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View Diary: More global warming could be ahead than seen in millions of years (47 comments)

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  •  It's not as if (0+ / 0-)

    it all melts, all at once.  Although there will almost certainly be an "ice-free" period within the next few years, which will grow longer over the next decade or two, there will still be annual re-freeze and melt for some decades to come.  There is a lot of thermal inertia in ice, permafrost and in the oceans . . . and the sun will still go away in the Arctic Winter.

    It is important to remember that melting sea ice is not a "cause" of global warming/climate change (except to the extent that it slows it), it is an effect.  Longer periods of open water will certainly have its follow-up effect on summer weather in the future . . . but the next few years will not be all that different (in that regard) from the past few.

    Of course it's also important what you mean by "considerably" . . . in some sense the deterioration is already considerable.  I just don't expect the "whole lot worse" for another decade or two . . . and think it will be driven more by the tropics than by the Arctic.

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Tue May 14, 2013 at 10:37:23 PM PDT

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    •  You are well aware ... (0+ / 0-)

      however, that the melting is a 'cause' in addition to 'effect' because of the reduced albedo (ice vs water) driving the positive reinforcement of greater heat retention with then accelerated melting of the ice/reduced ice formation.

      Also, why do you see 'more driven by tropics than by the Arctic' when we see weather disruption impacts from shifting Arctic weather/climate?

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:31:11 AM PDT

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      •  Albedo effect (0+ / 0-)

        is indeed one of the drivers of "Arctic amplification" . . . but I do distinguish that from it being a cause of "global warming".  It also works both ways . . . open water looses heat faster during the refreeze because of it.

        I look to the tropics as the primary driver because that's where the heat is.  Much more surface area, much greater total insolation, easy (and substantial) heat transport both by air and by water (a significant part of the "new" heat in the Arctic is from influx of Atlantic (Gulf Stream) water).  The whole hydrologic cycle is amplified (sometimes dramatically so) by the still relatively small increase in tropical temperature.  One small example:  while the course of hurricane Sandy was probably influenced by Arctic weather the energy in the storm came almost entirely from the tropics . . .

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Wed May 15, 2013 at 06:28:06 AM PDT

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        •  Ps. (0+ / 0-)

          It is my understanding that the models that produced the now-obviously-silly "ice free summers by 2100, maybe" projections all included albedo effect . . . what they missed completely was the heat influx from Atlantic (and, to a lesser extent Pacific) water.

          Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

          by Deward Hastings on Wed May 15, 2013 at 06:34:32 AM PDT

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          •  The warmer summer water will indeed freeze quickly (0+ / 0-)

            come winter, but during the time of greatest solar exposure it will be much darker, and therefore, warmer up there. That is bound to have huge consequences for our summer weather.

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