Arctic temperatures the warmest in 2,000 years; 2009 Arctic sea ice loss 3rd highest

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:32 PM GMT on September 04, 2009

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It's time to take a bit of a break from coverage of the Atlantic hurricane season of 2009, and report on some important climate news. The past decade was the warmest decade in the Arctic for the past 2,000 years, according to a study called "Recent Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling" published today in the journal Science. Furthermore, four of the five warmest decades in the past 2,000 years occurred between 1950 - 2000, despite the fact that summertime solar radiation in the Arctic has been steadily declining for the past 2,000 years. Previous efforts to reconstruct past climate in the Arctic extended back only 400 years, so the new study--which used lake sediments, glacier ice cores, and tree rings to look at past climate back to the time of Christ, decade by decade-- is a major new milestone in our understanding of the Arctic climate. The researchers found that Arctic temperatures steadily declined between 1 A.D. and 1900 A.D., as would be expected due to a 26,000-year cycle in Earth's orbit that brought less summer sunshine to the North Pole. Earth is now about 620,000 miles (1 million km) farther from the Sun in the Arctic summer than it was 2000 years ago. However, temperatures in the Arctic began to rise around the year 1900, and are now 1.4°C (2.5°F) warmer than they should be, based on the amount of sunlight that is currently falling in the Arctic in summer. "If it hadn't been for the increase in human-produced greenhouse gases, summer temperatures in the Arctic should have cooled gradually over the last century," Bette Otto-Bliesner, a co-author from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said in a statement.

The Arctic melt season of 2009
Arctic sea ice suffered another summer of significant melting in 2009, with August ice extent the third lowest on record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. August ice extent was 19% below the 1979 - 2000 average, and only 2007 and 2008 saw more melting of Arctic sea ice. We've now had two straight years in the Arctic without a new record minimum in sea ice. However, this does not mean that the Arctic sea ice is recovering. The reduced melting in 2009 compared to 2007 and 2008 primarily resulted from a different atmospheric circulation pattern this summer. This pattern generated winds that transported ice toward the Siberian coast and discouraged export of ice out of the Arctic Ocean. The previous two summers, the prevailing wind pattern acted to transport more ice out of the Arctic through Fram Strait, along the east side of Greenland. At last December's meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the world's largest scientific conference on climate change, J.E. Kay of the National Center for Atmospheric Research showed that Arctic surface pressure in the summer of 2007 was the fourth highest since 1948, and cloud cover at Barrow, Alaska was the sixth lowest. This suggests that once every 10 - 20 years a "perfect storm" of weather conditions highly favorable for ice loss invades the Arctic. The last two times such conditions existed was 1977 and 1987, and it may be another ten or so years before weather conditions align properly to set a new record minimum.

The Northeast Passage opens
As a result of this summer's melting, the Northeast Passage, a notoriously ice-choked sea route along the northern Russia, is now clear of ice and open for navigation. Satellite analyses by the University of Illinois Polar Research Group and the National Snow and Ice Data Center show that the last remaining ice blockage along the north coast of Russia melted in late August, allowing navigation from Europe to Alaska in ice-free waters. Mariners have been attempting to sail the Northeast Passage since 1553, and it wasn't until the record-breaking Arctic sea-ice melt year of 2005 that the Northeast Passage opened for ice-free navigation for the first time in recorded history. The fabled Northwest Passage through the Arctic waters of Canada has remained closed this summer, however. An atmospheric pressure pattern set up in late July that created winds that pushed old, thick ice into several of the channels of the Northwest Passage. Recent research by Stephen Howell at the University of Waterloo in Canada shows that whether the Northwest Passage clears depends less on how much melt occurs, and more on whether multi-year sea ice is pushed into the channels. Counter-intuitively, as the ice cover thins, ice may flow more easily into the channels, preventing the Northwest Passage from regularly opening in coming decades, if the prevailing winds set up to blow ice into the channels of the Passage. The Northwest Passage opened for the first time in recorded history in 2007, and again in 2008. Mariners have been attempting to find a route through the Northwest Passage since 1497.


Figure 1. Sea ice extent on September 2, 2009, with the Northwest Passage (red line) and Northeast Passage (green line) shown. The Northeast Passage was open, but the Northwest Passage was blocked in three places. The orange line shows the median edge of sea ice extent for September 2 during the period 1979 - 2000, and this year's ice extent is about 19% below average. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Commercial shipping begins in the Northeast Passage
This year's opening marks the fourth time in five years that the Northeast Passage has opened, and commercial shipping companies are taking note. Two German ships set off on August 21 on the first commercial voyage ever made through the Northeast Passage without the help of icebreakers. The Northeast Passage trims 4,500 miles off the 12,500 mile trip through the Suez Canal, yielding considerable savings in fuel. The voyage was not possible last year, because Russia had not yet worked out a permitting process. With Arctic sea ice expected to continue to decline in the coming decades, shipping traffic through the Northeast Passage will likely become commonplace most summers.

When was the Northeast Passage ice-free in the past?
People have been attempting to penetrate the ice-bound Northeast Passage since 1553, when British explorer Sir Hugh Willoughby attempted the passage with three ships and 62 men. The frozen bodies of Sir Hugh and his men were found a year later, after they failed to make it past the northern coast of Finland. British explorer Henry Hudson, who died in 1611 trying to find a route through Canada's fabled Northwest Passage, (and whom Canada's Hudson Bay and New York's Hudson River are named after), attempted to sail the Northeast Passage in 1607 and 1608, and failed. The Northeast Passage has remained closed to navigation, except via assist by icebreakers, from 1553 to 2005. The results published in Science today suggest that prior to 2005, the last previous opening was the period 5,000 - 7,000 years ago, when the Earth's orbital variations brought more sunlight to the Arctic in summer than at present. It is possible we'll know better soon. A new technique that examines organic compounds left behind in Arctic sediments by diatoms that live in sea ice give hope that a detailed record of sea ice extent extending back to the end of the Ice Age 12,000 years ago may be possible (Belt et al., 2007). The researchers are studying sediments along the Northwest Passage in hopes of being able to determine when the Passage was last open.

References
Belt, S.T., G. Masse, S.J. Rowland, M. Poulin, C. Michel, and B. LeBlanc, "A novel chemical fossil of palaeo sea ice: IP25", Organic Geochemistry, Volume 38, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 16-27.

Darrell S. Kaufman, David P. Schneider, Nicholas P. McKay, Caspar M. Ammann, Raymond S. Bradley, Keith R. Briffa, Gifford H. Miller, Bette L. Otto-Bliesner, Jonathan T. Overpeck, Bo M. Vinther, and Arctic Lakes 2k Project Members, 2009, "Recent Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling", Science 4 September 2009: 1236-1239.

Howell, S. E. L., C. R. Duguay, and T. Markus. 2009. Sea ice conditions and melt season duration variability within the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: 1979.2008, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L10502, doi:10.1029/2009GL037681.

Tropical Weather Outlook
The remains of Tropical Storm Erika are bringing heavy rain to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today, and this activity will spread to the Dominican Republic on Saturday. Radar-estimated rainfall shows up to three inches of rain has fallen in eastern Puerto Rico from the storm. Long range radar out of Puerto Rico shows no surface circulation or organization of the echoes, and redevelopment of Erika over the next three days is unlikely to occur due to high wind shear of 25 - 30 knots. By Monday or Tuesday, shear may drop enough to allow redevelopment, depending upon the location of Erika's remains. Redevelopment is more likely if Erika works its way northwestward into the Bahamas.

A large tropical wave with plenty of spin is located a few hundred miles southwest of the Cape Verdes Islands, off the coast of Africa. Heavy thunderstorm activity has increased slightly in this wave over the past day, and it has the potential to gradually develop into a tropical depression by early next week. NHC is giving this wave a low (less than 30% chance) of developing into a tropical depression by Sunday. The GFS model continues to predict development of this wave into a tropical depression early next week.

I'll have an update Saturday or Sunday, depending upon developments in the tropics.

Jeff Masters

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We WILL see more than 2 storms in September

We have already had 1, I say 5 total

you guys downcasting the season absolutely crack me up LOL. This is still very much an average season as the 6th storm doesnt form on Average until September 12th
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1125. Ossqss
Interesting tid bit article from a few days ago :}

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2009/09/01/2672939.htm

Mysterious weather pulses fuel cyclones
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8188
zebralove, wish that I could help ..but I'm just here learning as well
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Quoting Magicchaos:
Anyone want to guess how any storms for September?

I'm guessing 4-6.


Two
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Quoting LUCARIO:


I know, Im just hoping No more Ikes


We all are Luc.
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
Anyone want to guess how any storms for September?

I'm guessing 4-6.
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Speaking of the GOM, those of you with really good eyes check out the water vapor and see if you pick out something around 22.5 and 87.5
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Choo Choo
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I realize I am extremely ignorant which is why I am hanging out here trying to learn, but I was wondering if anyone can tell me what the blob with the tail that looks like a comet or a shooting start is. Is it just any old group of thunderstorms or could it be something interesting? It is in the middle of the atlantic heading south west. It just caught my eye for some reason and I was wondering what other people thought it could be. I dont know how to post images or I would put it up. Soryy I cant even give lats and logitudes. But I would love an answer even if my question is too lame for everyone. sorry
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1116. LUCARIO
Quoting Magicchaos:


LOL you wish

This is the peak of hurricane season. Anything can happen out in the tropics.


I know, Im just hoping No more Ikes
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1115. LUCARIO
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Well, my ignore list just ramped up.

<............IM ON everyone ignore list

they can't handle that this season is RIP
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Rita was an amazing hurricane out in the middle of the Gulf. She is the fourth strongest hurricane ever in the Atlantic hurricane basin.
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Quoting LUCARIO:
This season is Over, time for something else
The ugly men have danced! the fat weather girl has sang, THIS SEASON IS OVER! PUT fork in it, its over as New kids on the block

RIP 2009 HURRICANE SEASON



LOL you wish

This is the peak of hurricane season. Anything can happen out in the tropics.
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Well, my ignore list just ramped up.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24579
Quoting PanhandleChuck:
Hey... was on last night and I saw Patrap talking about a Low that was supposed to dive into the GOM this weekend near Galvaston and spin itself up on Labor Day. Any more talk bout it today?


Still on the CMC and GFS. The 850 vort shows it well. Link
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
1110. LUCARIO
Quoting homelesswanderer:


We'd love to let the Bi... uh the storm RIP but she keeps rearing her ugly head. Making progress though, an apartment complex finally opened back up after Rita damage which may have been slowed by Humberto and Ike. I'm loving me some El Nino. :D


Ike was a monster

wish I could of said RIP IKE

IKE Made me crazy

RIP MY BRAIN
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Time for some weekend steaks and beverages...See Everone Next Week...WW


sounds good, take care!
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Quoting PanhandleChuck:
Hey... was on last night and I saw Patrap talking about a Low that was supposed to dive into the GOM this weekend near Galvaston and spin itself up on Labor Day. Any more talk bout it today?


Wasn't on last night but I'd think that Pat was mentioning the possibility of an MCC moving into the Gulf from the Northwest. I's not's so probable now, but the Gulf needes to be watched...with leftover troughs and all.
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1107. LUCARIO
Quoting serialteg:
Let them 87 days go fast, that will bring surfing season - cold fronts and NW swell (wets lips) to PR


f.l.u.

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Quoting LUCARIO:
RIP FRED


I knew Rita wouldn't be anything in 2005

RIP Rita


We'd love to let the Bi... uh the storm RIP but she keeps rearing her ugly head. Making progress though, an apartment complex finally opened back up after Rita damage which may have been slowed by Humberto and Ike. I'm loving me some El Nino. :D
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
Time for some weekend steaks and beverages...See Everone Next Week...WW
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Let them 87 days go fast, that will bring surfing season - cold fronts and NW swell (wets lips) to PR
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Quoting TheDawnAwakening:
What's causing the shear over the SW Caribbean Sea, or should I say the southwesterly winds?



EL NINO
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What's causing the shear over the SW Caribbean Sea, or should I say the southwesterly winds?
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Hey... was on last night and I saw Patrap talking about a Low that was supposed to dive into the GOM this weekend near Galvaston and spin itself up on Labor Day. Any more talk bout it today?
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


What does this mean?
The Gray lines indicate that conditions for TC development is unfavorable...but still a TC could form....the green lines indicate that the potential for TC development is increased...conditions are more favorable....I think....ask an expert... IE Weather456, StormW, Adrian, futuremet...etc..
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1098. LUCARIO
RIP FRED


I knew Rita wouldn't be anything in 2005

RIP Rita
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87 days will go by fast
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Erika wearing something Shear I see.

So when does el-nino reach is maxima this time around??


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How about Heath winning the Barclays? Something
else. He beat Tiger again today.....but not tomorrow.
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Quoting Floodman:
The time has come,
The walrus said,
To speak of many things.
Of sealing wax and sailing ships
And cabbages and kings

I'm out, kids...play nice!


Take care!
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The time has come,
The walrus said,
To speak of many things.
Of sealing wax and sailing ships
And cabbages and kings

I'm out, kids...play nice!
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Quoting IKE:


Ah-nah.
Danny.
Eri-ka.


Yup....Ana got sheared away on August 13th; Danny could not survive it around August 27th; and now Erika around Sept 2nd.....Tough cookies out there in the historical peak of the season..........One Small Step for the Wishcasters but One Giant Leap for Humanity in the Tropical Atlantic so far.
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M4 = Steak
M5 = Hamburger
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
1084. Now that is funny!
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Quoting cyclonekid:
MJO is out


That explains why Erika went poof the farther west she got.
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
Quoting NWHoustonMom:
I just have to do a Friday funny! It's weather related!

Everybody knows about the Fujita Scale which measures the power of tornados. But nobody really knows what all those types of twisters do to COWS. So here is the MOOJITA Scale...

M0 Tornado - Cows in an open field are spun around parallel to the wind flow and become mildly annoyed.
M1 Tornado - Cows are tipped over and can't get up.
M2 Tornado - Cows begin rolling with the wind.
M3 Tornado - Cows tumble and bounce.
M4 Tornado - Cows are AIRBORN.
M5 Tornado - S T E A K ! ! !


OMG ROFLOL

Thanks :')
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Shear is decreasing in wake of 95L
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Quoting Relix:
Why do the models forecast for 95L to go out?


Again, the system is very weak and the models, though as accurate as they can be, have no easy way of making any sort of clear determination as to track or intensity on systems as weak as this one...all that means is today they have it going out, tomorrow they may have it coming in and the day after that they may dissipate it...wait til it makes CAT1 before you start beleiving much by way of forecast more than 24 hours out
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Did Erika's plethora of swirls scramble quikscat's brain?

...still down:


Topic: *Quikscat Data Outage
*

Date/Time Issued*: September 04, 2009 1845 UTC*

Product(s) or Data Impacted: *Scatterometer data
*

Date/Time of Initial Impact: *September 03, 2009 2010 UTC*

Date/Time of Expected End: *Until Further Notice*

Length of Event: *Until further notice
*

Impacts on Users and Significance: *Users will not receive Quikscat
data.

*

User Actions: *None.*

Details/Specifics of Change:

**Due to the instrument issue, ESPC has not received QuikSCAT data
so no QuikSCAT products are available now.


http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/SATS/SPBULL/MSG2471914.01.txt



=============
edit

from earlier message this morning:

Details/Specifics of Change:

*We have recovered the spacecraft. However, the instrument needs
more TLC.
Any Sci data you receive is old. We will finish the recovery tomorrow,
and
give you a heads up when we expect to have good Sci data again.*

-----------------

Three day weekend... right?
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I just have to do a Friday funny! It's weather related!

Everybody knows about the Fujita Scale which measures the power of tornados. But nobody really knows what all those types of twisters do to COWS. So here is the MOOJITA Scale...

M0 Tornado - Cows in an open field are spun around parallel to the wind flow and become mildly annoyed.
M1 Tornado - Cows are tipped over and can't get up.
M2 Tornado - Cows begin rolling with the wind.
M3 Tornado - Cows tumble and bounce.
M4 Tornado - Cows are AIRBORN.
M5 Tornado - S T E A K ! ! !
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Has anyone noticed the blob right in the middle of the atlantic that looks like a comet or a shooting star? Does that have any makings of any kind of depresion or anything? I am not good enough at reading the charts yet to know myself but it looks very interesting, wish I could post it up for you...it looks very cool
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Quoting Floodman:


ANd Climate Change...you can't forget Climte Change...I know I PO'ed a couple of folks on that one
lol not me.. I love a healthy debate
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so purdue has the highest concentration oh H1N1 in indiana, yay

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Quoting hurricanehanna:

We voted a few months back - GOM is off limits. Sorry, so takesy backies!


....so that's why we haven't had any surf in the Gulf lately.
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Quoting cyclonekid:
MJO is out


What does this mean?
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1077. Relix
Why do the models forecast for 95L to go out?
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Caribbean Sea has too much wind shear. The eastern Atlantic is the place to watch for now.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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