Posted on May 7, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Arctic sea ice extent tracking low in April 2015.
New satellite data offers better info on ice thickness
FRISCO — After peaking at a record low extent last month, Arctic sea ice is melting away.
The average sea ice extent for the month of April was the second-lowest on record, behind 2007, about 313,000 square miles smaller than the 1981 to 2010 long-term average, according to the latest monthly update from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Read the full update here. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, climate change, global warming | Tagged: Arctic sea ice, arctic sea ice thickness, climate change, global warming | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
The Arctic is heating up fast, which will have big effects on the rest of the planet, but plans to slow the meltdown by whitening the ocean surface probably wouldn’t work.
Another geoengineering scheme found lacking
FRISCO — It works on teeth, so why not the Arctic? At least that’s what some engineers have said, proposing that artificially whitening parts of the far northern ocean could help solve Earth’s global warming woes.
Ideas include using enormous quantities of floating grains or microbubbles that would reduce the absorption of the Sun’s rays. But it’s far from clear whether the Rube Goldberg schemes are feasible and whether or not they would have the desired environmental effect. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, climate change, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic sea ice, Arctic whitening, climate change, Environment, Geoengineering, global warming, permafrost | 2 Comments »
Posted on April 23, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Biological feedback loop may accelerate global warming.
‘The increase in Arctic phytoplankton warms the ocean surface layer through direct biological heating …’
FRISCO — Scientists already know that melting sea ice in the Arctic is speeding up global warming in the region because darker-colored water absorbs more heat than reflective ice.
But a new study says there’s another factor to consider. Increasing amounts of open water for longer periods of time means there’s more plankton, and that may amplify Arctic warming by another 20 percent. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, climate change | Tagged: Arctic amplification, Arctic sea ice, global warming, phytoplankton | Leave a comment »
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
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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 »