Posted on February 20, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Massive algae blooms change composition of sea floor food chain
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Arctic Ocean ecosystems are sure to change in as-yet unexpected ways as sea ice continues to shrink. This summer, German Polar researchers and microbiologists documented one of those changes, observing an unprecedented bloom of ice-loving algae on patches of thin summer ice.
The researchers hypothesized three years ago that ice algae could grow faster under the thinning sea ice of the Central Arctic. This past summer’s observations support the hypothesis: The ice algae were responsible for almost half of the primary production in the Central Arctic Basin. The paper is published in the journal Science.
“We were able to demonstrate for the first time that the warming and the associated physical changes in the Central Arctic cause fast reactions in the entire ecosystem down to the deep sea,” said Lead researcher Dr. Antje Boetius, of the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Antje Boetius, Arctic, climate, global warming, Ice algae, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Polar ice packs, Sea ice | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 10, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
January sea ice extent has been dropping about 3 percent per decade, according to the NSIDC.
Northern hemisphere snow cover above average in December and January
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Arctic sea ice remained well below average during January, about 400,000 miles below the 1979 to 2000 average for the month and the sixth-lowest during the satellite record. The last ten years (2004 to 2013) have seen the ten lowest January extents in the satellite record.
According to the latest update from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, January sea ice extent has been decreasing at abou 3.2 percent per decade. The largest areas of open water were around the Barents Sea and near Svalbard, northeast of Greenland. Sea ice extent was also below average along the east coast of Greenland. (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic Ocean, Arctic sea ice January 2013, Barents Sea, greenland, Polar ice packs, Svalbard | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 5, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Arctic sea ice grows fast in November, but the average extent is decreasing from year to year. Graph courtesy NSIDC.
Despite above-average growth, the ice sheet did not catch up to average
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Even though Arctic sea ice grew at an above-average pace during November, the overall extent still remained one of the lowest on record during the satellite era, reaching 9.9 million square kilometers. Only a couple of other years have seen a lower sea ice extent at the end of November, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
During November, the ice sheet grew at an average rate of 98,600 square kilometers per day. The ice extent remained below the all-time record low for most of November before just matching those record low levels at the end of the month. (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic Ocean, Arctic sea ice, climate, global warming, Measurement of sea ice, National Snow and Ice Data Center, Polar ice packs | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 11, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
New study pinpoints regional growth and decline of Antarctic sea ice
Researchers are starting to understand how shifting wind patterns are driving changes in Antarctic sea ice extent. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — After compiling more than 5 million individual daily ice motion measurements of sea ice motion around Antarctica, scientists from the U.S. and U.K. say they’re sure that the recent increases in Antarctic sea ice are linked to changing wind patterns in the region.
Essentially, the circumpolar winds are strengthening around Antarctica, said Dr. Ron Kwok, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Why those winds are intensifying, and whether it’s linked with a warming atmosphere remains as a huge question, Kwok said. View a mult-year animation of Antarctic sea ice changes here.
“We are basically finding evidence of change over a long time scale … That’s why it’s inportant to quantify the mechanisms,” he said. “It’s probably associated with a changing climate. The Antarctic sea ice interacts with the global climate system very differently than that of the Arctic, and these results highlight the sensitivity of the Antarctic ice coverage to changes in the strength of the winds around the continent.” (more…)
Filed under: Antarctica, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Uncategorized | Tagged: antarctic sea ice, Antarctica, Bellingshausen Sea, British Antarctic Survey, circumpolar winds, climate change, global warming, NASA, ozone hole, Polar ice packs | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 21, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
A warming Arctic is changing the configuration of the jet stream, which affects mid-latitude weather. GRAPHIC COURTESY NOAA.
Researchers cautious about predicting the demise of Arctic ice
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Despite a steady trend of melting Arctic sea ice, experts with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aren’t yet willing to make any predictions as to when the region will be completely ice-free during the summers.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center earlier this week said that the melt bottomed out in mid-September at new record low extent, but lingering thick, multi-year ice along the north coast of Greenland may persist for decades to come, preventing a total melt-out, said NSIDC ice researcher Walt Meier, speaking during a Sept. 20 teleconference.
That may lead to a plateau at some during what’s been somewhat sensationally described as the Arctic ice death spiral, Meier said, adding that conditions are so variable from year to year that it’s hard to predict the timing. (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Antarctica, Arctic, Arctic sea ice, climate, global warming, Polar ice packs, Sea ice, Walt Meier | 3 Comments »
Posted on August 27, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
The blue line shows this year’s Arctic sea ice decline. Graph courtesy NSIDC.
With three more weeks of melting, this year’s decline likely to far exceed previous record
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The ice trackers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center said today (Aug. 27) that Arctic Sea Ice appears to have dropped below the record low set in 2007 with a few more weeks left in the melt season.
Arctic sea ice coverage fell to 1.58 million square miles on Aug. 26, about 27,000 square miles below the Sept. 18, 2007 minimum. Forecasters expect the ice pack to shrink more before the melting season ends in late September.
Including this year, the six lowest ice extents in the satellite record have occurred in the last six years (2007 to 2012).
Sea ice melting was on an equal pace with 2007 throughout much of July. In early August, the rate increased dramatically, then slowed again, to about 29,000 square miles (about the size of South Carolina) per day, which is still faster than the average melt rate of about 15,000 square miles per day for this time of year. (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: 2012 Arctic sea ice, Arctic, Arctic sea ice record low, National Snow & Ice Data Center, Polar ice packs | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 6, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Spring northern hemisphere snow cover extent has been dropping rapidly for 15 years.
Arctic air temps soaring well above average
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Along with the heat wave gripping a large part of the lower 48 states, some exceptional mid-June warmth in the far north helped speed Arctic sea to some record daily low levels in mid-month.
The ice extent on June 30 (3.70 million square miles) would not normally be expected until July 21, based on 1979-2000 averages. This puts extent decline three weeks ahead of schedule.
While weather patterns over the Arctic varied widely, air temperatures in the area stayed above the 1981 to 2010 average by as much as 7.2 degrees, and as much as 12.6 to 16.2 degrees above average over northern Eurasia and near southern Baffin Bay.
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Measurement of sea ice, National Snow & Ice Data Center, Polar ice packs | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 1, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
More trouble in the far north …
The bright white central mass shows the perennial sea ice while the larger light blue area shows the full extent of the winter sea ice including the average annual sea ice during the months of November, December and January. The data shown here were compiled by NASA senior research scientist Josefino Comiso from NASA's Nimbus-7 satellite and the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. Credit: NASA/Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Along with the steady decline (3.2 percent per decade) in overall Arctic sea ice extent, a new NASA study shows that the oldest and thickest multi-year ice is melting at a much faster pace — about 15 percent per decade — than the thin ice that forms anew each year.
The rapid decline of older ice makes the Arctic Ocean’s floating ice cap even more vulnerable to further decline in the summer, according to Joey Comiso, a senior scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
“The average thickness of the Arctic sea ice cover is declining because it is rapidly losing its thick component, the multi-year ice. At the same time, the surface temperature in the Arctic is going up, which results in a shorter ice-forming season,” Comiso said. “It would take a persistent cold spell for most multi-year sea ice and other ice types to grow thick enough in the winter to survive the summer melt season and reverse the trend.” (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Uncategorized | Tagged: Arctic, Arctic sea ice, multi-year Arctic ice, NASA, Polar ice packs | 7 Comments »
Posted on January 26, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
CU Boulder researchers lead effort to study changes in the Arctic sea ice
NASA satellite images show the state of Arctic ice from a distance, but a new two-year research efforts should yield more clues about global warming impacts to the planet's icebox.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A research effort led by the University of Colorado Boulder is launching a two-year study of Arctic sea ice to determine whether areas like the Beaufort Sea and the adjacent Canada Basin have passed a ‘tipping point’ and now are essentially sub-Arctic zones where ice disappears each summer.
Such ice loss could be causing fundamental changes in ocean conditions, including earlier annual blooms of phytoplankton, which are microscopic plant-like organisms that drive the marine food web.
The team will use unmanned aircraft and satellites to ocean buoys in order to understand the characteristics and changes in Arctic sea ice, which was at 1.67 million square miles during September 2011, more than 1 million square miles below the 1979-2000 monthly average sea ice extent for September — an area larger than Texas and California combined. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Summit County news | Tagged: Arctic Ocean, Arctic sea ice, climate change, CU Boulder, global warming, NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Polar ice packs | 3 Comments »
Posted on October 9, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
This aerial photograph shows the research icebreaker Polarstern at the North Pole. PHOTO COURTESY ALFRED WEGENER INSTITUTE.
Research voyage yields solid data on Arctic sea ice loss
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Old, thick sea ice that helps sustain a long-term ice cover in the Arctic is disappearing, according to researchers with the Alfred Wegener Institute who recently sailed more than 12,000 miles through Arctic seas aboard the Polarstern to investigate ice loss and related issues. In the central Arctic, the ice cover now largely consists of thin, one-year-old floes.
As part of their research, the team of 130 scientists aboard the research ship wanted to determine whether the Arctic sea ice melted to a greater or lesser extent than in previous years.
“The ice has not recovered. This summer it appears to have melted to exactly the same degree as in 2007 … it is exactly as thin as in the record year,” said Stefan Hendricks. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Summit County news | Tagged: Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Arctic, Arctic Ocean, Arctic sea ice loss, Environment, global warming, Laptev Sea, Polar ice packs, Sea ice, Severnaya Zemlya, Summit County News | 3 Comments »