Posted on April 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
The Arctic is heating up fast, which will have big effects on the rest of the planet, but plans to slow the meltdown by whitening the ocean surface probably wouldn’t work.
Another geoengineering scheme found lacking
FRISCO — It works on teeth, so why not the Arctic? At least that’s what some engineers have said, proposing that artificially whitening parts of the far northern ocean could help solve Earth’s global warming woes.
Ideas include using enormous quantities of floating grains or microbubbles that would reduce the absorption of the Sun’s rays. But it’s far from clear whether the Rube Goldberg schemes are feasible and whether or not they would have the desired environmental effect. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, climate change, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic sea ice, Arctic whitening, climate change, Environment, Geoengineering, global warming, permafrost | 2 Comments »
Posted on April 15, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
The average temperature of permafrost has increased by 11 degrees Fahrenheit in 30 years.
New study takes detailed look at dynamics of permafrost meltdown
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — One of the big uncertainties in the pace of global warming is how fast greenhouse gases will be released from thawing permafrost, which stores huge amounts of carbon.
A sudden meltdown and discharge could result in a spike in the concentration of heat-trapping gases and big surge in global temperatures, but a new study suggests that release of greenhouse gases from permafrost soils in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions will be more gradual and prolonged. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases, permafrost, permafrost carbon bomb | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 22, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
More methane means more global warming.
Thin permafrost cap at risk as oceans warm
FRISCO — Arctic scientists say a thin cap of seafloor permafrost that caps potent greenhouse gases will probably start to leak more as the oceans warm.
The research focused on the Kara Sea near Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula, where recent permafrost sinkholes have triggered concerns about increasing releases of methane. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases, methane, permafrost | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 22, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Massive permafrost meltdown could lead to runaway warming.
Carbon cycle subject to major changes as permafrost melts
FRISCO — There’s yet more evidence that melting Arctic permafrost will amplify global warming by releasing huge amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.
In the latest study, Scientists with the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research tracked a pulse of CO2 and other greenhouse gases released to the atmosphere about 14,600 years ago. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: carbon cycle, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases, permafrost | 1 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 5, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
The realm of ice and snow
A huge summer snowcave persists into late August in some years, nurturing the highest headwaters with small trickles that feed wetlands, creeks and ponds. A big shift in the timing of snowmelt or the total amount of annual snowfall will have big impacts on the high alpine Rocky Mountain ecosystems.
Some flowers literally grow straight through the ice.
Support the Rocky Mountain Climate Ranger project to learn more about how global warming is affecting the Rocky Mountains.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — It would be hard to do a climate change journey without visiting the cryosphere, that part of the Earth which is in a frozen state at any given time. The biggest slices, of course, are at the poles, but the rest is in the high mountains of the world, where glaciers linger for now, and snow coats the ground for half the year.
Most of the world’s population lives far removed from the realm of ice and snow, but it’s the part of the planet that’s showing the most wear and tear from global warming. The steep decades-long decline in sea ice extent, the potential collapse of massive Antarctic ice shelves and the continued worldwide glacial meltdown are all clear signs of our planet’s fever. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate, climate change, cryosphere, global warming, permafrost | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 17, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Greenhouse gas levels again reach record highs, wtih CO2 crossing 400 ppm threshold for the first time in the anthropocene — last tine CO2 was this high, Earth was a much warmer place, with sea levels 20 feet higher than now …
This graph of global glacier loss is a mirror image to graphs that show the rise in global temperatures. Graphic courtesy NOAA.
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FRISCO — Last year brought more sobering signs of continued global warming, including record-warm temperatures 20 meters below the ground on Alaska’s North Slope, federal scientists said today, releasing the 2013 State of the Climate report (Blunden, J., and D. S. Arndt, Eds., 2014: State of the Climate in 2013. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 95 (7), S1-S238).
With heat-trapping greenhouse gases reaching record levels in 2013, “the state of the climate is changing more rapidly than at any time in … in the known record,” said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration director Thomas Karl, outlining the findings in the agency’s annual climate check-up. Read the full report here: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/bams-state-of-the-climate/2013.php.
The deep permafrost melt in the Arctic is probably linked with declining spring snow cover in the region, scientists said, highlighting a steady decline in the northern hemisphere’s reflective blanket of high latitude snow — think of the sunshade you use in a car windshield. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: climate, climate change, global warming, NOAA< 2013 State of the Climate report, permafrost | 1 Comment »