Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Posts Tagged ‘ice melt’

Arctic’s Ice Cycle since 1990

Posted by feww on January 11, 2016

Arctic’s oldest ice each week since 1990 – NOAA Climate

Time lapse of the relative age of Arctic sea ice weekly since 1990. The oldest ice (9 or more years old) is white. Seasonal ice is darkest blue. Old ice drifts out of the Arctic through the Fram Strait (east of Greenland), but in recent years, it has also been melting as it drifts into the southernmost waters of the Beaufort Sea (north of western Canada and Alaska). Video produced by the team, based on data provided by Mark Tschudi, University of Colorado-Boulder.

Arctic Sea Ice – On the Decline 2015

At 4.41 million square kilometers or 1.79 million square miles, 2015 was the fourth-smallest summer sea ice minimum extent in recorded history. This is 1.87 million square kilometers below the 1981 to 2010 average extent.

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Arctic sea ice maximum extent shrinks to new record low

Posted by feww on March 22, 2015

Record low Arctic sea ice maximum extent also occurs early this year

Arctic sea ice extent appeared to have reached its annual maximum extent at 14.54 million square kilometers (5.61 million square miles), on February 25, 2015, marking an early start of the melt season, said National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). 

The 2015 maximum extent occurred 15 days earlier than the 1981 to 2010 average date of March 12, however, a late season surge in ice growth could still occur, said NSIDC, adding that it will post a detailed analysis of the winter sea ice conditions in April.

Measured at 14.54 million square kilometers (5.61 million square miles), the lowest in the satellite record that began in 1979. the ice probably reached its maximum extent for the year on February 25.  The maximum extent was 1.10 million square kilometers (425,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average of 15.64 million square kilometers (6.04 million square miles) and 130,000 square kilometers (50,200 square miles) below the previous lowest maximum that occurred in 2011, said NSIDC.

Below-average ice conditions were observed everywhere except in the Labrador Sea and Davis Strait.  This year’s maximum occurred 15 days earlier than the 1981 to 2010 average date of March 12. The date of the maximum has varied considerably over the years, occurring as early as February 24 in 1996 and as late as April 2 in 2010.

“Over the next two to three weeks, periods of increase are still possible. However, it now appears unlikely that there could be sufficient growth to surpass the extent reached on February 25.”

arctic sea max ice 25feb2015
Arctic sea ice extent for February 25, 2015 was 14.54 million square kilometers (5.61 million square miles). The orange line shows the 1981 to 2010 median extent for that day. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole. Sea Ice Index data. About the data. Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center. High-resolution image

Temperatures throughout the eastern Arctic were several degrees Celsius above average at the 925 hPa level (approximately 1,000m, or 3,000 feet altitude) during the first half of March, and climbed as much as 8 to 10 degrees Celsius (14 to 18 degrees Fahrenheit) above average in the Barents Sea between Svalbard and Franz Josef Land, reported NSIDC.

Minimum Ice Extent

The Arctic sea ice will reach its annual minimum extent in September (assuming that there would still be some ice left this year!)

The ice reached its lowest minimum cover in 2012 with 2.11 million square kilometers (1.31 million square miles), which was about 483,000 square kilometers (300,000 square miles), or 18.6 percent, lower than the previous record low of 2.59 million square kilometers set in 2007.

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Alaska: Disaster in Slow Motion

Posted by feww on September 5, 2013

Exile inevitable for America’s first climate refugees: Report

The impact of climate change is more intense in the far north, where temperatures are warming faster than the global average, causing  rapid thawing of the sea ice, melting the permafrost and forcing  residents of remote Alaskan areas out of their villages, said a report.

  • Some 184 Alaskan villages, or 86% of all native communities, are at risk because of climate change.
  • It cost $100 to $400 million just to relocate one village [See full report.]

ALASKA NATIVE VILLAGES: Most Are Affected by Flooding and Erosion, but Few Qualify for Federal Assistance—GAO

Approximately 6,600 miles of Alaska’s coastline and many of the low-lying areas along the state’s rivers are subject to severe flooding and erosion. Most of Alaska’s Native villages are located on the coast or on riverbanks.

aniak flooding 2002
Aerial View of Flooding in Aniak (c. 2002). Source: Alaska Division of Emergency Services

map of alaska
Locations of 184 Native Villages Affected by Flooding and Erosion. Source: GAO.

Permafrost (permanently frozen subsoil) is found over approximately 80 percent of Alaska. It is deepest and most extensive on the Arctic Coastal Plain and decreases in depth, eventually becoming discontinuous further south. In northern Alaska, where the permafrost is virtually everywhere, most buildings are elevated to minimize the amount of heat transferred to the ground to avoid melting the permafrost. In northern barrier island communities, the permafrost literally helps hold the island together. However, rising temperatures in recent years have led to widespread thawing of the permafrost, causing serious damage. As permafrost melts, buildings and runways sink, bulk fuel tank areas are threatened, and slumping and erosion of land ensue. —GAO.

Related Links

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The Balding Arctic Sea

Posted by feww on October 6, 2010

Image of the Day

Arctic Sea Ice Minimum for 2010: Third-lowest extent

The 2010 sea ice melt season ended in the Arctic, with the ice extent reaching its low for the year at 4.60 million km² (1.78 million sq. miles) on September 19, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reported, adding that 2010 Arctic sea ice extent was the third-lowest on the satellite record. (The record low of 4.13 million km² was set in 2007). Both the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route were open for a period during September.

Arctic sea ice extent for September 2010 was 4.90 million square kilometers (1.89 million square miles), the third-lowest in the satellite record. The magenta line shows the median ice extent for September from 1979 to 2000. Sea Ice Index data. Click images to enlarge.
—Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

The updated time series plot puts this summer’s sea ice extent in context with other years. The solid light blue line indicates 2010; dark blue shows 2009, purple shows 2008; dashed green shows 2007; light green shows 2005; and solid gray indicates average extent from 1979 to 2000. —Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

September ice extent from 1979 to 2009 shows a continued decline. The September rate of sea ice decline since 1979 has now increased to 11.2 percent per decade. —Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

A time series of images shows the decline in September sea ice extent over the thirty-year satellite record. Click on the image to open the animated time series in a new window. The animated time series shows ice extent for each of the past thirty-one Septembers, 1979 to 2010. Ice extent this fall was the third-lowest in the satellite record.  —Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center/NASA E-O

Arctic sea ice extent on September 19, 2010.This image was made from sea ice observations collected by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) Instrument on NASA’s Aqua Source: NASA/EO. Click image to enlarge.

Arctic sea ice total area graph. Source: NASA/EO. Click image to enlarge.

See also: October post on Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis Web site (

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Posted in Arctic, Arctic sea ice extent, Arctic Temperature Trend, arctic temps, Arctic thaw | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Possible Thule Eruption Disastrous for Antarctic Ice

Posted by feww on March 2, 2009

A Thule eruption may be a harbinger of an intense period of seismic and volcanic activities in  Antarctica, accelerating ice melt

A possible Thule eruption could signal the start of an intense period of seismic and volcanic activities in Antarctica, FEWW Moderators believe. Increased seismic and volcanic activities in the region could accelerate the ice melt by up to  500 percent [possibly by an even larger factor, if the Antarctic plate fragments as a result of enhanced seismic activity.]

Thule Islands.
Thule (left) and Cook (right) islands are seen surrounded by ice floes in this ASTER satellite image. Douglas Strait, the ice-free area in the center of the image, is underlain by a 4.3 x 4.8 km wide caldera between the two volcanic islands. A third stratovolcano forms Bellingshausen Island, just out of view to the right. The Thule Islands lie at the southern end of the South Sandwich island arc bordering the Scotia Sea and consist of three stratovolcanoes constructed along an E-W-trending line. ASTER satellite image, 2003 (National Aeronautical and Space Administration, courtesy of ASTER science team). Caption: GVP.

Baker forecast a possible eruption of  the Thule Islands volcano before the end of last century. According to Global Volcanism Program, GVP, “steam was observed at the summit crater of Thule Island in 1962,”  and ash appeared  there as well as on Bellingshausen Island, “indicating possible 20th-century eruptions (Baker, 1968).”  It’s also believed that a “small explosion crater formed on the southern flank of Bellinghausen Island sometime between 1964 and 1986.”

Recent seismic activity near the Thule Islands suggest that an eruption may occur.

Related Links:


  • Baker P E, 1968. Comparative volcanology and petrology of the Atlantic island arcs. Bull Volc, 32: 189-206
  • Thule Islands Data Sources

Posted in Bellingshausen Island, Cook Island, E-W-trending line, South Sandwich island, stratovolcano | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Critically Endangered Species: Arctic Sea Ice

Posted by feww on September 10, 2008

Hell Hath No Fury Like Oceans Warming!

Record Arctic ice loss in August

Previously you read on this blog that the Arctic ice cover was the second-lowest on record. The National Snow and Ice Data Center has since reported that the rate of ice loss through the month of August set a new record, reinforcing conclusions that the Arctic sea ice cover is in a long-term state of decline. With more than a week left to the end of the melt season, the Arctic shrink could still hit a new record annual low in September.

See below for the stats:

  • Arctic sea ice extent on September 3, 2008 was 4.85 million square kilometers.
  • Extent decline since the beginning of August was 2.47 million square kilometers.
  • Extent is now within 370,000 square kilometers of 2007 value on the same date (about 2.08 million square kilometers below the 1979 to 2000 average).
  • The average daily ice loss rate for August 2008 was 78,000 square kilometers per day (the fastest rate of daily ice loss ever recorded for a month of August).
  • The average daily ice loss rate for August 2007 was 63,000 square kilometers per day.
  • The average daily ice loss rate for the month of August was 51,000 square kilometers per day.

It takes very little additional energy to melt what remains of a very thinned sea ice cover!

Monthly August ice extent for 1979 to 2008 shows 2008 as the second-lowest August on record. —Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center  – High-resolution image

The graph above shows daily sea ice extent.The solid light blue line indicates 2008; the dashed green line shows extent for 2007; the gray line indicates average extent from 1979 to 2000. Sea Ice Index data. —Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center – High-resolution image

Sea surface temperature anomalies for August 2008, expressed with respect to 1982 to 2006 mean, correspond closely with ice retreat. Blue line indicates ice edge; warm colors indicate positive sea surface temperature anomalies. —Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center courtesy Mike Steele and Wendy Ermold: Polar Science Center/Applied Physics Laboratory/University of Washington.

High-resolution image

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Greenland Ice Melt Faster Than IPCC Estimates

Posted by feww on December 11, 2007

“The amount of ice lost by Greenland over the last year is the equivalent of two times all the ice in the Alps, or a layer of water more than one-half mile deep covering Washington DC,” said Konrad Steffen of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Using satellite data, Steffen and his colleagues have monitored the rapid thinning of ice, which was 10 percent greater than the previous record year in 2005.

If all the ice in Greenland melted, about one-twentieth of the world’s total, the sea level would rise by 6.4 meters globally.


According to a National Snow and Ice Center report in May, the Arctic ice cap was melting much faster than predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and was now about 30 years ahead of IPCC forecast. Read more…

Is melting ice the world’s foremost problem? Read more…

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    Posted in Al Gore, Climate Change, costal flooding, Global Warming, Greenland ice sheet, health, IPCC, National Snow and Ice Center, politics, sea level rise | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »