Posted on March 19, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Loopy jet stream keeps much of Arctic warm
FRISCO — Federal ice researchers say this year’s maximum Arctic sea ice extent, reached Feb. 25, is the lowest on record during the satellite era, about 50,000 square miles smaller than the previous record set in 2011. While a shift in wind patterns could result in some additional growth, it’s unlikely the sea ice will expand past the extent reached on that date. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic amplification, Arctic sea ice, climate change, global warming | 2 Comments »
Posted on March 17, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
‘These animals require sea ice …’
A polar bear on Alaska’s North Slope. Photo via Eric Regehr, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
FRISCO — Enacting more endangered species regulations isn’t enough to reduce global warming threats to ice-dependent marine mammals in the Arctic, scientists say.
In a new report published in the journal Conservation Biology, a research team called for better monitoring, increased cooperation and more study of how increasing human activity in the Arctic will affect ecosystems.
The report assesses the status of all circumpolar species and sub-populations of Arctic marine mammals, including seals, whales and polar bears and underscores the precarious state of those mammals.
“These species are not only icons of climate change, but they are indicators of ecosystem health, and key resources for humans,” said lead author Kristin Laidre, a polar scientist with the University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Greenland | Tagged: Arctic sea ice, biodiversity, climate change, global warming, marine mammals, polar bears | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 14, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
‘The risk of high-impact heat waves is likely to increase’
Monsoonal summer thunderstorms help regulate heatwaves. bberwyn photo.
FRISCO — Summer heatwaves, already getting longer and hotter because of human-caused global warming, are set to get even worse, as the overall climate-warming trend disrupts atmospheric circulations that bring relief from long spells of hot weather.
A recent study by scientists with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research one measurement of accumulated summer storm energy has already declined by 10 percent since 1979. The researchers linked the findings to changes in the Arctic caused by man-made global warming. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic sea ice, extreme weather, global warming, heatwaves | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 13, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Some of Canada’s subarctic lakes, seen here from a passenger jet, are drying up in a sign of abrupt climate change. bberwyn photo.
Dessication across the nation …
FRISCO — Scientists taking a close look at satellite images and historical photos dating back to the 1940 have found that ponds in the Arctic tundra are shrinking and slowly disappearing. The researchers concluded that warming temperatures and encroaching plants are key factors in the changes. As temperatures rise, nutrient-rich permafrost — a frozen layer of soil — thaws, releasing nutrients into ponds and enhancing plant growth.
“Plants are taking over shallow ponds because they’re becoming warm and nutrient-rich,” said Christian Andresen, a University of Texas at El Paso researcher who led the study. “Before you know it, boom, the pond is gone.” Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic, Arctic wildlife habitat, Artic ponds, Barrow Peninsula, climate change, global warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 6, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Northern hemisphere snow cover below average for the month
FRISCO — Arctic sea ice extent continued to hover near a record-low level in February, federal ice trackers said in their latest monthly update, adding that this year’s maximum extent, expected sometime in mid-March, may be the smallest on record.
Regionally, Arctic ice extent is especially low in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering Sea, but the bulletin from the National Snow and Ice Data Center explains that ice is “missing” all around the margins of the Arctic. The only area with above-average sea ice extent is around Newfoundland and the Canadian Maritime Provinces. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic sea ice extent, climate change, global warming, northern hemisphere snow cover extent | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 4, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A NASA satellite image shows swirls of sea ice near Greenland.
New study includes data from the pre-satellite era
FRISCO — After analyzing data from multiple sources, scientists say Arctic sea ice is thinning much faster than they thought, and the meltdown is not slowing down.
Between 1975 and 2012, ice in the central Arctic thinned by 65 percent on average, and by 85 percent in September, when the ice cover is at a minimum, according to a new study published in The Cryosphere.
“The ice is thinning dramatically,” said lead author Ron Lindsay, a climatologist at the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory. “We knew the ice was thinning, but we now have additional confirmation on how fast, and we can see that it’s not slowing down.” Continue reading
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Posted on March 2, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Feds are seeking public comment on new rules for Arctic Sea drilling.
Major spill would devastate Arctic ecosystems
FRISCO — Proposed new Arctic drilling rules would require fossil fuel companies to have a spare drilling rig available in case they lose control of the primary well. The new rule is aimed at ensuring that companies operating in the Arctic are full prepared for the region’s extreme conditions.
As released in late February, the rules focus solely on offshore exploration drilling operations within the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea Planning Areas. The proposed rule is open for public comment through mid-April. Comment HERE. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, energy, Environment | Tagged: Arctic drilling, Arctic energy development, Beaufort Sea, BOEMRE, Chukchi Sea, Environment | Leave a comment »