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$70 trillion cost predicted, as Arctic permafrost thaws

Melting permafrost in Arctic will have $70tn climate impact – study  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/23/melting-permafrost-in-arctic-will-have-70tn-climate-impact-study  Jonathan Watts, Global environment editor  @jonathanwatts, 23 Apr 2019 

Study shows how destabilised natural systems will worsen man-made problem The release of methane and carbon dioxide from thawing permafrost will accelerate global warming and add up to $70tn (£54tn) to the world’s climate bill, according to the most advanced study yet of the economic consequences of a melting Arctic.

If countries fail to improve on their Paris agreement commitments, this feedback mechanism, combined with a loss of heat-deflecting white ice, will cause a near 5% amplification of global warming and its associated costs, says the paper, which was published on Tuesday in Nature Communications.

The authors say their study is the first to calculate the economic impact of permafrost melt and reduced albedo – a measure of how much light that hits a surface is reflected without being absorbed – based on the most advanced computer models of what is likely to happen in the Arctic as temperatures rise. It shows how destabilised natural systems will worsen the problem caused by man-made emissions, making it more difficult and expensive to solve.

They assessed known stocks of frozen organic matter in the ground up to 3 metres deep at multiple points across the Arctic. These were run through the world’s most advanced simulation software in the US and at the UK Met Office to predict how much gas will be released at different levels of warming. Even with supercomputers, the number crunching took weeks because the vast geography and complex climate interactions of the Arctic throw up multiple variables. The researchers then applied previous economic impact models to assess the likely costs.

The authors say their study is the first to calculate the economic impact of permafrost melt and reduced albedo – a measure of how much light that hits a surface is reflected without being absorbed – based on the most advanced computer models of what is likely to happen in the Arctic as temperatures rise. It shows how destabilised natural systems will worsen the problem caused by man-made emissions, making it more difficult and expensive to solve.

They assessed known stocks of frozen organic matter in the ground up to 3 metres deep at multiple points across the Arctic. These were run through the world’s most advanced simulation software in the US and at the UK Met Office to predict how much gas will be released at different levels of warming. Even with supercomputers, the number crunching took weeks because the vast geography and complex climate interactions of the Arctic throw up multiple variables. The researchers then applied previous economic impact models to assess the likely costs.

It would also add to global inequalitybecause most of the economic burden – equivalent to almost the entire world’s current annual GDP – is likely to be borne by countries in warmer poorer regions such as India and Africa, which are most vulnerable to a rise in temperatures.

It would also add to global inequality because most of the economic burden – equivalent to almost the entire world’s current annual GDP – is likely to be borne by countries in warmer poorer regions such as India and Africa, which are most vulnerable to a rise in temperatures.

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April 25, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

Melting glaciers causing sea levels to rise at ever greater rates

 https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-04/uoz-mgc040419.php

UNIVERSITY OF ZURICH 8 Apr 19, Melting ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic as well as ice melt from glaciers all over the world are causing sea levels to rise. Glaciers alone lost more than 9,000 billion tons of ice since 1961, raising water levels by 27 millimeters, an international research team under the lead of the University of Zurich have now found.

Glaciers have lost more than 9,000 billion tons (that is 9 625 000 000 000 tons) of ice between 1961 and 2016, which has resulted in global sea levels increasing by 27 millimeters in this period. The largest contributors were glaciers in Alaska, followed by the melting ice fields in Patagonia and glaciers in the Arctic regions. Glaciers in the European Alps, the Caucasus and New Zealand were also subject to significant ice loss; however, due to their relatively small glacierized areas they played only a minor role when it comes to the rising global sea levels.

Combination of field observations and satellite measurements

For the new study, the international research team combined glaciological field observations with geodetic satellite measurements. The latter digitally measure the surface of the Earth, providing data on ice thickness changes at different points in time. The researchers were thus able to reconstruct changes in the ice thickness of more than 19,000 glaciers worldwide. This was also possible thanks to the comprehensive database compiled by the World Glacier Monitoring Service from its worldwide network of observers, to which the researchers added their own satellite analyses. “By combining these two measurement methods and having the new comprehensive dataset, we can estimate how much ice has been lost each year in all mountain regions since the 1960s,” explains Michael Zemp, who led the study. “The glaciological measurements made in the field provide the annual fluctuations, while the satellite data allows us to determine overall ice loss over several years or decades.”

335 billion tons of ice lost each year

The global mass loss of glacier ice has increased significantly in the last 30 years and currently amounts to 335 billion tons of lost ice each year. This corresponds to an increase in sea levels of almost 1 millimeter per year. “Globally, we lose about three times the ice volume stored in the entirety of the European Alps – every single year!” says glaciologist Zemp. The melted ice of glaciers therefore accounts for 25 to 30 percent of the current increase in global sea levels. This ice loss of all glaciers roughly corresponds to the mass loss of Greenland’s Ice Sheet, and clearly exceeds that of the Antarctic.

April 9, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

It is now inevitable that Arctic temperatures will rise sharply

Earth Spasms from Profoundly Abrupt Climate Change

Sharp rise in Arctic temperatures now inevitable – UN https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/13/arctic-temperature-rises-must-be-urgently-tackled-warns-uFiona Harvey, Environment correspondent 14 Mar 2019

Winter temperatures at the north pole are likely to rise by at least 3C above pre-industrial levels by mid-century, and there could be further rises to between 5C and 9C above the recent average for the region, according to the UN.

Such changes would result in rapidly melting ice and permafrost, leading to sea level rises and potentially to even more destructive levels of warming. Scientists fear Arctic heating could trigger a climate “tipping point” as melting permafrost releases the powerful greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere, which in turn could create a runaway warming effect.

“What happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic,” said Joyce Msuya, the acting executive director of UN Environment. “We have the science. Now more urgent climate action is needed to steer away from tipping points that could be even worse for our planet than we first thought.”

The findings, presented at the UN Environment assembly in Nairobi on Wednesday, give a stark picture of one of the planet’s most sensitive regions and one that is key to the fate of the world’s climate.

Last year’s stark warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, setting out the dramatic impacts of 1.5C of global warming, did not include the impacts of potential tipping points such as melting permafrost.

If melting permafrost triggers a tipping point, the likely results would be global temperature rises well in excess of the 2C set as the limit of safety under the Paris agreement. Nearly half of Arctic permafrost could be lost even if global carbon emissions are held within the Paris agreement limits, according to the UN study.

Even if all carbon emissions were to be halted immediately, the Arctic region would still warm by more than 5C by the century’s end, compared with the baseline average from 1986 to 2005, according to the study from UN Environment.

That is because so much carbon has already been poured into the atmosphere. The oceans also have become vast stores of heat, the effect of which is being gradually revealed by changes at the poles and on global weather systems, and will continue to be felt for decades to come.

The assembly heard that there was still a need to fulfil the aims of the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change and to take further action that could stave off some of the worst effects of warming in the near term. “We need to make substantial near-term cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, black carbon and other so-called short-lived climate pollutants all over the world,” said Kimmo Tiilikainen, Finland’s environment minister.

Making drastic cuts to black carbon and short-lived pollutants such as methane could reduce warming by more than 0.5C, according to previous research.

March 14, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

Where climate threat and nuclear threat meet: Top Secret US Cold War Nuclear Base in Greenland

Melting Ice Sheets Could Reveal Top Secret US Cold War Nuclear Base https://www.iflscience.com/environment/melting-ice-sheets-could-reveal-top-secret-us-cold-war-nuclear-base/ 11 Mar 19, Among the many Bond villainesque plans dreamed up during the Cold War, few come stranger than “Project Iceworm,” the shady US program to build a network of top secret nuclear missile launch sites beneath the Danish territory of Greenland. The largest and most impressive of the US bases was Camp Century, a warren of tunnels and labs under northwest Greenland’s ice sheet that was powered by its own portable nuclear reactor.

After just eight years of operation, Camp Century was decommissioned in 1967 due to engineering woes and a political scandal centered on whether Denmark had actually given the US full permission to house nuclear materials in their territory.

As the Cold War ended, the base was largely forgotten, not least because it was hoped to remain “preserved for eternity” under a blanket of snow and ice. However, with climate change knocking at the door, it looks like a different kind of thaw could reveal all.

A study published in 2016 used simulations to show that the ice above and around Camp Century could thaw by 2090 under a “business-as-usual” climate change scenario. Not only would this unearth the once-secret abandoned military base, but it also holds the potential to let loose the huge amounts of chemical and nuclear waste left at the site. These pollutants could leech into the surrounding surface water and spark a plethora of problems for the island’s human population and ecosystem.

Another study, published last year in the journal Global Environmental Politics, took a further look at the situation at Camp Century, arguing it has the potential to fire up some long-frozen geopolitical tensions. It’s not very clear how much Denmark knew about the US’ plans in Greenland. While they agreed the US could have the Thule Air Base in northwest Greenland, the issue of nuclear weapons in Danish territory was a big no-no. To make matters even thornier, Greenland has since transitioned to a self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark.

If the climatic scenario predicted does hit, as anticipated, who will be responsible for the clean-up of toxic chemicals and radioactive materials?

As the study argues, Camp Century is not the only problem. This scenario serves as just one example of how climate change could trigger a huge number of unforeseen consequences in international politics, especially when it comes to overseas military bases.

“The case could be the proverbial canary in the coal mine for future politics surrounding overseas military bases,” according to study author Jeff Colgan.

“Climate change can create knock-on environmental problems associated with a military base’s infrastructure or waste that disrupt the international politics that govern the base,” he wrote in the study. “Any cleanup costs or compensation related to the knock-on environmental problems create an unfunded liability for the host country, the country operating the base, or both.”

This is just another unexpected fallout of the climate issue we’re facing that needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Melting of Arctic sea ice will greatly enhance warming in Arctic

Atmospheric scientists reveal the effect of sea-ice loss on Arctic warming https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-03/ioap-asr030819.php

INSTITUTE OF ATMOSPHERIC PHYSICS, CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES  8-MAR-2019 Enhanced warming in the Arctic (north of 67°N) is found in both recent observational investigations and model simulations with greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions increasing. Global warming is occurring twice as fast in the Arctic than anywhere else on Earth. However, why the largest the Arctic amplification (AA) only occurs in certain periods over areas with significant sea-ice loss is still under great debate.

Scientists from State University of New York, Albany and Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences found the answers by means of historical data analyzation and climate model simulations. Their analyses indicated that AA would not slow down until the 22nd and 23rd centuries, after almost all of the Arctic’s sea ice has melted away with GHGs emissions increasing.

“Rapid Arctic warming and sea ice loss are attracting a lot of attention in the media, public and scientific community. Our study links the two together and suggests that the sea ice loss is causing the rapid warming in the Arctic,” said the lead author, Aiguo DAI, In a news release. “When the sea ice melts away completely, this elevated warming will also disappear and the warming rate in the Arctic will be similar to the rest of the world,”

According to this research, the large AA only occurs in clod season (October to April), and only over the area of prominent sea-ice loss. This is mainly because seasonal sea-ice melting from May to September causes more extensive upper seawater and absorbs more sunlight during the warm season and the heat energy is stored in sea-surface Arctic waters. Most of this energy is released into the atmosphere through longwave radiation, and latent and sensible heat fluxes to heating the atmosphere during the cold season when Arctic Ocean becomes a heat source, leading to the large AA.

Scientists warn that the melting of Arctic sea ice will greatly enhance warming in Arctic for the coming decades and could also impact weather patterns in mid-latitudes, causing more frequent intrusions of winter polar vortex into China and the continental U.S., leading to extreme events including severe winter weather.

This research was published in Nature Communications.

March 10, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Arctic ice – summers without it could happen sooner than predicted

Ice-free Arctic summers could happen on earlier side of predictions
A new study in AGU’s journal Geophysical Research Letters predicts the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free in summer by mid-century.EurekAlert, AMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION, 27 Feb 19

WASHINGTON — The Arctic Ocean could become ice-free in the summer in the next 20 years due to a natural, long-term warming phase in the tropical Pacific that adds to human-caused warming, according to a new study.

Computer models predict climate change will cause the Arctic to be nearly free of sea ice during the summer by the middle of this century, unless human greenhouse gas emissions are greatly reduced.

But a closer examination of long-term temperature cycles in the tropical Pacific points towards an ice-free Arctic in September, the month with the least sea ice, on the earlier side of forecasts, according to a new study in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters.

“The trajectory is towards becoming ice-free in the summer but there is uncertainty as to when that’s going to occur,” said James Screen, an associate professor in climate science at the University of Exeter in the U.K. and the lead author of the new study………https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-02/agu-ias022719.php

February 28, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

Secret USA nuclear base in Greenland revealed

Secret Underground Nuclear City In The Arctic | A Potential Threat

WW3 FEARS: Pentagon’s secret underground tunnels of MOBILE NUCLEAR bases REVEALED    THE US government built a fully-functioning mobile nuclear base below the ice of Greenland in preparation for war, it was revealed during a documentary. https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1084951/ww3-fears-pentagon-mobile-nuclear-base-greenland-spt In 1960, the United States ran a highly publicised project known as Camp Century on the island to study the feasibility of working below the ice. However, declassified files show it was actually a cover-up for a top-secret Cold War programme. Project Iceworm was the code name for the United States Army’s mission to build a network of mobile nuclear missile launch sites.

The ultimate objective was to place medium-range missiles under the ice — close enough to strike targets within the Soviet Union.

YouTube series “The Real Secrets of Antarctica” revealed how the project came to light in January 1995.

The 2017 documentary detailed: “Some very interesting disclosures were declassified about US military installations in Greenland which took place in the 1960s.

“They fed the American people a highly publicised story about advances in research and building an underground city below Greenland called Camp Century.

Only later did the truth about Project Iceworm surface.

“The Pentagon was attempting to put in place mobile nuclear launching sites to utilise thousands of miles of tunnels.”

Project Iceworm was to be a system of tunnels 2,500 miles in length, used to deploy up to 600 nuclear missiles, that would be able to reach the Soviet Union in case of nuclear war.

The missile locations would be under the cover of Greenland’s ice sheet and were supposed to be periodically changed.

A total of 21 trenches were cut and covered with arched roofs within which prefabricated buildings were erected.

These tunnels also contained a hospital, a shop, a theatre, and a church and the total number of inhabitants was around 200.

From 1960 until 1963 the electricity supply was provided by means of the world’s first mobile nuclear reactor, named PM-2A.

Water was supplied by melting glaciers and tested to determine whether germs were present, including tests for the plague virus.

However, just three years after it was built, ice core samples taken by geologists demonstrated that the glacier was moving much faster than anticipated and would destroy the tunnels and planned launch stations in about two years.

The facility was evacuated in 1965, and the nuclear generator removed.

Project Iceworm was canceled, and Camp Century closed in 1966.

February 11, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Greenland ice melt is happening at an unexpectedly fast rate

Greenland ice melting four times faster than in 2003, study finds, Southwest part of the island could be major contributor to sea level rise, EurekAlert, 21 Jan 19, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY     COLUMBUS, Ohio – Greenland is melting faster than scientists previously thought–and will likely lead to faster sea level rise–thanks to the continued, accelerating warming of the Earth’s atmosphere, a new study has found.

Scientists concerned about sea level rise have long focused on Greenland’s southeast and northwest regions, where large glaciers stream iceberg-sized chunks of ice into the Atlantic Ocean. Those chunks float away, eventually melting. But a new study published Jan. 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the largest sustained ice loss from early 2003 to mid-2013 came from Greenland’s southwest region, which is mostly devoid of large glaciers.

“Whatever this was, it couldn’t be explained by glaciers, because there aren’t many there,” said Michael Bevis, lead author of the paper, Ohio Eminent Scholar and a professor of geodynamics at The Ohio State University. “It had to be the surface mass–the ice was melting inland from the coastline.”

That melting, which Bevis and his co-authors believe is largely caused by global warming, means that in the southwestern part of Greenland, growing rivers of water are streaming into the ocean during summer. The key finding from their study: Southwest Greenland, which previously had not been considered a serious threat, will likely become a major future contributor to sea level rise………https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-01/osu-gim011419.php

January 22, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, oceans | 1 Comment

Tons of methane being released into atmosphere by melting ice sheets

Melting ice sheets release tons of methane into the atmosphere, study finds https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-01/uob-mis010319.php, 3-JAN-2019

UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL MELTING ICE SHEETS RELEASE TONS OF METHANE INTO THE ATMOSPHERE, STUDY FINDS

The Greenland Ice Sheet emits tons of methane according to a new study, showing that subglacial biological activity impacts the atmosphere far more than previously thought.

An international team of researchers led by the University of Bristol camped for three months next to the Greenland Ice Sheet, sampling the meltwater that runs off a large catchment (> 600 km2) of the Ice Sheet during the summer months.

As reported in Nature, using novel sensors to measure methane in meltwater runoff in real time, they observed that methane was continuously exported from beneath the ice.

They calculated that at least six tons of methane was transported to their measuring site from this portion of the Ice Sheet alone, roughly the equivalent of the methane released by up to 100 cows.

Professor Jemma Wadham, Director of Bristol’s Cabot Institute for the Environment, who led the investigation, said: “A key finding is that much of the methane produced beneath the ice likely escapes the Greenland Ice Sheet in large, fast flowing rivers before it can be oxidized to CO2, a typical fate for methane gas which normally reduces its greenhouse warming potency.”

Methane gas (CH4) is the third most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere after water vapour and carbon dioxide (CO2). Although, present in lower concentrations that CO2, methane is approximately 20-28 times more potent. Therefore smaller quantities have the potential to cause disproportionate impacts on atmospheric temperatures. Most of the Earth’s methane is produced by microorganisms that convert organic matter to CH4 in the absence of oxygen, mostly in wetlands and on agricultural land, for instance in the stomachs of cows and rice paddies. The remainder comes from fossil fuels like natural gas.

While some methane had been detected previously in Greenland ice cores and in an Antarctic Subglacial Lake, this is the first time that meltwaters produced in spring and summer in large ice sheet catchments have been reported to continuously flush out methane from the ice sheet bed to the atmosphere.

Lead author, Guillaume Lamarche-Gagnon, from Bristol’s School of Geographical Sciences, said: “What is also striking is the fact that we’ve found unequivocal evidence of a widespread subglacial microbial system. Whilst we knew that methane-producing microbes likely were important in subglacial environments, how important and widespread they truly were was debatable. Now we clearly see that active microorganisms, living under kilometres of ice, are not only surviving, but likely impacting other parts of the Earth system. This subglacial methane is essentially a biomarker for life in these isolated habitats.”

Most studies on Arctic methane sources focus on permafrost, because these frozen soils tend to hold large reserves of organic carbon that could be converted to methane when they thaw due to climate warming. This latest study shows that ice sheet beds, which hold large reserves of carbon, liquid water, microorganisms and very little oxygen – the ideal conditions for creating methane gas – are also atmospheric methane sources.

Co-researcher Dr Elizabeth Bagshaw from Cardiff University added: “The new sensor technologies that we used give us a window into this previously unseen part of the glacial environment. Continuous measurement of meltwater enables us to improve our understanding of how these fascinating systems work and how they impact the rest of the planet.”

With Antarctica holding the largest ice mass on the planet, researchers say their findings make a case for turning the spotlight to the south. Mr Lamarche-Gagnon added: “Several orders of magnitude more methane has been hypothesized to be capped beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet than beneath Arctic ice-masses. Like we did in Greenland, it’s time to put more robust numbers on the theory.”

This study was a collaboration between Bristol University, Charles University (Czechia), the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, Newcastle University, the University of Toronto (Canada), the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium), Cardiff University (UK), and Kongsberg Maritime Contros (Germany). It was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), with additional funds from the Leverhulme Trust, the Czech Science Foundation, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Fond de Recherche Nature et Technologies du Québec (Canada).

Paper: ‘Greenland melt drives continuous export of methane from the ice sheet bed’ by Guillaume Lamarche-Gagnon, Jemma L. Wadham, et al. Nature, Doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0800-0

January 5, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

Degrading permafrost puts Arctic infrastructure at risk by mid-century


https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181211113030.htm

Date:
December 11, 2018
Source:
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Summary:
Seventy percent of the current infrastructure in the Arctic has a high potential to be affected by thawing permafrost in the next 30 years. Even meeting the climate change targets of the Paris Agreement will not substantially reduce those projected impacts, according to a new study.

Seventy percent of the current infrastructure in the Arctic has a high potential to be affected by thawing permafrost in the next 30 years. Even meeting the climate change targets of the Paris Agreement will not substantially reduce those projected impacts, according to a new study published in Nature Communications.

“Much more needs to be done to prepare Alaska and Alaskans for the adverse consequences of coming changes in permafrost and climate,” said Vladimir Romanovsky, a scientist with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute who has been monitoring permafrost across Alaska for 25 years.

Permafrost is ground that is frozen year-round for a minimum of two years. When it thaws, it can change from solid earth into mud. In many cases, the ground will slump, leading to destructive failure in any structures erected there.

“These observations have led me to believe that the global warming is not a ‘fake’ but the reality,” Romanovsky said. “And here, in Alaska, we are dealing already and will be dealing even more in the near future with this reality.”

Romanovsky is one of the study’s authors, along with researchers from Finland, Norway, Russia and Michigan. The research is the first to explicitly show the amount of fundamental infrastructure across the Northern Hemisphere that is at risk of structural failure from permafrost thaw caused by climate change.

The paper reports that by 2050, about three-quarters of the population now living on permafrost, about 3.6 million people, will be affected by damage to infrastructure from permafrost thaw. In Alaska, about 340 miles of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline traverses ground where near-surface permafrost may thaw by 2050.

“The results show that most fundamental Arctic infrastructure will be at risk, even if the Paris Agreement target is achieved,” the authors write. However, after 2050, attaining the Paris Agreement goals would make a clear difference in potential damage to infrastructure.

The authors looked at measurements of ground temperature, annual thaw depth and other data to make their projections. They note that because of the uncertainties, the amount of infrastructure at risk from permafrost thaw is probably not much smaller than their estimate, but could be substantially larger.

Damage to industrial facilities such as pipelines could lead to major ecosystem disruption if it results in spills. Energy supplies, national security and general economic activity could be adversely affected as well, the authors write. The Yamal-Nenets region in northwestern Siberia is the source of more than one-third of the European Union’s pipeline imports of natural gas, for example.

Many parts of the Arctic’s infrastructure have relatively short lifespans. Planners and engineers need to know in detail where permafrost is most likely to thaw as they plan for replacements, upgrades and maintenance. This study mapped such areas at a resolution of 0.6 miles, allowing them to target mitigation where it is most needed.

December 13, 2018 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

“Big concentrations of radioactivity”found in ice, as glaciers melt

Melting glaciers at Novaya Zemlya contain radiation from nuclear bomb tests. https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/ecology/2018/10/melting-glaciers-novaya-zemlya-contain-radiation-nuclear-bomb-tests

A science expedition to the area has discovered “big concentrations of radioactivity” in the ice – and concludes that the glaciers are melting into the sea at record speed.

October 11, 2018 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

Politicians, media, the world – does no-one care about the unfolding horror of the melting Arctic?

It’s not only summer weather that is changing. Earlier this year, one study showed that when the Arctic is unusually warm, extreme winter weather is two-to-four times more likely in the eastern U.S.

Think of the Arctic as our early warning system, a big screaming alarm that is alerting us to the fact that the planet we will live on tomorrow is nothing like the planet we lived on yesterday, and we better get ready

The Melting Arctic Is a Real-Time Horror Story — Why Doesn’t Anyone Care?https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/arctic-ice-melting-716647/ This summer’s epic wildfires and other extreme weather events have a root cause By 

September 3, 2018 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

Scientists in the Arctic, monitoring weather

What’s happening to our weather? The answers are hiding in Arctic air, Guardian,  Helen Czerski, 1 Sept 18, Dozens of scientists, Helen Czerski among them, are at work in the Arctic, seeking answers to questions that profoundly affect the future of everyone on the planet …….. For two months, the Swedish icebreaker Oden is home to 74 of us, living and working at the top of the world to tap into the stories that the blue and the white have to tell.


…….on this trip, the desire to go one step further is merged with self-preservation. The Arctic may be a long way from most of us, but what happens here matters to all of us. The weather up here is intimately connected to the patterns of weather further south, particularly the jet stream that feeds endless British conversations about the weather. As the sea ice melts, shipping routes are opening up across the Arctic, bringing questions about regulation and control over this previously inaccessible region. And this is an important area for many species, providing summer feeding grounds for visitors from the south. The Arctic may be a long way away, but it is woven into all our lives.
This scientific expedition was funded by the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat and the American National Science Foundation to answer a specific question: how does the ocean affect the weather in the high Arctic? It’s thought that material produced by life beneath the ice reaches and influences the clouds, but how does that happen and when?

Answers to those questions are essential to improve the weather forecasts for this region, and to allow us to predict the effects of the substantial changes in temperature and sea ice that have been observed.

Sea ice doesn’t just matter for its own sake. It has a strong influence on both the ocean and atmosphere, and the consequences tweak our planet’s energy budget. The solar energy that flows into the Earth system is mostly absorbed in the tropics, transported northwards by the atmosphere and ocean, and eventually re-emitted into space as infra-red radiation.

The Arctic balance sheet controls the final part of that process, and the keys to the energy flow through this vast icy wilderness are held by the clouds. Oden is a tiny speck in the white, drifting with the sea ice only a few miles from the north pole, perfectly positioned between the clouds and the ocean to watch and sample and learn………

Understanding this environment is slow work, but the need is urgent. This region is already changing very rapidly, and we cannot understand the importance of a change if we don’t understand the starting point. Expeditions like this are difficult and expensive to run, but the data they produce is essential. In the next couple of weeks, there will be plenty of news stories about the annual sea ice minimum, but less discussion about the specifics of why it might matter. If the ice changes, many other things will also change, and we need to predict the consequences. ……..https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/01/whats-happening-weather-answers-arctic-air-oden-helen-czerski

September 3, 2018 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

Arctic sea ice under threat from warm water that has arrived deep below it

Archived’ heat has reached deep into the Arctic interior, researchers say https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180829143836.htm  August 29, 2018

Source:
Yale University
Summary:
Arctic sea ice isn’t just threatened by the melting of ice around its edges, a new study has found: Warmer water that originated hundreds of miles away has penetrated deep into the interior of the Arctic.

Arctic sea ice isn’t just threatened by the melting of ice around its edges, a new study has found: Warmer water that originated hundreds of miles away has penetrated deep into the interior of the Arctic.

That “archived” heat, currently trapped below the surface, has the potential to melt the region’s entire sea-ice pack if it reaches the surface, researchers say.

The study appears online Aug. 29 in the journal Science Advances.

“We document a striking ocean warming in one of the main basins of the interior Arctic Ocean, the Canadian Basin,” said lead author Mary-Louise Timmermans, a professor of geology and geophysics at Yale University.

The upper ocean in the Canadian Basin has seen a two-fold increase in heat content over the past 30 years, the researchers said. They traced the source to waters hundreds of miles to the south, where reduced sea ice has left the surface ocean more exposed to summer solar warming. In turn, Arctic winds are driving the warmer water north, but below the surface waters.

“This means the effects of sea-ice loss are not limited to the ice-free regions themselves, but also lead to increased heat accumulation in the interior of the Arctic Ocean that can have climate effects well beyond the summer season,” Timmermans said. “Presently this heat is trapped below the surface layer. Should it be mixed up to the surface, there is enough heat to entirely melt the sea-ice pack that covers this region for most of the year.”

The co-authors of the study are John Toole and Richard Krishfield of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The National Science Foundation Division of Polar Programs provided support for the research.

August 31, 2018 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

Asteroid explosion near a US early warning radar base – could have triggered a nuclear war

An asteroid exploded near a US early warning radar base and we’re lucky it didn’t spark nuclear Armageddon    https://metro.co.uk/2018/08/03/asteroid-exploded-near-us-early-warning-base-lucky-didnt-spark-nuclear-armageddon-7794769/ Jasper Hamil  3 Aug 2018

An asteroid has exploded in a ‘fireball’ near an American early warning radar base, prompting a top scientist to reflect on how a similar ‘freak’ incident could cause nuclear war. The meteor was only detected after it detonated close to Thule Airbase, Greenland, on July 25. A prominent nuclear expert later discussed how the US military could have mistaken the explosion for a Russian ‘first strike’ and launched up to 2,000 nukes in retaliation.

Thule is a base in Greenland which incorporates a Ballistic Missile Early Warning Site designed to spot nuclear doomsday weapons flying towards America. Hans M. Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, tweeted: ‘We’re still here, so they correctly concluded it was not a Russian first strike. ‘There are nearly 2,000 nukes on alert, ready to launch.’ Kristensen told Metro that a ‘freak incident like this could potentially trigger an alert that caused the United States to overreact’, although he stressed such an event was unlikely.

‘The potential risks are about what could happen in a tense crisis where two nuclear powers were at each other’s throats and a conventional shooting war had broken out and part of the command and control system degraded,’ he said. ‘The early warning systems are supposed to be able to differentiate and in most cases probably would be able to do so. ‘But with large number of nuclear weapons on high alert, the concern would be that an overreaction could trigger a series of events that escalated the conflict significantly. ‘There have been cases during the Cold War where atmospheric events caused early warning systems to falsely report nuclear attacks. Fortunately, military officers figured out that they were false alarms.’ He said tensions were low at the moment, making it very unlikely that an asteroid strike would trigger a nuclear war.

‘I don’t think there is any risk that such an event could trigger a nuclear launch under normal circumstances,’ Kristensen continued. ‘There are no other indicators that nuclear adversaries at this point are about to launch nuclear weapons against the United States.’ The asteroid hit on July 25 and exploded with a force of about 2.1 kilotons, Nasa confirmed. This is about an eighth of the 15 kiloton yield of the Little Boy bomb, which was used to destroy Hiroshima in World War II. In 1968, a United States Air Force (USAF) B-52 bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs crashed into sea ice near Thule, causing a huge explosion and forcing a massive clean-up operation.

August 4, 2018 Posted by | ARCTIC, incidents, weapons and war | Leave a comment