Skip to main content

The terminal collapse of summer Arctic sea ice accelerated this summer despite unfavorable weather for much of the summer. Much warmer than normal water temperatures entering the Arctic combined with strong heating of Arctic ocean waters in ice free areas to accelerate the downward spiral in ice loss and the upward spiral of Arctic temperatures. Mid-September sea ice volume (minimum) fits an exponential decline curve that hits zero in 2015. At 95% confidence levels mid-September sea ice will be gone sometime between 2013 and 2019, if this curve is predictive. Apparently, multiple positive feedback loops are accelerating Arctic warming and sea ice loss. Because open water adsorbs much more heat than ice and open water releases more heat trapping water vapor than ice, there are multiple positive feedbacks.

In early September melt ponds have frozen back up at 87N near the north pole but small amounts of open water remain this year. Recent photographs from the ice breaker Healy confirm that the ice is very thin this year near the pole.

Photo from the Healy 5 September 2011 at 87 degrees north

However, warm water left over from mid-summer heating of Arctic ocean water continue to melt thin slushy ice (well) off the coast of Siberia into mid September. Arctic sea ice volume, area and extent hit a minimum sometime in mid September every year, depending on the weather. The long-term trend of decline of minimum sea ice volume is shocking no matter how it is plotted.

Neven's blog on sea ice presents regular updates, figures, photos and expert analysis

The University of Illinois' Cryosphere Today calculates the Arctic area covered by sea ice. A record minimum was just reached.

And now, the LA Times has reported, the ice free areas of the Arctic ocean have been discovered to be emitting methane, a greenhouse gas much more potent than CO2. The methane, from a source yet unknown, adds additional positive feedback to Arctic warming and global climate change.

Scientists were surprised to find strong evidence that ocean surfaces laid bare by melting ice are emitting methane at a "significant" rate likely to have "global impact," Wofsy said.

"It confirms a concern that’s been raised about the removal of ice from the arctic." Wofsy said. "It does look to be significant, and that’s a new result there."

The process by which the open ocean surface is emitting methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, is uncertain, Wofsy said, adding that it likely is not from frozen masses of methane known to be in deep oceans, nor from methane being exhaled from newly thawed tundra.

The discovery of this net addition to the atmosphere confirms a "feedback" mechanism by which one phenomenon has a multiplier effect on the contents of Earth's atmosphere, where greenhouse gases have been accumulating at a rapid rate in modern industrial crimes.

Originally posted to Climate Hawks on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 06:16 PM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots, SciTech, and Ocean Advocates.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, Alumbrados, Superskepticalman, AustinSF, Odysseus, copymark, Liberal Thinking, Doctor RJ, Dump Terry McAuliffe, Gooserock, Danno11, NYmom, PeterHug, RunawayRose, wu ming, Pescadero Bill, Wintermute, billlaurelMD, liz, nemoplanetia, eeff, xynz, bethcf4p, hubcap, Creosote, EricS, Wee Mama, Xapulin, chimpy, ivote2004, antirove, nio, mcrowther, Eric Blair, emmasnacker, Dallasdoc, defluxion10, riverlover, BlogDog, alizard, zerelda, ybruti, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, Mosquito Pilot, J Orygun, oortdust, Julie Gulden, davidincleveland, joanneleon, humphrey, jabney, denise b, yuriwho, kamarvt, terrypinder, Laurence Lewis, Burned, Ginny in CO, coolbreeze, JanL, mightymouse, Alan Arizona, Jim R, CJnyc, harrietshubby, bluestatesam, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Milly Watt, 417els, Russgirl, KenBee, dougymi, Magnifico, Lefty Coaster, jguzman17, Ashaman, Rosaura, boatsie, middleagedhousewife, CA Nana, doingbusinessas, Steve Bloom, WarrenS, kurious, ladypockt, One Pissed Off Liberal, bear83, Noor B, bluicebank, tgypsy, ninkasi23, some other george, ilex, deepeco, bnasley, RosyFinch, Kentucky Kid, jayden, millwood, jhop7, Terra Mystica, VA Breeze, bythesea, cumberland sibyl, John Barleycorn, Akonitum, KJG52, jamess, Lujane, RandomNonviolence, mofembot, Troubadour, Karl Rover, Executive Odor, Quilldriver, palantir, WearyIdealist, toom, squarewheel, maggiejean, Louisiana 1976, clambake, WiseFerret, h bridges, Bonsai66, asym, astral66, ratmach, Larsstephens, Amber6541, parse this, icemilkcoffee, jethrock, birddog, Garfnobl, psychbob, samanthab, cai, elengul, nosleep4u, tharu1, Hopeful Skeptic, boriscleto, asterkitty, takatobimasu, marleycat, akmk, Wheever, muddy boots, debaseTheBase, fossil fish, aoeu, Tyto Alba, blackjackal, too many people, RLMiller, PrometheusUnbound, deltadoc, Mathazar, IowaBiologist, miguelmas1, tomasyn, Mindful Nature, Siri, IndieGuy, oldcrow, S F Hippie, CA ridebalanced, Lorinda Pike, radical simplicity, New Minas, wxorknot, artmanfromcanuckistan

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site