Posted on February 25, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
New tool to help coastal and ocean planners in the region
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — With Arctic sea ice at an all-time record low for late January and the melt season about to begin, researchers have created a new online tool that helps put ice conditions in historical perspective. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic, climate change, Sea ice | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 19, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Study links warming climate and Arctic cyclone frequency
A cyclonic storm spins over the center of the Arctic Ocean. Photo courtesy NASA/Goddard/MODIS Rapid Response Team. Visit this NASA website for more information.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A changing air pressure regime over the Arctic resulting from warmer temperatures may be driving an increase in extreme storms in the region. The hurricane-like cyclones that traverse the northern waters from Iceland to Alaska may foreshadow even more intense weather ahead, according to Dr. Stephen Vavrus, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“This research shows that the Arctic appears to be expressing symptoms expected from ongoing climate change,” Vavrus said, explaining the findings of the study published in Geophysical Research Letters.
“The long-term decline in atmospheric pressure over most of the Arctic is consistent with the response typically simulated by climate models to greenhouse warming, and this study finds a general corresponding increase in the frequency of extreme Arctic cyclones since the middle 19th century,” he said. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic, Arctic sea ice, climate, extreme weather, global warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 15, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
An entire bio-climatic zone, the high Arctic, may disappear
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Rapid climate change in the Arctic is putting enormous pressure on ecosystems, threatening biodiversity and the fundamental way of life of indigenous Arctic peoples, scientists said in a major new report.
“An entire bio-climatic zone, the high Arctic, may disappear. Polar bears and the other highly adapted organisms cannot move further north, so they may go extinct. We risk losing several species forever,” said Hans Meltofte of Aarhus University, chief scientist of the report.
According to the findings, unique and irreplaceable Arctic wildlife and landscapes are crucially at risk due to global warming caused by human activities according to the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment. The report was prepared by 253 scientists from 15 countries under the auspices of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), the biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic, Arctic biodiversity, climage change impacts, global warming | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 4, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Scientists ‘shocked’ at rapid pace of change found in recent study
Some of Canada’s subarctic lakes, seen here from a passenger jet, are drying up in yet another sign of abrupt climate change. bberwyn photo.
FRISCO —Sea ice isn’t the only thing that’s disappearing quickly in the Arctic. Lake ice is also dwindling — it’s getting thinner and the overall length of the ice season is now three weeks shorter than in 1950, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo. Another recent study showed that some of Canada’s Arctic lakes are actually drying up.
“We’ve found that the thickness of the ice has decreased tremendously in response to climate warming in the region,” said lead author Cristina Surdu, a PhD student of Professor Claude Duguay in Waterloo’s Department of Geography and Environmental Management. “When we saw the actual numbers we were shocked at how dramatic the change has been. It’s basically more than a foot of ice by the end of winter.”
The study of more than 400 lakes of the North Slope of Alaska, is the first time researchers have been able to document the magnitude of lake-ice changes in the region over such a long period of time. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment | Tagged: Arctic, Arctic lakes, climate change, global warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 23, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A federal court this week ruled that the Bureau of Energy Management violated environmental laws when it sold leases for fossil fuel production in the Chukchi Sea.
Judges say feds made ‘arbitrary and capricious’ decision on how much oil can be extracted
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — There’s no question that there is a lot of oil beneath the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, and the Chukchi Sea, specifically.
But exactly how much is a question that is still open to debate, according to a federal court, which this week ruled that the U.S. Department of Interior made an “arbitrary and capricious” decision when it sold drilling rights in the area back in 2008 based on an estimate of about 1 billion barrels of oil.
Federal officials may have pulled that number out of a hat, the three-hudge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, ordering the federal government to revise the environmental study for the 2008 lease sale. The court also said federal officials may have low-balled potential environmental impacts of fossil fuel development in the Chukchi Sea. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, energy, Environment, oil drilling | Tagged: Arctic, Chukchi Sea, offshore drilling | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 13, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Global warming continues to spur changes in the Arctic at an unprecedented rate, scientists said this week, warning that the impacts will be felt around the world.
“The Arctic is not like Vegas,” said University of Virginia environmental scientist Howard Epstein. “What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic,” he said, explaining that the rapid warming in the polar region may already be affecting weather in the mid-latitudes.
A panel of researchers presented the results of the 2013 Arctic report card during the annual American Geophysical Union conference this week, stating with more certainty than ever that the loss of Arctic sea ice is linked with more extreme weather events across the U.S. and Europe. Read the full report here. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: 2013 Arctic report card, Arctic, climate change, global warming | 1 Comment »
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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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.” Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming, Greenland | Tagged: Arctic, Arctic Ocean, climate change, Environment, global warming, Greenland Sea | 2 Comments »