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Posts Tagged ‘artic’

Arctic climate change ‘to spark domino effect’

January 31, 2012 1 comment

smh.com.au

 

'There's no doubt about it - sea ice is going away.'The rate of Arctic climate change was now faster than ecosystems and traditional Arctic societies could adapt to.

 

WA-based scientists have warned of “dire consequences” to the human race after detecting the first signs of dangerous climate change in the Arctic.

The scientists, from the University of WA, claim the region is fast approaching a series of imminent “tipping points” which could trigger a domino effect of large-scale climate change across the entire planet.

In a paper published in the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’ journal AMBIO and Nature Climate Change, the lead author and director of UWA’s Oceans Institute, Winthrop Professor Carlos Duarte, said the Arctic region contained arguably the greatest concentration of Read more…

Low temperatures enhance ozone degradation above the Arctic

January 19, 2012 Comments off

physorg.com

March 2011: This shows strongly reduced ozone values (left, dark blue) and significantly increased concentration of chlorine monoxide (right, red) that is directly involved in ozone degradation. Credit: Figure: IMK-ASF, KIT

About a year ago, IMK scientists, together with colleagues from Oxford, detected that ozone degradation above the Arctic for the first time reached an extent comparable to that of the ozone hole above the . Then, the KIT researchers studied the mechanisms behind. Their results have now been published in the journal .

According to IMK studies, occurrence of the Arctic ozone hole was mainly due to the extraordinarily in the ozone layer that is located at about 18 km height in the stratosphere, i.e. the second layer of the earth’s atmosphere. There, originating from chlorofluorocarbons (CFC, e.g. and refrigerants) and other pollutants are converted chemically at temperatures below -78°C. These chemical conversion products attack the ozone layer and destroy it partly. One of the main statements in the study: If the trend to colder temperatures in the stratosphere observed in the past decades will continue, repeated occurrence of an Arctic ozone hole has to be expected.

The team of IMK researchers analyzed measurements of the chemical composition of the atmosphere by the MIPAS satellite instrument developed by KIT. In addition, model calculations were made to Read more…

Categories: Arctic sea Tags: , ,

Collapsing Coastlines

July 4, 2011 Comments off

sciencenews

access

Storms can ravage coastal permafrost, as shown near the village of Kaktovik, Alaska.© Accent Alaska.com/Alamy

Gray waves surged over miles and miles of open water, breaking against the bluffs underlying Kaktovik. The tiny village sits precariously on the Beaufort Sea, a frigid body of water bordering Alaska’s northeastern Arctic coast. As the choppy waters inundated vulnerable stretches of shoreline, the surf carved deep chasms into the tall bluffs.

Torre Jorgenson, a geomorphologist working near Kaktovik, watched the storm boil up, shaking homes and boats for nearly two days in July 2008. Dramatic erosion followed soon after. Blocks of graphite-colored earth, as much as 10 meters wide and several meters deep, toppled into the sea one by one like skyscrapers in a Japanese monster film.

“The locals had never seen that type of erosion,” says Jorgenson, also president of the U.S. Permafrost Association. “It was something new, a regime change.”

The erosion Jorgenson witnessed was a potent warning to Kaktovik’s residents of the instability of their coastal home. Seaside bluffs and beaches across the Arctic are Read more…

UA climate research: Big stretch of US coast at risk of rising seas

February 23, 2011 Comments off

azstarnet.com

If global temperatures continue to rise and polar ice continues to melt, 9 percent of the land in our coastal cities and towns will be beneath sea level by the end of the century, University of Arizona researchers say.

Climate researchers Jeremy Weiss and Jonathan Overpeck, along with Ben Strauss of Climate Central in Princeton, N.J., mapped the U.S. coastline, using elevations provided by the U.S. Geological Survey. They applied the most recent predictions of a sea level rise of 1 meter (3.28 feet) by 2100 to produce a map that predicts big trouble for 20 cities with more than 300,000 people and for 160 smaller municipalities.

Weiss is a senior researcher in geosciences. Overpeck is a professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences and co-director of the UA’s Institute of the Environment.

The report was published last week in Climatic Change Letters.

The biggest impact will be felt in low-lying, heavily populated places such as New Orleans, Miami Beach and Virginia Beach, the report says.

Subsequent centuries will bring even higher sea levels that could completely submerge Read more…

Farmers Deposit Seeds in Arctic Doomsday Vault, Patrolled by Polar Bears

February 18, 2011 Comments off

Matthew Hall

Farmers from Australia are the latest donors to a polar bear-patrolled Arctic doomsday vault that stores seeds as insurance against an international food emergency.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a converted mine, is located about 800 miles from the North Pole in Arctic Norway.

An Australian delegation of farmers and scientists next week will deposit 301 samples of peas and 42 rare chickpeas in the vault, intending to protect the plant species from extinction by climatic or man-made events.

Snow blows off the Svalbard Global Seed Vault at sunrise, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008. 

John McConnico, AP
Australian farmers and scientists next week will deposit 301 samples of peas and 42 rare chickpeas in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, shown here in 2008.

“It’s a very robust structure, concrete, made into the Read more…

PHOTOS: $29 Cheez Whiz? High Arctic food costs

February 13, 2011 Comments off

These grocery shelves in the High Arctic community of Arctic Bay, Nunavut, have people talking this week — $38 for cranberry cocktail, $29 for Cheez Whiz, and a whopping $77 for a bag of breaded chicken.

Arctic Bay-based MLA Ron Elliott, who represents three of Canada’s most northern communities, said he is concerned about already high food prices going up even more in the High Arctic.

“It’s sort of the talk of the town,” he told CBC News on Thursday. “You go in and people are pointing [things] out, and it’s obvious to see that this has gone up, and that’s gone up.”

Arctic Bay, NU

While groceries in Canada’s remote northern communities are generally more expensive than elsewhere in the country, due to shipping costs, Elliott said prices in his communities have skyrocketed since the federal government changed its northern food subsidy program in the past year.

Elliott said the new subsidy program, called Nutrition North, does not cover food items that are considered not to be healthy or perishable, although those items used to be covered under the government’s old Food Mail Program.

Elliott said the price hikes are hurting the most vulnerable people in his region, like elders and those on social assistance.

Even some healthy foods that are subsidized are still Read more…

Russian volcano activity causes global concern

February 9, 2011 1 comment

Now the world has something else to grip about when it comes to Russia – the weather.

A string of volcanoes on Russia’s eastern seaboard of Kamchatka have been unusually active for the last six months. The dust they threw up diverted winds in the Arctic, pushing cold air over Europe and North America and causing the unusually cold winter this year, say scientists.

The volcanoes (160 in total, of which 29 are active) are still on the go and could create more problems this year, depressing harvests around the world just as global food prices soar and Read more…