Arctic Unnaturrally Warm

February 1, 2017

Washington Post:

The Arctic is so warm and has been this warm for so long that scientists are struggling to explain it and are in disbelief. The climate of the Arctic is known to oscillate wildly, but scientists say this warmth is so extreme that humans surely have their hands in it and may well be changing how it operates.

Temperatures are far warmer than ever observed in modern records, and sea ice extent keeps setting record lows.

2016 was the warmest year on record in the Arctic, and 2017 has picked up right where it left off. “Arctic extreme (relative) warmth continues,” Ryan Maue, a meteorologist with WeatherBell Analytics, tweeted on Wednesday, referring to January’s temperatures.

Veteran Arctic climate scientists are stunned.

“[A]fter studying the Arctic and its climate for three and a half decades, I have concluded that what has happened over the last year goes beyond even the extreme,” wrote Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., in an essay for Earth magazine.

At the North Pole, the mercury has rocketed to near the melting point twice since November, and another huge flux of warmth is projected by models next week. Their simulations predict some places in the high Arctic will rise over 50 degrees above normal.

One chart, in particular, is a jaw-dropping and emblematic display of the intensity and duration of the Arctic warmth. It illustrates the difference from normal in the number of “freezing degree days,” a measure of the accumulated cold since September.

The number of freezing degree days is far lower than any other period on record. Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist and science writer who first posted the chart to Twitter, remarked it illustrated a “stunning lack of freezing power” over the Arctic. “This is happening now,” he added. “Not in 50 or 100 years — now.”

The chart was created by Nico Sun, a citizen scientist, using temperature data from the high Arctic, north of 80 degrees latitude, furnished by the Danish Meteorological Institute.

Yet the human influence on climate in the Arctic may be redefining the so-called natural variability, said Chip Knappenberger, a climate scientist at the Cato Institute. “Natural variability is itself is becoming increasingly ‘non-natural’ as it includes influences which themselves are shaped by anthropogenic activities,” he said.

Such a statement is notable coming from Knappenberger, who some consider a climate change skeptic and is unconvinced climate change is a serious problem.


9 Responses to “Arctic Unnaturrally Warm”

  1. “who some consider a climate change skeptic” – what doubly spineless drivel!

    • Torsten Says:

      How right you are! Chip has consistently argued that global warming would occur, at most, at the lower end of the range of projections.

      Here’s an example of Chip’s wishful thinking:

      Chip wrote this July 25, 2011:

      “In other words, the return of U.S. average annual temperatures to values close to the 20th century average conditions seems to be continuing in 2011.:

      Chip figured the contiguous United States in 2011 would likely end up cooler than any of the three previous years. In fact it ended up warmer than the upper bound on the range he provided.

      He concluded:

      “If 2011 ultimately turns out to come in in-line with the central projections in Figure 5, it will strengthen the suggestion that the unusually high temperature that characterized the 10-yr period from 1998–2007, were just that, unusual, and do not best represent either the expected trend or the climate state of the U.S. for the next several decades to come.”

      See for yourself how things have turned out (give it time to crank out the chart and load the results to your device):

      (I’ve chosen 1970 as the start date for the trendline. Some may object to this. Explore different time periods. Woodfortrees allows more trendlines to be displayed on a given chart, but I didn’t see a data set limited to CONUS there.)

  2. redskylite Says:

    Just watching the regular NSIDC daily image update of the Arctic Sea Ice extent has been amazing this winter season and has deviated way out up steps with previous years, I’m certainly curious to see how it responds next winter season. Have we really crossed a tipping point ? I just need to be patient as only time will tell, but the implication are big for processes like the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Not a time to bury one’s head in the sand, even though it doesn’t make many news headlines.

    Meanwhile on the “Dark Sow” lines another item of interest out today.

    Dust released by an active coal mine in Svalbard, Norway, reduced the spectral reflectance of nearby snow and ice by up to 84 percent, according to new University of Colorado Boulder-led research.

    Unblemished snow and ice have a very high spectral albedo, a measurement used to indicate how effectively a given surface reflects solar energy. Over time, airborne black carbon particles (from soot or automobile emissions, for example) or other mineral dust can travel long distances in the atmosphere and settle on snow and glaciers, lowering the overall albedo.

  3. webej Says:

    Scary. The chart makes you think about various possible phase changes, perhaps accompanied by positive feed-back loops that could conceivably take developments out of human hands.

  4. Tom Bates Says:

    One has to wonder how to start when the whole article is so full of distortions and lies every other line is simply wrong. The arctic is not unnaturally warm. A weather pattern warmed up the arctic in Oct and Nov and part of Dec. That pattern replaced cold arctic air with slightly warmer air from further south. The cold air went south and dumped a foot of snow on the Sahara, something that occurred 37 years ago with a similar weather pattern.

    The weather people know what happened and they know this is normal weather variation if unusual. All that has zero to do with the arctic warming. The climate is a bit warmer than in 1625 when the Thames froze over in winter and is colder than in 6500 BP when the entire arctic was ice free during the summer for 2000 years. It is also colder than in 1000 AD if not as warm as 6500 BP. Thankfully the world has been warming for 400 plus years, otherwise a lot of people would have died of starvation from failed crops. Since the CO2 has increased 415 million people are alive today who otherwise would have died of starvation since that CO2 has increased plant mass by an estimated 8 percent.

    You can believe the fake news if you want, this is a free country. However, it might help to actually google NASA, NOAA and the various studies to see what is actual science and what is propaganda and there is a whole bunch out there which is propaganda labeled science coming from NASA and NOAA as well as other sources. For example, ocean rise. If the oceans were rising fast and it was going to rise many feet in the next 30 years, it would have to be rising right now as we sit here typing. NOAA has actual tidal gauge data. You have to check to make sure the ground under that tidal gauge is not rising or falling. Miami for example is sinking due to ground subsidence. Johnston Atoll and Sydney are not rising or falling, thier ocean rise trend is 3 inches in 100 years. NASA has antarctic ice gaining overall. The claim the oceans will rise many feet in 30 years is impossible unless the sun blows up, that is possible but not likely..

  5. redskylite Says:

    A very related story in today’s Mashable by Science Editor Andrew Freedman (who holds a Masters in Climate and Society from Columbia University, and a Masters in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University. – For those of us who are rightly concerned about reading fake or biased news).

    3rd February, 2017 10.00 AM (NZ Time)

    Series of powerful storms roar across Atlantic towards UK and France.

    Interestingly, the weather pattern across the North Atlantic is having broader repercussions as well, with a series of freak warmups occurring in the Arctic, largely as a result of heat and moisture transported from the Atlantic side of the typically frozen region.

    Sea ice cover has been lagging at record lows for much of the fall and winter, with another extreme warmup predicted next week, when temperatures may hit 50 degrees Fahrenheit above average near the North Pole.

  6. Lionel Smith Says:

    The rain in Spain followed by snow has caused a shortage of fresh vegatables in the UK. Stores are rationing.

    I remember standing in queues with mum for first ration books and then the products themselves, some foodstuffs and clothes. Could make do and mend then, the old man had his own last and mum was good at darning (had to do that and more for myself in the RN, we were issued with a navy blue cloth roll up to contain needles and threads which was known as a ‘Housewife’) and making dresses for sisters to go to school.

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