Posted on September 20, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A polar bear in the Arctic. PHOTO COURTESY USGS/SUSANNE MILLER.
Changing sea ice means shifting diet for top Arctic predators
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The decline of Arctic sea ice is a huge threat to animals in the region, including polar bears and seals, and researchers are trying to learn how those changes will play out in the long run.
Even along the east coast of Greenland, where the sea ice may persist after it has vanished from other areas, the annual 1 percent decline in ice is affecting polar bears, according to an international team of researchers who studied polar bear diets.
After analyzing fatty tissues from 310 polar bears hunted by Greenland natives between 1984 and 2011, the scientists were able to detect subtle shifts in in their diet. Instead of relying primarily on ringed seals, residents of the high Arctic, the bears are increasingly eating subarctic harp and hooded seals. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Greenland | Tagged: Arctic sea ice, global waming, greenland, Persistent organic pollutants, polar bears | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 18, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A new study of the Greenland snowpack reached surprising conclusions about concentrations of carbon monoxide.
FRISCO — Atmospheric carbon dioxide may be rising inexorably, but not all gases related to combustion of fossil fuels are increasing. A new study of the Greenland snowpack shows that carbon monoxide levels were higher in 1950 than those measured today.
Lead researcher, Vasilii Petrenko, an assistant professor of earth and environmental science at the University of Rochester, said the findings were surprising because computer models predicted CO related to fossil fuel burning.would be about 40 percent higher now than 60 years ago. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Greenland | Tagged: Carbon monoxide, fossil fuels, global warming, greenland, Industrial Revolution | Leave a 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. Continue reading
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 2, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Radar data deciphers topography beneath the ice
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Someday, if the Greenland ice cap melts because of global warming, tourists may have a new destination to rival the Grand Canyon.
After studying data from NASA’s Operation IceBridge, geographers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom said they found evidence of 460-mile canyon hidden under a mile of Greenland ice. In places, the previously undiscovered canyon is 2,600 feet deep. The huge gash is thought to predate the ice sheet that has covered Greenland for the last few million years.
“One might assume that the landscape of the Earth has been fully explored and mapped,” said Jonathan Bamber, professor of physical geography at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and lead author of the study. “Our research shows there’s still a lot left to discover.” Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, Greenland | Tagged: Bristol University, geography, greenland, Greenland ice sheet, NASA, Operation IceBridge, Petermann Glacier | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 4, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Ice sheet surface melting above average in July
A graph from the Greenland Today website shows 2013 surface melting in red to compare with average seasonal melting shown by the blue line.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A heatwave in Greenland culminated last week in the highest temperature recorded on the Arctic island since record-keeping started in 1958.
The official weather station at Maniitsoq/Sugar Loaf in southeastern Greenland reported a July 30 reading of 25.9 degrees Celsius (78.6 degrees Fahrenheit), breaking the old Greenland record of 25.5 degrees, set in 1990 in the same area of Greenland.
The Danish Meteorological Institute confirmed the record temperature in a press release. According to the weather experts, the regional heatwave resulted from a strong high pressure system over Greenland combined with a low pressure system over Baffin Island, leading to a flow of warm, dry air from the southeast.
The Danish meteorologists also said that reflected sunlight may also have been a factor in the reading, which has yet to be officially confirmed as the all-time high temperature record. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Greenland | Tagged: climate change, Danish Meteorological Institute, Environment, extreme weather, global warming, greenland, Greenland ice sheet | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 19, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
‘Continuous sea-level rise is something we cannot avoid …’
Long-term sea level rise is inevitable
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Sea level rise is here to stay, according to researchers with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who recently published a study combining evidence from early Earth’s climate history with comprehensive computer simulations using physical models of all four major contributors to long-term global sea-level rise.
The results show a slow but inexorable rise — less than six feet by the end of this century — but the rate will increase as melting Antarctic and Greenland ice become bigger factors. Based on the Earth’s climate history, the long-term outlook is pretty clear. When CO2 levels were comparable to current values, the Earth was much warmer and sea levels were much higher. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Antarctic, climate, coastal adaptation, Current sea level rise, global warming, greenland, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, sea level rise | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 16, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Iceberg calving to be less of a factor as glaciers retreat
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Greenland’s melting ice cap will continue to contribute to sea level rise, but iceberg calving will become less of a factor as glaciers retreat inland. Instead, surface melting and runoff will account for more than 80 percent of ice cap’s contribution to sea level rise, according to new research from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
Changes in its total mass are governed by two main processes — fluctuations in melting and snowfall on its surface, and changes to the number of icebergs released from a large number of outlet glaciers into the ocean. The ice loss from the ice sheet has been increasing during the last decade, with half of it attributed to changes in surface conditions with the remainder due to increased iceberg calving. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: British Antarctic Survey, climate, Environment, global warming, greenland, Greenland ice sheet, ice2sea, sea level rise, Vrije Universiteit Brussel | 1 Comment »