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Arctic Ocean Deep in the Grips of May Temperature Spike; Beastly Summer Melt Season on the Way?

The Arctic Ocean as it appeared from space on May 6, 2018. Image source: NASA Worldview.

The Arctic sea ice is presently at its second lowest extent ever recorded in most of the major monitors. However, May is shaping up to be far, far warmer than normal for the Arctic Ocean region. If such high temperatures over this typically-frozen part of our world continue for much longer than a couple of weeks at this key time of year, precipitous summer melt is sure to follow.

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During recent years there has been much speculation about when the Arctic Ocean will start to experience ice-free summers as fossil fuel related industries pump higher and higher volumes of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. In the early-to-mid 2000s, scientific consensus was that melt would tend to be more gradual and ice-free summers would hold off until the final decades of the 21st Century when the world was around 3-4 C warmer than 19th Century averages.

But the Earth System is far more sensitive to temperature increases than the early forecasts expected. Major Arctic sea ice losses surprised the world during September of 2007 and subsequently in the same month of 2012. Now, it is obvious that a pattern of far more rapid sea ice melt has taken hold. And the scientific consensus appears to have settled on a more likely and much nearer date around the early 2030s — when the world will have warmed by about 1.6 degrees Celsius.

(An oddly warm pattern in which above freezing temperatures have come early to the High Arctic is setting up during May of 2018. Content Source: Climate Reanalyzer. Video source: Scribbler’s Youtube.)

However, when it comes to sea ice, nothing is certain at this time. Any single Arctic year in which temperatures spike — particularly during normal melt season — could result in the losses that we once expected to occur much later in time.

There are many factors that will ultimately determine when a summer ice free state occurs. Warm winters are a major one. And the past two years (2017 and 2018) have seen Arctic winters in which temperatures hit some ridiculous high extremes. But another major factor is the set-up to Arctic summer that takes place during the window months of May and June.

Neven, one of our best Arctic sea ice watchers (you can check his blog out here), notes:

May and June are very important for the rest of the melting season. Not only do we now see these warm air intrusions, but high pressure maintains its presence over parts of the Arctic as well (which means relatively cloudless skies -> insolation -> melt onset and melt pond formation -> preconditioning of the ice pack -> melting momentum that gets expressed during July and August, regardless of the weather)… We have to wait and see what happens, step by step, but this isn’t a good start for the ice.

If May and June are unusually warm, particularly over the Arctic Ocean, then the sea ice — which is already greatly weakened — is bound to face an extended period of above-freezing temperatures. If such a period stretches for 5 months from May through September rather than the typical 4 months (June to September), then we are more likely to see the Arctic Ocean briefly flip into an ice-free or near ice-free state for the first time in human history.

(The coming week is expected to feature between 1 and 10 C above average temperatures for locations across the Arctic Ocean. These are very strong warm departures during May. Last week saw similar extreme warm departures. And we are already starting to see sea ice losses pile up. Image source: Global and Regional Climate Anomalies.)

This year, May is shaping up to be much, much warmer than normal for the High Arctic. Already, a large May temperature spike has occurred (see right image below). A temperature spike which is predicted to continue for at least the next ten days.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but this severe warming trend might end up presenting a bit of a problem. The extended period of melt mentioned above may begin in force — setting off a chain of feedbacks that could tip the Arctic Ocean into a far less frozen or even an ice-free state (under absolute worst case scenarios) this year.

To be clear, this is not a forecast that such a condition is bound to occur during 2018. It is just an analysis of underlying trends and a statement that risks are higher if such trends as we now observe continue. Late May could flip to a cooler than normal regime. June could be cooler and cloudier than normal (as happened during 2016 and 2017). And if that happens again, we may be spared.

(Average Arctic temperatures for 2017 [left] and 2018 [right]. The red line depicts the yearly temperature trend. The green line depicts the Arctic climatological average for 1958-2002 [which was already warmer than normal]. Note the big temperature spike in the right hand graph. That’s where we are now. Image source: DMI. For further reference, see Zack Labe‘s composite temperature analysis for the 80 North region.)

However, we are already on a much higher ramp for spring temperatures in the northern polar region than during 2017. And though 2016 saw a slightly warmer than normal spring near the pole, the May 2018 spike already far exceeds anything we saw at that time. So much, in fact, that present temperatures for May 6 are comparable to those typically seen during early June from the 80 degree N Latitude line to the Pole.

This higher ramp and related record warmth is already accelerating melt. Sea ice losses over recent days have greatly picked up and we are getting closer to record low daily ranges. If melt accelerates to a point, the greatly expanded darker ocean surfaces will draw in more heat from the sun’s rays during June — potentially overcoming the impact of the increased early summer cloudiness we have seen during recent years. Such a scenario, if it continues to develop, would be a nightmare from the climate change perspective.

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58 Comments

  1. NevenA

     /  May 7, 2018

    Cool to see that YouTube video, Robert! I’ve been planning to do the same this year, but I’m waiting for my wife to give the green light. 😉

    May and June are very important for the rest of the melting season. Not only do we now see these warm air intrusions, but high pressure maintains its presence over parts of the Arctic as well (which means relatively cloudless skies -> insolation -> melt onset and melt pond formation -> preconditioning of the ice pack -> melting momentum that gets expressed during July and August, regardless of the weather). As you say, we have to wait and see what happens, step by step, but this isn’t a good start for the ice.

    As for the DMI 80N temps, Zack Labe has updated his graph where you see all the years, and this year’s trend line clearly stands out. There’s no direct correlation to ice melt, but it is an indication, even if only at the gut level.

    Liked by 6 people

    Reply
    • Thanks for the comment, Neven! Would like to quote in the post, with your permission.

      I have a love-hate relationship with YouTube. But I need to do more videos and increase my non-writing coms learning curve.

      Thanks for the references. I think I’m going to pull out ZLabe’s graph in comments for reference.

      Cheers Neven.

      –R

      Please check out Neven’s Arctic Sea Ice Blog and related excellent resources:

      http://neven1.typepad.com/

      Composite DMI temperature measure including recent years as reference as provided by Zack Labe:

      Liked by 1 person

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      • rhymeswithgoalie

         /  May 7, 2018

        “I have a love-hate relationship with YouTube.”

        May I recommend Steven Stockman’s short and sweet book “How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro”.

        Like

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        • kassy

           /  May 8, 2018

          It might also be worth checking out recording software. You can use free versions of Bandicam or OBS. Bandicam can be run with a visible mousepointer (so you can use that instead of the pencil) for example.

          PS: I like youtube so i subscribed to the channel.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks, Kassy. I may just give that a shot!

          Like

  2. NevenA

     /  May 7, 2018

    “Would like to quote in the post, with your permission.”

    By all means. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Thank you! Adding now with links and references. Please let me know if you post a follow-on so I can link as well.

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      • NevenA

         /  May 7, 2018

        I’ll probably start posting ASI updates again a week (or two) from now. First I want to do a winter analysis, so no posts in the short term on the current situation in the Arctic.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        • That’s certainly worthwhile work, considering all that’s happened. So much interest with the warming zones in the Bering/Chukchi and with the similar warming zone over Svalbard/East Greenland and N Barents. I think there’s been a lot of winter preconditioning for the trend we are seeing now. 2018 and 2017 were very similar in this respect. And I wonder what comes after these back-to-back very warm winters.

          I will check for the post. I’m sure there will be some great references for use in the present analysis.

          Like

  3. PlazaRed

     /  May 7, 2018

    Thank you Robert for this eye opener to what is going on now and maybe into the coming months.
    The more water that there is to absorb the sunlight the quicker the ice will melt. Its like putting an immersion heater into the Arctic, then that heat remains there, retarding the formation of new ice, so as there is less the next year, a sort of chain reaction.
    There is now probably little doubt that the Arctic will become ice free in the summer over the next few years, just when is a sort of complex collection of factors but those factors are all now in place, Just waiting for the right winds, temps and currents to bring them into play.
    Then the “climate cat” is really out of the bag for the northern hemisphere.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • You’re right.

      I just want to go ahead and call your attention to the barometric variable as well (which Neven astutely pointed out above). If you have high pressure over the Central Arctic, it tends to clear out the clouds. This, in turn, enhances melt pond formation. If you’ve got a combo of high pressure + very warm temps + reduced cloud cover during May and June it’s a real killer combo for sea ice come end melt season.

      Right now, we have high pressure centered over the Beaufort and tending to dominate the Central Arctic. We still have a warm storm kind of situation East of Greenland — which is funneling warm air, liquid precipitation and higher seas into that region. In my opinion, the warm rain through that region is completely counter to expected variables. So the sunshine variable may need to have an * added.

      I started the analysis based on temp alone so as not to get too far into the underlying variables. But it’s helpful to discuss them. The primary over-riding driver, though, is temperature increase.

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      • PlazaRed

         /  May 7, 2018

        Put a few “lows” around the Arctic at 70 degrees north more of less and you will probably get an automatic High over the pole area. Clear skies, warm days and of course “no nights!”
        There is now about 7 weeks to the solstice and another 7 weeks to get us back to where we are now. This could be packed with memorable weather events.
        In my opinion, the next big changing factor will be the number of melt days over Greenland. This is also influenced by the highs over the northern Arctic.
        We have seen this coming for the last few years but chance has always cut the worst scenario short.

        Chance has a mathematical limit and that inevitably runs out.
        Humanity has never had any expiriance of the world with no reflective ice over the northern latitudes, this is a whole new condition that at least some of us/you are going to probably see in the next few years.

        Liked by 1 person

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        • So what’s a bit odd right now is that the 80 N zone is mostly cloudy and that’s where we see most of the warmth. Meanwhile the Beaufort is mostly sunny.

          Have long pointed out that water vapor holds more latent heat than dry air. We see the strong effect of this clearly during winter. But the odd thing is that the trend, at least in the 80 N region has extended into May.

          Like

        • May 15 is particularly notable:

          Like

    • bostonblorp

       /  May 8, 2018

      My understanding is it’s a triple-whammy. First is the loss of albedo which more or less doubles the forcing. Second is the basic inertia of multi-year ice. Melting ice requires a huge amount of energy. In the battle of heat vs cold it is the castle wall the enemy is slinging boulders at. Once it’s gone you have turned the tide of the battle in your favor and you can really start cranking up the water temp. Finally the incremental heating of the arctic results in a much wavier jetstream that will in turn cause heat to pour in from the lower latitudes at times.

      Liked by 1 person

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      • The difference between ice and ice free during summer translates into about 5 C surface warming in an apples to apples comparison. You also end up with a great deal of additional heat being absorbed by the ocean and on down through the ocean column.

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  4. PlazaRed

     /  May 7, 2018

    When the 80 degree latitude are mostly cloudy, this creates a “blanket type” effect, hence air moving northwards can not cool as easily as it would if the skies above were clear of clouds, so the movement of air into the high Arctic is warmer then normal, or what it should be.
    Its all a chain reaction.
    If the blanket effect covers Greenland with thin clouds this summer, I will expect extraordinary melting and melt pools, which in themselves conserve heat from sunlight.

    Some people and sites have called it a “tipping effect,” really its just a obvious as leaving ice on a table top on a sunny day, it simply melts, this is whats going to happen. With added warm air to help.
    The biggest problem often overlooked with ice melting is rain, if there are rainy days then vast amounts of ice are doomed to also become water.

    I also think that the amount of ash and dust from recent forest fires and other sources is adding to the melting situation, as its darkening the surface and increasing the sunlight absorption.

    Here in my area of Spain, after our 60 inch rainfall this winter, weeds that are normally about 2 foot, or 60 CMS high, this year are over 6 foot or 2 metes high. Soon they will dry out and become a massive fire and soot danger in an area that normally receives very little rainfall.
    Que Sera, Sera!

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. rhymeswithgoalie

     /  May 7, 2018

    I also like the Charctic interactive sea ice graph, and recommend adding 2007 and 2017 for low-extent references. Note that 2012 was the year of an Arctic cyclone which pushed (and presumably stacked) a lot of sea surface ice.

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/charctic-interactive-sea-ice-graph/

    Liked by 1 person

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  6. Syd Bridges

     /  May 8, 2018

    Although Neven’s latest post shows PIOMAS as better than at this time last year, it is still the second lowest ice volume for this time of year. I suspect that favourable melt conditions this summer would quickly dispose of the extra 1605 cu/km of ice over last year. Then we are in “dodge a bullet” mode for the rest of the summer. This is a game that we cannot keep winning for long.

    Also, looking at today’s ENSO report, it looks quite likely that the La Nina will officially be over by June. El Nino is now at about 50 percent probability this coming northern winter. Also of note is the much weaker back-to-back La Ninas of 2016-2018 compared to those of 2010-2012.

    Thus the Arctic may see little respite in the next couple of years before the heat spike heads north from the next El Nino event.

    See http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Ronald

     /  May 8, 2018

    is there any recent news about the risk of a sudden large and exponential methane release from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS)? Research has been and is being done by Shakhova, Semiletov, and others, indicating the very real risk of a giga methane burb from the ESAS, which would create a super greenhouse effect in a short period of time.
    In more recent years this risk was downplayed by other researchers, but as far as I know it is still there, according to the latest that I read about it, last year:

    http://envisionation.co.uk/index.php/nick-breeze/203-subsea-permafrost-on-east-siberian-arctic-shelf-now-in-accelerated-decline
    https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15872

    Any more recent news about this issue?

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    • There’s been some anecdotal reports RE pingos and similar permafrost related phenomena. We don’t have an atmospheric indication that an out-sized methane release is imminent. And we are very unlikely to see such an event at present levels of warming near 1.1 C. However, it’s worth noting that the recent National Climate Assessment report added methane release (hydrates/permafrost) to its list of potential tipping points and cascading event scenarios.

      The scientific consensus appears to be honing in on the potential for a 10-30 percent feedback (compared to human emissions) during the 21st Century. But there’s still a lot of uncertainty regarding this subject.

      Liked by 1 person

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  8. miles h

     /  May 8, 2018

    “The National Snow and Ice Data Center just released its updated sea ice extent charts which show that just 2% of ice left in the Arctic is older than 5 years.
    The difference with 1984 is stark. This means that most of the Arctic freeze now is weather dependent. The energy it takes to melt a block of ice raises the same volume of water by 80 degrees. We’re about to turn off the northern hemisphere’s air conditioning.”
    Key charts here: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dcn_in5UwAIB8Bu.jpg:large

    Liked by 3 people

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    • kassy

       /  May 8, 2018

      I remember when there was more of it. Strong blue dots (iirc) in the ice maps. Now most of it is gone. The continuing energy input that did that is now working on the rest.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    • So to me this is an indication that state change is already underway. If 2 percent of the ice is multi year, then pretty much all it takes is 5 years to melt most of the ice. This compared to past decades when large portions of the ice were immobile for long periods of time and melt and transport out of the Arctic were rather reduced. Most of the Arctic is now a slush sea.

      Liked by 2 people

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  9. Even for climate scientists and geoscientists, there’s an element of fascination, like watching a car crash in slow motion, in witnessing glaciers recede and sea ice melt away within less than the length of a career.

    There’s also the faint nagging hope that surely crossing THIS line will finally wake people up, or push back hard enough against the AGW denying forces of vested interests and their willing idiots. I hope so.

    But just to pick one example, I fear that when polar bear populations start to crash as reproductive and survival rates decline due to sea ice loss, then deniers will just shrug and say that “species have always gone extinct” or “how could we have known?” or “who knows how accurate those numbers are anyway?”

    I’d like to see a few of the fossil fuel company CEOs who funded disinformation campaigns spend the last years of their cushy retirements behind bars. Another faint hope, I guess.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    • My experience is that climate change deniers, at best, are just sadly uninformed. Many are contrarians trying to get a reaction. At worst, they either don’t care (a kind of pathological apathy) or have bad/corrupt intentions (are in bed with fossil fuel interests). In other words, there’s a steep path toward getting climate change deniers to, well, change. But we gotta try.

      As for fossil CEOs. Totally with you on that one. In my opinion, they’re a good part of the reason why we have so many deniers and so much bad information.

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    • Abel Adamski

       /  May 8, 2018

      https://climatecrocks.com/2018/05/07/whats-my-motivation-for-these-grassroots-protesters-its-just-another-acting-job/
      Acting is a tough business. But there’s one growth area.

      “They paid us to sit through the meeting and clap every time someone said something against wind and solar power,” Keith Keough told The Lens, saying he was not political and just needed the money.”

      “Grass Roots” activists for hire. New story from New Orleans is consistent with other incidents in recent years.

      New Orleans Times Picayune:

      Local actors were paid to attend New Orleans City Council meetings last year in a show of support for a proposed Entergy power plant, collecting $60 to $200 for performances that at times included prewritten speeches with talking points favoring the plant — in other words, “speaking roles,”

      Liked by 1 person

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      • The fossil fuel industry has long paid money to gin up fake support. But this reminds me of some twisted version of an infomercial.

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  10. Ecocurious

     /  May 8, 2018

    The CO2 already ‘up there’ is going nowhere for the next one thousand years. The Keeling Curve shows an increase of 10 ppm every four years, and the rate is climbing. We can only slow the rate of increase in the amount of CO2 we are pumping into the high atmosphere, and are unlikely to reduce it. SO, the earth-oven is in ‘pre-heat’ mode– while the heating element is already fired up, the air within takes some time to catch up.
    Taking a different focus, and combining the information of your past excellent posts, isn’t it the case that the possibility of a fresh water pulse originating from the Beaufort Gyre could slow the thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic? And that the probability of this pulse increases with an ice-free artic?

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    • 1. CO2 is going to be tough to take out of the carbon cycle once in it. But negative carbon techniques can have a positive long term impact IF we can transition to clean energy and much higher efficiency soon.
      2. High rate of CO2 increase is primarily due to record high but near plateau rates of GHG emission. The opportunity exists to plateau early if nations show resolve. Present action by China and India may help to achieve an early plateau. But backsliding by some countries and regions has hurt out prospects. More resolve from the US, Europe, and Australia would help. Russia and the Middle East need to step it up. The longer we maintain such high emission rates, the more warming and related Carbon feedbacks we see. Higher, longer-running emissions thus generate more irreversible effects.
      3. The primary source of fresh water in the North Atlantic is from Greenland melt. However, there are also more modest changes taking place to Arctic Ocean circulation that could have similarly less acute regional climate impacts.

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  11. Abel Adamski

     /  May 8, 2018

    Whilst OT on this subject, of great relevance to the planets future
    A major element behind China’s sea floor grab in the South China Sea
    http://www.popsci.com.au/robots/industrial-robots/and-now-a-ship-that-can-mine-39000-tons-of-ore-from-a-mile-under-water,490046
    // Home // Robots // Industrial Robots
    And now, a ship that can mine 39,000 tons of ore from a mile under water
    Last month in China, the Mawei Shipyards launched the Deep Sea Nautilus, the world’s first ship designed for mining deepwater seabeds.
    The Deep Sea Nautilus is a 745-foot-long megaship capable of carrying 39,000 tons of ore—plus a 200-person crew and deep-sea mining robots. Nautilus Minerals, which owns the ship, plans to start gold and copper mining in the Solwara I, a mile-deep site in the coastal waters of Papua New Guinea.
    Nautilus Minerals is a Canadian company with an ambitious deep-sea mining plan, centered around high-tech underwater robots that wouldn’t look totally out of place in Star Wars. This February the company successfully tested its line-up of three robots at depths of 1,500 meters, or about 0.93 miles, or about 4900 feet.

    Two robots are purpose-built for preparing and pulverizing the metal rich seabed; a third robot will mix the pulverized ore into a slurry, to be pumped up to the Deep Sea Nautilus for further processing.
    Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group, a Chinese copper company, will be the first buyer of Nautilus Minerals’ ore. This kind of purchase further indicates ambitions for large-scale deep-sea operations by Chinese firms. Chinese mining companies already hold three mining licenses in the Pacific Ocean from the International Seabed Authority, while railroad equipment maker China Railroad Corporation purchased Soil Mechanics Dynamic, a leading manufacturer of underwater mining and construction equipment.

    On April 20, the Qianlong III dove to depths of 3,900 meters—or about 2.4 miles—to investigate the seabed and deep-sea wildlife.

    Xinhua

    China’s deep-sea mining would enable the nation to maintain sovereign control over strategic resources like copper and rare earth minerals. Activities in international waters would also extend Chinese commercial presence in the global commons as well as further solidify Chinese claims to waters in the East and South China Seas. And, of course, the vast amount of oceangraphic data gathered by deep sea mining could prove useful to military operations like submarine and anti-submarine warfare.

    What could go wrong, the consequences are potentially catastrophic for the marine environment and ultimately for us

    Liked by 4 people

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    • This looks like another aspect of China’s strategic efforts to become a leader in clean/renewable energy. The Trump Administration doesn’t seem to realize that you lose the global energy game if you don’t make a strong renewables play at this time.

      Meanwhile, with each failure to ramp up efforts to deal with climate change, we consign ourselves to a worse and worse future.

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      • Abel Adamski

         /  May 9, 2018

        From one of my financial advisories
        Volkswagen order $48 billion in batteries, that’s a lot of graphite!

        Shockwaves were echoed last week at the Volkswagen annual shareholder meeting when it was announced that the German carmaker had signed orders for $48billion (USD) worth of electric vehicle batteries.

        “By 2020 we will offer our customers more than 25 new electric models and more than 20 plug-in hybrids,” said CEO Herbert Diess.

        “In just a few years’ time, then, across all brands and regions, we aim to put the world’s largest fleet of electric vehicles on the road.”

        This strategy will be powered by lithium-ion batteries and poses Volkswagen as a major player against Tesla who have until now, dominated the electric vehicle headline space. .

        As competition in the electric vehicle space continues to grow, one material flying under the radar is graphite. Tesla founder Elon Musk has stated that lithium-ion batteries “should be called nickel graphite batteries” because the batteries use ten times the amount of graphite as they do lithium.

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        • The demand call for batteries has been made loud and clear. The present trend shows that the world is on track for between 310 and 344 GWh of battery production capacity by 2022. This is a higher ramp than last year’s predictions in the 270s. However, I think that we are more likely to see additional capacity added as new projects struggle to meet demand. So 400 GWh or more is certainly possible.

          EV manufacturers like Hyundai are finding that demand for their electrical vehicles is higher than expected. This is resulting in a serious call for more manufacturing. In the near term, demand appears likely to outstrip supply. So those, like Tesla, who own their battery manufacturing capacity in house will have a distinct advantage. VW appears to be trying to counter that advantage with large capital outlays.

          So the race to dominate the emerging EV market appears to be seriously on.

          I am heartened that media sources are finally acknowledging Tesla’s present dominance. It’s one of the key factors in the present trend. Tesla is threatening traditional OEM business models. This forces ICE and fossil fuel based manufacturers to respond in kind or risk losing boatloads of customers. VW appears to be positioned to take advantage of the emerging EV market. Ford, which has announced a full retreat from the sedan market, appears to be ready to accept losses. This appears true, to a lesser degree, for GM as well.

          The Model 3 is the #21 best-selling car in the U.S. It is heading for #6 by summer. With preorders steady at 450K, it could easily hit the top 4 once 5,000 per month production rates are achieved. This from a premium vehicle with a present base cost of 44,000 and a lowest base of 35,000.

          Like

  12. Andy_in_SD

     /  May 9, 2018

    If you are interested in a huge amount of fantastic data regarding arctic & antarctic ice / snow / melt / coverage etc….

    NSIDC, NOAA, it’s all here in various formats (ie: excel).

    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  13. Mark Hanson

     /  May 9, 2018

    Globalization of commerce is 90% performed by ocean faring vessels and their contribution to pollution is staggering due to their use of very high sulphur ( very cheap) content fuels while ‘out there’ and over the horizon. Once the ships are within an ’emission control area’ ( about 200 nautical mile from US land and all of Europe) the vessels must switch to a very low sulphur fuel, but the use of the really bad fuels is most of the journey. Often, when the raw materials are included, these ships make two trips. Using the low sulphur fuels would be cost prohibitive (so says the ship owners) but forcing them to use the better grade fuel might make the cost of the goods ‘less attractive’ which I suggest is a good thing. Many have no idea how things move around but almost everything now is sea borne. Try and buy local as the 15 biggest ships produce more sulphur oxide than all the cars presently in the world. And to keep track of the maritime industry, examine this link:
    https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/centerx:7.0/centery:41.0/zoom:2

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    • There’s an effort ongoing to reduce ship traffic emissions, which is certainly a good thing. Batteries and electrification are steadily making their way into shipping and boating as well — although the first iterations are short range. I’ve noticed that a couple of companies appear to be working on integrating solar sails on movable booms for cargo ships. In my opinion, if there’s an open avenue for fuel cells to make a contribution, the best opportunity currently is shipping.

      Liked by 1 person

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  14. redskylite

     /  May 9, 2018

    Thanks for the reminder and keeping attention firmly on the Arctic – summer ice will be gone sooner or later, probably sooner, maybe even in my lifetime. It will not be in a hurry to return, and we have a long way to go in getting the atmospheric CO2 down.

    Mashable discusses today . . .

    Unusually warm air had smothered the Arctic throughout that year, and now a recently published report, led by government scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), found that it’s nearly impossible to explain the intensity of this warmth simply by normal fluctuations in weather.

    A heating event like this isn’t natural, they argue — it’s largely human-induced, specifically by the greenhouse gases emitted by human industry and trapped in the atmosphere.

    Scientists have long predicted that the Arctic would show extreme, amplified consequences of these emissions, particularly as sea ice melts and plummets in size.

    “It’s been said the Arctic is the canary in the coal mine,” NOAA meteorologist and study co-author Martin Hoerling said in a statement. “The canary in the coal mine really chirped loudly in 2016. This is where the signal is clearly emerging beyond the noise, and it affirms predictions of how climate change will unfold on Earth.”

    https://mashable.com/2018/05/08/arctic-heat-wave-2016-climate-change/?utm_cid=hp-n-1#HKwmyA5HgZqw

    Liked by 2 people

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    • Connecticut Gordon

       /  May 9, 2018

      Can this figure for CO2 from yesterday really be true? 418.74
      https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/monthly.html

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      • Connecticut Gordon

         /  May 9, 2018

        I see they have now withdrawn the entry and put in ‘unavailable’. Sounds as if there is a glitch in their monitors

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        • Sometimes emission sources occur near the monitor. Sometimes the system gets a false-positive. In both cases, the readings aren’t representative, so they take them down.

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      • There might have been an emission source near the sensor. I notice that NOAA took the numbers down, so that’s probably what happened. It appears that we are still in the average daily range of 410 to 412 — which is where we should be given the trends.

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        • hatrack

           /  May 9, 2018

          Since Mauna Loa is one of the main observatories for atmospheric carbon readings, I’m wondering if the eruption of Kilauea messed things up, at least locally. Not sure of the prevailing winds there this time of year, however, or to what degree other stations information could compensate.

          Liked by 2 people

        • That’s certainly a potential explanation. Mauna Loa was chosen primarily for its location well away from traditional emissions sources. But sometimes you end up with a local spike.

          Liked by 1 person

    • The last few years have certainly seen the impacts of polar amplification writ large. Most of the warming has occurred during winter and over the Arctic Ocean region. If the Arctic Ocean region starts to see serious knock-on effects in summer, then the situation goes from bad to worse.

      There are a number of feedbacks in play in the Arctic at this time. The primary one is the loss of albedo (reflectivity) due to the ongoing loss of sea ice. But we do also appear to have a number of carbon feedbacks (non catastrophic but still contributive CO2 and CH4 feedbacks) that keep the ghg values higher than the global average over that region. It’s also situated relatively close to (high emitting) NH industry, road and fossil fuel related infrastructure — which is the primary contributor to the larger warming we see.

      Polar amplification is a process that causes the poles to warm faster than the lower latitudes as the level of atmospheric greenhouse gasses increase. Right now, with CO2 at 410 and CO2e at 491 (approx), the atmospheric heat forcing from these primarily fossil fuel based accumulations is quite high. And we are seeing serious knock-on effects in the Arctic. Meanwhile, the Antarctic also appears to be coming more and more into play.

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  15. redskylite

     /  May 9, 2018

    Arctic sea ice low as UN delegates talk climate in a sweltering Bonn.

    “Unusually early, extensive and rapid snow melt on #Svalbard releasing extreme melt water discharges in the valleys. +6°C and strong breeze today in #Longyearbyen (78°N)”

    In Arctic Today, Yereth Rosen has an article telling us this year’s Arctic sea ice melt season is “off to an unusually fast start”, and provides some worrying data from the NSIDC.

    http://blogs.dw.com/ice/?p=18127

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    • We are strongly in ‘second lowest on record’ territory. The somewhat disturbing factor is that May is continuing a winter trend of much warmer than normal conditions. If this situation extends into summer, the Arctic sea ice is in serious trouble. Especially after taking such a severe beating during the winters of 2016-2017 and 2017-2018.

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  16. redskylite

     /  May 9, 2018

    Great 11 minute interview on “Chicago Tonight” with a Harvard professional – very clear and precise. . ‘

    Daniel Schrag’s professional credentials are impressive: He’s the director of the Center for the Environment at Harvard University where he’s a professor of environmental science and engineering. At Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Schrag is co-director of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy program. Throughout President Barack Obama’s eight years in office, Schrag served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, contributing to many reports. He has a long list of published papers ranging from the impact of corals on seawater chemistry 250 million years ago to solar geoengineering.

    But nowhere in his extensive résumé will you find “prophet of doom.” Yet he very much sounds like one when speaking about the rapid rise of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. “While climate change may not yet have had its huge impact on biodiversity,” says Schrag, “just wait. What’s coming is really extraordinary.”

    https://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2018/05/08/harvard-scientist-climate-change-may-be-worse-we-think

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    • Warming as fast as we are will generate a big hit to the Earth’s life support systems all by itself. Worth noting that long term warming of 6 C occurs with CO2 in the range of 550 ppm — that’s enough to hurt pretty badly. But the mass extinction range is probably 9 C or more.

      2 C by itself will be enough to destroy a number of habitats that species depend on. Arctic and Antarctic species, mountain species, rainforest species, coral dependent species will all be impacted. Our high rate of emissions is causing an ocean acidification crisis that is also probably without precedent. And so the oceans will be hit very hard if we even just get to 450 ppm CO2 by mid-Century.

      For the human emissions story, the velocity of change is a serious additional driver of harm. Which is one reason why species losses will be more acute than during past warming periods and at lower temperature ranges.

      Human beings face losing river delta productivity due to sea level rise, loss of crop favorable weather in the most productive growing zones, as well as an erosion and then a removal of predictable growing seasons. In the 1.5 to 2.5 C range, multiple variables generate substantial stress on human support systems and civilization. In the 1.5 to 2.5 C range, sea level rise is likely to ramp up considerably — forcing mass migration away from coastal and low-lying regions (we already see some of this now, but much more is on the way). This is a crisis that we will face, but we can still avoid even worse outcomes.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  17. Andy_in_SD

     /  May 9, 2018

    Northern hemisphere mega fire starting up in Siberia.

    http://www.arctic.io/explorer/8/2018-05-08/9-N54.41782-E129.1832

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  1. On CNBC this fine morning the talk was AI. “Lights Out,” well 500 million and keep the old 99.9% theory/concept…. – 24 months from August 34th, 2018 will tell us most of the story, the human race. Do the math…
  2. Ok, after Robert Hunziker, put in a simple order of global warming Scary, works for me… and these last temps from the Arctic along with the sea ice decline and or Greenland turning into mush. You know mush….. – 24 months from August 34th
  3. Arctic Ocean Deep in the Grips of May Temperature Spike; Beastly Summer Melt Season on the Way? — robertscribbler « Antinuclear

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