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What is the Arctic Ice ‘Death Spiral’?

August 14, 2013 1 comment

tcktcktck.org

Sea Ice Spiral

Arctic sea ice in the summer. Creative Commons: Guido Appenzeller, 2011

“The record or near-records being reported from year to year in the Arctic are no longer anomalies or exceptions. Really they have become the rule for us, or the norm that we see in the Arctic and that we expect to see for the forseeable future” – Jackie Richter-Menge, US Army Corps of Engineers

Last week’s ‘State of the Climate’ report confirmed it: ice is melting in the Arctic at one of the fastest rates in human history. Researchers and climate scientists monitoring ice melt in the Arctic have started using the ominous term ‘death spiral’ to describe what’s happening at the top of the world. But what does it mean? And is Read more…

Is Siberia the Newest Hot Spot?

August 13, 2013 Comments off

thinkprogress.org

SiberiaCREDIT: NASA Earth Observatory

It hasn’t been a typical summer in Siberia. High temperatures for this time of year are usually in the mid-to-low 60s Fahrenheit, but this July they hit 90 degrees, and didn’t drop much below a high of 80 until just this week. Meanwhile, potentially record-breaking wildfires continue to rage, with over 22,200 acres of active burning.

The Siberian Times emphasized the lighter side of the heat wave, with photos of young people playing beach volleyball in swimsuits, a rare sight in Novosibirsk.

But high temperatures are becoming more frequent, and they are an important factor in Siberia’s historic fires. And although the whole planet is warming, Russia has seen it happen particularly quickly, “about .51°C per decade compared to Read more…

National Heat Records Update. China Heat Intensifies

August 10, 2013 Comments off

wunderground.com

As of Friday August 9th, the heat wave in eastern Asia continues but in central Europe it has subsided. Some of the highlights below.

Eastern China

This map illustrates quite well where the core of the heat wave in China has taken place. It is dated August 1st, so you can now add 9 more days to number of days of “continuous high temperatures” which means days of 35°C+ (95°F+). Map from the Chinese newspaper ‘Global Times’.

On Wednesday August 7th Shanghai once again broke its all-time heat record with a 40.8°C (105.4°F) temperature, besting the record set just the day before (40.6°C/105.1°F), and also on July 26th. Prior to this summer, the record for Shanghai was 40.2°C (104.4°F) during the summer of 1934. Records in Shanghai date back to 1872. On August 8th the Read more…

NOAA: 2012 shows climate change with record sea-level rise, Arctic melting, heated-up oceans

August 7, 2013 Comments off
washingtonpost.com

2012 arctic ice meltWASHINGTON — A new massive federal study says the world in 2012 sweltered with continued signs of climate change. Rising sea levels, snow melt, heat buildup in the oceans, and melting Arctic sea ice and Greenland ice sheets, all broke or nearly broke records, but temperatures only sneaked into the top 10.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday issued a peer-reviewed 260-page report, which agency chief Kathryn Sullivan calls its annual “checking on the pulse of the planet.” The report, written by 384 scientists around the world, compiles data already released, but it puts them in context of what’s been happening to Earth over decades.

“It’s critically important to compile a big picture,” National Climatic Data Center director Tom Karl says. “The signs that we see are of a warming world.”

Sullivan says what is noticeable “are remarkable changes in key climate indicators,” mentioning dramatic spikes in ocean heat content, a record melt of Arctic sea ice in the summer, and Read more…

Colorado climber now documenting retreat of Himalayan glaciers

August 6, 2013 Comments off

denverpost.com

By John Meyer

The Main Rongbuk Glacier, shot in Tibet by David Breashears in 2007. When compared with the 1921 photo shot by George Mallory, below, it clearly shows how much the glacier receded in 86 years. Breashears is a former Denver climber who has summited Everest five times. (David Breashears, 2007, Special to The Denver Post)

This year marks two major anniversaries in the history of Mount Everest. It has been 60 years since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first to reach its summit, and 50 years since the first five Americans did it, including the epic first ascent of the West Ridge by Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld.

David Breashears, who was deeply inspired by Hornbein and Unsoeld as a teenager in Denver, became an iconic rock climber in Eldorado Canyon in the 1970s and went on to make history of his own on Everest. Now he’s more concerned about a different kind of history being made there.

The glaciers around Everest and throughout the Himalayas are receding rapidly.

“They are the ultimate canary in the mine,” said Breashears, who Read more…

The Climate Is Set to Change ‘Orders of Magnitude’ Faster Than at Any Other Time in the Past 65 Million Years

August 3, 2013 Comments off

theatlantic.com

Some of the earliest clues scientists had that Earth’s climate has changed over time were mismatches between the fossil record and a current ecosystem. How could this palm tree have grown in Wyoming? Why have fossils of the tropical breadfruit tree been found as far north as Greenland? These cold places must have once been warm and wet. The world is not as it has always been.

And somehow, despite the tumult, species adapted, moving thousands of miles to habitats where they could survive. Won’t species today just do the same as temperatures rise in the years ahead?

It seems they may not have the chance. A new paper in the journal Science finds that Read more…

China endures worst heat wave in 140 years

August 2, 2013 1 comment

usatoday.com

A child cooks shrimp and an egg in a frying pan heated by a manhole cover on a hot summer day on July 31 in Jinan, China. It has been so hot that eggs are hatching without incubators and a highway billboard burst into flames in one of the worst heat waves in 140 years. AP

SHANGHAI (AP) – It’s been so hot in China that folks are grilling shrimp on manhole covers, eggs are hatching without incubators and a highway billboard has mysteriously caught fire by itself.

The heat wave — the worst in at least 140 years in some parts — has left dozens of people dead and pushed thermometers above 104 degrees F in at least 40 cities and counties, mostly in the south and east. Authorities for the first time have declared the heat a “level 2” weather emergency — a label normally invoked for typhoons and flooding.

“It is just hot! Like in a food steamer!” 17-year-old student Xu Sichen said outside the doors of a shopping mall in the southern financial hub of Shanghai while her friend He Jiali, also 17, complained that her Read more…

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