Ice-Melting Temperatures Forecast for Arctic Midwinter

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Scientists are forecasting ice-melting temperatures in the middle of winter for some parts of the Arctic for the second year in a row. And analysis shows such recent record temperatures there would have been virtually impossible without human greenhouse emissions.

Over the coming days, some parts of the Arctic are expected to get gusts of warm air that are more than 20C hotter than usual for this time of year, some of which will tip over the 0C melting temperature of water.

Maximum temperatures in parts of the Arctic will be warmer than the maximum over most of Canada for the next five days, according the global forecasting system run by the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The extreme temperatures predicted coincide with record low sea-ice levels in the Arctic, which have already been wreaking havoc with weather North America, Europe and Asia, according to leading climate scientists.

A low pressure system near Greenland is pulling the warm air towards the Arctic, in a similar pattern to that seen in 2015. And a paper published this month showed events like that, called “midwinter warming”, were occurring more frequently, and made more likely by the loss of winter sea ice — something itself caused by climate change. With less ice, warm air moved closer to the Arctic and could then more easily be swept over it, the scientists claimed.

“These are very strange temperatures and are getting very close to hitting the freezing point, which is incredible for this time of year,” said Andrew King, a climate scientist from the University of Melbourne in Australia.

But it’s not just predicted maximum temperatures that have been extreme. November and December have seen record average temperatures over the Arctic, averaging 2.5C above the usual for this time of year.

Temperature anomalies like that have been linked to changes in migration patterns of marine mammals, cause mass starvation and deaths of reindeer as well as impact the habitats of polar bears.

Now King and colleagues have shown the recent extreme average temperatures are almost certainly caused by climate change. And while they are still rare events — expected once every 200 years — they will be average by the year 2040.

King and colleagues compared model simulations with and without the influence of human-caused greenhouse gas concentrations.

“The record November-December temperatures in the Arctic are not seen in the natural world simulations where human influences have been removed,” King wrote in a piece published in The Conversation.

“In comparison, in the current climate with human effects included, this event has at least a one-in-200-year return time.”

By the 2040s, the event is expected to occur every second year, on average.

The work has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, but uses methods the team have used several times before in work that has been peer-reviewed.

© 2016 Guardian Web under contract with NewsEdge. All rights reserved.

Read more on: Scientists, Weather, Global Warming, Emissions, Arctic, Climate Change, NOAA
Tell Us What You Think


Andrew Mackey:
Posted: 2016-12-28 @ 6:47am PT
Thanks for covering this. We will not convince the seriously deluded deniers until Miami is under a few feet of water. It is interesting that the USA is home to so many deniers and our economy is massively dependent on fossil fuels? related?

Carl Edgar:
Posted: 2016-12-28 @ 6:47am PT
Sorry Sci-Tech. Seawater freezes at -2C, not 0.

Posted: 2016-12-28 @ 6:43am PT
Dan, it’s not just CO2. It’s methane, O3 (ozone), fluorocarbons, flouromethanes, etc, etc. To think that billions of tons of these gases could be pumped into a closed system (our atmosphere) and not have an effect defies logic. You may debate the extent of the effect, but not the overall cumulative effect. And relying on the “Little Ice Age” as an apology for what is happening now doesn’t wash. The Little Ice Age was not an ice age; it was a weather event with limited local impact in widely distributed regions across the world. What we’re seeing now is more consistent globally and is impossible to deny, while retaining any scientific credibility. Just sayin’.

Posted: 2016-12-28 @ 6:32am PT
Second paragraph… you must mean 2.0C (two point zero) hotter. 20C would mean we could be sunbathing on an iceberg.

Posted: 2016-12-28 @ 6:27am PT
why do the weather reports in tuk say feels like -42 wheres all this warm air ur bull report talks about

Posted: 2016-12-28 @ 5:57am PT
I’m finding it a fun game to decipher which deniers are being paid by oil companies, which are paid by the GOP and which are the Saps that believe the garbage they spew. An oil company writer tends not to deny the earth is warming but say plant trees instead of use less oil. The Republican will say it’s a conspiracy to tax fossil fuels and the Sap will say something even dumber like change is natural, well yea over something like 24,000 years, not 50.
Deniers, look into your self, why are you denying what is becoming more and more obvious? Not liking the idea that you are the cause or your political party has been lying to you. What’s your reason for keeping your head in the sand?

Posted: 2016-12-28 @ 5:14am PT
So why isn’t El Nino or La Nina mentioned at all? These have enormous effects on the climate. It’s always the “pollutant” CO2 that is blamed. Climate scientists have been using bogus data to produce erroneous climate models in order to support their funding for years. You may not be aware that cycles like this are not something new. The Vikings had huge colonies in Iceland and Greenland where they raised crops and had sufficient vegetation to graze herds of cattle until the climate cooled again. Al Gore, Michael Mann and the IPCC need to be called out on this entire alarmist culture.

Ron Cleroux:
Posted: 2016-12-28 @ 5:00am PT
I like the comment, if you are a climate denier, there are two rooms to choose to enter, one has a car in it not running, the other has a car running in it. Which would you lock yourself in? Get it?

Posted: 2016-12-28 @ 4:44am PT
The article talks about 20c hotter, 2.5 deg avg above normal and tipping over 0c, but nothing in it about the actual normal temperature, as fast as I know it could be -40c, so, last time I checked ice still forms at -20c.

Bill Roosa:
Posted: 2016-12-27 @ 5:53am PT
As do I Matt.

So tell me what is so scary about the (hypothetical) rise of the oceans by 10 feet in 100 years? It is not like your great grand kids will even notice the first 5 feet and they will have time to get out of the way. The structures on the coast are not even designed to last but 50 years so no harm there as they will need to be replaced twice before the 100 years….. I could go on and on for different (hypothetical) topics.

I guess my concern is your cult has not scientifically identified any warnings that I could even respond to. You say the sea ice is melting. I counter that the arctic ice (sea and land) is still at 1970 levels as when we started measuring……..

Cherry picking the facts (if you want to call those facts) is not a valid scientific method.

Matt Kegerreis:
Posted: 2016-12-27 @ 5:30am PT
When the weather report tells me a class 4 storm is approaching, I pay attention and try to mitigate damages. I don’t ignore the warnings simply because the storm isn’t “man made”. Deniers are so ignorant, it’s scary!

Bill Roosa:
Posted: 2016-12-27 @ 3:49am PT
I’m a denier. Climate change is normal. In fact I would say it is a redundant term. The climate is always changing. Now it is getting warmer. Why? I would note that just about every day some scientist discovers yet another way some rare tree frog in Atlantis is causing the CO2 to increase or decrease. Clearly we do not understand this highly complex system enough to even describe it with our models let alone build the models.

Also, climate change happens on the hundreds of years scales. If you see a “hockey stick” graph you are looking at natural variation not climate change by definition. I understand that non science majors have difficulty with the numbers (youtube 80 MPH girl!!) and that is my major gripe with the followers of the great global warming is man made lie. I worked for the DoD for over 20 years and I can assure you that if you threaten anybody’s funding and sending their kid through college, you can find a way to brief the numbers so it supports just about anything you want.

Posted: 2016-12-27 @ 3:09am PT
@ H. van der Wilt
Satelite records of sea ice extent began in 1979, this is why everyone is using those times as a benchmark.

What is problematic is that climate change was well underway before that time so we have no baseline of what “normal” would look like.

Another thing that is problematic is that people always measure surface area but not thickness.

Without proper thickness measurements it’s impossible to say how much ice volume we’ve lost.

H. van der Wilt:
Posted: 2016-12-26 @ 10:20am PT
Since September 10, 2016 the arctic has gained a total of 7 million 737 thousand square km of sea ice. Pretty impressive with all these warm storms that entered the arctic this fall & winter of this year. These storms resulted in increasing temperatures to such a degree that it limited ice growth for several days on several different occasions. But in the 107 days of ice growth it still managed to get an average of 72.30 thousand square km a day of ice growth. Now if you compare this to the 1981-2010 average and locate the lowest average ice extent point (September 13) and the ice extent value for the december 26 point – a period of 104 days – you will find that the average ice growth for that period is actually 68.15 square km a day. So this 2016 year with amazingly warm episodes managed to still ourgrow the average rate for the 1981-2010 period. HUH? At this average rate growth of 72 thousand Square km, we will have to see where the 2017 maximum extend will end up. Will this happen in February or March? What I find disappointing in all this mdia reporting is that sea ice is not melting, just because the tempareatures are going up so much. Even at -5 degrees C it will still be forming ice. It may not be as fast, but nonetheless it is still forming. What people forget is that sea ice decrease is due to ice floats being pushed together and stacking together. The winds compact the ice in one area, thus increasing the ice thickness there. Alarming to me is that everyone is looking at the 1981(1979)-2010 average, but who has ever determined that this period did not see many years that were actually way over what is normal for the arctic? What makes that stretch in history the actual average?? There are some news articles from the early 1900’s that were alarming people that the arctic would become ice free, however in over a 100 years after these disturbing messages came out, it still has not happened. Why? In the end …..If we really want to help our planet and keep climate from changing to quickly….Plant trees. They can actually lower the CO2 levels and help moderate temperatures as well. And as added bonus our air will be cleaner to breathe while offering homes to many other species that we share this world with.

Timothy Brown:
Posted: 2016-12-25 @ 3:57pm PT
Global warming is real. If you want to unscientifically blame it on human greenhouse emissions, blame it on 7 billion humans exhaling co2 15 times per minute. That is your major cause of greenhouse emissions.

Posted: 2016-12-25 @ 4:43am PT
We are slowly heading for a disaster, with sea water rising most Irelands will be swallowed and as time goes on water level will drop again resulting in desserts, then doommmm!!!!

Posted: 2016-12-25 @ 3:33am PT
the deniers are awfully quiet on this

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