Heavy, Early-Season Blow to Arctic Ice Cap: Powerful, Warm Storm Disintegrates Barents Sea Ice

A vast swath of sea ice that painstakingly formed as somewhat cooler conditions had finally settled in near Svalbard and Frans Joseph Land in the Barents Sea was shattered yesterday as a powerful, heat-laden Arctic cyclone screamed up out of a rapidly warming extreme North Atlantic.

The storm originated west of the Norway coastline where, in recent years, a repository of exceptionally warm water has collected. This near-Arctic and Barents Sea warm pool has resulted in numerous effects including a forced recession of sea ice by hundreds of miles during winter time as well as providing impetus for various anomalous heat waves in Scandinavia in recent years.

This time, the heat pool was the genesis for a powerful storm that delivered an intense package of early season warmth to a section of sea ice drifting in the North Barents Sea region.

Warm Storm Impacts

April 16, pre-storm

In the above image, provided by NASA’s  LANCE-MODIS sensor, we can see a 250 mile section of sea ice that had extended out into the Barents Sea over the past few weeks during a cooler period as warmer conditions shifted to the Laptev, East Siberian, and Beaufort Seas. The date of this shot is April 16. To the lower left is the tip of Svalbard. Upper left is the far edge of Frans Joseph Land. Another few hundred miles to the right of far right frame is Northern Norway.

The storm, for now is off frame.

Storm April 17

Now on April 17, we can see the storm center in the far left frame near the tip of Svalbard. At this point, the storm has bombed out to an extraordinarily powerful 950 mb low, packing 60+ mph winds. In its upper quadrant, it carried with it temperatures ranging from 10 to 20 C above typical seasonal averages. Perhaps more importantly, through cyclonic forces it pumped waters that were up to 5 C above average temperature up from the depths and into the ice pack. This kind of cyclonic Ekman Pumping, in recent years, has had an increased potential to rapidly reduce sea ice due to warmer surrounding water conditions and warmer waters at depth.

Note that rapid sea ice disintegration is already involved in the wake of this severe Arctic Cyclone.

Aftermath -- Near Zero Contiguous Ice

Now, today, on April 18, we can see that in the aftermath of this powerful Arctic Cyclone there is very little contiguous sea ice left. What remains is what in sea ice parlance can be termed nilas — very thin and diffuse ice of 0-10 centimeters in thickness. Note that the entire 250 mile zone is completely involved in this very visible ice loss and that such losses continue on past Frans Joseph Land and into the Kara Sea.

Further Implications for the 2014 Melt Season

Melt season in the Arctic is now well involved. In addition, we have numerous weaknesses in the Northern Hemisphere Jet Stream that continue to funnel much warmer than average air over the Arctic Sea Ice. Alaska, Siberia and the Barents all continue to see strong warm air impulses that progress well into the zone covered by sea ice.

Today, according to GFS model measures for the zero hour, average Arctic temperatures are 2.24 C above the, already warmer than normal, 1979 to 2000 average. This is a rather high spike for spring, when Arctic temperatures typically start to settle back down after seeing high levels of global warming associated heat amplification during winter time.

The excess heat had already pushed Arctic sea ice extent measures down to near record lows as of April 17. According to NSIDC, extent measures had fallen to 13.9 million square kilometers yesterday, the second lowest level in the measure. With full effect from the recent intense storm not yet fully realized, it is possible that impacts in this region alone could reduce total values by at least 100,000 square kilometers.

arcticice_nsidc apr 17

(Arctic Sea Ice Extent Second Lowest on Record for April 17. Data Source: NSIDC. Image Source: Pogoda i Klimat.)

Yet one more major blow to sea ice from a powerful warm storm type system. And, in this case, with melt season progressing rapidly and with so much heat already shifting into the Arctic, it is highly unlikely that this zone of newly dispersed ice will see much in the way of recovery over the coming weeks.





Pogoda i Klimat

Global Forecast Systems Model

Persistent Arctic Cyclone and the Warm Storm of 2013


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  1. Definition of “miracle” – a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.

    • At this point, I’d term any kind of rational human cooperation to solve this problem miraculous…

      • Actually if those who believe in a deity would come together in the belief that solving AGW was a miracle for them, that would be good enough for me as long as they don’t just stand around and pray for something to happen as I am afraid god isn’t really listening.

        • I would say to them that God has provided them with the best prophets (scientists). So why don’t they listen?

  2. Phil

     /  April 19, 2014

    Very good and informative piece on what is happening in the arctic. It will be interesting to see what the cumulative effect is in a weeks time.

    I am not sure if ECWMF and GFS are lining up exactly in relation to the next week – I got a sense that there was some divergence reading between the lines in comments on arctic sea ice blog although I could be wrong in this conjecture.

    Do you know what the importance of the Greenland ridge is? Does it signify similiar weather pattern to what drove the large sea ice declines in 2012 or patterns that preserved sea ice in 2013.

    It would be informative to know what weather patterns to look out for while following the forthcomiong melt season. I understand some patterns preserve sea ice via compaction while other reduce it by shipping sea ice out of the arctic region.

    • Well, according to ECMWF we have a 1045 mb high forming over Greenland by Friday. A very strong high pressure ridge over Greenland… Now that would mean significant warming over the ice sheet as we saw in 2012, should it persist. In addition, it brings a lot of warmth up Baffin Bay and in through the CAA.

      A synoptic high over Greenland tends to also support synoptic lows over the ESAS and adjacent Siberia. If the continent is warm, and it’s warming very fast this year, those synoptic lows can hit the ice pretty hard.

      That pattern is not fully established. But to see it flare is a bit worrisome. What has been well established is strong heat influx and related storms coming in from Siberia to the ESAS, Laptev and Kara. The storms draw up warm air in their front sides. The related Ekman pumping can do quite a bit of damage and we already see a pretty softened ice pack all along the Russian side.

      The snow line is moving north rapidly as well. With El Nino coming and very high ocean heat content surrounding the Arctic. With the continents warming rapidly, especially Asia, this looks like a pretty strong set up for melt season.

      Working on assigning number variables for these factors. Might have to push chances for near ice free to 30%.

      In any case, the summer is shaping up to be a rather bad one.

    • And on the other side we have very rapid Bering Sea ice melt over the past four days… The longer I assess, the stronger the melt signal looks. This week has been pretty remarkable.

      • Phil

         /  April 19, 2014

        Thank you for your great response. Big falls still occurring – Wipneus AMSR2 analysis records a second day in a row of area declines greater than -200K. IJIS/JAXA results a bit lower but still relatively large – latest IJIS/JAXA results not out yet on the arctic sea ice blog.

        • It was a great question.

          I think the storm falls will wash out over the next few days. We’ll see how things wash out over the coming ten as temps in the Barents fall back somewhat closer to normal. The Kara looks rather warm over coming days. And those very high ocean temps are bound to remain a factor.

  3. The west coast of Norway (and city of Bergen where I am) will have an anomalously high temperature this coming week, with up to 18C. This is highly unusual this early in the spring.

    This year we have actually had a continuously warm winter and now spring as can be seen from the statistics here:

    Its normally around 5-6C here at this time of year, so 18C the coming week is at least 10C above the normal. No doubt the newspapers will write how spectacularly nice spring is without mentioning climate change in a single sentence…

    Will be interesting to follow the Arctic this year as it looks like it could be another blow on par with the record low considering that the PIOMAS has not really recovered and is already lower than the record 2012 minimum extent.

    • Those are some rather extraordinary high temperature departures since Dec. Is this comparable to any recent past years or is it a record warm winter?

      MSM is rather mild in its coverage of climate change, if it covers the issue at all.

  4. Tom

     /  April 19, 2014

    Reposted to NBL. A few clowns have come by there to propose some Wile E. Coyote type aerosol cloud making by nuclear submarines, oh wait – now it’s piezo-electric devices that make the tiny droplets and somehow they get sprayed way up into the atmosphere of the Arctic to create artificial clouds. [As if we have the energy to keep this up forever.]

    Thanks for your on-going reports Robert.

    • Low level clouds in the Arctic amplify long wave radiation. At the best, it’s a wash. My view is that these kinds of measures are a distraction from the real, tough work that would go to actually providing some chance of a long term solution (cutting emissions to zero or net negative and rapidly replacing the very harmful emissions sources with renewables).

      What’s worse is we have a variety of clowns pushing for Arctic methane extraction under the guise that this would somehow be better than just letting fitfully sleeping monsters lie. Very bad outcomes there. We have risk that a significant portion of this stuff will hit the atmosphere as methane through warming. By punching holes in the sediment cap that’s guaranteed. In addition, the burning adds yet more CO2. In all aspects we should probably assume that humans are a more efficient ghg delivery mechanism than nature could ever hope to be.

      At this point, any fossil fuel energy that does not reliably capture the entire carbon emission and does not provide secondary emissions through the extraction process is nonviable for any reasonable human future. And these same interests will talk a good game about CCS but they continue to present nothing of substance. So, without regulatory enforcement CCS is just another distraction.

      At least with renewables we have continuously falling costs and proven viability. So anything fossil fuel related is a complete nonstarter for me. The interests are untrustworthy, exploitative, manipulative, harmful to political systems, destructive and dominance focused. They continue to operate under a smoke screen of malinformation.

    • And best to you, Tom. I hope all is as well as it can be.

  5. Part One
    Disappearing Act

    Peru’s glaciers are melting at an incredible rate.

    What happens when your main source of water disappears?

  6. Aneto Glacier, Spain-Retreating and Disappearing

    April 17, 2014 at 9:17 pm · Filed under Glacier Observations ·Tagged Aneto Glacier melt, pyrenees glacier retreat, Spain glacier melt, Spain glacier retreat

    Aneto Glacier in the Pyrenees of Spain is listed as its largest glacier in a 1984 inventory. In 1984 the glacier had an area of 1.32 square kilometers and a length of 1.6 km (Serrat and Ventura, 2005). The glacier is located on the northeast side of Aneto Peak. The glacier is just a few kilometers from the rapidly retreating Maladeta Glacier. SOER (2010) indicate that more than 80% of the glacier area on the Maladeta-Aneto Massif was lost between 1984 and 2007.

  7. The Trouble With Rice

    For the past few years, Mary Lou Guerinot has been keeping watch over experimental fields in southeast Texas, monitoring rice plants as they suck metals and other troublesome elements from the soil.

    If the fields are flooded in the traditional paddy method, she has found, the rice handily takes up arsenic. But if the water is reduced in an effort to limit arsenic, the plant instead absorbs cadmium — also a dangerous element.

    “It’s almost either-or, day-and-night as to whether we see arsenic or cadmium in the rice,” said Dr. Guerinot, a molecular geneticist and professor of biology at Dartmouth College.

    The levels of arsenic and cadmium at the study site are not high enough to provoke alarm, she emphasized. Still, it is dawning on scientists like her that rice, one of the most widely consumed foods in the world, is also one of nature’s great scavengers of metallic compounds.

    • China says one-fifth of its farmland is polluted with toxic metals

      FACED with growing public anger about a poisonous environment, China’s government released a study that shows nearly one-fifth of the country’s farmland is contaminated with toxic metals, a stunning indictment of unfettered industrialisation under the Communist Party’s authoritarian rule.

      The report, previously deemed so sensitive it was classified as a state secret, names the heavy metals cadmium, nickel and arsenic as the top contaminants.

      It adds to widespread doubts about the safety of China’s farm produce and confirms suspicions about the dire state of its soil following more than two decades of explosive industrial growth, the overuse of farm chemicals and minimal environmental protection.

      • Yellowknife Mine Sits Atop A Lethal Store Of Arsenic

        A mine in the Northwest Territories sits atop a lethal store of arsenic that would be enough to kill every man, woman and child in the world, Vice reports.

        And a northern regulator wants to know precisely what will be done to keep it it from seeping out.

        Proponents of the Giant Mine Remediation Project aim to freeze 237,000 tonnes of arsenic trioxide dust stored in chambers under the mine in Yellowknife, N.W.T. in order to keep it from contaminating nearby water, says Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC).

      • This is what happens when you run an economy on hundreds of coal plants.

      • That and in a state where the environmental laws are woefully inadequate…

    • Well that is troublesome.

      • Yes , because it’s in the NWT , and all that ground is thawing . Notice their plan is to install permafrost thermosyphons. Which takes heat from the Earth, and places into the Atmosphere.

        The dust was a by-product of gold extraction that occurred at the mine from 1948 to 2004.

        Yet, another feed back loop.
        The greed of the modern world , which we did not create is about to bit us all in the ass.

        • I really don’t see the logic of these thermosyphons. If you take heat out of the permafrost and dump it into the air, relatively warmer weather will melt/thaw more permafrost or go to work melting something else.

          I’m constantly baffled by the amount of effort that goes into non solutions of slipshod half measures.

  8. .The dust being stored underground is dangerous. It’s made of 60 per cent arsenic, and the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry estimates that as little as 70 to 180 milligrams of the substance can kill a person.
    Multiply 237,000 by 60 per cent, convert that to milligrams, divide that number by 7 billion people and Vice’s estimates seem pretty astute

    • Climate Change is going flood the mine , and then flow into the Arctic Ocean.

      • The site is near sea level?

      • Andy (in San Diego)

         /  April 20, 2014


        It is not sea level, but is close to the level of great slave lake (If it’s the mine I am thinking of.). But it is very vulnerable, has been for many years, and has been a known issue for many years. The mine I am thinking of is NE of Yellowknife.

    • Andy (in San Diego)

       /  April 20, 2014


      That is not the only mine up there and that is business as usual.

      It is cheaper to dump stuff shipped up then return it if it is the wrong item.

      We would pour fuel directly into the river and on the ground from fuel barges.

      We would light the river / ground on fire to get rid of it.

      Anything hazardous is just dumped, everywhere.

      I worked in Pine Point (now a ghost town), a lead mine (yup, when people say jokingly “did you work in a lead mine”, I can say yes). What we dumped everywhere is unimaginable.

      There were many gold mines, lots of mercury, lots of arsenic. All dumped.

  9. Christoffer Ladstein

     /  April 19, 2014

    The Winter 2013/14 in Norway was ranked 3-4 in a modern time span, and at the west coast of Norway both the Winter of 88/89 & 89/90 was slightly warmer. Neverthless, the trend is for earlier onset of spring and Autumn seem to last “for ever”….Perfect conditions for moss to spread all over, just like in typical more warmer Places like Scotland & Ireland!
    BTW, thanks for a well written article! I’m regularly a frequent lurker over at Neven’s site & forum, and every spring is truly exciting, this year maybe even more!

    • Best to you, Christoffer and thanks for the context. TAIB is a fantastic forum and this year is certainly something worth watching. An unfolding if rather tragic drama.

      For those of you who haven’t taken a look at Neven’s amazing set of writing and resources just google The Arctic Sea Ice Blog or simply click the link I’ve set up on the sidebar. The community is full of sharp people who are very well informed when it comes to current sea ice trends.

  10. Andy (in San Diego)

     /  April 20, 2014

    If you look at this list of Famines, one thing that strikes me immediately is the duration of them. Most are 1 or 2 years long, lots of people perished.

    In the modern world we have a longer “fuse”, but it’s not as long as we think. In the less developed parts, the 1 to 2 year “fuse” appears appropriate from a historical context.

    • We’re still expanding land use for agriculture (deforestation). According to massive amounts of crops planted, we should have had a record crop this year. But because of drought we may end up with less than last year.

      The UN has a strong food program to prevent and mitigate famine at this time. That said, there are some pretty severe challenges. 2011-2012 drought and land use (foreign countries buying African land for farms) resulted in famine in Africa. We’re teetering at the edge of a similar situation now. Might be a near miss. Might not. Strong El Niño will not be helpful.

      • Andy (in San Diego)

         /  April 20, 2014

        I can see a reduction of donations to the UN effort over time. Yup, look at Saudi Arabia using Sudan & Ethiopia for growing food while the local populous tries to survive. That combo can cause revolution (resentment).

        • Ownership of another country’s land for the express purpose of food export in regions prone to hunger is not likely to end well. Unrest, chronic hunger in the local population or both.

          The UN program, for now, is well funded.

      • Burgundy

         /  April 20, 2014

        Then there is also disease linked to climate change:

        Wheat rust: The fungal disease that threatens to destroy the world crop

        “Scientists are warning that wheat is facing a serious threat from a fungal disease that could wipe out the world’s crop if not quickly contained. Wheat rust, a devastating disease known as the “polio of agriculture”, has spread from Africa to South and Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe, with calamitous losses for the world’s second most important grain crop, after rice. There is mounting concern at the dangers posed to global food security.”

  11. Hey Rob,
    This is not the right place to post it, but Ron on shared this documentary. It is very interesting.

    • OK. I watched it.

      In my view, not much that’s new.

      1. Conventional oil growth is stagnant and precarious.
      2. Unconventional will continue to grow but is constrained by high investment requirements and serious barriers to increasing the price of oil above 120 to 150 $ per barrel range.
      3. Despite these constraints, there is more than enough unconventional oil to keep slowly eking out net production gains for at least the next few years and probably to 2020.
      4. Generally, the 4 trillion spent on maintaining legacy production and the 2.5 trillion spent on unconventional production would have been better spent transitioning away from oil and building economic structures based on renewables like wind and solar as well as fostering rapid adoption of vehicle to grid technology.
      5. Instead we have a sunk investment in a dirty, dangerous, and depleting resource with little to show other than rising costs, higher levels of environmental damage, and an economically destructive supply constrained energy base.
      6. Finally, the continued attachment to oil and related fossil fuels continues to vastly reduce human prospects by pushing global climate systems toward and beyond irreversible tipping points. Over the period since 2005, we have seen hundreds of billions of dollars in extreme weather related damages associated with climate change, an increasing number of nations in exes rental crisis due to climate change, and a vast reduction in the world’s food security due to an epidemic of droughts and water shortages related to climate change.
      7. Peak conventional oil in 2007 represented an opportunity to transition away from oil. Overall, this is a opportunity we didn’t take and we are worse off for it.
      8. Finally, the economic ‘plight’ of the oil companies painted by this analyst is well overblown. Many of these companies remain among the most profitable and influential in the world. In general, the fall and break up of these companies would be a positive development, should it occur.
      10. Lastly, peak oil is certainly survivable. Burning all the world’s fossil fuels is almost certainly not survivable. So if there’s a crisis here, it’s not in the declining ease of access to fossil fuels, but in the fact that we continue to use them at all.

      • Mark from New England

         /  April 20, 2014

        As someone steeped in peak oil back before the days of fracking – this is an excellent summation of the current state of affairs relative to oil supply and climate change.

      • james cole

         /  April 21, 2014

        I think this was your key statement, and it also acts as a proof that we can afford to exit fossil fuels rapidly, if the great power of fossil fuel corporations over political leaders could be broken. But, as I was often told in the military, “if” is the biggest word in the dictionary! “4. Generally, the 4 trillion spent on maintaining legacy production and the 2.5 trillion spent on unconventional production would have been better spent transitioning away from oil and building economic structures based on renewables like wind and solar as well as fostering rapid adoption of vehicle to grid technology.”
        Also, today I saw a short program on RT called “The Truth Seeker” about a ten minute piece by a journalist, a British guy, whom RT puts on a few times a month. Today he went on an epic rant about the threats of global warming, the proofs that it is real and a long exposure of Fossil Fuel Corporations power over Main Stream Media and the entire US Political System. He points out that average Americans are not getting the urgent news on climate science they need, and that corporate power over media and politicians is why they are not getting it. Given the state of evidence, we see media working to put Americans to sleep and to divert and subvert the evidence that Global Warming is moving into a stage that openly threatens billions of people.

        • I spent a good deal of time as a military intelligence analyst and I have yet to see a more well executed campaign of psychological and information warfare than the stuff that comes out of the fossil fuel industry’s media, PR, and political campaigns. Without it, we would have likely responded 20 to 30 years ago. Now we are staring a very destructive future climate in the face and we have the albatross of those trillions in malinvestment pulling us ever deeper into the abyss.

          Oil funded organizations like Heartland and AEI directly influence and fund a raft of prominent media outlets, news outlets, entertainment outlets, journalists and bloggers. Climate change denial commenters read from a set script, endlessly repeating the same garbage. In cases, the commenters arrive in coordinated swarms that in all ways mimic paid political and promotional web campaigns.

          Misinformation, promotion of fake crises and malinformation abound. In addition, industry manipulation of public perception of valid crises, as in those relating to resource scarcity, is ongoing in an effort to draw attention away from climate change.

          The campaigns promoting the use of poisonous lead in gasoline or to cast doubt on the lethality of cigarettes were minor when you compare them to the vast influence wielded by fossil fuel companies.

          All that said, the industry has its limits and decent information does get through from time to time. But when it does, it is often coated in the comfortable tone of normalcy. So what signal does get through all the interference is vastly muted or comes through in the form of special presentations to niche audiences.

          Change is coming, though. Change is coming.

      • Burgundy

         /  April 21, 2014

        James, I think it is more complicated than bad corporations corrupting good politicians. Politicians do not run countries, the Deep State runs them. One definition of the Deep State by the New York Times is: “A hard-to-perceive level of government or super-control that exists regardless of elections and that may thwart popular movements or radical change”. My own view is that this is systemic and stems from the need for systems continuity regardless of external influences (eg. changing governments and political flavours of the day) and is a subsystem within the larger global system of Technological Civilisation (a self-referencing and self-organising system).

        The Deep State forms symbiotic relationships with other systems, institutions, organisations and social groups as fellow travellers. Those that are essential to the Deep State become assimilated into it, such as the military, intelligence services, key industries, etc. The Deep State runs according to its own criteria and internal dynamics regardless of whether the Nation is a Kingdom, Republic, Democracy or a Dictatorship and overrules any changes that are not in its interests. Hence why elected leaders always end up doing the same old same despite their election promises to do otherwise. So it is utterly futile to look to elected governments to make the changes people want to see, a case of hope over experience. Change only comes when it becomes necessary to the Deep State’s security and advancement.

        Change is happening, the cogs are turning, but not in the way most people envisage that change should occur. Alternate energies, for example, are being implemented into the energy mix, the notion of geoengineering is being fed into public perceptions through the various propaganda dissemination pathways. But, at this point in time fossil fuels are essential to the Deep State and their use will not be reduced in a manner that damages the System. However, climate change will at some point become a greater threat than reducing fossil fuel usage and the pace of change will accelerate. Trouble is the cure will be almost as bad as the disease and entail great sacrifice and suffering (the Deep State will willingly sacrifice millions of people if it deems it to be necessary to its objectives. History is littered with such events).

        Change is definitely coming, prepare for it.

  12. Phil

     /  April 20, 2014

    Further comments and speculation on the arctic sea ice blog of the potential for weather events to have big impacts on sea ice area and volume now out to a ten day period. While that is a fair way out in terms of weather forecasts, it seems like ‘interesting’ times are possible over the next week to ten days.

    Also looks like extent is now second lowest only behind 2004 for 19 April on IJIS/JAXA.

    • I saw. Dropped in as Robert Marston to get their thoughts. My opinion is that we are likely to see more rapid melt as the Greenland high develops.

    • Phil

       /  April 22, 2014

      IJIS/JAXA area also now down to second lowest for 21 April following falls of 195K and 185k. However, not expected to get to the lowest over the next couple of days at least with slight net increase estimated for Tuesday and Wednesday period apparently.

      Also recently saw that the latest weekly C02 value at Mauna Loa was apparently up 4.01 ppm compared to a year ago which seems above the expected rate of increase.

  13. Climate changes visible by ZIP code with new online tools

    With the marking of Earth Day on Tuesday, “Surging Seas” is part of a new generation of free user-friendly tools, made possible by dramatic improvements in computing power and data availability, that show how local climates are changing as global temperatures rise. Another one, launched in February, allows people anywhere to see deforestation, which exacerbates global warming, in real time.

    “It’s groundbreaking,” says Crystal Davis of World Resources Institute, a non-profit research group based in Washington, D.C. It spent more than two years working with Google and more than 40 other partners to build “Global Forest Watch.”

    “It wasn’t possible to do this even a few years ago.”

    This tool reveals how much tree coverage has been lost — or, in same places, gained —each year since 2000. Worldwide, it shows that nearly 900,000 square miles of tree cover has disappeared in those 13 years, the equivalent of losing 50 soccer fields’ worth of forest every minute.


    • Andy (in San Diego)

       /  April 21, 2014

      900,000 sq miles ~= (France + California + Texas + Germany). That is roughly 70,000 acres/day. Or ~ 109 sq miles/day. With population increase and emboldened humans I suspect this is not a linear progression.

      “Forests precede civilizations and deserts follow them”
      The Human Situation: Lectures at Santa Barbara, 1959
      Aldous Huxley

      • Mark from New England

         /  April 21, 2014

        What a tragic situation. It also shows how prescient Aldous Huxley was, though he just needed to look at the Greek or Roman Empires, and the deforestation that advanced with European settlement of North America.

        It also makes me appreciate our regrown forests and the relative wilderness of the White Mountains (NH), Green Mountains (VT) and Maine even more. These forested areas are refugia for many animal and bird species that have become extirpated in the more urbanized areas of the Boston – Washington DC corridor.

  14. Atmospheric boundary layer exacerbated mega heat waves
    The extreme nature of the heat waves of 2003 in Western Europe and of 2010 in Russia and Eastern Europe even surprised scientists at the time. NWO Veni researcher Ryan Teuling from Wageningen University says that the extreme temperatures can be explained by the interaction between dry soils with the atmospheric boundary layer – the lowest part of the atmosphere. The role of this boundary layer has received too little attention in studies using existing weather models, he claims in Nature Geoscience.

    Read more at:Link

  15. Over the winter, a series of powerful storms swept across the UK, resulting in coastal areas being battered by high waves and storm surges.

    The Met Office said it was England’s wettest winter on record, leaving saturated river systems struggling to cope with the deluge.

    “We closed the Thames Barrier 50 times between December and the middle of March,” explained Environment Agency director of strategy and investment Pete Fox.

    “That is a quarter of all the times the barrier has been closed since it came into operation in 1983. That gives you a sense of how unprecedented the winter was.

    • The UK can be well compared to a castle under siege. Unfortunately, the North Atlantic is just starting to wake up. So future years are likely to see even more extreme events.

  16. Cape Cod sighting of rare whale raises concerns

    The bowhead whale that was spotted in 2012 off the coast of Cape Cod has been seen again in Cape Cod Bay — the farthest south that the species has ever been documented — prompting excitement and concern among researchers.

    The Cape Cod presence of the bowhead whale, which normally inhabits the Arctic Ocean and far northern parts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, raises profound questions about how whales are adapting to a changing environment in the world’s oceans.


  17. Quoting 456. StormTrackerScott:
    Lots of warming occurring now across nino 1&2 and should go positive in the next day or 2 and might reach El-nino levels this time next week.

  18. I see the ice extent on Cryosphere Today has made a substantial fall this past week very close to a record minimum for this date and certainly this week if it continues at this rate.

    • We’re probably at a new record low now. Waiting for today’s numbers. Satellite shows pretty severe breakage and losses ongoing.

  19. Climate trends in the Arctic as observed from space


    The Arctic is a region in transformation. Warming in the region has been amplified, as expected from ice‐albedo feedback effects, with the rate of warming observed to be ∼0.60 ± 0.07°C/decade in the Arctic (>64°N) compared to ∼0.17°C/decade globally during the last three decades. This increase in surface temperature is manifested in all components of the cryosphere. In particular, the sea ice extent has been declining at the rate of ∼3.8%/decade, whereas the perennial ice (represented by summer ice minimum) is declining at a much greater rate of ∼11.5%/decade. Spring snow cover has also been observed to be declining by −2.12%/decade for the period 1967–2012. The Greenland ice sheet has been losing mass at the rate of ∼34.0 Gt/year (sea level equivalence of 0.09 mm/year) during the period from 1992 to 2011, but for the period 2002–2011, a higher rate of mass loss of ∼215 Gt/year has been observed. Also, the mass of glaciers worldwide declined at the rate of 226 Gt/year from 1971 to 2009 and 275 Gt/year from 1993 to 2009. Increases in permafrost temperature have also been measured in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere while a thickening of the active layer that overlies permafrost and a thinning of seasonally frozen ground has also been reported. To gain insight into these changes, comparative analysis with trends in clouds, albedo, and the Arctic Oscillation is also presented.


  20. El Nino’s Arrival Seen by All Models, Australian Bureau Says (3)

    An El Nino will probably start as soon as July, according to the Australian government forecaster, strengthening predictions for the event that can affect weather patterns worldwide and roil commodity prices.

    All the climate models surveyed indicated that an El Nino was likely this year, with six of seven models suggesting that thresholds for the event may be exceeded as early as July, the Bureau of Meteorology said in a statement today. A warming of the Pacific Ocean, which drives the changes by affecting the atmosphere above it, will probably continue in the coming months, the Melbourne-based bureau said.


  21. Mark from New England

     /  April 22, 2014

    Naomi Klein article on the psychological obstacles to addressing climate change:

    The Change Within: The Obstacles We Face Are Not Just External
    The climate crisis has such bad timing, confronting it not only requires a new economy but a new way of thinking.

    • Mark from New England / April 22, 2014

      Naomi nails it.

    • From the article:

      “This deeply unfortunate mistiming has created all sorts of barriers to our ability to respond effectively to this crisis. It has meant that corporate power was ascendant at the very moment when we needed to exert unprecedented controls over corporate behavior in order to protect life on earth. It has meant that regulation was a dirty word just when we needed those powers most. It has meant that we are ruled by a class of politicians who know only how to dismantle and starve public institutions, just when they most need to be fortified and reimagined. And it has meant that we are saddled with an apparatus of “free trade” deals that tie the hands of policy-makers just when they need maximum flexibility to achieve a massive energy transition.”

      Very well done…

  22. Actually, Naomi is a living breathing example of the fact that we can’t possibly change, or she wouldn’t have decided upon the absolutely most carbon-intensive behavior possible, which is to reproduce.

  23. The Weather Channel ran a story this morning about Wichita Falls, Texas building a recycling plant to treat their sewer water , and dump it back into their source .

    Wichita Falls looks for other sources of water

    Wichita Falls is still waiting for state approval to begin tapping its supply of treated wastewater, but this city 100 miles northwest of Fort Worth is already thinking about what comes next.

    If it gets approval to recapture and recycle 5 million gallons of effluent, Wichita Falls believes the city will have about a two year supply of water if the drought doesn’t let up.

    So that is forcing this city of 104,000 to study where it would go for water if the lake levels at its three reservoirs — Lake Arrowhead, Lake Kickapoo and Lake Kemp — keep dropping. The lakes are close to plummeting to a combined capacity of 25 percent, which will prompt the city to declare a drought catastrophe and impose Stage 5 water restrictions.

    Read more here: Link

  24. Coffee Surges to Highest in 26 Months on Global Supply Outlook

    Volcafe Ltd. today cut its outlook for the country’s output of arabica beans in the season starting this year by 18 percent to 28.4 million bags. The global coffee harvest, which includes the robusta variety, will fall short of demand by 11 million bags, according to the firm, a unit of commodity trader ED&F Man Holdings Ltd.

    Arabica prices surged more than 90 percent this year after the worst drought in decades scorched Brazilian crops earlier this year. Now, excess rain threatens to slow the nation’s harvest and reduce crop quality, Somar Meteorologia said today. Volcafe’s reduction in the crop outlook means the firm is now estimating a global deficit that’s about the size of production in Colombia, the second-largest supplier of arabica beans, favored by Starbucks Corp.

    “If that really proves to be true, and we see a deficit in 2014-15 of about 11 million bags, that would really be bullish.”

  25. The first thing I ever followed on the web was B-15 , with my mothers dial-up connection and those stupid search engines. I had given her my Apple IIC in 1994 , and she when on the web a couple of years later with it. She was a genealogist , they were some of the first adopters . E-mail was real revolution to a genealogist. I used to give her stamps for Christmas, to contact her friends, by 1998 when I saw her next, her postal bill had fallin’ to next to nothing.

    But there was no rich web as we know it . Then 2 years later B-15 broke off , I heard about on the “news” . It was the size of Delaware.
    I looked it up on my mother’s dial-up and my old Apple.

    That ice berg”s daughters still roam the Southern Ocean.

    B-37 just moved into Southern Ocean off the Pine Island Glacier. It grounded for several weeks , then it took off from Antarctica.

    I watch the Earth pretty closely .

    • You’re one of the best observers out there, my friend. All the moreso because your heart’s really in it.

      I must see time in longer scales than is typical. 1994 doesn’t seem so long ago to me. I was also using an Apple as a college student at Flagler in St. Augustine. One year before Opel slammed into the pan handle of FL and I got called up for another relief mission.


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