Half of the polar ice cap is missing: Arctic sea ice hits a new record low

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:53 PM GMT on September 06, 2012

Share this Blog
55
+

Extraordinary melting of sea ice in the Arctic this summer has shattered the all-time low sea ice extent record set in September 2007, and sea ice continues to decline far below what has ever been observed. The new sea ice record was set on August 26, a full three weeks before the usual end of the melting season, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Every major scientific institution that tracks Arctic sea ice agrees that new records for low ice area, extent, and volume have been set. These organizations include the University of Washington Polar Science Center (a new record for low ice volume), the Nansen Environmental & Remote Sensing Center in Norway, and the University of Illinois Cryosphere Today. A comprehensive collection of sea ice graphs shows the full story. Satellite records of sea ice extent date back to 1979, though a 2011 study by Kinnard et al. shows that the Arctic hasn't seen a melt like this for at least 1,450 years (see a more detailed article on this over at skepticalscience.com.) The latest September 5, 2012 extent of 3.5 million square kilometers is approximately a 50% reduction in the area of Arctic covered by sea ice, compared to the average from 1979 - 2000. The ice continues to melt, and has not reached the low for this year yet.


Figure 1. A sunny, slushy day at the North Pole on September 1, 2012. Webcam image courtesy of the North Pole Environmental Observatory.


Figure 2. Sea ice extent on September 5, 2012, showed that half of the polar ice cap was missing, compared to the average from 1979 - 2000. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Why the Arctic sea ice is important
Arctic sea ice is an important component of the global climate system. The polar ice caps help to regulate global temperature by reflecting sunlight back into space. White snow and ice at the poles reflects sunlight, but dark ocean absorbs it. Replacing bright sea ice with dark ocean is a recipe for more and faster global warming. The Autumn air temperature over the Arctic has increased by 4 - 6°F in the past decade, and we could already be seeing the impacts of this warming in the mid-latitudes, by an increase in extreme weather events. Another non-trivial impact of the absence of sea ice is increased melting in Greenland. We already saw an unprecedented melting event in Greenland this year, and as warming continues, the likelihood of these events increase.


Figure 3. August set a new record for lowest Arctic sea ice extent. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.



Figure 4. Arctic sea ice death spiral as plotted by Jim Pettit using data from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Huge storm pummels Alaska
A massive low pressure system with a central pressure of 970 mb swept through Alaska on Tuesday, generating hurricane-force wind gusts near Anchorage, Alaska that knocked out power to 55,000 homes. Mighty Alaskan storms like this are common in winter, but rare in summer and early fall. The National Weather Service in Anchorage said in their Wednesday forecast discussion that the forecast wind speeds from this storm were incredibly strong for this time of year--four to six standard anomalies above normal. A four-standard anomaly event occurs once every 43 years, and a five-standard anomaly event is a 1-in-4800 year event. However, a meteorologist I heard from who lives in the Anchorage area characterized the wind damage that actually occurred as a 1-in-10 year event. A few maximum wind gusts recorded on Tuesday during the storm:

McHugh Creek (Turnagain Arm)... ... ..88 mph
Paradise Valley (Potter Marsh)... ... 75 mph
Upper Hillside (1400 ft)... ... ... ... 70 mph
Anchorage port... ... ... ... ... ... ... .63 mph

The storm has weakened to a central pressure of 988 mb today, and is located just north of Alaska. The storm is predicted to bring strong winds of 25 - 35 mph and large waves to the edge of the record-thin and record-small Arctic ice cap, and may add to the unprecedented decline in Arctic sea ice being observed this summer.


Figure 5. An unusually strong storm formed off the coast of Alaska on August 5 and tracked into the center of the Arctic Ocean, where it slowly dissipated over the next several days. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this natural-color mosaic image on Aug. 6, 2012. The center of the storm at that date was located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. Image credit: NASA.

Arctic storms may be increasing due to climate change
This week's Alaskan storm is the second unusually strong low pressure system to affect the Arctic in the past month. On August 4 - 8, a mighty storm with a central pressure of 963 mb raged through the Arctic, bringing strong winds that helped scatter and break up Arctic sea ice. According to a detailed post at NASA Earth Observatory, that storm was in the top 3 percent for strongest storms ever recorded north of 70 degrees latitude. A study of long-term Arctic cyclone trends authored by a team led by John Walsh and Xiangdong Zhang of the University of Alaska Fairbanks found that number and intensity of Arctic cyclones has increased during the second half of the twentieth century, particularly during the summer. Dr. Zhang explained that climate change has caused sea ice to retreat markedly in recent decades and has also warmed Arctic Ocean temperatures. Such changes may be providing more energy and moisture to support cyclone development and persistence. The strong storms of this week and a month ago would have had far less impact on the ice just a decade ago, when the sea ice was much thicker and more extensive.

A sea ice decline double-whammy
The monster Arctic storms like we've seen this year have sped up the rate of sea ice loss, but increased water temperatures and air temperatures due to human-caused global warming are the dominant reasons for the record melting of the Arctic sea ice. A July 2012 study by Day et al. found that the most influential of the possible natural influences on sea ice loss was the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO). The AMO has two phases, negative (cold) and positive (warm), which impact Arctic sea ice. The negative phase tends to create sea surface temperatures in the far north Atlantic that are colder than average. In this study, the AMO only accounted for 5% - 31% of the observed September sea ice decline since 1979. The scientists concluded that given the lack of evidence that natural forces were controlling sea ice fluctuations, the majority of sea ice decline we've seen during the 1953 - 2010 period was due to human causes.

Joe Romm has a more in-depth look at the new Arctic sea ice record and what it means for the future over at climateprogess.org.

Angela Fritz and Jeff Masters

Turbulence (katy99780)
Beautiful orographic formations over the mountains on a windy evening.
Turbulence

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 534 - 484

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24Blog Index

Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
Math is not a good subject for me. Is it true that the biggest commercial nuclear reactor is only like 2MWh?


The largest nuke plant in the world in terms of power produced is the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. It produces 33,317 GW-h (that's gigawatts, 1,000 megawatts) per year on average. The smallest power facility I ever worked with was an 8 MW-h hydro facility, located in the wilds of northern California, that had turbines well over 100 years old. If the entire plant went off-line, the guys in power control told me it would take them about an hour to even notice. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
In bed? It's not even 11pm.


It's 1 AM here. Try again. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
In bed? It's not even 11pm.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hi Tom....had a flash flood up here last week about a mile from my house.....had like 2 feet of water and muck across Highway 79.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting angelafritz:


I haven't seen anything wrong with the comments thus far. I think it's perfectly acceptable to talk about politics when it involves weather, climate, science, etc.


You're probably already in bed, where most sane people are at this hour, but thank you very much for that post. I think it's vital we talk about how politics influences the debate on climate change. If not, we are bound to make wrong decisions based on perceptions rather than reality. There's also no denying that politicians will attempt to raise funding as a result of an AGW initiative (aka, taxes), so what happens in the political arena affects us all immediately.

BTW, will you marry me? :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Math is not a good subject for me. Is it true that the biggest commercial nuclear reactor is only like 2MWh?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TomTaylor:
The problem is most places are supposed to get warmer if global warming continues (hence the name 'global warming'). So its hard to say where the anomalous ridging will occur and which regions, if any, will specifically become more prone to landfalls. One thing we have noticed with global warming is that as the pressure gradient relaxes between the poles and subtropics, the jet stream has retreated further north. This would favor fewer troughs digging down and recurving storms, potentially allowing more landfalls. I had a post earlier explaining the "warm arctic, cold planets" idea that has been thrown around with global warming. This entire idea is based on the weakening of the pressure gradient between the poles and subtropics allowing for a more negative AO scheme. Guess what the AO's cousin is? The NAO. Negative NAO tends to favor a more dispersed A/B high with a weaker trough ultimately favoring landfalls.

So as you can see it's really hard to tell which areas, if any, will become more susceptible to landfalls under a warmer planet.


I guess that's true as well.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1 TWh= 1,000,000,000,000 Watt Hours?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:


I said it yesterday and I'll say it again: if the Earth continues to warm (which it will -- even if we move to alternative energy sources, it will take the atmosphere decades at the very least in order to equalize), hurricane season will be a thing of the past for the USA. The theory posits that the south will become warmer and drier on average, which of course implies a ridge. Due to natural teleconnecting patterns, an amplified trough will be found downstream of that. In this case, across the east coast. You know these recurves we've been having? Get used to them.

I'd be willing to wager $20 on this, in fact.
The problem is most places are supposed to get warmer if global warming continues (hence the name 'global warming'). So its hard to say where the anomalous ridging will occur and which regions, if any, will specifically become more prone to landfalls. One thing we have noticed with global warming is that as the pressure gradient relaxes between the poles and subtropics, the jet stream has retreated further north. This would favor fewer troughs digging down and recurving storms, potentially allowing more landfalls. I had a post earlier explaining the "warm arctic, cold planets" idea that has been thrown around with global warming. This entire idea is based on the weakening of the pressure gradient between the poles and subtropics allowing for a more negative AO scheme. Guess what the AO's cousin is? The NAO. Negative NAO tends to favor a more dispersed A/B high with a weaker trough ultimately favoring landfalls.

So as you can see it's really hard to tell which areas, if any, will become more susceptible to landfalls under a warmer planet.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
USA usage for 2011 about 30,000 TWh.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jedkins01:



Yeah I don't see it developing, I think it's already passed it's chance. It's just going to merge with a frontal system adding extra moisture to the air to fuel more rainfall. Although the circulation is devoid of rainfall mostly right now. PWAT's are very high in the region of the low and to the east of it, between 2.2 to 2.4 inches, and a lot of this low level moisture has stretched over us already which has helped to increase shower and thunderstorm coverage dramatically. Plenty of rainfall will fire on the eastern side of the low as the front sags into the northern gulf. Deep tropical moisture will be lifted by the front and the low will provide additional low level focus of deep moisture ahead of the fronr into our region. I suspect instability from the cold front will be enough for some severe cells to pop here and there given thunderstorms were already quite strong the last couple days around the area.
Dennis thinks the front might clear the area by Sunday afternoon. What is your thoughts about that? I'm thinking a couple of less humid nights.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
justsouthoflala
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GTcooliebai:
I suspect 90L will be deactivated sometime today:




Yeah I don't see it developing, I think it's already passed it's chance. It's just going to merge with a frontal system adding extra moisture to the air to fuel more rainfall. Although the circulation is devoid of rainfall mostly right now. PWAT's are very high in the region of the low and to the east of it, between 2.2 to 2.4 inches, and a lot of this low level moisture has stretched over us already which has helped to increase shower and thunderstorm coverage dramatically. Plenty of rainfall will fire on the eastern side of the low as the front sags into the northern gulf. Deep tropical moisture will be lifted by the front and the low will provide additional low level focus of deep moisture ahead of the fronr into our region. I suspect instability from the cold front will be enough for some severe cells to pop here and there given thunderstorms were already quite strong the last couple days around the area.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
System about to emerge off the coast Africa looks good, but I will give it at least 24 hrs. for it to get its feet wet and feel the new environment, since these system can go poof:

Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
I suspect 90L will be deactivated sometime today:

Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting justsouthofnola:


im not trying to belittle anyone, but if thats your believe then so be it. greenhouse gas effect to me is just certain ppl taking advantage of other ppl



Thermodynamics is a myth; Newton was just an enviro-terrorist ahead of his time.
Member Since: June 13, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 303
Quoting AussieStorm:
I just took this video....

Sydney Wind Storm Friday September 7th 2012


Reminds me of the Santa Ana winds in Los Angeles. Relative calm then giant wind gusts. I'm sure glad I'm not a firefighter down there.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
By the way in case anyone was wondering the GFS sharply recurves the next system off the coast of Africa:

Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting GTcooliebai:
So once land ice starts melting that is when we need to be worried about sea level rise?


Correct. However, large areas of sea ice melting in the Artic may have other bad effects on the environment. It will not, however, raise sea levels.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TomTaylor:
Exactly.

I've always insisted these two things:

1. The Earth is warming
2. Humans are contributing to the warming through the greenhouse gas effect

It is up for debate how much warming we are causing and what the best solutions are to prevent further warming under increasing energy demands. However, there is no question our planet is warming and that we are at least partially responsible.



Agreed.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FatPenguin:


Yes. With 50% ice loss, you can take it to the bank that we're not going back to a climate modern humans are familiar with.

For those wrapping politics into the discussion of global warming, you've got serious issues. IT'S A SCIENCE DISCUSSION. If you can't separate the discussion, don't bother talking about it.

How would you feel if you were having brain surgery and someone walked into the ER and tried to bring politics into the doctors' discussion about the procedure?

Nothing that affects so many people can keep from becoming political. For instance, it came up in the Republican debates. The mistake is to think that a political discussion of it is scientifically meaningful. Then again nature does not care what you say.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I just took this video....

Sydney Wind Storm Friday September 7th 2012

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting justsouthofnola:
if you would like to discuss further please read this.....

Link


From your link:
At the other end of the world, the North Pole, the ice is not nearly as thick as at the South Pole. The ice floats on the Arctic Ocean. If it melted sea levels would not be affecte­d.

This is exactly what I stated. What part of it don't you understand?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting lobdelse81:

I still believe that if a ridge were to be positioned off the southeast coast jutting out into the Western Atlantic with a developing hurricane getting underneath it, then the stage could be set for a significant hit. This could happen in any year during the peak of the tropical season. Plus, you could always have your Caribbean threats of something that recurves too late, thus bringing a hurricane northward into the Gulf of Mexico. It is only a matter of time.
My thoughts exactly, we could get a storm like Rina in Oct. and this time the GOM is much more moist this year than last year. Shear would be the only thing to prevent something from getting going and could indicate the effects of El Nino, but remember Ida came up out of the Caribbean during the El Nino year of 2009 and entered the GOM, so I guess anything is possible.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Nature will have the last word on climate change. You can deny it all you want.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Well you did ask who caused that? The earth naturally goes through these cycles of climate changes which no man can prevent, but since the industrial revolution take a look at the amount of greenhouse gases we are outputting into the atmosphere from smokestacks and the exhaust pipes in our cars that causes smog to build up in cities. Now I'm not implying we change our habits and stop driving all of a sudden, but the fact is we are escalating whatever climate change will take place in the future and maybe instead of a 1000 years until the next ice age it might be the next 500 years.


im not trying to belittle anyone, but if thats your believe then so be it. greenhouse gas effect to me is just certain ppl taking advantage of other ppl
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting lobdelse81:

I still believe that if a ridge were to be positioned off the southeast coast jutting out into the Western Atlantic with a developing hurricane getting underneath it, then the stage could be set for a significant hit. This could happen in any year during the peak of the tropical season. Plus, you could always have your Caribbean threats of something that recurves too late, thus bringing a hurricane northward into the Gulf of Mexico. It is only a matter of time.


Of course, we could still see landfalls, I just think they would be less frequent.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting angelafritz:


I'm sorry, we must have been on different pages it seems.

I will follow up with this: no one study ever definitively states that something is absolutely caused by humans. In the study referenced above, they estimated that 70-95% of the warming was "likely" human-caused. The best that scientists can do is continue to study the issue and publish their results. Together, the results start to solidify the point. In science, we're never 100% sure about anything, but we get pretty darn close. It's about probabilities and risk assessment, and responding to a perceived risk. That's where we're at in the science of climate change. The research is out there, now the public and government need to respond to it.

Thanks for the clarification, Angela, as that was all I was "asking" for. We think we know what is causing the current changes in the global climate, but we don't know exactly the why of why, or have definitive proof that our industrial society is the cause of the apparent warming.

For example, we've been industrial since well before the 50's, but perhaps our current increased pace of warming is because of semi-recent pollution control protocols. Before them, we were dumping megatons of particulates into the atmosphere, which purportedly increase cloud formation, and thus precipitation, along with creating an albido effect that might offset our creation of "greenhouse" gases.

I obviously don't know this, but it's a thought. It's also another cautionary tale about the unintended consequences of "good intention-based" legislative changes (this in line with your comment... "The research is out there, now the public and government need to respond to it.")

Jo
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting justsouthofnola:



the argument is that humans and our vehicles have destroyed(is destroying) the planet. so the methane gas for all the cows and dinosaurs doesnt matter
Well you did ask who caused that? The earth naturally goes through these cycles of climate changes which no man can prevent, but since the industrial revolution take a look at the amount of greenhouse gases we are outputting into the atmosphere from smokestacks and the exhaust pipes in our cars that causes smog to build up in cities. Now I'm not implying we change our habits and stop driving all of a sudden, but the fact is we are escalating whatever climate change will take place in the future and maybe instead of a 1000 years until the next ice age it might be the next 500 years.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting KoritheMan:


I said it yesterday and I'll say it again: if the Earth continues to warm (which it will -- even if we move to alternative energy sources, it will take the atmosphere decades at the very least in order to equalize), hurricane season will be a thing of the past for the USA. The theory posits that the south will become warmer and drier on average, which of course implies a ridge. Due to natural teleconnecting patterns, an amplified trough will be found downstream of that. In this case, across the east coast. You know these recurves we've been having? Get used to them.

I'd be willing to wager $20 on this, in fact.

I still believe that if a ridge were to be positioned off the southeast coast jutting out into the Western Atlantic with a developing hurricane getting underneath it, then the stage could be set for a significant hit. This could happen in any year during the peak of the tropical season. Plus, you could always have your Caribbean threats of something that recurves too late, thus bringing a hurricane northward into the Gulf of Mexico. It is only a matter of time.
Member Since: September 9, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 414


Michael
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting justsouthofnola:


so your telling me that there isnt a significant amount of ice that sits on land anywhere on the planet.


Link


No, that's not what I said. Please read my post again. I stated the ice from glacial melts would raise see levels, just not ice melt from sea ice. Do you see some scientific basis why that statement is wrong?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting justsouthofnola:



so before we got here, when the earth went through drastic changes such as massive floods that then froze over almost the entire planet who caused that?
Who knows, could have been any number of things such as natural cycles in our Earth's orbit (Mylanchovich cycles), supervolcanoes, extraterrestrial factors (meteors, solar cycles, and such), etcetera.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:


I wonder how many nuclear plants it would take to supply all the U.S.A.'s daily electricity requirements?


The US produced 3992 billion kWh in 2009. Of that amount, 838 billion kWh were from nukes. We would need to increase our nuclear generation by about 79% to have all our power come from nukes. I'll leave it to you decide if that's a high probability choice.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Swallowed by the haboob

I was heading home from the Capitol this afternoon around 4:30 and about 20 miles south of Phoenix the wall of dark rain clouds ahead turned to brown.�

The wind picked up and things started getting dusty.� But within seconds we disappeared into what I hear was a giant haboob.�� Speeds dropped from 75 to 10 mph, flashers came on and there was an orderly migration off the highway, across the shoulder and over to the freeway fence.� I was in the middle of a small convoy that crept along carefully, everyone cautious about changing lanes or doing anything sudden that might catch our fellow travelers by surprise.� [Right, cell phone photo out the windshield taken at about 5 mph]




At this point you might as well just pull over and let it pass.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting GTcooliebai:
The animals that were here before the humans. I heard somewhere that cows release methane gas.



the argument is that humans and our vehicles have destroyed(is destroying) the planet. so the methane gas for all the cows and dinosaurs doesnt matter
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting justsouthofnola:



so before we got here, when the earth went through drastic changes such as massive floods that then froze over almost the entire planet who caused that?

Aliens. lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Swallowed by the haboob

I was heading home from the Capitol this afternoon around 4:30 and about 20 miles south of Phoenix the wall of dark rain clouds ahead turned to brown.

The wind picked up and things started getting dusty. But within seconds we disappeared into what I hear was a giant haboob. Speeds dropped from 75 to 10 mph, flashers came on and there was an orderly migration off the highway, across the shoulder and over to the freeway fence. I was in the middle of a small convoy that crept along carefully, everyone cautious about changing lanes or doing anything sudden that might catch our fellow travelers by surprise. [Right, cell phone photo out the windshield taken at about 5 mph]




http://arizonageology.blogspot.com/2012/09/swallo wed-by-haboob.html


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
if you would like to discuss further please read this.....

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting justsouthofnola:



so before we got here, when the earth went through drastic changes such as massive floods that then froze over almost the entire planet who caused that?
The animals that were here before the humans. I heard somewhere that cows release methane gas.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting sar2401:


The earth is not a glass, and there's no way to create more sea ice than the water it already displaces. Glacial melts, from ice on land, can raise sea levels, but all the sea ice in the world can melt and sea levels won't change by any preceptible amount.


so your telling me that there isnt a significant amount of ice that sits on land anywhere on the planet.


Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting sar2401:


The earth is not a glass, and there's no way to create more sea ice than the water it already displaces. Glacial melts, from ice on land, can raise sea levels, but all the sea ice in the world can melt and sea levels won't change by any preceptible amount.
So once land ice starts melting that is when we need to be worried about sea level rise?
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting TomTaylor:
Exactly.

I've always insisted these two things:

1. The Earth is warming
2. Humans are contributing to the warming through the greenhouse gas effect

It is up for debate how much warming we are causing and what the best solutions are to prevent further warming under increasing energy demands. However, there is no question our planet is warming and that we are at least partially responsible.



so before we got here, when the earth went through drastic changes such as massive floods that then froze over almost the entire planet who caused that?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
491. Skyepony (Mod)
Another dust storm and monsoon blew through the Phoenix metropolitan area after dropping heavy rain in Tucson. Winds from an approaching storm system around sundown Thursday pushed a 2,500-foot-high wall of dust over most of the Phoenix area, lowering visibility to a quarter-mile. Officials at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport say the dust caused brief delays for some flights. In Tucson, authorities pulled six people from vehicles in flooded roads. Tucson Electric Power Co. was working to restore power to 700 customers. Arizona's monsoon season began June 15 and runs through Sept. 30. In recent years, it has produced massive dust storms called "haboobs." Weather experts say haboobs only occur in Arizona, Africa's Sahara desert and parts of the Middle East because of dry conditions and large amounts of sand.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting justsouthofnola:


no but if you stack ice in a glass higher than the rim while its touching the bottom, when it melts it will overflow.

also note if all the ice melts what happens to the current ocean currents that carry warm water through the world?


The earth is not a glass, and there's no way to create more sea ice than the water it already displaces. Glacial melts, from ice on land, can raise sea levels, but all the sea ice in the world can melt and sea levels won't change by any preceptible amount.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting angelafritz:


I'm sorry, we must have been on different pages it seems.

I will follow up with this: no one study ever definitively states that something is absolutely caused by humans. In the study referenced above, they estimated that 70-95% of the warming was "likely" human-caused. The best that scientists can do is continue to study the issue and publish their results. Together, the results start to solidify the point. In science, we're never 100% sure about anything, but we get pretty darn close. It's about probabilities and risk assessment, and responding to a perceived risk. That's where we're at in the science of climate change. The research is out there, now the public and government need to respond to it.
Exactly.

I've always insisted these two things:

1. The Earth is warming
2. Humans are contributing to the warming through the greenhouse gas effect

It is up for debate how much warming we are causing and what the best solutions are to prevent further warming under increasing energy demands. However, there is no question our planet is warming and that we are at least partially responsible.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting angelafritz:


I'm sorry, we must have been on different pages it seems.

I will follow up with this: no one study ever definitively states that something is absolutely caused by humans. In the study referenced above, they estimated that 70-95% of the warming was "likely" human-caused. The best that scientists can do is continue to study the issue and publish their results. Together, the results start to solidify the point. In science, we're never 100% sure about anything, but we get pretty darn close. It's about probabilities and risk assessment, and responding to a perceived risk. That's where we're at in the science of climate change. The research is out there, now the public and government need to respond to it.


Thank you, Angela. What are you doing up at his hour? :) Your last sentence does show the impossibility of ever having AGW be a purely scientific issue.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting angelafritz:


Sea ice fluctuations do not change sea level. Just like melting ice in your water glass doesn't make the glass overflow.


no but if you stack ice in a glass higher than the rim while its touching the bottom, when it melts it will overflow.

also note if all the ice melts what happens to the current ocean currents that carry warm water through the world?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting unknowncomic:
That will be the end of this blog--except for GW talk!


I'm not looking forward to it. At that point I'd need a passport just to chase hurricanes, lol.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Is Thorium the Biggest Energy Breakthrough Since Fire? Possibly.

For the past several months, a friend of mine has been telling me about the potentially game-changing implications of an obscure (at least to me) metal named Thorium after the Norse god of thunder, Thor.

It seems like he is not the only person who believes thorium, a naturally-occurring, slightly radioactive metal discovered in 1828 by the Swedish chemist Jons Jakob Berzelius, could provide the world with an ultra-safe, ultra-cheap source of nuclear power.

Last week, scores of thorium boosters gathered in the United Kingdom to launch a new advocacy organization, the Weinberg Foundation, which plans to push the promise of thorium nuclear energy into the mainstream political discussion of clean energy and climate change. The message they're sending is that thorium is the anti-dote to the world's most pressing energy and environmental challenges.

....

http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2011/ 09/11/is-thorium-the-biggest-energy-breakthrough-s ince-fire-possibly/



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FatPenguin:


Yes. With 50% ice loss, you can take it to the bank that we're not going back to a climate modern humans are familiar with.

For those wrapping politics into the discussion of global warming, you've got serious issues. IT'S A SCIENCE DISCUSSION. If you can't separate the discussion, don't bother talking about it.

How would you feel if you were having brain surgery and someone walked into the ER and tried to bring politics into the doctors' discussion about the procedure?


You cannot separate politics from the discussion of AGW, since governments are the driving force behind launching initiatives that they believe will reduce AGW. Using your example, politics will indeed play a role in how that brain surgeon does his or her job. 2700 pages of politics makes up the Health Care Plan, and it will be interpreted by politicians and enforced by unelected bureaucrats. They may not be in the ER with you, but their actions will have a profound effect on your health care.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 534 - 484

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy
79 °F
Partly Cloudy