Showing posts with label Arctic Ocean. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arctic Ocean. Show all posts

Friday, December 23, 2016

Accelerating Warming of the Arctic Ocean


Stronger Winds causing further Warming of the Arctic Ocean

Warming is accelerating in the Arctic. On December 22, 2016, the Arctic was on average 3.33°C or 5.99°F warmer than it was in 1979-2000.


Within the Arctic, the Arctic Ocean is warming most rapidly. The image below gives a snapshot of the situation on December 22, 2016 at 06:00 UTC. The Arctic as a whole was as much as 3.34°C or 6.01°F warmer than in 1979-2000. At the same time, temperatures over much of the Arctic Ocean were at the top end of the scale, i.e. as much as 30°C or 54°F warmer than in 1979-2000 (pink color at 90°N latitude).


The temperature in the Arctic (north of 80°N Latitude) is also illustrated by the image below. The red line of the temperature for 2016, up to December 22, 2016. The green line is the 1958-2002 temperature.


Over the entire year 2016, warming was most profound over the Arctic Ocean, which was more than 2.5°C or 4.5°F warmer than 1981-2010, as illustrated by the image below.


The animation below illustrates how this anomaly developed over the past few years, each time showing a 365-day period, starting in 2014 and each time shifted by roughly one month.


These high temperatures over the Arctic Ocean reflect warm water of the Arctic Ocean, with heat added from the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The image below shows ocean warming, with temperatures rising particularly rapidly on the Northern Hemisphere.

[ Ocean warming, from earlier post ]
Warmer water of the Atlantic Ocean is pushed by the Coriolis force toward the Arctic Ocean. The huge amounts of energy entering the oceans translate not only into higher temperatures of the water and of the air over the water, but also into higher waves and stronger winds.


Above image shows winds on December 29, 2016.

[ click on images to enlarge ]
As above image shows, waves were as high as 7.65 m or 25.1 ft in between Norway and Svalbard on December 29, 2016.


Sea surface temperatures west of Svalbard were as high as 14.6°C (58.2°F) on December 29, 2016. Sea surface temperature went up at the end of December at this spot, while the longer-term average went down in line with the change in seasons.


Underneath the surface of the North Atlantic, the water is much warmer than at the surface, and this temperature difference increases as winds get stronger and cause stronger evaporation, which has a cooling effect on the sea surface. This is illustrated by the image below, showing both the North Pacific and the North Atlantic on November 28, 2016.



The fact that the North Pacific shows a huge cold area, while the cold area in the North Atlantic has virtually disappeared, suggests that the cold area in the North Pacific is not the result of melt-water. The path of the cold areas and the low temperatures over the continents at higher latitudes, give further indications that strong winds are causing such cold areas. The image below shows that a cold area reappearing in the North Atlantic as it gets hit by strong winds (see video further below).



Above images and the image below, from an earlier post, illustrate how stronger evaporation and the resulting precipitation, at times in combination with melt-water, could create cold freshwater lids on both the North Atlantic and the North Pacific. The situation in the North Atlantic is very dangerous, as such a lid can cause much more heat to get carried into the Arctic Ocean underneath the sea surface of the North Atlantic, due to reduced heat transfer to the atmosphere from water on its way to the Arctic Ocean.


The image below, from an earlier post,  shows the depth of Barents Sea, which is relatively shallow around Svalbard.


As the image on the right shows, this spot warms up due to a sea current that brings warm water from the North Atlantic into the Arctic Ocean.

Above images give an indication of the temperature of the water in the Atlantic Ocean underneath the sea surface, as the water comes to the surface near Svalbard, as also illustrated by the plot on the right.

The Arctic Ocean is now warming underneath the sea ice due to the inflow of warm water from the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

The Arctic Ocean is also warming due to feedbacks such as increased levels of water vapor in the atmosphere, warmer river water running into the Arctic Ocean and soot from wildfires that can settle on snow and ice, resulting in further albedo changes.

Further feedbacks of global warming include warmer air temperatures, higher waves and stronger winds that all speed up the demise of snow and ice.

Stronger winds are pushing warm water from the North Atlantic into the Arctic Ocean. Why are these winds getting stronger? As the Arctic warms faster than the rest of the world, the temperature difference between the Arctic and the Equator decreases, making the Jet Stream wavier, with longer loops extending to the north and to the south. At the same time, the temperature difference between the oceans and the continents (Europe, Asia and North America) is increasing, speeding up the Jet Stream as it travels, e.g., over the North Atlantic towards the Arctic Ocean.

[ click on images to enlarge ]
The above 14.6°C SST on December 29, 2016, near Svalbard is the result of warm water being pushed from the North Atlantic into the Arctic Ocean. The situation is illustrated by the above combination image that shows that the Jet stream is forecast to reach speeds as high as 319 km/h or 198 mph in between North America and Greenland on December 31, 2016 (left panel). At the same time, surface winds are forecasts to reach speeds as high as 95 km/h or 59 mph (center panel) and waves as high as 8.96 m or 29.4 ft in between Norway and Svalbard (right panel).

The situation is further illustrated by the video below, showing winds over the North Atlantic from December 27, 2016 to January 3, 2017, as forecasts by cci-reanalyzer.org.


The fact that this is not a one-off event is also illustrated by the image on the right, showing that the Jet Stream reached speeds of 384 km/h or 239 mph over the Pacific Ocean on December 27, 2015. At the same day and time in 2015, the Jet Stream reached speeds as high as 430 km/h or 267 mph as it moved over North America on its way over the North Atlantic.

In conclusion, increasingly stronger winds are causing huge amounts of heat to enter the Arctic Ocean from the North Atlantic, and also from the Pacific Ocean. As the water of the Arctic Ocean keeps warming, the danger increases that methane hydrates at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean will destabilize.

The danger is illustrated by the two images above and below, recorded by the MetOp2 satellite on the afternoon of Christmas eve and Christmas.


Continued warming could trigger huge abrupt methane eruptions leading to mass destruction and extinction.

Potential warming by more than 10°C or 18°F by 2026 (from: Climate Plan Summary, see also: the extinction page)

The image below shows the associated temperature rise from preindustrial to 2026, with figures discussed in more detail on the Temperature page.


The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action as described at the Climate Plan.

Two videos complement this. Have a look at the video entitled Abrupt Climate Disrupting Arctic Changes: Part 2 of 2 by Paul Beckwith, in particular the segment from 8:30 to 12:00 minutes where Paul discusses how wind patterns are changing over the Arctic.


For further thoughts on the situation, also have a look at the video below in which Jennifer Hynes interviews Peter Wadhams.



Links

• Climate Plan
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

• Climate Plan summary
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/summary.html

• Feedbacks
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html

• Extinction
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html

• Temperature
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/temperature.html

• The University Centre in Svalbard: UNIS
http://www.unis.no/

• Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI)
http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

• Monthly CO₂ not under 400 ppm in 2016
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/11/monthly-co-not-under-400-ppm-in-2016.html

• Methane's Role in Arctic Warming
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/02/methanes-role-in-arctic-warming.html

• Gulf Stream brings ever warmer water into Arctic Ocean
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2015/06/gulf-stream-brings-ever-warmer-water-into-arctic-ocean.html


Sunday, July 17, 2016

High Methane Levels Follow Earthquake in Arctic Ocean

In the 12 months up to July 14, 2016, 48 earthquakes with a magnitude of 4 or higher on the Richter scale hit the map area of the image below, mostly at a depth of 10 km (6.214 miles).


As temperatures keep rising and as melting of glaciers keeps taking away weight from the surface of Greenland, isostatic rebound can increasingly trigger earthquakes around Greenland, and in particular on the faultline that crosses the Arctic Ocean.

Two earthquakes recently hit the Arctic Ocean. One earthquake hit with a magnitude of 4.5 on the Richter scale on July 9, 2016. The other earthquake hit with a magnitude of 4.7 on the Richter scale on July 12, 2016, at 00:15:24 UTC, with the epicenter at 81.626°N 2.315°W and at a depth of 10.0 km (6.214 miles), as illustrated by the image below.


Following that most recent earthquake, high levels of methane showed up in the atmosphere on July 15, 2016, over that very area where the earthquake hit, as illustrated by the image below.


Above image shows that methane levels were as high as 2505 ppb at an altitude of 4,116 m or 13,504 ft on the morning of July 15, 2016. At a higher altitude (of 6,041 m or 19,820 ft), methane levels as high as 2598 ppb were recorded that morning and the magenta-colored area east of the north-east point of Greenland (inset) looks much the same on the images in between those altitudes. All this indicates that the earthquake did cause destabilization of methane hydrates contained in sediments in that area.

Above image, from another satellite, confirms strong methane releases east of Greenland on the afternoon of July 14, 2016, while the image below shows high methane levels on July 16, 2016, along the faultline that crosses the Arctic Ocean.


The image on the right shows glaciers on Greenland and sea ice near Greenland and Svalbard on July 15, 2016. Note that clouds partly obscure the extent of the sea ice decline.


Above image shows the sea ice on July 12, 2016. There is a large area with very little sea ice close to the North Pole (left) and there is little or no sea ice around Franz Josef Land (right). Overall, sea ice looks slushy and fractured into tiny thin pieces. All this is an indication how warm the water is underneath the sea ice.

[ click on image to enlarge ]
In addition to the shocks and pressure changes caused by earthquakes, methane hydrate destabilization can be triggered by ocean heat reaching the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean. Once methane reaches the atmosphere, it can very rapidly raise local temperatures, further aggravating the situation.

Temperatures are already very high across the Arctic, as illustrated by the image below, showing that on July 16, 2016, it was 1.6°C or 34.8°F over the North Pole (top green circle), while it was 32.7°C or 90.8°F at a location close to where the Mackenzie River flows into the Arctic Ocean (bottom green circle).

Arctic sea ice is in a very bad shape, as also illustrated by the Naval Research Laboratory nowcast below.


Sea ice thickness has fallen dramatically over the years, especially the ice that was more than 2.5 m thick. The image below compares the Arctic sea ice thickness (in m) on July 15, for the years from 2012 (left panel) to 2015 (right panel), using Naval Research Laboratory images.

[ Click on image to enlarge ]
The image below shows sea surface temperature anomalies from 1961-1990 on July 24, 2016.


Sea surface temperatures off the coast of America are high and much of this ocean heat will be carried by the Gulf Stream toward the Arctic Ocean over the next few months.


On July 24, 2016, sea surface temperature near Florida was as high as 33.2°C or 91.7°F, an anomaly of 3.7°C or 6.6°F from 1981-2011 (bottom green circle), while sea surface temperature near Svalbard was as high as 17.3°C or 63.2°F, an anomaly of 12.6°C or 22.8°F from 1981-2011 (top green circle).

A cold freshwater (i.e. low salinity) lid sits on top of the ocean and this lid is fed by precipitation (rain, hail, snow, etc.), melting sea ice (and icebergs) and water running off the land (from rivers and melting glaciers on land). This lid reduces heat transfer from ocean to atmosphere, and thus contributes to a warmer North Atlantic where huge amounts of heat are now carried underneath this lid toward the Arctic Ocean. The danger is that more ocean heat arriving in the Arctic Ocean will destabilize clathrates at the seafloor and result in huge methane eruptions, as discussed in earlier posts such as this one.

As temperatures keep rising, snow and ice in the Arctic will decline. This could result in some 1.6°C or 2.88°F of warming due to albedo changes (i.e. due to decline both of Arctic sea ice and of snow and ice cover on land). Additionally, some 1.1°C or 2°F of warming could result from methane releases from clathrates at the seafloor of the world's oceans. As discussed in an earlier post, this could eventuate as part of a rise from pre-industrial levels of as much as 10°C or 18°F, by the year 2026.

[ click on image to enlarge ]



The impact of rising temperatures will be felt firstly and most strongly in the Arctic, where global warming is accelerating due to numerous feedbacks that can act as self-reinforcing cycles.

Already now, this is sparking wildfires across the Arctic.

Above image shows wildfires (indicated by the red dots) in Alaska and north Canada, on July 15, 2016.

The image on the right shows smoke arising from wildfires on Siberia. The image below shows that, on July 18, 2016, levels of carbon monoxide (CO) over Siberia were as high as 32318 ppb, and in an area with carbon dioxide (CO2) levels as low as 345 ppm, CO2 reached levels as high as 650 ppm on that day.

[ click on images to enlarge them ]
The image below shows the extent of smoke from wildfires in Siberia on July 23, 2016.


The image below shows high methane levels over Siberia on July 19, 2016.


The image below, from the MetOp satellite, shows high methane levels over Siberia on July 21, 2016.

Below are further images depicting mean global methane levels, from 1980-2016 (left) and 2012-2016 (right).

The image below shows methane levels at Barrow, Alaska.


The image below shows that, while methane levels may appear to have remained stable over the past year when taking measurements at ground level, at higher altitudes they have risen strongly.


The conversion table below shows the altitude equivalents in feet, m and mb.
57016 feet44690 feet36850 feet30570 feet25544 feet19820 feet14385 feet 8368 feet1916 feet
17378 m13621 m11232 m 9318 m 7786 m 6041 m 4384 m 2551 m 584 m
 74 mb 147 mb 218 mb 293 mb 367 mb 469 mb 586 mb 742 mb 945 mb

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.




Monday, October 6, 2014

Wild Weather Swings


Above combination-image illustrates some of the wild temperature swings that are taking place on the Northern Hemisphere. While the average temperature anomaly on the Northern Hemisphere may not differ much between the two dates (+0.95°C versus +1.07°C), huge temperature swings can occur locally, as is the case in Greenland.

Note that the overall temperature anomaly for the Arctic is +2.16°C and +3.34°C, respectively, but it can be much more locally. What contributes to these high temperatures in the Arctic is that heat from the Arctic Ocean is entering the atmosphere where there still is open water, while large emissions of methane from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean are exercizing their high immediate local warming potential.

On the Southern Hemisphere, things aren't much different, as illustrated by the combination-image below.


The two images show that, while the average anomaly for the Southern Hemisphere and for the Antarctic may not differ much between the two dates, temperature anomalies locally may go from one end of the scale to the other.

And it's not merely temperatures that seem to have gone wild. Winds have strengthened, which can push sea ice far out into the sea surrounding Antarctica, while the resulting open water quickly freezes over. The result is expanding sea ice that traps heat in the ocean, as discussed in an earlier post. It appears that much of the extra energy trapped by greenhouse gasses becomes manifest as kinetic energy, in the form of stronger winds, storms and ocean currents.

In conclusion, these huge temperature swings combine with pressure swings and storms, and with swings between expansion and contraction of soil and ice, resulting in severe shocks to ecosystems and infrastructure.

The threat is that infrastructure will increasingly come under stress. Infrastructure that was built up over hundreds, if not thousands of years, is not easily replaced with more durable alternatives. Parts of infrastructure such as roads, buildings, railways, storm water and drainage systems, water supply, dams, levees and power poles may collapse without much scope for repair.

Furthermore, soil degradation will increase, as in some areas storms grow stronger and run-off causes more erosion, while other areas may be hit by more severe droughts and dust-storms. In both cases, ecosystems will suffer and can go into shock, bringing food supply and habitat progressively and possibly abruptly under threat.

As more and deeper cracks and fractures appear in sediments and soils, more methane may start entering the atmosphere. Indications that the integrity of the permafrost is breaking up under the stress of such swings were discussed in earlier posts such as this one and this one. The extra methane can constitute a powerful additional feedback loop, causing strong additional warming locally.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as discussed at the Climate Plan blog.


References and Related Posts


- Climate Plan
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2014/07/climate-plan.html

- Antarctica linked to Arctic
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2014/09/antarctica-linked-to-arctic.html

- What's wrong with the weather?
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2014/07/whats-wrong-with-the-weather.html

- Is Global Warming breaking up the Integrity of the Permafrost?
http://methane-hydrates.blogspot.com/2013/05/is-global-warming-breaking-up-the-integrity-of-the-permafrost.html

- Earthquakes in the Arctic Ocean
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2014/04/earthquakes-in-the-arctic-ocean.html

- Ten Dangers of Global Warming (written March, 2007)
http://samcarana.blogspot.com/2007/03/ten-dangers-of-global-warming.html



Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Warm water extends from Laptev Sea to North Pole

The NOAA NESDIS image below shows sea surface temperature anomalies of well over 1ºC extending to the North Pole.


The image below gives a world view, showing SST anomalies at the top end of the scale in the Laptev Sea.


The top end of the scale on the above image is 5ºC (or 9ºF).



The visualizations above and below uses a much higher scale. Even this higher-end scale doesn't appear to fully capture the dire situation we are in.


Above image shows warm water entering the Arctic Ocean through the Bering Strait and from the North Atlantic. For months to come, the Gulf Stream will keep pushing warm water into the Arctic Ocean (i.e. water that is warmer than the water in the Arctic Ocean). It takes some time (i.e. months) for the warm water from the north Atlantic to arrive in the Arctic Ocean.

Last year, methane emissions started to become huge in October and this lasted for some six months. The image below, from an earlier post, shows methane eruptions from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean on October 16/17, 2013.


The image below, from another earlier post, shows methane eruptions from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean on October 31, 2013.


The image below, from yet another earlier post, shows methane levels as high as 2662 parts per billion on November 9, 2013.


This year, there is even more ocean heat present, especially in the north Atlantic and the north Pacific. On September 29, 2014, methane levels as high as 2641 parts per billion were recorded and it looks like worse is yet to come.


The video below, Sea floor methane hydrate climate hazard, is an extract produced by Peter Carter from a presentation by Miriam Kastner, uploaded 7 August 2008 at Youtube.



The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as discussed at the Climate Plan blog.