One third of Arctic ice cap now missing; Midwestern floods; tropical update

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:46 PM GMT on August 24, 2007

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Sea ice in the Arctic continues its record decline, thanks to unusually cloud-free conditions and above-average temperatures. For August 21, the National Snow and Ice Data Center estimated that fully one third of the Arctic ice cap was missing, compared to the average levels observed on that date from 1979-2000. Sea ice extent was 4.92 million square kilometers on August 21, and the 1979-2000 average for the date was about 7.3 million square kilometers. Arctic sea ice has fallen below the record low absolute minimum of 4.92 million square kilometers set in 2005 by about 8%, with another 3-5 weeks of the melting season still remaining. Reliable records of sea ice coverage go back to 1979.


Figure 1. Extent of the polar sea ice on August 21, compared to the average for the date from the 1979-2000 period (pink line). Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

With one third of the Arctic ice cap already gone, and another month of melting to go, we need to consider what effect this will have on weather, climate, and sea level rise. Well, we don't need to worry about sea level rise, since the polar sea ice is already in the ocean, and won't appreciably change sea level when it melts. However, the remarkable melting of the ice cap will likely lead to unusual weather patterns this fall and winter. The lack of sea ice will put much more heat and moisture into the polar atmosphere, affecting the path of the jet stream and the resultant storm tracks. Expect a much-delayed arrival of winter to the Northern Hemisphere again this year, which may lead to further accelerated melting of the ice cap in future years.

Last week, I remarked that the most recent images from the North Pole webcam show plenty of melt water and rainy conditions near the Pole. It turns out that was misleading, since the webcam is on a ship that was headed towards the pole, but had not reached it. There have been rainy conditions at the Pole this summer, and there is some open water there, but this is not uncommon in summer. Shifting ice frequently opens up leads (cracks) with open sea water at the Pole. It was one of these open leads that British swimmer Lewis Gordon Pugh swam in for 18 minutes this July to draw attention to global climate change.


Figure 2. Total rainfall from August 10-22 as estimated by NASA's TRMM satellite.

Midwest flooding
To get an idea of the magnitude of the flooding that has hit the Midwestern U.S. during the past ten days, take a look at the total amount of rain from August 10-22 (Figure 2). We can blame Tropical Storm Erin for the rain in Texas and Oklahoma (up to 11 inches), and for the nine flooding deaths that occurred in those states. However, the unbelievable rain amounts in excess of 20 inches in Minnesota and Wisconsin were primarily due to a frontal system--with the help of some copious moisture pumped northwards by the counter-clockwise circulation around Erin while it spun over Oklahoma.

Tropical update
There are no threat areas in the Atlantic to discuss. Two of our four reliable forecast models, the NOGAPS and ECMWF, are predicting that a tropical depression could form off the coast of Nicaragua on Sunday. The models forecast that this system would move inland over Nicaragua and Honduras by Monday.

I'll have an update on Saturday morning.
Jeff Masters

After Hurricane Dean (sprinter)
Bulldozer trying to clear sand and debris from Norman Manley Highway(Airport Road)
After Hurricane Dean
Findlay Ohio flood (prairieview)
The flood is over, now the cleanup
Findlay Ohio flood

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847. Caffinehog
3:41 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
I want to comment on the global warming issue:

I am a scientist. (chemist)

A model is only good if it very closely fits previous observations.
For most of these models, we have only a very short window of observations, that may or may not reflect normal occurrences.

A model is only good if your assumptions about what you are predicting are correct.
All the global warming predictions are models based on assumptions. Some of them are probably wrong.

Don't get me wrong, I strongly believe that the earth is warming, and I suspect that we may have something to do with it. But claims that, "The earth will warm X degrees over the next century!" are dubious at best. And claims that, "We can stop X degrees of warming if we quit emitting CO2 now!" are simply laughable. Even the world's most brilliant and informed men don't really know.

Also, know that most scientists truly think that they are correct! It's pretty hard to dedicate your life's work to something that you know could be wrong or could fail. Without that bit of ego, most great minds would have given up long before they achieved their great discoveries.
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846. latitude25
3:54 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
"Posted By: FatPenguin at 3:42 PM GMT on August 25, 2007.

To everyone discussing/debating the Arctic ice melt and the possible cause. You should give a lot of consideration to this point - it may be in man's best interest that we are having some effect on the rate of heating."

Warning, the following are facts presented tongue in cheek.

Cornell ran the numbers on how much land it would take to grow enough corn - for corn-ahol - if every car in just the US was converted to ethanol today.

It will take 97% of the total land mass of the US, or a little more than 3,400,000 sq miles (8,900,000 sq km) of farm land to do it. Not to mention the water, pesticides, and fertilizer.

Looks like we might need the land and water. ;-)

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845. extreme236
3:51 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
Ah, ok. But now for that disturbance in the GOM, It shows up fairly well on the 850mb vorticity map. Any chance for development there Storm?
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
843. AlexWade
3:38 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
Speaking of CO2 and temperature, a new study just came out. I haven't read it, but I did skim over it. The study concludes that CO2 can only raise earth's temperature by 1.1 degrees K, +- 0.5 K. So, their study dated July 2007, concluded that CO2 can only raise the temperature by 0.6 K to 1.6 K. Very interesting because we've probably already experienced most of that warming already.
Study

In any event, people must realize that the earth's weather is far too complex to say that one thing is causing the temperature to rise. Some scientists have already demonstrated (and reproduced) that the sun affects cloud cover and thus overall temperature. This can also be backed up by other planets getting warmer in our solar system too coincidentally at the same time as earth.
Solar study

And then I also saw that some scientists are claiming the moose is causing global warming because of all the methane the moose puts out on both ends. (Nevermind the moose been around for thousands of years.)
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842. extreme236
3:44 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
why are the conditions unfavorable where it is at? i just checked the shear map and that is favorable. is it because of the cooler SST's?
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
840. FatPenguin
3:41 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
To everyone discussing/debating the Arctic ice melt and the possible cause. You should give a lot of consideration to this point - it may be in man's best interest that we are having some effect on the rate of heating.

Last year scientists were using strong words to describe the ice melt. (Sept. 2006)
"Arctic sea ice in winter is melting far faster than before, two new NASA studies reported Wednesday, a new and alarming trend that researchers say threatens the ocean's delicate ecosystem."

Link

If the rapid rate of arctic ice decline from the last two years continues, it won't take long for the Greenland ice sheet to show a dramatic reduction. We're going to hear a lot about this in late September.

A couple of years from now, everyone might be hoping that man has a huge part in the increased rate of warming so that we have hope to decrease the rate.
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839. extreme236
3:39 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
Posted By: StormW at 3:36 PM GMT on August 25, 2007.

Posted By: extreme236 at 1:20 PM GMT on August 25, 2007.

so StormW you think there is potential for some brief development with that low pressure off the east coast?

Did you really "read" my forecast carefully?


lol yes I read if carefully. After I asked that I was like, why did I ask that when he said it in his blog? lol. apparently the nhc doesnt think it will develop
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
838. latitude25
3:30 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
"Posted By: nola70119 at 3:07 PM GMT on August 25, 2007.

So you admit there is a correlation between c02 and heat temp.....guess what, I'll not going to wait for the "scientists" to prove it."

rotfl

Good for you.

Keep in mind that no one really knows if it's the heat causing the increase in CO2 either.
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836. DallasGumby
3:26 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
Posted By: aspectre at 2:58 PM GMT on August 25, 2007.

Problem is that the DubyaAdministration shut down access to those records on "national security" grounds when scientists discovered that the partial*records showed an extreme decrease over the years in average ice thickness, consistent with the GlobalWarming scenario.


May I conclude from your post that during the "Billary Administration" those records were available? So, if they were available before the DubyaAdministration, where's the harm?
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835. IKE
10:29 AM CDT on August 25, 2007
Posted By: stoormfury at 10:27 AM CDT on August 25, 2007.
come gentleman stop this 'MAUVAIS LANGUE'. THIS IS THE FRENCH CONOTATION FOR BAD TALKING EACH OTHER' i ASSUME THIS BLOG WAS NOT CREATED FOR THIS KIND OF PERSONAL ATTACKS . LET US ALL GET BACK TO WEATHER


Amy can't help herself.
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833. stoormfury
3:22 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
come gentleman stop this 'MAUVAIS LANGUE'. THIS IS THE FRENCH CONOTATION FOR BAD TALKING EACH OTHER' i ASSUME THIS BLOG WAS NOT CREATED FOR THIS KIND OF PERSONAL ATTACKS . LET US ALL GET BACK TO WEATHER
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831. mrmush
11:06 AM EDT on August 25, 2007
*uncloak*
I know this is a weather website but I recommend everyone who is interested in pollution and global warming to go npr.org and search for Nigeria gas flares. There is an audio section for this story as well. It's an enormous source of pollution in that section of the world and completely unnecessary. Russia does this as well. Laurie
*cloak*
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830. extreme236
3:22 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
the TWO is out. they dont mention either disturbances but they do mention that low pressure east northeast of cape hatteras
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
829. Weather456
3:14 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
Posted By: Amystery at 3:14 PM GMT on August 25, 2007.

456, you are not plagerizing still are you? Sounds awfully close to offiical ones I have read...you do know changing a couple words here and there is still plagerizing?


still? I never did plagerize, i dont read the NHC discussions either to change any words.

I dont know how much times i will say this but every word in my analysis is mines, i have been doin these synopsis for over a year now. I dont understand why would anyone thing i would go through all that plagerization. And its gets me real pissed off when u work so hard on something and someone assumes ur plagerizing.
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828. stoormfury
3:07 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
morning
the tropics are relatively quiet this morning. Having said so there is an area of weak disturbance near 50W which was observed at about 1200utc. Latest sat pics at 1445 utc is showing that the activity has shifted a little east to 10N 46W. Aibeit it is an elongated area a 1012 mb low pressure. convection has been on the increase this morning. wind shear in the region is near 5 knots. At the moment there is little convergence and tropical storm formation is not anticipated in the near future
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826. extreme236
3:09 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
Ok, todays tropical watch:

1)BoC disturbance

2)Wave at 50W
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
825. nola70119
3:03 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
So you admit there is a correlation between c02 and heat temp.....guess what, I'll not going to wait for the "scientists" to prove it.
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824. latitude25
3:05 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
"Posted By: aspectre at 2:58 PM GMT on August 25, 2007.
By the '60s, the record should be quite complete."

By the 60's, climatoligists were predicting the coming of the next ice age, based on sea ice expansion.

Starting your data gathering when the sea ice was at a high, will of course show it shrinking after that.

"Problem is that the DubyaAdministration shut down access to those records on "national security" grounds when scientists discovered that the partial*records showed an extreme decrease over the years in average ice thickness, consistent with the GlobalWarming scenario."

Probably saved a bunch of climatologists a huge embarrasing moment.
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823. benirica
3:04 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
soo in short. whats going on? why did everything completely die?
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822. Weather456
3:01 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
Can u say eye

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821. Weather456
2:57 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
isnt weather beautiful

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820. aspectre
2:57 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
Thanks for CapeVerde, PensacolaDoug.

There have to be fairly accurate maps of sea ice thickness from sonar recordings of US nuclear submarines starting with the slices taken by the voyages of the Nautilus in 1958. By the '60s, the record should be quite complete. Can't sail under the ice, can't hide in the inverted canyons formed under the ice, can't break through the ice for launches without a good map of the ice above.

Problem is that the DubyaAdministration shut down access to those records on "national security" grounds when scientists discovered that the partial*records showed an extreme decrease over the years in average ice thickness, consistent with the GlobalWarming scenario.

* The scientists involved were not given access to information about the area closest to the Russian coastline. Which is kinda beside the point since that is the area where summer ice has disappered the most. The summer ice cover is much thinner than the ice which survives summer melting.
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819. Weather456
2:21 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
Tropical Disturbance Summary (2)
Based on 1300 UTC Surface Observation
Based on 1415 UTC Satellite Imagery


A broad area of scattered showers is associated with a tropical wave along 50W south of 15N. 24 hr visible/infrared loop showed convection has been increasing little by little and the low level ciculation has become larger and more elongaated. Enviromental conditions are forecast to be favorable during the wave passage through the caribbean in the first half of next week. None of the computer models are developing this feature but just like the disturbance in the BOC it has potential to develop into something.
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818. wharfdog
2:35 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
latitude and gumby: bravo, well said!!
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817. DallasGumby
2:30 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
Posted By: HopquickSteve at 2:03 PM GMT on August 25, 2007.

I know our ability to statistically extrapolate from 40 years of data is limited. However, it is all we got. It is our data sample. If we had a 10000 year data sample, we would still have to be extrapolating based on insufficient information. The small sample arguement's weakness is that the world is 4.5 billion years old. Would we only be able to discuss global warming if we had a majority observation? (2.25 billion years (or 3000 years depending on one's world view))

So 40 years' worth of data being insufficient is a valid point, but there IS no rational amount to qualify as a "sufficient sample" until we can get BILLIONS of years of observation. So we have to use what data we have. I just hate it when people use their "we only have data since 19xx" arguement. That's just great. So the idea is to ignore what data we do have until we have sufficient data? What would be actionable data for the GW unbelievers?


So, what would you have us do? Force people to take actions which may have no effect on the perceived problem? Force people to take actions which might have an adverse effect on the perceived problem? Force people to take actions to deal with a "problem" which isn't a problem at all?

The dataset is so miniscule as to be meaningless, yet we're being asked to force people and nations to make significant economic and societal decisions based on this meaningless data.

Remember, we're dealing with CO2 in this debate, not some toxic. CO2 is not inherently bad -- in fact, plants require CO2 for life. Should we require people to breath less??? After all, the less we breath, the less CO2 we exhale!


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816. latitude25
2:26 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
"Posted By: HopquickSteve at 2:03 PM GMT on August 25, 2007.
What would be actionable data for the GW unbelievers?"

Factual data based on real science and not fudged.

Steve, again, we do not have the knowledge to even design decent models. All of the global warming models are designed to work on the "fact" that heat causes more cirrus clouds, that more cirrus clouds trap more heat, that causes more cirrus clouds. A positive feedback loop.
Dr. Roy Spencer just showed, a few weeks ago, that it is a negative feedback loop.
But yet every global warming model has it programmed as a positive feedback loop.
Read this: http://www.uah.edu/news/newsread.php?newsID=875

Most of the "science" of global warming is based on assumptions. Assuming that one thing happens, another thing has to happen a certain way. Dr. Roy just showed that one of the major assumptions was wrong.

Plus the promoters of the famous hockey stick totally dismissed the Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age that followed it, because there was no hard data to qualify either one. Mostly based on the "fact" that there were no accurate thermometers then. Even though we have hard evidence on crops that were grown and where, and where ships went that couldn't go there if it was frozen over.

There is no hard evidence - scientific fact - that man made CO2 is even causing it. The jury is still out on that one. The only evidence is a correlation between temp and Co2 accumulation.

So far the only "fact" seems to be the mass hysteria created by the media.
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815. extreme236
2:05 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
Well Amy, I have to agree with you for once lol. If the wave near 50W were to develop, I believe it would probably take a similiar path as dean took
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
813. HopquickSteve
1:42 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
I know our ability to statistically extrapolate from 40 years of data is limited. However, it is all we got. It is our data sample. If we had a 10000 year data sample, we would still have to be extrapolating based on insufficient information. The small sample arguement's weakness is that the world is 4.5 billion years old. Would we only be able to discuss global warming if we had a majority observation? (2.25 billion years (or 3000 years depending on one's world view))

So 40 years' worth of data being insufficient is a valid point, but there IS no rational amount to qualify as a "sufficient sample" until we can get BILLIONS of years of observation. So we have to use what data we have. I just hate it when people use their "we only have data since 19xx" arguement. That's just great. So the idea is to ignore what data we do have until we have sufficient data? What would be actionable data for the GW unbelievers?

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812. Tropicnerd13
1:50 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
i think either my teacher was drunk, i wasn't paying attention, or i forgot, but whatever it is, it is called a solstice, where in the summer the north pole gets more light and in the winter the opposite. but technically sinse it is summer solstice still the north pole's ice will melt anyway. but i think the greenhouse gases from factories and cars and stuff are more of a cause than the solstices. the solstice is just a bonus. i wonder if the ice will come back in the winter? we need to invent a way to convert greenhouse gasses back into oxygen and nitrogen. then we need to start planting plants. that ought to help our atmosphere. i would rather be doing something about global warming than typing on the computer so i am out. read yall later.
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811. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
1:51 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
also northern hemisphere is yet to reach its maximum ice melt ice melts till mid september then the refreeze process starts with the setting of the sun in high artic and the commencement of the artic winter and total darkness to follow u got to remeber in summer it nevr gets dark in the winter its dark all the time till about mid march
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810. extreme236
1:52 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
ok so we are in la nina then?
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809. Weather456
1:48 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
It also appears La Nina is still here

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808. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
1:41 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
hqs that area is more populated and used by its conterparts than north america also russia has a lot more miltary outposts along its artic frontier and it also has a warmer water from pacific flowing bewteen russia and alaska then per say greenland and eastern canada
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807. Tropicnerd13
1:38 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
i dont know where i heard it from but i just remember hearing something about the north pole getting straight light for 40 something. may have just been 40 days. dont know. my eyes hurt and i cant read so it is hard to look it up.
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806. WPBHurricane05
9:48 AM EDT on August 25, 2007
I keep looking at the dr.'s ice cap image and something popped into my head. Is Asian (China/Russia/etc.) CO2 emissions much higher than Canada/USA or Europe's? Because the receding is heavily on the asian side and much less on the Euro-American side.

Reasons why one side melts faster?


The only thing I can think of is that Asia has more people than North America. In fact Asia contains 60% of the worlds 6 billion population.
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805. Weather456
1:47 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
Typical La Niña Impacts
La Niña tends to bring nearly opposite effects of El Niño to the United States — wetter than normal conditions across the Pacific Northwest and dryer and warmer than normal conditions across much of the southern tier. The impacts of El Niño and La Niña at these latitudes are most clearly seen in wintertime. In the continental U.S., during El Niño years, temperatures in the winter are warmer than normal in the North Central States, and cooler than normal in the Southeast and the Southwest. During a La Niña year, winter temperatures are warmer than normal in the Southeast and cooler than normal in the Northwest.

More Info
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804. Weather456
1:42 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
Current Conditions of La Nina



What is La Nina

La Niña is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific, as compared to El Niño, which is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific. Click here for a whole list of frequently asked questions.
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803. WPBHurricane05
9:45 AM EDT on August 25, 2007
In summer the North Pole receives light while the South Pole is dark. It is opposite during the winter.
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802. extreme236
1:44 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
la nina is a regular occuring cycle that causes enhanced tropical activity i believe. it also causes for a more active late season. I am not sure if la nina is in effect now or if it is starting or not
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
801. stormyjm
1:38 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
Good morning,
This is my first posting. What is with La Nina? Is she still active or dormant? I recall last year El Nino took over, which resulted in quiet tropics? Thanks.
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800. PensacolaDoug
1:35 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
Tropicnerd. Are you sure your teacher was talking about planet Earth? I've never heard of anything that is remotely similar to what you describe. 40 years of alternating light and dark. No way man.
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799. thelmores
1:35 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
as Dr. Masters stated, we only have accurate pole ice data back to 1979.....

so less than 40yrs in geological terms is a "blip", and I don't see how anything can be extrapolated from 40yrs of data.....

SJ...... SCstate is the third game! :)
http://gamecocksonline.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/sched/scar-m-footbl-sched.html

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798. Weather456
1:26 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
Tropical Disturbance Summary (1)
Based on 1200 UTC Surface Observation
Based on 1315 UTC Satellite Imagery


An upper low in the North-Central Gulf of Mexico continues to interact with a broad area of low pressure (estimated 1010 millibars) and a tropical wave near 92-93W to produce scattred showers and thunderstorms over the Bay of Campeche. The area lies in a favourable enviroment for futher development but none of the computer models develops this system into anything. Based on forecast rainfall patterns and enviromental steering flow this system is forecast to move slowly to the west-northwest to northwest deepening to about 1008 millibars then spreading rain over Northern Mexico/Southern Texas in 48-66 hrs time.

by W456
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797. HopquickSteve
1:34 PM GMT on August 25, 2007
I keep looking at the dr.'s ice cap image and something popped into my head. Is Asian (China/Russia/etc.) CO2 emissions much higher than Canada/USA or Europe's? Because the receding is heavily on the asian side and much less on the Euro-American side.

Reasons why one side melts faster?
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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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