Climate scientists see alarming new threat to California

Climate scientists see alarming new threat to California

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times DATE: December 5, 2017 SNIP: California could be hit with significantly more dangerous and more frequent droughts in the near future as changes in weather patterns triggered by global warming block rainfall from reaching the state, according to new research led by scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Using complex new modeling, the scientists have found that rapidly melting Arctic sea ice now threatens to diminish precipitation over California by as much as 15% within 20 to 30 years. Such a change would have profound economic impacts in a state where the most recent drought drained several billion dollars out of the economy, severely stressed infrastructure and highlighted how even the state most proactively confronting global warming is not prepared for its fallout. “As we learn more about the subtleties in the dynamics of climate change, we are learning that certain climate change impacts, like California drought, may be far worse than we had previously thought,” [Michael] Mann [director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University] wrote. “It also means that, when it comes to water resource issues in California, the impacts of climate change may exceed our adaptive capacity. That leaves only mitigation — doing something about climate change — as a viable strategy moving...
Polar bears crowd on Russian island in sign of Arctic change

Polar bears crowd on Russian island in sign of Arctic change

SOURCE: Channel News Asia DATE: November 23, 2017 SNIP: A boatload of tourists in the far eastern Russian Arctic thought they were seeing clumps of ice on the shore, before the jaw-dropping realisation that about 200 polar bears were roaming on the mountain slope. The bears had come to feast on the carcass of a bowhead whale that washed ashore, later resting around the food source. The crowd included many families, including two mothers trailed by a rare four cubs each, Gruzdev told AFP. Climate change means ice, where polar bears are most at home, is melting earlier in the year and so polar bears have to spend longer on land, scientists say. Studies have shown that, compared with 20 years ago, polar bears now spend on average a month longer on Wrangel Island because “ice is melting earlier and the ice-free period is longer”, said Eric Regehr, from the University of Washington, the lead American scientist on the US-Russian collaborative study of Wrangel Island polar bears. Changing ice conditions could also be responsible for the increasing number of bears flocking there, Regehr said. This autumn, the number of bears observed was 589, far exceeding previous estimates of 200-300, he said, calling it “anomalously...
Record low sea ice in Alaska waters in fall 2017

Record low sea ice in Alaska waters in fall 2017

SOURCE: Climate.gov DATE: November 21, 2017 SNIP: In the Bering and Chukchi Seas, where sea ice should be starting its winter expansion, thousands of square miles of open water stretch out from the state’s western coastline in late fall 2017. It’s the lowest ice extent on record for this time of year for the combined basins. Except for a few areas of nearshore ice, the entire Bering Sea is ice-free as are thousands of square miles of the Chukchi Sea to the north. [T]he ice conditions are unlikely to reverse course any time soon. Predicted storminess in the near-term means that waves and winds will be churning up the surface waters, breaking up and dispersing ice that does form and bringing more unseasonably warm air into the...
Arctic climate change being felt farther south, scientists say

Arctic climate change being felt farther south, scientists say

SOURCE: CBC News DATE: November 20, 2017 SNIP: An international summary of five year’s worth of research on Arctic climate change concludes the top of the world is getting warmer faster than anyone thought. And if it all sounds interesting but a little far removed from southern concerns, David Barber has news for you. “There are very clear linkages there and they’ve been occurring consistently for the last 10, 15 years,” said Barber, one of Canada’s top ice scientists and a prominent contributor to the report. “Most people don’t understand how bad it is.” Climate change in the Arctic is well underway and can’t be stopped. “We should have started 20 years ago,” Barber said. “We didn’t get our act together and we’re still dicking around trying to figure out how to price carbon. “These things are costing us. And they’re costing the stability of our...
Canary in the Climate Mine: Arctic Seabird’s Future Is on Thin Ice

Canary in the Climate Mine: Arctic Seabird’s Future Is on Thin Ice

SOURCE: NewsDeeply DATE: November 8, 2017 SNIP: One of the Arctic’s most important storytellers in the age of climate change can now foresee how the story might end. Since 1975, when seabird biologist George Divoky discovered black guillemots nesting on Cooper Island, an uninhabited strip of land 5 miles (8km) offshore near Utqiagvik (Barrow), Alaska, he has returned every summer to observe them. For years, he’s watched the colony decline. Now he’s worried about its collapse. Global warming is a story built around data, small and fluctuating environmental changes that add up to a bigger picture over decades. The world accepted that the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide concentration was increasing only after Charles Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography began taking consistent measurements in the 1950s, barely scraping together enough funds at first for work that is foundational today. In the more than 40 summers that Divoky, a researcher who received a PhD at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, has spent on Cooper Island, alone in a tent and later in a cabin, he was also cobbling together a global-warming narrative, although he didn’t know it for a long time. … Friends of Cooper...