Sea Ice Testing New Record Lows as Heat Wave Invades Northwest Territories

For 2015, it looks as if Arctic sea ice is sitting in some rather hot water.

For from the Chukchi to the Beaufort to Hudson Bay to Baffin Bay and on into the Kara, the edge region of the Arctic Ocean is feeling a very strong melt pressure during early May of 2015. And, according to 7-10 day forecasts, that melt pressure will only intensify. As a result, we could see new record lows for Arctic sea ice extent over the next few days.

Early Melt for the Chukchi and Beaufort

Arctic warming is now particularly intense along a broad region running from coastal Alaska through to the Mackenzie Delta and on into the northwestern portion of the Canadian Archipelago. It’s an area that typically waits until at least June to melt. But, this year, sea ice recession, break-up and opening of large polynyas for this far northern area is occurring almost in tandem with melt in more southerly regions like Hudson Bay.

For both the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas are continuing an early melt that began in March and has proceeded on to this day.

Chukchi melt may 11

(Chukchi Sea north of the Bering Strait showing early melt and break-up on May 11, 2015. Image source: LANCE-MODIS.)

In the image above we can see the MODIS satellite shot for the Chukchi Sea region on May 11, 2015. Note both the fractured nature of sea ice, the ice edge retreat that has already progressed well past the Bering Strait (a retreat far beyond a steadily retreating average extent line), and the very large polynya advancing into the Chukchi along the northern edge of Alaska.

It’s a melt that has been spurred by powerful southerly air flows and wind-driven currents issuing from the Bering Sea and Pacific Ocean to the south. There, a cluster of storms continued to back up and deflect northward toward the Arctic as powerful high pressure ridges remained entrenched over a pool of record warm water in the Northwestern Pacific.

Beaufort melt may 11

(Beaufort Sea ice near Mackenzie Delta showing advanced signs of break-up on May 11 of 2015. Image source: LANCE-MODIS.)

These same ridges are driving warm air up over the western region of the North American Continent. This flood of warm air has persistently invaded the Northwest Territory of Canada, forcing an early melt of the Mackenzie River. The heat has also frequently invaded the southern Beaufort Sea. The result is that the sea ice there is greatly fractured and that a large polynya dominates a wide area bordering Alaska, the Mackenzie Delta, and the Canadian Archipelago.

This polynya extends about 650 miles, has a width ranging from 15 to 80 miles and stretches 250 miles into the Canadian Archipelago between the Northwest Territory mainland and Banks and Victoria Islands. Many hundreds of miles to the north and east of this large polynya, is a mess of fractured ice rippling out through the Beaufort Sea. A massive disassociated ice flow that belies great general weakness for sea ice in the region.

Risk of Rapid Melt

As melt season progresses, these wide, dark areas of open ocean will serve to trap the radiant heat of 24 hour sunlight. The expansive stretches will generate swells that tear away at the surrounding ice. Already fractured ice flows will retain far less integrity than the contiguous, and far thicker, ice of years past. These combined factors set up conditions that can greatly enhance and speed the rate of ice loss as the spring advances into summer.

Arctic Sea Ice Extent May11

(NSIDC shows sea ice extent at second lowest on record for May 11, 2015. Rate of decline implies a plunge toward the 2006 record low line. Image source: NSIDC.)

This risk is particularly relevant when we consider that sea ice extent measures were at record low values throughout about half of March and for brief periods during early April. Currently, sea ice extent is at its second lowest level on record. A value that is now rapidly plunging toward the record low line set in 2006. Any continuation of the current rate of decline would bring the extent measure into new record low territory over the next few days.

A weekly continuation of this trend could push extent values far into record low territory, further worsening sea ice prospects for the broader 2015 melt season.

GFS 7 day Arctic Warmth

(7 day forecast shows Arctic heatwave building through the Northwest Territory. Image source: Climate Reanalyzer.)

To this point, 7 day forecasts predict a massive warm-up building over Alaska and the Northwest Territory through May 19th. Temperatures over land in this area are expected to build into the 70s and low 80s. This extreme warmth, in the range of 10-20 Celsius above average (18 to 36 Fahrenheit), will stretch all the way to Arctic Ocean shores off the back of a ridiculously resilient ridge in the Jet Stream. A ridge that has persisted, off and on, for much of the past three years. Above freezing temps will pulse out from the ridge to cover most of the Chukchi and almost all of the Beaufort — adding melt pressure to already fragile sea ice conditions for that region.

Links:

LANCE-MODIS

NSIDC

Climate Reanalyzer

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75 Comments

  1. eric smith

     /  May 12, 2015

    Looks like this is it. Welcome to the New Age

    Reply
  2. Loni

     /  May 12, 2015

    “10-20 Celsius above average……” WOW!

    Robert, has there been a reactivation of the Northwest Territory fires of recent years? These boreal forests are just going to explode this summer, I suspect.

    Something to watch.

    Reply
    • Thin wisps of smoke visible in the satellite shot. No large blazes yet. But the region is primed for it.

      Reply
      • danabanana

         /  May 13, 2015

        Regarding fires. It will be interesting to see if the smoke has any effect in dampening the melt in june/july. There has been a slow down in melting over those months in the last couple of melt seasons and many still debate whether the smoke from tundra/arctic fires has a cooling or warming effect.

        Reply
      • Dana

        The fires are a double edged sword. Black and brown carbon reduces albedo. That said, some of the aerosols from the fires scatter sunlight. In addition, cloud particulate combined with enhanced moisture due to warming increases precipitation in the region. And, long term, it’s an addition to atmospheric carbon loading (methane and CO2).

        My opinion is that the ice behaves stepwise, with each new tier providing its own homeostatic resistance as the various feedbacks and forcings fight it out. Given the accumulation of greenhouse gasses, the issue of new record is not a matter of if, but when.

        But there are quite a lot of things going on here that can wag the Arctic ice dog, not the least of which is increasing Greenland outflow volume, which would tend to preserve sea ice, at least in the region near Greenland. Larger outflows might even result is a bit of sea ice rebound, but that would depend on overall Arctic response to current warming (albedo, carbon, aerosol, ocean currents, water vapor loading etc).

        To this point, we have fires now igniting in northern BC and in sections of Siberia. Not gigantic fires as yet. But large enough to be disturbing. Worth noting that the trans Baikal fires that began in April are still burning. They basically never stopped.

        Reply
    • Andy in San Diego

       /  May 13, 2015

      Loni,

      There was reduced snowfall, and the melt comes early now. That can help lay the groundwork for the fire season.

      Agreed, something to watch (both NWT & Russia).

      Reply
    • wili

       /  May 13, 2015

      “we have fires now igniting in northern BC and in sections of Siberia.” Any links on those?

      Reply
  3. rob de laet

     /  May 12, 2015

    Robert, thanks for your great insights and hard work to keep us informed about our halting planetary airconditioner. Do you want to give a hunch feeling about the trend this year (with el Nino also releasing a lot of heat from the Pacific) or is it to early.

    Reply
    • El Niño would typically strengthen the storm track which would shut down heat transfer to the Arctic for a brief period. That heat would then come back as a new wave in the 1-2 year timeframe.

      That said, the current distribution of heat anomalies in the Pacific point toward a continued transfer into the Arctic thus far. Not usual, but if you have a teleconnection between El Niño and Arctic warming, then all bets are off.

      It’s worth noting that we are proceeding along the record low extent line for 3-4 months now. If this continues, we are at risk of seeing record lows by end season.

      An increase in cloudiness by mid to late May and into June could shut down some of the melt ponding, as has been the case in recent years, which may put a damper on melt rates. Not seeing that yet, though.

      Reply
      • rob de laet

         /  May 13, 2015

        wow, impressed by the detailed depth of your knowledge, thank you for sharing!

        Reply
  4. Ouse M.D.

     /  May 12, 2015

    What has me really worried is these huge cracks right in the middle of the ice sheet:

    https://earthdata.nasa.gov/labs/worldview/?p=arctic&l=MODIS_Aqua_CorrectedReflectance_TrueColor(hidden),MODIS_Terra_CorrectedReflectance_TrueColor,Reference_Labels(hidden),Reference_Features(hidden),Coastlines&t=2015-05-12&v=-2551808,-669696,69632,1175552

    Reply
  5. Tsar Nicholas

     /  May 12, 2015

    Courtesy of Robin Westenra I see that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology is reporting that we are in the early stages of an El Nino.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/

    Reply
  6. Robert, thanks so much for keeping us informed!

    Reply
  7. PCCP82

     /  May 12, 2015

    this seems like the worst possible timing to have this occur.

    Reply
  8. 051215
    Thanks for the very newsworthy post, Robert.

    Re: “… A value that is now rapidly plunging toward the record low line set in 2006.”

    It was in 2006-07 that weather conditions began a rapid and dramatic change in Santa Barbara, CA. (Lat. 24 N aprox.) This coincides with low Arctic ice at that time.

    Since then those, and similar, conditions have moved considerably North in latitude. Conditions include easing of the NW wind, polar jet stream, extreme warm dry weather, loss of snowpack, and changes in E. Pac. ocean upwelling — to name a few. (I Don’t know how the RRR was doing in 2006 — but it will have an impact on how events unfold now.)

    North America/Northern Hemisphere was in much better shape in 2006-07. There is very little robustness left to absorb the extremes that may follow more extreme low ice events.

    OUT

    Reply
    • Good thoughts, DT. I often wonder how 2006 helped to set up 2007 and the extreme ice loss years that followed. Early melt may have played a role as the ice ‘remembers’ its wounds season to season. Looking at the NH atmospherics, that was about the time when Jet Stream issues started really becoming apparent.

      Reply
  9. Robert, do you think we have a chance of a blue ocean in the arctic this year? As you point out in the post, this entire melt season has been fluctuating between record and near record lows. I noticed that the record 2012 melt season wasn’t very remarkable until about mid June, when the melting really took off. Will all that heat that has revealed itself in the North Pacific find a way into the Arctic? Or could it be a catalyst for heat and storms to be delivered into the Arctic, diverted by the ridiculously resilient ridge perhaps? Will the current El Niño have some effect on the rest of the melt season? Whatever the case, thank you for a great post…as always!

    Reply
    • I would still describe that possibility as low. If we are in another warm winter/spring but summer cool phase, then no. But if we hit late May and June with widespread snow melt and ponding upon the ice, then I’d push the chances higher. So temps in the Beaufort through to the high Arctic will weigh heavily over the next 6-7 weeks.

      The abnormal weakness in the Beaufort and Chukchi ice packs this year and the consistent influx of warm air to that region threaten to push a snow melt front up through the Beaufort over then next seven days. The albedo loss at top of ice would then set the stage for later advancement of ponding into the more central regions. For that to happen, though, we end up not getting this cooler switch we’ve seen during June over the past two years.

      If we do get the warming and widespread ponding, chances for a new record low take a big jump. And given the fact that ice is so relatively weak, we cannot entirely rule out a blue ocean event. But that is still a bit of an outside potential. My general opinion is that we get 1-3 more record lows before the blue oceans set in.

      Reply
  10. Water Theft Becomes Common Consequence of Ongoing California Drought

    With the state of California mired in its fourth year of drought and a mandatory 25 percent reduction in water usage in place, reports of water theft have become common.

    In April, The Associated Press reported that huge amounts of water went missing from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and a state investigation was launched.
    … The AP reported in February that a number of homeowners in Modesto, California, were fined $1,500 for allegedly taking water from a canal. In another instance, thieves in the town of North San Juan stole hundreds of gallons of water from a fire department tank.

    “This is the drought of the century, with greater impact than anything our parents and grandparents experienced, and we have to act accordingly,” said Felicia Marcus, Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board in a news release.
    http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/stealing-water-california-drought/46978449

    Reply
  11. Colorado Bob

     /  May 13, 2015

    New national database of UK coastal flooding

    Elizabeth Bradshaw, data scientist at the British Oceanographic Data Centre, says: “Was the 2013/14 season unusual? Yes, very much so. Seven out of the 96 events in the 100-year database occurred during the 2013-14 storm surge season. Two of the events (5 and 6 December 2013 and 3 January 2014) are ranked in the top ten, in terms of height of sea levels. Both of these events also rank highly in terms of spatial footprints, i.e. they impacted very large stretches of the UK coast.”

    Robert Nicholls, Professor of Coastal Engineering at the University of Southampton, adds: “The fact that the damage was so limited during the December 2013 and January 2014 storms, compared to the tragedy of January 1953, during which 307 people were killed along the UK’s North Sea coast, is thanks to significant government investment in coastal defences, flood forecasting and sea level monitoring. It is therefore vital we continue to invest in defences, forecasting and monitoring and continue to update this new database.”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150512090723.htm

    Reply
  12. More bad news for Washington’s drought

    “Worst snow drought we’ve ever seen,” said Scott Pattee, the water supply specialist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    The enemy is warmer temperatures, said Pattee.

    On Monday Pattee said several regions around the state report no detectable snow, such as the mountains in the Central Puget Sound basin below 5,000 feet, and the one station that saw snow over the Olympic Mountains on May 5 now detects nothing.

    In a place named Cox Valley, where there should be 80 inches of snow on the ground, there is nothing but a new crop of wildflowers coming up, said Pattee.

    For the west side of the state one critical worry point is river flows that are seeing record lows for this date. The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, which operates a number of hatcheries, says it’s forming contingency plans for low water, says department spokesman Darren Friedel.

    http://www.king5.com/story/tech/science/environment/2015/05/11/drought-news/27147919/

    Reply
  13. Andy in San Diego

     /  May 13, 2015

    DT,

    From other thread, yes I remember when the NDP won BC around 1970. They were quite new at the time and I remember folks not knowing what to expect.

    I remember the Fraser Valley quite well from the 70’s & early 80’s. I lived for a few years in Langley and would drive up towards Hope on the weekends through the farms. It shounds like the farms are being replaced?

    Aldergrove was all farm back then, but then so was Surrey.

    Reply
  14. Colorado Bob

     /  May 13, 2015

    I am reminded of the stunts at the end of the 19th century where two locomotives on the same track, were crashed into each other, for the benefit of the paying public.

    Reply
  15. Colorado Bob

     /  May 13, 2015

    Florida Has its Warmest April on Record.

    Record heat in Florida, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.
    According to NOAA, April 2015 was the hottest April on record at both Miami and Fort Lauderdale, and the second hottest at West Palm Beach and Naples. Almost every day in April had warmer-than-normal temperatures, with no more than three days of cooler-than-normal temperatures at any of the main climate sites. The heat peaked on April 26 with the hottest day in southeast Florida in almost six years, when high temperatures reached the mid to upper 90s at official recording stations all across the area. One official station at Royal Palm Ranger Station in the Everglades hit 100 degrees, the first time this has happened in South Florida in the month of April. The heat was even more impressive in nearby Cuba, where Havana set its all-time temperature record that same day with a sizzling 37.0°C (98.6°F); Holguin had the second-highest temperature ever recorded anywhere in Cuba: 38.7°C (101.6°F). The main cause of the April heat was a persistent and strong high pressure area which not only brought warm, subtropical air into the region but kept cold fronts from making southward progress down the state. April’s weather was more like what normally occurs in June, and the hot and windless conditions helped warm up the waters where Tropical Storm Ana formed, leading to the 2nd earliest landfalling tropical storm in recorded U.S. history.

    Remarkable heat also affected the Caribbean during the last week of April, with San Juan, Puerto Rico setting daily record highs on six consecutive days, April 25 – 30. This ties their record for most consecutive days with a record high, set June 21 – 26, 1983. San Juan hit 94°F four times during the last week of April; prior to this April there were only twelve times in recorded history that the temperature hit 94 or above in April (including two readings of 95 and one of 97.)

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2985#commenttop

    Reply
  16. Colorado Bob

     /  May 13, 2015

    Antarctica’s Ice Attacked from Above and Below

    One of the fastest-warming places on the planet, the Antarctic Peninsula, has lost two massive ice shelves in the past 20 years: the Larsen A and the Larsen B. Each floating tongue of ice disappeared in a matter of weeks.

    No one knows for sure why the ice shelves collapsed, but a new study finds the remaining Larsen C ice shelf is melting from more than just toasty air. This ice shelf is also disappearing due to warming in the ocean, scientists reported today (May 12) in the journal The Cryosphere.

    Link

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  May 13, 2015

      RS –

      Read this link …………………..

      First, air escaped from the old snow layer on top of the ice. This old snow, called firn, has tiny, permeable air pockets that help it insulate the ice underneath like a down comforter. In summer, meltwater can trickle down through the snow like syrup through a frozen treat. The firn loses thickness when it melts down, and the air is lost. If the firn freezes into ice, meltwater ponds on the surface and absorbs sunlight and heat, driving further melting.

      The Larsen B had completely lost the air in its firn layer before the shelf’s catastrophic collapse in 2002, Holland said.

      Reply
      • Snow loss sets up irreversible ice loss.

        Here we have a predictor for ice shelf and possibly ice sheet collapse. Good measure to have. The process is rather grim to look at, though. There’s a certain point where structural integrity loss becomes irreversible and, in itself, sets up collapse. We knew this intuitively. But looking at the mechanism’s brutal simplicity is not at all comforting.

        Reply
  17. Andy in San Diego

     /  May 13, 2015

    I’ve seen zero coverage of this on our side of the Pacific. A lot of coverage regarding drought in Asia out there. And we’re not into the depths of an El Nino yet.

    Destructive Drought Cuts Swathe Through Thailand Agricultural Sector

    A little more than three years after a flood of seemingly biblical proportions cut a destructive swathe through its agricultural and manufacturing industries the Thailand agricultural sector is again under threat, this time from drought.

    Since late last year farmers in the north of the country have been warning (and been warned) of water shortages, up to six months earlier than normal, with one village headman at the time saying rivers were running dry.

    http://www.establishmentpost.com/destructive-drought-cuts-swathe-thailand-agricultural-sector/

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  May 13, 2015

      “As system nears a tipping point , it tends to swing to the extremes.”

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  May 13, 2015

        See Texas today , the worst dry spell in history spell over 4 years. , and wettest month when we are done.

        It’s raining like hell in Texas.
        “As system nears a tipping point , it tends to swing to the extremes.”

        Reply
    • That’s consistent with El Niño + climate change. Also does not bode well for strength of Indian monsoon. But, yeah, it seems Thailand can be added to Syria drought and São Paulo drought as big things mainstream media just ignores. If it’s not happening in the U.S., might as well not be happening at all.

      Reply
    • rustj2015

       /  May 13, 2015

      A long article with several threads, but important with regard to acting on what we know:
      Climate Change, Militarism, Neoliberalism and the State
      https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/climate-change-militarism-neoliberalism-and-the-state/

      Reply
  18. Andy in San Diego

     /  May 13, 2015

    Worldwide drought risk map. Click for the full view.

    Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  May 13, 2015

    The Earth has lost it’s down jacket from heat . And heat can travel into places we never dreamed of , That bog story from the Siberian Times I posted below is prime example. When I was young man, snow would have shielded the bogs from the sun until June, now it’s melt is a month earlier.

    And it’s not just there, we see this at extreme altitudes , and at latitudes.

    The insulation that is snow is being melted off earlier and earlier. And snow has a very weak defense against rising air temps.

    This is real feed back loop.

    The lost of insulation from snow pack. And they are getting darker every spring from soot and dust, I don’t think this is in the models.

    More feed backs

    Snow did more than we dreamed of , it gave us water, but it’s real job was to save ice . Those days are gone forever, over along time ago.

    Reply
  20. Andy in YKD

     /  May 13, 2015

    Arctic ice now lowest ever for this date, and by the looks of the divergence of the line likely to stay that way for some time:

    http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php?topic=230.1250#msg51744

    Hat tip to Espen on Neven’s Arctic Ice Forum.

    Comment: Look out below. . . .

    Reply
    • Andy in San Diego

       /  May 13, 2015

      That delta change on the depletion has really kicked in.

      Reply
  21. Andy in San Diego

     /  May 13, 2015

    Rising seas could force largest-ever human exodus – 13 million at risk of becoming refugees in Bangladesh within 15 to 25 years.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sundarbans-islands-disappearing-sea-india-bangladesh-exodus-13-million/

    Reply
    • More than a half million are already refugees due to sea level rise in the Idus River delta region of Pakistan. The situation is of somewhat greater magnitude for Bagladesh. But look at all the delta regions of land subsidence zones. That’s where you see the first hits. So we. An take this Bagladesh number and probably multiply it by at least three to get the global impact for this timeframe.

      Reply
  22. Vic

     /  May 13, 2015

    Eighty percent of Queensland is now drought declared, an all-time record for the state.
    Just in time for El Nino which typically brings drought conditions to Eastern Australia.
    There’s still plenty of beer for the coal miners though.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-13/qld-drought-spreads-to-record-80-per-cent/6467438

    Reply
    • I see BoM just declared El Niño (though NOAA had the designation since late March). Looks like we’ve had severe Niño impacts even before official declaration.

      In general, I’m curious how climate change is perceived as an issue by Australians? Is this issue + renewable energy enough to remove Abbott at this time?

      Reply
      • Vic

         /  May 13, 2015

        I think most Aussies suspect climate change is real but the MSM here is heavily influenced by mining interests and Mr Murdoch, so we’re generally not joining the dots as well as we should be. If you bring up climate in conversation, people here will typically try to politely change the subject.
        With much help from the MSM, Abbott was elected largely because of voter dissatisfaction with the previous government, although he has been behind in the polls since virtually the day he was elected, and still is.
        Currently, the opposition party appears quite weak so as much as I hate to say it, its quite possible that pre-election sweeteners could see Abbott re-elected a year or so from now.
        Think George W Bush’s first term and you’d be pretty close to what’s going on here I reckon.

        Reply
        • I’m concerned about the environment regarding renewable energy. How strong is the drive among individual Aussies to put solar on homes and businesses? And how much could Abbott’s party blunt that? They’ve already taken a huge chunk out of utility adoption…

      • Vic

         /  May 13, 2015

        They’ve brought the roll-out of large scale renewables to almost a complete halt by subjecting our Renewable Energy Target policies to review after review after review, which scares off the big investors who can now always find a safer investment environment elsewhere.
        But it seems they’ve come to the game too late to prevent rooftop solar from going forward. Something like 20% of Aussie homes now have rooftop solar which represents too many voters for Abbott to risk alienating. That rooftop solar horse has bolted.
        Its certainly bizarre that Australia having some of the highest penetration rates of rooftop solar in the world is being left behind by some tiny, developing countries when it comes to large scale renewables. As an example, our CSIRO has just commissioned a new molten salt power tower installation – not here, but in Cyprus.

        Reply
        • Is the rooftop solar adoption rate still increasing? If so, Abbott’s party may well be on the slow drip already. Problem is, we need them to go faster if we want to prevent increasingly catastrophic warming.

      • Vic

         /  May 13, 2015

        I don’t know if the rate is increasing but the fundamentals are still there, namely high cost of electricity from the grid combined with high solar resources. Much like Hawaii.

        Reply
      • Phil

         /  May 14, 2015

        I agree with Vic’s comments as well.

        However, increase in rooftop solar has been declining slightly over the last two or so years since the States reduced their feed-in tariffs significantly. Many surveys commonly point to public support for renewables and especially for solar but I am unsure how that can be depended upon during elections relative to hip pocket issues.

        Abbott really wanted to cut all support for small-scale rooftop solar upon election (even more than for larger scale renewables although he and his Government hate them as well) but found it too politically dangerous – solar industry started to run anti-Abbott campaigns in his parties marginal seats.

        Larger scale renewables is an easier target because most of that is wind farms which attract less public support than solar. One of the problems is that in terms of $/KW capital costs, large scale solar is still higher than wind even after decline in module and inverter costs. Solar thermal is orders of magnitude more expensive than either wind or solar PV. Also, there are a lot more wind farms with planning approval and network connection agreements in the pipeline than utility scale solar PV (hardly any of the latter in fact). All they (the wind farms) need is certainty about LRET target and PPA agreements to get closure and commencement of construction.

        Depending upon how they change the LRET (large scale renewable energy) target path for a new lower 2020 33 TWh target, surplus LGC (large scale renewable energy) certificates are expected to run out around 2017 so production will need to be in place by then to meet 2017 to 2020 targets. To do that, construction needs to begin ASAP. Could need an additional 2500 to 3000 MW of wind capacity to meet 2017-2018 targets. Would probably need around this range of additional investment again to meet the 2020 targets.

        One area to watch might be new State Government policies to promote investment in renewable energy. There are some whisperings but too early to make statements except for the ACT which have had reverse auction FIT’s for 40 MW solar, 210 MW of wind and just announced a new one for 50 MW solar/storage. They are aiming to have 90% renewables by 2020. Other State Governments might end up implementing similar schemes as a top up mechanism to run off whatever LRET target is in operation. Time will tell.

        Reply
  23. Tom

     /  May 13, 2015

    http://robinwestenra.blogspot.co.nz/2015/05/faster-than-previously-thought.html

    Faster Than Previously Thought

    Here is the outcome of a little experiment consisted of asking Google for the quote “faster than previously thought”.

    Research by Erial Secas These are some headlines:

    Global sea levels rising faster than previously thought
    Global warming’s effects are coming on faster than previously thought.
    Arctic Sea Ice Thinning Faster Than Previously Thought
    Tropical forests may be vanishing even faster than previously thought.
    Global sea levels have risen significantly faster than previously thought
    Greenland Ice Sheet Melting Faster Than Previously Thought
    Icebergs are breaking away from Antarctica faster than previously thought.
    Antarctica’s ice discharge could raise sea level faster than previously thought.
    The Ocean’s Surface Layer Has Been Warming Much Faster Than Previously Thought.
    Mass Extinction Occurred Much Faster Than Previously Thought.
    Deadly Super Volcanic Eruptions May Occur Faster than Previously Thought.
    Antarctic Permafrost Melting Faster Than Previously Thought
    Scientists Say Venice Is Sinking Faster Than Previously Thought.
    Mammals Becoming Extinct Faster Than Previously Thought.
    A new report says the world’s oceans are changing faster than previously thought
    Permafrost melt will release climate-warming carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere
    much faster than previously thought,”
    Galveston Island Sinking Faster Than Previously Thought.
    Amblyomma aureolatum ticks transmit disease faster than previously thought.
    Climate change could happen much faster than previously thought.
    Permian Mass Extinction May Have Happened 10X Faster Than Previously Thought.

    Snails move faster than previously thought”

    The Titanic took just five minutes to sink – much faster than previously thought.”

    Reply
    • danabanana

       /  May 13, 2015

      Loved your post Tom🙂 In the end there’s only one truth.

      Reply
    • This is what happens when people think too conservatively — you’re often surprised by outcomes. In fact, the phrase, ‘often surprised by outcomes’ could well be the watch word of the current generation of leaders.

      Reply
  24. NASA Giss in for April at .75 anomaly, 2nd hottest April behind 2010 (.83).

    Every month this year has beaten 2014 so far, year to date we are now .11 degrees warmer than last years overall average of .68.

    Other months this year have been bumped up with new surface data making the first 4 months still .79 anomaly for 2015 year to date.

    Reply
  25. Andy in San Diego

     /  May 13, 2015

    Carbon Pollution’s Harm To Sea Life Coming Faster Than Expected

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/05/12/3657571/carbon-pollution-sea-life/

    Reply
    • Andy in San Diego

       /  May 13, 2015

      I’ve read various things like that, and they all seem to point to the 1000 -or- 1050 elevation. A biggie is the ability to push turbines, which is already impeded. New turbines (low flow) are going in to try to keep the power on.

      Looking at the slide(s) on the link inflows / outflows / evaporation pretty much put it into a net negative year on year situation. Add the outflows and yup, the numbers simply don’t say “balance” or “refill”.

      Another issue is water quality (which degrades as the level drops).

      I agree with the statement in there regarding relying on bonus water (El Nino), which everyone is eagerly awaiting here.

      If memory serves me right, at the 1000 to 1050 level further state cuts come online that can harm Arizona & Nevada pretty severely.

      Without a bonus inflow, we’ll be watching the 1050 level being the subject in 2017.

      That was a good read, and it paints a stark, realistic overview.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  26. Typhoon Dolphin headed towards Guam with plenty of warm water for fuel. The Pacific typhoon season is off to a record start.

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2986#

    Reply
  27. Greg

     /  May 13, 2015

    Off topic but a follow-up to the post on the Tesla battery storage. I finally saw a number to quantify the cost reductions to the industrial and residential consumer 60%, overnight. That is disruptive and is the start of something huge in the energy sector which, is critical for changing our path. I know we are doing an excellent job of qualifying and quantifying everything that is burning up, acidifying, washing away, melting, drying up and otherwise falling apart around of us in this blog while we observe this wreck in slow motion but I thought I’d chime in with an update on a small ray of hope:

    http://insideevs.com/tesla-signs-bunch-battery-energy-storage-deals/

    Reply
  28. Greg

     /  May 13, 2015

    Even George Miller thinks we’ll be fighting over the last remaining fossil fuels in the future. I’d like to think it will be over lithium deposits.

    Reply
  29. Greg

     /  May 13, 2015

    One more note on the positive side. When I was at an environmental foundation, and we were hunkered down analyzing limited resources to affect change, we concluded that meteorologists were a tremendous impediment to climate communication as they did not accept climate change as truth. That is thankfully changing rapidy. From around 50% not agreeing to over 90% now agreeing that it is real since 2010:

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/05/07/3653307/where-have-all-the-climate-denying-weather-forecasters-gone/

    Reply
  1. On Yer Bike | Sauntering at the Edge of Heaven

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