Posted on August 20, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Arctic sea ice now at it’s second-lowest extent on record. @bberwyn photo.
Antarctic sea ice extent below average for the first time in four years
FRISCO — In a mid-month update, researchers with the National Snow and Ice Data Center said that Arctic sea ice has dwindled to the second-lowest extent on record, with an above-average melt rate during the first half of August. The only time there was less sea ice was in 2012, which set the record for the lowest extent.
The NSIDC also reported that Antarctic sea ice extent is below the 1981 to 2010 average for the first time in nearly four years. Antarctic sea ice expanded by just 96,500 square miles between August 1 and August 17, and retreated around the Antarctic Peninsula, in the Ross Sea, and around the coast of Wilkes Land. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Antarctic sea ice extent, Antarctica, Arctic, Arctic sea ice, climate change, global warming | 2 Comments »
Posted on April 4, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
An Arctic fox. Photo courtesy USFWS.
New study explores climate change effect on hundreds of species
FRISCO — New research led by U.S. Forest Service scientists shows the scope of expected climate change impacts in Alaska’s arctic and subarctic regions.
The study concluded that 97 percent of the birds and mammals living in the region would feel could experience some form of habitat loss or gain because of climate change. In all, the researcher looked at 162 species of birds and 39 species of mammals. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, biodiversity, climate and weather, endangered species, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic, Arctic wildlife, climate change, Environment, global warming | Leave a 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 November 22, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Warm spells affect permafrost and wildlife
Caption: Arctic foxes in Svalbard will have more than enough food during rainy and icy winters because there will be many reindeer carcasses for them to eat. The next winter, however, the fox population size will be reduced because a robust and small reindeer population will mean many few deaths and hence, very little carrion.
Credit: Brage B. Hansen, NTNU Centre for Conservation Biology.
FRISCO — A closely studied 2012 rain-on-snow event in Svalbard, Norway gave researchers a chance to take a close look at how global warming may play out on the fringes of the Arctic, where humans eke out a delicate existence in balance with the elements.
The extreme weather event in January brought record warmth to the cluster of islands inside the Arctic Circle, with high temperatures climbing well above freezing at a time of year when average readings are well below freezing. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic, climate change, extreme weather, global warming, Svalbard | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 24, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Permafrost processes will play a big role in Earth’s climate for decades to comes.
New findings critical to climate calculations
FRISCO — Sunlight is the key factor in the process of converting Arctic permafrost carbon into atmospheric carbon dioxide, scientists concluded in a new study that could dramatically change the scientific understanding of the planet’s carbon cycle and the consequences of a permafrost meltdown.
The finding is particularly important because climate change could affect when and how permafrost is thawed, which begins the process of converting the organic carbon into CO2. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and published in the journal Science. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic, climate change, Environment, global carbon cycle, global warming, permafrost | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 13, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Snow up to 50 percent thinner in some parts of Arctic
A detailed study shows dramatic thinning of the Arctic snow cover in recent decades, especially on the sea ice west of Alaska, Photo courtesy Ignatius Rigor.
FRISCO — Arctic snow cover has thinned significantly in recent decades, especially on sea ice off the west coast of Alaska, with some as-yet unknown consequences for the environment, researchers said this week in a new study accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.
In the study, led by scientists with NASA and the University of Washington, the scientists compared and analyzed data from NASA airborne surveys, collected between 2009 and 2013, with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers buoys frozen into the sea ice, and earlier data from Soviet drifting ice stations in 1937 and from 1954 through 1991.
Results showed that snowpack has thinned from 14 inches to 9 inches (35 cm to 22 cm) in the western Arctic, and from 13 inches to 6 inches (33 cm to 14.5 cm) in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, west and north of Alaska. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic, Arctic snow cover, climate change, Environment, global warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 13, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Data will help assess global warming impacts to Arctic wildlife
Polar bears near a U.S. Navy submarine.
FRISCO — The latest generation of high-resolution satellite images may help scientists gain a better understanding of Arctic polar bear populations. Dwindling Arctic sea ice is seen a huge threat to the predators, but difficult field conditions make it challenging to get a clear picture of polar bear population dynamics.
Satellite images have also been used recently to track emperor penguins in Antarctica, and researchers are starting to rely on satellite images more and more. In a new study, U.S. Geological Survey biologists matched satellite surveys with ground-truthed counts. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, biodiversity, Environment, global warming, wildlife | Tagged: Arctic, Digital Globe, polar bears, wildlife | 2 Comments »