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Climate Plan | About | FAQ | Threat | Extinct | Feedback | Action | Policies | Feebates | Debate | Contact | MoreSam Caranahttps://plus.google.com/116629411241539621639noreply@blogger.comBlogger520125
Updated: 1 day 5 hours ago

Temperature Rise

Wed, 16/08/2017 - 11:23

How much could temperatures rise by 2026? The above image shows how a rise of 10°C (18°F) could occur by the year 2026, based on temperature anomalies from 1750 for February and on progressive growth of warming elements. The image below shows the same rise in another way.


Such a rise could take place even more rapidly, as discussed in the earlier post 10°C or 18°F warmer by 2021? For more on calculating the temperature rise from 1750 to 2016, see this page and this post.


Crucial will be the decline of snow & sea ice and associated feedbacks. Ominously, global sea ice is at a record low at the moment, as illustrated by the graph below by Wipneus.


[ click on images to enlarge ]Arctic sea ice extent on August 15, 2017, was the 2nd lowest on record for the time of year (behind only 2012), as illustrated by the image on the right.

While extent was lower on August 15, 2012, Arctic sea ice is very thin at the moment, as the Arctic Ocean has become warmer, and sea ice could disappear altogether in one month time, as discussed in earlier posts such as this one.

And ominously, July 2017 was the hottest July on record, as illustrated by the image below.


Above image shows that July 2017 was 2.25°C (4.05°F) warmer than the annual global mean 1980-2015 (seasonal cycle). Only in August 2016 was it warmer (2.29°C), but then again, August 2017 looks set to be warmer than that yet.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.


Links

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

• Extinction
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html

• Temperature rise from 1750 to 2016
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/temperature.html

• How much warming have humans caused?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/05/how-much-warming-have-humans-caused.html
• Feedbacks
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html

• How much warming have humans caused?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/05/how-much-warming-have-humans-caused.html

• 10°C or 18°F warmer by 2021?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/04/10c-or-18f-warmer-by-2021.html

• Arctic Sea Ice Break Up August 2017https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/08/arctic-sea-ice-break-up-august-2017.html


Arctic Sea Ice Break Up August 2017

Mon, 14/08/2017 - 13:14
Sun at 8:00 am, captured by Jim Reeve on August 7, 2017 near Sechelt AirPort, B.C., CanadaArctic sea ice is under attack from all sides.  At this time of year, the sun doesn't set at the higher latitudes.

As the image below shows, it was as hot as 94°F or 34.5°C in North Canada on August 13, 2017 (at the green circle, at 1000 hPa, at 00:00 UTC). Temperatures at surface level were as high as 33.1°C or 91.5°F at that location, where wind was coming from the south and blowing toward the north at a speed of 28 km/h or 17 mph at that time.


Above image shows cyclonic winds over the Arctic Ocean pulling warm air from North Canada over the Arctic Ocean, while pushing cold air out. Winds and rain have been battering the sea ice for some time now, as discussed in an earlier post.

Fires are becoming more devastating, as discussed in an earlier post. The August 2, 2017, satellite image below shows smoke from fires in British Columbia blanketing Vancouver and Seattle. Carbon dioxide (CO₂) levels were as high as 527 ppm, carbon monoxide (CO) levels as high as 12.59 ppm and sulfur dioxide (SO₂) levels as high as 490.77 µg/m³, as these images show.  

The combination image below shows the situation on August 8, 2017, 13:30 UTC. CO levels were as high as 29.05 ppm, CO₂ levels were as high as 625 ppm and SO₂ levels were as high as 1089.65 µg/m³ (each time at the green circle). Also note the emissions from forest fires in Siberia.


The image below, by Harold Hensel, shows smoke over British Columbia, Washington, and Montana on August 9, 2017. 

Winds can carry smoke from forest fires over long distances, all the way to the Arctic sea ice, where the soot can settle and darken the ice, thus speeding up its decline. The image below, also by Harold Hensel, shows smoke from fires in Russia entering the Arctic Ocean near the Laptev Sea on August 9, 2017. 

The image below shows the situation on August 14, 2017.


The thickest sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is located close to the north of Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago. This ice is now breaking up, due to high temperatures and strong cyclonic winds that cause warm rain, high waves and strong sea currents. 
Watch the thickest sea ice break up on the animation below. This is a 17 MB file, so it may take some time to fully load. Click here if you do not see the file appear below.
The animation below shows the thickest sea ice breaking up between July 14, 2017, and August 13, 2017. 
[ click on image to enlarge ]
The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.


Arctic sea ice may well be gone by September 2017

Thu, 03/08/2017 - 08:02
The Arctic Ocean is warming up fast and this is melting the sea ice from below.

Sea surface temperature anomalies are well above 8°C (14.4°F) in several parts of the Arctic Ocean.

The image on the right shows sea surface temperature anomalies from 1961-1990 for the Arctic (60°N - 90°N) on August 2, 2017.

Global sea ice extent is at a record low for the time of the year, as illustrated by the graph below, by Wipneus. Lower sea ice extent means that less sunlight is reflected back into space.

Arctic sea ice extent in 2017 is shrinking along a path that may look much similar to the years 2012, 2016 and 2007, when sea ice reached 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, regarding lowest extent (image right).

While sea ice extent may look similar to these other three years, sea ice thickness has fallen dramatically over the years, as illustrated by the image below, showing Arctic sea ice thickness (in m) in July 31, 2012 (left) versus thickness on July 31, 2017 (right).


The navy.mil animation on the right shows sea ice getting thinner recently, with especially the thicker sea ice disappearing fast.

One of the reasons for this dramatic shrinking of the thicker sea ice is the ever warmer water getting pushed into the Arctic Ocean along the Gulf Stream. This is melting the sea ice from below.

Warming of the Arctic Ocean heats up the air over the Arctic Ocean, as illustrated by the image below.


The above image shows a 365-day surface temperature anomaly. The change over time is also illustrated by the animation on the right.

On average, surface temperatures over the Arctic Ocean have been more than 2.5°C (or 4.5°F) warmer than in 1981-2010. The warmer air is now melting the sea ice from above, as temperatures over the Arctic have risen above the freezing point.

High temperatures over the Arctic Ocean means that precipitation no longer takes the form of snow, but instead falls in the form of rain.


High temperatures of the surface of the ocean combined with strong winds makes that a lot of moisture is rising from the sea surface to the atmosphere.

The image on the right shows that sea surface temperatures in the Bering Strait were as high as 19°C (or 66.2°F) on July 22, 2017. This is partly the result of warm water from rivers entering the Bering Strait.

Furthermore, cyclones can make winds reach high speeds. The image below shows Typhoon Noru approaching Japan.

The image shows a forecast for August 5, 2017, 18:00 UTC. Waves have been forecast to be as high as 16.15 m or 53 ft, while winds have been forecast to be as fast as 214 km/h or 133 mph or 116 kn.

Total precipitable water has been forecast to be as much as 91.000 kg/m² and 3-hr Precipitation Accumulation has been forecast to be as much as 281.3 mm (or 281.3 kg/m²) or 11.07 in.

Back to the Arctic, where strong winds and moist air combine to make a lot of rain, as temperatures are well above freezing in most areas, as illustrated by the image on the right (showing air temperature at 2 m).

The image below shows how strong winds are pushing warm and moist air through the Bering Strait on July 31, 2017 at surface level (left), at 700 hPa (center) and at 250 hPa (right), where the jet stream used to separate the cold air in the Arctic from the warmer air further south.

As the image also shows, the jet stream is getting more and more out of shape, at places crossing the Arctic Ocean.


The image below shows trends for both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice area pointing downward.


When looking at sea ice volume, zero sea ice in September 2017 is within the margins of the trendline below on the right.

[ Arctic sea ice, gone by Sept. 2017? ]Given the speed at which many feedbacks can kick in and the interaction between warming elements, Arctic sea ice volume may well be gone by September 2017.

The low sea ice volume means that there is very little sea ice left to act as a buffer this year. Therefore, a huge amount of heat will not be able to be consumed this year in the process of melting ice and will instead speed up warming of water of the Arctic Ocean.

Less sea ice additionally means that less sunlight will be reflected back into space, and this heat will instead further speed up Arctic warming.

The Buffer has gone, feedback #14 on the Feedbacks page
Where can all this extra heat go? Sea ice is expected to start sealing off much of the surface of the Arctic Ocean by the end of September 2017, which will make it harder for heat to escape the Arctic Ocean by entering the atmosphere.

The danger is that much of the extra heat will instead reach sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean that contain huge amounts of methane in currently still frozen hydrates.

The image on the right shows that methane reached levels as high as 2583 ppb on July 31, 2017.

The image also shows high methane levels over Antarctica where hydrate destabilization also appears to be taking place, as discussed in an earlier post.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.


Links

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

• 10°C or 18°F warmer by 2021?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/04/10c-or-18f-warmer-by-2021.html

• Abrupt Warming - How Much And How Fast?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/05/abrupt-warming-how-much-and-how-fast.html

• Accelerating growth in CO₂ levels in the atmosphere
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/02/accelerating-growth-in-co2-levels-in-the-atmosphere.html

• Feedbacks
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html

• Extinction
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html

• Methane Erupting From Arctic Ocean Seafloor
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/03/methane-erupting-from-arctic-ocean-seafloor.html

• Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/02/warning-of-mass-extinction-of-species-including-humans-within-one-decade.html


Wildfires

Thu, 13/07/2017 - 15:18
Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere are accelerating, even though emissions from fossil fuel burning have remained virtually the same over the past few years.

One of the reason behind this is accelerating emissions from wildfires as temperatures are rising.

Wildfires in Nevada caused CO2 to reach levels as high as 742 ppm on July 12, 2017 (green circle image on the right).

Global warming is greatly increasing the chance for what was previously seen as an extreme weather event to occur, such as a combination of droughts and storms. Heat waves and droughts can cause much vegetation to be in a bad condition, while high temperatures can come with strong winds, storms and lightning.

Wildfires cause a range of emissions, including CO2, soot, methane and carbon monoxide (CO). In Nevada, CO levels were as high as 30.43 ppm (green circle image right).
 

Above satellite image below shows the smoke plumes and the charred area. The google maps image below further shows where the fires were burning.


At the moment, wildfires are hitting many places around the world.

Wildfires caused carbon dioxide to reach levels as high as 746 ppm on July 11, 2017 (green circle on image on the right).

Carbon monoxide levels in the area were as high as 20.96 ppm on July 10, 2017.

The satellite image shows wildfires in Kazakhstan on July 9, 2017.


The satellite images show wildfires in Kazakhstan on July 11, 2017.


Meanwhile, temperatures keep rising. Surface temperature as high as 53.1°C or 127.5°F were forecast in Iran for July 11, 2017, at the location marked by the green circle on the image below.


At 1000 mb (image below), temperatures in Iran were forecast to be slightly lower, i.e. as high as 51.9°C or 125.3°F at the location marked by the at green circle, but note the difference in color, especially over Greenland, the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau.


The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action as described at the Climate Plan.


Rain Over Arctic Ocean

Mon, 10/07/2017 - 12:56
It's raining over the Arctic Ocean and the rain is devastating the sea ice. What are the conditions that led to this?

As has been known for a long time, energy is added to Earth due to emissions by people and this translates into a warmer troposphere with more water vapor, warmer oceans and stronger winds.

Warming is hitting the Arctic particularly hard, due to numerous feedbacks, as illustrated by the sea surface temperature anomalies image on the right.

On July 6, 2017, cyclonic winds lined up to create a 'perfect storm'. As a result, an Atmospheric River of moisture was driven through Bering Strait into the Arctic Ocean, as shown on the images below.


On July 6, 2017, 1500 UTC, winds in Bering Strait were as high as 58 km/h (36 mph) at surface level (green circle on above image left), and as high as 82 km/h (51 mph) at 850 mb (green circle on above image right).

On July 6, 2017, surface temperatures of the air in Bering Strait were as high as 8.1°C (46.5°F) (green circle on image right).

Another indication of the strength of the wind driven through Bering Strait is wave height. On July 6, 2017, waves were as high as 3.35 m or 11 ft in the Bering Strait, at the location marked by the green circle on the image on the right.

The relatively warm and moist air driven through Bering Strait by strong winds is causing rain to fall over the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean, as shown on the video and images further below.

On July 7, 2017, high air temperatures were recorded over land and over the water.

The image below shows temperatures recorded at two locations over the Mackenzie River, one of 32.6°C or 90.8°F at the mouth of the Mackenzie River and another one of 34.7°C or 94.5°F further inland. Warm water from rivers can substantially warm up the sea surface and thus melt the sea ice.

Temperature of the surface of the water was 10°C or 50.1°F where the water was pushed into the Bering Strait, while temperatures as high as 46.9°C or 116.3°F were recorded over California.


The combined impact of high temperatures, strong winds, high waves and warm river water, rain water and melt water looks set to further devastate what sea ice is left in the Arctic Ocean.

Rain can be particularly devastating. The very force at which rain strikes can fracture the sea ice where it's weak, while pools of rainwater and meltwater will form at places where the sea ice is stronger. Where fractures appear in the sea ice, warm water can reach further parts of the ice and widen the cracks.

The video below shows rain over the Arctic Ocean. The video was created with cci-reorganizer.org forecasts from July 3, 2017, 18:00 UTC to July 17, 2017, 00:00 UTC.


Arctic sea ice is in a terrible shape. Sea ice volume is at a record low, as indicated by the Wipneus image below showing volume anomalies from 2002.
The image below, by Torstein Viddal, shows how low the 2017 year-to-date average sea ice volume is.


An additional danger is wildfires. Due to high temperatures, wildfires have broken out near the Mackenzie River, as illustrated by the satellite image below.


Wildfires come with a lot of emissions, including soot that darkens the surface when settling down, thus further speeding up warming.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action as described at the Climate Plan.




High Waves Set To Batter Arctic Ocean

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 16:33
High temperatures hit Pakistan end May 2017. The image below shows readings as high as 51.1°C or 123.9°F on May 27, 2017 (at green circle).


As the image below shows, sea temperature was as high as 32.6°C or 90.6°F on May 28, 2017 (at the green circle), 1.8°C or 3.2°F warmer than 1981-2011.


High temperatures over land and at the sea surface reflect an atmosphere that contains huge amounts of energy. On May 27, 2017, the Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) was predicted to be as high as 6976 J/kg at the location in the United States marked by the green circle. Storms subsequently hit a large part of the United States, with baseball-sized hail reported in the Kansas area.


Storms look also set to hit the Arctic Ocean over the next few months.

Waves as high as 2.34 m or 7.7 ft are forecast to hit the Arctic Ocean on June 8, 2017, at the location marked by the green circle.

How is it possible for waves to get that high in a part of the Arctic Ocean that is surrounded by continents that act as shields against winds?

On June 8, 2017, temperatures are forecast to be as high as 40.6°C or 105.2°F near Phoenix, Arizona, and as high as 26.0°C or 78.7°F in Alaska, as the image below shows.


These high temperatures on land are warming up the Arctic Ocean in a number of ways. Firstly, as above image shows, warm air is getting blown from Siberia over the Arctic Ocean.

Secondly, high temperatures on land can strongly warm up water of rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean.

Thirdly, rising temperatures in the Arctic are causing wind patterns to changing, in particular the jet stream.

The image on the right shows the same area as above image, but this time showing a forecast for the jet stream for June 8, 2017.

As temperatures over the Arctic rise faster than they do at the Equator, the jet stream becomes more wavy, and where loops extend over the Arctic Ocean, as the image shows, they can bring strong winds and higher temperatures into the Arctic. Strong winds can cause high waves and these waves can break up the sea ice, mix warmer water all the way down to the seafloor, and destabilize hydrates that can contain huge amounts of methane.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.



Arctic Warming - Update May 2017

Mon, 22/05/2017 - 05:37
The image below illustrates how much and how fast oceans are warming on the Northern Hemisphere.
Trend points at 1.5°C warmer NH oceans in 2025. Shaded area covers seasonal fluctuations and natural variability.As ocean warming continues, prospects for the sea ice in the Arctic are grim.

Warmer water is melting the sea ice from below. The image on the right shows ever less sea ice volume in the Arctic, reflecting huge thinning of the sea ice over the years.

As the sea ice gets thinner, it becomes ever more prone to break up in pieces that will melt quicker (as more surface area becomes exposed to heat from the atmosphere and heat from the water).

[ images from: Arctic Sea Ice May 2017 ]Moreover, with more open water, stronger waves and winds can develop, increasing the chances that sea ice will melt and get pushed out of the Arctic Ocean.

El Niño looks set to strike again this year and the Arctic looks set to be hit much stronger than the rest of the world, as illustrated by the image on the right. The images below show updated indications for El Niño 2017.


Above on the right is a NOAA animation showing a Kelvin Wave forming in the Equatorial Pacific. The image on the left is the most recent frame from this animation.


[ click on images to enlarge ]Above image shows ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) plumes with strong positive anomalies in all three El Niño regions (image on right shows location of regions).

In other words, temperatures in 2017 look set to be very high, which spells bad news for the Arctic where temperature anomalies are already several times higher than in the rest of the world.

As a reminder, take February 2016.
Globally, it was 1.65°C warmer then, compared to 1890-1910, as shown on the inset of the image on the right.

Anomalies in the Arctic were even higher. As the main image on the right shows, it was around 6°C warmer at latitudes north of 70°N.

Note that insufficient data were available to include latitudes north of 85°N in the analysis, as also indicated by the grey areas on the image.

To get  an idea of the situation north of latitude 80°N, have a look at the image on the right, by Nico Sun, showing freezing degree days anomaly over the years, compared to the 1958 - 2002 mean temperature.

Warming looks set to strike the Arctic even harder and high levels of greenhouse gases over the Arctic are contributing to this.

The Scripps image below illustrates this, showing that carbon dioxide levels at Mauna Loa are now well above 410 ppm.
The image on the right shows carbon dioxide levels on May 18, 2017. The color indicates that the highest levels were present over the Arctic.

Temperature anomalies in the Arctic have already been the highest in the world for years, as also illustrated by the NOAA image below on the right, showing temperature anomalies above 2.5°C over the Arctic Ocean over the  365-day period up to May 18, 2017.

[ click on images to enlarge ]There is a huge danger that temperatures will accelerate very rapidly in the Arctic, as self-reinforcing feedbacks are starting to kick in with greater force.

This applies in particular to feedbacks associated with loss of snow and ice cover in the Arctic and to methane releases from clathrates contained in sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean.

The latter danger is also illustrated by the images below, showing the (lack of) sea ice in the ESAS and the Bering Strait. The image underneath shows the temperature anomaly of water.

[ click on images to enlarge ]Above NASA satellite image below shows the (lack of) sea ice in the ESAS and in the Bering Strait. The image below shows temperature anomaly of the water. In the ESAS, the water was 2.8°C or 5.1°F warmer on May 19, 2017, compared to 1981-2011.


In conclusion, the situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.

Earthquake east of Greenland triggers methane releases

Sun, 14/05/2017 - 16:33

An earthquake with a magnitude of M 4.5 on the Richter scale hit the seafloor 204 km East of Nord, Greenland, on May 8, 2017 at 04:48:53 (UTC). Location: 81.684°N 5.076°W. Depth: 10.0 km.

The inset shows that methane levels over 1950 ppb (magenta color) were recorded on the morning of May 8, 2017, by two satellites.

This is a reminder that earthquakes can destabilize methane hydrates, which can hold huge amounts of methane in sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean. As temperatures keep rising, snow and ice on Greenland and Svalbard keeps melting, taking away weight from the surface, making that isostatic rebound can increasingly trigger earthquakes on the faultline that crosses the Arctic Ocean.

Methane releases have followed earthquakes in the Arctic before, e.g. see this 2016 post, illustrating the danger of potentially huge methane releases in case of larger earthquakes in the Arctic.

Why is methane so important again? Below follow some images from the methane page


Over a 10-year timescale, methane emissions cause more warming than carbon dioxide emissions, as illustrated by the graph in the left-hand panel of above image.

Methane levels fluctuate with the time of year, higher mean levels are typically reached in September.

On September 14, 2016, methane levels at 367 mb were as high as 2697 ppb (locally), while global mean methane level was as high as 1865 ppb (above image).
On May 13, 2017, am, global mean methane levels were as high as 1844 ppb at altitudes corresponding to 383mb to 469 mb (MetOp-1 satellite), while local levels as high as 2485 ppb were recorded.

Methane levels have risen 256% from 1750 to 2015, as illustrated by the image on the right.
Growth in methane levels has been accelerating recently. Contained in existing data is a trend indicating that methane levels could increase by a third by 2030 and could almost double by 2040, as illustrated by the image below. 

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.


Links

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

• High Methane Levels Follow Earthquake in Arctic Ocean
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/07/high-methane-levels-follow-earthquake-in-arctic-ocean.html

• Methane
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/methane.html


Abrupt Warming - How Much And How Fast?

Sat, 13/05/2017 - 14:27

How much could temperatures rise? As above image shows, a rise of more than 10°C (18°F) could take place, resulting in mass extinction of many species, including humans.

How fast could such a temperature rise eventuate? As above image also shows, such a rise could take place within a few years. The polynomial trend is based on NASA January 2012-February 2017 anomalies from 1951-1980, adjusted by +0.59°C to cater for the rise from 1750 to 1951-1980. The trend points at a 3°C rise in the course of 2018, which would be devastating. Moreover, the rise doesn't stop there and the trend points at a 10°C rise as early as the year 2021.

Is this polynomial trend the most appropriate one? This has been discussed for years, e.g. at the Controversy Page, and more recently at Which Trend Is best?

The bottom of the image shows the warming elements that add up to the 10°C (18°F) temperature rise. Figures for five elements may be overestimated (as indicated by the ⇦ symbol) or underestimated (⇨ symbol), while figures in two elements could be either under- or overestimated depending on developments in other elements. Interaction between warming elements is included, i.e. where applicable, figures on the image include interaction based on initial figures and subsequently apportioned over the relevant elements.

Warming elements are discussed in more detail at the Extinction Page, while specific elements are also discussed in posts, e.g. methane hydrates are discussed at Methane Erupting From Arctic Ocean, decline of the snow and ice cover and associated feedbacks is discussed at Arctic Ocean Feedbacks and less take-up by oceans of CO₂ and heat from the atmosphere is discussed at 10°C or 18°F warmer by 2021?


Links

• Extinction
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html

• Controversy
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/controversy.html

• Which Trend Is best?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/03/which-trend-is-best.html

• 10°C or 18°F warmer by 2021?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/04/10c-or-18f-warmer-by-2021.html

• Arctic Ocean Feedbacks
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/01/arctic-ocean-feedbacks.html

• Methane Erupting From Arctic Ocean
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/03/methane-erupting-from-arctic-ocean-seafloor.html

• Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/02/warning-of-mass-extinction-of-species-including-humans-within-one-decade.html


Arctic Sea Ice May 2017

Thu, 11/05/2017 - 14:45
Last year, the Arctic was some 3.5°C warmer than it was at the start of the Industrial Revolution. Was this 3.5°C a spike or was it part of a trend pointing at even higher temperature anomalies this year and the following years?


Above image shows NASA annual mean 64°N-90°N land-ocean temperature anomalies from 1951-1980, with +0.59°C added for the rise from 1750 to 1951-1980. A polynomial trend is added (based on 1880-2016 data), pointing at 4.5°C anomaly by 2019.

Will the Arctic keep warming over the coming years in line with this trend? Let's have a look at what affects temperatures in the Arctic most, specifically Ocean Heat, Sea Ice, Land Temperatures and Emissions.

1. Ocean Heat

Warmer Oceans on the Northern Hemisphere will contribute strongly to warming in the Arctic. Here's a graph showing a trend pointing at continued warming of the oceans on the Northern Hemisphere.

Will oceans keep warming like that, in particular the North Atlantic? The Coriolis force keeps pushing warm water of the North Atlantic along the Gulf Stream toward the Arctic Ocean.

On the image on the right, the Gulf Stream shows up as the warmer water (orange and yellow) off the coast of North America.

Thus, as oceans keep warming, warmer water will reach the Arctic Ocean, melting the sea ice from below.

The image on the right shows that the sea surface was 9.3°C or 16.8°F warmer than 1981-2011 on May 7, 2017, at the location marked by the green circle.

2. Sea ice

Meanwhile, the sun will warm up the sea ice from above. The sea ice acts as a barrier, insulating the water of the Arctic Ocean from the heat from above. As long as there is sea ice, water just underneath the sea ice will stay close to freezing point.

Sea ice can strongly affect the amount of heat that is retained by Earth. Sea ice reflects most sunlight back into space, but in the absence of sea ice, most sunlight will instead be absorbed by oceans.

For almost a year now, global sea ice extent has been way below what it used to be, meaning that huge amounts of sunlight that were previously reflected back into space, are now instead getting absorbed by Earth, as shown by the graph below (by Wipneus).

Over the past 365 days, most of the Arctic has been more than 2.5°C or 4.5°F warmer than it was in 1981-2010, as the image on the right illustrates. Note also the anomalies around Antarctica. Decline of the snow and ice cover contributes strongly to these temperature anomalies.

When looking at albedo changes, sea ice area is an even more critical measure than sea ice extent. For a discussion of the difference between area and extent, see this NSIDC page. The image below shows trends for both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice area pointing downward.


When looking at sea ice volume, zero sea ice in September 2017 is within the margins of the trendline below on the right.

[ Arctic sea ice, gone by Sept. 2017? ]Given the speed at which many feedbacks can kick in and the interaction between warming elements, Arctic sea ice volume could be zero by September 2017.

Arctic sea ice is at a record low volume for the time of the year (see graph below by Wipneus). This means that there is very little sea ice left to act as a buffer this year. Therefore, heat that won't be consumed in the process of melting the ice will instead speed up Arctic warming.

As said - less sea ice additionally makes that less sunlight will be reflected back into space, and that instead more heat will speed up Arctic warming.
As the sea ice gets thinner, it becomes more fragile. Furthermore, changes to the Jet Stream can fuel strong winds and waves, which are also more likely to hit the ice as the size of the open water increases.

The satellite image below of the Beaufort Sea shows that the sea ice is cracked in many places and broken into pieces by winds, waves, currents and ocean heat. A huge crack can be seen running along the Canadian Archipelago toward Greenland (bottom right on the image).


An animation (1.3 MB) is added at the end of this post showing the sea ice breaking into pieces in the Beaufort Sea from April 26 to May 10, 2017. It illustrates that a combined force of winds, waves, currents and ocean heat can break even the thicker ice into pieces, with the danger that all ice can be pushed out of the Arctic Ocean.

3. Temperatures on land

High temperatures on land will affect the Arctic in a number of ways. What kind of temperatures can be expected over the coming months, which are so critical for Arctic sea ice?

- Heatwaves

Heatwaves over the continents can more easily extend over the Arctic Ocean as the Northern Polar Jet Stream becomes more wavy. Heatwave conditions are more likely to occur as the jet stream is changing due to accelerated warming of the Arctic.

- Wildfires

High temperatures on land can also cause wildfires that can in turn cause huge quantities of emissions, including soot that when settling on snow and ice, can strongly speed up melting. The image below shows carbon dioxide as high as 607 ppm and carbon monoxide as high as 24.84 over Laos on May 4, 2017.


- Warm water from rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean

Furthermore, high temperatures on land will warm up the water of rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean.

- El Niño

An El Niño event can dramatically boost temperatures of the atmosphere. What are the projections for an El Niño in 2017? The image on the right, by the ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts), indicates an El Niño that is gaining strength.

4. Emissions and Greenhouse Gas Levels

Continued emissions and high greenhouse gas levels are responsible for warming of the planet. Have efforts to cut emissions been successful? Is growth in greenhouse gas levels slowing down? The image below shows accelerating growth of carbon dioxide levels recorded at Mauna Loa, Hawaii.

The image below shows carbon dioxide levels recorded at Barrow, Alaska.

The image below shows methane levels at Barrow, Alaska.
In conclusion, indications are that warming in the Arctic will continue in 2017, which spells bad news for Arctic sea ice and for the world at large, as discussed in earlier posts.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.


The animation below shows the break up of the sea ice in the Beaufort Sea from April 26 to May 10, 2017. It illustrates that a combined force of winds, waves, currents and ocean heat can break even the thicker ice into pieces, with the danger that all ice can be pushed out of the Arctic Ocean.