Posted on October 16, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Arctic Ocean oil and gas drilling is off the table for now.
Feds also deny requests for extension of current leases
Drilling for oil and gas in the U.S. slice of the Arctic Ocean is a no-go for the foreseeable future, federal officials said this week, canceling plans for future lease sales and denying extension requests for existing leases.
Citing market conditions and low industry interest, the U.S. Department of the Interior said it’s canceling two potential Arctic offshore lease sales scheduled under the current five-year offshore oil and gas leasing program. The decision comes on the heals of Shell’s announcement to halt exploration in the Chukchi Sea. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate change, energy, Environment, gas drilling, global warming, oil drilling | Tagged: Arctic, Arctic Ocean drilling leases canceled, climate change, energy, Environment, oil and gas | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 16, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Global warming likely to boost Arctic mosquito populations.
Impacts likely to ripple through Arctic ecosystem
LINZ — Global warming is likely to lead to bigger and badder Arctic mosquito swarms, according to a new Dartmouth College study. Already, warming temperatures are causing Arctic mosquitoes to grow faster and hatch earlier, significantly boosting their population and threatening caribou.
The study predicts the mosquitoes’ probability of surviving and emerging as adults will increase by more than 50 percent if Arctic temperatures rise 2 degrees Celsius. Changes in the timing and intensity of mosquito emergence will have a ripple effect on other parts of Arctic ecosystems, including Arctic and migratory birds.
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic, caribou, Environment, global warming, mosquitoes | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 1, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Space-based data to help reveal ecosystem changes
Satellites have long been tracking sea ice loss in the Canadian Arctic, and new climate models suggest that glaciers in the region are also declining rapidly. Visit this NASA Earth Observatory page for more information.
FRISCO — With more and more studies showing big climate-change impacts to Arctic and subarctic ecosystems, NASA is launching a research project to try and understand the bigger picture.
Some recent studies have shown how boreal forests are shifting quickly as temperatures in the high latitudes soar faster than than the rest of the planet. Biologists are trying to project how global warming will affect wildlife in the region, while another study projects that the “green-up” of the Arctic will amplify global warming.
NASA’s 10-year Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) will bring together on-the-ground research in Alaska and northwestern Canada with data collected by NASA airborne instruments, satellites and other agency programs, including SMAP, OCO-2, and upcoming ICESat-2 and NISAR missions. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic, boreal forests, global warming, permafrost, Wildfires | Leave a comment »
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 | 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 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 »