Tumblr Icon RSS Icon

Arctic ice reaches historic seasonal low; “We are almost out of multiyear sea ice in the northern hemisphere.”

Posted on

"Arctic ice reaches historic seasonal low; “We are almost out of multiyear sea ice in the northern hemisphere.”"

Share:

google plus icon

The multiyear ice covering the Arctic Ocean has effectively vanished….

“I would argue that, from a practical perspective, we almost have a seasonally ice-free Arctic now, because multiyear sea ice is the barrier to the use and development of the Arctic,” said Barber [Canada's Research Chair in Arctic System Science at the University of Manitoba].

Arctic 11-09

The latest tracking of Arctic sea ice extent from the National Snow and Ice Data Center shows that we’ve hit the record low Arctic sea ice extent for this time of year.  In a post last week, “Warm winds slow autumn ice growth,” NSIDC noted “October 2009 had the second-lowest ice extent for the month over the 1979 to 2009 period.

average monthly data from 1979-2009 for October

As Reuters noted in their remarkable piece on Canadian cryosphere scientist David Barber, “Scientists link higher Arctic temperatures and melting sea ice to the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.”

Duh.

Here’s more on what Barber found in a recent expedition:

“We are almost out of multiyear sea ice in the northern hemisphere,” he said in a presentation in Parliament. The little that remains is jammed up against Canada’s Arctic archipelago, far from potential shipping routes….

Barber spoke shortly after returning from an expedition that sought — and largely failed to find — a huge multiyear ice pack that should have been in the Beaufort Sea off the Canadian coastal town of Tuktoyaktuk.

Instead, his ice breaker found hundreds of miles of what he called “rotten ice” — 50-cm (20-inch) thin layers of fresh ice covering small chunks of older ice.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my 30 years of working in the high Arctic … it was very dramatic,” he said.

“From a practical perspective, if you want to ship across the pole, you’re concerned about multiyear sea ice. You’re not concerned about this rotten stuff we were doing 13 knots through. It’s easy to navigate through.”

Rotten ice — good term.  That’s what human emissions of greenhouse gases have done to the Arctic, covered it in rotten ice.

Photo

Reuters photo caption: “Broken Arctic sea ice as seen from a window in from a U.S. Coast Guard C130 flight over the Arctic Ocean September 30, 2009.”

Scientists have fretted for decades about the pace at which the Arctic ice sheets are shrinking. U.S. data shows the 2009 ice cover was the third-lowest on record, after 2007 and 2008.

An increasing number of experts feel the North Pole will be ice free in summer by 2030 at the latest, for the first time in a million years.

“I would argue that, from a practical perspective, we almost have a seasonally ice-free Arctic now, because multiyear sea ice is the barrier to the use and development of the Arctic,” said Barber.

Fresh first-year ice always forms in the Arctic in the winter, when temperatures plunge far below freezing and the North Pole is not exposed to the sun….

The Arctic is warming up three times more quickly than the rest of the Earth, in part because of the reflectivity, or the albedo feedback effect, of ice.

As more and more ice melts, larger expanses of darker sea water are exposed. These absorb more sunlight than the ice and cause the water to heat up more quickly, thereby melting more ice.

Barber said the ice was now being melted both by rays from the sun as well as from below by the warmer water.

For more on this well known positive feedback (see “What exactly is polar amplification and why does it matter?)

Scientists are also seeing more cyclones, which pick up force as they absorb heat from the warmer water. The cyclones help generate waves that break up ice sheets and also dump large amounts of snow, which has an insulating effect and prevents the ice sheets from thickening.

After a long search, Barber’s ice breaker finally found a 16-km (10-mile) wide floe of multiyear ice that was around 6 to 8 meters (20-26 feet) thick. But as the crew watched, the floe was hit by a series of waves, and disintegrated in five minutes.

“The Arctic is an early indicator of what we can expect at the global scale as we move through the next few decades … So we should be paying attention to this very carefully,” Barber said.

We should be paying close attention, since this positive feedback is linked to another, even more dangerous one (see “Tundra 4: Permafrost loss linked to Arctic sea ice loss“).

I asked NSIDC director’s Mark Serreze for a comment on this article, and he wrote me:

Dave Barber’s observations give the sort of on-the-ground confirmation of the situation that lends confidence to predictions that we’re headed towards a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean.  Dave’s been up there looking at sea ice conditions for many years. He knows what he’s talking about.

NSIDC Research Scientist Walt Meier also replied:

This is an interesting article. To some extent Dave’s statement depends on how you define multiyear year. Certainly the older ice (e.g., >5 years) is virtually gone and there’s very little 3-4 year-old ice.  However, the past couple years, each summer has retained a fair amount of first-year ice (which ages into second year, and now third year ice). So there is some build-up of what you would term “young” multiyear ice. In theory, that ice could eventually stabilize or even increase (for a time) the multiyear pack. On the other hand, multiyear is constantly moving out of the Arctic as part of the natural drift. So, much of the “young” multiyear ice may be gone before it can mature into older ice.

The most interesting thing in the article is that the old multiyear ice is so broken up now. Even if there is a considerable amount, it is all in broken (or even rotten) floes of ice and not a largely consolidated pack like it used to be. That is a significant change in the character of the ice cover beyond the basic changes in extent and age distribution.

Related Posts:

Tags:

« »

31 Responses to Arctic ice reaches historic seasonal low; “We are almost out of multiyear sea ice in the northern hemisphere.”

  1. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    How long before the Arctic is winter navigable?
    How long before the deepwater drilling starts?

  2. pete best says:

    The answer is not long enough.

  3. From Peru says:

    JR: Your site had from a few weeks a persistent failure:

    Every time I “click” my mouse anywhere in the page, it immediately jumps to the top of it (I want to say, I am reading the end of one article, then I click and the page jumps to the title “Climate Progress: an insider view of climate science, politics and solutions”).

    It is very fastiduous to go back to the end of the page every time I click. Please, fix the problem.

    [JR: I don't see that problem. Anyone else have it?]

    A fellow reader from Peru, in Latin America.

    PD:excellent blog posts. I like specially the scientific ones(as opposed to the political ones, I see you too moderate in them)

    [JR: Moderate? Never really been called that before?]

  4. Bob Wallace says:

    Rapid – This is not any sort of an expert answer, but a guess…

    It seems to me that as soon as multi-year ice is no longer an issue the Northwest Passage could be a year around route.

    If there is adequate value in taking that shorter route then it should be possible to start “driving” through the seasonal ice as it starts to form.

    Perhaps it would take an ice breaker to clear a path and have freighters follow in a convoy, but at some point the ice is going to be too thin to stop large ships. At the minimum the shipping season can be extended past the “ice free season” by weeks and then months.

  5. BBHY says:

    Don’t forget to wave to the tipping point as we zoom past it! Don’t blink or you’ll miss it!

    Hi, tipping point! Bye, tipping point!

  6. From Peru says:

    What would happen in the next few months?

    After the record(a record then, before the massacre melt of 2007) melt of 2005, followed a record low WINTER Arctic sea ice. If this conditions continue, there will be a record low for maximum ice extent in March-April 2010.

    JR et al., do you have any idea why winter sea ice extent rebounded in the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 winter seasons, despite all the heat absorbed by the Arctic waters?

    It may be a stormy weather created by the heat released by the ocean to the atmosphere, spreading over the ice cover?(storms and strong winds spread the ice, but also melt it, so the thinning greatly overwhelms the extent increase, resulting in net volume reduction)

    Or my be the strong La Niña pattern in those seasons that cooled the Planet atmosphere, including the Arctic?

    If the second one is true, then the moderate-to-strong El Niño of 2009-2010 will result in a new record low tis winter.

  7. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    Joe,
    Re clicking problem
    I find your blog resistant to taking cut and paste quotes. Click and it highlights to the top.

    On an earlier blog you said we will soon have to define exactly what we mean by ice free. Looks as though that definition is needed now. Vulnerable seems to be an understatement.

  8. Aaron Lewis says:

    My estimate is the the “tipping point” was circa 2000, and we just did not notice. We had our eye on atmoshperic processes, and did not notice some ocean currents had warmed. Using statistics developed by Dr. Demming to estimate system stability. I started warning clients circa 2002 that Arctic sea ice would be gone by 2012. They pointed at the IPCC models, laughed at me, and stopped paying me. Some have stopped laughing.

  9. paulm says:

    fiddle fiddle fiddle….0.8°C tick tick tick 1.8°C to go…

    ida saves the climate change bill!

    Stormy weather and flooding causes chaos in Scotland
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/nov/02/flood-scotland-evacuation-roads
    The river hit its highest levels since records began in 1950, and a further 40 people had to be rescued.

    “Climate change is clearly happening on our doorsteps and flooding events such as these are likely to occur with increasing frequency. Everyone needs to be aware of the increased risks and, as we have seen in the last 24 hours, that doesn’t just apply to those living in areas where there is a history of flooding.”

    Flooded Coffs region Australia declared disaster area
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/11/08/2736389.htm?site=news
    estimated more than $1 million damage has been caused to public property alone after major flooding on the New South Wales

    “We’ve also got to keep an eye on the fact that the ground is wet,” he said. “It’s taken over in excess 22 inches of rain in the past 48 hours.

  10. Leif says:

    From Peru: My understanding on the record ice loss for 2007 was mostly a shift in the wind patterns that tended to disperse the ice flows rather than stack them together. More surface area equals faster melting for any given condition. The web link that the above graph comes from has a FAQ page that is very informative. Enjoy.

  11. Bob Wallace says:

    Actually, if you look at the freezing patterns of the four years preceding the 2007 summer melt you see a distinct downward trend in the amount of ice formed over each winter.

    At the end of the 2006-2007 there was much less ice than there was in, say 2000.

    If you look at the bottom graphs on this page you can see that 2007 started with much less ice than the average year or 2008 and 2009. A lot of the record melt took place in preceding years….

    http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/observation_images/ssmi1_ice_area.png

  12. David Lewis says:

    I wonder if Revkin would stand by his:

    “Even with the increasing summer retreats of sea ice, which many polar scientists say probably are being driven in part by global warming caused by humans, there will always be enough ice in certain parts of the Arctic to require icebreakers.”

    now.

  13. Leif says:

    Yes Bob #10, I did not mean to imply that Global warming was not in the equation. Here on the North West coast of Oregon and Washington, we have developed a dead zone the size of New Jersey each summer since 2002. It appears to be caused by a shift in the summer wind patterns that are propagated by global warming. Science is telling us that it is probably not reversible. For the most part these waters are fairly unpolluted and, in my youth, fairly productive. There has been a large die off of sea birds from lack of food. The lively hoods of many fishermen and related service folks are kaput as well. So it goes…

  14. Leland Palmer says:

    This is what the Council on Foreign Relations Scott Borgerson has been hyping as a business opportunity for the past few years, in testimony before the Foreign Relations committees of both houses of Congress:

    http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/63222/scott-g-borgerson/arctic-meltdown

    Each new summer breaks the previous year’s record. Between 2004 and 2005, the Arctic lost 14 percent of its perennial ice — the dense, thick ice that is the main obstacle to shipping. In the last 23 years, 41 percent of this hard, multiyear ice has vanished. The decomposition of this ice means that the Arctic will become like the Baltic Sea, covered by only a thin layer of seasonal ice in the winter and therefore fully navigable year-round. A few years ago, leading supercomputer climate models predicted that there would be an ice-free Arctic during the summer by the end of the century. But given the current pace of retreat, trans-Arctic voyages could conceivably be possible within the next five to ten years…

    …Ironically, the great melt is likely to yield more of the very commodities that precipitated it: fossil fuels. As oil prices exceed $100 a barrel, geologists are scrambling to determine exactly how much oil and gas lies beneath the melting icecap. More is known about the surface of Mars than about the Arctic Ocean’s deep, but early returns indicate that the Arctic could hold the last remaining undiscovered hydrocarbon resources on earth. The U.S. Geological Survey and the Norwegian company StatoilHydro estimate that the Arctic holds as much as one-quarter of the world’s remaining undiscovered oil and gas deposits. Some Arctic wildcatters believe this estimate could increase substantially as more is learned about the region’s geology. The Arctic Ocean’s long, outstretched continental shelf is another indication of the potential for commercially accessible offshore oil and gas resources.

    Mr. Borgerson is a David Rockefeller visiting fellow at the CFR thinktank, an institution traditionally dominated by the Rockefeller family, and by David Rockefeller specifically during the past several decades. The Rockefeller family are of course descendants of John D. Rockefeller, and still have what is arguably a controlling interest in ExxonMobil, the descendant of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil monopoly, which once controlled 90% of all oil refining in the U.S.

    The Rockefellers share of ExxonMobil officially is relatively small, but historically whenever there has been a proxy fight to control the company, their faction always wins. This observation is only a small part of a long history of Rockefeller family involvement a very large number of major corporations. Sociologist Thomas R. Dye, for example, called the Rockefeller family the best example of the oligarchic model of U.S. governance, a couple of decades ago, in his series of books “Who’s Running America”.

    Regarding the Arctic, its happening too fast- it’s just way too fast. We’re flirting with the mother of all methane catastrophes:

    http://www.killerinourmidst.com/now.html

    These are changes that are supposed to take place over thousands of years. Methane released from decaying organic matter in melting permafrost will not have time to be oxidized into CO2. The oceans will die due to acidification, and are already acidifying very rapidly especially in the Arctic. Sunlight will not be reflected from the white polar icecap in the summer, and this will accelerate Arctic melting immensely. The tropical and boreal forests are already starting to burn in huge wildfires, and we haven’t seen anything like the firestorms that are coming, ever, in my opinion.

    We have ignited a methane catastrophe, I think, similar to the one that killed 95 percent of marine species and 80 percent or so of terrestrial species during the Permain-Triassic mass extinction.

    These positive feedbacks are going to kill a big portion of humanity, and maybe all of humanity and perhaps even all life on earth, as a direct consequence of our hubris.

    This is the start of a methane catastrophe, in my opinion.

    We have a narrow, rapidly closing window of opportunity to stop this thing, in my opinion.

  15. TimOfEngland says:

    @Leland

    “We have a narrow, rapidly closing window of opportunity to stop this thing”

    Do we? Inertia is a powerful force. If these melting systems have inertia and I believe they do… then the ice is toast. It took 50 to a 100 years to get it rolling, it’ll take 50 to a 100 years to stop it :( Mitigation / survival of the problems is all we hope for now I think.

  16. Lou Grinzo says:

    Leland: I’ve been following the methane issue very closely over on The Cost of Energy (http://www.grinzo.com/energy/), and I’m not convinced we’ve passed that particular tipping point. I do worry about the sudden jump in atmospheric methane that we’ve measured since late 2006, and our lack of certainty about just where that gas is coming from.

    The NOAA says (http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20090925_arctic.html) that they’re pretty sure it’s not the hydrate/permafrost bombs going off:

    ——————————–
    Dlugokencky and his colleagues from the United States and Brazil note that while climate change can trigger a process which converts trapped carbon in permafrost to methane, as well as release methane embedded in Arctic hydrates – a compound formed with water – their observations “are not consistent with sustained changes there yet.”
    ——————————–

    They blame the increase in methane levels on increased rain in the tropics and forest fires, among others sources. I note what seems to be extremely careful wording in the quote above.

    And there’s also the issue of the Three Gorges Dam, which has resulted in a big increase in methane releases from wetlands in China, and the timing aligns perfectly with the observed methane changes. I can’t find any hard data on just how much methane Three Gorges was responsible for, so I don’t know if it accounts for a significant portion of the new emissions.

    Whatever the details behind the methane numbers, we’re dancing on a razor’s edge, something that almost never turns out well.

  17. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi Lou Grinzo and TimOfEngland-

    Leland: I’ve been following the methane issue very closely over on The Cost of Energy (http://www.grinzo.com/energy/), and I’m not convinced we’ve passed that particular tipping point. I do worry about the sudden jump in atmospheric methane that we’ve measured since late 2006, and our lack of certainty about just where that gas is coming from.

    I’m not worried about atmospheric increases in methane, yet. I think that the ocean acidification we are seeing in the Arctic is an indirect consequence of the release of plumes of methane from oceanic hydrates, and oxidation of that methane into CO2. Even if this is not the case, though, we still may be past the tipping point, and widespread release of methane into the atmosphere from the oceanic hydrates may be inevitable at this point, absent effective remediation of CO2 levels.

    I think we can still turn this thing around, by universal conversion of all the world’s coal-fired power plants to carbon negative BECCS power plants:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bio-energy_with_carbon_capture_and_storage

    The concept of BECCS is drawn from the integration of biomass processing industries or biomass fuelled power plants with carbon capture and storage. BECCS is a form of bio-energy with carbon storage(BECS). BECS also includes other technologies such as biochar and biomass burial.[1]…

    …The main appeal of BECCS is in its ability to result in negative emissions of CO2. The capture of carbon dioxide from bioenergy sources effectively removes CO2 from the atmosphere.[4]

    Obama should immediately nationalize all of our coal fired power plants, and begin their immediate conversion into enhanced efficiency bio-energy plus CCS power plants.

    Most coal fired power plants are located on rivers for cooling water, and those that are not are generally located on lakes or oceans.

    These rivers constitute natural biomass or biochar transport networks, that could be used to transport biomass or biochar to the power plants. All of the land area upstream of the power plant on the watershed that feeds these rivers constitutes a natural biomass or biochar transport network to get the biomass to the converted BECCS power plants. We should immediately begin harvesting the forests of combustible undergrowth and begin thinning them to fire protect them. The biomass or biochar from these fire protection efforts should be taken down to the rivers for transport to the converted BECCS power plants.

    Lamar Alexander is fond of promoting nuclear power by talking about the hundreds of trucks that would be needed to transport biomass to the power plants. But one thousand ton river barge full of biochar could take the place of at least 150 to 200 trucks. And the trucks that are necessary could themselves be run from biofuels or wood gas.

    If the power plants are located on lakes, that is actually better in some cases, because in that case the entire watershed that feeds the lake becomes potential biomass or biochar collection area.

    We should immediately begin planting biomass plantations upstream of the current coal fired power plants, and start harvesting the forests of undergrowth and dead trees. We need to start drilling the carbon storage deep injection wells, right now.

    We need to make the maximum effort we are capable of, as a species, to turn the corner on this problem, and we need to do it now, regardless of cost.

    Costs, though, would not be very great. Biomass tends to be slightly cheaper than coal, and biochar would not be that much more expensive. River transport of biomass or biochar from higher elevations on the watershed would help the economics. And it it possible to use a couple of technologies developed by the Clinton administration but sidetracked by the Bush Administration to increase the efficiency of the converted power plants – oxyfuel combustion and IFCC (Indirectly Fired Combined Cycle). Both these simple technologies increase the Carnot efficiency of the power plants, roughly enough to pay for the conversion to oxyfuel/IFCC and pay for the parasitic losses incurred by CO2 purification and cryogenic oxygen generation.

    We’re at the point, now, where even if we do everything right, it will still be close. But using BECCS we can artificially move ourselves back past the tipping point into stability, IMO.

    Or maybe not- maybe we cannot stop runaway climate change at this point.

    But we can at least try.

  18. Giove says:

    the denier view: there is no consensus that dancing on razor’s edge can harm. Many scientist say instead that it increases blood flow.

    So there is no consensus in science (!?). We think that oxygenating blood through healthy movement is something that must not be stopped. It is our freedom to do so! We claim the right to dance while drunk and blindfolded!

    :)

  19. paulm says:

    leland,

    I have to disagree. We can’t turn this thing around now.

    We are going to see at least 3°s warming which is catastrophic!

    But we still have reduce our greenhouse gases.
    So your suggestions still holds.

  20. From Peru says:

    Last from the Equatorial Pacific Frontline:
    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/MJO/enso.shtml

    El Niño continues to stenghen. A Kelvin Wave, the strongest to date in the year, continues to march eastward.

    Behind the propagation front, the termocline looks almost flat,and Sea level anomalies are between 10-15cm high. Right in the front, now at 120º West(near Easter Island), the termocline inclination is near 60º.

    In 2 or 3 weeks the steep warm front will hit my country, the Republic of Peru, together with Ecuador,Colombia and Panama.

    Trade winds have been weak for the last month. Now they had temporarily strenghened, so they may weaken the El Niño development. But the mass of warm water is huge.For inertia, it will be very difficult for trade winds, with moderate positive anomaly, to stop it.

    So, we have already passed the intensity of 2006, and approaching that of 2002. If trade winds weaken again, a strong El Niño will drevelop, and world temperature anomalies… well the answer is obvious.

    For my country, that would be very bad news: heavy floods in the Pacific Coast, and severe drought in the Amazon.

  21. Leif says:

    If one ran the “Slope” line of the above graph thru the average ice cover for the last three years it would appear that a significant drop off has happened.

  22. Edward says:

    No click problem in Mac OS 9.1.

  23. Edward says:

    See the Quad City Times [Davenport, Iowa] of 31 October 2009: The harvest [corn & soybeans] is very very late in this area. The fields are too wet to drive a tractor on. Tractors get mired/stuck in the mud! It takes really deep mud to get a tractor stuck. Almost all of the corn is still not harvested. This has never happened before in recorded history.

  24. Bob Wallace says:

    Edward – with global climate change we get overall global warming and with that addition energy stored inside the boundaries of our atmosphere we get more extreme weather.

    While a lot of the planet cooked this year, the upper center of the US experienced an unusually cool summer. That the crops didn’t mature isn’t surprising.

    Last year, here in Northern CA, we had trouble getting hot summer crops to perform. We lived the summer under a solar filter from the hundreds of forest fires which were ignited by a very unusual lightening storm in late spring. We see very little lightening around here.

    We experienced about 2,000 fires in one afternoon and some weren’t extinguished for months. The entire summer was lived under a brown sky.

    Huge lightening storms in the spring. Drought stressed forests. Climate change?

    A farmer’s job is likely to become even more difficult as things go forward. The old climate expectations won’t be usable….

  25. Stephan says:

    When continueing on this road, it’s only a matter of time before arctic ice completely disappears during several periods per year. Therefore also raising sea levels to new record heights. Time to take action now!

    For more info on the environment, please have a look at this Green News.

  26. Hank Roberts says:

    > disappears … Therefore also raising sea levels

    Stephan, this will help clarify how (very little) sea ice affects sea level, whether it’s formed or melted:

    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/04/ice-and-sea-level.html

  27. Pangolin says:

    So when the lines cross that’s bad right?

    Can anybody tell me if there is some kind of modeling about what happens to weather when there is less ice covering the Arctic Ocean? The change from an ice cap sealing the ocean to a relatively warm, moist surface has to to something but what is that something? Would weather effects reach far enough south to disrupt winter wheat in N. America and Russia?

    As to the question of geo-engineering has anybody seen any calculations as to how many acres of biochar amended crop land it might to balance increased methane emissions? Reduced nitrate and methane emissions at location X might not always equal increased methane emissions at Y if X is in Texas and Y is north of the arctic circle.

  28. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi All-

    Yah, the Arctic melt won’t affect sea levels much.

    What many of us are worried about are the indirect effects of the loss of the Arctic icecap- permafrost melt and subsequent evolution of methane from decaying organic material in permafrost, for example, the ice/albedo positive feedback, and disturbing the vast store of methane in the oceanic methane hydrates by the warming of Arctic currents.

    Greenland and West Antarctica are another story, of course, since in those cases much of the ice is above sea level, and when it melts it will indeed have an effect, probably a dramatic effect, on sea level. The NASA ICESat laser altimeter measurements are showing rapid acceleration of many key glaciers in both Greenland and West Antarctica:

    For example:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8272357.stm

    The researchers tell Nature that this dynamic thinning, as they call it, now covers all latitudes in Greenland.

    Of 111 fast-moving Greenland glaciers studied, 81 were shown to be thinning at twice the rate as the slow-moving ice beside them.

    In Antarctica, the picture is more complicated, with Icesat reporting significant ice growth in places. Nonetheless, the researchers say, thinning has intensified at key locations where ice streams enter the ocean.
    Antarctica (BBC)

    Some of the most graphic examples come from the Antarctic Peninsula, a region that is known to be warming faster than the rest of the continent.

    Little thinning was seen on the massive, cold East Antarctic ice sheet, while the West Antarctic ice showed a mixed picture.

    In many places in both Antarctica and Greenland, glaciers are being confronted by warmer waters which are eroding their fronts.

    We’ve never witnessed these sorts of dramatic changes before, and there are surprises. Precipitation is increasing snowfall in some areas of Antarctica, for example.

    I believe that increased dissociation of methane from the oceanic methane hydrates is already occurring, but it showing up mainly as increased acidification of the oceans as the methane is oxidized into CO2.

    The key to our future are the methane hydrates, which contain roughly as much carbon as all other fossil fuel sources put together, in the form of methane, a greenhouse gas many times more potent than CO2, on short time scales. Plumes of methane are already being observed rising from the oceanic methane hydrates, as well as much greater and faster increases in acidification than were predicted.

  29. Disgusted says:

    What a crock… Nevermind the summer loss has diminished, now these “scientists” are claiming nearly all multiyear ice is gone…

    Nevermind the loss is lower then any year since 2005 and nevermind they have only been monitoring the ice since only 1979…

    Sorry, but I have read more believable fiction in a comic book then on this website. Utterly ridiclous!

  30. Lawrence Coleman says:

    There’s one silver lining to all of this. Ships will use less fuel navigating over the arctic than before. Global shipping makes up for 4% of the CO2 in the air and shipping concentration is set to double within a couple of decades so shorter routes should make a small but handy difference. Interesting point raised about more cyclones/hurricanes meaning an increase in number of waves to smash already weak ice floes into slush.

  31. Farmer Jim says:

    Edward and Bob Wallace
    Minnesota and Iowa had record corn production this year, the second highest yields per acre ever. The weather was very good for corn growing. Corn must be dry before it is stored over the winter or it will mold or rot. Farmers usually rely on Octobers “Indian Summer” to dry the corn on the stalk as much as possible because gas dryers are nessary to dry the corn completely at great expense as these are million BTU dryers and many tons of corn are processed. Not to forget about all the extra CO2 given off! Gas bills can exceed $10,000 for a field. This October was cold and wet so the corn would not dry properly so many growers waited for Old Sol to make an appearance. The wait was rewarded with great harvesting weather in November and much dryer corn. By the way Combines harvest grain crops not Tractors and getting stuck had nothing to do with the slow harvest.
    I have observed all 29.5 years of arctic ice data and 2 summers of higher than normal ice melt do not make a trend. This year melted much less than last and freezing this year is trending to exceed the average. More long term observations are needed to draw climatic conclusions as we are only seeing the “weather” regarding arctic ice over such a short period of time.