Alaska’s sea ice has completely melted away

Alaska’s sea ice has completely melted away

SOURCE: Mashable DATE: August 5, 2019 SNIP: Alaska’s exceptional summer continues. The most rapidly changing state in the U.S. has no sea ice within some 150 miles of its shores, according to high-resolution sea ice analysis from the National Weather Service. The big picture is clear: After an Arctic summer with well above-average temperatures, warmer seas, and a historic July heat wave, sea ice has vanished in Alaskan waters. “Alaska waters are ice free,” said Rick Thoman, a climate specialist at the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy. “This is definitely an extreme year — even by more recent standards in a changed Arctic,” noted Walt Walt Meier, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Arctic sea ice has been either been at record lows or flirting with record lows throughout much of the summer. “I’m losing the ability to communicate the magnitude [of change],” Jeremy Mathis, a longtime Arctic researcher and current board director at the National Academies of Sciences, told Mashable in June, when sea ice levels were at their lowest point in the satellite record for that period. “I’m running out of adjectives to describe the scope of change we’re...
Russia’s army called in as Siberia wildfires engulf area nearly as big as Belgium

Russia’s army called in as Siberia wildfires engulf area nearly as big as Belgium

SOURCE: EuroNews DATE: August 1, 2019 SNIP: President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Russian army to take part in fire-fighting efforts in Siberia as environmentalists describe the blazes raging across the region as an ecological catastrophe. The government claims the fires pose no danger to communities, but people are starting to suffer from the effects of smoke. A series of enormous wildfires have spread across Russia’s eastern region of Siberia, prompting states of emergency to be declared and sparking outrage from locals who say authorities aren’t responding enough. The fires, which have been burning for several weeks, have spread across almost 3 million hectares of land, the Federal Forestry Agency has said. That’s an area almost the size of Belgium. States of emergencies have been declared across five regions in response to the fires, which have burned more than a million hectares each in the worst-affected areas of the Sakha Republic and...
Heat wave over Greenland causing massive ice melt

Heat wave over Greenland causing massive ice melt

SOURCE: CBC DATE: August 1, 2019 SNIP: The heat wave that smashed high temperature records in five European countries a week ago is now over Greenland, accelerating the melting of the island’s ice sheet and causing massive ice loss in the Arctic. Greenland, the world’s largest island, is a semi-autonomous Danish territory between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans that has 82 per cent of its surface covered in ice. The area of the Greenland ice sheet that is showing indications of melt has been growing daily, and hit a record 56.5 per cent for this year on Wednesday, said Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist with the Danish Meteorological Institute. She says that’s expected to expand and peak on Thursday before cooler temperatures slow the pace of the melt. More than 10 billion tonnes of ice was lost to the oceans by surface melt on Wednesday alone, creating a net mass ice loss of some 197 billion tonnes from Greenland in July, she said. The scope of Wednesday’s ice melt is a number difficult to grasp. To understand just how much ice is being lost, a mere one billion tonnes — or one gigatonne — of ice loss is equivalent to about 400,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, the Danish Meteorological Institute said. And 100 billion tonnes corresponds to a 0.28 mm rise in global sea...
If you’re worried about the weather in Europe, spare a thought for the Arctic Circle this year

If you’re worried about the weather in Europe, spare a thought for the Arctic Circle this year

SOURCE: EuroNews DATE: July 26, 2019 SNIP: While most of Europe is focussing on this week’s record-breaking heatwave, others are making worried glances at what is happening in the Arctic Circle. More than 100 “intense and long-lived wildfires” have been pumping carbon dioxide into the sky over the last eight weeks, according to the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS). The total carbon dioxide emissions of the fires exceed the total yearly emissions of countries like Bulgaria, Hungary or Sweden, according to Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at the monitoring service. The emissions also exceeded the levels than in any previous year over the past 17 years. Atmospheric scientist Dr Santiago Gasso wrote that fires in Siberia had created “a smoke lid” over 4.5 million square kilometres. “That is staggering,” he wrote. Although there has been an increase of wildfires in the region over the past three or four years, this year has been exceptional. “It is unusual to see fires of this scale and duration at such high latitudes in June,” said CAMS wildfire expert Mark Parrington last month. “But temperatures in the Arctic have been increasing at a much faster rate than the global average, and warmer conditions encourage fires to grow and persist once they have been ignited.” Parrington said while CO2 is one of many pollutants in fires it is particularly striking because CO2 emissions can be compared to fossil fuel emissions from...
Loss of Arctic’s Reflective Sea Ice Will Advance Global Warming by 25 Years

Loss of Arctic’s Reflective Sea Ice Will Advance Global Warming by 25 Years

SOURCE: Scripps Institution of Oceanography DATE: July 22, 2019 SNIP: Losing the remaining Arctic sea ice and its ability to reflect incoming solar energy back to space would be equivalent to adding one trillion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, on top of the 2.4 trillion tons emitted since the Industrial Age, according to current and former researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. At current rates, this roughly equates to 25 years of global CO2 emissions. It would consequently speed up the arrival of a global threshold of warming of 2ºC beyond temperatures the world experienced before the Industrial Revolution. Scientists and analysts, including the authors of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report released in October 2018, have stated that the planet runs the risk of catastrophic damage ranging from more intense heat waves and coastal flooding to extinction of terrestrial species and threats to food supply if that threshold is passed. The results were published June 20 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The authors of the study conclude that the loss of sea ice will add a globally-averaged 0.7 watts per square meter (W/m2) of solar heating to the Earth system, 0.21 W/m2 of which has already occurred between 1979 and 2016. The amount of additional heat introduced into the Earth system because of Arctic melt is equivalent to an increase in CO2 concentration from 400 to 456.7 parts per million. “Losing the reflective power of Arctic sea ice will lead to warming equivalent to one trillion tons of CO2 and advance the 2ºC threshold by 25 years....