Search Results for Tag: science
The Age of the Arctic online
For anyone who has time to follow it, the political speeches at this conference are being webcast.
The address to follow the webcast
I’ll be writing about some of the highlights and trying to summarize the discussion, but for the moment, I’m following the speeches and recording interviews in between.
DateJanuary 19, 2009 | 11:04 am
The Age of the Arctic?
The Ice-Blog will be coming to you from Tromsö in Norway from Sunday onwards.
I’m looking forward to the “Arctic Frontiers” conference, entitled “The Age of the Arctic”.
Arctic Frontiers conference website
It will be interesting to hear how the states with Arctic territory and the EU see the future of the region – and how they plan to safeguard the environment while at the same time trying to lay claim to the natural resources they’d like to access.
It seems there are influential people who think climate change is nothing more than a great opportunity to open up oil and gas reserves previously inaccessible.
US President Bush made a point of presenting a new Arctic Strategy (15 years since the last US one)in his last few days in office, stressing the country’s intention of securing greater influence. Critics say it’s based too strongly on military and economic interests. And the USA is not alone there.
Let’s hear what the parties have to say in Tromsö in the coming week.
DateJanuary 16, 2009 | 3:28 pm
"Things are happening much faster in the Arctic"
That’s a quote from David Barber, an Arctic climatologist at the University of Manitoba, speaking to IPS at the International Arctic Change conference in Quebec, Canada.
Read the whole article here
He thinks the Arctic will be ice-free in summer by 2015. And he’s not alone in thinking that.
Even the worst-case scenarios looked at by the IPCC didn’t consider that possibility for another 50 to 70 years.
The latest NASA satellite data also indicates continuing rapid ice melt. More than 2 trillion tons of LAND ice in Greenland, Antarctica and Alaska have melted since 2003, more than half of it in Greenland. This is all based on measurements of ice weight by NASA’S GRACE satellite. More figures will be released in San Francisco later today, at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco.
AGU website with more info
You’d think hard evidence like that using the best technology we have would convince even the staunchest sceptics and provoke action. I often tend to think it will. Normally I say I’m a born optimist. But is it optmistic to think people will be convinced by potentially catastrophic data?
That’s a question for the philosophers.
Meanwhile the World Meteorological Organization has said the past 12 months have been cooler than previous years, but longer-term trends show the world is still warming because of climate change. The MTO explain the slight dip in temperature by a La Nina event. And the organisation is concerned about the ice in the Arctic Sea having dropped to its second-lowest level during the melt season since satellite measurements began in 1979.
More on the WMO website
So in the light of all that, what do you make of the outcome of the Poznan conference and the EU’s latest climate of climate measures?
DateDecember 18, 2008 | 3:04 pm
This week’s Arctic news has been pretty drastic. The current autumn temperature is five degrees higher than the average. 2007 was the warmest year ever in the Arctic, since people started to record the temperature. The sea ice, as we know, has decreased dramatically.
This is all based on figures from NOAA, the US climate research body (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).
NOAA statistics and reports
The Polarstern (translates as Pole Star), the research vessel belonging to the German polar agency AWI (Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research) returned to base after being the first research vessel to sail right round the north pole because the north-west passage was open as well as the north-east.
The Polarstern voyage around the North Pole
White ice and snow reflect heat back into the atmosphere. Water,open because the ice has melted, is darker and absorbs heat, warming the ocean further. The Arctic is heating up at an alarming rate.
“Rudy” sent a comment in to the Ice Blog. He still isn’t convinced about global warming, it seems. I’m still trying to understand how that can be and what his point of view is.
Rudy, forgive me for not publishing the comment, but it contains abridged quotes from people without the context. Without being able to check the context, I can’t put them up here.
I’m happy to pick up on some of your points, though.
You’re right. Thankfully, the Arctic was not ice-free in 2008.(I didn’t think it would be, neither did most reliable sources I follow). But sea-ice cover hit a record low in 2007 and is not recovering. The North-West passage has been open. And the warming trend is continuing. Changes in flora and fauna are being witnessed and recorded. This is happening. And things are changing fast.
You say winds and circulation are causes of sea-ice melting, not global warming. Sure, winds and circulation play an important role. Nobody would dispute that. But these factors are all connected. And the climate is changing. I’ve talked to scientists from all over the world who are desperately trying to make predictions for the future. Nobody has a crystal ball. But we know humankind is pumping masses of CO2 into the atmosphere, melting permafrost is releasing methane, an even more powerful greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere at an increasing rate. Of course there are natural climate cycles. But we are having our own effect.
I was talking to some British friends this weekend, who suggested we should really get away from the misleading “global warming” talk and refer to “climate change”. Apart from the jokes about the British wanting warmer weather anyway – of course climate change manifests itself in colder weather in some places at some times. Is it just the “global warming” term that bothers you?
What bothers me right now is that our EU countries are thinking about reducing their commitment to climate-saving measures because of the global financial crisis. If we don’t take action now, we might not have a globe we can live on, let alone finances to worry about.
I wish someone could convince me that’s too pessimistic?
DateOctober 22, 2008 | 6:27 am
TagsArctic, AWI, CO2, economics, EU, NOAA, north pole, Polarstern, science, sea ice, Warming, weather
Found any rubber ducks recently?
If you happen to be fishing or hunting in the Baffin Bay area (relatively unlikely in itself) and you come across a rubber duck (!) – don’t just mutter to yourself about pollution reaching remote areas. You could help some of the world’s leading scientists find out more about melting glaciers and climate change.
Rubber ducks aren’t something you’d usually associate with NASA, but then again, you always have to expect the unexpected here.
The grand total of 90 ducks were put into the ice of a Greenland glacier in August by a NASA scientist Alberto Behar, to help find out why glaciers head towards the sea faster in summer. He also used a sophisticated probe,with measuring equipment and a gps transmitter. But it’s hardly surprising that it’s the ducks that make the headlines.
Unfortunately, none of them have been reported so far.
You can read the whole story from Reuters here
Scientists know quite a lot about this particular glacier, the Jakobshavn glacier, because it accounts for a fair percentage of the ice that comes off Greenland. But even the experts don’t know everything, for instance how exactly the water flows off and how this influences the movement of the glaciers and their speed.
I’m using the theme of “the lengths scientists have to go…” as an excuse to put up this picture from Svalbard.
It shows Bob and Sebastian – two scientists I interviewed there – rushing to salvage “the drone” – a camera + gps on a mini hang-glider, being used to photograph snow melt and water flow.
We’ve been hearing a lot about the Arctic sea ice melting recently, but of course the thing about Greenland is that it has so much land-based ice. So when it melts – unlike the sea ice – it increases the sea level.
Scientists from the eastern German Technical University of Dresden have just published a study confirming that the Baltic Sea leavel is rising faster than expected on account of global warming. It seems it has risen 15 cm in the last hundred years. A more worrying result is that over the past 20 years, the annual level rise has doubled, to 3 mm every 12 months – in accordance with the global trend. The scientists attribute this to melting glaciers and thermal expansion of the water.
Article on Dresden Uni webpage (German only, as far as I can see)
Readers might also be interested in the RealClimate blog, which is written by climate scientists. There is currently a debate going on there about sea level rise.
Real Climate Science Blog
DateSeptember 22, 2008 | 9:43 am