The past five years have been the warmest on record

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA say that 2018 was 4th hottest year on record for the globe, just behind 2016 (warmest), 2015 (second warmest) and 2017 (third warmest). A super optimist might claim that there is a slight cooling trend since 2016, but this suggests that predictions of global warming had some credence.

20 of the last 22 years have been the warmest on record.

In separate analyses of global temperatures, scientists from NASA, the United Kingdom Met Office and the World Meteorological Organizationoffsite link also reached the same heat ranking.

And other news recently provide examples of other climate concerns.

Stuff: ‘Dangerous’ Antarctic glacier has massive hole, scientists warn

A large cavity has formed under what has been described as one of the world’s most dangerous glaciers, and could contribute to a significant bump in global sea levels, said Nasa scientists.

A study led by the agency revealed a cavity about two-thirds the area of Manhattan and roughly 304 metres tall is growing under Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica.

The cavity is large enough to have contained 14 billion tons of ice, most of which has melted within the last three years, say researchers.

The study was published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances.

Thwaites has been described as one of the world’s most dangerous glaciers because its demise could lead to rapid changes in global sea levels.

JPL said the glacier, about the size of Florida, holds enough ice to raise ocean levels another 60 centimetres if it completely melts.

It also backstops other glaciers capable to raising sea levels another 2.4m.

Until recently Antarctica was thought to be bucking warming trends, but new research appears to be uncovering more melt than had been realised.

Reuters:  Norway’s Arctic islands at risk of ‘devastating’ warming: report

Icy Arctic islands north of Norway are warming faster than almost anywhere on Earth and more avalanches, rain and mud may cause “devastating” changes by 2100, a Norwegian report said on Monday.

Icy Arctic islands north of Norway are warming faster than almost anywhere on Earth and more avalanches, rain and mud may cause “devastating” changes by 2100, a Norwegian report said on Monday.

Many other parts of the Arctic, especially its islands, are also warming far quicker than the world average as the retreat of snow and sea ice exposes darker water and ground that soaks up ever more of the sun’s heat.

LiveScience: The Greenland Ice Sheet Is Melting at Astonishing Rate

Last week, a cauldron of concerning news articles made two things very clear: The ocean is warming and Antarctica’s ice is melting.

Now, a new study shows how much global warming is pounding another area: Greenland.

Greenland’s ice sheet is not only melting, but it’s melting faster than ever because the area has become more sensitive to natural climate fluctuations, particularly an atmospheric cycle, a group of scientists reported today (Jan. 21) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers found that the ice is vanishing four times faster than it was in 2003 — and a good chunk of that acceleration is happening in southwest Greenland.

RNZ:  2018 was NZ’s warmest year on record – climate scientist

Veteran climate scientist Jim Salinger has calculated the mean annual land surface temperature in 2018 was 13.5 degrees Celsius, which was 0.85C above the 1981-2010 average.

This was “a smidgeon” hotter than the previous warmest year on record, 2016, which was 0.84C above normal.

Global sea ice at record low

 

They keep putting out stories like this.

New Scientist: Global sea ice is at lowest level ever recorded

It’s a new low point. The area of the world’s oceans covered by floating sea ice is the smallest recorded since satellite monitoring began in the 1970s. That means it is also probably the lowest it has been for thousands of years.

The latest observations from the US National Snow & Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, show how the ice extent has fallen to a new low this year (bright red trace in the graph below).

picture1

In the Arctic, the low in sea ice coverage is a result of both global warming and unusual weather events probably influenced by global warming.

But in the Antarctic, the current low in seasonal sea ice could just be a result of natural variability.

The extent of Arctic sea ice should be growing rapidly during the northern hemisphere winter. But not only has the Arctic been warming rapidly, this winter repeated incursions of warm air have pushed temperatures even further above average.

Yep, there’s been cold weather in the US and European winters, and we have had an unusually cool summer here, but these are regional and short term variations. In contrast to here Australia has been hot.

And at the bottom of the world there is news of another large ice shelf crack developing: British Antarctic Survey abandons polar base as worrying crack grows in ice

Scientists at the British Antarctic Survey are abandoning their research station for the first time ever this winter after a new worrying crack developed in the ice sheet.

The renowned Halley VI ice base, from which the hole in the ozone layer was first detected, was already scheduled to be relocated 14 miles across the Brunt Ice Shelf because of an encroaching fissure in the ice.

But a new crack has been steadily growing to the north of the base, and computer modelling suggests that it could cause a large iceberg to calve away from the sheet, which could destabalise the area.

It is the latest problem to beset the base.   In 2012, satellite monitoring of the ice shelf revealed the first signs of movement in the chasm that had lain dormant for at least 35 years and, by 2013, it began opening at an alarming pace of one mile per year.  If the base does not move, it could be in danger of tumbling into the chasm by 2020.

To make matters more time critical, in October, a new crack emerged 10 miles to the north of the research station across the route sometimes used to resupply the base.

The base is crucial to studies into global issues such as the impact of extreme space weather events, climate change, and atmospheric phenomena.

That’s a bit ironic, whether the accelerating cracking is coincidental or not.

 

 

Arctic Report Card 2016

NOAA (the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) have released their 2016 Arctic Report Card, and it isn’t flash.

Persistent warming trend and loss of sea ice are triggering extensive Arctic changes.

Observations in 2016 showed a continuation of long-term Arctic warming trends which reveals the interdependency of physical and biological Arctic systems, contributing to a growing recognition that the Arctic is an integral part of the globe, and increasing the need for comprehensive communication of Arctic change to diverse user audiences.

Highlights

  • The average surface air temperature for the year ending September 2016 is by far the highest since 1900, and new monthly record highs were recorded for January, February, October and November 2016.
  • After only modest changes from 2013-2015, minimum sea ice extent at the end of summer 2016 tied with 2007 for the second lowest in the satellite record, which started in 1979.
  • Spring snow cover extent in the North American Arctic was the lowest in the satellite record, which started in 1967.
  • In 37 years of Greenland ice sheet observations, only one year had earlier onset of spring melting than 2016.
  • The Arctic Ocean is especially prone to ocean acidification, due to water temperatures that are colder than those further south.  The short Arctic food chain leaves Arctic marine ecosystems vulnerable to ocean acidification events.
  • Thawing permafrost releases carbon into the atmosphere, whereas greening tundra absorbs atmospheric carbon.  Overall, tundra is presently releasing net carbon into the atmosphere.
  • Small Arctic mammals, such as shrews, and their parasites, serve as indicators for present and historical environmental variability. Newly acquired parasites indicate northward shifts of sub-Arctic species and increases in Arctic biodiversity.

Whale Oil cites a social anthropologist as a climate change expert

Cameron Slater continues his anti-climate change agenda at Whale Oil, yesterday posting TURNS OUT THE POLES AREN’T MELTING, NOT THAT OUR MEDIA OR GOVERNMENT WILL SAY ANYTHING.

He quotes from an article featuring claims by Dr Benny Peiser from Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF). Does Peiser sound like a well educated climate scientist?

Sourcewatch claims:

Benny Peiser (b. 1957) is a UK social anthropologist and AGW denier listed among the Heartland Institute “Global warming experts” despite having no evident expertise in climate science or policy.

Peiser was educated in West Germany and studied political science, English, and sports science in Frankfurt.

Although Peiser is described by Local Transport Today as a ‘climate policy analyst’, it is unclear what academic expertise Peiser brings to bear on his climate policy analyses.

According to a search of 22,000 academic journals, Peiser has published 3 research papers in peer-reviewed journals: Sports Medicine, 2006; Journal of Sports Sciences (2004); and, Bioastronomy 2002: life among the stars (2004). None of these studies are related to human-induced climate change.

Peiser also runs CCNet (network) to counter ‘doomsday scaremongering about the possible effects of climate change’.

Slater would ridicule someone with Peiser’s lack of relevant scientific credentials if they were on the other side of the argument. Ironically he concludes:

I can’t wait for the global fraud trials to begin…if you did in business what these so-called scientists have done you’d be sharing a cell with Bernie Madoff or David Ross.

I doubt if he means Peiser as a “so-called scientist”.

And what about whether the poles are melting? It’s not hard to find alternate more scientific views to Dr Benny Peiser and Cameron Slater.

Smithsonian: Ice Melt at the Poles

It’s confirmed: both Antarctica and Greenland are losing ice—around 350 billion tons each year—and, as a result, sea level has risen 11.1 millimeters worldwide since 1992. This photo shows a summertime channel created by the flow of melted ice, which ultimately carries the water away from the glacier to the sea.

It’s not easy to measure melting ice. But by using data from 10 satellite missions, an international team of 47 scientists put together the most accurate estimate of ice melt to date. Ice melt doesn’t just affect sea level, however: the influx of fresh water could change the salinity of the North Atlantic enough to alter weather patterns in North America and affect ocean organisms.

National Snow and Ice Data Center – Artic Sea Ice News and Analysis

Arctic sea ice extent for November was the 9th lowest in the satellite record. Through 2014, the linear rate of decline for November extent over the satellite record is 4.7% per decade.

Antarctic sea ice has continued to decline at a faster-than-average pace (approximately 122,000 square kilometers, or 47,100 square miles per day through the month of October, compared to the average rate of 112,000 square kilometers or 43,200 square miles per day), and is now about 650,000 square kilometers (251,000 square miles) below the level for the date recorded in 2013. Currently ice extent remains about 700,000 square kilometers (270,000 square miles) higher than the 1981 to 2010 average for this time of year.

But what would they know? They aren’t social anthropologists or agenda promoting bloggers.

But an alternate view has been allowed to counter Slater’s claims. See the thread started by Mythrandir.

Another comment, by Gaynor, remains unchallenged:

What would be so wrong with ice free poles? Don’t we need more land for our growing population?

An ice free north pole (Arctic) would not provide more land, there is no land there.

An ice free Greenland would raise sea levels by about 7 metres.

An ice free Antarctic would raise sea levels by about 61 metres.

That would flood a huge amount of land in more habitable parts of the world.

Source: If the polar ice caps melted, how much would the oceans rise?

If the rising temperature affects glaciers and icebergs, could the polar ice caps be in danger of melting and causing the oceans to rise? This could happen, but no one knows when it might happen.

The main ice covered landmass is Antarctica at the South Pole, with about 90 percent of the world’s ice (and 70 percent of its fresh water). Antarctica is covered with ice an average of 2,133 meters (7,000 feet) thick. If all of the Antarctic ice melted, sea levels around the world would rise about 61 meters (200 feet). But the average temperature in Antarctica is -37°C, so the ice there is in no danger of melting. In fact in most parts of the continent it never gets above freezing.

At the other end of the world, the North Pole, the ice is not nearly as thick as at the South Pole. The ice floats on the Arctic Ocean. If it melted sea levels would not be affecte­d.

There is a significant amount of ice covering Greenland, which would add another 7 meters (20 feet) to the oceans if it melted. Because Greenland is closer to the equator than Antarctica, the temperatures there are higher, so the ice is more likely to melt

Of course it’s very unlikely all the world’s ice will melt in the forseeable future. But a metre or two of sea level rise would cause far more problems than it would help.