Arctic Amplification and Extreme Weather

The “Arctic Paradox” was coined during recent winters when speculations arose that the dramatic changes in the Arctic may be linked to severe snowstorms and cold temperatures in mid-latitudes, particularly along the U.S. east coast and in Europe. Recent studies have illuminated these linkages. Evidence is presented for a physical mechanism connecting Arctic Amplification —…

Lesson: Arctic Sea Ice Decline

Jennifer Francis, Rutgers University – assesses the broad topic of the Arctic Sea Ice Decline and explains seasonal impacts. Observations, especially since the 1950’s, explain how the “Arctic Amplification” leads to rapid sea ice changes during the summer month. Much more ridging in North America during the winter. And this affects weather patterns, because a…

Catastrophic sea levels ‘distinct possibility’ this century

A breakthrough study of fluctuations in sea levels the last time Earth was between ice ages, as it is now, shows that oceans rose some three meters in only decades due to collapsing ice sheets. The findings suggest that such an scenario — which would redraw coastlines worldwide and unleash colossal human misery — is…

Sea-ice switches and abrupt climate change

We propose that past abrupt climate changes were probably a result of rapid and extensive variations in sea-ice cover. We explain why this seems a perhaps more likely explanation than a purely thermohaline circulation mechanism. We emphasize that because of the significant influence of sea ice on the climate system, it seems that high priority…

First evidence of under-ice volcanic eruption in Antarctica

The first evidence of a volcanic eruption from beneath Antarctica’s most rapidly changing ice sheet. The volcano on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet erupted 2000 years ago (325BC) and remains active. Using airborne ice-sounding radar, scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) discovered a layer of ash produced by a ‘subglacial’ volcano. It extends across an…

Potential methane reservoirs beneath Antarctica

We calculate that the sub-Antarctic hydrate inventory could be of the same order of magnitude as that of recent estimates made for Arctic permafrost. Once thought to be devoid of life, the ice-covered parts of Antarctica are now known to be a reservoir of metabolically active microbial cells and organic carbon. The potential for methanogenic…

Central West Antarctica among the most rapidly warming regions on Earth

There is clear evidence that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is contributing to sea-level rise. In contrast, West Antarctic temperature changes in recent decades remain uncertain. West Antarctica has probably warmed since the 1950s, but there is disagreement regarding the magnitude, seasonality and spatial extent of this warming. This is primarily because long-term near-surface temperature…

West Antarctic rapid glacier retreat may be exceptional during the Holocene

Ice loss from the marine-based, potentially unstable West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) contributes to current sea-level rise and may raise sea level by ≤3.3 m or even ≤5 m in the future. Over the past few decades, glaciers draining the WAIS into the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE) have shown accelerated ice flow, rapid thinning, and…

Weird weather might just wake feeble politicians up to climate change

The Guardian: Meteorologists are debating our role in bizarre weather events. We have the technology for change, but not the political will On Monday, Amory Lovins, physicist, environmentalist, and unassuming colossus of the green movement, appeared in London to talk about energy use. I mention this in the context of the Guardian’s story that meteorologists…

Climate Change Puts Even ‘Safe’ Species at Risk

By Tim Redford, Climate News Network: LONDON—Climate change doesn’t just threaten species that are already vulnerable – it could have alarming consequences for a huge range of birds, corals and amphibians that no-one had considered in danger of extinction before, according to a new study. Wendy Foden of the International Union for the Conservation of…

Carbon Dioxide Is ‘Driving Fish Crazy’

Science Daily: Jan. 21, 2012 — Rising human carbon dioxide emissions may be affecting the brains and central nervous system of sea fishes with serious consequences for their survival, an international scientific team has found. Carbon dioxide concentrations predicted to occur in the ocean by the end of this century will interfere with fishes’ ability…

The state of the climate and national security

The release of huge quantities of previously stored “multiyear/deep layer” carbon deposite and equivalent greenhouse gases (CO2/CH4/N2O, from soil and water) can act like a trigger to boot the earth systems. This boot begins initially with a transition phase depending on the rate of emissions and in further development creates several large scale carbon excursions…