Showing posts from August, 2016

Storms over Arctic Ocean

Winds over the Arctic Ocean reached speeds of up to 32 mph or 52 km/h on August 19, 2016. The image below shows the Jet Stream crossing Arctic Ocean on August 19, 2016 (see map on above image for geographic reference). The Naval Research Lab image on the right shows a forecast for sea ice speed and drift run on August 15, 2016, and valid for August 17, 2016. These storms come at a time when the sea ice has become extremely thin, as illustrated by the Naval Research Lab sea ice thickness animation below, covering a 30-day period run on August 17, 2016, with a forecast through to August 25, 2016. The animation shows that the multi-year sea ice has now virtually disappeared. With the sea ice in such a bad shape, strong winds can cause a rapid drop in sea ice extent, at a time when the Arctic still has quite a bit of insolation . At the North Pole, insolation will come down to zero at the time of the September 2016 Equinox. Even more terrifying is the Naval Research Lab's Arctic sea ic

Wildfires in Russia's Far East

Wildfires can add huge amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and black carbon (BC or soot) into the atmosphere. While CO and soot are not included as greenhouse gases by the IPCC, they can have strong warming impact. CO acts as a scavanger of hydroxyl, thus extending the lifetime of methane. BC results from biomass burning, which a study by Mark Jacobson found to cause 20 year global warming of ~0.4 K. Moreover, BC has a darkening effect when settling on snow and ice, making that less sunlight gets reflected back into space, which accelerates warming. This hits the Arctic particularly hard during the Northern Summer, given the high  insolation at high latitudes at that time of year. The image below shows fires around the globe on August 12, 2016. Visible in the top right corner of above image are wildfires in Russia's Far East. The image below zooms in on these wildfires. The image below shows carbon dioxide levels as high as 71

Arctic Sea Ice Getting Terribly Thin

Temperature Rise A temperature rise (from preindustrial levels) of more than 10°C (18°F) could eventuate by the year 2026, as illustrated by the image below and as discussed in an earlier post . The high temperature anomaly that occurred in February 2016 was partly caused by El Niño. Nonetheless, there is a threat that the February 2016 anomaly was not a peak, but instead was part of a trend that points at what is yet to come. Ocean Heat As the image below shows, 93.4% of global warming goes into oceans. Accordingly, ocean heat has been rising rapidly and, as the image below shows, a trend points at a huge rise over the coming decade. Ocean temperature rise affects the climate in multiple ways. A recent study confirmed earlier fears that future increases in ocean temperature will result in reduced storage of carbon dioxide by oceans. Arctic Sea Ice Thickness & Volume [ click on images to enlarge] Importantly, ocean temperature rises will also cause Arctic sea ice to shrink, result