Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sea Ice in decline between Svalbard and Greenland

[ click on image to enlarge ]
Above image shows that Earth's highest atmospheric methane concentrations are recorded over the Arctic Ocean. The insets show lower methane concentrations over various continents, North and South America (top left), Europe (mid right), Australia bottom left) and Antarctica (bottom right).

The top right inset shows sea ice thickness, illustrating that methane is escaping from the sea floor of the Arctic Ocean and is transported by currents to the thinner edges of the sea ice, where it is entering the atmosphere.

As discussed in a recent post, methane can be bubbling up in the Arctic Ocean with a force strong enough to prevent sea ice from forming in the area. This feedback is depicted in the Diagram of Doom further below as feedback #13.

Around this time of year, Arctic sea ice is typically growing rapidly, both in extent and thickness.

However, the above image shows that in the area marked by the white circle, between Svalbard and Greenland, the sea ice is actually in decline.

[ click on image to enlarge ]
This decline is caused by methane that is entering the atmosphere in the area as warmer water continues to be transported by the Gulf Stream into the Arctic Ocean, as discussed in previous posts such as this one, and as also illustrated by the image on the right.

Warmer than average waters have been entering the Arctic Ocean along the Gulf Stream since July 2013, when changes to the Jet Stream contributed to waters off the North American coast reaching record warmest temperatures, as depicted in the Diagram of Doom below as feedback #11.

In summary, the above images show that methane makes it hard for ice to form, while the warm water of the West Spitzbergen Current is pushing the ice away, breaking up even the thickest ice to the north of Greenland.

Surface temperatures in the area have been extremely high recently. This part of the Arctic Ocean was hit by an 18+°C anomaly during the week from December 16 to December 22, 2013, as illustrated by the image below.

On some days that week, anomalies of 20+°C were recorded over an even larger part of the Arctic Ocean, as described in a previous post. These anomalies show how a number of feedbacks can interact and contribute to huge warming peaks in the Arctic Ocean, such as methane releases (feedbacks #2 and #13 in the diagram below) and changes to the Jet Stream (feedbacks #10 and #11 in the diagram below).

This spells bad news for the sea ice. Some people may have hoped that the thicker sea ice north of Greenland would take decades to disappear. However, as depicted in the Diagram of Doom below, feedbacks can hugely accelerate sea ice decline. As sea ice declines further, more open water make it more likely that stronger storms and cyclones will appear that can rip the sea ice apart and move the pieces into the Atlantic Ocean in a matter of days.

The image below, by Jim Pettit, illustrates the ongoing decline of the sea ice.

Thirteen feedbacks that can accelerate warming in the Arctic are depicted in the diagram below.

Specific feedbacks are described in the following posts:
- Diagram of Doom
- Further feedbacks of sea ice decline in the Arctic
- Causes of high methane levels over Arctic Ocean
- Methane Release caused by Earthquakes
- How Do We Act in the Face of Climate Chaos?
- The astounding global warming impact on our oceans . . .
- Methane emerges from warmer areas
Feedbacks are pictured in a more general way in the image below.

Above image shows how the accumulation of the many feedbacks and their interaction leads to ever stronger albedo changes, while the resulting accelerated warming in the Arctic causes increasing quantities of methane to be released from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, in turn leading to runaway global warming, as also pictured in the image below.

[ click on image to enlarge ]
As above image shows, a polynomial trendline already points at global temperature anomalies of 5°C by 2060. Even worse, a polynomial trendline for the Arctic shows temperature anomalies of 4°C by 2020, 7°C by 2030 and 11°C by 2040, threatening to cause major feedbacks to kick in, including albedo changes and methane releases that will trigger runaway global warming that looks set to eventually catch up with accelerated warming in the Arctic and result in global temperature anomalies of 20°C+ by 2050.

To reduce these risks, comprehensive and effective action is needed, such as described at the Climate Plan blog.


  1. Countering inaction in a war setting of politic dominated by the force of money behind corporate hide. -Well it's going to take some sort of little guy with tin skip skin -thin skin and bravery on whole to oops open the hindsight xha change to the xaus of laughter bar not one left behind.. not one abandoned now.
    To Open conversation with intent and purpose of changing the world from within at cor corruption core..... Earth at heart is in league with Nature not partial to or inclined to respond to superstition.
    Test, -IT's a test of the core of reason behind laugh. like a choke on a realization by the world of the spectrum politic,, the hidden reason of truth behind laughter.. The reason internet isn't a viable place to store the history of the attempt to keep Earth alive. The reason words that matter can in fact do what none can do alone.. They can speak on many languages at one time like a picture..

    Specific to change that keeps Earth from going extinct or shifting out of Habitable Zone, already on- it's essential to make a fundamental adjustment of the value of money so sullen recognition is given to the fact that not one of us has better chance of stopping the rising heat pulse hitting the Arctic than, let's say King Canute who legend has it sat by the sea without crown trying to keep change down. -But consider the force to correct the world- if root core value of money and Act of God a writ of Law..
    If that is designed to put full effort into stopping Closed system shift out of Entropy rise into overdrive.

  2. Test
    Physically the Earth is destabilized now - Thermodynamically forced into accepting and keeping heat..
    Waiting and watching this go by like a river isn't the blissful thing of the times of Marcus Aurelius. We have technological and manufacturing capabilities and scientific process and use of internet communications. And a huge number of people who can be employed in an effort to try and save Earth and her open Systems of Nature if a framework change to world monetary is made quickly.