The NYT reminds us of continuing concern of ice melt.
The Arctic ice cap shrank so much this summer that waves briefly lapped along two long-imagined Arctic shipping routes, the Northwest Passage over Canada and the Northern Sea Route over Russia.
Arctic Study Researchers haul a buoy across the Arctic sea ice in August, led by two Coast Guard crew whose job was to ward off polar bears or rescue anyone who slipped into the sea.
Over all, the floating ice dwindled to an extent unparalleled in a century or more, by several estimates.
Now the six-month dark season has returned to the North Pole. In the deepening chill, new ice is already spreading over vast stretches of the Arctic Ocean. Astonished by the summer’s changes, scientists are studying the forces that exposed one million square miles of open water — six Californias — beyond the average since satellites started measurements in 1979.
At a recent gathering of sea-ice experts at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, Hajo Eicken, a geophysicist, summarized it this way: “Our stock in trade seems to be going away.”
Scientists are also unnerved by the summer’s implications for the future, and their ability to predict it.
Complicating the picture, the striking Arctic change was as much a result of ice moving as melting, many say. A new study, led by Son Nghiem at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and appearing this week in Geophysical Research Letters, used satellites and buoys to show that winds since 2000 had pushed huge amounts of thick old ice out of the Arctic basin past Greenland. The thin floes that formed on the resulting open water melted quicker or could be shuffled together by winds and similarly expelled, the authors said.
The pace of change has far exceeded what had been estimated by almost all the simulations used to envision how the Arctic will respond to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases linked to global warming. But that disconnect can cut two ways. Are the models overly conservative? Or are they missing natural influences that can cause wide swings in ice and temperature, thereby dwarfing the slow background warming?
The world is paying more attention than ever.
Russia, Canada and Denmark, prompted in part by years of warming and the ice retreat this year, ratcheted up rhetoric and actions aimed at securing sea routes and seabed resources.
Reports on Great Lakes thinning or lack of winter ice due to increasing water temperatures being responsible for greater evaporation comes to mind as well. Real impacts if continuing, although yearly fluctuations occur for any one lack. Superior has regained a few centimeters, but other are lowering levels.
“The pace of change has far exceeded what had been estimated by almost all the simulations used to envision how the Arctic will respond to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases linked to global warming. But that disconnect can cut two ways. Are the models overly conservative? Or are they missing natural influences that can cause wide swings in ice and temperature, thereby dwarfing the slow background warming?”
I think people missed reading this part in that we had no coffee this morning.
Put a hold on investing in the Larson B area!!
The western Antarctic Peninsula has showed the biggest increase in temperatures observed anywhere on Earth over the past half-century.
Stronger westerly winds are forcing warm air eastward and over the natural barrier created by the Antarctic Peninsula’s 1.25 mile-high mountain chain.
During the past 40 years the average summer temperatures in this region of the north-east peninsula has been 2.2 degrees Celsius, but on days when warm winds top the mountains of the peninsula, temperatures rise by 5 to 10 degrees Celsius, the researchers said.
Changes in wind patterns and weather patterns in a complex system, with no mention o CO2. (On the other hand, methane volume has been shown to correlate with…)