Russia’s new Arctic super-tanker brings Norwegian LNG to Asia

Russia’s new Arctic super-tanker brings Norwegian LNG to Asia

SOURCE: Arctic Now DATE: Aug 1, 2017 SNIP: Loaded with liquefied gas from Norway’s Snøhvit field, the ice-breaking LNG tanker Christophe de Margerie is making an unescorted voyage across the Northern Sea Route to South Korea. It is the first commercial voyage of the unique vessel, originally built for company Novatek and its grand Yamal LNG project. The Christophe de Margerie loaded LNG at Statoil’s Melkøya gas terminal on the Norwegian Barents Sea coast in late July and set a course east. It is the first in a fleet of 15 tankers of the kind built to serve the Yamal LNG. The ships can carry shiploads up to 172,600 cubic tons of liquefied natural gas. Only once before has a tanker brought LNG from Norway to the Asian market through the Northern Sea Route. In late 2012, the tanker Ob River successfully sailed the route and delivered LNG to a terminal in...
Loss of Arctic sea ice impacting Atlantic Ocean water circulation system

Loss of Arctic sea ice impacting Atlantic Ocean water circulation system

SOURCE: Yale News DATE: July 31, 2017 SNIP: Arctic sea ice is not merely a passive responder to the climate changes occurring around the world, according to new research. Scientists at Yale University and the University of Southampton say the ongoing Arctic ice loss can play an active role in altering one of the planet’s largest water circulation systems: the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). AMOC has a lower limb of dense, cold water that flows south from the north Atlantic, and an upper limb of warm, salty water that flows north from the south Atlantic as part of the Gulf Stream. AMOC plays a major role in regional and global climate, affecting the Atlantic rim countries — particularly those in Europe — and far beyond. Earlier this year, a different Yale-led study cautioned that the AMOC system was not as stable as previously thought. That study said the possibility of a collapsed AMOC under global warming conditions is being significantly underestimated. “We’ve now found this new connection between sea ice and AMOC,” Liu [Wei Liu, a Yale postdoctoral associate] said. “Sea ice loss is clearly important among the mechanisms that could potentially contribute to AMOC collapse.” “In our experiments we saw a potential loss of 30% to 50% of AMOC’s strength due to Arctic sea ice loss. That is a significant amount, and it would accelerate the collapse of AMOC if it were to occur,” Fedorov [Alexey Fedorov, climate scientist at the Yale Department of Geology and Geophysics]...
Forget That Big Iceberg–A Smaller One in the Arctic Is More Troubling

Forget That Big Iceberg–A Smaller One in the Arctic Is More Troubling

SOURCE: Scientific American DATE: July 31, 2017 SNIP: The world saw headlines about one of the largest icebergs ever calved a few weeks ago. But a smaller one on the other end of the globe might have bigger consequences. The chunk of ice, which broke free in the Arctic last week, is more worrisome to climate scientists who are watching one of Earth’s largest glaciers shed pieces in a way that stands to raise sea levels. Movement of the Petermann Glacier has sped up in recent years, dumping land-based ice into the ocean at a faster rate and drawing more ice down from the center of Greenland, said Laurence Dyke, a researcher at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. Meanwhile, the ice shelf that braces it and slows the rate of flow is disintegrating as climate change transforms the region. “You could call it the canary in the coal mine. If that big glacier there is changing quickly, and it is, it’s a worrying sign for what’s happening in the rest of Greenland,” he...
Arctic winter warming events becoming more frequent, longer-lasting

Arctic winter warming events becoming more frequent, longer-lasting

SOURCE: NASA DATE: July 11, 2017 SNIP: Arctic winter warming events – winter days where temperatures peak above 14 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 degrees Celsius) – are a normal part of the climate over the ice-covered Arctic Ocean. But new research by an international team that includes NASA scientists finds these events are becoming more frequent and lasting longer than they did three decades ago. A new study, published in Geophysical Research Letters on Jul. 10, shows that since 1980, an additional six warming events are occurring each winter in the North Pole region. The study also shows the average length of each event has grown from fewer than two days to nearly two and a half...
Low sea ice in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska

Low sea ice in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska

SOURCE: NOAA DATE: May 23, 2017 SNIP: Sea ice this spring in the Chukchi Sea, off northwest Alaska, is breaking up and melting earlier and much more extensively than is typical for May. While small areas of open water in this region during mid-May are normal, it appears to be unprecedented in the satellite era to have this much open water north of 68°N latitude (Point Hope) at this time of year. Why is this melt happening now? First, open water persisted in a large area in the western Arctic until mid-December. This was very unusual—possibly unprecedented—and it reduced the time available for ice growth by a month or more. Also, virtually no multi-year ice moved into the area from the northeast, as typically happened in decades past. Finally, the winter was exceptionally mild. Utqiaġvik (Barrow) recorded an average temperature for October through April of +5.4°F, the warmest winter in nearly a century of climate...