A large international team of researchers has found another troubling indicator of climate change: the Arctic Ocean around the North Pole is getting warmer, and in the process, becoming more like the Atlantic Ocean to its south. Specifically, the eastern Eurasian Basin is now more ice-free and showing mixing of vertical layers of water, a phenomenon common in the Atlantic. Record-breaking loss of sea ice has become a common feature in the Arctic every summer the last 10 years or so. Since 2011, the eastern Eurasian Basin region has been nearly free of ice at the end of every summer.
Mild winters in northern Europe, rainfall in western Africa, hurricanes in North America – the energy transported around the world by the global ocean circulation affects the climate as well as regional weather phenomena. One of the key regions for the ocean circulation is the Labrador Sea between North America and Greenland. There warm, saline waters coming from the south near the sea surface cool down and sink to the depth. There the water masses flow back to the south along the continental margin. Thereby the area is one of the regions of crucial importance for the global ocean circulation.
Stress is a factor not only in the best human families; it also appears among animals. To see how bird family members interact with each other in stressful situations, researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna and the University of Gdansk, Poland, studied parent-offspring interactions in a long-lived seabird, the little auk (Alle alle).
The Arctic has been losing sea ice over the past several decades as Earth warms. However, each year, as the sea ice starts to melt in the spring following its maximum wintertime extent, scientists still struggle to estimate exactly how much ice they expect will disappear through the melt season. Now, a new NASA forecasting model based on satellite measurements is allowing researchers to make better estimates.
For 530 days, two algal species withstood extreme temperatures and ultraviolet radiation that would quell most other life on Earth. Part of a long-term plant study conducted aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the algae were left to grow on a panel outside the ISS for more than a year-and-a-half. Preliminary analyses of the specimens, released February 1, suggest that the plants are doing just fine.
As global temperatures rise and arctic ice melts, more ships are taking advantage of expedient, yet dangerous ocean routes that are opening in the polar region. One of the main hazards of sailing in freezing temperatures is topside icing, in which water blown from the ocean freezes once it contacts a ship, potentially accumulating enough ice to put the vessel at risk of capsizing.
In this third episode of the Natural Security Podcast, the Stimson Center’s Johan Bergenas sits down with Rear Admiral (ret.) Jon White.
(From National Security Podcast, By Jon White) — Admiral White retired in 2015 from …
There is more soot in remote Siberia than at the edge of densely populated Europe, even though there are hardly any people there, the first in-depth study of black carbon in the region has found. In Tiksi, a small town in an isolated region of north-eastern Siberia, the levels of black carbon emitted by traffic is at higher levels than in Sweden, according to the two-year study published in the journal PNAS. Before this study, black carbon levels in this part of Russia were a blank spot on the map.
Pollution in the Arctic is so bad that chemicals are accumulating in polar bear mother’s milk and getting passed onto bear cubs. A new analysis of pollutants in the Arctic has found that polar bears are at a particularly high risk, compared to other animals like seals.
The study was published in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in December and focused on a class of pollutants known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). POPs are toxic, hang around for a long time, and tend to build up in the bodies of humans and animals.
Intense future climate change could have a far different impact on the world than current models predict, suggests a thought-provoking new study just out in the journal Science Advances. If atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were to double in the future, it finds, a major ocean current — one that helps regulate climate and weather patterns all over the world — could collapse. And that could paint a very different picture of the future than what we’ve assumed so far. The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, or AMOC, is often described as a large oceanic conveyor belt. It’s a system of water currents that transports warm water northward from the Atlantic toward the Arctic, contributing to the mild climate conditions found in places like Western Europe. In the Northern Atlantic, the northward flowing surface water eventually cools and sinks down toward the bottom of the ocean, and another current brings that cooler water back down south again. The whole process is part of a much larger system of overturning currents that circulates all over the world, from pole to pole.
The world’s air conditioner is on the fritz. Unprecedented, record-breaking warmth in the Arctic this year triggered declines in sea ice, snow, the Greenland ice sheet and a remarkable delay in the annual freeze of sea ice in the fall. Overall, the Arctic experienced its warmest year ever recorded.
“Rarely have we seen the Arctic show a clearer, stronger or more pronounced signal of persistent warming and its cascading effects on the environment than this year,” said Jeremy Mathis, director of NOAA’s Arctic research program, which released its annual Arctic Report Card on Tuesday.
Evidence buried in Greenland’s bedrock shows the island’s massive ice sheet melted nearly completely at least once in the last 2.6 million years. This suggests that Greenland’s ice may be less stable than previously believed. “Our study puts Greenland back on the endangered ice-sheet map,” says Joerg Schaefer, a palaeoclimatologist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, and co-author of a paper published on December 7 in Nature.