Posted on November 14, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Arctic warming about eight times faster than the rest of the planet
A NASA map shows that much of the globe experienced above average temperatures in October.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — If you’ve been feeling slightly relieved because you’ve heard that global warming has slowed, or even stopped, in the past 15 years, you might want to hold your horses.
In fact, there is very little evidence that the rate of warming has changed significantly, a team of scientists said after looking around the fringes of areas with reliable temperature measurements to find the “missing” heat.
“There’s a perception that global warming has stopped but, in fact, our data suggests otherwise,” said Dr. Kevin Cowtan, a computational scientist at the University of York. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic, climate, global temperature data, global warming, Met Office, missing heat | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 5, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Spitsbergen is the largest of the islands in the Svalbard Archipelago. It sits well inside the Arctic Circle, just south of 80 degrees north latitude. Visit this NASA Earth Observatory page for information on this image.
Warmer ocean temperatures, more ship traffic will open the door for new marine organisms
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Scientists are warning that warmer ocean temperatures in the far north will open the door for aquatic invaders that could devastate native marine ecosystems.
So far, cold water temperatures have prevented most harmful low latitude species from establishing themselves but the threat of invasive species will grow as the oceans warm and as ship traffic increases in the Arctic, said an international team of researchers led by PhD candidate Chris Ware from the University of Tromsø in Norway.
All in all, the researchers expect a much greater pressure on the marine ecosystems of the Arctic, where fishing is very important for the population in Norway and Greenland. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, global warming, invasive species | Tagged: Arctic, climate change impacts, global warming, invasive species, Svalbard | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 25, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
‘The warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere …’
Baffin Island‘s ice caps are melting fast under an unprecedented regime of global warming, according to a new CU-Boulder study: Photo courtesy NASA.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — After radiocarbon dating samples of moss at the edge of melting ice caps on Baffin Island, scientists said there’s little doubt that current warming in the Arctic is unprecedented, even on a geological time scale.
Average summer temperatures in the Eastern Canadian Arctic during the last 100 years are higher than during any century in the past 44,000 years and perhaps as long ago as 120,000 years, according to a University of Colorado Boulder study.
“The key piece here is just how unprecedented the warming of Arctic Canada is,” said CU-Boulder geologist Gifford Miller, also a fellow at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. “This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.” (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Greenland | Tagged: Arctic, Baffin Island, climate change, global warming, greenland, Little Ice Age | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 25, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Deep waters in the Greenland Sea are warming.
Abysmal sea temps in region rising 10 times faster than global average
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Changing ocean dynamics have resulted in a distinct warming of deep waters in the Greenland Sea.
Since the 1980s, the water temperature between 2000 meters depth and the sea floor has risen by 0.3 degrees Celsius — enough heat energy to raise surface temperatures over Europe significantly. The rate of warming is about 10 times higher than the global average.
“This sounds like a small number, but we need to see this in relation to the large mass of water that has been warmed,” said Dr. Raquel Somavilla Cabrillo, who led the study for the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research.
“‘The amount of heat accumulated within the lowest 1.5 kilometres in the abyssal Greenland Sea would warm the atmosphere above Europe by 4 degrees centigrade. The Greenland Sea is just a small part of the global ocean. However, the observed increase of 0.3 degrees in the deep Greenland Sea is ten times higher than the temperature increase in the global ocean on average,” Somavilla said. (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming, Greenland | Tagged: Arctic, Arctic Ocean, climate change, Environment, global warming, Greenland Sea | 2 Comments »
Posted on September 15, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
New research matches ice core data with observational records
A close look at Arctic ice core samples is helping researchers understand variations in historical temperature variations in the Arctic. Map courtesy NASA.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Mapping and analysis of ice core samples from the Arctic has helped Canadian and American scientists conclude that variations in Arctic surface temperatures from 1930 to the present can be linked to both anthropogenic and natural factor, including increased levels of greenhouse gases and sulphate aerosols from industrial activity and volcanic emissions.
The study, published this week in Scientific Reports, set out in part to better identify the drivers of Arctic warming and to explain why the temperature increases haven’t been uniform. The research involved a close look at historical aerosol records contained in ice cores by scientists working at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada.
“Unlike greenhouse gases, aerosols are short-lived in the atmosphere.” said Joe McConnell, a research professor at the Desert Research Institute who oversees DRI’s unique ultra-trace ice core analytical laboratory. “In order to understand their role in global climate you have to employ an array of sample sites and measurements. The records used in this study are part of a much larger array of historical aerosol records we are developing from ice cores collected from throughout the polar regions.” (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic, climate, climate change, global warming | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 14, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Evidence is growing that increasing levels of CO2 are going to have a fundamental impact on ocean plankton.
Changes likely to reduce oceans’ capacity to absorb carbon dioxide
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — In the great global warming experiment there will be winners and losers, and it looks like some of the tiniest plankton species will be among the winners — probably at the expense of larger species higher up the food chain.
Research off the coast of Svalbard, Norway in 2010 showed that the smallest plankton groups thrive at elevated carbon dioxide levels.
This could cause an imbalance in the food web as well as a decrease ocean CO2 uptake, an important regulator of global climate. The results of the study have been published in Biogeosciences, a journal of the European Geosciences Union. (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic, carbon dioxide, ocean acidification, Plankton, Svalbard | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 11, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
This map shows the surface concentrations of black carbon, from all emission sources, as simulated by the new study. The study shows that residential combustion emissions and gas flaring emissions are higher than previous studies had estimated. Graphic courtesy IIASA.
Fossil fuel development in high latitudes likely to speed Arctic meltdown
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — By now, we all know that burning fossil fuels is creating a global environmental problem by rapidly increasing the concentration of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. but it turns out that it also matters how and where fossil fuels are extracted and developed.
A new study from International Institute for Applied Physics Analysis shows that gas flaring by the oil and gas industry contributes more black carbon pollution to Arctic than previously thought—potentially speeding the melting of Arctic sea ice and contributing to the fast rate of warming in the region.
Gas flaring is the practice of simply burning of excess unwanted gases captured during the drilling process. The IIASA scientists from Norway, Finland, and Russia found that gas flaring from oil extraction in the Arctic accounts for 42 percent of the black carbon concentrations in the Arctic, with even higher levels during certain times of the year. In the month of March for example, the study showed that flaring accounts for more than half of black carbon concentrations near the surface. Globally, in contrast, gas flaring accounts for only 3 percent of black carbon emissions. (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Greenland | Tagged: Arctic, Arctic meltdown, Black carbon, climate change, gas flaring, global warming, greenland | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 6, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Shell has ambitious plans to drill for oil off the north coast of Alaska, but so far, the company has not made a convincing case that they’re prepared to do that safely.
Future plans for Arctic drilling still not finalized
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — A string of air quality violations related to Shell’s efforts to drill for oil off the north coast of Alaska have resulted in a $1.1 million fine — a drop in the bucket for a company that reported more than $20 billion in profits last year.
Among other violations, the EPA found that Shell failed to install required air pollution control equipment, showing a lack of conscientious management, according to conservation groups opposed to offshore oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean.
Following the string of violations and other incidents, the federal government decided to scrutinize the company’s Arctic plans. Shell subsequently announced it would delay plans to drill in the Arctic for at least a year. (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, energy, Environment, oil drilling | Tagged: Arctic, Arctic oil drilling, energy, Environment, Shell oil fines | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 26, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Researchers are trying to identify the consequences of dwindling sea ice. Photo courtesy University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Study shows fundamental ecosystem changes under way
By Summit Voice
Sea ice decline is already changing some Arctic ecosystems in fundamental ways, according to University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists. As part of review team, the two researchers showed, for example, that disappearing sea ice leads to a loss of sea-ice algae, at the very base of the Arctic marine food web. Larger plankton is thriving, replacing smaller, but more nutrient dense plankton. What that means exactly is not yet understood.
“Our thought was to see if sea ice decline contributed to greening of the tundra along the coastal areas,” said Uma Bhatt, an associate professor with UAF’s Geophysical Institute. “It’s a relatively new idea.” (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic, Climate disruption, Environment, global warming, Sea ice | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A bearded seal pup. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Conservation group joins legal fray, aiming to maintain protected status
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Oil companies may talk nice about protecting endangered species in Alaska, but when it comes to squeezing just a few more drops of oil from the region, industry fat cats sing a different tune.
Most recently, the Alaska Oil and Gas Association and American Petroleum Institute have gone to court to try and strip endangered species protection from bearded seals, animals that rely on Arctic pack ice for much of their life cycle. (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, biodiversity, climate and weather, endangered species, energy, Environment, gas drilling, global warming, oil drilling | Tagged: Arctic, bearded seals, endangered species, endangered species act, global warming, oil industry | Leave a Comment »