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The Arctic Has Entered A New Climate State

The Arctic Has Entered A New Climate State, Radio Ecoshock  25 Sept 20  Ice is rapidly disappearing from both Poles. Two polar ice experts report latest science. From the U.S. National Center For Atmospheric Research in Colorado, Arctic scientist Laura Landrum: in 2020, the Arctic has reached a new climate state. Thomas Slater from Leeds University UK reports ice loss from glaciers has surpassed the worst case scenarios. Manhattan-size chunks falling away, other ice shelves shatter in unnatural heat and warmed-up seas.

Listen to or download this Radio Ecoshock show ………..

The new water added to the ocean runs away to every country with a sea coast. It runs up estuaries, eats away coastlines, and piles up in every hurricane, high tide and storm. Slater agrees with NASA that in some cases, there is no way to stop these mountains of ice from becoming sea water. This massive change has happened. The tipping point for a grand melting of the world’s second biggest pile of ice, Greenland, was 20 years ago. Like light from the stars, rising seas just take a while to reach us.

Hot in the cold news, this: the Arctic’s largest remaining ice shelf lost a very large chunk of ice, like the volume of mountains, broken away in North Eastern Greenland – floating off into the Atlantic are new melting ice islands twice the size of Manhattan. I won’t try to pronounce the complicated Nordic name. Scientists also call it “79N”. According to satellite images, a portion of the shelf about 110 square kilometers – that’s 42 square miles of thick glacier – just shattered. It fell apart this summer.

This follows absolute record hot summers in the Arctic in 2019 and 2020, on top of the whole region warming around 3 degrees C since 1980. The far north has already gone past 3 degrees C of warming, way beyond the supposed safe line of 1.5 or even 2 degrees C. demanded by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and agreed by most governments under the Paris Accord of 2015. The Arctic is already soaring into dangerous warming, and the ice is responding at rates older scientists would never have believed possible. ………….

the change in sea ice cover is,  Dr. Laura Landrum, scientist NCAR   says, the single largest driver of big climate changes not just in the Arctic, but around the world. Of course our emissions are forcing that change in sea ice cover, by warming not just the atmosphere, but the seas as well.

Now in the Arctic, the traditional expectations for the seasons no longer work. Aboriginal people can no longer hunt at the same times, and animals are confused or spending energy adapting as they can. Plant life will shift. So will insects.

Plus: changes in the Arctic will alter teleconnections to cycles, weather and variability further south. The “new Arctic climate” does not stay in the Arctic. Already we have observations, from Jennifer Francis at Rutgers, that reduction of Arctic sea ice and dramatic changes to the behavior of the Jet Stream further south may be linked. Dr. Landrum agrees. Another scientist on Radio Ecoshock, Dr. Ivana Cvijanovic found evidence of a teleconnection between changes in the Arctic and rainfall in California.  …….

There is no going back to the old Arctic. Summer sea ice will not return to levels seen in the 1950’s, when a crossing of the Northwest passage was a major newsworthy expedition requiring ice-breakers. Now individuals in yachts travel across the Canadian Arctic by themselves, while tankers and freighters move in the Arctic Ocean above Siberia, significantly shortening the route from China to Europe. From shipping to hope for more oil and gas, big business is betting the new Arctic climate is here to stay.

Will the growing season in the Tundra, formerly about 60 days, get longer? Could the Boreal forests begin to extend into the Arctic? In Siberia, Northwest Canada, and Alaska the treeline extends into the Arctic Circle, (about 66 degrees North). Also, if winters get shorter, that could mean an increase in Arctic wildfires. Even “more” rain does not necessarily mean more rain in the fire season. Rain may not stop wildfires, especially as Mike Flannigan told us that thin northern soils can dry out and be ready to burn just 3 sunny days after a rainfall. ……

THOMAS SLATER – GLACIER MELT HIGHER THAN WORST CASE SCENARIO,  Dr. Thomas Slater, University of Leeds    We are trying to look forward in time, to see what the force of rising seas will do. For me, one of the clearest examples comes with higher storm surges, like the dramatic flooding of lower Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy in October of 2012. Are we already at a point where Polar ice loss is bringing more intense disasters?

Discussing an article in Nature published August 13, Grace Palmer in scitechdaily quotes scientist Marco Tedesco saying the percentage contribution of Greenland to sea level rise could increase from 20 to 25 percent now, to 30 or 40 percent by the end of the century.

We begin our state-of-the-glaciers talk with the sad example of the Okjökull Glacier (simple known as Ok) in Iceland. It is the first world glacier declared “dead” due to climate change. On that site is a plaque reading:

A letter to the future

Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier.
In the next 200 years all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path.
This monument is to acknowledge that we know
what is happening and what needs to be done.
Only you know if we did it.

……….. , our climate situation is even worse than the best scientists thought. NASA has a mas balance graphic showing Greenland Ice Loss 2002-2016. That graphic reveals a steady staircase down in the balance of Greenland ice.

THE BIG TWO ON SEA LEVEL RISEWhen it comes to sea level rise, two key points:

1. more sea level rise is now coming from glacial meltwater than thermal expansion of warming seas

2. about 60% of that added sea level is coming from Greenland – more than from Antarctica…….

September 28, 2020 - Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change

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