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Ice-Blog

Climate Change in the Arctic & around the globe

Of birds and bears in a changing Arctic climate

Frozen Waves, Chukchi Sea, Barrow, Alaska

Chukchi Sea, Barrow, Alaska

Living conditions have changed considerably over the last few decades for sea birds who live or breed in the Arctic region.

Ornithologist George Divoky has found that his monitoring of black guillemots on the Arctic Cooper Island off the coast of Barrow, Alaska over the last four decades has turned into observation of the rapidly changing climate in the high north.

Date

February 21, 2012 | 12:19 pm

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Climate sceptics in the limelight – and under fire

 

Icebergs, Greenland

Global warming - no need to panic?

I have been following with interest the coverage in the media here – and discussions amongst friends and neighbours – of a highly controversial book published in German this month: “The Cold Sun: Why the Climate Catastrophe is not taking place”. The authors, Fritz Vahrenholt and Sebastian Lüning talk down climate change and say there is no need for all the fuss. The authors suggest global temperatures are only influenced to a very small extent by CO2 emissions.  They blame “more than half” on solar activity. Now this argument is not new and has been refuted by many respectable scientists – but the hype surrounding the book might lead a lot of people to think it is.

Date

February 10, 2012 | 11:59 am

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Oil from the Arctic: Is it time for an Arctic Treaty?

The Arctic island of Svalbard from the air

An oil spill would have drastic consequences for the pristine Arctic environment

Given the increased interest in drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic as the area becomes more accessible in a changing climate, concern is also growing about the dangers an accident could pose to the fragile environment of the “high North”.  An editorial in the publication NATURE argues that we need a binding agreement like the Antarctic Treaty to protect the Arctic from pollution.

Date

February 7, 2012 | 12:57 pm

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Gulf stream heating up

Scientists have observed that the Gulf Steam has been heating up two to three times as fast as the rest of the Atlantic over the last 100 years.  Professor Martin Visbeck from the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, says the Gulf Stream, which accounts for the relatively mild climate of north-western Europe, has become around 1.2°C warmer since 1900 compared with a 0.4 degree rise in the Atlantic as a whole. The trend is similar with other important streams off the coasts of Japan, Australia, Brazil and southern Africa.

Scientists monitoring the effects of CO2 concentrations in Arctic water

Scientists monitoring the effects of CO2 concentrations in cold Arctic water

The scientists say the enhanced warming could reduce the ability of the oceans to absorb carbon dioxide as warmer water absorbs less than cold water. They stress the need for more data and continuous measurement, but Visbeck says the results indicate that climate change is changing global ocean circulation. More in the journal Nature Climate Change.

 

 

Date

February 2, 2012 | 12:38 pm

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Arctic Ice and our Weather

Sea ice off Greenland

Sea ice off Greenland

Apologies for a long spell of ice-blog silence, but your ice blogger is now back on the

(snow?-) ball.

The German papers today tell us to expect temperatures dropping to as low as MINUS 20 C in the course of this week. After a relatively mild winter so far, this will be a shock to the system for a lot of people. And of course, we’ll be back to the old discussion about how it can be this cold when the world is warming… Somehow people are more willing to accept that the climate is changing when the plants are all starting to come up ahead of time. But maybe the cold snap will help draw attention to a new study by Germany’s Alfred-Wegener Institute explaining the connection between the extent of the Arctic sea ice in summer and our winter weather in central Europe.

Date

January 31, 2012 | 12:07 pm

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