Saturday, May 21, 2016

Arctic Climate Records Melting

An intensely warm winter and spring are melting climate records across Alaska, reports NOAA in the post 'Arctic set for record-breaking melt'. The January-April 2016 period was 11.4°F (6.4°C) warmer than the 20th century average, reports NOAA. The NOAA image below further illustrates the situation.
The sea ice is melting rapidly. Warm water from the Mackenzie River contributes to dramatic melting in the Beaufort Sea, as illustrated by the image below, showing that on May 20, 2016, the Arctic Ocean was 5°F (2.8°C) warmer than in 1981-2011 at the delta of the Mackenzie River.


The image below shows that on May 20, 2016, sea ice extent was 10.99 million square km, compared to the 12.05 million square km extent of the sea ice in May 20, 2012, as measured by JAXA


Sea ice reached a record minimum extent of 3.18 million square km on September 15, 2012, and chances are that the sea ice will be largely gone by September 2016.

The year 2016 is an El Niño year and insolation during the coming months of June and July is higher in the Arctic than anywhere else on Earth. Higher temperatures come with increased danger of wildfires. Greenhouse gases are at record high levels: in April and may, CO2 was about 408 ppm, with hourly peaks as high as 411 ppm (on May 11, 2016). Methane levels are high and rising, especially over the Arctic. Smoke and methane are speeding up sea ice melting, as illustrated by the image below showing smoke from wildfires in Canada extending over the Beaufort Sea (main image), in addition to high methane levels that are present over the Beaufort Sea (inset). 


Ocean heat is also very high and rising. Oceans on the Northern Hemisphere were 0.93°C (or 1.7°F) warmer in the most recent 12-months period (May 2015 through April 2016) than the 20th century average.

The image below shows sea ice extent as measured by the NSIDC, confirming that melting of the sea ice in 2016 is way ahead on previous years.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Further Confirmation Of Arctic Sea Ice Dramatic Fall

Since early April, 2016, there have been problems with the sensor on the F-17 satellite that provided the data for many Arctic sea ice images. On April 12, NSIDC issued a notice that it had suspended the provision of sea ice updates. On May 6, NSIDC announced that it had completed the shift to another satellite. The red dotted line in the image below shows data from the F-18 satellite from April 1 to May 15, 2016.

The JAXA site also provides sea ice extent images, obtaining data from a Japanese satellite. They show that Arctic sea ice extent on May 15, 2016 was 11,262,361 square km, 1.11 million square km less than it was on May 15, 2012.


The Cryosphere Today is still using data from the F17 satellite, showing some weird spikes. Albert Kallio has taken a recent image and removed faulty spikes, resulting in the image below showing sea ice area up to May 3, 2016.

[ yellow line is 2016, red line is 2015 ]
Importantly, above image confirms that Arctic sea ice in 2016 has indeed been very low, if not at its lowest for the time of the year. Especially since April 2016, sea ice has fallen far below anything we've seen in earlier years. Below, Albert elaborates on comparing data.


by Albert Kallio

REPAIRED USA (F-17) SATELLITE DATA SHOWS RECORD SMALL SEA ICE AREA IN MAY 2016 AGREEING JAPANESE (JAXA) DATA

A corrected Special Sensor Microwave Imager and Sounder (SSMIS) data set on the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F-17 satellite that provides passive microwave brightness temperatures (and derived Arctic and Antarctic sea ice products) has been corrected here for the system instrumentation error. This agrees with the Japanese JAXA curve, and has been accomplished by removal of the uncharacteristic upward 'ice growth' spikes by linear intrapolation of the corrupt data points. This reinforces the JAXA data that shows the Northern Hemisphere sea ice area is seasonally at new record low which has continued in May 2016.

Smoothened F-17 curve agrees with the Japanese JAXA satellite curve. The reconciliation of the two has been accomplished by removal of the uncharacteristic upward spikes by linear intrapolation of the corrupt days' data points which incorrectly showed immense sea ice area growth in the middle of spring melt season. This reinforces the JAXA data that shows the sea ice area is seasonally at record lows. Therefore, media who are citing recent F-17 satellite sea ice area figures are intentionally distorting the facts with their claims of the Northern Hemisphere having a record sea ice area for this time of season - whereas in reality - the exact opposite has been happening.

Arctic sea ice is in a bad shape and looks set to deteriorate even further, for a number of reasons.

The year 2016 is an El Niño year, as illustrated by the 51.1°C (124.1 °F) forecast for May 22, 2016, over the Indus Valley in Pakistan (see image right).

Insolation during the months June and July is higher in the Arctic than anywhere else on Earth. Greenhouse gases are at record high levels: CO2 was 408.2 ppm on May 12, 2016, and methane levels are high and rising, especially over the Arctic.

Ocean heat is also very high and rising. The image below shows that oceans on the Northern Hemisphere were 0.93°C (or 1.7°F) warmer in the most recent 12-months period (May 2015 through April 2016) than the 20th century average.


The situation is further illustrated by the image below, using the NOAA data with a trendline added that points at a rise of 3°C (5.4°F) before the year 2040.


Chances are that Arctic sea ice will be largely gone by September 2016. As the ice declines, ever more sunlight gets absorbed by the Arctic Ocean. This is one out of numerous feedbacks that are hitting the Arctic. The danger is that, as these feedbacks start to kick in more, heat will reach the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean and trigger methane to be released in huge quantities from the Arctic Ocean seabed.

Recently, an abrupt methane release from the Arctic Ocean seafloor did enter the atmosphere over the East Siberian Sea, showing up with levels as high as 2578 ppb (at 586 mb on May 15, 2016, pm, see image below). Such abrupt releases are indications that methane hydrates are destabilizing and are warnings that climate catastrophe is waiting to happen.


The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Arctic Sea Ice gone by September 2016?


Arctic sea ice extent is very low, much lower than it was in other years at this time of year. On May 11, 2016, Arctic sea ice extent was 12.328 million square km, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), while JAXA's figure for extent on May 11, 2016, was only 11.57 million square km.

[ based in image from JAXA ]
JAXA figures show that Arctic sea ice extent on May 9, 2016, was 11.68 million square km, more than 18 days ahead on 2012 and 1.1 million square km smaller than it was on May 9, 2012.

The image on the right compares the Beaufort Sea and the northern part of Alaska between May 9, 2012 and May 9, 2016. As the image illustrates, there now is a lot less ice and snow cover than there was on 2012.

The situation looks set to deteriorate further over the coming months. The image below shows temperature forecast to reach anomalies as high as 5.19°C or 9.34°F for the Arctic as a whole (forecast for May 19, 2016, 0300 UTC), with temperature anomalies at the top end of the scale forecast for Alaska and eastern Siberia.


These temperature anomalies go hand in hand with a very wavy jet stream, as illustrated by the image on the right, showing loops extending all the way over the Arctic Ocean (in particular over the Beaufort Sea), taking along warm air in their path.

At the same time, the jet stream can extend far south at other places, making that cold air is moving south, out of the Arctic.

The result is a rapidly warming Arctic, which in turn makes the jet stream even more wavier, as one out of numerous feedbacks that are all  hitting the Arctic at the same time.

The image below compares sea ice thickness between May 13, 2012, and May 13, 2016.


The image on the right shows that sea surface temperatures near Svalbard were as high as 55°F (12.8°C) on May 11, 2016, an anomaly of 21.2°F (11.8°C) from 1981-2011. In other words, the temperature of the sea surface was 1°C in that spot from 1981 to 2011, and now this spot is 11.8°C warmer.

The image below compares sea surface temperature anomalies from 1961-1990 between May 12, 2015, and May 12, 2016.

Sea surface temperatures in the Arctic Ocean are higher than they used to be, in particular in the Bering Strait, the Beaufort Sea, in Baffin Bay and the Kara Sea.

[ click on images to enlarge ]
In summary, Arctic sea ice is in a very bad shape, while ocean heat is very high and rising. Greenhouse gas levels are at record high levels, as discussed in an earlier post and as further illustrated by the image below.

The image below shows that, over the past 365 days, warming over the Arctic have been much stronger than over the rest of the world. Air temperature anomalies of more than 2.5°C (4.5°F) show up over most of the Arctic Ocean. Furthermore, as discussed above, high temperatures are forecast to hit the Arctic over the next week.


From November 2015 to April 2016, global temperatures over land and oceans were 1.48°C (or 2.664°F) higher than in 1890-1910 (left map of the image below). On land, it was 1.99°C (or 3.582°F) warmer (right map of the image below).
[ also see comments ]
Since some 0.3°C (0.54°F) greenhouse warming had already taken place by the year 1900, warming was well above the 1.5°C (or 2.7°F) guardrail the Paris Agreement had pledged wouldn't be crossed.

Given the above, chances are that the sea ice will be largely gone by September 2016.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Wildfire Danger Increasing

Wildfires are starting to break out in British Columbia, Canada. The wildfire on the image below started on May 1, 2016 (hat tip to Hubert Bułgajewski‎).


The coordinates of the wildfire are in the bottom left corner of above map. They show a location where, on May 3, 2016, it was 26.0°C (or 78.8°F). At a nearby location, it was 27.6°C (or 81.8°F) on May 3, 2016. Both locations are indicated on the map on the right.

These locations are on the path followed by the Mackenzie River, which ends up in the Arctic Ocean. Wildfires aggravate heat waves as they blacken the soil with soot. As the Mackenzie River heats up, it will bring warmer water into the Arctic Ocean where this will speed up melting of the sea ice.

Moreover, winds can carry soot high up into the Arctic, where it can settle on the sea ice and darken the surface, which will make that more sunlight gets absorbed, rather than reflected back into space as before.

The danger of wildfires increases as temperatures rise. The image on the right show that temperatures in this area on May 3, 2016 (00:00 UTC) were at the top end of the scale, i.e. 20°C or 36°F warmer than 1979-2000 temperatures.

Extreme weather is becoming increasingly common, as changes are taking place to the jet stream. As the Arctic warms up more rapidly than the rest of the world, the temperature difference between the Equator and the North Pole decreases, which in turn weakens the speed at which the north polar jet stream circumnavigates the globe.

This is illustrated by the wavy patterns of the jet stream in the image on the right, showing the situation on May 3, 2016 (00:00 UTC), with a loop bringing warm air high up into North America and into the Arctic.

In conclusion, warm air reaching high latitudes is causing the sea ice to melt in a number of ways:
  • Warm air makes the ice melt directly. 
  • Warmer water in rivers warms up the Arctic Ocean. 
  • Wildfires blacken land and sea ice, causing more sunlight to be absorbed, rather than reflected back into space as before.  
[ click on images to enlarge ]
The situation doesn't appear to be improving soon, as illustrated by the image on the right. Following the record high temperatures that hit the world earlier this year, the outlook for the sea ice looks bleak.

Further decline of the snow and ice cover in the Arctic looks set to make a number of feedbacks kick in stronger, with methane releases from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean looming as a huge danger.

NSIDC scientist Andrew Slater has created the chart below of freezing degree days in 2016 compared to other years at Latitude 80°N. See Andrew's website and this page for more on this.
Below is a comparison of temperatures and emissions for the two locations discussed above. Such fires are becoming increasingly common as temperatures rise, and they can cause release of huge amounts of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, sulfur dioxide, soot, etc.

May 3, 2016, at a location north of Fort St John, British Columbia, Canada.
May 4, 2016, near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
The video below shows methane levels (in parts per billion or ppb) on May 3, 2016, pm, starting at 44,690 ft or 13,621 m and coming down to 5,095 ft or 1,553 m altitude. In magenta-colored areas, methane is above 1950 ppb.


In the video below, Paul Beckwith discusses the situation.


Wildfires are also devastating other parts of the Earth. Below is an image showing wildfires over the Amur River on May 7, 2016.


The image below shows carbon monoxide levels over the Amur River as high as 22,480 ppb on May 9, 2016. Hat tip to Grofu Antoniu for pointing at the CO levels. According to this Sputniknews report, a state of emergency was declared in the Amur Region as fires stretched across 12,200 acres.


The video below shows carbon monoxide emissions in eastern Asia from May 1 to May 26, 2016.

Meanwhile, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has resumed daily sea ice extent updates with provisional data. The image below is dated May 5, 2016, check here for updates.

As illustrated by the image below, from JAXA, sea ice extent on May 6, 2016, was under 12 million square km, more than 15 days ahead on extent in the year 2012, which was 12 million square km on May 21, 2012.


The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.

Malcolm Light comments:

Most natural processes on the Earth are run by convection including plate tectonics that moves the continental and oceanic plates across the surface of the planet. Mother Earth has been able to hold its atmospheric temperature within certain limits and maintain an ocean for more than 3 billion years because each time there was a build up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which produced a global fever, Mother Earth it eliminated the living creatures with a massive Arctic methane firestorm that fried them alive. This giant Arctic methane firestorm is a natural antibiotic the Earth uses to rid itself of those creatures that have overproduced carbon dioxide and caused a global fever.

Essentially mankind has again caused a massive build up of fossil fuel carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and Mother Earth has already started to respond with the predicted massive Arctic methane blow out (since 2010) which will lead to an Earth engulfing firestorm in 5 to 8 years.

The giant fires in the Fort McMurray region are a result of atmospheric methane induced heating of the Arctic and 93.5% global warming of the oceans that has generated a massive El Nino event this year. Hot winds moving away from these high pressure areas have generated high temperatures and massive fires in Alberta which is a giant fever spot on Earth where mankind has produced the maximum amount of dirty fossil fuel extraction and pollution in Canada.

Mother Earth will continue to respond more vigorously with her Arctic methane antibiotic to eliminate the humans from her system as we represent nothing more to her than a larger version of an influenza virus which has seriously retarded her oceanic and atmospheric temperature range functioning systems.

If we do not immediately stop fossil fuel extraction worldwide and control the Arctic methane emission sites we will all be stardust before a decade is past.

Related

- The Threat of Wildfires in the North
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-threat-of-wildfires-in-the-north.html

- Smoke Blankets North America

Sunday, May 1, 2016

2016 Heat Felt Around Globe

created by Sam Carana with JAXA image
Above image shows that 2016 Arctic sea ice extent has been very low, if not at record low, up to April 30, 2016. This situation doesn't appear likely to improve, due to high ocean heat causing melting from below and high air temperatures that cause melting from above and that also cause water to warm up in rivers ending up in the Arctic Ocean.

The image below shows that on April 28, 2016, sea surface off the coast of North America was as much as 12.3°C or 22.1°F warmer than in 1981-2011. The Gulf Stream will make that much of this heat will arrive in the Arctic Ocean over the next few months.


The image below compares April 30 sea surface temperature anomalies between 2015 (left panel) and 2016 (right panel), showing that the sea surface in many areas is warmer in 2016 than it was in 2015.


Next to sea surface temperatures, air temperatures are rising, as illustrated by the image on the right, showing temperatures over Alaska as high as 14.6°C or 58.4°F at 64.5°N and as high as 10.8°C or 51.4°F at 66.5°N on May 1, 2016. Such rising temperatures over land will warm up rivers that will in turn warm up the Arctic Ocean.

The Google reference map below shows a large part of the Arctic Ocean, including Alaska on the left and the Beaufort Sea at the bottom. The map has an added red square inset that indicates the outlines of the map further below, which zooms in further on the Beaufort Sea.


The April 26, 2016, NASA map below shows that, while it is in places still relatively thick, the sea ice in the Beaufort Sea is strongly fractured with much water showing up in the fractures, and even more water along the coast.


Worryingly, high methane peaks have been recorded recently, as high as 2810 ppb on April 29, 2016, as illustrated by the image below, showing a large area with high methane levels east of Greenland.


Meanwhile, the heatwave in South-East Asia continues, with temperatures as high as 49°C or 120.1°F recorded on April 27, 2016, as illustrated by the image on the right.

As the image below shows, temperatures do not appear to be coming down, with temperatures as high as 49.4°C or 120.8°F forecast to hit India on May 2, 2016 (at the location marked by the green circle).

As global warming continues, this will make humidity levels rise. A 3°C warming will cause about 25% increase in absolute humidity, which will make it feel at least 6°C hotter. Moreover, water vapor is a potent greenhouse gas, further accelerating global warming.


The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

More and more extreme weather

The weather is getting more and more extreme. On April 23, 2016, temperatures in India were as high as 47.7°C or 117.9°F. At the same time, temperatures in California were as low as -12.6°C or 9.2°F, while temperatures in Greenland were as high as 3.6°C or 38.6°F. Meanwhile, Antarctica was as cold as -60°C or -76°F.


The situation in India is most worrying. Temperatures are very high in many locations. India has been experiencing heatwave conditions for some time now, as reported in this and in this earlier posts.


[ click on images to enlarge ]
More extreme weather goes hand in hand with changes that are taking place to the jet stream, as also discussed in earlier posts (see further below).

As the Arctic warms up more rapidly than the rest of the world, the temperature difference between the Equator and the North Pole decreases, which in turn weakens the speed at which the north polar jet stream circumnavigates the globe. This is illustrated by the wavy patterns of the north polar jet stream in the image on the right.

The outlook for the next week shows the north polar jet stream move higher over the arctic, and to eventually disintegrate altogether, while merging with the subtropical jet stream over the Pacific Ocean.

The video below shows how a very wavy jet stream is projected to disintegrate over the Arctic Ocean over the coming week.


This makes it easier for warm air to move into the Arctic and for cold air to move out of the Arctic, in turn further decreasing the temperature difference between the Equator and the North Pole, in a self-reinforcing feedback loop: "It's like leaving the freezer door open."

Temperature forecasts for the Arctic Ocean are high, with anomalies projected to be above 4°C for the Arctic over the coming week.

The image on the right shows one such forecast, projecting a temperature anomaly of 5.31°C or 9.56°F for the Arctic on April 27, 2016, 1500 UTC, while an earlier forecast projected a 5.34°C or 9.61°F anomaly (hat tip to Mark Williams).

The danger is that the combined impact of high air temperatures and ocean heat will cause rapid demise of Arctic sea ice over the next few months.


On April 22, 2016, the sea surface was as much as 11.3°C or 20.3°F warmer than 1981-2011 (at the location off the coast of North America marked by the green circle).

High ocean heat is further accelerating Arctic sea ice demise, as the Gulf Stream keeps carrying ever warmer water into the Arctic Ocean. The image below, created with an image from the JAXA site, shows that Arctic sea ice extent was well under 13 million kmon April 19, 2016, and about 1 million km less than the extent in the year 2012 around this time of year.


Demise of the sea ice will cause even more rapid warming of the Arctic Ocean, with the danger that more heat will penetrate sediments that contain huge amounts of methane in the form of hydrates and free gas, threatening to trigger huge methane releases and cause runaway warming.

Methane levels are increasing strongly. This may not be as noticeable when taking samples from ground stations, but the rise is dramatic at higher altitudes, as also discussed earlier in this post and in this post.

Methane levels in ppb (parts per billion, at bottom of image)
The conversion table below shows the altitude equivalents in feet, m and mb.

57016 feet44690 feet36850 feet30570 feet25544 feet19820 feet14385 feet 8368 feet1916 feet
17378 m13621 m11232 m 9318 m 7786 m 6041 m 4384 m 2551 m 584 m
 74 mb 147 mb 218 mb 293 mb 367 mb 469 mb 586 mb 742 mb 945 mb

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.


Related

- What's wrong with the weather?