Freakishly warm air has again surged over the North Pole, and sea ice is breaking up north of Greenland — in winter

By Tom Yulsman | February 26, 2018 4:58 pm

Meanwhile, frigid polar air has spilled south into Eurasia and western North America. Is there a connection to human-caused warming?

North Pole

A weather model forecast for how near-surface temperatures should vary from the long-term mean between Feb. 24th and 26th, 2018. Pinkish colors over the North Pole indicate temperatures near or above freezing. (Source: ClimateReanalyzer.org)

It’s happening again: In the dead of winter, warm air from the south is surging across the Arctic toward the North Pole.

Today, weather models suggest that temperatures there have indeed soared to above freezing.

Meanwhile, cold polar air has spilled south into Eurasia and western North America. It’s almost as if someone left the Arctic’s refrigerator door open, allowing its frigid air to pour out and warm air to flow in.

While dramatic warming events like this have happened before, a recent study shows that they are becoming more frequent and intense. In the study, scientists looked at winter air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean from 1893 to 2017. They found that since 1980, an additional six Arctic winter warming events have been occurring each winter at the North Pole, and they’re lasting about 12 hours longer, on average.

You can see what’s happening right now in the Arctic by watching the animation above. It shows weather modeling forecasts for temperature anomalies near the surface, starting on Saturday Feb. 24th and continuing for about two days. The colors indicate the degree to which temperatures are departing from the long-term average.

Look for a large red and pink blob flowing north from Greenland toward the North Pole, located where the hatched lines cross. The pink is indicative of the most dramatic warming.

Looking further ahead, weather models are forecasting that on March 1, another large blob of freakishly warm air will begin surging toward the pole, this time from the Pacific.

The current surge is not just a one-off. Temperatures at Cape Morris Jesup on the northern coast of Greenland just 400 miles from the North Pole have risen above freezing six times since mid-February. Previously, this weather station has experienced above freezing temperature in winter only briefly during February in 2011 and 2017.

Overall, the northernmost reaches of the Arctic, located at 80° north latitude and above, have been running a record-setting fever for weeks now, as this graphic from climatologist Zack Labe shows:

The warm air flooding into the Arctic has come from powerful storms moving up from the south, and also a phenomenon known as a “sudden stratospheric warming event.” More about these factors in a minute, but first, let’s look at the impacts of the warming and the storminess.

Sea ice north of Greenland and not far from the North Pole has fractured, opening a large area of open water, as seen in this image acquired by NASA's Terra Satellite on Feb. 24, 2018. (Source: NASA Worldview)

Sea ice north of Greenland and not far from the North Pole has fractured, opening an area of open water about 225 miles long. (Source: NASA Worldview)

The image above, acquired by NASA’s Terra Satellite on Feb. 24, 2018, shows one startling impact. The sea ice north of Greenland has fractured, allowing a large area of dark open water to form. From left to right, the most ice-free area is about 225 miles long – a little longer than the distance between Washington and New York City.

Any sort of large opening in the sea ice north of Greenland is abnormal. This is where thick, old sea ice once dominated. And even at the end of summer in September, this area is normally ice-covered.

“This has me more worried than the warm temps in the Arctic right now,” says Mike MacFerrin, a University of Colorado scientist specializing in ice sheets. “That sea ice north of Greenland [is] among the last vestiges of old, thick sea ice existing in the Arctic ocean. Break it apart, it can circulate straight out into the Atlantic come summer. We’ll see what comes,” he wrote in a Tweet this morning.

Other scientists are concerned as well. “This large open water area is very unusual,” says Lars Keleschke, a physicist and sea ice expert at the University of Hamburg, writing in a Tweet yesterday. “I haven’t seen a similar event like this before in the almost 25 years I now work with satellite data.”

The animation above shows the ice opening up over the course of 12 days, starting on Feb. 12. Also check out the graph of temperature at Cape Morris Jesup on Greenland’s northern coast showing temperature excursions above freezing.

The opening in the winter sea ice north of Greenland is not an isolated incident. In the Bering Sea off Alaska’s west coast, a vast expanse of sea ice about the size of Wisconsin has vanished. This has exposed towns along the coast to brutal battering by waves and tidal surges.

SEE ALSO: Rather than growing like it should in winter, sea ice off Alaska has been shrinking dramatically

North Pole

A chart of Arctic sea ice extent for this time of year shows 2018 running at record low levels. (Source: NSIDC)

Looking at the Arctic region overall, sea ice extent is running at record low levels as we head into March – just as it should be building to a peak in extent at the end of winter later in the month.

What’s going on?

In the big scheme of things, the Arctic is continuing to warm and change more rapidly than any other region on Earth. This is a consequence of our emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. And if we continue with business as usual, the changes will likely intensify.

But a sudden, dramatic warming of the high Arctic like the one that’s happening right now is a shorter-term phenomenon influenced by a complex interplay of factors. To be sure, these include natural ones. But research suggests that human-caused climate change could also be playing a role.

Right now, the proximate causes of the warm air flooding into the Arctic are an unusual split in a large feature called the stratospheric polar vortex, as well as storminess.

The polar vortex is an area of low pressure that forms high in the atmosphere in fall and winter. It is girdled by strong westerly winds circulating around it. These winds are revved up by the very large contrast in temperature between the high and mid latitudes. And this helps to bottle up frigid polar air in the high north.

But sometimes, disturbances propagating upward from the lower atmosphere can perturb the vortex. For simplicity’s sake you can visualize what happens like this: The disturbances whack the stratospheric polar vortex, causing it to wobble like an unstable spinning top.

The wobbling, in turn, weakens the girdling winds, and sometimes even reverses them. This allows surrounding air at an altitude of about 30 miles up in the stratosphere to fall inward toward the northernmost reaches of the Arctic. As it falls inward, the air gets squished, causing sudden warming.

In fact, the air temperature in the stratosphere can rise by a whopping 50 degrees C in just a few days. And as this sudden stratospheric warming progresses it begins to influence the atmosphere closer to the surface, including the jet stream winds that flow from west to east.

North Pole warming and the jet stream

A wavy jet stream pattern, with large northward and southward pointing lobes. (Source: NASA)

The upshot of this complex chain of events is that the jet stream itself can become distorted, with big lobes projecting south and north. Frigid air normally bottled up near the pole can spill into southward lobes, bringing unusual chill much farther south than normal. Similarly, warm air can surge up into northward lobes. You can see what this looks like in the image at right.

This is precisely what has been happening lately – but on steroids. It all began in mid-February, when the polar vortex got whacked really hard, triggering a sudden stratospheric warming event that didn’t just make the vortex wobbly. It actually split the vortex in two. One piece spun its way south over the Western United States, while another slid over Eurasia. Both of these vortices brought bone-chilling Arctic cold with them.

At the same time, this weird split in the polar vortex opened a gap in the Arctic. This ultimately allowed warm air to flood north toward the pole. Storms moving up from the Atlantic also have contributed to the unusual warmth by sweeping additional mild air north.

As the Arctic has warmed more than lower latitudes, the temperature difference between the regions been been reduced. Since that difference helps drive the jet stream and polar vortex winds, they should be weakening – at least from a theoretical perspective.

And there is, in fact, evidence that the jet stream winds have slackened, becoming wavier in the process, with more exaggerated northward and southward projecting lobes.

Multiple studies have also shown that the polar vortex itself has actually weakened over the past 30 or so years. Moreover, research shows that sudden stratospheric warming events should become more common as the world warms.

Scientists are hard at work teasing out all of these complex details. Natural climatic variability always operates in the background, influencing what’s happening. But scientists have long been concerned that human-caused warming of the Arctic would influence these events as well. And there is some evidence that the loss of Arctic sea ice in particular is making sudden stratospheric warming events and their attendant weather impacts more likely.

“There are theoretical reasons to think that sea ice declines are driving the observed patterns of unusual warmth and cold in different regions,” says Torben Königk, a scientist with the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute specializing in Arctic climate variability. “But we don’t understand what’s going on yet.”

In fact, his own research suggests that natural variability could be playing the dominant role. Other studies suggest otherwise.

“We still need more research,” he cautions. Declines in sea ice might still be implicated. “We cannot yet rule it out or in.”

Some might take solace in that uncertainty. I don’t. I always come back to the words of Columbia University’s Wallace S. Broecker, a geoscientist known as the grandfather of modern climate science. “The climate system is an angry beast and we are poking it with sticks,” he has famously said. Expanding on the idea in an interview with a N.Y. Times reporter 20 years ago, he said this: “The earth’s climate is very volatile; it can do some weird things.”

Given what’s happening in the Arctic right now, it sure seems like he was right.

ADVERTISEMENT
  • OWilson

    “It’s happening again: In the dead of winter, warm air from the south is surging across the Arctic toward the North Pole”.

    Of course, but it’s happening again, because it happens all the time!

    From Wiki:

    “The Arctic is often perceived as a region stuck in a permanent deep freeze. While much of the region does experience very low temperatures, there is considerable variability with both location and season.

    The Arctic consists of ocean that is largely surrounded by land. As such, the climate of much of the Arctic is moderated by the ocean water, which can never have a temperature below −2 °C (28 °F). In winter, this relatively warm water, even though covered by the polar ice pack, keeps the North Pole from being the coldest place in the Northern Hemisphere”.

    If anyone is left under the impression that Greenland is rapidly losing ice mass due to human caused global warming, it should be pointed out that Greenland overall is actually gaining ice mass!

    Here is the daily record from the Danish Meteorolical Institute:

    https://www.dmi.dk/uploads/tx_dmidatastore/webservice/b/m/s/d/e/accumulatedsmb.png

    • Ryan Neuschafer

      Taken from nordicscience webpage that uses the graphics:

      (Note, the SMB doesn’t take into account the breaking off, or “calving” of icebergs from the ice sheet’s edge, which we’ll come to later. Calving losses have averaged around 500bn tonnes of ice per year this century. This means the ice sheet has been losing mass overall across recent years.)

      Also,

      So, overall, how has 2016-17 been for the Greenland ice sheet? Well, it hasn’t been a particularly bad year – the year-on-year decline of the ice sheet has been slightly checked. The 2016-17 season demonstrates how important year-to-year weather conditions in Greenland are in determining the annual SMB – showing that individual years can buck the long-term trend.

      But while the Greenland ice sheet has seen a neutral, or small positive, change in ice for this year, it should be noted that Greenland has lost approximately 3,600bn tonnes of ice since 2002.

    • Tom Yulsman

      Mr. Wilson: You are wrong about Greenland. Over the long run, Greenland is losing ice: http://nsidc.org/greenland-today/2017/09/ And you are wrong that sudden polar warming events “happen all the time.” The evidence you provide says nothing whatsoever about this phenomenon. It simply says that the Arctic is not as cold as it would be if it weren’t moderated by ocean water. And as the story clearly says, but you ignore, “Temperatures at Cape Morris Jesup on the northern coast of Greenland just 400 miles from the North Pole have risen above freezing six times since mid-February. Previously, this weather station has experienced above freezing temperature in winter only briefly during February in 2011 and 2017.” You also ignore the scientific study I cited showing that sudden warming events are becoming more frequent and intense.

      You do love to pick out the tastiest cherries, don’t you? — the ones that allow you to ignore the facts and advance your pre-determined and immovable political agenda.

      • OWilson

        I don’t make up Wiki articles, nor do I “cherry pick” the Daily SMB charts of the DMI. The TOTAL greenland ice budget is presently above the 1981 to 2010 mean. That’s a fact!

        There’s actually no opinion in my post, only direct references to Wiki and DMI., and certainly no derision or ad hominem (as in “your continual climate denial” :))

        I’m just curious what exactly “we should do about the challenges, we clearly face”.

        What I see we “clearly face” is a temperature anomaly over the last 40 years of NOAA satellite observations of a mere 0.26 degrees which, if you allow a reasonable margin of error, is scientifically statiscally insignificant “noise”.

        I see an expanding hungry human population, and we are setting World Agricultural Food Production records to feed them.

        I think we would be better served if the debate shifted to a scientific discussion on what is the net impact of 0.26 degrees over 40 years.

        But I realize I am in the backyard of the AGW Nation, so I don’t expect any approval or agreement with my posts.

        On the contrary! :)

        • Andrew Worth

          The DMI figures are described on their website as the product of a model, the data from GRACE shows declining Greenland ice mass 2002-2017.

          “and certainly no derision or ad hominem” pity you didn’t keep it that way.

          • OWilson

            Those charts from DMI refer to the current period frim September, 2017 to August 2018′

            NOT 2002 to 2017!

            If you read anything else into them, you have the problem, not me! :)

          • Dano2
          • Tom Yulsman

            I’m sorry Mr. Wilson, but you really are being ridiculous. Here is what you wrote originally:

            “If anyone is left under the impression that Greenland is rapidly losing ice mass due to human caused global warming, it should be pointed out that Greenland overall is actually gaining ice mass!”

            To say that it “is actually gaining ice mass” you have to look at just six months. But the objective fact is that over time periods that matter, Greenland has been losing mass. There simply is little scientific doubt about that. So to wave your arms about Greenland gaining mass during the winter is silly. That is what happens in winter. But again, the long-term trend could not be clearer.

            Your logic is analogous to saying this: “It was warm this week, so winter doesn’t exist.” True, you did not say that “Greenland has gained a little bit of mass in recent months compared to average, so that means anthropogenic climate change is bunk.” But given the context of your many, many comments on this site, that is very obviously what you are implying.

            Given just how much you have to twist yourself into knots when your falsehoods are pointed out with multiple hard lines of evidence, I do sometimes wonder what your agenda is. It does not seem to be an intellectually honest agenda. Again, I would respect you more if you argued about possibly policy responses. For example, rather than denying the facts, why not simply argue that adaptation is our best bet? I would respond that we do indeed need to focus more on adaptation, but also on mitigation. And then we might be able to have a productive discussion. But arguing about objective facts is a complete waste of time. (Which raises the question of why I am doing it. Good question…)

          • OWilson

            A factual statement! Currently!

          • OWilson

            I said IS gaining mass, not WAS gaining mass!

            The rest of it comes out of your own ….. shall we say head! :) Stop with the speculatative “you are saying…. ” and read my words!

            Let’s give NOAA the last word, shall we?

            NOAA – September, 2017:

            “Greenland Ice Sheet’s 2017 weigh-in suggests a small increase in ice mass”

            “According to an end of season summary from Greenland experts with the Danish Meteorological Institute, 2017 may turn out differently. According to the Institute’s preliminary estimates, about 544 billion tons more snow fell on the ice sheet between September 2016 and August 2017 than melted away.

            Greenland also loses nearly 500 billion tons of ice each year on average through its glaciers, either by icebergs calving into the ocean or through submarine melting of the glaciers where they reach the ocean. They continue…

            If we subtract this from our figure of 544 Gt [Gt=gigatons, or 1 billion tons]…it would suggest Greenland gained a small amount of ice this year. However, compared to the approximately 3600 Gt of ice…that Greenland has lost since 2002 this year’s slightly positive balance does not add much extra”

            (a NET GAIN of 44 Billion Tons nonetheless!)

            Deny that! Go tell them what they REALLY mean!

          • Tom Yulsman

            You are being ridiculous again. So much so that it seems pointless to try to have a logical and reasonable discussion with you. It’s like trying to pick up mercury with your fingers — you can’t do it, and trying is toxic.

            I will just address your ‘settled science’ criticism one or two comments ago: Some science is not just settled — it’s basic physics that have been well understood for more than 100 years. Other science is not settled. I talk about that in my piece, in fact. You could read it. You might learn something.

          • OWilson

            Settled science and contorted political logic are not quite the same thing. :)

            The science is settled that if I pee in the sea I am adding to sea levels.

            It is contorted political logic to claim that I, am therefore responsible for the demise of Tuvalu!

          • OWilson

            If the science is “Settled”. I wonder about all the rabid kneejerk responses from the usual suspects!

            Was Shakespeare on to someting with his “protest too much” comment?

            Was Einstein right when he said, “If I were wrong, only one rebuttal would be necessary”?

            Peace!

        • Tom Yulsman

          Sorry, but you are wrong again. The mass loss chart I am referring to shows overall declines, not just for one month: http://nsidc.org/greenland-today/files/2017/08/GrnLndMassTrnd.png. I do not know how you can read this as showing anything but a long-term decline. Meanwhile, the graph you provided shows what is happening just since September as compared to a few other years. One period of six months does not make a trend. So yes, you did cherry pick the data to support your pre-determined, non-scientific conclusion, just so you could continue to advance your politicized point of view. As for the word “denial,” that is precisely what you do. You deny even the most basic of facts and twist and turn to provide cherry picked evidence. So it is an accurate, objective observation, not an ad hominem attack.

          Your other comments are worth debating. You basically shift from denying the facts to saying, in essence, that despite what is happening, we have bigger challenges that we must face — higher priorities. I disagree with your opinion. But at least in advancing it you are not denying reality.

          • OWilson

            Thank you.

            Since you are the moderator, if the charts I posted verbatum from the DMI site are misleading or upsetting to global warmers please feel free to delete them. :)

    • https://ridingtheirownmelting.wordpress.com/ cgs

      I would like to expand a little on what Ryan Neuschafer wrote.

      First, for the benefit of everyone reading, here is a link to the page from which you obtained your graphs:

      https://www.dmi.dk/en/groenland/maalinger/greenland-ice-sheet-surface-mass-budget/

      The bottom curve you post is the accumulated surface mass balance over one year. If one reads the explanation that comes with this graph in its entirety, one reads this (emphasis mine):

      Note that the accumulated curve does not end at 0 at the end of the year. Over the year, it snows more than it melts, but calving of icebergs also adds to the total mass budget of the ice sheet. Satellite observations over the last decade show that the ice sheet is not in balance. The calving loss is greater than the gain from surface mass balance, and Greenland is losing mass at about 200 Gt/yr.

      So this says that calving of icebergs is not part of the graph you show. In fact if one further reads the post, the DMI give this information and confirmation (again, emphasis mine):

      For an ice sheet that neither grows or shrinks, there is at all points averaged over the year a balance between

      – the amount of snow that falls and is compressed to ice
      – the amount of snow and ice that melts or evaporates (sublimates) and
      – the amount of ice that flows away due to the ice motion

      The two first contributions make up the surface mass balance. For the ice sheet as a whole, there is a balance between the surface mass balance and the amount of ice that calves into the ocean as icebergs.

      If climate changes, the surface mass balance may change such that it no longer matches the calving and the ice sheet can start to gain or lose mass. …As mentioned, satellites measuring the ice sheet mass have observed a loss of around 200 Gt/year over the last decade.

      So the SMB graphs that you show do not include calving of icebergs. When that is taken into account, scientist’s measurements indicate that Greenland is losing ice mass.

      I think it is clear that you neither read, nor understood, the DMI post in its entirety.

      • OWilson

        There was no chart showing the calving rates.

        Only an opinion :)

        Please post them if you have them! :)

        • https://ridingtheirownmelting.wordpress.com/ cgs

          You are correct, there is no iceberg calving chart. By pointing this out, I assume that you don’t believe what DMI has written – i.e. that Greenland on-net is losing ice when iceberg calving is taken into account? You’ll pardon me if I think this is just deflection on your part as DMI is very clear on this point.

          No matter. NASA provides us the satellite data, which has also been presented to you below also. The same chart is shown here:

          https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/land-ice/

          If you have some research that contradicts what DMI tells us, you are quite free to post it. (I would read it thoroughly though!)

          • OWilson

            I see, so some satellites (NASA) are to be believed, but some satellites (NOAA) are not to be believed! :)

            Now I’m getting it! :)

          • https://ridingtheirownmelting.wordpress.com/ cgs

            Now I’m getting it too!

            Some parts of the DMI post are to be believed and others are not. 😉

            [And anytime you want to discuss satellite data … again … I’m ready to.]

          • OWilson

            Sorry, I already gave at the office! :)

          • Mike Richardson

            As you might note from his exchange with me, the extent of the discussion after I explained the need for correcting NOAA’s data (complete with link to the journal article) was me being accused of not liking satellite data, and apparently favoring the techniques of the 19th century. All without any basis in what I actually said. It’s next to impossible to get him to actually agree with a common set of facts or shared reality, unfortunately.

          • OWilson

            Why don’t you take your “explanation of the need for correcting NOAA’s data”. directly to NOAA, Mikey?

            Why argue with me about it?

            Lol!

          • Mike Richardson

            Why don’t you answer a simple question for me? Which would yield better data — satellite readings not taken at the same time and place over the course of many years, or properly calibrated surface instruments taking temperature readings at the same time in the same place during the same period?

            To provide a simple analogy, if you were looking for local temperature trends in your backyard, would you trust an accurate mercury thermometer read at 3:00 pm each day for a week, or a digital thermometer read at 3:00 pm the first day, and a successive half hour later for each day after that? Newer, shinier technology is great, but it still needs to take readings at the same time of the day, or else have those readings adjusted to take into account the time of day. It’s not a difficult concept.

            NOAA has those surface temperature readings, such as those taken by the weather station in the article above. Do you have a problem with those readings because they aren’t from a satellite? :)

          • OWilson

            You posit a false assumption in your “simple” question, namely that:

            “satellite readings not taken at the same time and place over the course of many years, or properly calibrated surface instruments taking temperature readings at the same time in the same place during the same period?”

            1 There were no “properly calibrated surface instruments” in most of the world, back in the 1880s. Neither are there today. Accurately estimating the Earth’s average temperature before satellites is an expensive and arduous task involving many nations and extrapolations ans assumptions. That’s why they have to depend on ancient steamboat intake valve records, ancient tree ring samples and ancient ice core samples, for the long term record.

            2 You are parrotting and old outdated warmers luddite argument against satellite data. Get up to date. please!

            No reputable organization now disputes the capability of sattelites for monitoring Earth processes.

            Here’s what the global warming advocates at the World Meteorological Institute are reporting:

            November, 1017 – WMI

            “The United States has launched the first of its new generation of highly advanced polar-orbiting meteorological satellites. Known as JPSS-1 (for Joint Polar Satellite System).

            JPSS-1 will circle the globe just over 14 times per day in a polar orbit. It will do so in a fixed plane in space while the earth is rotating beneath it, and its sensors will thus “see” almost every point on Earth twice per day. This will enable the satellite to provide a treasure trove of information, especially about atmospheric temperatures, humidity fields and the nature and distribution of clouds.

            “We in WMO often hold up NOAA’s satellite systems as a model to follow. Free and open access to observational data is what will ultimately let us do the best we can in terms of saving lives, minimizing property damage and helping all nations prosper from improved weather and climate services,” said Lars Peter Riishojgaard, TITLE at WMO.”

            Here’s simple question for you, Mikey.

            Do you use snail mail or email?

            Are you a postal worker? :)

          • Mike Richardson

            You’re the one positing false assumptions here, not me. I’ve repeatedly stated that I’m limiting the comparison here to actual temperature measurements taken from 1978 to 2014, not from before then, and not proxies like ice cores or tree rings. Your insistence on ignoring that in order to compare apples to oranges is not the action of an intellectually honest person.

            As for ” outdated data ” and “talking points ,” the article to which I linked was published in 2016. Furthermore, its authors are from Remote Sensing Systems, a company that processes temperature data from NASA satellites. They’ve got a demonstrated proficiency and understanding of satellite data gathering capabilities and limitations, unlike the technological fetishism you’ve so eagerly demonstrated here.

            I didn’t expect a straight answer to my question, and you behaved true to form. Thank you. I believe I’m finished with you for now. 😉

          • OWilson

            Go argue against the latest satellite technology with your very own World Meteorologocal Organization who maintain, and I quote

            “”The United States has launched the first of its new generation of highly advanced polar-orbiting meteorological satellites. Known as JPSS-1 (for Joint Polar Satellite System).

            JPSS-1 will circle the globe just over 14 times per day in a polar orbit. It will do so in a fixed plane in space while the earth is rotating beneath it, and its sensors will thus “see” almost every point on Earth twice per day. This will enable the satellite to provide a treasure trove of information, especially about atmospheric temperatures, humidity fields and the nature and distribution of clouds.

            “”””“We in WMO often hold up NOAA’s satellite systems as a model to follow. Free and open access to observational data is what will ultimately let us do the best we can in terms of saving lives, minimizing property damage and helping all nations prosper from improved weather and climate services,” said Lars Peter Riishojgaard, WMO.””””” -WMO, November 2017.

            I’m done with you science denier true believers here! Mikey! (for now! :)
            Again, the adults have long left the building so you can stay and argue with the empty walls, and go straight home like the rest of the adults.

            Once again, don’t forget to turn out the lights!

      • Dano2

        Important point:

        Surface Mass Balance is not Total Mass Balance.

        Total Mass Balance:

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/367f0793644c86c607d08314d65723356738c524854fcdd2347dbb07c8bf49ab.jpg

    • coloradobob1

      “Of course, it’s happening again, because it happens all the time!”

      Not even close.

  • coloradobob1

    I always come back to the words of Columbia University’s Wallace S. Broecker, a geoscientist known as the grandfather of modern climate science. “The climate system is an angry beast and we are poking it with sticks,” he has famously said. Expanding on the idea in an interview with a N.Y. Times reporter 20 years ago, he said this: “The earth’s climate is very volatile; it can do some weird things.”

  • coloradobob1

    The North Pole just had an extreme heat wave for the 3rd winter in a row

    We’ve seen similar stark changes in ice on land. Greenland’s ice sheet, which would raise global sea levels by 25 feet if it all melts, has seen portions reach a tipping point where they have suddenly started melting 80 percent faster.

    https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/2/27/17053284/arctic-heat-wave-north-pole-climate

  • coloradobob1

    MEXICO CITY, Feb 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Storms, floods and other extreme weather events are hitting cities much harder than scientists have predicted, said the head of a global network of cities tackling climate change…………… “Almost every (C40 member) city is reporting extreme weather events that are off all the scale of previous experience, and ahead of all the modelling of climate change,” Watts told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    “Given that all the scientific models are failing to predict the pace that climate impact’s actually having, how do you do good public policy?” he said on the sidelines of the C40 Women4Climate conference.

    http://news.trust.org/item/20180227043712-hh1bl

    • OWilson

      Women for Climate? :)

  • Mike Richardson

    I can certainly understand why the discussion over Greenland’s icecap has become so heated (pardon the pun). While the fate of the Arctic sea ice may be of more importance to polar bears and those wishing to use an open Northwest Passage, the Greenland icecap will directly affect every nation with a coastline, and indirectly everywhere else. But the facts are solid — there has been no long-term trend towards growth in Greenland’s ice cover at any point in several decades, and any growth we’ve seen this year appears vulnerable to increasing Arctic heat waves. At this point, the main questions remaining are just how quickly things are going to heat up, and how fast will the ice melt. I’ve seen the figure of “0.26 degrees over 40 years” used here in these comments, as a figure derived from NOAA satellites. However, that’s a lowball estimate that did not take into account the diurnal drift of the satellites. Here’s the article from the Journal of the American Meteorological Society explaining it in detail:

    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0744.1?af=R

    Corrected for their drift, the measurements from the satellites were more in line with NOAA’s ground-based measurements, for which they also vouched — a 0.125 degree C rate of warming per decade from 1979 to 2014.
    NASA has an estimate range of 2 to 6 degrees increased average global temperature by the end of this century!

    https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalWarming/page5.php

    Much of this warming is expected to occur in the Arctic, so this week’s warm spell may be a harbinger of things to come in the region.

    • OWilson

      An old article!

      Let’s throw NOAA satellite data from 1979 out, in favour of ancient tidal guages, ancient tree ring and ancient ice core proxies, old steamship intake valve records from the 1880s.

      • Mike Richardson

        At no point in my discussion did I mention “ancient tidal guages[sic], ancient tree ring and ancient ice core proxies,” or ” old steamship intake valve records from the 1880s. ” Nor, for that matter, did the journal article I cited, which instead compared ground-based temperature measurements from the late 1970s to 2014 with satellite measurements — both of which were in agreement after the satellites’ drift was factored in. I understand you’re getting desperate here, but please stick to addressing what I said, and not fabricating a straw man argument. :)

        • OWilson

          Well, you either accept the satellite record, for the last 40 years, or you accept the terrestrial instrument record since 1850, which proxies mentioned above are all utilized to extrapolate a global temperateure from locations like the North and South Pole, which had not been even discovered back in those days, Lol!

          How DID you think they could tell you the global temperature, back in 1850, before a good part of the world had even been explored?

          Devining temperature records in 1850 to a few hundredths of a degree, from ancient ice cores, ancient tree rings and ancient steamship records is a far more difficult and very expensive task, than calibrating satellites!

          (The problem with satellite data for warmers, it cannot easily be manipulated and constantly adjusted to match the failed models) Lol!

          They are the two main records published by NASA/NOAA.

          If you know of another official source, please post a link! (and no, no recovering alcoholic Mayors of sanctuary cities, Washington Post, or some local Florida TV Station)

          Thank you! :)

    • CB

      “there has been no long-term trend towards growth in Greenland’s ice cover at any point in several decades”

      True! The long-term trend is decline, and that decline is accelerating. You could even see that by looking at a chart of the ice there! …so what explains people who apparently aren’t aware of the fact?

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/38f2f1f3a29defc5efb8cfa91e582ba816d8b7b85c16b9f77351530fbd239166.png

  • OWilson

    So there we have it folks!

    The DMI charts that show the SMB over the current 12 month period lie, because they don’t show the long term trend!

    Satellites that measure ice mass from NASA are to be believed, but satellites that measure temperature from NOAA are not to be believed!

    The poster who agreed with me, and DMI about the current period Greenland SMB,and was roundly praised by the moderator, below, has a denier who claims nobody ever said that, but there it is in black and white!

    Global warming is apparently like Bible Study. You need the priests and scribes to tell you what you are reading, and what it all really means! :) Sometimes they contradict each other!

    So I’ll leave the true believers patting each other on the back, with these words:

    Tuvalu, poster child for global warming catastrophe, is actually growing! – ‘Sinking’ Pacific nation is getting bigger: study – Physorg

    All major world waterfront cities are growing, NOT shrinking! – Google Earth Engine History

    World Record Agricultural Food Production is setting records ever year!

    This Goldilock Blue Marble planet has been around for some 4,500,000,000 years.

    It is NOT going to die in your precious lifetime!

    Now I’m outta here! :)

    • https://ridingtheirownmelting.wordpress.com/ cgs

      My goodness you really like to work the cult angle, don’t you.

      And what a short memory!

      Simple question: Yes or No, did you write this sentence in your first comment?:

      If anyone is left under the impression that Greenland is rapidly losing ice mass due to human caused global warming, it should be pointed out that Greenland overall is actually gaining ice mass!

      • Dano2

        I think poor O is addled and not fully in command. And likes to spam discussion threads. JMHO.

        • https://ridingtheirownmelting.wordpress.com/ cgs

          Yeah, he’s pretty impossible to argue logically with.

          • OWilson

            I’m here guys!

            If you want to try again! Lol

          • https://ridingtheirownmelting.wordpress.com/ cgs

            Now, now Aristot- er, OWilson, I’m not selling any scam here. I’m doing my best to point out what the current scientific literature says on this topic – no politics here! 😉

            Take your pick of any climate science topic. Who knows! You might actually have the correct understanding of the current scientific position on some of them!

          • CB

            “Who knows! You might actually have the correct understanding of the current scientific position on some of them!”

            I would suggest if Mr. Wilson is posting for attention, that’s unlikely.

            Lies confidently stated draw more eyeballs than truths…

            If possible, it’s better to talk past him. There are a ton of bright people in the thread right now!

          • https://ridingtheirownmelting.wordpress.com/ cgs

            Agreed!

          • OWilson

            You too, Buckley! :)

          • https://ridingtheirownmelting.wordpress.com/ cgs

            😉

          • OWilson

            What “lie” was that, again?

            I’m sure you are “bright” enough to regale us with an actual quote? :)

      • OWilson

        Yes, I used the Clintonian “IS” implying currently.

        Sllick Willie on PBS, “There IS no sex”.

        He was correct, the relationship was over by that time!

        Lol

        • https://ridingtheirownmelting.wordpress.com/ cgs

          Thanks for confirming! I don’t really need to do anything else here. Anyone reading this exchange is free to determine who’s being ridiculous and who’s not! 😉

  • Ken Midori

    I always see people smoking everyday, its hard watching them and not doing anything about it knowing that its creating unnatural scenarios.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

ImaGeo

ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collapse bottom bar
+