Kategoriarkiv: Arctic Monitoring

NOAA: 2012 was one of the 10 warmest years on record globally

noaa state 2012

NOAA: Worldwide, 2012 was among the 10 warmest years on record according to the 2012 State of the Climate report released online today by the American Meteorological Society (AMS). The peer-reviewed report, with scientists from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC serving as lead editors, was compiled by 384 scientists from 52 countries. It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments on land, sea, ice, and sky.

“Many of the events that made 2012 such an interesting year are part of the long-term trends we see in a changing and varying climate—carbon levels are climbing, sea levels are rising, Arctic sea ice is melting, and our planet as a whole is becoming a warmer place,” said acting NOAA Administrator Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D. “This annual report is well-researched, well-respected, and well-used; it is a superb example of the timely, actionable climate information that people need from NOAA to help prepare for extremes in our ever-changing environment.”

Conditions in the Arctic were a major story of 2012, with the region experiencing unprecedented change and breaking several records. Sea ice shrank to its smallest “summer minimum” extent since satellite records began 34 years ago. In addition, more than 97 percent of the Greenland ice sheet showed some form of melt during the summer, four times greater than the 1981–2010 average melt extent.

read more: http://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/state-climate-2012-highlights

White House warned on imminent Arctic ice death spiral

guardian: Senior US government officials are to be briefed at the White House this week on the danger of an ice-free Arctic in the summer within two years.  The meeting is bringing together Nasa’s acting chief scientist, Gale Allen, the director of the US National Science Foundation, Cora Marett, as well as representatives from the US Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon.  This is the latest indication that US officials are increasingly concerned about the international and domestic security implications of climate change.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/may/02/white-house-arctic-ice-death-spiral

Arctic Sea Ice minimum, sept 1979 -sept 2012.

arctic sea ice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgiMBxaL19M

Arctic News: Above a tilted screenshot from the animation below, by Andy Lee Robinson, of Arctic Sea Ice minimum volumes reached every September since 1979, based on data from the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS, Zhang and Rothrock, 2003) at the University of Washington.

http://arctic-news.blogspot.dk/2013/04/arctic-sea-ice-animation.html

The ten lowest maximums in arctic sea ice have occurred in the last ten years .

arctic sea ice 2013 march

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2012/05/daily-image/

NSIDC: Arctic sea ice reached its maximum extent for the year on March 15 at 15.13 million square kilometers (5.84 million square miles). This year’s maximum ice extent was the sixth lowest in the satellite record (the lowest maximum extent occurred in 2011). The ten lowest maximums in the satellite record have occurred in the last ten years (2004 to 2013).

http://nsidc.org/news/press/201303_MaximumPR.html

Guardian: Scientists link frozen spring to dramatic Arctic sea ice loss

Climate scientists have linked the massive snowstorms and bitter spring weather now being experienced across Britain and large parts of Europe and North America to the dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice.  Both the extent and the volume of the sea ice that forms and melts each year in the Arctic Ocean fell to an historic low last autumn, and satellite records published on Monday by the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, show the ice extent is close to the minimum recorded for this time of year.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/mar/25/frozen-spring-arctic-sea-ice-loss?INTCMP=SRCH

Global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius could see permanently frozen ground thaw

ScienceDaily  stor

Evidence from Siberian caves suggests that a global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius could see permanently frozen ground thaw over a large area of Siberia, threatening release of carbon from soils, and damage to natural and human environments. A thaw in Siberia’s permafrost (ground frozen throughout the year) could release over 1000 giga-tonnes of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, potentially enhancing global warming. More

Guardian: 1.5C rise in temperature enough to start permafrost melt, scientists warn.

Team of scientists use radiometric dating techniques on Russian cave formations to measure historic melting rates

science1

Published Online February 21 2013

Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1228729

Report:  Speleothems Reveal 500,000-Year History of Siberian Permafrost

CryoSat reveals major loss of arctic ice

cryosat 2013 esa

ESA: An international team of scientists using new measurements from ESA’s ice mission has discovered that the volume of Arctic sea ice has declined by 36% during autumn and 9% during winter between 2003 and 2012.

Satellite records show a constant downward trend in the area covered by Arctic sea ice during all seasons, but in particular in summer. The past six years have seen the lowest summer ice extent in three decades, reaching the lowest last September at about 3.61 million sq km. More

The study ‘CryoSat-2 estimates of Arctic sea ice thickness and volume’, recently published online in Geophysical Research Letters.

A new approach to assessing future sea level rise from ice sheets

Bristol University: Future sea level rise due to the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets could be substantially larger than estimated in Climate Change 2007, the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC, according to new research from the University of Bristol.

The study, published today in Nature Climate Change, is the first of its kind on ice sheet melting to use structured expert elicitation (EE) together with an approach which mathematically pools experts’ opinions. EE is already used in a number of other scientific fields such as forecasting volcanic eruptions.  The ice sheets covering Antarctica and Greenland contain about 99.5 per cent of the Earth’s glacier ice which would raise global sea level by some 63m if it were to melt completely. The ice sheets are the largest potential source of future sea level rise – and they also possess the largest uncertainty over their future behaviour. They present some unique challenges for predicting their future response using numerical modelling and, as a consequence, alternative approaches have been explored.

One such approach is via carefully soliciting and pooling expert judgements – a practice already used in fields as diverse as eruption forecasting and the spread of vector borne diseases. In this study Professor Jonathan Bamber and Professor Willy Aspinall used such an approach to assess the uncertainties in the future response of the ice sheets.

They found that the median estimate for the sea level contribution from the ice sheets by 2100 was 29cm with a 5 per cent probability that it could exceed 84cm. When combined with other sources of sea level rise, this implies a conceivable risk of a rise of greater than 1m by 2100, which would have deeply profound consequences for humankind. The IPCC’s report provided figures ranging from 18cm to 59cm for six possible scenarios.

Clearest evidence yet of polar ice losses

ESA 2012

ESA: After two decades of satellite observations, an international team of experts brought together by ESA and NASA has produced the most accurate assessment of ice losses from Antarctica and Greenland to date. This study finds that the combined rate of ice sheet melting is increasing.

The new research shows that melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets has added 11.1 mm to global sea levels since 1992. This amounts to about 20% of all sea-level rise over the survey period.  About two thirds of the ice loss was from Greenland, and the remainder was from Antarctica. More

Science: A Reconciled Estimate of Ice-Sheet Mass Balance

Science 30 November 2012: Vol. 338 no. 6111 pp. 1183-1189DOI:10.1126/science.1228102

A Quest to Document Earth’s Disappearing Glaciers

yale 360 extreme ice

Yale Environment 360: For James Balog, it all began with a 2005 National Geographic assignment to photograph the world’s rapidly retreating glaciers. That story brought home to him the severity of glacial retreat worldwide and instilled in him a desire to “preserve the visual memory” of a world of ice fading from view.

The result was the Extreme Ice Survey, a project launched in 2007 that has involved the deployment of time-lapse cameras on four continents to record, every half hour during daylight, the shrinking of the world’s glaciers.

TED Talks: James Balog: Time-lapse proof of extreme ice loss, Filmed Jul 2009 • Posted Sep 2009 • TEDGlobal 2009

High-Arctic Heat Tops 1,800-Year High

LDEO: Summers on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard are now warmer than at any other time in the last 1,800 years, including during medieval times when parts of the northern hemisphere were as hot as, or hotter, than today, according to a new study in the journal Geology.  “The Medieval Warm Period was not as uniformly warm as we once thought–we can start calling it the Medieval Period again,” said the study’s lead author, William D’Andrea, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “Our record indicates that recent summer temperatures on Svalbard are greater than even the warmest periods at that time.” Continue

Carbon Release from Collapsing Coastal Permafrost in Arctic Siberia

science-dayli-logo1

ScienceDaily — In this week’s issue of Nature a study led by Stockholm University, with collaborators from Russia, US, UK, Switzerland, Norway, Spain and Denmark, shows that an ancient and large carbon pool held in a less-studied form of permafrost (“Yedoma”) is thaw-released along the approximately 7000-kilometer desolate coast of northernmost Siberian Arctic.

The team found that the tens-of-thousands year old Yedoma carbon is rapidly converted to CO2 and that ten times more Yedoma carbon is released to the Arctic Ocean than previously estimated. Thermal collapse of the carbon-rich, permafrost-covered coasts may accelerate with warming of the Arctic climate. Continue

Arctic sea ice breaks lowest extent on record

nasa ice polar aug 2012

NASA:  According to scientists from NASA and the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colo., the amount is the smallest size ever observed in the three decades since consistent satellite observations of the polar cap began.  The extent of Arctic sea ice on Aug. 26, as measured by the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager on the U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program spacecraft and analyzed by NASA and NSIDC scientists, was 1.58 million square miles (4.1 million square kilometers), or 27,000 square miles (70,000 square kilometers) below the Sept. 18, 2007, daily extent of 1.61 million square miles (4.17 million square kilometers). More

NSIDC: Arctic sea ice cover melted to its lowest extent in the satellite record yesterday, breaking the previous record low observed in 2007. Sea ice extent fell to 4.10 million square kilometers (1.58 million square miles) on August 26, 2012. This was 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) below the September 18, 2007 daily extent of 4.17 million square kilometers (1.61 million square miles). Continue

2012: The ‘Goliath’ melting year

Greenland Melting: Melting in Greenland set a new record before the end of the melting season. Over the past days, the cumulative melting index over the entire Greenland ice sheet (defined as the number of days when melting occurs times the area subject to melting) on August 8th exceeded the record value recently set in 2010 for the whole melting season (which usually ends around the beginning or mid September). Continue

Aerial Photographs Reveal Late–20th-Century Dynamic Ice Loss in Northwestern Greenland

ScienceDaily: Despite the current and rapid melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, it remains far from certain just when we will have reached a point when scientists will be able to predict its disappearance. Recent research conducted by the University of Copenhagen in conjunction with the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and the Danish National Survey and Cadastre (KMS) in collaboration with an international team of scientists reports that this is not the first time in recent history that the ice sheet has been in retreat and then stabilised again. Continue

Paper: Aerial Photographs Reveal Late–20th-Century Dynamic Ice Loss in Northwestern Greenland

Science 3 August 2012: Vol. 337 no. 6094 pp. 569-573 DOI: 10.1126/science.1220614

Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt

NASA greenland ice melt july 2012

Extent of Greenland ice melt, July 8-12

NASA: For several days this month, Greenland’s surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations. Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its two-mile-thick center, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists.

On average in the summer, about half of the surface of Greenland’s ice sheet naturally melts. At high elevations, most of that melt water quickly refreezes in place. Near the coast, some of the melt water is retained by the ice sheet and the rest is lost to the ocean. But this year the extent of ice melting at or near the surface jumped dramatically. According to satellite data, an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface thawed at some point in mid-July. Continue

Massive algal blooms under Arctic sea ice

A shifting Arctic

Standford: While the discovery marks the first direct observation of an under-ice bloom, the conditions that allow for it in the Chukchi Sea exist over a large area of the Arctic.  “We suspect that this is a lot more widespread than we realize,” said Arrigo.  The appearance of under-ice blooms may presage wholesale shifts in the ecosystem of the Arctic. Colder-water phytoplankton production, as with under-ice algae, may cause organic matter to drop to the ocean floor sooner. The effect would benefit bottom-feeding species, to the detriment of species that feed in the water column.  And, as algal blooms are able to occur earlier in the year, animals that depend on timing their behavior to “pulses” in algal productivity may be left out in the cold.

One piece of seemingly good news is an increase in the Arctic’s ability to sequester carbon. As the Arctic Ocean’s productivity increases, so should its carbon capture rate. But, Arrigo says, the effect is unlikely to make much difference.  “Even if the amount of CO2 going into the Arctic Ocean doubled, it’s a blip on a global scale,” he said. Continue

Paper:

Published Online June 7 2012

Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1215065

Massive Phytoplankton Blooms Under Arctic Sea Ice

Warming turns tundra to forest

Oxford University: In just a few decades shrubs in the Arctic tundra have turned into trees as a result of the warming Arctic climate, creating patches of forest which, if replicated across the tundra, would significantly accelerate global warming. More

Paper, nature climate change:

Eurasian Arctic greening reveals teleconnections and the potential for structurally novel ecosystems

Marc Macias-Fauria, Bruce C. Forbes, Pentti Zetterberg & Timo Kumpula

Nature Climate Change (2012) doi:10.1038/nclimate1558

Received 28 November 2011 Accepted 30 April 2012 Published online 03 June 2012

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Climate Change & International Security: The Arctic as a Bellwether

C2ES: In its most recent assessment of global climate change, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences concluded, “A strong body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems.” Impacts and rates of change are greatest in the Arctic, where temperatures have been increasing at about twice the global rate over the past four decades. The rapid decline in summer sea ice cover in the past decade has outpaced scientific projections and is drawing international attention to emerging commercial development and transport opportunities previously blocked by the frozen sea. The Arctic is therefore a bellwether for how climate change may reshape geopolitics in the post–Cold War era.

The trend toward seasonally open waters is driving increased interest and investment in oil and gas exploration, shipping, and fishing in the Arctic. The recent economic recession has not affected these developments significantly, as they were always intended to be middle- to long-term developments following the progression of sea ice retreat. Indeed, high oil prices and advances in technology continue to support the drive toward offshore drilling in Arctic waters. Continue

Precise Data On Arctic Sea Ice Thickness

ESA: After nearly a year and a half of operations, CryoSat has yielded its first seasonal variation map of Arctic sea-ice thickness. Results from ESA’s ice mission were presented today at the Royal Society in London.

The complete 2010–11 winter season data have been processed to produce a seasonal variation map of sea-ice thickness.  This is the first map of its kind generated using data from a radar altimeter at such a high resolution compared to previous satellite measurements. Continue

Signs of thawing permafrost revealed from space

ESA: Satellite are seeing changes in land surfaces in high detail at northern latitudes, indicating thawing permafrost. This releases greenhouse gases into parts of the Arctic, exacerbating the effects of climate change. About half of the world’s underground organic carbon is found in northern permafrost regions. This is more than double the amount of carbon in the atmosphere in the form of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane.  The effects of climate change are most severe and rapid in the Arctic, causing the permafrost to thaw. When it does, it releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, exacerbating the effects of climate change. Continue

Greenland ice sheet may melt completely with 1.6 degrees global warming

PIK: The Greenland ice sheet is likely to be more vulnerable to global warming than previously thought. The temperature threshold for melting the ice sheet completely is in the range of 0.8 to 3.2 degrees Celsius global warming, with a best estimate of 1.6 degrees above pre-industrial levels, shows a new study by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Today, already 0.8 degrees global warming has been observed. Substantial melting of land ice could contribute to long-term sea-level rise of several meters and therefore it potentially affects the lives of many millions of people. Continue

Paper:

Nature Climate Change (2012) doi:10.1038/nclimate1449  Received 16 February 2011 Accepted 13 February 2012 Published online 11 March 2012

Multistability and critical thresholds of the Greenland ice sheet

Alexander Robinson, Reinhard Calov & Andrey Ganopolski

Gravity is climate

gravity

GFZ: For the first time, the melting of glaciers in Greenland could now be measured with high accuracy from space. Just in time for the tenth anniversary of the twin satellites GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) a sharp image has surface, which also renders the spatial distribution of the glacial melt more precisely. The Greenland ice shield had to cope with up to 240 gigatons of mass loss between 2002 and 2011. This corresponds to a sea level rise of about 0.7 mm per year. These statements were made possible by the high-precision measurements of the GRACE mission, whose data records result in a hitherto unequaled accurate picture of the earth’s gravity. Continue

Arctic warms to highest level yet as researchers fear tipping points

Mongabay: Last year the Arctic, which is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth due to global climate change, experienced its warmest twelve months yet. According to recent data by NASA, average Arctic temperatures in 2011 were 2.28 degrees Celsius (4.1 degrees Fahrenheit) above those recorded from 1951-1980. As the Arctic warms, imperiling its biodiversity and indigenous people, researchers are increasingly concerned that the region will hit climatic tipping points that could severely impact the rest of the world. A recent commentary in Nature Climate Change highlighted a number of tipping points that keep scientists awake at night. Continue

Global Warming Has Pushed the Arctic into a “New Normal”

noaa arctic report 2011

NOAA: Persistent warming has caused dramatic changes in the Arctic Ocean and the ecosystem it supports.

Ocean changes include reduced sea ice and freshening of the upper ocean, and impacts such as increased biological productivity at the base of the food chain and loss of habit for walrus and polar bears.

Continue: Richter-Menge, J., M. O. Jeffries and J. E. Overland, Eds., 2011: Arctic Report Card 2011, http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard.

ClimateCentral: Global Warming Has Pushed the Arctic into a “New Normal,”

Arctic_Paradox-400x225

Scientists weighs changes of the Greenland ice sheet

The Cryosphere

ICESat has provided surface elevation measurements of the ice sheets since the launch in January 2003, resulting in a unique dataset for monitoring the changes of the cryosphere. The scientists present a novel method for determining the mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet, derived from ICESat altimetry data and find annual mass loss estimates of the Greenland ice sheet in the range of 191 ± 23 Gt yr−1 to 240 ± 28 Gt yr−1 for the period October 2003 to March 2008. These results are in good agreement with several other studies of the Greenland ice sheet mass balance, based on different remote-sensing techniques. Continue

Arctic sea ice extent small as never before

arctic sea ice minimum 2011 bremen university

Credit: University of Bremen

Alerting message from the Arctic: The extent the the Arctic sea ice has reached on Sep. 8 with 4.240 million km2 a new historic minimum . Physicists of the University of Bremen now confirm the apprehension existing since July 2011 that the ice melt in the Arctic could further proceed and even exceed the previous historic minimum of 2007. It seems to be clear that this is a further consequence of the man-made global warming with global consequences. Directly, the livehood of small animals, algae, fishes and mammals like polar bears and seals is more and more reduced. Continue University of Bremen.

More:

The Carbon Brief: Arctic sea ice low – what does it really mean?

CNN: Arctic ice levels hit historic low, researchers say

Both the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea route appear to be open

NSIDC: Arctic sea ice extent averaged for August 2011 reached the second lowest level for the month in the 1979 to 2011 satellite record. Both the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea route appear to be open. Throughout August, sea ice extent tracked near the record lows of 2007, underscoring the continued decline in Arctic ice cover. Continue

Total volume of Arctic ice shrank to record low in 2010

Alaska Dispatch: The total volume of Arctic sea ice shrank last fall to the smallest amount ever observed during the age of satellites, according to a new study that used a ultra-sophisticated computer modeling program that incorporates ocean observations, submarine data, and space-age monitoring.

But that 2010 record — discussed in a research paper still in press ( Journal of Geophysical Research) and reported around the world by a Reuter’s dispatch from a Greenpeace icebreaker — may be already threatened by this year’s polar meltdown.

New estimates by the same team of scientists at the Polar Science Center of the University of Washington appear to show ice volume is now plunging faster than it did at the same time last year when the record was set.

As of July 31, the last time numbers were crunched and posted online, the volume of sea ice appeared to be about 2,135 cubic miles — more than 50 percent lower than the average volume and 62 percent lower than the maximum volume of ice that covered the Arctic back in 1979, the scientists said .

Continue: Alaska Dispatch

Newly Discovered Icelandic Current Could Change North Atlantic Climate Picture

An international team of researchers, including physical oceanographers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has confirmed the presence of a deep-reaching ocean circulation system off Iceland that could significantly influence the ocean’s response to climate change in previously unforeseen ways.

The current, called the North Icelandic Jet (NIJ), contributes to a key component of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), also known as the “great ocean conveyor belt,” which is critically important for regulating Earth’s climate. As part of the planet’s reciprocal relationship between ocean circulation and climate, this conveyor belt transports warm surface water to high latitudes where the water warms the air, then cools, sinks, and returns towards the equator as a deep flow. Continue WHOI

Crucial to this warm-to-cold oceanographic choreography is the Denmark Strait Overflow Water (DSOW), the largest of the deep, overflow plumes that feed the lower limb of the conveyor belt and return the dense water south through gaps in the Greenland-Scotland Ridge.

For years it has been thought that the primary source of the Denmark Overflow is a current adjacent to Greenland known as the East Greenland Current. However, this view was recently called into question by two oceanographers from Iceland who discovered a deep current flowing southward along the continental slope of Iceland. They named the current the North Icelandic Jet and hypothesized that it formed a significant part of the overflow water.

State of the Climate in 2010

logo noaa

Several large-scale climate patterns influenced climate conditions and weather patterns across the globe during 2010. The transition from a warm El Niño phase at the beginning of the year to a cool La Niña phase by July contributed to many notable events, ranging from record wetness across much of Australia to historically low Eastern Pacific basin and near-record high North Atlantic basin hurricane activity. The remaining five main hurricane basins experienced below- to well-below-normal tropical cyclone activity. The negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation was a major driver of Northern Hemisphere temperature patterns during 2009/10 winter and again in late 2010. It contributed to record snowfall and unusually low temperatures over much of northern Eurasia and parts of the United States, while bringing above-normal temperatures to the high northern latitudes. The February Arctic Oscillation Index value was the most negative since records began in 1950.

Report

Snow, Water, Ice, Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA)

SWIPA Display 2011-05-12 20-21-23 AMAP arctic

Scientists have known for decades that global climate change has been having an outsized impact on the Arctic, but according to a new assessment from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program — part of the Arctic Council — changes in the planet’s vast northern region have been more dramatic than expected.

The new Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) study offers the most up-to-date review of how quickly some of the Arctic’s hallmark features are changing. The study found that the past six-year period, between 2005-2010, has been warmer than any other recorded time in the Arctic, where records extend back to the 1880s. The study found that Arctic warming is accelerating, in large part because of feedbacks caused by the melting of ice and snow cover.

Continue: ClimateCentral

Alert: Global sea level is projected to rise by 0.9–1.6 m by 2100

AMAP Conference 2011-05-04 10-13-56

AMPA: Latest science supports an unprecedented rate of change in the Arctic.

The observed changes in sea ice on the Arctic Ocean, in the mass of the Greenland Ice Sheet and Arctic ice caps and glaciers over the past ten years are dramatic and represent an obvious departure from the long‐term patterns.

FACTBOX 1 : Key findings SWIPA-report

Key finding 1

The past six years (2005–2010) have been the warmest period ever recorded in the Arctic. Higher surface air temperatures are driving changes in the cryosphere.

Key finding 2

There is evidence that two components of the Arctic cryosphere – snow and sea ice – are interacting with the climate system to accelerate warming.

Key finding 3

The extent and duration of snow cover and sea ice have decreased across the Arctic. Temperatures in the permafrost have risen by up to 2 °C. The southern limit of permafrost has moved northward in Russia and Canada.

Key finding 4

The largest and most permanent bodies of ice in the Arctic – multiyear sea ice, mountain glaciers, ice caps and the Greenland Ice Sheet – have all been declining faster since 2000 than they did in the previous decade.

Key finding 5

Model projections reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007 underestimated the rates of change now observed in sea ice.

Key finding 6

Maximum snow depth is expected to increase over many areas by 2050, with greatest increases over Siberia. Despite this, average snow cover duration is projected to decline by up to 20% by 2050.

Key finding 7

The Arctic Ocean is projected to become nearly ice-free in summer within this century, likely within the next thirty to forty years.

Key finding 8

Changes in the cryosphere cause fundamental changes to the characteristics of Arctic ecosystems and in some cases loss of entire habitats. This has consequences for people who receive benefits from Arctic ecosystems.

Key finding 9

The observed and expected future changes to the Arctic cryosphere impact Arctic society on many levels. There are challenges, particularly for local communities and traditional ways of life. There are also new opportunities.

Key finding 10

Transport options and access to resources are radically changed by differences in the distribution and seasonal occurrence of snow, water, ice and permafrost in the Arctic. This affects both daily living and commercial activities.

Key finding 11

Arctic infrastructure faces increased risks of damage due to changes in the cryosphere, particularly the loss of permafrost and land-fast sea ice.

Key finding 12

Loss of ice and snow in the Arctic enhances climate warming by increasing absorption of the sun’s energy at the surface of the planet. It could also dramatically increase emissions of carbon dioxide and methane and change large-scale ocean currents. The combined outcome of these effects is not yet known.

Key finding 13

Arctic glaciers, ice caps and the Greenland Ice Sheet contributed over 40% of the global sea level rise of around 3 mm per year observed between 2003 and 2008. In the future, global sea level is projected to rise by 0.9–1.6 m by 2100 and Arctic ice loss will make a substantial contribution to this.

Key finding 14

Everyone who lives, works or does business in the Arctic will need to adapt to changes in the cryosphere. Adaptation also requires leadership from governments and international bodies, and increased investment in infrastructure.

Key finding 15

There remains a great deal of uncertainty about how fast the Arctic cryosphere will change in the future and what the ultimate impacts of the changes will be. Interactions (‘feedbacks’) between elements of the cryosphere and climate system are particularly uncertain. Concerted monitoring and research is needed to reduce this uncertainty.

Continue: AMAP conference web

Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme

Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) 2011-05-04 09-41-59 AMAP

AMAP is an international organization established in 1991 to implement components of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS).

Now a programme group of the Arctic Council, AMAP’s current objective is “providing reliable and sufficient information on the status of, and threats to, the Arctic environment, and providing scientific advice on actions to be taken in order to support Arctic governments in their efforts to take remedial and preventive actions relating to contaminants”.

Continue: AMAP