NASA: World Just Saw its Hottest June, July and August on Record

The world is now well on its way to seeing back-to-back hottest years on record. Unprecedented and amoral burning of fossil fuels is now forcing the global temperature average to rise into the range of 1 degree Celsius above 1880s averages — or halfway to a catastrophic 2 C warming. A level at which scientists believe many climate change tipping points will be irrevocably crossed.

June, July, August Were Hottest On Record

According to NASA GISS, global temperatures for the June, July and August period of 2015 were 0.78 degrees Celsius (C) above the 20th Century benchmark or about 0.98 C above 1880s averages — when global record keeping began. The previous hottest three month period occurred during 1998 at +0.72 C. Notably, June, July and August were the hottest three months for 1998. But for 2015, December, January and February came in at +0.83 C and March, April and May came in at +0.81 C. These extreme temperature departures, when combined with the June, July and August readings, now put 2015 at +0.80 C above average for its first 9 months — or well above any previous record-breaking year. A significant single year margin above the previous hottest year — 2014 — of +0.05 C (a single year rate of warming about 150 times the average rate of warming at the end of the last ice age).

August Temperature departures

(NASA GISS spatial anomalies map for August of 2015. Image Source: NASA)

August of 2015 Comes in As Second Hottest Amidst Global Warming And El Nino Signature Temperature Anomalies

August itself came in at +0.81 C above NASA’s 20th Century benchmark average. This departure marked the second hottest August reading in the 135 year temperature record, falling just 0.01 C behind the previous hottest August reading hit just last year (2014).

Geographic distribution of temperature anomalies continue to show the signatures of both a strong El Nino and a growing climate change related signal. The August El Nino signature was particularly strong in the Eastern and Central Equatorial Pacific with 1-4 degree Celsius hotter than normal temperature departures dominating the region. This heat extended throughout the anomalous ‘Hot Blob’ or ‘Ridiculously Resilient Ridge’ zone that has continued to be dominated by extreme sea surface temperature departures with 1-4 degree Celsius above normal temperatures pervading. Such extreme heat was linked to equally extreme drought and wildfire conditions dominating broad sections of the North American west throughout the month. Conditions that, for many areas, have been endemic for many months running.

Anomalous heat also dominated the land masses of South America, Europe, South Africa, and the Lake Baikal region of Russia. These areas experienced some or all of the following: extreme drought, wildfires, water resource stresses, extreme heat-related weather, and heatwaves. A cool pool in the Northern Atlantic between England and Newfoundland remained a prominent feature. This cool region is associated with climate change related conditions that are now in the process of weakening both the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic bottom water formation. It’s a set of conditions that weakens equator to mid-latitude heat transport and intensifies the North Atlantic storm track. An upshot of human-forced warming that has been predicted for decades by even the most rudimentary of global climate models but that now appears to be cropping up a bit earlier than previously expected (see World Ocean Heartbeat Fading?). Persistent troughs over Eastern North America and Western Russia also generated their own cool pools. Meanwhile, surface temperatures over Central Antarctica dipped into cooler values — likely associated with intensification of storm systems in the Southern Ocean.

Zonal Anomalies

(NASA zonal temperature anomalies show a signature consisted with strong El Nino and related equatorial warming. Image source: NASA GISS.)

NASA’s zonal anomalies map also displayed a strong El Nino signature with the global equatorial zone showing the highest above average temperature departures (in the range of +1.3 degrees Celsius). This extreme heat maintained throughout the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes all the way to 60 North before falling off to between +0.2 to +0.4 C near the pole. Progressing southward, anomalies steadily declined, even dipping into a range of 0 to -0.9 C anomalies in the region of 75 to 90 South.

Conditions in Context — Record High Temperatures and Related Extreme Weather in the Pipe

Consistent high temperature departures near the Equator, as we see now, tend to aid both in storm track intensification and a general flattening of the Jet Stream. Though these conditions have not yet dominated in the Northeastern Pacific, a continuation of the August temperature departure pattern and related strong El Nino will likely both intensify the Northeastern Pacific and North Atlantic storm tracks as Fall progresses. Such a shift, however, would have to be very extreme to bust the 3 year running California Drought.

Overall temperature departures for both August and for the June, July, August period are well outside the range of anything that could be considered normal and are swiftly rising to more and more unsafe and climate destabilizing levels. The emergence of the North Atlantic cool pool is a feature specifically related to storm intensification and regional and global weather destabilization. A feature predicted by global climate models due to human forced warming, related melting of Greenland ice, and the upshot slowing down of critical ocean currents. The recent unprecedented Hot Blob in the Northeastern Pacific was likewise predicted in the scientific research as a result of human forced warming — a feature that, it was warned, could result in much warmer and drier conditions for the North American West Coast. Climate change related heat signatures such as these clearly show in the NASA monitor even as the global measure keeps rising to new and more dangerous extremes.

Links:

NASA GISS Global Temperature Analysis

World Ocean Heartbeat Fading

(Please support public, non special interest based, science like the fantastic work done by NASA’s GISS division and without which this report and related analysis would not have been possible.)

 

 

 

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51 Comments

  1. Colorado Bob

     /  September 14, 2015

    MAN-MADE GLOBAL warming is set to produce exceptionally high average temperatures this year and next, boosted by natural weather phenomena such as El Nino, Britain’s top climate and weather body said in a report on Monday.

    “It looks very likely that globally 2014, 2015 and 2016 will all be amongst the very warmest years ever recorded,” Rowan Sutton of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science said.

    “This is not a fluke,” he said. “We are seeing the effects of energy steadily accumulating in the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere, caused by greenhouse gas emissions.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2015/09/14/4312156.htm

    Reply
  2. Colorado Bob

     /  September 14, 2015

    El Nino Causes Record Temperatures and Low Rainfall in Panama

    The Panama Canal Authority is also closely monitoring the effects of the current El Nino cycle, keeping a sharp eye on water levels.

    Carlos Vargas with the Panama Canal Authority says water conservation measures are already being undertaken.

    “In 102 years of records that we have, we have had the lowest flow of the Chagres river compared to 102 years of history. So, yes, a severe drought is happening in the area of the Panama Canal, but we are facing water conserving measures, in communication with our clients, and with an adequate handling of the situation.”

    http://english.cri.cn/12394/2015/09/14/3961s895957.htm

    Reply
  3. Colorado Bob

     /  September 14, 2015

    Searching for Leads in the Opening Arctic

    Disappearing ice, Russia’s newest land grab, and a new great game at the top of the world. An FP special report.

    https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/14/searching-for-leads-in-the-opening-arctic/

    Reply
  4. labmonkey2

     /  September 14, 2015

    Found this link over at Climatestate:

    “The next two years could be the hottest on record globally, says research from the UK’s Met Office.
    It warns big changes could be under way in the climate system with greenhouse gases increasing the impact of natural trends.
    The research shows that a major El Nino event is in play in the Pacific, which is expected to heat the world overall.
    But it also reveals that summers in Europe might get cooler for a while as the rest of the globe warms.
    The scientists confirm that in 2015 the Earth’s average surface temperature is running at, or near, record levels (0.68C above the 1961-1990 average).
    —-
    “An external reviewer, Prof Rowan Sutton, from the University of Reading, confirmed: “Unless there’s a big volcanic eruption, it looks very likely that globally 2014, 2015 and 2016 will be among the very warmest years ever recorded.”

    “This isn’t a fluke. We are seeing the effects of energy steadily accumulating in the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere, caused by greenhouse gases.”

    “The scientists say they have recently learned more about how these great ocean patterns temper or accelerate human-induced warming, but Prof Sutton said: “The bit we don’t understand is the competition between those factors – that’s what we are working on.”
    So the researchers can say that changes in the Atlantic mean Europe is likely to get slightly cooler and drier summers for a decade – but only if the Atlantic signal is not overridden by the Pacific signal. And they cannot be sure yet which influence will prevail.”

    “When asked when the pause in surface warming would end, they stressed that from their perspective there was no real pause in the Earth’s warming because the oceans continued to heat, sea levels continued to rise and ice continued to melt.
    Prof Scaife said: “We can’t be sure this is the end of the slowdown, but decadal warming rates are likely to reach late 20th-Century levels within two years.”
    And Prof Sutton warned: “If greenhouse gas-driven warming continues unabated, the long-term effects on global and regional climate will dwarf those of short-term fluctuations like El Nino.”

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34226178

    We will be the Frog in the Pot on the Stove, to be sure.

    Reply
  5. This doesn’t help the wildfire situation in California. Sierra snowpack is at a 500 year low.

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/sep/14/california-drought-sierra-nevada-snowpack-500-year-record-low

    Reply
  6. wili

     /  September 15, 2015

    Good work, as always, robert.

    You might want to include the rather dramatic looking jma graph for August temps, too.

    Reply
    • Andy in SD

       /  September 15, 2015

      Nasty curve on the last 1/2 decade of that graph.

      Reply
    • Steven Blaisdell

       /  September 15, 2015

      At some point within the next 10-20 years there will be no ‘returns’ (as in 1916, 1947, 1999 above) from El Nino driven spikes in average temps. I don’t think we’re there yet, but it’s coming, I think, no matter what. We’re definitely witnessing the incipit of a new era, though, and a nasty one it’s going to be.

      Reply
    • Christina in Honolulu

       /  September 15, 2015

      I am aways confused by these graphs and would appreciate clarification if someone knows the answers. Why is the baseline the 1981-2010 average? When policy makers and scientists say we must limit warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels, is that 1890 or the 1981-2010 average?

      Reply
      • Dave Person

         /  September 15, 2015

        Hi Christina,
        The term “climate” has a definition, which is that it represents the average weather conditions over a 30-year period. Hence, 1981-2010 represents the last 30-year block of time for which “climate” can be described that is bracketed by decadal dates (1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010 etc). It is a conservative baseline with respect to change because after 1979 many parameters such as temperature increased more rapidly compared with earlier decades. It is useful for examining recent changes but obviously, not very useful for examining absolute change over the past century. Pre-industrial period actually ended around 1750 but I believe climate scientists consider the 2 degree milestone measured from 1890 or 1880.

        dave

        Reply
    • Thanks Wili. I’ll be adding this later today as an update. This week is my vacation. Last week was rough due to the fact that I was an idiot, didn’t drink enough water, and ended up in the hospital due to dehydration.

      ….

      I guess I’m taking my work a bit too seriously😉

      Reply
      • Maria

         /  September 15, 2015

        Robert, I’m so sorry to hear you were in the hospital for dehydration. Big ouch. The nurse in me can’t help but want to give you unsolicited advice. But I’m mentally sitting on my hands as I type this.🙂 That said, if you want any advice, tips—esp re: meeting electrolyte and mineral needs, please give a holler.

        Reply
      • Maria

         /  September 15, 2015

        If you want company re: not feeling well. I’m “nursing” a bad-a** cold that caused me to delay my departure for Boston/DC this week. ;-(

        Reply
      • Hydrate, Robert, hydrate.🙂
        Ps if you (anyone) feels really thirsty — then you probably waited too long.
        Also your clear urine is a good sign of adequate hydration. If it’s yellow you are likely you should drink some water.

        Reply
      • Dave Person

         /  September 15, 2015

        Hi Robert,
        Take care of yourself, buddy. I did that once and it was no fun and I still had to hike out another 3 miles of Alaska wilderness. Keep well and keep up the good work.

        Your friend,
        dave

        Reply
      • Special resonance as I’m visiting a sick relative in the hospital this week. My considered advice is, stay outta there.🙂 I try very hard myself to stay healthy, because a sustainable workload is impossible without that foundation.

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  September 18, 2015

        Hi Robert

        It’s OK to take care of yourself, too. Take it easy, man, and get well soon.🙂

        Reply
    • – Most of these graphs show the same spike during the war years 1940-45.
      WW II was all fossil fuel, fires and firestorms of everything combustible including many millions of humans, innumerable explosions of every size, forges and foundries fired up producing armaments, etc.
      – Massive amounts of carbon and particulate matter were put in the atmosphere and environment.

      Reply
      • Jay M

         /  September 16, 2015

        Interested in the impact of the war years on global warming. Nothing in particular to add other than curiosity and the changed form of consumption during those years.

        Reply
  7. wili

     /  September 15, 2015

    Any ideas why JMA and NASA sometimes diverge so much?

    Reply
    • Andy in SD

       /  September 15, 2015

      Could be different sensor array networks, different technology on their satellite based measurements and then the post processing (data normalization). Over all the trends do track even if individual values may have a difference (they seem to validate one another if one consider the source of the deltas as you are pondering). They don’t diverge by large amounts, and the trends track.

      I suspect someone else knows much better where the difference comes from.

      Reply
  8. That’s why they call it neutral variation!

    Reply
  9. Thermophiles, rejoice?

    Sent from my iPad 🙏🏻

    >

    Reply
  10. LJR

     /  September 15, 2015

    A bit of good news. Tony Abbott has been sacked. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    Reply
    • Phil

       /  September 15, 2015

      The following article probably gives a good overview of Turnbull’s approach to climate change policy over the next year or two. The main immediate implication is probably less funny business at Paris later this year.

      http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/any-changes-to-the-coalitions-climate-change-policy-under-malcolm-turnbull-are-likely-to-be-slow-and-subtle-20150914-gjmn5k.html

      Reply
    • Vic

       /  September 15, 2015

      It’s worth noting that the new PM Malcolm Turnbull’s rhetoric on climate change has always been far more reality based than Tony Abbott’s. Listening to Turnbull speak about climate change you actually get the impression he believes it’s real and that urgent action is required.

      Turnbull was the leader of the Liberal party (Conservatives) back in 2009 and it was the failure of the Copenhagen COP that emboldened Abbott and his backers to challenge for the leadership of the party, winning the contest by one vote. Abbott lost last night’s contest by 54 to 44, but it’s those 44 who will continue to throw spanners into the works of Turnbull’s climate ambitions.

      Turnbull has already stated to the media there will be no changes to Australia’s climate policies. That would mean a continuation of Abbott’s smoke and mirrors, pay-the-polluters “Direct Action” policy, which Turnbull himself has previously described as “a recipe for fiscal recklessness on a grand scale”. Less than a day in and he’s already looking tangled in his own webs.

      Still, it’s early days yet and the dust is still in flight. Apparently with some small tweaks, the “Direct Action” policy could be morphed into a de-facto emissions trading scheme.

      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/15/with-a-nip-and-a-bit-of-tuck-turnbull-can-bring-a-touch-of-green-to-direct-action

      Reply
      • Vic

         /  September 15, 2015

        Correction : It wasn’t the failure of Copenhagen that brought about Abbott’s 2009 challenge. The challenge happened one week prior to Copenhagen and was because of Turnbull’s support for the then Labor government’s proposed emissions trading scheme. It was Labor that shelved the trading scheme in the aftermath of Copenhagen.

        There’s a good round-up here.
        http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/turnbull-punts-abbott-but-dont-expect-any-instant-miracles-28768

        Reply
      • Vic

         /  September 15, 2015

        Looking a little more closely at that timing.

        20th November 2009 – “Climategate” breaks across global media.
        1st December 2009 – Tony Abbott defeats Malcolm Turnbull in leadership spill.

        There are suspicions Rupert Murdoch’s hacking abilities may have been involved in the 2009 email hacks that led to “Climategate”.

        There are no suspicions Rupert Murdoch was integrally involved in the political rise of Tony Abbott.

        Just sayin.

        Reply
      • Vic

         /  September 15, 2015

        I should of been more descriptive in that last sentence. Here, I’ll try again,

        There are no suspicions Rupert Murdoch was integrally involved in the political rise of Tony Abbott, because that’s widely known.

        Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  September 16, 2015

        Vic
        Disagree, Murdoch was fighting to have Labors FTTP National Broadband Network destroyed as it would provide competition and reduce profitability of his Pay TV monopoly, the substantial profits from which kept his Australian media/propaganda organisation financially afloat. Malcolm was the man the LNP Government tasked with ensuring it’s failure or at least inability to provide real competitive infrastructure. Done at great los and cost to the nation
        It truly has been dominated by spin, sleaze, lies and when one considers the financial and competition benefit to dear Rupert and his cultish followers one must wonder about corruption.
        From an excellent site, a RS in a different field (a brudder from anudda mudda), with a good team on board also
        Renai has just spent a 12 month contract as technical advisor to Senator Ludlum (Greens) and has just reopened his site
        He however always has the glass half full and looks for the best in people
        http://delimiter.com.au/2015/09/14/malcolm-turnbull-was-australias-worst-ever-communications-minister/

        Reply
    • Spike

       /  September 15, 2015

      Just Harper to get rid of now then!! Fingers crossed for October,.

      Reply
  11. Colorado Bob

     /  September 15, 2015

    Malaysia closes schools as Indonesian forest fires cloak region in smoke

    Annual illegal burning leads to dangerous drop in air quality, with Jakarta declaring state of emergency, people falling ill and flights interrupted

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/15/malaysia-closes-schools-as-indonesian-forest-fires-cloak-region-in-smoke

    Reply
  12. Tom

     /  September 15, 2015

    http://robinwestenra.blogspot.co.nz/2015/09/massive-de-off-off-nw-pacific-coast.html

    Tuesday, 15 September 2015

    Massive die-off off NW Pacific Coast
    “Countless” dead birds reported in Pacific off US coast, nothing will eat the bodies

    “There are no seals present”
    Expert: “The fish are not there… all of them are starving”
    Animals “acting weird, sick and weak, too weak to fly, too weak to run” Resident: We want to know if it’s from Fukushima (VIDEO)

    Reply
  13. redskylite

     /  September 15, 2015

    As someone who has lived in Hong Kong and enjoyed the sights and facilities of neighboring Macau, I read this report of research from mainland China with great interest in the South Morning China Post.

    It would be disastrous for both South China Sea located communities, and hopefully will give even great impetus to their efforts in moving to carbon free energy.

    “Sea levels in the area rose 1.35 millimeters per year from 1925 to 2010 on average, but a much faster 4.2mm per year from 1970 and 2010, than the global mean, the paper said.
    Global warming has caused sea levels to rise at many coastal cities, including Hong Kong, but little has been made until now of the actual or potential impact on Macau.
    Like Hong Kong, the island has one of the world’s most densely packed populations: some 630,000 people share a living space of just 30 square kilometers on this Chinese special administrative region. “

    http://www.scmp.com/tech/science-research/article/1858323/sinking-feeling-sea-levels-hong-kong-macau-may-rise-12-metres

    Reply
  14. – S. Cal floods, rain: “It’s highly strange right now — it’s just very unexpected this time of year…”.

    Rain leads to river rescues, L.A. freeway shutdown, O.C. mud flows

    At least eight people were pulled into rain-swollen San Gabriel River on Tuesday as a storm drenched Southern California, flooding freeways, knocking out power and sending mud down Orange County hillsides.
    In a matter of hours, the rain caused minor chaos across the Southland. The 710 Freeway was closed at Gage Avenue because of flooding, and the California Highway Patrol had no estimate on when it would be reopened.

    By 9 a.m. in Alhambra, an astonishing 2.45 inches of rain fell, the most recorded in Los Angeles County, according to the National Weather Service.

    “It’s highly strange right now — it’s just very unexpected this time of year,”.
    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-rain-moves-into-southern-california-thanks-to-former-hurricane-linda-20150915-story.html

    Reply
    • Flash floods kill at least eight on Utah-Arizona border

      At least eight people were killed near Utah’s border with Arizona when flash floods triggered by heavy rain in nearby canyons swept them away in their cars, officials said on Tuesday.

      Five people were missing, Washington County officials said, and one person remained in hospital after a “large wall of water” swept through streets around the small city of Hildale, Utah on Monday.
      http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/15/us-usa-utah-flood-idUSKCN0RF0IA20150915

      Reply
    • Rounds of Thunderstorms to Elevate Florida Flood Risk This Week
      By Brett Rathbun, AccuWeather.com Meteorologist
      September 15, 2015; 2:16 PM ET
      accuweather.com/en/weather-news/drenching

      A continuous flow of moisture will be present across Florida, triggering rounds of showers and thunderstorms with the risk for flash flooding through the week.

      This moisture is associated with the storm system that brought much cooler and less humid air to the Southeast and portions of northern and central Florida over the weekend.

      Reply
      • NOAA NWS 0915: Unseasonable warmth continues across central U.S.

        Above-normal temperatures will continue across much of the central and parts of the eastern U.S. on Tuesday, especially across the Great Plains, where afternoon high temperatures are forecast to reach into the low- to mid-90s for many locations. In some cases, these temperatures will be 15 degrees above normal for this time of year.

        – For reference, NOAA NWS Heat Index chart:

        Reply
  15. – These outbreaks algae are a marker for a superabundance of atmospheric and environmental nutrients – wet and dry nitrogen has to be the culprit. Phosphorus is there too but N fallout depostiotion is most widespread. Warm water also provides a suitable medium.
    – So much verdant growth where there should be no growth — way out of balance.

    Harrods Creek and Ohio River algae reported

    Louisville area residents are reporting more unusual algae outbreaks in the Ohio River, including areas near Prospect, in Oldham County, and in Harrods Creek.

    Following my news story that ran in The Courier-Journal on Monday on an expanded river advisory, four people called or wrote to me to say they were seeing green, scummy waters locally where they don’t normally see them.

    “We have lived on or near the river for over 50 years and have never seen the river like this,” Millie Bayer wrote. “I think it is very disturbing to say the least. I can’t imagine why there isn’t more alarm in Louisville.”
    courier-journal.com/story/tech/science/watchdog 0915

    Scummy Ohio River at Prospect. (Photo: Courtesy of Millie Mayer.)

    Reply
    • Leland Palmer

       /  September 18, 2015

      Here’s NASA worldview with the chlorophyll A absorption line turned on. Red and yellow areas have high chlorophyll A spectral absorption – there is a lot of chlorophyll (and algae) in the red and yellow areas.

      http://1.usa.gov/1KwrRjq

      Cloud cover severely affects this data, and to get a good idea of what is happening, scrolling backward and forward in time is necessary, using the time controls along the bottom.

      What worries me are the Arctic regions. There is high apparent algal growth all along the northern border of Eurasia, and some high algal growth around Alaska and Greenland. Interior waterways like the Great Lakes seem very high in algae. In the southern hemisphere, the southern tip of South America seems affected. Don’t know the historical pattern, but visually these patterns look strange to me.

      The areas where Shakova and Similetov and their collaborators are seeing high methane flux seem to also have high algae, sad to say. Don’t know if there is a causal relationship, but oxidizing methane does create CO2, acidify the water, and lower oxygen levels.

      Reply
  16. – Link from Kevin Hester of Arctic News 0915
    – Can be downloaded and viewed at slow speed.

    Arctic Sea Ice Minimum, 2015
    Published on Sep 15, 2015
    NASA.gov Video

    This animation shows the evolution of the Arctic sea ice cover from its wintertime maximum extent, which was reached on Feb. 25, 2015, and was the lowest on record, to its apparent yearly minimum, which occurred on Sept. 11, 2015, and is the fourth lowest in the satellite era.

    Reply
  17. – Impressive climate change squeeze out of atmospheric moisture over Japan.

    GPM IMERG Rainfall Analysis of Etau

    Published on Sep 10, 2015

    This GPM IMERG analysis shows rainfall total estimates for Japan during the seven day period from September 2 to 9. Extraordinary totals of over 750 mm (29.5 inches) were analyzed near the south-central coast of Honshu near where tropical storm Etau passed over the island. Credit: NASA/JAXA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

    Reply
  18. climatehawk1

     /  September 17, 2015

    Tweeting.

    Reply
  19. Tom

     /  September 17, 2015

    http://mashable.com/2015/09/16/arctic-ice-minimum-research-ship/?ref=yfp#u_kJ3vhJMSk5

    Arctic research ship probes frigid depths and 4th-lowest sea ice extent on record

    [begins]

    Through Sept. 11 of this year, the Arctic — which serves a crucial role as the Northern Hemisphere’s refrigerator — lost an area of sea ice nearly equal to the states of Texas, California, Montana and New Mexico combined. This led to the fourth-lowest sea ice extent on record since satellite data began in 1979, continuing the long-term decline in summertime ice cover throughout the Arctic.

    [further down]

    The research mission, known as “Arctic Mix,” is being led by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and University of Washington’s Applied Physics Lab. So far, scientists have been surprised by the strength of ocean mixing they have observed in ice-free areas of the Beaufort Sea.

    The ship is sailing through waters that scientists at the NSIDC called “a striking feature” of this melt season, with large regions of water with less than 70% ice cover. This is unusual for the Beaufort Sea, where multi-year ice used to remain in relative abundance through each melt season.

    “Our instruments are seeing billows of turbulence that look just like a wave breaking on the beach, but much larger,” said Jennifer MacKinnon, chief scientist aboard the Sikuliaq, in a press release sent from the ship.

    “As a result, heat is being mixed up towards the surface, and the remaining ice, at a remarkable rate,” she said.

    [toward the end]

    “One hypothesis for a rapidly-changing Arctic is increasing open water allows storms to mix this deeper ocean heat upward through the generation of undersea beams of energy called ‘internal waves’, in turn melting more ice,” Alford said in a statement.

    “The marked energetic mixing we are seeing here at the heart of the Arctic ice-melt zone may prove key in understanding a potential new climate feedback,” Alford said.

    [check out the graphs and read the rest if interested]

    Reply

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