Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Arctic sea ice at record low for third straight year

Arctic sea ice is at a record low for the third straight year. The measurements from the U.S.-based National Snow and Ice Data Center say the ice reached its maximum extent on March 7. It was the lowest level in the 38-year history of satellite record-keeping.

The sea ice encompassed 14.4 million square kilometres at its largest. Figures for both 2015 and 2016 were about 14.5 million square kilometres. The median figure for 1981 to 2010 was 15.6 million square kilometres. The NOAA said Arctic temperatures this winter were the highest they’d been since 1900 when records began. Average temperatures were two degrees warmer than the 1981-2010 average and 3.5 degrees warmer than 1900. Ocean temperatures off Greenland were five degrees higher than the 30-year average.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Atmospheric CO2 surges again in 2016

The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is still increasing at a record pace. For the second year in a row, instruments at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Baseline Atmospheric Observatory showed CO2 increasing by 3 parts per million in 2016.

The two-year, 6-ppm surge between 2015 and 2017 is unprecedented in the observatory’s 59-year record and marked the fifth year in a row that CO2 increased by 2 ppm or more. The rate of CO2 growth over the last decade is 100 to 200 times faster than what the Earth experienced during the transition from the last Ice Age. Globally averaged CO2 levels passed 400 ppm in 2015 — a 43-percent increase over pre-industrial levels. In February 2017, the CO2 levels at Mauna Loa had climbed to 406.42 ppm.
Rising CO2 means more heat being trapped in the Earth’s climate system. This means more melting ice and sea level rise, along with countless other consequences.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Arctic Sea Ice on slippery slope - Record Lows

With the latest sea ice data for November just in, 2016 continues to be a dramatic year in the Arctic. Following an unusually warm start to the year and record low ice in several months, a markedly sluggish freeze-up season in the back end of the year is seeing more records tumble.

At close to 8,000 cubic kilometres (cubic km), total sea ice volume in November stood at just 48% of the long-term average and the smallest of any November in the satellite record stretching back to 1979. Taken together, these findings show little sign of recovery after an exceptionally poor start to the winter freeze-up season. This doesn’t bode well for survival of the ice through next year’s summer melting season.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2016 locked into being hottest year on record

Data shows September was the warmest in modern temperature monitoring following months of record-breaking anomalies this year. Temperature was 0.91C above the average temperature for that time of year from 1951 to 1980, the benchmark used for measuring rises.

The new findings follow record-breaking monthly anomalies throughout this year, leading the agency to believe that because of the highs reported so far, 2016 will take the crown as warmest in the 136 years of modern data-keeping.
September’s high temperatures compared with the long-term average means that 11 of the last 12 consecutive months, back to October 2015, have set new records. Last year was the hottest year since modern records began, where brought about in part by a strong El Niño event. When 2015’s status was confirmed, that it would have been the warmest year even without the El Niño.

July 2016 was the hottest single month since instruments have been reliably used to measure temperature, followed by a similar effect in August.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Arctic sea ice minimum in "statistical tie" for 2nd lowest extent on record

Animation shows the evolution of the Arctic sea ice cover from its wintertime maximum extent, which was reached on March 24, 2016, and was the lowest on record for the second year in a row, to its apparent yearly minimum, which occurred on September 10, 2016, and is the second lowest in the satellite era.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

August Global Temperature Record Smashed

August 2016 was the warmest August in 136 years of modern record-keeping. Although the seasonal temperature cycle typically peaks in July, August 2016 wound up tied with July 2016 for the warmest month ever recorded. August continued a streak of 11 consecutive months (dating to October 2015) that have set new monthly temperature records.

With temperatures that were 0.55 C (about 0.99° F) warmer than seasonal norms, August 2016 was the warmest August in the Northern Hemisphere in the satellite temperature record.
2014 set the record at the time for the hottest year — and then 2015 crushed that record, now NASA says there is a greater than 99 percent chance 2016 will far surpass 2015.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Counting down to Arctic Sea Ice Minimum

In the Arctic, climate change is accelerating at a frightening pace because it’s warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. One of the obvious indicators of this is melting Arctic sea ice.

Thirty years ago the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean was mostly old, thick ice that survived year-round. It was surrounded by seasonal ice that was younger, thinner, and more vulnerable to changing temperatures. But with climate change, Arctic sea ice can't withstand the warming heat in the summer.
Sea ice is bright and reflective: more than 80 percent of the sunlight that hits it is reflected back into space. But when sea ice melts, the dark ocean surface is exposed which absorbs 90 percent of the sunlight striking it ... the albedo effect. And when oceans become warmer, more sea ice melts, and this is another positive feedback loop.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

World’s population will reach 9.9 billion by 2050

A new report by the Population Reference Bureau predicts the world’s population could reach 9.9 billion by 2050, which exceeds the current UN predictions suggesting 9.6 billion people. There is already an estimated 7.6 billion people on Earth today, so if this prediction is true, the global population will see an increase of 33 per cent in 35 years.

While both the UN and PRB reports predict Africa to see the most rapid population growth during this period, the developed world will also see a surge.
See ----->

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Larsen C ice shelf crack getting much larger

Larsen C is the most northern major ice shelf of the Antarctic Peninsula, and the fourth largest Antarctic ice shelf overall. It's “slightly smaller than Scotland.” It’s called an ice “shelf” because the entirety of this country-sized area is covered by 350 metre thick ice that is floating on top of deep ocean waters.

The crack in Larsen C grew around 30 kilometres in length between 2011 and 2015.
The rift had grown another 22 kilometres since it was last observed in March 2016, and has widened to about 350 meters, report researchers. The full length of the rift is now 130 kilometres.

It may be only a matter of time before the loss of an enormous chunk of Larsen C. In the 1980s the Larsen B ice shelf underwent a large iceberg calving event, setting off a series of similar episodes until the whole shelf disappeared.

Researchers have estimated that the loss of all the ice that the Larsen C ice shelf currently holds back would raise global sea levels by 10 centimetres.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Luxury cruise ship sets sail for the Arctic, thanks to climate change - Update

The once forbidding Arctic region, home to polar bears and ice-covered seas, has melted enough that this summer it’s open not only for shipping but high-end tourism. The proof lies in the Crystal Serenity cruise, a luxury tour of the Arctic that promises to carry passengers through the Northwest Passage and across the roof of the world.

The cruise set sail Tuesday from Seward, Alaska, and will dock 32 days later in New York City. Scientists have long predicted this moment, although as recently as last year, a scientific study found the Northwest Passage would remain too unpredictable for regular shipping.
1,700 passengers and crew were expected to be on board the Crystal Serenity, which will transit the Bering Strait and visit Greenland. Tickets for the historic journey started at $22,000.

That price doesn’t include extras that guests can book, such as helicopter rides. Despite the cost, the trip sold out quickly, and the company said a second journey is being planned. The location might be the Arctic, but the Crystal Serenity’s guests aren’t roughing it. The $350 million ship is 820 feet long and has 13 decks and 535 state rooms.
It has a driving range and putting green, a casino, a movie theatre, half a dozen restaurants, multiple pools and a library with thousands of books, games and DVDs. There’s also a spa, fitness centre, hair salon and 24-hour complimentary room service.

More than anything, the cruise is a symbol, a harbinger of the tourism and commercial traffic that is likely to fill the once-isolated waters of the Arctic.
The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite captured this image of the Northwest Passage on August 9, 2016. A path of open water can be traced almost the entire distance from the Amundsen Gulf to Baffin Bay, encountering a scattering of broken ice just east of Victoria Island.

The nearly ice free Northwest Passage snaking through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago illustrates the Arctic’s “new normal” as climate change continues to transform the region.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

July hottest month ever seen on Earth

The Earth just had the hottest month in recorded history, and it’s even worse than normal.

The record comes in a run of unprecedentedly hot months. Not only does it break through the all-time record set a year before, it also continues a now 10-month long streak of months that are the hottest ever according to Nasa data. The NOAA calculates temperatures slightly differently and has said that there have been 14 months of record-breaking temperatures. It hasn’t yet released its data for July.
The new results are important “because global temperatures continue to warm even as a record-breaking El Nino event has finally released its grip”, said Kim Cobb. "The scary thing is that we are moving into an era where it will be a surprise when each new month or year isn't one of the hottest on record".

Nasa compares its temperature measurements with a base of 0.5C of global warming already factored in. That meant July was about 1.3C hotter than the pre-industrial average. The large anomaly seen during July 2016 means that the month was the hottest on Earth since instrumental records began in 1880.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Trump calls climate change 'hoax'

CO2 Spiral.

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump offer Americans starkly different views on global warming: Clinton sees it as an urgent concern, while Trump dismisses it.

The GOP nominee said nothing about climate change in his July 21 acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. But he told a rally in South Carolina in December that global warming was "a hoax, a lot of it," a modest change from a tweet in 2013 that called global warming "bullshit." He's debunked climate science even though climate is likely the most thoroughly researched area on record.

The Democratic nominee said in her acceptance speech Thursday, "I believe climate change is real." Clinton said she was proud the U.S. had signed the Paris climate accord.
Temperature Spiral

Clinton's campaign website has more than 30 pages of proposals for fighting climate change. They include installing a half-billion solar panels by the end of her term, and ensuring that every U.S. home is powered by renewable energy within 10 years.

Trump has promised to slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency. Last week, he was asked if global warming was caused by human activity, as most climate scientists say. "It could have a minor impact," Trump said. "But nothing, nothing to what they're talking about." The Sierra Club issued a paper July 12 saying if Trump is elected, he would be the only world leader who did not believe in the science of climate change.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hottest June on record continues 14-month global heat wave

The first six months of 2016 were the hottest ever recorded, NASA announced on Tuesday, while Arctic sea ice now covers 40% less of the Earth than it did just 30 years ago. Temperatures were on average 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than average between January and June this year, compared to the late nineteenth century. In total, the planet has now had 14 consecutive months of the hottest temperatures seen since records began in 1880.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Two Middle East locations hit 54 C this week — world record for heat

The temperature in Mitribah, Kuwait, surged Thursday to a blistering 54 C. And on Friday in Basra, Iraq, the mercury soared to 53.9. If confirmed, these incredible measurements would represent the two hottest temperatures ever recorded in the Eastern Hemisphere.

It’s also possible that Mitribah’s 54 C reading matches the hottest ever reliably measured anywhere in the world. Both Mitribah and Basra’s readings are likely the highest ever recorded outside of Death Valley, California.

If you discard the Death Valley record from 1913, the 54 C reading from Mitribah Thursday would tie the world’s highest known temperature. Air temperatures of about 38 C combined with astronomical humidity levels have pushed heat index values, which reflect how hot the air feels, literally off the charts. In Fujairah, on the east coast of the United Arab Emirates, the dew point — a measure of humidity — reached 32 C at 4 p.m. local time Thursday. The 90-degree dew point, combined with the air temperature of 36 C, computes to a heat index of over 60 C.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bouncy grass in Siberia hiding dangerous secret - Update

Scientists on a recent recent expedition to Belyy Island in the Kara Sea off the northern coast of Russia, just off the Yamal Peninsula came across dozens of patches of grass with bubbles of carbon dioxide and methane underneath.

It's likely a small sample of things to come as the planet warms. This summer has been unusually hot on the island. It's similar to a phenomenon that grabbed headlines when first detected in Siberia several years ago ... the formation of massive craters in parts of northern Siberia. Experts believe they were caused by explosions of methane that had built up. One such blast on the Taimyr Peninsula in 2013 could be heard 100 km away.
Melting permafrost gives off greenhouse gases such as methane. Vast tracts of permafrost have been frozen for thousands of years, trapping nutrients that are a feast for bacteria when they melt. These bacteria give off methane as a byproduct.

This is a major problem because methane is far more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide ... more than 70 times the short-term warming potential. This is a too real example of a feedback loop that will accelerate warming.
Siberia's blowholes are exploding in numbers: Up to 20 have now been located, raising new fears the warming permafrost is releasing its methane reserves. Expeditions to the bottom of several craters late last year appeared to support speculation that they may have been caused by pockets of defrosted methane gas erupting though the softening surface. Deep lakes of methane-infused “slurry” were found beneath.