"THE BIG ONE" - "ARCTIC SEA ICE EXTENT" IS FREE FALLING! "BLUE OCEAN ARCTIC" 2019? BY 2022 AT THE LATEST! MAYBE "ICE FREE 2019!" BURN US UP DONNIE!
8/6/19 BLUE OCEAN ARCTIC 2019?
"THE BIG ONE" - "ARCTIC SEA ICE EXTENT" - WILL IT GO TO ZERO THIS YEAR? BY 2022 - FOR SURE, MAYBE - "ICE FREE" - LESS THAN 1 MILLION SQ KILOMETERS, THIS YEAR!
“What happens in the Arctic, does NOT stay in the Arctic.”
– Paul Beckwith, Climate Systems Scientist
What is the Blue Ocean Event (BOE)?
One of the big questions about global heating is when — or if — the Arctic will be ice-free each summer. Scientists have recently come to refer to this as a blue ocean event. As Arctic sea ice gets thinner and thinner, a blue ocean event looks more imminent every year. Generally scientists define a blue ocean event as a complete absence of Arctic sea ice (a common threshold is when the area is less than 1 million sq. km.). This would allow the heat of the sun to fully penetrate the open waters of the Arctic.
There is no question that Arctic ice is in serious decline. According to Wikipedia, “observation with satellites shows that Arctic sea ice area, extent, and volume have been in decline for a few decades. Sometime during the 21st century, sea ice may effectively cease to exist during the summer. Sea ice extent is defined as the area with at least 15% ice cover. The amount of multi-year sea ice in the Arctic has declined considerably in recent decades. In 1988, ice that was at least 4 years old accounted for 26% of the Arctic’s sea ice. By 2013, ice of that age was only 7% of all Arctic sea ice.”
In the following video Paul Beckwith introduces the BOE concept and shows several resources that scientists use for monitoring the ice such as NASA Worldview. University of California, Irvine PhD student Zachary Labealso posts updates on arctic sea ice and provides list of charts and graphs anyone can use to check out this data for themselves.
It is thought that Arctic ice melt beyond a certain point will not regenerate. There is an ongoing debate as to whether the Arctic Ocean has already passed this “tipping point.” A tipping point is defined as a threshold breached for abrupt and irreversible change. In any case, it is a dangerous tipping point to approach at all. Arctic sea ice is melting at its fastest rate in 1,500 years and the warmer winters are suggesting disastrous changes to come.
However, a BOE is not considered a complete meltdown, just an indication of an impending one. A BOE would happen in the summer according to polar researchers and the ice could still refreeze in the winter. If the ice becomes unable to refreeze in the winter, we will soon be in a new world. It would be a worst-case scenario never seen in recorded human history.
If we allow all the ice to melt, there will be nothing to prevent the arctic waters from rising above freezing. The amount of energy absorbed by melting ice is as much as it takes to heat an equivalent mass of water from zero to 80°C. This latent heat effect of increasing open water pools, known as polynyas, will produce knock-on cascading warming for the globe and weather chaos. This means, in effect, that the Northern Hemsphere’s air conditioner would fail. We would quite literally lose our cool.
It would also mean the loss of the ancient lands of the ice and snow from which our ancestors immigrated(video) that has served us for 11,000 relatively stable years of the Holocene. Knowing that we are in any way approaching this dangerous point of no return should be enough to jolt anyone into action toward mitigating climate change, implementing sustainable economies (video), and saving the Arctic.
Melting ice dramatically reduces albedo and accelerates the rate of warming in the Arctic. The reduced albedo effect due to vanishing sea ice is already responsible for about 25 percent of global warming, according to Jennifer Francis, a research professor at Rutgers University. The more the ice melts the more algae blooms take over and create what is known as watermelon snow. This is just another indication of the many feedbacks at work here.
We’re already getting hotter because sea ice is shrinking. NASA reported that winter Arctic sea ice extent has already hit an all-time low. Arctic sea ice figures and graphs show this happening at an unexpected rate. The summer of 2012 is on record as the lowest in year-to-year Arctic sea ice extent.
However, it is worth noting that the extent (video) is likely a more deceptive measurement than ever before because the ice itself is now thin, young, spread out by winds, and buffeted by ocean currents. It is likely to look bigger than it is because of this and because it has lost significant volume. Most of the multiyear ice is now gone. It is also important to understand and also monitor the ice volume or thickness also known as concentration, which is often overlooked. NSIDC provides a daily updated concentration report.
NOAA released their 2018 Arctic Report Card back in December with some fairly stark warnings about the status of that region. Since then further updates have suggested that this year could be one of the most precarious for Summer Arctic Sea Ice, says David Borlace of Just Have a Think. In the following video the latest update on Arctic sea ice loss discusses what’s happening in the Arctic and why scientists are so concerned:
Why is the Ice Melting?
The shrinking sea ice is clearly and simply caused by rising global temperatures that stem from the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil, gas and coal, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Also, it is important to note that just because it’s cold outside or we get a snow storm, doesn’t mean the polar regions are not warming overall and in decline. This article discusses how it happens that a warming Arctic is linked to extreme cold and heavy snowfall in the U.S.
Founded in 2007 by James Balog, the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) is an innovative, long-term photography program that integrates art and science to give a “visual voice” to the planet’s changing ecosystems. This project has resulted in thousands of incredible images documenting this changing landscape and the loss of ice around the world.
The EIS project provides video and expertly photographed footage of what is happening in places most of us will never be able to visit because they are so distant, cold, and remote. There are two powerful documentary films about the project, including Extreme Ice (video) and Chasing Ice (video).
What is Polar Amplification?
Sea ice changes have been identified as a mechanism for polar amplification. According to Wikipedia, paleoclimatology records show “evidence of polar amplification, both from the Arctic and the Antarctic. Polar amplification is the phenomenon that any change in the net radiation balance tends to produce a larger change in temperature near the poles than the planetary average.” It is the mechanism by which the poles warm at faster rates than at mid-latitudes. It is heavily influenced by various feedback loops. The Arctic is warming up at least twice as fast as the rest of the world. Paul Beckwith says it might be as much as 3-5 times faster (video).
Recent studies have hypothesized that Arctic amplification, i.e. the enhanced warming of the Arctic region compared to the rest of the globe, will cause changes in mid-latitude weather over the twenty-first century. Elizabeth Barnes of Colorado State and collaborators did climate model projections of arctic warming (and sea ice loss) and how it affects atmospheric circulation over North America. Arctic temperature anomalies are currently 7.6°C above the 1979-2000 base according to Climate Reanalyzer.
Without the Ice our oceans will heat up far more rapidly than they ever have since Homo sapiens arrived. We will lose our cool if we don’t SAVE THE ARCTIC.
When is the First BOE Expected?
This is where it gets really tricky. Apparently, predicting when this will happen not only requires significant data modeling, but also a crystal ball. One study on this topic said if the world warms above 2°C degrees this century (note: for warming above 2°C, frequent ice-free conditions could be expected, potentially for several months per year), the Arctic will likely have a three-month, ice-free period each summer by 2050. But many argue this is much too conservative.
2041 was founded by polar explorer, environmental leader and public speaker Robert Swan, OBE, the first person in history to walk to both the North and South Poles as the date by which humanity will see devastating changes if we don’t act now. 2040 is the date often provided in the research appearing in the last couple years. Other researchers are saying we certainly don’t have until 2040 or 2050 and the latest research says it’s coming much earlier than previously predicted.
For example, the US Navy researchers predicted a sea-ice-free Arctic by the summer of 2016. According to this report we are already over due for this event. Furthermore, eminent Polar explorer and Climate Scientist, Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University predicted in 2012 that the Arctic would be ice-free in the summer by 2016, plus or minus 3 years. We are still inside that range and could see the first BOE yet in 2019. Paul Beckwith, Climate Systems Scientist at the University of Ottawa, has said that 2022 is the year we might see the first BOE.
“We are hurtling towards the Blue Ocean Event (BOE) in the Arctic. Nobody knows for sure when it will happen. From my analysis, which I discuss in this video, my best guess is that the BOE will happen in 2022. After this BOE happens, then what will follow in subsequent years? I think that by BOE+2 years the Arctic Ocean will be ice free for August, September, and October. By BOE+4 years it will be ice free for 5 months, and by BOE+10 years the Arctic Ocean will be free of sea ice year round.” – Paul Beckwith, Climate Systems Scientist
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