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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Quoting apocalyps2:


Amazing,they must be everywhere.I hate trolls.
But a great job from the hunters to find a troll in the middle of that convention.


2005 troll season

very active

maybe its the fear of the swine flu

so trolls stay home
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Quoting cajunmoma:


All of the models originally had them all going out to sea. They all basically ended up by the Islands, and 2 of them got near the East Coast. Erika well who knows what she was trying to do. So basically 95 will feel the weakness, however eventually it will begin to take a more Westward motion(maybe because the High builds back in), and from their we will watch!!

I could be totally wrong, just what I understood.


you got it exactly right, but you just heard that there is no way in heck that 95L will get anywhere close to land, basically this is a waste of time to track.
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Quoting futuremet:


Yes, there are many troughs along the way. Its high latitude will only make it easier.


It will be extremely difficult in my view to get anything out across the eastern atlantic to make that trek.I just dont see it based on the pattern.
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Quoting IKE:
North America 12Z ECMWF.....does show a low making landfall along the north-central GOM in about a week. Not a significant low. But a low, nonetheless. Maybe it's more significant on the 00Z run.


that will be the real fred
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


THANK YOU!!!

no point in tracking it then, you just saved me 2 weeks of heartache, thank you so much!!!


the new word is AGITA..and i agree with you.
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 157
apocalyps2 your still here
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I have a question about ex-Erica, and I warn you now...it's probably a very stupid one. ;)

To ex-Erika's left (Western Caribbean near Panama) is a large blow up of convection with an outflow shearing (flattening actually) ex-Erica's west side.

What is that called? More specifically, what is causing that blow up and why the outflow?
Is it the trough over the GOMEX?

Just trying to learn something. TIA.
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Quoting StormW:


Well what I was pointing out, is there is a part in thre about a solid WNW motion too. But, the other point, if you take a look at the guidance models right now...you should notice one thing...at least I do...if memeory sreves me right, you remember the last copule of Cape Verde systems? Which way did the models have them going intitially? And where did they wind up (Bill, Danny, Erika)


All of the models originally had them all going out to sea. They all basically ended up by the Islands, and 2 of them got near the East Coast. Erika well who knows what she was trying to do. So basically 95 will feel the weakness, however eventually it will begin to take a more Westward motion(maybe because the High builds back in), and from their we will watch!!

I could be totally wrong, just what I understood.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
a low of people are blocked out so are you and me too unless ya click show all


If you peeve a certain group of people on here.. they will hit the negative sign on every post you make.. they are cumulative, so it only takes a few people doing it.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
814. IKE
North America 12Z ECMWF.....does show a low making landfall along the north-central GOM in about a week. Not a significant low. But a low, nonetheless. Maybe it's more significant on the 00Z run.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting hurricane23:
Disturbance of the african coast should have plenty of opportunities for a recurve out to sea.


THANK YOU!!!

no point in tracking it then, you just saved me 2 weeks of heartache, thank you so much!!!
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:
I find it rather comical and not surprising that well over half of the posts on this blog nowadays are minused out so I cant see them


What does that tell you about this blog? hmmmmmmmm?
a lot of people are blocked out so are you and me too unless ya click show all
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Steering layer for 95L, I posted it earlier.



Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
Quoting hurricane23:
Disturbance of the african coast should have plenty of opportunities for a recurve out to sea.


Yes, there are many troughs along the way. Its high latitude will only make it easier.
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Quoting StormW:


Well what I was pointing out, is there is a part in thre about a solid WNW motion too. But, the other point, if you take a look at the guidance models right now...you should notice one thing...at least I do...if memeory sreves me right, you remember the last copule of Cape Verde systems? Which way did the models have them going intitially? And where did they wind up (Bill, Danny, Erika)

i see. But does the conditions stay close to the same all season or can there be drastic changes? What I mean is could the models be more right this time?
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Quoting apocalyps2:
HHunters just found a troll in erika.
Good job,keep up the good work.


I just found a troll in your post. I paid him 50 cents to cross the bridge.
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Disturbance of the african coast should have plenty of opportunities for a recurve out to sea.
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Quoting StormW:


Well what I was pointing out, is there is a part in thre about a solid WNW motion too. But, the other point, if you take a look at the guidance models right now...you should notice one thing...at least I do...if memeory sreves me right, you remember the last copule of Cape Verde systems? Which way did the models have them going intitially? And hwre did they wind up (Bill, Danny, Erika)


All the models initially had them going well to the north never really coming anywhere close to land. Then would then trend westward

Same thing here I would say, early models saying it will stay out to sea have been wrong every single time.
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Quoting btwntx08:

what the u said that this will form and tx did u now ur saying rip its either one or the other so which one is it


both
95 RIP

Fred will be the next invest

Fred is getting ready for a big show

95 is just a tool

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802. IKE
12Z ECMWF......keeps 95L east of 40W through September 14th....
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting StormW:
Did anyone read my forecast, and really understand what I had mentioned about what is now 95L?


I read it (outstanding as always). Sounds like things are OK but not great for development with a better window for development a few days out. Also sounds like it will go west then nw then west again. Given my relative lack of knowledge compared to many on this site, I could certainly be reading it wrong! ;-)
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Quoting serialteg:


He has a blog, just click on his nick... ?


thanks!
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 252
2005 troll season
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Quoting StormW:
Did anyone read my forecast, and really understand what I had mentioned about what is now 95L?
To me it seems you are saying in 96 hours things look better for it to develope because of an upper level low?
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Quoting RJT185:


Link please. I can't really keep up with all these random posts.


He has a blog, just click on his nick... ?
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Quoting StormW:
Did anyone read my forecast, and really understand what I had mentioned about what is now 95L?


Link please. I can't really keep up with all these random posts.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 252
Quoting TampaSpin:
Got lots to do these next few days....Moving into our new house on a Lake on Monday all the big stuff is moved so the little things is my job...tom much work.....But, Great View. I will take pics for you all to see. I'm out for a few hours until i get tired or run out of working cold beer.......LOL!


Is it actually on the lake, as in floating or held by pillars, or is the lake just nearby?
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Storm, I read your forecast and believe I understood what you meant about 95L. However, if I didn't understand, how would I know? A little WNW or NW but then back W, right?
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95 RIP
Won't even get a name

2006 part 2
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Quoting StormW:
Did anyone read my forecast, and really understand what I had mentioned about what is now 95L?


from what I saw you show that 95L will stay on a mostly westward track, not feeling any sort of weakness much.

Did I read that right? Also great update as always.
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:
I find it rather comical and not surprising that well over half of the posts on this blog nowadays are minused out so I cant see them


What does that tell you about this blog? hmmmmmmmm?


Just recently (this morning), after a month or two of constant activity, I started using the Ignore function, better known as the Troll Holding Cell. Right now I have about 5 inmates, and several duplicate accounts.
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


so are yours
But can your dad beat up his dad? sheese
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Got lots to do these next few days....Moving into our new house on a Lake on Monday all the big stuff is moved so the little things is my job...tom much work.....But, Great View. I will take pics for you all to see. I'm out for a few hours until i get tired or run out of working cold beer.......LOL!
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Quoting EarthMuffin:


Stepping out of lurk mode for a minute...

You mentioned Veterans Affairs and the recent misinformation sent to 1600 veterans (not 600) that they have ALS (not alzeimers)...

The VA is a perfect example of what will happen to the healthcare system if it is taken over by the government. It usually takes me a month to get an appointment, and because VA policy doesnt allow us to make appointments more than 30 days into the future, on more than one occasion, I have been told to call back in a couple of days (or weeks) to see if I can get an appointment. Worse still is the fact that we (VA patients) must call a "telephone care nurse" to get permission to go to the ER unless we are literally dying and must be rushed in right away. I was bleeding out from a miscarriage last November and waited over an hour on the phone before getting permission to go to the hospital. If you go without permission, you are billed for services rendered.

If this is what people want, well...you can have it. I think we've all heard the phrase "dont knock it til you try it". Government-run healthcare---I've tried it, I'm stuck with it, and yes, I'm knocking it.


Uh...

I've had private healthcare before, and I've had to make lots of calls to lots of doctors to get closer appointments. So it's not exclusive to government-run healthcare institutions. Besides, Veterans aren't the only public heathcare thing going on (Medicare) and United States veteran healthcare has, to me, always been notorious for being sub-par. My grandma has no major gripes over her Medicare, though. Doctor's appointments whenever she needs them.
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Quoting palmbaywhoo:
so are yours


so are yours
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ok folks...leaving work now...laterz
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Quoting TriniGirl26:
lol thanks...i thought as much...just wondering if the words and meanings change


no, someone being stupid, thats all, just ignore it..
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 157
so are yours
Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:
I find it rather comical and not surprising that well over half of the posts on this blog nowadays are minused out so I cant see them


What does that tell you about this blog? hmmmmmmmm?
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lol thanks...i thought as much...just wondering if the words and meanings change
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logically, its going to be hard for any storm to form. Its all about July

2003, 2005 and 2008 had Active july, Look how bad those years were.

so, I see 2009 hurricane season a calmer version of 2006.
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Quoting LUCARIO:


trolls are like erika
keep going and going
YEs sometimes they do. I remember a Depression that dump 20 inches of rain in Sarasota in 1992. Than came Andrew.
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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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