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Showing posts from July, 2015

Arctic Sea Ice Collapse Threatens - Update 2

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The image below shows sea surface temperature anomalies in the Arctic on July 30, 2015. Due to warm ocean waters and to heatwaves on land that extended over the Arctic Ocean, while warming up rivers ending into the Arctic Ocean, the sea ice has taken a battering over the past few weeks, as illustrated by the images below. Above image shows the last bit of thick (5 m) sea ice in the Canadian Archipelago, which became dislodged on July 8, 2015. It looks set to be virtually gone by August 7, 2015, according to the 30-day Naval Research Laboratory animation below, and as also discussed in greater detail in a recent post . The situation at the north-eastern tip of Greenland doesn't look much better, as illustrated by the image below. The comparison image below also shows the north-eastern tip of Greenland on July 5, 2015 (top), and on July 31, 2015 (bottom). The bottom image shows water in many places, pushing the last pieces of thick ice into the Wandel Sea and Fram Strait . [ click on

Storms Over Arctic Ocean

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The image below shows sea surface temperature anomalies over the Arctic on July 27, 2015. [  departure from 1961-1990 temperatures, click on image to enlarge  ] The image below shows sea surface temperature anomalies on July 28, 2015. [ departure from 1971-2000 temperatures, click on image to enlarge ] There is a growing chance that the sea ice will collapse over the next few weeks, due to heavy melting and storms speeding up the flow of sea ice out of the Arctic Ocean into the Atlantic Ocean. An example of such storms is shown on the animation below. This is a forecast for July 31, 2015, showing cyclonic winds at the center of the Arctic Ocean, with strong winds moving sea ice down Fram Strait . The above situation alone is not likely to trigger sea ice collapse. It is more likely to be short-lived. However, there is a growing possibility for such storms to emerge and drive the melting sea ice out of the Arctic Ocean into the Atlantic Ocean. As the situation in the Arctic further dete

Arctic Ocean Temperatures Keep Rising

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People's emissions are causing the planet to heat up and more than 93% of this heat goes into the oceans. People have measured ocean temperatures for a long time. Reliable records go back to at least 1880. Ever since records began, the oceans were colder than they are now. NOAA analysis shows that, on the Northern Hemisphere, the 20th century average for June is 16.4°C (61.5°F). In June 2015, it was a record 0.87°C (1.57°F) higher. Back in history, there have been times when it was warmer. The last time when it was warmer than today, during the Eemian Period, peak temperature was only a few tenths of a degree higher than today, according to the IPCC . In those days, there was huge melting, accompanied by extreme storms and sea levels that were 5 to 9 m higher than today. In many ways, the situation now already looks worse than it was in the Eemian. "The warm Atlantic surface current was weaker in the high latitude during the Eemian than today", says Henning Bauch . Carb

Thick Sea Ice Dislodged

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As the comparison image below shows, the last bit of thick sea ice has become dislodged from its location in the Canadian Archipelago and is forecast to be floating along with the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. The left panel shows the situation on July 19, 2015, while the right panel shows a forecast for July 31, 2015, run on July 23, 2015. One reason for this development is of course the heavy melting that has taken place in this area. But what has made this thick sea ice move so strongly? The reason for this is a combination of wind, sea currents and meltwater running off the coasts of North America and Greenland. This has been persistently pushing this thick ice in this direction, as illustrated by the Naval Research Laboratory animation below. The Naval Research Laboratory animation below shows sea ice thickness over a 30-day timespan, including a forecast up to 31 July, 2015, run July 23, 2015. The screenshot below from arctic-io shows the sea ice on July 23, 2015, with an inset s

Ocean Temperatures At Record High

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Of all the excess heat that results from people's emissions, 93.4% goes into oceans . Accordingly, ocean heat has strongly increased over the years. NOAA analysis shows that, for the oceans on the Northern Hemisphere, the June 2015 sea surface temperature was at a record high 0.87°C (1.57°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F), as also illustrated by the graph below. The most recent 12-month period, July 2014–June 2015, also broke the record (set just last month) for the all-time warmest 12-month period in the 135-year period of record.  As the above image shows, sea surface temperature anomalies around North America are very high, threatening to further raise temperatures of the Arctic Ocean, which already has very high sea surface temperatures, as also illustrated by the image below.  As the image below shows, sea surface temperatures as high as 19°C (66.2°F) were recorded in the Bering Strait on July 19, 2015. The snow depth comparison below shows the situation on

Arctic Sea Ice Collapse Threatens - Update 1

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The image below compares the Arctic sea ice thickness (in m) on July 15, for the years from 2012 (left panel) to 2015 (right panel), using Naval Research Laboratory images. Click on image to enlarge The image below compares the Arctic sea ice concentration (in %) on July 18, for the years from 2012 (left panel) to 2015 (right panel), using Naval Research Laboratory images. Above images show the dramatic decline of the sea ice in 2015, both in thickness and in concentration. In terms of thickness, sea ice has been reduced by more than one meter in many places, such as north of Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago, all in the time span of just one month. The dramatic fall in sea ice concentration also becomes apparent when comparing recent sea ice concentration (July 18, 2015, above right) with sea ice concentration back in May 2015 (image right, May 1, 2015). This dramatic decline of the sea ice in 2015 is the result of a combination of factors, including: High levels of greenhouse ga