ARCTIC OCEAN ACIDIFYING 4X FASTER

New research found that rapid melting of sea ice means the Arctic Ocean is particularly vulnerable to acidification. ... READ MORE

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News & extreme weather in the Arctic & beyond

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Arctic change has global risks. Our news and alerts highlight extreme temperature or weather changes in the Arctic and around the globe.

ARCTIC OCEAN IS ACIDIFYING 4X FASTER

30.09.2022, Arctic Ocean. In August, it was confirmed that the Arctic is warming 4x faster than the planetary average. Yesterday researchers from China and the US established that the Arctic Ocean is also acidifying 4x faster than other oceans.

The rapid melting of sea ice means the Arctic Ocean is particularly vulnerable to acidification. Normally, the alkalinity of the ocean offers some protection, but melting ice is diluting this buffer and causing the Arctic Ocean to acidify rapidly.

Our addiction to fossil fuels means that the ocean covering 71% of Earth’s surface is no longer a stabilising force for the environment but is becoming an acid bath. Some of the effects of this acidity are well known–for example, it reduces carbonate ions that form coral skeletons or oyster shells. However, some effects are not yet fully understood but are expected to have toxic impacts–not just on marine life but on humans and entire planetary systems.

Our planet is screaming in every way it can that we cannot continue to burn fossil fuels.

To learn more about how the Arctic is at the epicenter of many of these global phenomena, head HERE for more information on the global risks from Arctic change.

Read the full study in Science HERE.

Read the Guardian article HERE.

HURRICANE IAN MAKES LANDFALL IN FLORIDA

Click image above to play gif (NOAA).

28.09.2022, Florida. Having already knocked out power throughout Cuba, Hurricane Ian is crashing into the western coast of Florida with its disastrous extreme trifecta of storm surges reaching 18 feet, torrential rains unleashing up to 24 inches, and winds just 1-2mph shy of being a Category 5 storm with gusts to 190mph.

Each of these extremes is life-threatening in itself but is catastrophic when together, especially when it has experienced “rapid intensification,” and residents are not able to adequately prepare. The gravity of this storm is the direct result of climate change. Normally, storms ease as they barrel toward the US coast, but Ian was able to strengthen from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane within 3 days due to the excessively warm water temperatures that power the storm. This process has been occurring more frequently in recent decades as the water continues to bake. Warmer air is also able to hold more moisture, contributing to more powerful cyclones.

Additionally, as this part of the world is vulnerable to sea level rise, which amplifies the effects of flooding and storm surges. As Greenland melt is the world’s largest contributor to sea level rise, and Arctic amplification is forcing temperatures to rise world over, mitigating change in the Arctic is paramount to controlling future catastrophes around the world. To understand how climate change in the Arctic drives global risks and shares significant responsibility in disasters like Ian, see https://arcticrisk.org

Click HERE for more information on the global risks from Arctic change.

GREENLAND EARLY-SEPTEMBER HEATWAVE DARKENS THE SNOW AND ICE

27.09.2022, Greenland. Like in 2021, the Greenland melt season has been extended by new extremes of heat. The exceptional heat episode during the first week of September 2022, that brought melting over more than a third of the ice sheet, when it’s normally hardly melting, has darkened Greenland snow and ice. This effect is sustaining melt conditions even after the heatwave passes through the so-called albedo feedback.

Click HERE for more information on the global risks from Arctic change.

Read a related ARTICLE by Arctic Basecamp Science Team member Prof. Jason Box

Alaska's newest lakes are belching methane!

23.09.2022, Alaska. Heat spells this year have filled the news with drying lakes and rivers. In Alaska, however, heat is meaning that new lakes are being born. This is not the only anomaly between these new thermokarst lakes and others around the world. Thermokarst lakes are the result of thawing permafrost that collapses in on itself. Microbes in the thawing permafrost digest organic matter, releasing greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide. When released, these gases make their way through the more permeable ground and then bubble up through the water. The result? Belching lakes!

Click HERE for more information on the global risks from Arctic change.

Read the ARTICLE

20/09/22: Climate-crisis-fuelled tropical storms wreak havoc!

Fiona, Merbok, Nanmadol — OH MY!! Three climate-crisis-fuelled tropical storms have wreaked havoc this week, continuing a summer of record-smashing extreme weather events. These three storms have already racked up billions of dollars in damages and ruined thousands of lives, and they aren’t done yet. While all three were born in the tropics, their destruction has also affected or will affect high-latitude areas not accustomed to receiving many inches of rain over a matter of hours. A warmer Earth along with a moister atmosphere — thanks to a thicker blanket of greenhouse gases and vicious cycles involving the loss of Arctic ice and snow — make these storms juicier, more powerful, and allow them to stay strong as they head northward. Higher sea levels, also accelerated by a warming Arctic, expand the reach of storm surges. If we do nothing to curtail the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, expect to see more of these monster storms.

Click HERE for more information on the global risks from Arctic change.

Read the ARTICLE

13/09/22: Researchers identify how science can help cities and companies to operate within Earth system limits 

What businesses and cities must do to stay within ‘safe and just’ environmental limits for carbon, water, nutrients, land and other natural resources is the subject of a new set of recommendations from Earth Commission experts.

The authors, from the Australian National University, Technical University of Denmark, University of Exeter Business School, Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, University of Graz, University of Potsdam and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) have published key knowledge gaps for researchers to help cities and businesses to operate within Earth system limits in the journal Nature.

It comes ahead of an Earth Commission report due out next year that will outline a range of ‘Earth system boundaries’ (ESBs) based on the latest science, modelling and literature assessments.

The authors highlight seven recommendations for researchers aiming to translate ESBs into concrete steps for cities and businesses.

Read the full press release HERE.

‘How to stop cities and companies causing planetary harm’, is published in the journal Nature.

Click HERE for more information on the global risks from Arctic change.

12/09/22: Weather Whiplash- new research paper

“We’ve seen weather whiplash in spades this summer, as parched regions are suddenly inundated by flash floods or heat domes are replaced by abnormally cool conditions. Our new research suggests that continued global warming — and rapid Arctic warming in particular — will cause these events to occur more frequently. We must reduce our use of fossil fuels and stop deforestation as quickly as possible to keep these disruptive whiplash events at bay.”

A new paper from Dr. Jennifer Francis, Arctic Basecamp Scientist and Acting Deputy Director of the Woodwell Climate Research Center, has just been published.

A key point identified in the paper is that “warm-Arctic atmospheric patterns spawn more whiplash weather events than cold-Arctic patterns, with robust future changes in frequency”. With a warming Arctic we can assume that more episodes of extreme weather will occur.

Read the full report HERE.

Find out more about how a changing Arctic is effecting Extreme Weather HERE.

Click HERE for more information on the global risks from Arctic change.

05/09/22: UPDATE- SIGNIFICANT GREENLAND MELT

As anticipated last week the forecast Greenland melt anomaly has occurred – just look at that spike!

See below for more information on the alert and HERE for more the latest data on Greenland.

Click HERE for more information on global risks.

30/08/22: SIGNIFICANT GREENLAND MELT FORTHCOMING IN EARLY SEPTEMBER

Although Arctic temperatures usually start to cool down towards Autumn, unusually warm temperatures for this time of the year are currently forecasted for Greenland. Expected temperature could reach +15C (+59 F) above average in the central high-elevation regions of the ice sheet. According to regional climate model forecasts, these unusually warm temperatures may result in significant melt and could be accompanied by significant precipitation. If this precipitation falls as rain, it will further enhance the melt. Greenland ice sheet mass loss is expected at least through September 5, with peak melt on or around September 3.

29/08/22: MAJOR SEA-LEVEL RISE CAUSED BY MELTING OF GREENLAND ICE CAP IS ‘NOW INEVITABLE’

We now know that Greenland’s contribution to global sea level rise is significantly greater than models have forecasted and is primed for catastrophic coastal flooding for more than a billion people around the world–the vast majority of whom are unprepared. “It’s an understatement that the societal stakes are high and the risk is very real going forward,” glaciologist Alun Hubbard notes. Hubbard, along with lead author Jason Box, are esteemed members of our Arctic Basecamp Science Team.

This breaking research of Box, Hubbard et al shows that Greenland’s ice sheet is being dismantled both internally and externally by a variety of simultaneous processes. The two decades of direct measurements that comprise this study enable precision calculation of the ice sheet’s future in ways we have yet not previously understood.

Read full study @ Nature.com

19/08/22: Arctic heatwave strikes again!

A strong northward bulge in the Jetstream (top figure) is bringing unusual heat and moisture into the Arctic north of Scandinavia and western Russia. At the surface, strong southerly (from the south) winds are blowing between low pressure over Svalbard and high pressure farther east (middle figure), which may push remaining thin and weak sea ice farther northward. Near-surface air temperatures (bottom figure) are 5-10 deg. C above normal in the region because of this unusual circulation pattern that is becoming more common as the globe continues to warm under a thicker blanket of greenhouse gases.

19/08/22: Foreboding new studies show the climate battle is not over

An Opinion in the Washington Post “Foreboding new studies show the climate battle is not over” highlights that the Arctic continues to be ground zero for climate change… yet solutions exist. Visit our Solutions page.
Read the Opinion https://wapo.st/3CdhyCr

11 August 2022 - The Arctic has warmed nearly four times faster than the globe since 1979

NEWS JUST IN! The Arctic IS warming faster than we thought. In fact FOUR times as fast as the global average. A report published today in the scientific journal, Nature, states that between 1979 and 2021, the Arctic has warmed an average of 4 times the global average, which has generally not been captured in model datasets, usually showing only 2-3 times warming. This increased rate, reaching 7 times faster in some regions in the Barents region and well known to be a result of Arctic amplification, has been picked up through several observational datasets. Critically, the heightened pattern of the last 43 years indicates that the models traditionally used to calculate the climate around the world are unable to account for the full effects of Arctic amplification and underestimate the changes happening in this critical part of the world. Arctic change has ramifications far beyond the Arctic Circle and the effects can be felt around the globe. 

Read about the global risks from Arctic change HERE.

Read the full article on Nature.com

29 July 2022 - Record Hot Day in Siberia

Source: Extreme Temperatures Around the World on Twitter.

Heat Wave: 29 July was another record hot day in Siberia. The village of Segen Kyuel at lat 64N jumped to 36.1C its hottest day on records. Very hot also in other famous winter cold spots: Curapca (62N) 36.3C,Batamaj (63N) 35.7C and Yakutsk (62N) 35.0C.

Alterations in the jet stream can create persistent and intense heat domes. One such heat dome over Siberia has triggered record temperatures throughout the territory. Not only are residents dealing with the effects of heat stress, but the heat accelerates thawing permafrost, which leads to outbursts of methane gas and billions of dollars of infrastructure devastation.

Read about the global risks from Arctic change HERE.

22 JULY 2022 - SVALBARD CUMULATED MELT RUNOFF TWICE AS LARGE AS PREVIOUS RECORDS

Source: Xavier Fettweis on Twitter

Svalbard is experiencing unparalleled ice loss with this summer’s cumulative melt being twice previous records. This is, in part, due to a temperature anomaly of +5°C (average from 1 June), contributing to the warmest summer ever in the archipelago in an area already melting 5-7x faster than the planetary average (citation from Norwegian Meterological Office).

Read about the global risks from Arctic change HERE.

19 July 2022 - Unprecedented blazes envelop Alaska

Numerous large-scale wildfires have been burning in Alaska since the beginning of June. Some of these fires have been inside the Arctic Circle. The impacts of the fires have been to significantly degrade air quality across the state and some thick smoke plumes have been observed crossing the Beaufort Sea and Arctic Ocean as far as northern Greenland.

Warming Arctic temperatures, associated both with early snowmelt, increased vegetation, drought and also increased vapour in the atmosphere associated with increased lightning storms, have primed Alaska for an exceptional fire season, which so far is on track to surpass the record 2004 season that saw 6.5m acres burned. Adding fuel to the fire is that brown carbon from the wildfires drifts toward the polar regions, where it accelerates Arctic warming.

This article from The Guardian tells you more about the impact on the region.

Read about the global risks from Arctic change HERE.

6 July 2022 - Heat records are being broken in the Canadian Arctic

Inuvik, NWT (68.3°N) exceeded 30°C three days in a row for the first time on record.

Another week, another parade of simultaneous heatwaves around the Northern Hemisphere, and the normally chilly Arctic is not immune. Much-above-normal temperatures are roasting eastern Scandinavia/western Siberia, far northeastern Asia, and northwestern North America. The Arctic is warming at least 3 times faster than the globe as a whole, fueling tundra fires, speeding the melt of land ice and sea-level rise, and accelerating the thaw of once permanently frozen Arctic soils. Rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, due mainly to burning fossil fuels, is the underlying disease causing these symptoms. We have the tools and power to slow this change, but what we lack is time. Actions must be swift and substantial to avert a worsening epidemic of extreme weather events.

Find out more from Scott Duncan and Zack Labe on Twitter.

What are the risks? Find out HERE.

4 July 2022 - Unprecedented 32.5C in the Arctic Circle

Norway’s Meteorological Institute has warned the high temperatures are a clear signal of climate change. Average temperatures in Banak, in Norway, for June typically stand at 13C (55F), currently above 30C (86F).

This article from Sky News highlights the extremes of weather experienced globally in June 2022.

15 June 2022 - Extraordinary global heating in the Arctic

Rapid warming and sea-ice loss in the Barents and Kara Seas area are an unmistakable consequence of increasing greenhouse gases. The monumental changes in this region will have devastating impacts on local marine life and humans, and may also be causing more frequent disruptions of the stratospheric polar vortex. When the vortex becomes disrupted, a variety of extreme weather events are observed around the Northern Hemisphere. While the research on this complex linkage is still unfolding, remarkable changes such as this should ring everyone’s alarm bells.

Read more in The Guardian