Posted on April 7, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Funky jet stream pattern blamed for western snow drought
This map shows the rank of snow water equivalent measured at SNOTEL sites across the western U.S. A rank of 1 (black dots) corresponds to the lowest SWE in the SNOTEL record; a rank of 31 (magenta dots) is the highest. Credit: Andrew Slater, NSIDC
FRISCO — After peaking at a record-low extent in late February, Arctic sea ice extent wavered for a bit but stayed low. That resulted in the lowest average sea ice extent on record for March, at 5.56 million square miles, according to the latest monthly update from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
That’s about half a million square miles below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average and about 23,000 square miles below the previous record low, set in March 2006. Looking back several decades, March sea ice extent is declining at the rate of about 2.6 percent per decade. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, climate change, global warming | Tagged: Arctic sea ice, Arctic sea ice record low, climate change, global warming, National Snow and Ice Data Center | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 1, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Can polar bears survive the Arctic meltdown? Photo courtesy USGS.
Arctic sea ice decline is bad news for apex predators
*Click here for more Summit Voice stories on polar bears and climate change
FRISCO — The idea that polar bears may somehow adapt to the rapid loss of Arctic sea ice by switching to land-based food sources isn’t supported by science, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Some polar bears are eating berries, birds and eggs as they’re forced ashore by the retreating sea ice. But the behavior isn’t widespread and probably can’t make up for the loss of the bears’ primary prey — fatty, protein-rich ice seals, according to new research led by U.S. Geological Survey scientists. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, climate change, global warming | Tagged: Arctic sea ice, climate change, global warming, marine mammals, polar bears | Leave a comment »
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 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
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic sea ice, climate change, global warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 29, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Researchers are trying to identify the consequences of dwindling sea ice. Photo courtesy University of Alaska Fairbanks.
‘It is quite conceivable that the current period of near zero sea-ice trend could extend for a decade or more …’
FRISCO — Even with a strong human-caused global warming signal in the Arctic, natural climate variability will be a big factor in the pace of the sea ice meltdown in the next few decades.
A new modeling study that included scientists with the CU-Boulder Boulder-based Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences shows that sea ice could remain relatively stable for 10 years or more due to natural factors. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, climate change, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic amplification, Arctic climate change, Arctic sea ice, global warming | 3 Comments »