Saturday, April 05, 2014

Arctic Ice Extent Fifth Lowest On Record

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) announced on March 21 that the total amount of ice cover for the Arctic peaked at 5.7 million square miles, or 282,000 square miles below the 1981-to-2010 average. This is the fifth-lowest winter ice cover extent since satellite records began in 1978. The lowest maximum extent recorded was in 2011 at 5.65 million square miles of ice cover. In September 2012 an 18 percent loss over previous years left it covered by less ice than ever before. In the latest IPCC report, the world’s leading climate scientists confirmed that Arctic summer sea ice was declining at rates much faster than predicted by most models. Arctic sea ice extent has been trending dramatically downwards for the last four decades as the scientific consensus confirms anthropogenic causes as the catalyst.

Per NSIDC this is explanation of late season surge in extent and slight increase in volume:

"The late-season surge in extent came as the Arctic Oscillation turned strongly positive the second week of March. This was associated with unusually low sea level pressure in the eastern Arctic and the northern North Atlantic. The pattern of surface winds helped to spread out the ice pack in the Barents Sea where the ice cover had been anomalously low all winter. Northeasterly winds also helped push the ice pack southwards in the Bering Sea, another site of persistently low extent earlier in the 2013 to 2014 Arctic winter. Air temperatures however remained unusually high throughout the Arctic during the second half of March, at 2 to 6 degrees Celsius (4 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 1981 to 2010 average."

Another explanation of the low extent was an overall milder winter in the Arctic (with record breaking temperatures seen in Alaska) as colder air was pushed into the South to Canada and the United States. In February, temperatures were 7.2° to 14.4°F above normal for much of the Arctic.

This then also brings attention to the increased amounts of methane over the Arctic Ocean and the positive feedbacks put into motion from the continued overall decline in Arctic sea ice:

Earthquakes In The Arctic Ocean


"As discussed in many previous posts, the Arctic has become warmer than it used to be and temperatures in the Arctic are rising several times faster than global temperatures. This decreases the temperature difference between the areas to the north and to the south of the Jet Stream, which in turn decreases the speed at which the Jet Stream circumnavigates the globe, making the Jet Stream more wavier and increasing opportunities for cold air to descend from the Arctic and for warm air to enter the Arctic.


These wild temperature swings may be causing even further damage, on top of the methane eruptions from the heights of Greenland. Look at the above map, showing earthquakes that hit the Arctic in March 2014.

BTW, above map doesn't show all earthquakes that occured in the Arctic Ocean in March 2014. An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.5 on the Richter scale hit the Gakkel Ridge on March 6, 2014.

Importantly, above map shows a number of earthquakes that occurred far away from faultlines, including a M4.6 earthquake that hit Baffin Bay and a M4.5 earthquake that hit the Labrador Sea. These earthquakes are unlikely to have resulted from movement in tectonic plates. Instead, temperature swings over Greenland may have triggered these events, by causing a succession of compression and expansion swings of the Greenland ice mass, which in turn caused pressure changes that were felt in the crust surrounding the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Glaciers could be the key to make this happen. Glaciers typically move smoothly and gradually. It could be, however, that such wide temperature swings are causing glaciers to come to a halt, temporarily, causing pressure to build up over a day or so, to then suddenly start moving again with a shock. Intense cold can literally freeze a glacier in its track, to be shocked into moving again as temperatures rise abruptly by 40°C or so. This can send shockwaves through the ice sheet into the crust and trigger earthquakes in areas prone to destabilization. The same mechanism could explain the high methane concentrations over the heights of Greenland and Antarctica.

Ominously, patterns of earthquakes can be indicators of bigger earthquakes yet to come.

This situation looks set to get a lot worse. Extreme weather events and wild temperature swings look set to become more likely to occur and hit Greenland with ever greater ferocity. Earthquakes could reveberate around the Arctic Ocean and destabilize methane held in the form of free gas and hydrates in sediments underneath the Arctic Ocean.

Meanwhile, as pollution clouds from North America move (due to the Coriolis Effect) over the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf Stream continues to warm up and carry warmer water into the Arctic Ocean, further increasing the likelihood of methane eruptions from the Arctic seafloor."

End of excerpt.

My thanks to Arctic News for these informative and necessary reports. It is obvious this is not going to be covered by the US media.


Also see:

Scientists Sound Alarm On Climate

Methane Levels Continue To Destabilize-Yet Silence

Arctic Ice Reaches Annual Mimimum

The "Polar Vortex" Freezing Us Today Due In Part To Global Warming

Arctic Ocean Leaking Methane At Alarming Rate

Methane Feedback and Abrupt Climate Change: How Far Are We From It?

Methane Feedback and Abrupt Climate Change (Part 2)

The Arctic, Humanity's Barometer

Major Loss In Arctic Sea Ice Volume-It Does Effect You

Arctic Melting-Tipping Point That Should Matter To All Of Us

And yet, millions upon millions of barrels of oil are excavated each day - and we continue to burn it even knowing the consequences. Talk about living in denial.

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