andygates: (polarbear)
David Barber, Manitoba Uni's big frosty boffin, went out looking for multiyear ice, and instead just found rotten, half-metre thick one-year stuff that an ice-capable ship can apparently crank through at thirteen knots.  This is navigable.  Forget the Northwest Passage, just ice-belt your boat and go for it, chew out a frasilicious sea-lane and make your millions.

1: Investment niche!  It's the coming growth area for shipping.  It'll take a while for ice-happy oil rigs to get ROI but shipping's faster. Go go gadget exploitation machine.  Ah well, it'll be good for Iceland.

2: This is another pile of scary to add to the pile of scary.  The exact pattern of melt each year is determined by weather - wind, for example, can pile ice up against land (slowing melt) or push it through straits into the open ocean (accelerating it).  In a melty year, though, the single-year ice goes away almost entirely.  In a non-warming Arctic some single-year ice persists and is built up; in the warming Arctic (3x global average, as both observed and modeled) it seems to have reached a critical tipping point.  This observation correlates well with Pen Haddow's hike'o'hell.  Massive Arctic summer melt now looks a lot like a dice-roll for weather each summer.

3: That single-year stuff is crap for polar bears.  I has a sad.

I wonder what Northern Hemisphere weather is going to do with all that extra dark absorbing surface and all that extra humidity?  Place bets now!
andygates: (polarbear)
This year's seasonal Arctic melt is getting well underway.  The exact level is mostly guesswork unless you've been paying attention to the last year or so's weather up there - and even if you have, there's plenty of natural variability to season the pudding. 

To help choose your "extent o' doom" [tm] here's a pointer: so much ice melted last year that a lot of this year's ice is thin single-year stuff, more vulnerable to warm weather and storm breakup. 

To recover multi-year ice, we'll need the last couple of years to have been a blip and for a couple of years of better-than-the-scary-plunging-red-eyetrend.  If the coverage ends up below 4,000,000 sq km, the blip is strongly reinforced as a nose-dive trend.

andygates: (polarbear)
Good news: (because Sad Polar Bear Is Sad is getting stale even if it is always true): The EPA have changed stance on greenhouse gases, saying that they are a health risk.  They were basically prevented from doing this under the Bush administration by political pressure, so this is exactly the bounce back to reality from dogma that the scientific community has been hoping for.  By classing CO2 and its buddies thus, the EPA has powers over it.  Currently, they're holding fire while Obama pulls national-scale levers, but it's another step in the right direction.

Bad news: The current la Niña has ended and March 2009 ends up as the tenth warmest on record.  NCDC have the tale of the tape and it's the same sorry one we've been expecting: warming continues to fit the models, Arctic ice is still doomed.  Sad Polar Bear Is Still Sad.

Thin ice

Apr. 8th, 2009 06:30 pm
andygates: (polarbear)
More analysis of this years Arctic ice shows that it's now 90% one-year ice, only 10% 2+ year ice.  One-year ice is pretty thin compared to multi-year ice, and melts and breaks up more easily.  It's not a happy omen.  (Source: BBC)

Edit:

This from the CC with Walt Meier NISDC and Ron Kwok NASA/JPL last Monday:

Current multiyear ice is 9.8%
That is a record low since 1981
That is 66% lower that the 1981-2000 average


andygates: (polarbear)
The autumn freeze is under way in the Arctic and analysis of the summer melt is getting under way.  You'll recall that the ice area didn't beat 2007's startling minimum, coming a mere second-worst-since-humans-evolved.

Yay.

It's not all roses though (if that qualifies as roses, and frankly, if that does qualify as roses then I want what you're taking).

This NSIDC map shows the ice age at the melt minimum.  Red is first-year ice, stuff that froze in the winter of 2007-8.  Orange is two-year ice, yellow is three years or older (white is where there isn't enough ice to tell - patchy, grobbly stuff the satellite can't get a bead on).

The North Pole is just about where the old ice that's shoved up against Greenland ends and the one-year ice in the middle of the 2008 picture begins.

New ice is thin, old ice is thick.  So while the area isn't less, the volume of ice in the Arctic is less: like the NSIDC boffins say, "no recovery at all" and it "strongly reinforces the downward trend".

Aw crap

Jun. 27th, 2008 07:42 pm
andygates: (Default)
According to boffins at the US National Snow and Ice Center, there's a greater than 50% chance that the ice over North Pole will melt completely this summer.  An iceless North Pole is not the world I know: this is TEOTWAWKI.  Only recently the predictions were for an iceless summer Pole in fifty to a dozen years. 

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