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.