Arctic Ice August 2010
Arctic warming and global warming.
The year up to July 31 has produced many examples of anomalous weather events globally. We have seen fires, floods, droughts and sandstorms on an immense scale. A new report
shows that 10 out of 10 indicators of global warming are trending in the direction predicted when global warming was merely a theory, rather than a self-evident fact.
Arctic Ice July - Update #5
The sharp decline in ice extent slowed somewhat during July. Some people are claiming this as a sign of recovery.
If you are going downhill at full throttle and you take your foot off the gas you will slow down. A bit. But if the brakes aren't working you are in for an exciting time.
Loss of ice extent has slowed down. A bit. In plain language: loss of ice continues to be a lot more rapid than has been considered normal historically.
Almost the entirety of the main Arctic Ocean ice cover shows substantial amounts of open water. The ice is freely mobile in most areas. Both the North West Passage and the Northern Sea Route, aka North East Passage seem to be easily navigable by icebreakers.
Biotransport and ocean mixing
Before I get into the 'bio' aspect of this article I want to put it in context by pointing to a means of ocean mixing that is not as well known as it deserves to be. And to put that, in turn, in context: a new report from NSIDC confirms that there is a lot of open water in the central pack near the North Pole. That open water was noted by one of my readers, Lord Soth
in a comment
Here is an abstract from the NSIDC report for July 20 2010:
Arctic Ice July 2010 - Update #3
An update and a bit of Arctic history.
Despite the extensive cloud cover over much of the Arctic it is possible to see some interesting patterns of behavior.
Around the Siberian side of the Arctic the ice has already retreated from shore or is in process of retreating. The same goes for the Alaskan and Canadian shores as far as Prince Patrick Island. Ice in the fjords and passages from the Beaufort Sea to Nares Strait is melting.
Arctic Ice July 2010 - Update #2
Something strange is going on. Arctic watcher blogs are abuzz with talk about the behaviour of graphics which are supposed to show ice extent, area or volume. many of these graphics seem to show that the Arctic melt has stopped. Which it hasn't.
Historically, the main pack was always thick multi-year ice. Ice would be lost at the edges in summer, and the new winter ice would be pressed into the main pack by the various drift motions. As ice motion opened a new lead it would rapidly freeze over - even in summer. As the ice expanded by cracking it actually made new ice. Summer melt would nibble at the ice margins, but the losses would be made good in winter.
Arctic Ice July 2010 - Update #1
Before I write another line about ice, I want to thank all of my readers. Whether or not you leave comments, whether or not you link in other blogs, just knowing that I have so many readers gives me the encouragement to keep going: to keep up the standards I have set myself.
One of the standards I set for myself is to always remember just how much I don't know. We have much still to learn about the Arctic. Just when we think we know all there is to know, you can be sure that nature will remind us most harshly of our blind ignorance.
Arctic ice July update #1
Polar science will continue to have a global impact, whether you believe in man-made climate change or not, says an expert.
Global warming was always an unfortunate use of 'framing' by policy-oriented scientists who were out of their league and political groups looking to mobilize their base. Climate change was always the issue and change can mean warming ... which leads to cooling.
A 'message in a bottle' has been a mainstay for romantics throughout the centuries - sure, putting up an old picture on the Internet is a faster way to meet new people now but there is something poignant about the randomness of nature coupled with an intentional act of bridging distances, though these days you'll have Greenpeace ramming your ship if you try it - unless it's for science.
Scientists analyzing the temperature and salt levels of the Western Mediterranean Sea between 1943 and 2000 have found that the deep water has become progressively hotter and saltier, and that, since the 1990s, this process has speeded up.
Each year the temperature of the deep layer of the Western Mediterranean increases by 0.002ºC, and its salt levels increase by 0.001 units of salinity. These changes, although minimal from year to year, have been continuously and constantly occurring at a faster pace since the 1990s.
The results are consistent, "but to confirm this accelerating trend, we need to monitor it over the years to come", said Manuel Vargas-Yáñez, researcher at the Oceanic Centre of Malaga of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO).
What is the volume of the world's oceans? 1.332 billion cubic kilometers, according to scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
The researchers report that the world's total ocean volume is less than the most recent estimates by a volume equivalent to about five times the Gulf of Mexico, or about 0.3% lower than the estimates of 30 years ago.
The results reveal how accurate scientists were in the past, using cruder techniques to measure ocean depth. As long ago as 1888, for example, John Murray dangled lead weights from a rope off a ship to calculate an ocean volume—the product of ocean area and mean ocean depth—just 1.2% greater than the new figure reported in Oceanography.