Considering that the volume of Arctic Summer sea ice in 2012 is 75% lower than in 1979, some scientists are calling the Arctic melt a death spiral. If you only look at surface area decline, as in this interactive where you can swipe from 1979 to 2012, it doesn't look as scary as a 75% decline. Volume decline gives a more complete picture of what's happening.
...what’s happening in the Arctic deserves the label “death spiral.”
This diagram puts the current decline in long term perspective.
If Weathergirl spoke Truth.
Professor Peter Waldhams of Cambridge says the Arctic will be ice free in summer by 2015 or 2016. If this happens it will accelerate Climate Change faster than anyone thought.
In what he calls a "global disaster" now unfolding in northern latitudes as the sea area that freezes and melts each year shrinks to its lowest extent ever recorded, Prof Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University calls for "urgent" consideration of new ideas to reduce global temperatures.
Wadhams has spent many years collecting ice thickness data from submarines passing below the arctic ocean. He predicted the imminent break-up of sea ice in summer months in 2007...
"This collapse, I predicted would occur in 2015-16 at which time the summer Arctic (August to September) would become ice-free. The final collapse towards that state is now happening and will probably be complete by those dates".
Wadhams says the implications are "terrible". ... this will give a big boost to global warming."
Video of Arctic Ice in 2012. It's shocking to see how little remains at the lowest point.
Due to accelerating methane release from the Arctic, Arctic sea ice may disappear by Sept 2014,
Arctic methane emissions this month were recorded at historic-high levels, causing great concern among climatologists, who cite rapidly melting Arctic sea-ice and warming oceans as the main causes.
As reported in the blog Arctic News, ”huge amounts of methane are now escaping from the seabed of the Arctic Ocean, penetrating the sea ice, and entering the atmosphere, in a process that appears to be accelerating, resulting in levels as high as 2662 ppb (at 14384 feet altitude) on November 9, 2013.” Experts generally agree that this amount is roughly twice the globally ‘safe’ level.
The current rate of methane emissions are a sign that dangerous “climate feedback loops” are underway.
“The loss of sea ice will be devastating, raising global temperatures that will impact on our ability to grow food and causing extreme weather around the world.”
This month’s readings, however, are even more worrisome. The recent AMEG report suggests that the current “catastrophic” explosion of methane emissions will further increase the climate feedbacks so dramatically that Arctic sea ice may, indeed, “disappear completely” as early as September 2014. [emphasis mine]
An Arctic Sea Ice extent update from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
New research predicts that the decline in Arctic sea ice will slow. The Atlantic Meridionl Overturning Circulation is slowing, for now, which means less warm water from the Gulf Stream will travel all the way to the Arctic. This will mask the effect of climate change for a few years, at least on the Atlantic side.
The variations in AMOC's vigor--from weak to strong or vice versa--occur over multiple years to decades, giving scientists some ability to predict in advance how it will affect winter sea ice, in particular.
AMOC now appears to be weakening. ... this change in the ocean is likely to be enough to temporarily mask the impacts of human-caused climate change and stall the associated downward trend in winter sea ice extent in the Arctic, especially on the Atlantic side, where AMOC has the most influence.
The new study addresses only winter sea ice, which is less vulnerable than summer ice to variations in weather activity that cannot be predicted years in advance, such as storms capable of breaking up the ice crust.
On the other hand, other research suggests that the warming effect of clouds has been underestimated over the Arctic, particularly during Fall and Winter.
Clouds can increase warming in the changing Arctic region more than scientists expected, by delivering an unexpected double-whammy to the climate system, according to a new study by researchers at NOAA, the University of Colorado Boulder and colleagues.
... when temperature and humidity increase in the cold Arctic. There, clouds can retain their ability to warm the surface, and actually appear to be amplifying regional warming.
At least it seems less likely we'll get a complete loss of Arctic Sea Ice this year or the next few.
2016 beat 2012 for Sea Ice melt. If you multiply the number of days below freezing over Winter by how many degrees below zero each day was you get Degree Days Freezing Anomaly.
2012, the previous low, is shown in green. This year is the red line that's way way below all previous variation.
Here's an update on Arctic freezing days.
Update on Arctic, week of May 9th. We're already below the 2012 sea ice low for this date, and it looks as if 2016 will set a new record low, possibly even skirting the amount considered ice free by Sept.
A third of the air above the Arctic Ocean is predicted to be above freezing this week.
Temperatures in the near coastal waters of the Beaufort Sea could rise to as high as 41 degrees F (5 C) while temperatures in the range of 32-38 F (0 to 3 C) are expected to cover a very wide zone of Arctic waters...
These temperatures are also 20-28 F (9-16 C) above average and are more like the atmospheric readings one would expect during July over these typically frozen Arctic waters.