Showing posts with label speed and drift. Show all posts
Showing posts with label speed and drift. Show all posts

Friday, January 2, 2015

Strong winds threaten to push sea ice out of Arctic Ocean

By Albert Kallio

The lateral viscosity of the thin Arctic sea ice cover continues to lower. In November just one quarter of the high Arctic Ocean basin above 85° north was covered by a thin this winter's ice. This has now doubled, soon covering two quarters. The ice has been pushed away from Russia towards Canada and to the Fram Strait at phenomenal rates.
Animation by showing 30 days of sea ice thickness, up to January 1, 2015
This is increasingly suggesting that the remaining half in front of the Fram Strait will be sucked into the Atlantic Ocean soon. The dark blue ice is newly formed crushed ice behind the North Pole (pack ice). We may well be in course to the first recorded ice free season in the Arctic Ocean. In addition, the rear is pushed from behind Canada to the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.

Animation by showing 30 days of sea ice speed and drift, up to January 1, 2015

We need to act, now. I think we need to monitor this development almost on daily basis. I am curious to see how the ice may behave after the last remainders of the second quarter are sucked into the Atlantic Ocean and the newly forming sea ice will face the force of the Atlantic waves. That could mean extremely highly fractured sea ice across the Russian side by the return of spring 2015 sunlight.

I think we are witnessing a historic transition right now with no ice in the summers.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Methane Levels going through the Roof

On November 9, 2013, methane readings well over 2600 ppb were recorded at multiple altitudes, as illustrated by the image below.

[ click on image to enlarge ]
On November 9, 2013, p.m., methane readings were recorded as high as 2662 parts per billion (ppb), at 586 millibars (mb) pressure, which corresponds with an altitude of 14384.6 feet or 4384.4 meters.

Where did these high levels occur? Methane levels were low on the southern hemisphere and, while there were some areas with high readings over North America and Asia, there were no areas as wide and bright yellow as over the Arctic Ocean (the color yellow indicating readings of 1950 ppb and higher on above map).

As discussed in a previous post, huge amounts of methane are now escaping from the seabed of the Arctic Ocean, penetrating the sea ice, and entering the atmosphere, in a process that appears to be accelerating, resulting in huge amounts of methane in the atmosphere over the Arctic Ocean.

The image below gives an idea of the height of this level, compared to historic levels, and how fast levels of methane (CH4) have been rising compared to levels of two other greenhouse gases, i.e. carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O).

Recent peak levels of methane over the Arctic Ocean may well have been even higher, since NOAA didn't release any readings for November 5-7, 2013.

Meanhwile, sea ice extent has stopped growing, as illustrated by the NSIDC graph below.

Data from the Cryosphere Today show that the area covered by sea ice has actually fallen over the past few days, as illustrated by the image below.

[ click on image to enlarge ]
There are several reasons why sea ice isn't growing, including high temperature anomalies in the Arctic, as illustrated by the NOAA image below, showing surface temperature anomalies of over 20 degrees Celsius on November 7, 2013.

High methane levels are contributing to temperature anomalies, by trapping additional sunlight in the atmosphere over the Arctic Ocean.

Furthermore, strong winds have hit the sea ice, as the recent post Methane, Faults and Sea Ice warned. Strong winds are pushing sea ice inward in the Kara Sea and in the Chukchi Sea, while pushing sea ice - up to 5 meters thick - out of the Arctic Ocean along the coast of Greenland, as illustrated by the Naval Research Laboratory animation below.

The Naval Research Laboratory image below shows ice speed and drift on November 9, 2013.

So, could Arctic sea ice collapse and totally disappear in September 2014? Posts at this blog have repeatedly warned about this, e.g. in this post. The image below, created by Wipneus, shows an exponential trendline pointing at zero volume sea ice in September 2016.
All data over the past two decades have fallen within the 95% confidence limits of an exponential trendline that points at imminent loss of all Arctic sea ice within years. September 2013 may have been "only" the 4th lowest on record, but such variability can be expected and may well cause sea ice to disappear completely as early as September 2014.

Strong winds can speed up such a collapse. On this point, it's good to remember what Prof. Peter Wadhams warned about in 2012:
". . apart from melting, strong winds can also influence sea ice extent, as happened in 2007 when much ice was driven across the Arctic Ocean by southerly winds (not northerly, as she stated). The fact that this occurred can only lead us to conclude that this could happen again. Natural variability offers no reason to rule out such a collapse, since natural variability works both ways, it could bring about such a collapse either earlier or later than models indicate.

In fact, the thinner the sea ice gets, the more likely an early collapse is to occur. It is accepted science that global warming will increase the intensity of extreme weather events, so more heavy winds and more intense storms can be expected to increasingly break up the remaining ice, both mechanically and by enhancing ocean heat transfer to the under-ice surface."
Guy McPherson lists 26 feedbacks that speed up warming, and many of these feedbacks occur in the Arctic, as described in the post Diagram of Doom.

Soon, calculates Prof. Peter Wadhams, the albedo loss due to decline of snow and ice in the Arctic will effectively more than double the net radiative forcing resulting from the emissions caused by all people of the world. Additional warming caused by methane releases from the Arctic seabed could be even more devastating.

Hopefully, more people will realize the urgency of the situation and realize the need for a comprehensive and effective plan of action as described here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Arctic cyclone warning for September 7

By Paul Beckwith, 
edited by Sam Carana
Paul Beckwith, B.Eng, M.Sc. (Physics),
Ph. D. student (Climatology) and
Part-time Professor, University of Ottawa

Paul Beckwith warns that another cyclone is forecast to develop in the Arctic by September 7th, 2012, pointing at the image below, from the Naval Research Laboratory.

“This will cause lots of sea ice breakup in the Arctic if it develops and persists”, Paul says.  “The sea ice now is thinner than in August, so the potential for severe damage to ice exists. On the other hand, however, the August cyclone lasted for a week, while this one looks like a 2 to 3 day event.”

Paul also points at the image further below, from, showing a 9 day GFSx model for Arctic region; on the website you can select single day panels.

“Most scientists think that the massacre of Arctic sea ice will stop on/or around September 15th which is the 'normal' date at which ice formation is due, as the decrease of solar insolation at the pole will cause the area of the sea ice to start increasing", Paul says, adding however that “a minority of us think that the melt will continue beyond this date by several weeks, due to the warmness of the sea water both beside and below the very thin sea ice.”

Paul continues: “In fact, I predicted on August 10th that at the end of the melt season there would be virtually no sea ice left; this was predicated on there being a few more cyclones of equal intensity to that of the August 2nd to August 10th cyclone that eliminated around 0.8 million square kilometers of sea ice area (equivalent to about 20% of the ice remaining in 2007, the previous worst year in terms of ice melt). Thankfully, my prediction looks to be wrong, but we are not out of the woods yet. It appears that a strong cyclone will be attacking the sea ice in a few days, with the peak churning occurring on September 7th.”

The 500mb/SLP chart shows the 500 mb height (in color contours), and the sea level pressure in mb (black lines).

The image below, also from the Naval Research Laboratory, is an animation showing sea ice speed and drift over 30 days, from early August up to September 9, and including the forecast cyclone event.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Paul Beckwith on ice speed and drift

Above image shows Arctic sea ice extent (total area of at least 15% ice concentration) for the last 7 years, compared to the average 1972-2011, as calculated by the Polar View team at the University of Bremen, Germany.

View Paul Beckwith's August 27 presentation on sea ice speed and drift by clicking on the following link:

Or, view the presentation in the window below (it may take some time for the file to fully load).