New research from a major national lab projects that the rate of climate change, which has risen sharply in recent decades, will soar by the 2020s. This worrisome projection — which has implications for extreme weather, sea level rise, and permafrost melt — is consistent with several recent studies.
The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) study, “Near-term acceleration in the rate of temperature change,” finds that by 2020, human-caused warming will move the Earth’s climate system “into a regime in terms of multi-decadal rates of change that are unprecedented for at least the past 1,000 years.”
In the best-case scenario PNNL modeled, with atmospheric carbon Read more…
Image: Jenny Downing/Flickr
By Stephen Leahy, the Guardian
The record loss of Arctic sea ice this summer may mean a cold winter for the UK and northern Europe. The region has been prone to bad winters after summers with very low sea ice, such as 2011 and 2007, said Jennifer Francis, a researcher at Rutgers University.
“We can’t make predictions yet … [but] I wouldn’t be surprised to see wild extremes this winter,” Francis told the Guardian.
This year’s ice melt has broken the 2007 record by an an area larger than the state of Texas.
Polar ice experts “thought that it would be many years until we again saw anything like we saw in 2007″, said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.
The unprecedented expanse of ice-free Arctic Ocean has been absorbing the Read more…
Every year there’s less of the multi-year, blue-tinged sea ice, like this ice seen in the Northwest Passage, in the Arctic. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)
Following the new record low Arctic sea ice extent recorded Aug. 26, ice coverage has continued to drop and has now shrunk to less than four million square kilometres — smaller than the previous low extent of 2007.
Compared to September conditions in the 1980s and 1990s, the Arctic sea ice extent has dropped by 45 per cent, the Colorado-based National Snow and Ice Data Center said Sept. 5.
And that skimpy sea ice cover is likely to get lower yet, because Read more…
|Antarctica’s Brunt Ice Shelf.
CREDIT: British Antarctic Survey
When it comes to melting ice shelves in Antarctica, the danger comes from below, new research suggests.
By discovering the anatomy of ice loss across this chilly expanse, research may be able to forecast how the continent will melt in the future — and also how much global seas may rise.
Team member David Vaughan, a scientist at the European Union initiative ice2sea, said this study “shows the key to predicting how the ice sheet will change in the future is in understanding the oceans.”
Water or wind?
Scientists have long known that the wide platforms of ice extending from the southernmost continent have been shrinking away. But what’s behind the melting hasn’t been clear — whether warm ocean currents or surface winds have a bigger impact on the ice.
Now, a new satellite survey of Antarctica places the blame largely on the water. “In most places in Antarctica, we can’t explain the ice-shelf thinning through melting of snow at Read more…
NEW COLD WAR: Massive NATO Exercise in Norway Provocation directed Moscow. Russian General sends “Arctic Warning” to US
The Cold Response 2012 exercise taking place in Northern Norway on the border to Russia is a provocation and a sign of NATO wanting to strengthen its geopolitical and diplomatic efforts with military might, two Russian military experts say.
The largest military exercise in Norway in ten years’ time is now taking place in Mid-Troms and involves 16,000 soldiers from 15 countries. The exercise includes the largest-ever live firing drill held on Norwegian territory.
“The current military exercise takes place amid NATO’s increased activities in the Arctic. This, in turn, is defined by the coming division of the natural resources in the region. Apparently, through flexing muscles NATO wants to show that it is set on strengthening its geopolitical and diplomatic efforts with military might”, says Chief editor of the newspaper “National Safety” Igor Korotchenko to Voice of Russia.
The exercise could as well have been held on Canadian territory, says Vladimir Yevseyev of the Center for International Security of the Institute of Global Economy and International Relations: “Nevertheless, the exercises are being held on
A new study by NASA scientist Joey Comiso has found that the oldest and thickest Arctic sea ice is disappearing at a faster rate than the younger and thinner ice at the edges of the ice cap. The rapid disappearance of older ice makes the Arctic Ocean’s sea ice cap more vulnerable to further decline.
Arctic multi-year ice “extent”—which includes all areas where at least 15 percent of the ocean surface is covered by multi-year ice—has been vanishing at a rate of –15.1 percent per decade, Comiso found. Over the same period, the “area” covered by multi-year ice—which discards open water among ice floes and focuses exclusively on regions that are completely covered—has been shrinking by –17.2 percent per decade. The findings were Read more…
This year could be well on its way toward earning a dubious spot in the record books.
Arctic sea ice has melted away with astonishing speed in the first half of July, at an average rate of about 46,000 square miles (120,000 square kilometers) per day, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colo.
That’s equivalent to an area roughly the size of Pennsylvania melting into the sea every 24 hours.
“That’s relatively fast,” said Julienne Stroeve, a research scientist at the NSIDC.
Already, sea ice extent — how far ice extends across the ocean — this year is below the extent for the same time in 2007, a year which, in September, saw the lowest sea ice coverage ever recorded.
As of July 17 this year, sea ice covered 2.92 million square miles (7.56 million square kilometers) of the frigid Arctic Ocean. That may sound like a lot, but it’s 865,000 square miles (2.24 million square kilometers) below the 1979 to 2000 average.
However, Stroeve said, much of what Read more…