Regions Near North Pole to Hit Above Freezing Three Days Before Christmas

In our cultural mythology we consider the North Pole to be this permanently frozen wonderland. And, during the 20th Century, the depiction was mostly true. Explorers venturing into the Arctic at that time found towering floes of ice — often measuring 15 to 20 feet high. And, up until the mid 2000s, the Arctic Ocean was permanently frozen from Continent to Pole even during summer. So adventurous skiers could strike out from northern Siberian, and treck to the pole over ice in months like June and July. Now such expeditions require the use of a kayak — if they occur at all.


(A warm storm over Svalbard joins with a chain of systems running from the North Atlantic to the Pole to drive gale force winds and above freezing temperatures into the Arctic in this December 22nd GFS model prediction. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

Back then, the polar zone in the north appeared to be mostly solid. And if ice moved or melted — it was a slow grind or a rare event. No more. Now, Arctic sea ice extent values have plummeted and the thinner ice that remains is often melting, cracking, and mobile. Now, increasingly, during late fall and early winter temperatures have been rising to near or above freezing. Last year a powerful storm system pulled warming air up out of the North Atlantic — pushing temperatures over the North Pole to above freezing on December 29th. One month later, during late January of 2016, a similar weather system drove temperatures at the North Pole to near freezing.

This year, GFS model runs again show the potential for extreme above average temperatures in the region of the North Pole three days before Christmas. A storm in the Greenland Sea is predicted to strengthen to 940 mb intensity on the 20th and 21st. This system is expected to dredge warm air from the tropical North Atlantic and then fling it all the way to the Pole.


(Temperatures may rise to as high as 55 F [31 C] above average on December 22nd over sections of the Arctic near the North Pole. Note that this dynamic will tend to drive colder air out over the Continents — especially, in this case, toward Siberia. Also note that global temperatures remain well above average even when compared to the warmer than normal 1979 to 2000 time-frame. Image source: Climate Reanalyzer.)

As a result, temperatures in the polar region are expected to rise to near or above freezing. According to GFS model runs, the thermometer at 90 North is expected to hit around -0.3 C (31.5 F) at 0400 UTC on December 22. Meanwhile temperatures on the Siberian side of the Pole at 88 North, 109 East are predicted to hit 0.6 C or 33 F during the same time period. By comparison, temperatures in Southeast Texas at 27.9 N, 97.8 W — not far from from the U.S. Gulf Coast — were about -0.3 C on Monday morning following the passage of a cold front late Sunday.

This level of warmth during December for the Arctic is excessive and the expected readings are in the range of 25 to 31 degrees Celsius above average ( 45 to 55 Fahrenheit warmer than normal). These are near all-time record highs. But it is not just the extreme departures predicted for Wednesday that should be cause for concern, it’s the fact that such a high level of warmth for this region of the Arctic is occurring with a greater and greater frequency. For human-forced climate change — primarily driven by the burning of fossil fuels — is now in the process of radically changing the Arctic environment. And so much warming in the Arctic is a main driver of extreme Northern Hemisphere weather, of glacial melt contributing to sea level rise, and to severe loss of life among key Arctic species.


Earth Nullschool

Climate Reanalyzer

Warm Arctic Storm to Unfreeze North Pole

Warm Arctic Storm Aims to Unfreeze North Pole Again

Has the Last Human Trekked to the North Pole?

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  1. Dr G

     /  December 19, 2016

    Robert, thank you for continuing to highlight this!! As you say its not just the fact of seeing these temperatures (DMI 80N shows a > 15degC spike in early 1974), its the fact that they are now more or less continuous that is crazy 😦 . Exponential change anyone…?

    • So the places to look to for exponential change are the land ice sheets and the floating ice shelves. The rate of Arctic warming spiked this year. And that will probably set off a number of amplifying feedbacks. But polar amplification rates are less likely to follow a pure exponential cure. We are definitely hitting an acceleration in 2016. And that’s likely due to a handshake between polar amplification and ENSO in that lower latitude to pole heat transport has hit a very high gear.

  2. peterfjackson

     /  December 19, 2016

    … Also we just had a wild 10 to 12C over 24 hours with high winds here in Newfoundland, about 48 degrees latitude. Melted half the snow. November was also unusually warm.

  3. Cate

     /  December 19, 2016

    Calm down, everyone. It’s just an engineering problem. We’re on it.

    “And as human beings as a — as a — as a species, that’s why we’re all still here. We have spent our entire existence adapting, OK? So we will adapt to this. Changes to weather patterns that move crop production areas around — we’ll adapt to that. It’s an engineering problem, and it has engineering solutions. And so I don’t — the fear factor that people want to throw out there to say we just have to stop this, I do not accept.”

    –Rex Tillerson

    • Amazing how malleable facts become when all one cares about is the accumulation of money. But it’s even short-sighted in that respect as renewables will be a far more effective means of delivering long term prosperity. Fossil fuels are in serious trouble now due to weakening competitiveness vs renewables, lack of moral basis for harmful fuel production, and an increasing direct resistance to fossil fuel infrastructure by environmental groups and indigenous populations.

    • Abel Adamski

       /  December 19, 2016

      The costs will be horrendous.
      Only solution to make that approach viable is to change corporation law so that all fossil fuels companies, current and bankrupt have the Liability Limited classification removed dated back to 1980 so that the companies and their management, boards and shareholders (and their heirs) carry the financial cost, also indemnifying the insurance industry for C;limate / weather and SLR claims

    • Abel Adamski

       /  December 19, 2016

      Is it just me. ?
      Don’t understand how they can smell my B.O 🙂
      But it indicates 43 comments, but none show and I am unable to make a comment – replicating my other comment on this item below/above

      • Comments are showing up just fine for me. Oh, and the number is 33… currently.

        • Abel Adamski

           /  December 19, 2016

          They suddenly appeared for me subsequent to my post, however I have made several attempts to post and reply to comments and get
          “There was a network issue while trying to submit your item. Please try again in a few minutes.”
          It indicates 43 comments for me.

          Update, signing in as AA , no comments.
          Logging out and signing in with Wendy’s facebook I get to see the comments, when commenting my ID still shows as AA and get the network issue.

          Tsk Tsk young Chris

        • Maybe the problem is with the facebook filter (which can be overly glitchy sometimes). A regular browser shouldn’t have this problem.

        • Abel Adamski

           /  December 19, 2016

          Thanks R.S
          I have been putting off upgrading my PC (still XP and Core2 duo – still a good P.C) – almost ready for the cutover to W7 – but it is all the bookmarks, links and I save a lot of articles as PDF and the expensive programs and registrations.) Starting today so here goes.
          My laptop is W10 business grade HP and another isp so will try on that

        • Paul PNW

           /  December 20, 2016

          “I have been putting off upgrading my PC (still XP and Core2 duo – still a good P.C) – almost ready for the cutover to W7”

          If you don’t have one already a ssd is a *superb* addition that can really breath some life into any old pc, samsung have a new budget model out (750 evo) that provides a nice level of performance while not costing the earth.

          IIRC MS have already stopped mainstream support for w7 tho critical updates are supported for another year or so I think, it might be better to skip 7 and go straight to 8.1/10.

        • Scott

           /  December 21, 2016

          My computer guy told me that he’s seeing a lot of people reinvigorating old Vista era laptops by installing Windows 10. It’s a lot more efficient than Vista and 7 were, and if you aren’t planning on running real heavy duty programs (CAD, analysis of massive data-sets, etc.) it may be a good option.

    • “…we’ll adapt to that. It’s an engineering problem, and it has engineering solutions. And so I don’t — the fear factor that people want to throw out there to say we just have to stop this, I do not accept.”

      My response to the “we will adapt” argument, while rather vulgar, is this:

      You and a man are guests in a house. This man decides to defecate on the floor (He has no health issues). You then clean it up. He then does the same thing again and you tell him he must stop. He then says that you can adapt.

  4. Rachael Maddow has done a great series of stories on the ExxonMobil / Vladimir Putin connection. As others have reported recently, Obama blocked a 500 billion dollar deal between ExxonMobil and Russian oil businesses apparently controlled by Vladimir Putin.

    Putin, by the way, is listed by some sources as the world’s richest man, with supposedly 85 billion in mostly hidden assets. Most of those assets have been openly seized by Putin from Russian oligarchs, or covertly transferred to Putin’s control via fake loans deliberately defaulted on, transferring control of these businesses to banks controlled by Putin, according to Rachael Maddow..

    Of course, the real money is in control of industrial wealth, as I believe is covertly done by the Rockefeller dynasty. Sociologist Thomas R. Dye a few years ago was claiming that the Rockefeller dynasty was the best example of oligarchic control of the United States, in his books “Who’s Running America?”. He’s since backed off on that a little, but I think he was right in the first place – the Rockefeller dynasty has effective control over more than 100 major American corporations, including ExxonMobil and JPMorgan Chase (with combined assets of just these two corporations of 4-5 trilion dollars).

    So, official lists of the world’s richest men are misleading, I think The real financial power in Europe is the Rothschild dynasty, and the real financial power in the United States is the Rockefeller dynasty (that controls ExxonMobil), each one with control of trillions of dollars of industrial wealth, I think.

    This sort of opening up of the Arctic to drilling is what the American Oligarchy has wanted all along, I think. This is the real reason for ExxonMobil’s campaign of climate change denial and deception – the Rockefeller dynasty wanted the Arctic Sea Ice to melt in the summer, so they could get at the oil and gas up there.

    So, Trump is giving ExxonMobil what they wanted all along – the ability to drill in the Arctic. Since Obama has been effectively blocking this with discouragement and tight regulation, ExxonMobil is trying to do an end run around this by going to Putin.

    ExxonMobil’s and Putin’s plan is succeeding, although it may turn out to be economically non-viable. Before it grinds to a halt, though, if that is what happens, it could move the climate irretrievably past tipping points leading inevitably to a methane catastrophe.

    • So the Rockefeller stuff requires some pretty hard facts to validate, Leland. It’s pretty clear that the early Rockefeller influence was very strong and this lasted through a good part of the mid 20th Century. It becomes more murky the closer we come to the present day. So something historical and widely sourced would be helpful. Otherwise, this sounds a bit too conspiracy theory-ish — especially due to its single focus on the Rockefellers and its failure to include other influences like the Kochs (John Birch Society) etc.

      Putin is a whole new animal entirely. He came to power in a failing state and used the state’s legal and military might to transfer wealth into his own hands directly. He looks more like a 3rd world dictator than anything else in that his relationship to power is as head of state rather than influencing heads of state and legislative bodies (as has been the case with fossil fuel interests — to include Rockefellers, Kochs and other in the US).

      • A good resource on this is Jane Mayer’s “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.” Just named by NY Times as one of the 10 best books of the year. Kochs get lots of ink, Rockefellers not so much. Useful to note also, ExxonMobil currently suing the Rockefellers, accusing them of a “climate conspiracy” (this would be the current right-wing disinfo technique of accusing others of what you do yourself, to muddy the waters).

      • Yes, Robert, “Rockefellers” is an overused, most often misused noun.

        For example see:

        • Appreciate this, Marcy. It seems to me at least that some Rockefeller money is pushing against fossil fuels at this time. And I wonder how much the Exxon stockholders vs Exxon management row that happened earlier this year was due to the influence of large stakeholders not wanting to be left with the bag when Exxon eventually goes belly up due to its stranded assets.

        • Well, oil is not the main family business any more, t think. The main family business is banking, and control of a large number of corporations, I think. So this lawsuit could be an effort to protect their core businesses, by throwing ExxonMobil under the bus. It could also be a way to separate the Rockefeller family from Exxonmobil in the public consciousness

          The Rockefellers get a lot of good press. How much of that good press is due to their immense influence and wealth is a good question. Public Relations is just organized persuasion, by lying and shading the truth, and the Rockefellers are often credited with inventing PR, after the Ludlow Massacre coal mine disaster of 1914.

          Certainly, the Rockefellers have given away a lot of money – and all that charity has allowed them to remain in power with no public outcry and no antitrust actions after the breakup of Standard Oil in 1911. Are the Rockefeller foundations independent of their businesses? Probably yes – why not? The charities are there to provide political cover, I think, so why try to control them? The charities are sometimes used as CIA fronts overseas, though

          Publicly, there is an environmental wing of the family, and a conservative wing. David Rockefeller traditionally heads up the conservative wing, I think.

      • Hi Robert-

        That’s what Thomas R. Dye is saying, these days – that the Rockefeller wealth is now fragmented and split among many heirs, lessening the power of the Rockefeller dynasty. It should be noted, however, that by several different measurements, John D. Rockefeller, founder of the Standard Oil Monopoly, direct ancestor of ExxonMobil, was the all time world’s richest man.

        The oligarchic model of American Governance is certainly consistent with this current ExxonMobil and Putin deal, and Tillerson’s nomination to Secretary of State, I think. Also consistent with the oligarchic model is the output of Scott Borgerson, a David Rockefeller fellow of the Rockefeller funded and controlled Council on Foreign Relations, with his series of articles touting the melting of the Arctic Sea ice as a fabulous economic opportunity, and Borgerson’s testimony before both houses of Congress and participation in Round Table discussions with then Senator John Kerry. Kerry, by the way, is one of the richest men in Congress with assets of about 200 million dollars, not counting the billion or so dollars his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry is worth.

        Standard Oil was broken up by anti-trust action in 1911 into 34 fragments. Some of these fragments are: Exxon (Standard Oil of New Jersey), Mobil (Standard oil of New York), Chevron (Standard Oil of California), and so on through 34 generally smaller fragments. Some analysts say that if Standard Oil had not been fragmented, it’s total value today would be about a trillion dollars. The aggregate stock never lost value, and I for one wonder if the Rockefeller family retained covert control of the other fragments of Standard Oil, not just Exxon and Mobil.

        Officially, the Rockefeller’s don’t control ExxonMobil. But their faction always seems to win the proxy fights for control of the corporation, as they did in 2006 when they supposedly sent Lee Raymond home with his 400 million dollar golden parachute, after a supposedly bitter struggle for control of the corporation. It should be noted, I think, that a 400 million dollar golden parachute is pretty good pay for staging a revolt. The New York Times had articles in 2006 blaming Lee Raymond’s ouster on a supposed snub of David Rockefeller – supposedly he turned down lunch invitations.

        Officially, the Rockefellers don’t control JPMorgan Chase, either, Total assets of JPMorgan Chase are now about 2.35 trillion dollars, according to Yahoo financial. But JPMorgan Chase is the union of Chase Manhattan Bank (traditionally the Rockefeller’s bank) and the Morgan financial interests.

        Thomas R. Dye, the sociologist author of the series of books “Who’s Running America?” had his students for decades poring over the financial pages of decades of newspapers, building a database. From that database he came to the conclusion that the Rockefeller dynasty was the best example of the oligarchic model of American governance, controlling over 100 major American corporations. He later claimed that the family wealth is increasingly fragmented and chaotic.

        But I think the hypothesis that the Rockefeller family especially David Rockefeller and his immediate descendants are still in control of the oligarchy has more explanatory power, unifying power, and predictive ability than the hypothesis that the wealth is fragmented and chaotic.

        A lot of what we “know” has been put out by flagship newspapers of the Eastern financial establishment over decades. George Herbert Walker Bush was, I think, the source of the phrase “conspiracy theory” and the scorn we all commonly heap on it – and he was the Rockefeller Republican faction candidate and President. George Herbert Walker Bush was also the source of the phrase “New World Order” – a long time goal of David Rockefeller.

        You might check out David Rockefeller’s autobiography Memoirs. This book has David Rockefeller at the height of his power with an electronic Rolodex with 100,000 names in it, bopping all over the world, meeting with Soviet leaders as an equal, loaning Saddam Hussein tens of millions of dollars of Chase Manhattan money, personally intervening to get the Shah of Iran into the U.S. for medical treatment, and generally acting like an oligarch.

        • By the way, you guys might check out the size of the ExxonMobil / Putin’s Russia deal. That’s a 500 billion dollar deal – a half a trillion dollar deal. Rachael Maddow claims that figure was from before they just discovered a brand new billion barrel oil deposit in the Arctic.

          Generally, it costs less to produce oil from new fields than from old fields, although the Arctic might be an exception to that rule. A lot of that cost probably depends on how much of a problem the Arctic sea ice is. The thinner the ice, the less problems it would likely cause drill platforms. Once Arctic oil starts flowing in sufficient volume, the cost could go down drastically, I think.

          Light sweet Iraqi crude oil cost something like a couple of dollars per barrel to produce a decade or so ago. Crude oil prices today are about 50 dollars per barrel. Once the Arctic oil starts flowing from new oil fields, production could be cheap enough that they could produce the stuff at a profit – no matter how cheap clean energy gets in the next couple of decades. So, for new oil discoveries, the Arctic oil assets might not become stranded for a long time.

      • Here’s an interesting link – it claims to be the full text of a report prepared for Congress by G. William Dornhoff – an academic who studies political and financial elites, and Charles C. Schwartz, a Physics professor, both of them employed by the University of California.

        This report was prepared for Nelson Rockefeller’s Congressional investigation when he became Vice President, I think.

        Their bottom line – they traced a network of interlocking corporate directorships that lead from Rockefeller and Associates, the family office that manages the unified fortune of the Rockefeller family to the corporate boardrooms of over 100 major American corporations. The aggregate worth of those corporations was 640 billion 1974 dollars, equal to about 3 trillion dollars today.

        These interlocking corporate directorships do provide a plausible mechanism by which the Rockefellers could control immense wealth. The report also outlines how the money donated to their charities becomes eternal and tax free, but claims that nobody knows who votes the stock or who controls how the stock is voted during battles for corporate control.

        • Correction – the correct name for the family office was Rockefeller Family and Associates, traditionally run out of Room 5600 (actually one or two whole floors) 30 Rockefeller Center, New York. The family offices have now moved, apparently at the behest of David Rockefeller Jr. who appears to be the leader of the current generation.

          The new family offices, since 2015, are at One Rockefeller Plaza, about a block away, in a 19,000 square foot suite containing 44 employees, according to the New York Times.

          The Rockefeller family investments are now managed by Rockefeller and Company, located at 10 Rockefeller Plaza, according to the New York Times.

          This is my last post on this subject for a while, which could be considered off topic. I don’t think it is, but it could be considered so.

  5. If you like horror stories and movies, you couldn’t come up with a better plot line than the one we’re watching here right now every day. No walking into the sunshine from the dark movie theater at the end though. Thanks for your reporting asalways , Robert.

    • Leadership completely blind to the coming trouble — check. Scientists making warnings but few people listening and making the necessary responses — check. Nature in turmoil and animals dying at unprecedented rates — check. Major catastrophes becoming more and more certain — check.

      You’d need about 20 movies to cover the entirety of the issue. The tragedy of climate change and the hope represented by a renewable energy transition is the ‘War and Peace’ of our times.

  6. Shawn Redmond

     /  December 19, 2016

    I won’t know if the following links worked or not till I post this. However I’ve been watching this area of East Antarctica for some weeks now and it is definitely not a shadow. This area is going to blow out to the open ocean over the next few weeks I’m sure. If you look towards the open ocean at about one o’clock you’ll see that the ice is looking kind of pocky in a straight line between the hole and the open ocean. This I believe is the beginning signs of rotten ice. If you scroll along the coast clock wise from here you can see a couple of areas that are starting to show similar signs of ice starting to give way in against the land. Going back over the last few years I can’t find any similar anomalies.,1723511.7654550963,1474890.711128876,1774711.7654550963&epsg=3031&layers=MODIS_Aqua_CorrectedReflectance_TrueColor,Coastlines&opacities=1,1&worldfile=false&format=image/jpeg&width=200&height=200,MODIS_Terra_CorrectedReflectance_TrueColor,Coastlines&t=2016-12-19&z=3&v=1327412.4901100858,1709465.0969832814,1593396.4901100858,1880729.0969832814

  7. climatehawk1

     /  December 19, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

  8. This is a completely crazy thing we’re getting the privilege of watching in real time. I’ve been following along over on the ASIF, and while previous freezing seasons never had much going on, this one sure does! As some of the commenters there have mentioned, this feels like the Arctic is transitioning very rapidly from a cold desert to a stormy mediterranean system. I use ‘feels like’ because we don’t really have hard results from climate models that this will definitely happen, but it’s what many peoples’ educated guesses are getting at.

    • So we’d seen changes in the past that were more marginal and regional based. The blow that hit the Arctic this fall was unprecedented in its broadness of scope. The whole Arctic Ocean took the hit. Not just one side. The anomalies have dropped somewhat into early December, but the region over 75-90 N is still ridiculously warm.

  9. Abel Adamski

     /  December 19, 2016


    Synchronization of North Atlantic, North Pacific preceded abrupt warming, end of ice age

    “Synchronization of two major ocean systems can amplify the transport of heat toward the polar regions and cause larger fluctuations in northern hemisphere climate,” said Summer Praetorius, a doctoral student in marine geology at Oregon State and lead author on the Science paper. “This is consistent with theoretical predictions of what happens when Earth’s climate reaches a tipping point.”

    “That doesn’t necessarily mean that the same thing will happen in the future,” she pointed out, “but we cannot rule out that possibility.”

    The study found that synchronization of the two regional systems began as climate was gradually warming. After synchronization, the researchers detected wild variability that amplified the changes and accelerated into an abrupt warming event of several degrees within a few decades.

    • Mark in OZ

       /  December 19, 2016

      Great link AA!
      “..Praetorius then led an effort to look at past temperatures by slicing the sediment into decade-long chunks spanning more than 8,000 years – a laborious process that took years to complete. She measured ratios of oxygen isotopes trapped in fossil shells of marine plankton called foraminifera. The isotopes record the temperature and salinity of the water where the plankton lived.”

      Despite the suggestion of where this may be headed, there is beauty and elegance in their scientific method and this affirms the lifelong respect I have for these and other researchers. It also makes me think that when the crisis can no longer be ignored /denied by the average Jack and Jill who still remain hoodwinked, it will be the ‘scientists’ we’ll embrace (again) instead of the ‘money makers’.

      Eventually, it’s my belief the peaceable and respectful citizens of Earth’s small town will determine the out of control FF outlaw ‘motorcycle club’ needs to be disbanded.

  10. humanistruth

     /  December 19, 2016

    Please consider the links between climate change denial and how we pay for social media.
    The Hyper-Tipping Point

    • As with the Tobacco giants, advertising is the moral hazard link here.

      • humanistruth

         /  December 22, 2016

        Seeing my reply as a moral caution about advertising misses the point.
        I forgot that most people without a background in evolution and the fledgling discipline of memetics wouldn’t immediately grasp the horrid implications of such selective pressure. For instance, it implies that the anti-science movement will continue to strengthen till it wins.

        This is easier to understand with an alien threat cliché. Imagine hostile aliens conquering worlds easily just by beaming a weapon that causes civilizations to cast aside their achievements and tear one another apart. It works by damping truth and empathy while ramping up lies and hate in everything they say.

        “Selection pressure … can be thought of as a “pressure” that pushes the evolution of that organism toward a greater prevalence of this variation.”

        The most relevant take from memetics is that ideas evolve in these media lightning fast.

        “In the social media age, ideas spread and morph through shared hashtags, photos, and videos, and the most compelling and emotive ones can transform public opinion in mere days and weeks, even attitudes and priorities that had persisted for decades.”

        This threat is moving much faster to overwhelm civilization through direct effects on politics and conflict acceleration than the threat of climate change.

        Like Marie Curie exposing herself to ionizing radiation which no one understood, we inadvertently endanger ourselves because so few have a sound grasp of evolution and vanishingly fewer apply memetics to global challenges.

        • I find that arguments hinging on inevitability are as flawed as they are useless to the present discussion. Based on this ludicrous premise, Nazism would have won WW II and humankind would have never experienced liberalism or the enlightenment. Slaves would have never been freed. Martin Luther King would have not have had the opportunity to utter the words ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.’ Women would have never gained the right to vote. The KKK would have dominated US politics during the 20th Century. And, yes, even the tobacco industry would have triumphed — because they leveraged the same social and economic forces in microcosm that the fossil fuel industry is leveraging in macrocosm now.

  11. Arctic ice melt ‘already affecting weather patterns where you live right now’

    “A couple of years ago this was the main criticism on any such links, that the physics was not well understood,” he said. “But the big question [now] is, how important are these mechanisms?”

  12. Spike

     /  December 19, 2016

    Two big storms heading for U.K. In next 3-5 days according to forecasts, and looks like Corsica may be deluged:

  13. jeffvjvffej

     /  December 20, 2016

    It’s unfortunate that there isn’t some way to create a shield over the arctic once it reaches a blue ocean event.
    Perhaps billions of autonomous aquatic drones shaped like hexagons could be engineered to constantly gather in a hive formation to cover the open waters. white life rafts with photovoltaics to charge a battery source energizing their propulsion. (Underneath would have to be opaque to effectively block out the rays that heat the waters)
    It would only work effectively if the CH4 doesn’t escape the floor and erupt into the troposphere immediately. Otherwise, we’d just be putting on a ‘bandaid’ that would take Gaya less time to repair.(1k years less?) IDK. It’d be nice knowing we gave some lifeforms a chance to survive and evolve. It’s late and I’m already in dreamland. Sorry for the ridiculous rant. Gotta get sleep. 1:30 am in Pennsylvania. 6 am is not going to be my friend.

    • So a few points here:

      1. Solar radiation management has been shown to produce serious adverse impacts on global food production. So even if we could block sunlight to the poles (and we could to varying effect through different activities), it would be a highly dangerous activity in that messing with incoming solar radiation also results in various changes to weather — such as increasing drought prevalence.
      2. The most effective way to mitigate climate change is through direct replacement of fossil fuels and emitting sources with alternatives to include wind, solar and storage. Some advocate nuclear, but a rapid build-out for nuclear has not been acheived and the costs are now more and more prohibitive leading many to accurately state that nuclear has a negative learning curve (meaning that it has become more costly over time).
      3. CH4 feedbacks are coming. But they are not likely to be as damaging or powerful if we do transition away from fossil fuels soon. Hitting 2 C globally does appear to produce a carbon feedback from permafrost equal to around +25 to +60 ppm CO2e and possibly a 5-15 CO2e feedback from the ocean system. But these are much smaller feedbacks than what is likely to happen if we hit 3 C, 4 C, 5 C or higher. As a result, limiting the human emission pulse limits the degree of damage down the road. And that should be our main priority at this time.
      4. Once we have curtailed human emissions, we should honestly look for ways to effectively remove carbon from the atmosphere. This is a significant technical hurdle. However, it is now our best hope for dealing with the longer term impacts of climate change. In other words, we will need a multi-decade to multi-century atmospheric carbon reduction strategy once fossil fuels are replaced and once we’ve managed global agriculture and land use in such a way that is not as emissions intensive as it currently is.

      • jeffvjvffej

         /  December 21, 2016

        Yeah, I get that it wouldn’t be a silver bullet to block the radiation. I was thinking more along the lines of alst ditch efforts to curtail total extinction worldwide. Obviously, removing fossil fuels from the equation is much more promising. I’ve heard that hemp and it’s contraversial cousin cannabis are second to none in natural carbon sequestration. Although, I’ve yet to see proof of concept. Also, I read about some researchers capturing methane with used coffee grounds but they claim the end product they produced could only retain 7% of its own mass. That’s a start tho. Guess it’s back to the drawing board on the AAD concept. Thank you for your insight. It is greatly appreciated.

        • So just to be clear, the impact studies found that solar radiation management negatively impacted BILLIONS of people. So we’d have to be pretty desperate to try something like that.

  14. Tigertown

     /  December 20, 2016

    With all the interest in what’s going on in Antarctica, this should be timely. It start on Dec 1st and the last few days are forecast obviously.

  15. Bob Hodges

     /  December 21, 2016

    With greatest respect for you work, Robert, I can’t find a link for real time temperature monitoring in the Arctic. I’d hasten to add that I’m an amateur wrt climate analysis, but I’ve interminable decades of experience with medical data, so I’m no novice to numbers, neither am I some denialist jerk looking to criticise or condescend, as I greatly admire your work. Where’s the best place to look to find proof for oneself?

    • Cheers, Bob. I am looking at model data predictions for a given lat/long under the GFS ensemble. I cite this as the source for my information in the above article. To be very clear, these are ensemble based model estimates. There is no assertion otherwise.

  1. Climate change: Warm forecast for the Arctic for Wednesday | Coyote Gulch

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