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Related Scary Tags:
arctic meltdown  ~ global warming  ~ faster than expected  ~ climate impacts  ~ anthropogenic change  ~ holyshit  ~ feedback loop  ~ ocean warming  ~ melting glaciers  ~ weather extremes  ~ carbon emissions  



Wed, Mar 16, 2016
from Globe & Mail (Canada):
Winter ice coverage in Arctic sea reaching record low, scientists warn
Scientists warn that the area covered by this winter's Arctic sea ice could turn out to be the lowest ever measured. The news comes on top of a long season of freakishly warm weather at the top of the planet, including above-freezing days at the North Pole and a months-long string of temperature records. "The winter, overall, has been extremely warm in the Arctic," said Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado. ...


The Arctic had the same sort of Wimpter that we had!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jun 29, 2015
from Philadelphia Inquirer:
'Green' roofs not always the most energy-efficient
... the white-roof craze is based on old and faulty research that has promulgated two myths - that these roofs save energy atop any building and that they decrease global warming... There is a significant heating penalty associated with using white roofs in central and northern climates, where owners use three to five times as much energy to heat their buildings than to cool them. In cities like Philly, white roofs consume more energy, which means they cause more cardon dioxide emissions. ...


I find this bittersweet.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Mar 29, 2015
from Grist:
Antarctica is basically liquefying
Antarctica's icy edges are melting 70 percent faster in some places than they were a decade ago, according to a new study in the journal Science. These massive ice shelves serve as a buffer between the continent's ice-sheet system and the ocean. As they disintegrate, more and more ice will slip into the sea, raising sea levels by potentially huge amounts. This study is just the latest bit of horrible news from the bottom of the world. Last year, we found out that the West Antarctic ice sheet was in terminal collapse, which could raise sea levels by 10 to 15 feet over a few hundred years. Then, earlier this month, we learned that an enormous glacier on the other side of the continent is in the same state, and could contribute about the same amount to sea-level rise.... But the bad news doesn't seem likely to stop anytime soon: On Monday and Tuesday, it was a balmy 63 degrees Fahrenheit at the bottom of the world, a record high. ...


Two words: Antarctic Surfing.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Mar 20, 2015
from National Snow and Ice Data Center:
Arctic sea ice maximum reaches lowest extent on record
Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its maximum extent for the year on February 25 at 14.54 million square kilometers (5.61 million square miles). This year's maximum ice extent is the lowest in the satellite record. NSIDC will release a full analysis of the winter season in early April, once monthly data are available for March. ...


It's deja doom all over again.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Sep 19, 2014
from Mother Jones:
These Stunning Photos of Greenland's "Dark Snow" Should Worry You
Jason Box knows ice. That's why what's happened this year concerns him so much. Box just returned from a trip to Greenland. Right now, the ice there is... black.... The ice in Greenland this year isn't just a little dark--it's record-setting dark. Box says he's never seen anything like it. I spoke to Box by phone earlier this month, just days after he returned from his summer field research campaign. "I was just stunned, really," Box told me. The photos he took this summer in Greenland are frightening. But their implications are even more so. Just like black cars are hotter to the touch than white ones on sunny summer days, dark ice melts much more quickly.... Box gives the stunning stats: "In 2014 the ice sheet is precisely 5.6 percent darker, producing an additional absorption of energy equivalent with roughly twice the US annual electricity consumption." ...


Scientists have a name for reverse albedo: "Odebla," though they are forbidden from saying it for fear of inadvertently calling this demon.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jul 17, 2014
from ScienceRecorder:
Scientists to monitor Arctic summer melt at level not seen before
An international team of researchers, headed by scientists from the University of Washington, aim to monitor the summer melt of the Arctic ice at a scale never seen before.... Lee described the project's ground breaking nature in a statement: "This has never been done at this level, over such a large area and for such a long period of time... We're really trying to resolve the physics over the course of an entire melt season." ...


In this case, Nero is measuring while the world burns.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Mar 1, 2014
from BBC:
Smell of forest pine can limit climate change - researchers
New research suggests a strong link between the powerful smell of pine trees and climate change. Scientists say they've found a mechanism by which these scented vapours turn into aerosols above boreal forests... The scientists say that having a clear understanding of the way in which forest smells become aerosols will improve the accuracy with which they can predict the ability of these particles to limit rising temperatures. ...


A giant, geoengineering-scale air wick, anyone?

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Feb 20, 2014
from NASA:
NASA satellites see Arctic surface darkening faster
The retreat of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is diminishing Earth's albedo, or reflectivity, by an amount considerably larger than previously estimated, according to a new study that uses data from instruments that fly aboard several NASA satellites.... As the sea ice melts, its white reflective surface is replaced by a relatively dark ocean surface. This diminishes the amount of sunlight being reflected back to space, causing Earth to absorb an increasing amount of solar energy. The Arctic has warmed by 3.6 F (2 C) since the 1970s. The summer minimum Arctic sea ice extent has decreased by 40 percent during the same time period. These factors have decreased the region's albedo, or the fraction of incoming light that Earth reflects back into space -- a change that the CERES instruments are able to measure. ...


albedone for

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Thu, Jan 23, 2014
from San Francisco Business Times:
White roofs beat 'green' roofs on climate change, says Berkeley Lab study
Though so-called "green" roofs with gardens growing on them are popular today and have some environmental advantages, plain white roofs reflect sunlight and reduce global warming. According to a study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a simple white roof reflects three times as much sunshine as a green rooftop garden. "By absorbing less sunlight than either green or black roofs, white roofs offset a portion of the warming effect from greenhouse gas emissions," the lab said. ...


Imagine the albedodo bird crap on all that white.

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Sat, Dec 7, 2013
from Dartmouth College:
More Logging, Deforestation May Better Serve Climate in Some Areas
... The findings suggest more frequent logging or deforestation may better serve our planet and pocketbooks in high latitude areas where snowfall is common and timber productivity is low. Such a scenario could involve including snow cover/albedo in existing greenhouse gas exchanges like the Kyoto protocol or a cap-and-trade program or ecosystem services market in which landowners are paid to maintain snow cover and produce timber rather than conserve forests and store carbon. Previous studies have put a price on many ecosystem services -- or services that nature provides to humans that have both economic and biological value, such as drinking water and crop pollination -- but the Dartmouth study is the first to do so for albedo, or the surface reflection of incoming solar energy. The findings contrast with the dominant paradigm that including forest climate mitigation services such as carbon storage on compliance markets will lead to the conservation of forests. Instead, the findings show that in some areas, it is better to have snow act as a natural mirror if you want to use forests for climate-related purposes. ...


Let's call it albedough.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Oct 14, 2011
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Young and thin instead of old and bulky: researchers report on changes in Arctic sea ice after return of research vessel Polarstern
In the central Arctic the proportion of old, thick sea ice has declined significantly. Instead, the ice cover now largely consists of thin, one-year-old floes. This is one of the results that scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association brought back from the 26th Arctic expedition of the research vessel Polarstern.... One of the most important research questions was: Did sea ice melt to a greater extent this summer, making it thinner than in past years?... "The ice has not recovered. This summer it appears to have melted to exactly the same degree as in 2007. Yes, it is exactly as thin as in the record year," says Hendricks. ...


I'm of the belief that you can never be too young or too thin!

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Mon, Sep 12, 2011
from RealClimate:
The unnoticed melt
A rainy summer might be one reason for an apparent lack of public attention with respect to the ongoing sea-ice loss. Another reason, however, is possibly the fact that we scientists have failed to make sufficiently clear that a major loss of sea ice during the early summer months is climatologically more important than a record minimum in September.... Because of its high albedo (reflectivity), sea ice reflects most of the incoming sunlight and helps to keep the Arctic cold throughout summer. The relative importance of this cooling is largest when days are long and the input of solar radiation is at its maximum, which happens at the beginning of summer. If, like this year, sea-ice extent becomes very low already at that time, solar radiation is efficiently absorbed throughout all summer by the unusually large areas of open water within the Arctic Ocean.... This feedback loop, which is often referred to as the ice-albedo feedback, also delays the formation of new sea ice in autumn because of the accompanying surplus in oceanic heat storage.... ... [T]he loss of Arctic sea ice can still be slowed down and eventually stopped if an efficient reduction of CO2 emissions were to become reality soon. Last week, however, it became obvious once more how unlikely such scenario is: On 30th August, Exxon announced a deal with Rosneft, the Russian state oil company. As part of this deal, Exxon will invest more than US$2 billion to support Rosneft in the exploitation of oil reserves in the Kara Sea, which is part of the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia. One requirement for the success of this deal: a further retreat of Arctic sea ice. Given that climate model simulations indeed all project such further retreat of Arctic sea ice, it seems that at least to some degree, managers of big oil companies have started to make business decisions based on climate-model simulations. That may be good news. Or not. ...


Mila Kunis won this year's Guy's Choice "Holy Grail of Hot" Award. She's hot, but not Holy Grail hot.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, May 13, 2011
from BBC:
Wikileaks cables show race to carve up Arctic
The opportunity to exploit resources has come because of a dramatic fall in the amount of ice in the Arctic. The US Geological Survey estimates oil reserves off Greenland are as big as those in the North Sea.... Tom Burke, who advises mining company Rio Tinto and the UK Foreign Office on climate change and business, told Newsnight that political tensions were rising because "the ice is declining much faster" than expected, so "everybody who thinks they've got a chance to get at those resources wants to get in there and stake their claim". Since the 1970s, Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University has made repeated trips under the North Pole in Royal Navy nuclear submarines to measure the thickness of the ice. He told Newsnight the graph "has gone off a cliff" because the ice sheet has thinned as well as shrunk. The Pan-Arctic Ice-Ocean Modelling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS) which measures ice volume shows that last September there was only a quarter of the ice in the Arctic that there had been in 1979. Prof Wadhams says in summer "it could easily happen that we'll have an ice-free North Pole within a year or two". ...


Sometimes it's the offhand comments that hit the hardest.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Apr 23, 2011
from Science News:
Salt clouds relieve some Arctic warming
Earth's warming in recent years has had an exaggerated impact in the Arctic. There, temperatures have soared relative to temperate areas, resulting in an increased summer melting of sea ice. But new research indicates that the local warming would be even more dramatic if it weren't for salt sprays kicked up by whitecaps from the Arctic's increasingly open waters. Snow and sea ice reflect much of the sun's warming rays back into space. As an increasing share of the Arctic Ocean's year-round cover of sea ice has disappeared, the sea surface has darkened -- or reduced its albedo -- and become an increasingly better absorber of solar energy. The open water starts to develop in spring and doesn't ice over again until fall. Year-round ice is ice that survives the summer...As expected, the salt clouds can exert a subtle cooling of the Arctic, the team reports online April 13 in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. ...


Hey, this gives me a geoengineering idea: zeppelin saltshakers!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Feb 10, 2011
from NASA:
January Arctic Sea Ice Extent Lowest Since Satellites
During the Northern Hemisphere winter of 2010-2011, unusually cold temperatures and heavy snowstorms plagued North America and Europe, while conditions were unusually warm farther north. Now the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has reported that Arctic sea ice was at its lowest extent ever recorded for January (since satellite records began). NSIDC reported that ice extent was unusually low in Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, and Davis Strait in the early winter. Normally frozen over by late November, these areas did not completely freeze until mid-January 2011. The Labrador Sea was also unusually ice-free.... Another factor in the low Arctic sea ice extent, NSIDC explained, could be that the areas of open ocean were still releasing heat to the atmosphere. Due to its bright appearance, sea ice reflects most of the Sun's light and heat back into space. Dark ocean water, by contrast, absorbs most of that energy and reinforces the melting process. ...


Records, alas, seem made to be broken.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Feb 4, 2011
from ScienceDaily:
Still Hope for Arctic Sea Ice
The substantial decline of Arctic sea ice in recent years has triggered some fears that the ice cover might be approaching a "tipping point" beyond which the loss of the remaining sea ice would become unstoppable. However, new research carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg/Germany now indicates that such tipping point is unlikely to exist for the loss of Arctic summer sea ice. The sea-ice cover reacts instead relatively directly to the climatic conditions at any given time. Hence, the ongoing loss of Arctic sea ice could be slowed down and eventually stopped if global warming were to be slowed down and eventually stopped.... The researchers underline that their results do not question the dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice or its relation to anthropogenic climate change. "If we don't slow down global warming extensively, we will lose the summer sea-ice cover in the Arctic within a few decades," says Tietsche. "Our research shows that the speed of sea-ice loss is closely coupled to the speed of global warming. We think that it's important to know that we can still do something about slowing down or possibly even stopping the loss of the sea-ice cover." ...


I'm delighted there are no other tipping points involved.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jan 29, 2011
from University of Colorado at Boulder via ScienceDaily:
Warming North Atlantic Water Tied to Heating Arctic
The temperatures of North Atlantic Ocean water flowing north into the Arctic Ocean adjacent to Greenland -- the warmest water in at least 2,000 years -- are likely related to the amplification of global warming in the Arctic, says a new international study involving the University of Colorado Boulder...The team believes that the rapid warming of the Arctic and recent decrease in Arctic sea ice extent are tied to the enhanced heat transfer from the North Atlantic Ocean..."Cold seawater is critical for the formation of sea ice, which helps to cool the planet by reflecting sunlight back to space..." ...


Call it... the "albedone effect."

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jan 17, 2011
from Scientific American:
Thaw of Earth's icy sunshade may stoke warming
Shrinking ice and snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is reflecting ever less sunshine back into space in a previously underestimated mechanism that could add to global warming, a study showed. Satellite data indicated that Arctic sea ice, glaciers, winter snow and Greenland's ice were bouncing less energy back to space from 1979 to 2008. The dwindling white sunshade exposes ground or water, both of which are darker and absorb more heat.... "This reduction in reflected solar energy through warming is greater than simulated by the current crop of climate models," he said of the findings by a team of U.S.-based researchers and published in the journal Nature Geoscience Sunday. "The conclusion is that the cryosphere (areas of ice and snow) is both responding more sensitively to, and also driving, stronger climate change than thought," he said. ...


See? That shows that those climate models are wrong.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jan 9, 2011
from Berlingske Tidende, via DesdemonaDespair:
Greenland's melting seems unstoppable
No matter how much we turn down the CO2-burner, Greenland will still reach a significant turning point by around 2040, writes Berlingske Tidende.... "It is a very troubling result, because it shows that the melting can go much stronger than we usually imagine," says one of the article's authors, Jens Hesselberg Christensen, Berlingske Tidende.... "Based on our model, I would almost argue that the time has already passed. Our results indicate in principle that continuous melting is inevitable," says Jens Hesselberg. ...


Thank goodness this is from Bizarro-Earth, where "inevitable" means "never going to happen."

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jan 6, 2011
from New York Times:
A 'Bulge' in Atmospheric Pressure Gives Us a Super-Cold Winter Amid Global Warming
Icicle-covered oranges in Florida. The United Kingdom swamped with its coldest December in more than a century. Travelers stranded in airports surrounded by snowy fortresses.... So how does this fit with global warming models? According to some climate scientists, the cold in places like Florida actually could be a sign of warming, rather than an argument against the phenomenon. The ongoing disappearance of sea ice in the Arctic from elevated temperatures is a factor to changes in atmospheric pressure that control jet streams of air, explained James Overland, an oceanographer of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. That is because ice-less ocean is darker and, thus, absorbs more solar heat, which in turn spews warmer air than average back into the Arctic atmosphere. That unusually warm air can contribute to a "bulge" effect to the atmospheric pressure controlling how cold air flows, according to Overland, who works at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. Rather than moving circularly in the Arctic from west to east as typical, the bulge may prompt air to move in a U-shaped pattern down to the southern United States. ...


Apocaiku: cold air is warming / it roils and pushes further / chaos brings new ice

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Tue, Jan 4, 2011
from CBC:
'Double whammy' warms Nunavut -- light rain in January
A lack of sea ice in parts of Canada's eastern Arctic is contributing to unusually mild temperatures in Nunavut, according to scientists. In recent months, the weather in many parts of Nunavut has been 10 to 12 degrees above the -20 and -30 C temperatures that are normal at this time of year. Light rain fell in Iqaluit, the territorial capital, as the daytime temperature hovered around 0 C on Monday. Environment Canada declared 2010 to be the warmest year on record there. In a rare sight for this time of year, Frobisher Bay has not yet frozen over entirely. Likewise, there is a lack of sea ice in parts of Hudson Bay, Davis Strait and other Arctic waterways.... According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, nearly half of Hudson Bay would have been frozen over by the end of November. But by Nov. 30, only 17 per cent of the bay had sea ice on it.... "You may be seeing a little bit of a hint of what the future holds in store for you," he said. ...


Can you call a gut punch "a little bit of a hint"?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Dec 10, 2010
from Houston Chronicle:
Study: Clouds' cooling role weakens in warmer world
Until now one of the biggest uncertainties in climate change is whether a warming world will change how clouds regulate temperature. Will they trap more heat, or will they offer a net cooling by reflecting more of the sun's heat? A Texas A&M University scientist, Andrew Dessler, has produced some of the first data to address this question, and his conclusion is that current climate models do a pretty good job of simulating the changing nature of clouds in a warmer world. The new study, published Thursday in the journal Science, also appears to strike at a central tenet of some climate skeptics who believe clouds will offset much of the projected warming in a world with elevated greenhouse gases. "Scientists are always thinking about where we could be wrong," Dessler said. "Clouds are one of the last places where scientists could really be wrong with respect to climate change. My work is really a first step toward removing this possibility. "The opportunities for legitimate skepticism are drying up." ...


Those climate skeptics just have their heads in the clouds.

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Tue, Nov 23, 2010
from University of Hawaii, via EurekAlert:
Study could mean greater anticipated global warming
Current state-of-the-art global climate models predict substantial warming in response to increases in greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. The models, though, disagree widely in the magnitude of the warming we can expect. The disagreement among models is mainly due to the different representation of clouds. Some models predict that global mean cloud cover will increase in a warmer climate and the increased reflection of solar radiation will limit the predicted global warming. Other models predict reduced cloudiness and magnified warming.... Having evaluated the model's simulation of present-day conditions, the researchers examined the response of simulated clouds in a warmer climate such as it might be in 100 years from now. The tendency for clouds to thin and cloud cover to reduce was more pronounced in this model than in any of the current global models. Co-author Kevin Hamilton concludes, "If our model results prove to be representative of the real global climate, then climate is actually more sensitive to perturbations by greenhouse gases than current global models predict, and even the highest warming predictions would underestimate the real change we could see." ...


Is that a cumulonimbus in your pocket, or are you just sad to see me?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Nov 9, 2010
from London Daily Telegraph:
Crops that reflect sunlight could offset global warming, scientists claim
Planting ''climate friendly'' crops that reflect sunlight could help offset the effects of global warming, a study suggests. The crops, spread across large fertile regions of North America and Europe, would send a small percentage of the sun's light and heat back into space. Different strains of crops such as wheat have significantly different levels of reflectivity, or albedo, say scientists. Selecting those that reflect the most could make summers in Europe more than 1 per cent cooler, they claim. ...


Sure, let's plant fields of albedobeans.... or amber waves of tin foil!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jun 29, 2010
from DiscoveryNews:
Arctic Overreacts to Climate Change
Whether it's 5 million years ago or June 2010, it's becoming very clear that whenever the Earth's climate warms up a few degrees -- for whatever reason -- the Arctic multiplies that warming by a factor of about three. Two new studies of past warming and cooling periods going back millions of years have found that the Arctic reliably amplifies whatever global climate is doing. If the world drops 3 degrees colder, the Arctic will see 9 to 12 degrees of cooling. If Earth warmed up 3 degrees, the Arctic steams up 9 to 12 degrees.... This year, that could mean the Arctic could be the warmest ever recorded since data from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies show that global temperatures in 2010 have reached record levels.... "You'll find since about 2000 every month you have positive temperature anomalies," Stroeve said. Translation: The Arctic is doing exactly what it has done for 5 million years: amplifying the global climate change signal. ...


If it's been doing it for 5 million years, why should I worry?

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Tue, Jan 12, 2010
from Treehugger.com:
Himalayan Glaciers Entirely Gone by 2035?!? Probably Not.
Well, it seems according to a recent article in New Scientist by Fred Pearce, that Hasnain is backtracking on his assertion, saying that the statement was "speculative" and that he's never made that claim in any peer-reviewed journal. Yet it made it into the IPCC report of 2007.... Hasnain's statement didn't go unquestioned at the time or since: Pearce quotes scientists saying full melting in the Himalayas is likely to take ten times as long; our own Alex Pasternack quotes a researcher from the Chinese Academy of Sciences as saying a 5 degree C rise in temperatures would be needed for complete melting. Glaciers Are Receding, Just Won't Be Entirely Gone in 25 Years: None of which is to say that the glaciers aren't receding at an alarming rate (one just has to look at basic photographic evidence to see that) and that this retreat doesn't pose future deadly serious problems in terms of water supply, but that one particular oft-quoted claim has taken on a life of its own. And one whose originator now says is off the mark. ...


Silly gooses! You're a decade or two early!

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We've been quipping this stuff for more than 30 months! Every day!
Which might explain why we don't get invited to parties anymore.
Fri, Dec 11, 2009
from USGS:
Climate projections underestimate CO2 impact
The climate may be 30-50 percent more sensitive to atmospheric carbon dioxide in the long term than previously thought, according to a recent study published in Nature Geoscience. Projections over the next hundreds of years of climate conditions, including global temperatures, may need to be adjusted to reflect this higher sensitivity.... These underestimates occurred because the long-term sensitivity of the Earth system was not accurately taken into account. In these earlier periods, Earth had more time to adjust to some of the slower impacts of climate change. For example, as the climate warms and ice sheets melt, Earth will absorb more sunlight and continue to warm in the future since less ice is present to reflect the sun. ...


Thank goodness we're talking about the long term. It won't affect me!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Oct 15, 2009
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Arctic will be ice-free in a decade, according to Pen Hadow
The explorer trekked more than 269 miles towards the North Pole this winter in temperatures below -40 degrees C to measure the depth of the ice. The average thickness of ice floes was 1.8 metres, suggesting the ice sheet is now largely made up of first year ice rather than "multiyear" ice that will have built up over time.... An analysis by Cambridge University has concluded that the Arctic is now melting at such a rate that it will be largely ice free within ten years, allowing ships to cross the Arctic Ocean. Further analysis by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) warned that the "irreversible trend" will cause dangerous feedback because water absorbs more heat from the sun than ice, therefore further speeding up the global warming process. The melting of the ice could also trigger extreme weather patterns as the ocean currents change and release even more greenhouse gases stored under the ice. ...


Whoo-ee! We are kicking Nature's ass!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 5, 2009
from Reuters:
Unstoppable sea level rise
A rise of at least two metres in the world's sea levels is now almost unstoppable, experts told a climate conference at Oxford University on Tuesday. "The crux of the sea level issue is that it starts very slowly but once it gets going it is practically unstoppable," said Stefan Rahmstorf, a scientist at Germany's Potsdam Institute and a widely recognised sea level expert. "There is no way I can see to stop this rise, even if we have gone to zero emissions..." Rahmstorf estimated that if the world limited warming to 1.5 degrees then it would still see two metres sea level rise over centuries, which would see some island nations disappear. His best guess was a one metre rise this century, assuming three degrees warming, and up to five metres over the next 300 years. ...


Think of all the great goodbye parties for islands!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Sep 10, 2009
from Associated Press:
Effects of Arctic warming seen as widespread
Arctic warming is affecting plants, birds, animals and insects as ice melts and the growing season changes, scientists report in a new review of the many impacts climate change is having on the far north. As the global climate changes, the Arctic Circle has been warming faster than other regions and scientists have documented a series of affects on wildlife in the region... "The Arctic as we know it may soon be a thing of the past," Eric Post, an associate professor of biology at Penn State University, said in a statement. ...


Arctic... tock...tic...tock...

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Sep 4, 2009
from Science, via BBC:
Arctic 'warmest in 2000 years'
Changes to the Earth's orbit drove centuries of cooling, but temperatures rose fast in the last 100 years as human greenhouse gas emissions rose. Scientists took evidence from ice cores, tree rings and lake sediments.... "The 20th Century stands out in strong contrast to the cooling that should have continued. The last half-century was the warmest of the 2,000-year temperature record, and the last 10 years have been especially dramatic," he told BBC News. ...


Coincidence? Or just a fluke?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Sep 1, 2009
from London Guardian:
The Sermilik fjord in Greenland: a chilling view of a warming world
It is calving season in the Arctic. A flotilla of icebergs, some as jagged as fairytale castles and others as smooth as dinosaur eggs, calve from the ice sheet that smothers Greenland and sail down the fjords. The journey of these sculptures of ice from glaciers to ocean is eerily beautiful and utterly terrifying. The wall of ice that rises behind Sermilik fjord stretches for 1,500 miles (2,400km) from north to south and smothers 80 percent of this country. It has been frozen for 3m years. Now it is melting, far faster than the climate models predicted and far more decisively than any political action to combat our changing climate. If the Greenland ice sheet disappeared sea levels around the world would rise by seven metres, as 10 percent of the world's fresh water is currently frozen here. ...


Sounds to me like we are fjucked.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Aug 28, 2009
from Environmental Research Web:
Scientists uncover solar cycle, stratosphere and ocean connections
Subtle connections between the 11-year solar cycle, the stratosphere, and the tropical Pacific Ocean work in sync to generate periodic weather patterns that affect much of the globe, according to research appearing this week in the journal Science. The study can help scientists get an edge on eventually predicting the intensity of certain climate phenomena, such as the Indian monsoon and tropical Pacific rainfall, years in advance.... [I]f the total energy that reaches Earth from the Sun varies by only 0.1 percent across the approximately 11-year solar cycle, how can such a small variation drive major changes in weather patterns on Earth? ... The team first confirmed a theory that the slight increase in solar energy during the peak production of sunspots is absorbed by stratospheric ozone. The energy warms the air in the stratosphere over the tropics, where sunlight is most intense, while also stimulating the production of additional ozone there that absorbs even more solar energy. Since the stratosphere warms unevenly, with the most pronounced warming occurring at lower latitudes, stratospheric winds are altered and, through a chain of interconnected processes, end up strengthening tropical precipitation. At the same time, the increased sunlight at solar maximum causes a slight warming of ocean surface waters across the subtropical Pacific, where Sun-blocking clouds are normally scarce. That small amount of extra heat leads to more evaporation, producing additional water vapor. In turn, the moisture is carried by trade winds to the normally rainy areas of the western tropical Pacific, fueling heavier rains and reinforcing the effects of the stratospheric mechanism. ...


I'm not sure I like the idea of such little things making such a big difference... because we're doing some pretty big things.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 26, 2009
from UCSD, via EurekAlert:
Deadly heat waves are becoming more frequent in California
From mid July to early August 2006, a heat wave swept through the southwestern United States. Temperature records were broken at many locations and unusually high humidity levels for this typically arid region led to the deaths of more than 600 people, 25,000 cattle and 70,000 poultry in California alone. An analysis of this extreme episode carried out by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, put this heat wave in the context of six decades of observed heat waves. Their results suggest that such regional extremes are becoming more and more likely as climate change trends continue.... While mechanisms driving this regional anomaly are still under investigation, the researchers concluded that the trend towards more frequent and larger-scale muggy heat waves should be expected to continue in the region as climate change evolves over the next decades. ...


It's not the heat, or even the humidity... it's the sense of impending doom.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Aug 24, 2009
from Canadian Press:
Climate change doubles tundra plant life, boosting shrubs, grasses
Climate change is already having a dramatic effect on plants in the High Arctic, turning the once rocky tundra a deep shade of green and creating what could be another mechanism speeding up global warming. In a new study to be published in the November issue of the journal Ecology, University of British Columbia geographer Greg Henry has, for the first time, confirmed that rapidly rising temperatures in the Arctic are creating major changes in the plants that live there... the average temperature in the area has increased by about 2.5 C -- "an extremely rapid change," says Henry... Henry said the new, denser, shrubbier tundra could speed up global warming even further simply because that vegetation is darker and absorbs more solar energy. Previous studies have suggested that a global spread of thicker plant growth on the tundra could have the same effect as doubling the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. ...


Say, maybe shrubs would make the perfect biofuel.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 19, 2009
from COP15:
Warming in Tibet threatens all Asia
Temperatures in the Tibetan highland are increasing far more rapidly than the global average, causing concern over Asian water supplies. Feedback may be present, leading to an acceleration of global warming.... Several major Asian rivers, including the Yangtze, begin in the Himalayas. A population of 2.7 billion depends on water supplies that originate in the mountain region. Average temperatures in Tibet rose by 0.32 degrees C every 10 years between 1961 and 2008. This is significantly more than the rise in global mean temperature. In July this year the measured average temperature in Tibet was the highest since 1951, CMA has found. During the same month, between 30 and 80 percent less rain than normal fell in various Tibetan districts. ...


And I thought the Yangtze just played against the Red Sox!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Aug 15, 2009
from Canwest News:
Experts: Arctic ice experiencing severe summer retreat
As Prime Minister Stephen Harper heads north next week for what's become his annual summer visit to the Arctic, he will encounter a world scientists believe is in the midst of an unprecedented and irreversible transformation, where retreating sea ice and related environmental changes are radically reshaping the region's future.... In the upcoming days, researchers from around the world will reassess the state of the Arctic Ocean ice cover and gauge whether this summer's retreat -- already viewed as another "extreme" thaw -- will surpass the 2007 meltdown that shocked even veteran observers of the polar realm.... [T]he biggest floes now jamming the fabled Arctic shipping corridor are southward-floating, orphaned chunks of the thickest, oldest "multi-year" ice mass that has been steadily disintegrating -- in North America, Europe and Asia -- along the edges of the central Arctic Ocean.... The region is, Howell told Canwest News Service, "past the 'tipping-point,'" when increasing expanses of darker, open water absorb ever more heat and the diminished ice cover -- normally able to reflect sunlight because of its lighter surface -- melts more quickly. ...


It's freakin' chemistry and physics, you idiot deniers!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Aug 9, 2009
from Associated Press:
Vast expanses of Arctic ice melt in summer heat
The Arctic Ocean has given up tens of thousands more square miles (square kilometers) of ice on Sunday in a relentless summer of melt, with scientists watching through satellite eyes for a possible record low polar ice cap... As of Thursday, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported, the polar ice cap extended over 2.61 million square miles (6.75 million square kilometers) after having shrunk an average 41,000 square miles (106,000 square kilometers) a day in July -- equivalent to one Indiana or three Belgiums daily. The rate of melt was similar to that of July 2007, the year when the ice cap dwindled to a record low minimum extent of 1.7 million square miles (4.3 million square kilometers) in September. ...


Can't we take some ice cubes up there?!?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jul 24, 2009
from BBC:
Clouds in climate 'vicious cycle'
Clouds over the North-East Pacific dissipate as the ocean warms, according to a study in the journal Science. Researchers have described this as a "vicious cycle" of warming, as reduced cloud cover allows more of the Sun's rays to heat the Earth. They say warming could gradually reduce the low-level cloud cover that is thought to help cool the globe. But the team stressed that it was not yet possible to quantify how much this might impact on global temperatures. They said that accurate simulations of these cloud effects would improve the models scientists use to predict future climate change patterns. The accuracy of these models has been hampered by the uncertain influence of clouds on the global climate system. The low-level clouds studied here are of particular interest, as they have been shown to have a net cooling effect on the Earth, by reflecting the Sun's rays. ...


Can't we just invent something to fix this?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 21, 2009
from Mongabay:
Global ocean temperatures at warmest level since 1880
Global ocean temperatures rose to the warmest on record, according to data released last week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for June was second-warmest since global recording-keeping began in 1880.... Worldwide sea surface temperatures were 62.56 F (16.99 C), or 1.06 degrees F (0.59 C) above the 20th century average of 61.5 F (16.4 C).... The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for June 2009 was the second warmest on record after 2005... ...


Just mere coincidence that this is happening now. Move along. Nothing to see here.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jul 9, 2009
from Bloomberg News:
Arctic Ocean's Ice Layer Thins 'Dramatically,' Study Concludes
The layer of ice over the Arctic Ocean has thinned "dramatically" this decade, with its thin seasonal blanket for the first time making up a bigger portion of the total ice than the thicker, older coat, a study said. Scientists from NASA and the University of Washington in Seattle surveyed the ocean's ice sheet from 2003 through 2008 using observations from the Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite, or ICESat, to make the first estimate of its thickness and volume.... The researchers found that the Arctic Ocean's ice layer thinned by about 2.2 feet over four winters, or about 7 inches a year, while the area covered by older, thicker ice shrank by about 42 percent, or 595,000 square miles -- almost the land area of Alaska. In 2003, 62 percent of the ocean's ice cover was older, thicker ice, with 38 percent in seasonal layers, the researchers found. Five years later, 68 percent of the ice cap was made up of seasonal ice. ...


Good thing that it's natural variation, and that we're not responsible. What a coincidence that unprecedented change is happening at this time in history!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jun 23, 2009
from PNAS, via SolveClimate:
Study Confirms Growing Threat of Super Greenhouse Gases
A new study published today by the National Academy of Sciences confirms unequivocally that a class of gases, whose use is expected to skyrocket in the developing world as living standards improve, poses an unforeseen and potentially grave threat by worsening global warming. These "super greenhouse gases" known as hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, were originally developed to replace the use of ozone-depleting aerosols and are now commonly found in refrigerators, air conditioners and automobile cooling systems. If left unchecked, their build-up in the atmosphere could negate current efforts to reduce carbon dioxide to safe levels by 2050. This emergency within the climate emergency has largely escaped public notice, but the new study is expected to raise its profile. ...


These emergencies within emergencies just keep on emerging.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jun 20, 2009
from BBC:
How aerosols mask climate change
The pollution particles he studied include industrial aerosols such as sulphates, nitrates found in smoke from burning agricultural waste and black carbon (soot) from diesel engines and other forms of combustion. "Global models of the emission of these aerosols suggest the cooling effect they have cancels out approximately 10 percent of the global warming caused by greenhouse gases," explained Jim Haywood, an aerosol researcher from the UK Met Office, who was not involved in this study. "But satellite methods that detect the amount of aerosols in the atmosphere suggest a cooling effect that cancels out about 20 percent." By identifying the source of this discrepancy, Dr Myhre was able to reconcile the two approaches and come up with a more precise estimate -- closer to 10 percent. ...


That means our air pollution is actually helping our planet, right?

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jun 14, 2009
from Washington Post:
White Rooftops May Help Slow Warming
Could climate change be staved off by making the United States look like a scene from "Mamma Mia!"? That was suggested in a recent talk by Energy Secretary Steven Chu -- although, because he was speaking to Nobel laureates, he did not mention the ABBA musical set in the Greek islands. He said that global warming could be slowed by a low-tech idea that has nothing to do with coal plants or solar panels: white roofs... Climate scientists say that the reflective properties of the color white, if applied on enough of the world's rooftops, might actually be a brake on global warming. ...


Plus, I'll wear my jaunty white beret!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, May 15, 2009
from Greenwire:
Climate change, water shortages conspire to create 21st century Dust Bowl
Dust storms accelerated by a warming climate have covered the Rocky Mountains with dirt whose heat-trapping properties have caused snowpacks to melt weeks earlier than normal, worrying officials in Colorado about drastic water shortages by late summer. Snowpacks from the San Juan Mountains to the Front Range have either completely melted or will be gone within the next two weeks... The rapid melting is linked to a spate of intense dust storms that kick up dirt and sand that in turn are deposited on snow-topped mountains. The dust darkens the snow, allowing the surface to absorb more heat from the sun. This warms the snow -- and the air above it -- significantly, studies show. ...


Here comes a whole new flood of Okies.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 3, 2009
from Associated Press:
Arctic sea ice is melting faster than expected, study shows
Arctic sea ice is melting so fast that most of it could be gone in 30 years. A new analysis of changing conditions in the region, using complex computer models of weather and climate, says conditions that had been forecast for the end of the century could occur much sooner. A change in the amount of ice is important because the white surface reflects sunlight back into space. When ice is replaced by dark ocean water, the sunlight can be absorbed, warming the water and increasing the warming of the planet. ...


Thirty years? That's all the time in the world.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 24, 2009
from Nature:
Pancake ice takes over the Arctic
... In the past, Arctic waters have been dominated by thick slabs of sea ice that last from one year to the next. But sea-ice cover is diminishing and thick ice that lasts for several years is disappearing fast, with researchers seeing a greater proportion of thin, newly formed ice.... Under these conditions, globs of ice crystals tossed about in the water combine to form first a soupy mixture called 'grease ice', and then 'pancakes' of thin ice a metre or two in diameter. This can have all sorts of knock-on effects. Because the pancakes are round, for example, they have areas of open water between them when joined up, making the surface darker overall. This could have a warming effect as a result of less of the Sun's radiation being reflected. Water also slops up from these holes over the ice so that falling snow melts rather than settling, keeping the surface darker. ...


I'm more of a waffle man myself.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Mar 5, 2009
from Reuters:
Arctic summer ice could vanish by 2013: expert
The Arctic is warming up so quickly that the region's sea ice cover in summer could vanish as early as 2013, decades earlier than some had predicted, a leading polar expert said on Thursday. Warwick Vincent, director of the Center for Northern Studies at Laval University in Quebec, said recent data on the ice cover "appear to be tracking the most pessimistic of the models", which call for an ice free summer in 2013. The year "2013 is starting to look as though it is a lot more reasonable as a prediction. But each year we've been wrong -- each year we're finding that it's a little bit faster than expected," he told Reuters. The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world and the sea ice cover shrank to a record low in 2007 before growing slightly in 2008. In 2004 a major international panel forecast the cover could vanish by 2100. Last December, some experts said the summer ice could go in the next 10 or 20 years. ...


That's four years of bliss!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Feb 25, 2009
from International Council for Science:
Polar research reveals new evidence of global environmental change
The wide-ranging IPY findings result from more than 160 endorsed science projects assembled from researchers in more than 60 countries. Launched in March 2007, the [International Polar Year] covers a two-year period to March 2009 to allow for observations during the alternate seasons in both polar regions.... [R]esearch vessels ... have confirmed above-global-average warming in the Southern Ocean. A freshening of the bottom water near Antarctica is consistent with increased ice melt from Antarctica and could affect ocean circulation. Global warming is thus affecting Antarctica in ways not previously identified. [International Polar Year] research has also identified large pools of carbon stored as methane in permafrost. Thawing permafrost threatens to destabilize the stored methane -- a greenhouse gas -- and send it into the atmosphere. Indeed, IPY researchers along the Siberian coast observed substantial emissions of methane from ocean sediments. ...


Focused climate research always seems to discover things we wish we didn't have to discover.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Feb 20, 2009
from London Guardian:
Melt-pools 'accelerating Arctic ice loss'
New research has revealed that melt-water pooling on the Arctic sea ice is causing it to melt at a faster rate than computer models had previously predicted. Scientists have been struggling to understand why the northern sea ice has been retreating at a faster rate than estimated by the most recent assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in 2007. The IPCC's computer models had simulated an average loss of 2.5 percent in sea ice extent per decade from 1953 to 2006. But in reality the Arctic sea ice had declined at a rate of about 7.8 percent per decade. Arctic sea ice has retreated so much that in September 2007 it covered an all-time low area of 4.14m km sq, surpassing by 23 percent the previous all-time record set in September 2005. And during the summer of 2008, the north-west and north-east passages - the sea routes running along the Arctic coastlines of northern America and northern Russia, normally perilously clogged with thick ice were ice-free for the first time since records began in 1972. Part of the reasons for the discrepancy has to do with melt ponds, which are pools of melted ice and snow that form on the sea ice when it is warmed in spring and summer. As they are darker than ice and snow, they absorb solar radiation rather than reflect it, which accelerates the melting process. ...


As Homer Simpson would say: Albe-d'oh!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Feb 19, 2009
from New Scientist:
Arctic's personal greenhouse turns up the heat
The warming of the Arctic has been explained before as being due to a positive feedback loop: as the ice cap melts and disappears, more of the dark ocean is exposed: the Arctic's reflectivity, or albedo, decreases. This means less energy is reflected back out into space and the region warms still further. But that infamous arctic albedo feedback is only a small part of the problem.... [L]ess ice means more exposed sea, and a larger surface from which water can evaporate. Since water vapour is a strong greenhouse gas, the evaporation effectively creates an Arctic energy trap.... All this means the shrinking ice cap is playing a triple role in warming the Arctic. The ice is reflecting less energy, the open water is storing more energy, and is also supplying greenhouse gas to the atmosphere in the form of water vapour. Those three factors combine to produce a strong regional greenhouse over the Arctic. ...


Who's the god of feedback loops that I can pray to?

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Apr 12, 2008
from The Canadian Press:
New cracks suggest largest remaining Arctic ice shelf destined to disappear
"WARD HUNT ISLAND, Nunavut -- New cracks in the largest remaining Arctic ice shelf suggest another polar landmark seems destined to break up and disappear. Scientists discovered the extensive new cracks in the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf earlier this year and a patrol of Canadian Rangers got an up-close look at them last week." ...


All these cracks leave me joke-less.

ApocaDoc
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