Showing posts with label North Pole. Show all posts
Showing posts with label North Pole. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Above Zero Celsius at North Pole November 2020

Above image shows that, in October 2020, the Arctic Ocean was very hot. The Copernicus image below shows temperatures averaged over the twelve-month period from November 2019 to October 2020.

Keep in mind that, in the Copernicus image, anomalies are compared to the 1981-2010 average.

Note that the shape of the recent twelve-month period is similar to the 2016 peak, when there was a strong El Niño, while in October 2020 the temperature was suppressed due to La Niña and due to low sunspots.

The image below shows how a hot Arctic Ocean distorts the Jet Stream and hot air moves all the way up to the North Pole. 

Above image shows the Northern Hemisphere at November 12, 2020, with a temperature forecast of 2.0°C or 35.5°F at the North Pole at 1000 hPa at 15:00Z. On the right, jet stream crosses the Arctic Ocean (at 250 hPa). At surface level, a temperature was forecast to be 0.6°C or 33.2°F. 

As it turned out, the highest temperature at the North Pole was 1.1°C or 34.1°F on November 12, 2020, at 1000 hPa at 18:00Z, as above image shows. At 15:00Z that day, a temperature of 1.9°C or 35.3°F was recorded at 1000 hPa just south of the North Pole, at 89.50° N, 1.50° E.

The image below shows temperature anomalies for November 12, 2020, with forecasts approaching 30°C. 

[ Click on images to enlarge ]
These high temperatures over the Arctic Ocean are caused by transfer of huge amounts of heat from the Arctic Ocean to the atmosphere, indicating severe overheating of the Arctic Ocean as a result of the ongoing movement of ocean heat at the surface of the North Atlantic to the Arctic Ocean along the Gulf Stream. 

As the image on the right shows, temperature anomalies above 20°C were recorded over a large part of the Arctic Ocean on November 16, 2020. 

As illustrated by the image below, temperature anomalies are forecast to remain high over the Arctic Ocean, with the forecast for November 26, 2020, showing anomalies approaching 30°C. 

The resulting distortion of the Jet Stream can at times speed up winds that move hot air from the North Atlantic Ocean toward to Arctic Ocean, as illustrated by the image at the top. 

[ click on images to enlarge ]
The image on the right shows that the Jet Stream was as fast as 411 km/h or 255 mph south of Greenland (at the green circle), before crossing the Arctic Ocean on November 4, 2020. 

The image below shows how, on November 20, 2020 15:00 UTC, a distorted Jet Stream reaches a speed of 327 km/h or 203 mph (at circle, globe left). At 850 hPa, wind reaches speeds as high as 161 km/h or 100 mph (circle, globe right). 

The danger is that such strong wind will speed up ocean currents in the North Atlantic that carry huge amounts of heat toward the Arctic Ocean. 

The image below shows sea surface temperature anomalies compared to 1981-2011 on the Northern Hemisphere on October 23, 2020, when anomalies off the coast of North America were as high as 10.8°C or 19.5°F (left), and on December 3, 2020, when anomalies off the coast of North America were as high as 12.7°C or 22.8°F (right). 

According to a recent news report, an atmospheric river smashed into Juneau, Alaska, dropping 5.08 inches of rain in 24 hours ending 3 a.m. Wednesday December 2, 2020.

This is not an isolated event, but a symptom of the unfolding catastrophe referred to as global warming, which threatens to remove all life from Earth.

Sea surface temperatures around North America are very high. The above image shows that sea surface temperatures were as much as 12.7°C or 22.8°F higher than 1981-2011 off the east coast of North America on December 3, 2020 (green circle). On the image below, the globe on the left shows that sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTA) were as high as 4.1°C or 7.3°F off the west coast of North America on December 4, 2020 (at the green circle).

These high sea surface temperatures speed up de Jet Stream over oceans. At this time of year, temperatures over continents are low, so there is greater ocean/land temperature difference, which further speeds up the Jet Stream where it travels over oceans toward continents. The center globe shows wind as fast as 381 km/h or 237 mph at the time (at circle). 

At the same time, the narrowing temperature difference between the Equator and the North Pole is slowing down the Jet Stream. This is making the Jet Stream more wavy at higher latitudes, even resulting in circular wind patterns, and this can make a lot of cold air leave the Arctic and move over continents, thus further widening the ocean/land temperature difference. Given that more than 90% of global warming goes into oceans, this is an important self-reinforcing feedback of global warming. 

Stronger wind results in stronger evaporation, which cools down the sea surface somewhat, as the blue areas over the Pacific Ocean indicate. Due to the strong wind, much of the moisture falls down farther on the path of the wind. The globe on the right shows 3-hour precipitation accumulation as high as 31.3 mm or 1.23 in off the west coast of North America (green circle). 

The image below shows an earlier analysis, describing the situation in September 6, 2020, when high sea surface temperatures on the Northern Hemisphere and a narrow difference between the Equator and the North Pole distorted the Jet Stream, making it cross the Arctic Ocean, form circular wind patterns and reach speeds as fast as 262 km/h or 163 mph (250 hPa, green circle) over the North Atlantic. The globe on the right shows that the Gulf Stream off the North American coast reached speeds of 8 km/h or 5 mph (at green circle). 

[ click on images to enlarge ]

More ocean heat can move into the Arctic Ocean for a number of reasons, including: 
  • At times, the Jet Stream becomes very strong and elongated over the North Atlantic, speeding up the flow of ocean heat along the path of Gulf Stream all the way to the Arctic Ocean;
  • Overall, winds are getting stronger, speeding up ocean currents running just below the sea surface;
  • Stratification of the North Atlantic results in less heat mixing down to lower parts of the ocean; and 
  • Increased evaporation and increased subsequent rainfall farther down the path of the Gulf Stream forms a colder freshwater lid stretched out at the sea surface from the North Atlantic to the Arctic Ocean, sealing off transfer of heat from ocean to atmosphere and consequently moving more heat just underneath the sea surface into the Arctic Ocean.

    [ from earlier post ]
As the image below shows, sea surface temperatures as high as 16.6°C or 61.9°F were recorded north of Svalbard on November 9, 2020. 

As the image below shows, the N2O satellite recorded a peak methane level of 2762 ppb on the morning of November 16, 2020.

As the image below shows, the MetOp-1 satellite recorded a peak methane level of 2725 ppb on the afternoon of November 18, 2020.

The video below shows a methane plume or bubble cloud spotted by a team of 69 scientists from ten countries documenting bubble clouds rising from a depth of around 300 metres (985ft) along a 150km (93 mile) undersea slope in the Laptev Sea.

The danger is that even more hot and salty water will reach the shallow parts of the Arctic Ocean that contain huge amounts of methane in the form of hydrates and free gas in sediments at the seafloor, resulting in huge eruptions of methane that, on its own, could almost instantly cause the 1200 ppm CO₂e cloud feedback tipping point to be crossed, which can cause global temperatures to rise by 8°C.

Latent heat loss, feedback #14 on the Feedbacks page

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


• Climate Plan

• NASA GISS Surface Temperature Analysis - global maps

• Copernicus - surface air temperature for October 2020

• Climate Reanalyzer

• nullschool earth wind map

• Atmospheric River Smashes Alaskan Capital’s 24-Hour Rain Record

• Bubbling methane craters and super seeps - is this the worrying new face of the undersea Arctic? - by Valeria Sukhova, Olga Gertcyk - Siberian Post

• Why stronger winds over the North Atlantic are so dangerous

• Feedbacks in the Arctic

• September 2015 Sea Surface Warmest On Record

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

High Temperatures Over Arctic Ocean In June 2018

It was 6.6°C or 44°F (at 850 hPa) over the North Pole due to hot air flowing from Siberia over the Arctic Ocean on June 13, 2018, 15:00 UTC (left panel). Earlier, temperatures as high as 7°C or 44.5°F were forecast. At the same time, the Jet stream (250 hPa) crosses the Arctic Ocean and goes circular over North Canada and Baffin Bay (right panel).

As the combination image below shows, it was as hot as 32.7°C or 90.9°F (left panel, at the green circle) on June 11, 2018, on the coast of Hudson Bay. The right panel shows the jet stream crossing the Arctic, while numerous cyclones are visible on both images.

The combination image below shows that it was as hot as 30.7°C or 87.3°F (at the green circle, left panel) on the coast of the Laptev Sea, on June 10, 2018. The right panel shows the jet stream crossing the Arctic at speeds as fast as 161 km/h or 100 mph (at the green circle).

Three ways in which heat enters the Arctic Ocean are:

1. Heat is reaching the Arctic Ocean directly, i.e. air is warming up the water of the Arctic Ocean or is melting the sea ice from above.

2. Rivers that end in the Arctic Ocean can carry huge amounts of heat.

3. Heat is also entering the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

Feedbacks, such as changes to the jet stream, can further speed up warming of the Arctic Ocean.

As the Arctic warms up 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 that allow more warm air to enter the Arctic and at the same time allow more cold air to flow out of the Arctic (feedback #10 on the feedbacks page).

The top image on the right shows that the sea surface in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of North America on May 29, 2018, was as much as 9.8°C or 17.6°F warmer than 1981-2011 (at the green circle).

As temperatures keep rising, increasingly stronger winds over oceans are also causing more heat to enter the Arctic Ocean from the North Atlantic, and from the Pacific Ocean.

On June 4, 2018, the sea surface in the Pacific Ocean near Bering Strait was as much as 7.2°C or 12.9°F warmer than 1981-2011 (at the green circle), as the next image on the right shows.

The next image on the right shows that water near Svalbard was as warm as 16.1°C or 61°F on June 4, 2018, versus 3°C or 37.4°F in 1981-2011 (at the green circle).

On June 4, 2018, sea surface temperature near Svalbard was as warm as indicated by the color yellow on the image on the right, i.e. 16-18°C or 60.8-64.4°F. For more background on the warm water near Svalbard, also see the earlier post Accelerating Warming of the Arctic Ocean.

This heat will warm up the water underneath the sea ice, thus melting the sea ice from below.

Furthermore, as the sea ice retreats, more sunlight will be absorbed by the Arctic Ocean, instead of being reflected back into space, thus further speeding up sea ice decline.

Oceans take up over 90% of global warming, as illustrated by above image. Ocean currents make that huge amounts of this heat are entering the Arctic Ocean from the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.

The right-hand panel of the image below shows the extent of the permafrost on the Northern Hemisphere. The subsea permafrost north of Siberia is prone to melting due to the increasingly higher temperatures of the water. Increasingly high air temperatures are melting the sea ice and, where the sea ice is gone, they are warming up the water directly.

High air temperatures are also warming up the water from rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean, as illustrated by the left panel of above image.

On June 15, 2018, it was as warm as 31.5°C or 88.6°F at 06:00 UTC and 31.7°C or 89.1°F at 09:00 UTC over the Kotuy/Khatanga River that ends in the Laptev Sea in the Arctic Ocean (green circle).

On June 20, 2018, it was even warmer, as the image on the right shows. It was as warm as 32.3°C or 90.1°F at 1000 hPa over the Yenisei River that ends in the Kara Sea in the Arctic Ocean (green circle). It was actually even warmer at surface level, but just look at the temperatures on the image over Greenland and the Tibetan Plateau at 1000 hPa. See also this post.

As the water of the Arctic Ocean keeps warming, the danger increases that methane hydrates at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean will destabilize.

Methane releases from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean can dramatically warm up the atmosphere, especially at higher latitudes. Ominously, very high methane peaks are increasingly appearing, as high as:
- 2899 ppb on May 04, 2018, a.m.
- 2498 ppb on May 16, 2018, p.m.
- 2820 ppb on May 21, 2018, a.m.
- 2616 ppb on May 22, 2018, p.m.
- 3006 ppb on May 27, 2018, p.m.
- 2878 ppb on June 05, 2018, p.m.
- 2605 ppb on June 07, 2018, a.m.

Mean global methane level was as high as 1880 ppb on June 15, 2018, at 254 mb, further confirming that more methane is increasingly accumulating at greater heights in the atmosphere.

NOAA records show that the average May 2018 CO₂ level was 411.25 ppm at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, while the hourly average peaked at well above 416 ppm.

"CO₂ levels are continuing to grow at an all-time record rate because burning of coal, oil, and natural gas have also been at record high levels,” said Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network in a news release. "Today's emissions will still be trapping heat in the atmosphere thousands of years from now."

Greenhouse gas levels are particularly high over the Arctic Ocean. CO₂ levels were 420 ppm over the North Pole on June 12, 2018.

The situation is getting even more critical as we've left the La Niña period behind and are now moving into an El Niño period, as illustrated by the images on the right and below.

A further danger is that earthquakes can be triggered as more ice is melting on Greenland, as discussed earlier in posts such as this one and this one. Earthquakes can send out strong tremors through the sediment and shock waves through the water, which can trigger further earthquakes, landslides and destabilization of methane hydrates. The situation is especially dangerous when combined with extreme weather events that can cause cracks and movement in sediments. The image below shows earthquakes that hit the seas around Greenland between May 30, 2018, and June 17, 2018.

Given the above, it's amazing that the IPCC in its 'final draft 1.5°C report' insists that "If emissions continue at their present rate, human-induced warming will exceed 1.5°C by around 2040" (according to a recent Reuters report). The final draft is now going to governments for their scrutiny, with the danger that the dire situation may be watered down even further.

Governments should be urged to confirm that temperatures could rise dramatically over the next few years. Accordingly, comprehensive and effective action needs to be taken, as described at the Climate Plan page.


• Climate Plan

• Feedbacks

• Accelerating Warming of the Arctic Ocean

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Warning Signs

The Arctic is warming up more than twice as fast as the rest of the world, due to numerous feedbacks. At times, large areas over the Arctic Ocean can become 30°C or 54°F warmer than 1979-2000, as illustrated by the image below.

On February 27, 2018, large parts of the Arctic Ocean north of Greenland had turned into open water, as illustrated by the image below.

Yet, while the situation in the Arctic is desperate, with sea ice north of Greenland collapsing and more, mainstream media do not seem to care. If there ever were warning signs of what could eventuate, this is one. The sea ice north of Greenland is typically the thickest, as it is the least affected by melting and can build over many years. Early February 2018, sea ice north of Greenland was up to 5 m thick. To see sea ice this thick getting pushed away and open water emerging north of Greenland in the middle of winter is simply stunning.

For years, I've been warning about the situation in the Arctic, in particular the 'Open Doors Feedback', which is accelerating Arctic warming. Such feedbacks were taken into consideration in an earlier analysis that warned about a potential 1.6°C warming globally due to albedo changes in the Arctic, in combination with associated changes such as loss of the ice buffer (latent heat), more heat transfer from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arctic Ocean due to stronger winds along the path of the Gulf Stream, and more heat entering the atmosphere or remaining in the atmosphere, due to more open water in the Arctic Ocean and as oceans get more stratified and take up less heat from the atmosphere.

So, the current situation doesn't come as a big surprise, but it's stunning to see sea ice collapse north of Greenland.

Back in March 7, 2007, I posted the article 'Ten Dangers of Global Warming', describing events getting progressively worse, with one danger feeding and reinforcing the next one, culminating in panic. Then, I thought that reading that post could at least help people better understand what's going on, and thus help people avoid panicking, but right now, I wonder whether most people do want to understand at all. Anyway, here are some images and words describing what happened over the past few days.

Jet Stream over Arctic Ocean on February 25, 2018

As Arctic warming keeps accelerating, there's ever less temperature difference between the North Pole and the Equator, and this slows down the speed at which the jet stream circumnavigates Earth.

Jet Stream over Arctic Ocean on February 26, 2018
The jet stream is getting more wavy and a more wavy jet stream makes it easier for cold air to move out of the Arctic and for warm air to move into the Arctic, so this 'Open Doors Feedback' is a self-reinforcing feedback that further accelerates warming in the Arctic.

During the northern winter, the Arctic is increasingly getting warmer than North America, Europe and Siberia. This increases the temperature difference between these continents and the oceans, which at times is causing winds to strongly speed up over the North Atlantic and the North Pacific, making an already wavy jet stream extend even further over the Arctic Ocean, reaching areas well beyond the North Pole.

Atmospheric river of heat reaches the North Pole; temperatures were as high as 1.1°C or 34.1°F on February 25, 2018
As the jet stream makes this detour, a huge amount of heat enters the Arctic from the south.

Temperatures above 6°C at Kap Morris Jesup, Greenland's northernmost weather station, on February 25, 2018

These events were preceded by the Polar Vortex splitting up. On February 9, 2018, the Polar Vortex was split up into 4 vortices and reached speeds as fast as 425 km/h or 264 mph.

Polar Vortex split up into 4 vortices
A Sudden Stratospheric Warming event occurred on February 16, 2018, with temperatures reaching as high as 8.9°C or 47.9°F over Hudson Bay.

Polar Vortex splitting up into 4 vortices with a Sudden Stratospheric Warming event occurring on February 16, 2018
The heat that has accumulated in the Arctic Ocean is further illustrated by the February 2018 NASA temperature anomalies image below.

Below is an animation of sea ice thickness, from the Naval Research Laboratory.

Arctic sea ice extent was at record low for the time of the year on February 26, 2018, at 14.159 million km². Arctic sea ice extent typically reaches its maximum in March, but maximum extent in 1991-2000 was reached on February 24. So, there is a chance that Arctic sea ice extent will go all downhill from now on this year.

Zero sea ice volume is within the margins of the trend depicted on the image above on the right. Decline of the snow and ice cover in the Arctic comes with a huge loss in albedo, which means that huge amounts of sunlight that were previously reflected back into space instead get absorbed by the Arctic. Loss of sea ice also means loss of the buffer that until now has consumed huge amounts of heat.

The Buffer has gone, feedback #14 on the Feedbacks page
Peak SST near Svalbard rose from
12.4°C or 55.4°F on Feb 23, 2018,
to 15.6°C or 60°F on Mar 2, 2018.
The danger is that a sudden influx of heat can no longer be absorbed by the sea ice and will instead warm up sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean that can contain huge quantities of methane in the form of hydrates and free gas.

Destabilization of hydrates can occur in a relatively small area as a result of a relatively small temperature rise. Destabilization comes with a 160 times expansion in volume of the methane, which will send out shock waves that can destabilize nearby hydrates, causing them to destabilize as well, resulting in an eruption of huge quantities of methane over a large area.

Here's another warning sign. Peak sea surface temperature near Svalbard rose from 12.4°C or 55.4°F on February 23, 2018, to 15.6°C or 60°F on March 2, 2018, as illustrated by the red line on the image on the right, with the blue line showing the 1981-2011 average.

And here's another warning sign. High methane releases followed this chain of events on February 27, 2018, pm, likely originating from the seafloor of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS).

Methane levels as high as 2892 ppb on February 27, 2018
On March 1, 2018, methane levels as high as 3087 were recorded. Note the solid magenta-colored areas over the ESAS on the image below.

The image below, with measurement by another satellite, shows that methane levels were again very high over the ESAS the next day, i.e. March 2, 2018, confirming earlier indications that this is where the very high methane releases did occur.

As the image below shows, methane levels on March 4, 2018, were still very high, i.e. as high as 2964 ppb.

The image below shows the highest mean global methane readings on March 10 over the years from 2013 through 2018, for selected altitudes corresponding to 945 mb (close to sea level) to 74 mb.

[ click on images to enlarge ]
The table below shows the altitude equivalents in feet (ft), meter (m) and millibar (mb).
57,016 ft44,690 ft36,850 ft30,570 ft25,544 ft19,820 ft14,385 ft 8,368 ft1,916 ft
17,378 m13,621 m11,232 m 9,318 m 7,786 m 6,041 m 4,384 m 2,551 m 584 m
 74 mb 147 mb 218 mb 293 mb 367 mb 469 mb 586 mb 742 mb 945 mb

An earlier analysis calculated that seafloor methane could cause a warming of 1.1°C within one decade. Given a possible additional warming of 2.7°C due to just two elements (i.e. Arctic albedo changes and associated changes, and seafloor methane), a further warming of 2.1°C due to extra water vapor in the warmer atmosphere does seem well possible within a decade. Add up the impact of all warming elements of this analysis and the rise in mean global temperatures from preindustrial could be more than 10°C within one decade, as illustrated by the images below.

A rise of a few degrees Celsius would be devastating, especially when considering that the speed at which such a rise could occur leaves little or no time for plants and animals to adapt, let alone in case of a 10°C rise.

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


• Climate Plan

• Feedbacks in the Arctic

• Extinction

• Ten Dangers of Global Warming

• Methane Erupting From Arctic Ocean Seafloor

• Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade