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Positive AO, an end season jump in area and extent and... The sea ice is starting to crack again (see modis shots). Similar pattern to last year, just about 15-20 days later at initiation. No way to know if it will be as intense. But we have GFS showing highs in the region of Beaufort through March 25. Interesting days ahead perhaps.,-827635.47106,-45104.461886,-666099.47106&products=baselayers,MODIS_Terra_CorrectedReflectance_TrueColor~overlays,arctic_coastlines_3413&time=2013-06-10&switch=arctic
Toggle Commented Mar 20, 2014 on PIOMAS March 2014 at Arctic Sea Ice
No pause indeed. I'd hardly call retrenchment to levels roughly near those last seen in 2009 a 'pause.' We had three years running worth of volume losses. It would have been an extraordinary trend indeed to not show some bounce back or noise in the larger melt trend. In general, the 'pause' language is starting to get a bit silly. November was the hottest November on record and the last hottest year on record 2010 was also the last El Niño year on record, and a weak one at that. The next El Niño year will, most likely, set another hottest year marker. Or, if we stay in the current neutral/La Nina trend, other forcings will probably push a record hot year within the next five. And that's just atmospheric warming. Ocean warming proceeds apace and glacial melt rates show the ice sheets are taking on heat as well. There is no pause. Only the mirage of pause.
The human emission is more than 150 times that of volcanoes, the next largest 'natural' source. Unless, that is, you count the growing Arctic CO2 feedback as 'natural.' But since that's been the result of manmade emissions as well, calling the Arctic feedback natural is more than a stretch. 'We' have emitted more than enough to account for the rise in CO2 in the atmosphere, the saturation of the world ocean system with CO2, and the filling of various other stores with a dangerously high level of carbon. To wit, worldwide CO2 is already back to 394 ppm and rising (in November!). At the current rate of rise we'll probably break 400 ppm by mid to late February and hit around 402 to 403 ppm by April. The human source will probably exceed 32 gigatons of CO2 for 2013. We might see another .5 to 1.5 gigatons from stores that are now becoming sources. Volcanoes will be lucky to contribute .3 gigatons CO2. Human forcing + human caused feedback vastly overwhelms any natural source. RE: Sea ice. Interesting year. Any news/assessment for this melt season that's provided clear rationales for the pseudo-recovery? My 2 c is that fresh water melt/runoff may be beginning to complicate issues a bit. As usual, it's speculation. But I'd be interested to hear everyone's thoughts. Latest IPCC report (prelim) showing CO2 forcing alone grew by .16 watts per meter squared from 2005 to 2011. The slow increase in CH4 added another .01 watts per meter squared through 2011. Total net forcing beyond 1750 is estimated at 2.3 watts per meter squared, which is many times the initial solar forcing that set off the end of the last ice age. IPCC models do not include loss of sea ice albedo in their calculations. Overall growth of forcing is greater than in most previous reports despite declining solar activity (which is at -.05). Even a new grand solar minimum would only reduce net forcing enough make up for about 5 years of human CO2 emissions. Which provides yet one more proof as to how powerful and rapid the human emission is.
I don't blame NSIDC for its conservative stance or cautious assessment. I also appreciate the broader model range to account for different scenarios. But that doesn't mean we can't broaden our understanding of a complex system that is swiftly deforming due to a number of outside forcing and feedbacks by challenging convention. If we lean too much on conservatism, we will continue to be surprised by 'outlier' years like 2007 and 2012. In such cases, any counter trend year looks reassuring. But they're just noise interrupting what, since 1979, has been an ongoing melt signal. And, as many mention above, PIOMAS does seem to show this signal most clearly. If we are not to see melt by or before 2020, we will have to see a change in trend. So, for my part, I'd like to hear a reasonable explanation as to why a nearly 35 year trend would markedly change. We know there are negative feedbacks. But what feedbacks are strong enough to beat back that trend? The insolation switch doesn't seem a great candidate to me. What about Greenland melt? How much does that affect the ice dynamic? And how does PDO affect the sea ice? Do we see melt acceleration during negative PDO as the oceans deflect heat northward? For my part, I think it would be useful to ask the question -- how can we reasonably expect the sea ice to survive to 2030, 2040, or 2050? Scenarios, that explain assumptions, might help as well. As for 2013... Could be a counter trend year. We'll see. But it's not over yet.
Neven, just a few points: 1. The methane beast is very tricky and sensitive to all forcings and feedbacks, both positive and negative. 2. Stopping human emissions as fast as possible reduces risk of catastrophic damage, but does not eliminate it. On the flip side. There is no way to avoid catastrophic damage without first reducing emissions to near zero. Our actions in this regard are critical. 3. 1,500 gigatons are estimated to be locked in permafrost, some of which would be released as methane, some as CO2. 4. Arctic clathrates contain an estimated 500 to 1000 gigatons (I'm citing the 1000 gigatons number on my blog, but it could be less or, in a more remote potential, more). 5. The above are separate sources that may be colocated though they respond differently. 6. The sudden release of 50 gigatons from 2015 to 2025 is a low probability event. The reason is that during this time, only a small volume of the massive Arctic Carbon store is likely to experience release level heat forcings. If such a release were to happen, it would spell climate change game over writ large by completely wiping out the OH sink and by also more than doubling the current heat forcing of all greenhouse gasses. 7. We have one big natural break remaining to help keep some of these carbon stores locked in place--- the negative feedback inherent in a rapid Greenland and Antarctic melt. Flooding of Arctic land methane stores and a deepening of the ESAS and other ocean clathrate stores would serve as a significant negative feedback. Further, the decades to centuries of regional colder weather caused by large ice melts would serve to keep some of these stores in check. 8. None of this should be comforting news as the negative feedbacks necessary to keep natural methane stores in check produce highly damaging Earth changes and weather events. 9. To reiterate -- it is absolutely critical that global carbon emissions are reduced as rapidly as possible. Further, governments should be working on effective rational responses should worst case events emerge. A combination of very slow movement on mitigation, paltry movement on adaptation and almost zero movement on response is both unconscionable and vastly irresponsible. If just half to 1/4 of the funds currently invested in the world's military and security forces were re-routed, we could, likely both rapidly transition away from fossil fuels and begin to develop responses that aren't as damaging as those currently available.
Toggle Commented Jul 28, 2013 on Arctic time bombs at Arctic Sea Ice
@A4R I'm using yearly Mauna Loa averages, rounded to the nearest 10 (ESRL). The daily level varies by about 60 ppb, depending on time of year. I picked yearly averages because I believe they give the best context.
Toggle Commented Jul 28, 2013 on Arctic time bombs at Arctic Sea Ice
This thing appears to be really chopping up the ice in the Beaufort. Seeing quite a few more cracks and bits of open water. The ice is getting ripped up like tissue paper just north of Alaska.
Toggle Commented Jul 25, 2013 on Second storm at Arctic Sea Ice
Observing our low starting to bomb a bit. 995 mb pressure as of noon EST. Winds in the 20-30 mph range over East Siberian, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Interesting few days ahead.
Toggle Commented Jul 23, 2013 on The Naming of Arctic Cyclones at Arctic Sea Ice
Water temps at 4 C contribute far more moisture and heat energy than ice temps at -2 C or lower. Further, I'm looking at large regions of the Barents Sea that are 12-15 C, the Kara Sea which is almost entirely 8 C+ now, A large heat pulse through the Chukchi which is 6-9 C, a section of the Laptev which is also 4-8 C, Baffin Bay which is 6-9 C, Hudson Bay which is 6-10 C. Temperatures in these regions in these ranges are certainly enough to produce added heat/moisture content for storm fuel. The hot continents add their own kick, but don't count the warming Arctic Ocean out. In any case, an open ocean evaporates more than an ice sheet any day of the week and broader stretches of open water at 0-15 C give you much more atmospheric moisture burden than just the hot continents alone. @ NeilT Ah, the glee returns ;)
Toggle Commented Jul 23, 2013 on The Naming of Arctic Cyclones at Arctic Sea Ice
@ John I'd think the warm seas do contribute -- the open water unlocks another moisture store on which the storms can feed. In addition, warm, moist air packs a lot more potential energy than drier continental air. @ All Seeing how R. Gates and Neven are both mostly opposed to naming storms after deniers, I'll withdraw my support of that particular convention. Others have made very lucid points that it would drag this blog into a controversy that it has managed to stay above (mostly) since its inception. And, perhaps, it does do more good in simply examining the science, which is threat enough to climate change deniers. That said, I don't think it's entirely inappropriate to name the things we may loose as part of this convention. Which is why I'll continue with my suggestion for names that describe ice states as part of the convention (Inuit, Inupiat or otherwise).
Toggle Commented Jul 23, 2013 on The Naming of Arctic Cyclones at Arctic Sea Ice
How about a combination of the three? We could name some after the deniers of fossil fuel industry or related, some after mythological monsters (Grendel etc), and some after names from the Inuit, Inupiat and other cultures from the Arctic Circle? I've heard that there are literally hundreds of Inuit and Inupiat words describing various states of sea ice. Perhaps we could tap that vocabulary to implicitly describe what it is that we are losing?
Toggle Commented Jul 23, 2013 on The Naming of Arctic Cyclones at Arctic Sea Ice
Ha! Well, this is fun.
Toggle Commented Jul 23, 2013 on The Naming of Arctic Cyclones at Arctic Sea Ice
@ Neven Predicted intensity has backed off a bit to 985 in the most recent model runs. So this storm could well still fade a bit. The influx, though, still makes it look as if a significant system is brewing. Will see come morning tomorrow.
@ Neven You're probably right to take the high ground and not go for direct confrontation, though it cuts against the grain for me. Perhaps we could go with the names of animals on the endangered species list, or the names of nations and communities that will surely flood as sea levels rise, or the names of previous mass extinction events. My bent has been to try to call out cause and effect and to name blame where blame is due. I don't think avoiding confrontation has done us a shred of good and where we've made gains, we've done so by direct action. So, though I respect the cerebral route, I'm more of the mind that these bullies aren't going for a fight, they're just trying to cow people into submission. By acting directly against them we both take responsibility and demand accountability. And that, my friend, in my view, is how to deal with this pack of professional bullies, agitators, witch hunters, and science manglers. In essence, take them down before they have a chance to become more horrible than they already are. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that we don't have much time left to bring about a systems change. So we need to get these fools out of the way as fast as possible.
I can't decide which one I like more... Arctic Cyclone Spencer, Arctic Cyclone BP, or Arctic Cyclone Koch Brothers.
Toggle Commented Jul 23, 2013 on The Naming of Arctic Cyclones at Arctic Sea Ice
My vote is for naming them after climate change deniers. I think it would have resonance and vividly highlight how they're consistently dis-proven each time one of these storms melts ice or grinds it away into slurry. I think setting the bar at 985 mb (minimum max intensity to achieve criteria) and 4 days (min duration) are a good start. I'd also think that, for now, we should stick with only naming summer storms or those that result in ice loss. My two cents, anyway. Linking this article in a blog post, hope to draw more attention to this discussion.
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2013 on The Naming of Arctic Cyclones at Arctic Sea Ice
Oh, I am ever happy to spread the word about Neven's fantastic blog. When crediting those who post here, I usually link The Arctic Ice Blog as well and had planned to. So, I'll credit you for the suggestion and Neven for the original thought. It's a brilliant way to turn the tables on the deniers, though. So we should definitely do all we can to turn it into a meme. As for picking criteria, I'd suggest we stick with storms most likely to impact the ice. So summer storms for now? But conditions will probably change over time, where spring and fall storms may end up having melt impact. Peak intensity and duration would probably be the two most easy to apply measures. And we should probably also name only the strongest storms, perhaps 980 mb or lower at peak? Hmm. Might want to start a forum topic...
@ R. Gates Done. For my next blog on the subject, I'll be naming it Arctic Cyclone Daly. Fantastic idea, btw. Will credit you for the excellent brainstorm. @all You guys notice the latest ECMWF model run shows Arctic Cyclone Daly as a 975 mb storm directly over the Beaufort? Should it emerge and do significant damage to sea ice, one has to wonder if Arctic weather conditions are becoming more favorable for such events in late July or early August? One thing to consider is the record heat that has built up in a ring around the Arctic from about 80 degrees north to just south of the Arctic Circle. Tracking for this summer has shown a consistent set of heatwaves emerging in this zone with temperatures regularly hitting the 80s and even 90s in some cases. The extra heat has got to be amping up the hydrological cycle in these regions, injecting extra moisture into the Arctic environment. As the heat and moisture build throughout summer, it creates a high degree of instability vs the colder, drier ice pack. Tellingly, with Arctic Cyclone Daly, we see a long tongue of warm air riding into the Beaufort just one day before he kicks into high gear. The Beaufort may be the ideal location for these storms to form as it is geographically off-set from the pole and, more importantly, from the cold zone that is Greenland. With hot continents surrounding it and nothing but sea ice and a fresh water layer to insulate it, the late summer Beaufort is little more than a tongue of meteorological instability. That's the thesis at least. As for those North Pole cams... #2 is swimming in a giant melt pond now and it looks like the brine channels near #1 are just now starting to trigger. Do these things float? Or do they just fall through when the ice melts out?
To address the points about a runaway and Earth turning into Venus... Hansen notes there are three levels of runaway. 1. A 'mini runaway' like the PETM that would result in temps 10-15 C hotter than now and, probably, a mass extinction in the oceans. 2. A moist stratosphere runaway that would result in temps around 25 C hotter than now, massive ozone depletion and the only habitable regions being the high mountains. 3. A Venus runaway where all the oceans evaporate and the crust bakes its carbon load out. 1&2 are reasonably possible given a large methane pulse and are almost certain to happen if we burn all the fossil fuels (Hansen). But such events are likely to come at the tail end of any AGW nightmare scenario. 3 is likely not possible except in the 100 million to 1 billion year timeframe. The reason why added methane release from the Arctic is a concern is that the Arctic is now becoming a methane/carbon source that makes limiting warming in this century by 2 degrees C or less a very difficult proposition. Large pulses of methane are, therefore, a very dangerous amplifying feedback to human caused climate change. That such pulses may be happening on some scale now is definitely cause for very serious concern even though it's not likely to turn us into Venus anytime soon.
... That said, some of those channels do go very deep into the Greenland ice sheet. So it's definitely something to watch if ice free/warmer conditions come to dominate this region for longer periods.
Toggle Commented Jul 14, 2013 on Nares Express is ready to leave at Arctic Sea Ice
I'm revising to 3.25 (up a tick). Chukchi, Laptev and the CAB on the side of Svalbard are moving quite fast at the moment. Overall ice integrity still seems to be a mess. I've also moved my predicted chance for near zero ice from 10% to 5% (lots of ground to catch up). I still think there's a high (60%) chance we'll see a record in area, extent, or volume.
Warmer waters in the vicinity would speed transport of glaciers that contact the tidal area. The biggest effect, as Neven points out, is the impact on thick ice just North of Greenland and the CAA. Gives warmer waters another avenue through which to erode the thick ice even as it provides another ice passage out of the CAB.
Toggle Commented Jul 14, 2013 on Nares Express is ready to leave at Arctic Sea Ice
We should find out if these are outliers over the next week or so. In any case, there are quite a few methane sources showing up in the Arctic these days. And it's not helping in the least that fracked wells are also leaking at rates of about 4-8 percent... Methane's kick to warming is pretty strong and paleoclimate shows it's not really a beast you want to let loose.
Well it does seem that high has done a number on the ice over the past 5 days or so. Looks like we have another two to four days left in the ECMWF. Then, looks like it's back to stormy conditions. is now following wayne
Jun 21, 2013