Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Arctic Ice Suffers Severe Melt-back as Satellite Monitor Begins to Fail.

This is a reblogging of and commenting on two recent articles posted by Robert Scribbler. Please note that this is not the only pole that's suffering ice melt. Antarctica is now melting, too.

First, Robert Scribbler predicts that the Arctic Ice will just about completely disappear by the end of this summer, and he backs it up with EVIDENCE, such as the now-ongoing break-up and meltback of ice in the Beaufort Sea:

Arctic Sea Ice is Falling off a Cliff and it May Not Survive The Summer

By Robert Scribbler 2 May 2016

Near zero sea ice by the end of melt season. The dreaded Blue Ocean Event. Something that appears more and more likely to happen during 2016 with each passing day.

These are the kinds of climate-wrecking phase changes in the Arctic people have been worrying about since sea ice extent, area, and volume achieved gut-wrenching plunges during 2007 and 2012. Plunges that were far faster than sea ice melt rates predicted by model runs and by the then scientific consensus on how the Arctic Ocean ice would respond to human-forced warming this Century. For back during the first decade of the 21st Century the mainstream scientific view was that Arctic sea ice would be about in the range that it is today by around 2070 or 2080. And that we wouldn’t be contemplating the possibility of zero or near zero sea ice until the end of this Century.

Melting more than Two Weeks Faster than the Early 2000s

Since April 27th, according to a record of sea ice extent provided by JAXA, daily rates of sea ice loss have been in the range of 75,000 square kilometers for every 24 hour period. That’s 300,000 square kilometers of sea ice, or an area the size of New Mexico, lost in just four days. Only during 2015 have we ever seen such similarly rapid rates of loss for this time of year.

Image source: JAXA via Robertscribbler.

We’ve never seen early season sea ice losses like this before. Severe sea ice losses of this variety can help to generate strong ridges and extreme heatwaves [and wildfires] like the ones we now see affecting [Canada,] India and Southeast Asia.
According to the rates of decline shown for this year, last year, 2007 and 2012, we are in for a record low area of Sea Ice Extent up in the Arctic. And one of the areas is the Beaufort Sea, described by Robert Scribbler, wherein there is a huge area of exposure of water close to the sea coast and the Canadian Archipelago, and an immense area of sea ice that is in shards:

Image source: LANCE-MODIS via Robertscribbler.

This Beaufort sea has never looked so bad off so early in the year. High amplitude waves in the Jet Stream continue to deliver record warmth, warm, wet winds, and record sea ice melt to this region of the Arctic. For reference, bottom of frame in this image is around 600 miles. The wispy threads you see in the image is cloud cover, the sections of solid white are snow and ice. And the blue you see is the open waters of the Arctic Ocean. Open water gap size in the widest sections is now more than 150 miles.

There, ice continues to rapidly recede away from the Arctic Ocean shores of the Mackenzie Delta and the Canadian Archipelago — where a large gap has opened up in the sea ice.
All this melting ice on sea and land will eventually convert to rising seas, and will inundate areas like Southern Louisiana, South Florida, the Chesapeake Bay including such major cities like New Orleans, Miami and Washington, D. C.

We can head it off if we do a crash program to get away from fossil fuels cold-turkey and start extracting carbon out of the atmosphere. But I have my doubts that this is politically possible at all.

And the US Congress and Senate are not helping. The GOP wants to cut everywhere except the War Department, and the Democrats are so ineffectual at stopping them, they are enablers. Which is why the Arctic Ice Satellite Monitor is starting to go on the fritz:

Republican Climate Change Denial is Blinding Our Ability to Observe the Arctic

By Robert Scribbler 26 April 2016

It’s all-too-often what happens to the powerful when they are confronted with the consequences of their own bad actions. It can best be said that denial is blindness — the willful inability to open one’s eyes to the tough reality of the world. In literature, we can see denial in the tragic sin of hubris and in the metaphor of Oedipus the King gouging his own eyes out as a result of his failure to come to terms with the warnings of prophecy.

In the psychological sense, denial involves the inability to cope with reality such that a person will act in an irrational fashion to the point of generating fantasies that the object of said denial does not exist. Behaviorally, this results in an increasing degradation of a person’s ability to confront or cope with the object of denial — to the point of ardent, irrational, and possibly destructive outbursts when faced with it.

Arctic sea ice loss.

Ever since 1979 an array of satellite sensors has allowed our scientists to directly observe the sea ice in the Arctic. Since that time, and as a human-forced warming of the world ramped up, the area which that ice covers has dramatically shrunken. So much so that by this year, 2016, there’s a risk that not only will a new all-time record low be reached, but that by the end of this summer almost all the ice in the Arctic Ocean will be melted out entirely. A risk that a new climate change related event will start to take shape in the Arctic. The blue ocean events.
Data source: NSIDC. Image source: Pogoda i Klimat via Robert Scribbler.
Comment in red mine.
Arctic sea ice area as measured by observational satellites and most recently by  F17. The bottom line of the graph measures days of the year. The left side of the graph measures sea ice area. The corresponding intersections determine sea ice area on any given day of a year in the record. The up and downward swoop of each line on the graph shows the seasonal variation of sea ice area for that given year. The blue line on the graph represents 1980 sea ice area. The dark gray line represents the 1979 to 2000 average. The red line represents the 2012 record low year. 2016, in black, shows a squiggle as F17 begins to fail in early March of this year — a year that could significantly beat 2012 as the worst melt year on record. The sensor is failing because it is old and needs replacement. A replacement that is now sitting in a warehouse due to republican-led satellite research funding cuts.

Willful Blindness

Where does denial meet with Arctic sea ice loss? In the form of climate change denying republicans attempting again and again to cut and with-hold funding to NASA and NSIDC instruments that track what is an unprecedented and historic melt now ongoing. For ever since their coming to power in Congress in 2010, republicans have done everything they can to remove funding for the devices that provide a direct observation of the changes coming as a result of a human-forced warming of our world.

More here.

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