Why a sudden spike in the temperature of the Great Lakes has scientists worried

Why a sudden spike in the temperature of the Great Lakes has scientists worried

SOURCE: CBC News DATE: September 11, 2018 SNIP: The Great Lakes are getting hotter, seeing a rise in some parts of three degrees. Aaron Fisk, a professor with the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Windsor, spoke with the CBC’s Julianne Hazlewood about why temperatures are on the rise and what that means for the Great Lakes and the things that live in it. “Three degrees is pretty big. We see a variation from year to year of half a degree or .2 of a degree. Three degrees is a pretty significant jump. It’s a really significant change in temperature. Much beyond anything you would normally expect over the last 60, 70, 80 years. Temperature is one of the most important drivers of aquatic systems and terrestrial systems as well. It sets up the types of animals you can have there. Animals and fish like a particular temperature. They have evolved to live in that temperature. We also see a lot of seasonal chances with the algae and the zooplankton that are in the water. When you change the temperature you force animals to move to places they don’t want to be and also fish are a cold blooded species. They are the temperature of their water. When water gets warmer it means their metabolism is higher which means they need to eat more. It just adds to a general stress on the system. If you look at any of the Great Lakes there’s a warming trend since the ’50s and ’60s but this recent jump is consistent with a lot of other data. We...
Climate Change Altering the Arctic Faster Than Expected

Climate Change Altering the Arctic Faster Than Expected

SOURCE: Climate Central DATE: April 25, 2017 SNIP: Evidence continues to mount that climate change has pushed the Arctic into a new state. Skyrocketing temperatures are altering the essence of the region, melting ice on land and sea, driving more intense wildfires, altering ocean circulation and dissolving permafrost. A new report chronicles all these changes and warns that even if the world manages to keep global warming below the targeted 2°C threshold, some of the shifts could be permanent. Among the most harrowing are the disappearance of sea ice by the 2030s and more land ice melt than previously thought, pushing seas to more extreme heights. The findings, released Monday in the Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) assessment, come after a winter of extreme discontent for the region. Sea ice receded a bit in November, a rare occurrence, and hit a record-low maximum for the third year in a row. Temperatures averaged 11°F above normal, driven by sustained mild weather that was punctured by periods of almost unheard of heat when temperatures reached up to 50°F above...
7,000 underground gas bubbles poised to ‘explode’ in Arctic

7,000 underground gas bubbles poised to ‘explode’ in Arctic

SOURCE: Siberian Times and IFLS.com DATE: March 20, 2017 SNIP: Scientists have discovered as many as 7,000 gas-filled ‘bubbles’ expected to explode in Actic regions of Siberia after an exercise involving field expeditions and satellite surveillance, TASS reported. The total of 7,000 – reported by TASS – is startlingly more than previously known. Back in 2016, Siberia’s amusingly named Bely Island made headlines around the world after sections of its grassy landscape became somewhat bouncy. As it turned out, the island was leaking greenhouse gases at a remarkable rate. In fact, the air escaping from the ground there contained 100 times more methane and 25 times more carbon dioxide – the two most potent greenhouse gases by far – than the surrounding atmosphere. This time last year, just 15 of these near-surface, water-coated methane bubbles had been identified. Now, as reported by the Siberian Times, there are 7,000 of them. Considering that methane is incredibly flammable, it’s also likely that some of these bubbles will dramatically explode without much of a...
Soils could release much more carbon than expected as climate warms

Soils could release much more carbon than expected as climate warms

SOURCE: Phys.org DATE: March 9, 2017 SNIP: Soils could release much more CO2 than expected into the atmosphere as the climate warms, according to new research by scientists from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Their findings are based on a field experiment that, for the first time, explored what happens to organic carbon trapped in soil when all soil layers are warmed, which in this case extend to a depth of 100 centimeters. The scientists discovered that warming both the surface and deeper soil layers at three experimental plots increased the plots’ annual release of CO2 by 34 to 37 percent over non-warmed soil. Much of the CO2 originated from deeper layers, indicating that deeper stores of carbon are more sensitive to warming than previously thought. Experts estimate soils below 20 centimeters in depth contain more than 50 percent of the planet’s stock of soil organic carbon. The big questions have been: to what extent do the deeper soil layers respond to warming? And what does this mean for the release of CO2 into the atmosphere? “We found the response is quite significant,” says Caitlin Hicks Pries, a postdoctoral researcher in Berkeley Lab’s Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division. She conducted the research with co-corresponding author Margaret Torn, and Christina Castahna and Rachel Porras, who are also Berkeley Lab scientists. “If our findings are applied to soils around the globe that are similar to what we studied, meaning soils that are not frozen or saturated, our calculations suggest that by 2100 the warming of deeper soil layers could cause a release of carbon to the...
Even for the fast-melting Arctic, 2016 is in ‘uncharted territory’

Even for the fast-melting Arctic, 2016 is in ‘uncharted territory’

SOURCE: Washington Post DATE: May 16, 2016 AUTHOR: Chris Mooney SNIP: …Arctic amplification has long been understood — and, confirming the theory, the Arctic has already been warming much faster than the more temperate latitudes. Even in this context, though, scientists have been noting that there seems to be something especially stark about what’s happening atop the world this year, which has seen overall temperatures soar to new highs. “We’re in record breaking territory no matter how you look at it,” says Jennifer Francis, an Arctic specialist at Rutgers University who has published widely on how Arctic changes affect weather in the mid-latitudes. “The ice is really low, the temperatures are really high, the fire seasons have started earlier,” she says. It’s an “uncharted territory situation that we’re finding ourselves in,” Francis says. Indeed, NASA and other keepers of planetary temperatures have documented staggering warmth in the region this year — not just 1 or 2 degrees Celsius above average, but more than 4 degrees above average across much of the Arctic during the first quarter of this...