tong the president has been warning the 100,000 inhabitants of the tiny Pacific state that they may not have much longer to cling to their 32 atolls. Now, he can talk about a potential solution.
Improbable though it may sound, with the help of a pioneering Japanese company and a few hundred billion dollars, Mr. Tong is considering the creation of the world’s first floating nation.
Shimizu Corp., a Tokyo-based construction company, is devising plans for a city that floats on vast “lily-pads” on the surface of the Pacific, although the designs look like something that might be devised for another planet in the distant future. (Illustration: Shimizu Corp)
US Renewable Energy Tops Record in 2012
Americans produced a record amount of solar and wind energy in 2012, and will likely continue doing so this year with government tax incentives and technological advancements in renewable energy.
High five, America.
North Pole Now a Lake
Instead of snow and ice whirling on the wind, a foot-deep aquamarine lake now sloshes around a webcam stationed at the North Pole. The meltwater lake started forming July 13, following two weeks of warm weather in the high Arctic.
From the Chasing Ice website:
In the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.
Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.
As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Balog finds himself at the end of his tether. Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, he comes face to face with his own mortality. It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.
This documentary looks incredible. Has anyone seen it?
A new study suggests record warming is in store for us: By observing several indirect temperature indicators, researchers looking at weather patterns since the end of the last Ice Age are predicting that average surface temperatures will be at their highest point in human experience by the end of this century.
Photo: John McConnico / Associated Press
Container Ship Starts Yearlong Climate Study
A Horizon Lines container ship outfitted with meteorological and atmospheric instruments installed by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) scientists from Argonne National Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory will begin taking data for a yearlong mission aimed at improving the representation of clouds in climate models. The study, a collaborative effort between DOE’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement(ARM) program Climate Research Facility and Horizon Lines, marks the first official marine deployment of the second ARM Mobile Facility, AMF2, and is likely the most elaborate climate study ever mounted aboard a commercial vessel.
“We are very grateful to Horizon Lines for giving us the opportunity to install our research equipment aboard the Horizon Spirit,” says lead investigator Ernie Lewis, an atmospheric scientist at DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. The Horizon Spirit makes a roundtrip journey from Los Angeles to Hawaii every two weeks, which allows for repeated measurements over the same transect at different seasons.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2012/10/container-ship-starts-yearlong-climate-study
This might be the best video describing Arctic ice melt I’ve ever seen. It is also the scariest. The Arctic is the Earth’s air conditioner. It helps regulate temperatures around the globe in a variety of ways. Most importantly, the Arctic provides stability. Once the ice is melted, the system blows up and gets all out of wack. It impacts everything from fisheries to weather to coastal infrastructure to animal habitat. Click here to read an easy summary by WaPo for more reasons why this matters.
I’ve seen, heard, read, viewed, participated, and debated dozens and dozens of aspects of climate change. This one, this video, is one of the best explainers of how much trouble the Earth is in.
…produced by independent videographer Peter Sinclair for The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media explains what expert scientists now find to be the lowest extent of Arctic sea ice in recorded history.
“We are now in uncharted territory,”
New sea ice is finally starting to form again in the Arctic, scientists reported Wednesday, but not before reaching another record low last Sunday.
“We are now in uncharted territory,” Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said in a statement announcing the record low of 1.32 million square miles — nearly half the average extent from 1979 to 2010. The extent has been tracked by satellite since 1979.
Ocean Temps Reach Record Highs in Northeast
During the first six months of 2012, sea surface temperatures in the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem were the highest ever recorded, according to the latest Ecosystem Advisory issued by NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC). Above-average temperatures were found in all parts of the ecosystem, from the ocean bottom to the sea surface and across the region, and the above average temperatures extended beyond the shelf break front to the Gulf Stream.
The annual 2012 spring plankton bloom was intense, started earlier and lasted longer than average. This has implications for marine life from the smallest creatures to the largest marine mammals like whales. Atlantic cod continued to shift northeastward from its historic distribution center.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2012/09/ocean-temps-reach-record-highs-northeast
Scientists are trying to determine why some polar bears in Alaska are suffering from fur loss and skin lesions, and whether the phenomenon is related to a disease that has been killing seals in the region.
According to United States Geological Survey (USGS) chief biologist Tony DeGange, scientists examined 33 bears during routine field studies in the southern Beaufort Sea region near Barrow in late March and early April; of those, nine had fur loss, or alopecia, and other skin lesions. DeGange says that, while it is not atypical to find some bears with those symptoms, it is unusual to discover the ailments in so many in such a short time.
“The first day we observed it was on March 21st and we had three captures and two of them had alopecia, and so it was like, ‘Oh that’s interesting,’” he told the Alaska Public Radio Network. “Then we started picking it up on other animals in later March so it was like, this is more than normal.”