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Wednesday, 14 December 2016
Scientists stumped! Unprecedented Arctic warmth in 2016 triggers massive decline in sea ice while Antarctic is gaining billions of tons of ice per year!
If I was to claim on a random day in the Northern Hemisphere in the middle of December, Colorado Springs, more than 2,500 miles further south was more than 50 Deg F (10.3 Deg C) colder than parts of the Arctic Circle you would probably claim I was making it up, well as the chart above shows, I am not!
Parts of the Arctic Circle have often been much warmer than countries much further south in 2016, today is just another example. In November The Washington Post reported, ‘The North Pole is an insane 36 degrees warmer than normal as winter descends.’ Just last week The Big Wobble posted, ‘This morning at 9.am UST, Bismarck North Dakota USA recorded a temperature of minus 32.5C, minus 26.5F, which is 25F colder the North Pole which recorded its temperature at minus 17.3C, minus 1F.’
So it should not come as a surprise at NOAA’s latest report: Unprecedented Arctic warmth in 2016 triggers massive decline in sea ice, snow.
Warmer temperatures also bring record-breaking delay to fall sea-ice freeze.
Here are the main points of the report.
“Rarely have we seen the Arctic show a clearer, stronger or more pronounced signal of persistent warming and its cascading effects on the environment than this year,” said Jeremy Mathis, director of NOAA’s Arctic Research Program. “While the science is becoming clearer, we need to improve and extend sustained observations of the Arctic that can inform sound decisions on environmental health and food security as well as emerging opportunities for commerce.”
Major findings in this year’s report include:
Warmer air temperature: Average annual air temperature over land areas was the highest in the observational record, representing a 6.3 degree Fahrenheit (3.5 degree Celsius) increase since 1900. Arctic temperatures continue to increase at double the rate of the global temperature increase.
Record low snow cover: Spring snow cover set a record low in the North American Arctic, where the May snow cover extent fell below 1.5 million square miles (4 million square kilometers) for the first time since satellite observations began in 1967.
Smaller Greenland ice sheet: The Greenland ice sheet continued to lose mass in 2016, as it has since 2002 when satellite-based measurement began. The start of melting on the Greenland ice sheet was the second earliest in the 37-year record of observations, close to the record set in 2012.
Record low sea ice: The Arctic sea ice minimum extent from mid-October 2016 to late November 2016 was the lowest since the satellite record began in 1979 and 28 percent less than the average for 1981-2010 in October. Arctic ice is thinning, with multi-year ice now comprising 22 percent of the ice cover as compared to 78 percent for the more fragile first-year ice. By comparison, multi-year ice made up 45 percent of ice cover in 1985.
Above-average Arctic Ocean temperature: Sea surface temperature in August 2016 was 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) above the average for 1982-2010 in the Barents and Chukchi seas and off the east and west coasts of Greenland.
Arctic Ocean productivity: Springtime melting and retreating sea ice allowed for more sunlight to reach the upper layers of the ocean, stimulating widespread blooms of algae and other tiny marine plants which form the base of the marine food chain, another sign of the rapid changes occurring in a warming Arctic.
This year’s report also includes scientific essays on carbon dioxide in the Arctic Ocean, on land and in the atmosphere, and changes among small mammals.
Ocean acidification: More than other oceanic areas, the Arctic Ocean is more vulnerable to ocean acidification, a process driven by the ocean’s uptake of increased human-caused carbon dioxide emissions. Ocean acidification is expected to intensify in the Arctic, adding new stress to marine fisheries, particularly those that need calcium carbonate to build shells. This change affects Arctic communities that depend on fish for food security, livelihoods and culture.
Carbon cycle changing: Overall, the warming tundra is now releasing more carbon into the atmosphere than it is taking up. Twice as much organic carbon is locked in the northern permafrost as is currently in the Earth’s atmosphere. If the permafrost melts and releases that carbon, it could have profound effects on weather and climate in the Arctic and the rest of the Earth.
Small mammals: Recent shifts in the population of small mammals, such as shrews, may be the signs of broader consequences of environmental change full report here
All the above research is actually opposite to what is happening to the Antarctic which is gaining billions of tons of ice per year!
NASA claim the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001, slowing to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.
A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers. The research challenges the conclusions of other studies, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2013 report, which says that Antarctica is overall losing land ice. According to the new analysis of satellite data, the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001. That net gain slowed to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008. That is 112 to 82 billion tons a year GAIN NOT LOSS.
Scott and Shackleton logbooks prove Antarctic sea ice is not shrinking 100 years after expeditions
The Telegraph reported this week that Antarctic sea ice has barely changed from where it was 100 years ago, scientists have discovered, after poring over the logbooks of great polar explorers such as Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton. Experts were concerned that ice at the South Pole had declined significantly since the 1950s, which they feared was driven by man-made climate change. But new analysis suggests that conditions are now virtually identical to when the Terra Nova and Endurance sailed to the continent in the early 1900s, indicating that declines are part of a natural cycle and not the result of global warming. It also explains why sea ice levels in the South Pole have begun to rise again in recent years, a trend which has left climate scientists scratching their heads.