Showing posts from October, 2016

Arctic sea ice extent again at record low for time of year

For some time, Arctic sea ice extent has again been at a record low for the time of the year. The image below shows Arctic sea ice extent on October 26, 2016, when extent was only 6.801 million km². One reason for the low sea ice extent is the high and rising temperature of the Arctic Ocean. On October 27, 2016, the Arctic Ocean was as warm as 14.8°C or 58.6°F (green circle near Svalbard), 12.1°C or 21.7°F warmer than 1981-2011, as the image below shows. On October 29, 2016, the Arctic Ocean was as warm as 14.9°C or 58.8°F (green circle near Svalbard), 12.1°C or 21.8°F warmer than 1981-2011, as the image below shows. As the sea ice shrinks, less sunlight gets reflected back into space, while more open water and higher sea surface temperatures also cause storms and cyclones to become stronger. Stronger cyclones also cause greater amounts of water vapor to move up the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean toward the Arctic. [ click on image to enlarge ] [ click on image to enlarge ] Less

Pursuing efforts?

Late last year at the Paris Agreement, nations pledged to hold the global average temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. On 5 October 2016, the threshold for entry into force of the Paris Agreement was achieved. The Paris Agreement will formally enter into force on 4 November 2016. Meanwhile, as illustrated by above image, temperatures have been more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels for nine out of the past twelve months. For the months February and March 2016, the anomaly was actually quite close to the 2°C guardrail, while for station-only measurements, warming for February and March 2016 was well over the 2°C guardrail from pre-industrial levels. The monthly warming in above image was calculated by using the NASA Global Monthly Mean Surface Temperature Change data (Land+Ocean) from 1880 through to September 2016, while adding 0.28°C to cater for the rise from 1900

Blue Ocean Event September 2017?

Will there be a Blue Ocean Event in September 2017, during which the Arctic Ocean will be virtually ice-free? What would be the significance of such an event? The Arctic Ocean is about to become virtually ice-free, perhaps as early as next year. At first, this Blue Ocean Event may last for one or more days in September 2017. Over the years, the ice-free period will grow longer and longer, if no action is taken. Projections of an ice-free Arctic Ocean have been made for years. What makes the prospect of a Blue Ocean Event so dire? Disappearance of the sea ice means that a huge amount of sunlight that was previously reflected back into space, is instead getting absorbed by the Arctic. The reason for this is that sea ice is more reflective than the water of the Arctic Ocean. The situation on land in the Arctic is similar, i.e. the snow and ice cover on land is more reflective than the darker soil and rocks that get uncovered as the snow and ice disappears. So, extra heat gets added and th