Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Climate warming: all Greenland is melting; tropical plankton invades Arctic

Two shocking related news on global warming just today:

Melting Greenland

According to NASA:

On average in the summer, about half of the surface of Greenland's ice sheet naturally melts. At high elevations, most of that melt water quickly refreezes in place. Near the coast, some of the melt water is retained by the ice sheet and the rest is lost to the ocean. But this year the extent of ice melting at or near the surface jumped dramatically. According to satellite data, an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface thawed at some point in mid-July.

All pink areas are melting this month (left: July 8th, right: July 12th), what is unprecendented

Source: Science Daily.

Tropical plankton in the Arctic

Not only oysters are migrating to Norway but other subtropical and tropical species are too, and even farther north.

An international team of researchers noted that warm water microscopic species are moving northwards not unprecedently but more and more frequently as time passes. Such pulses of warm water have been recorded c. 4100 BCE, and then c. 220, 370 and 1100 AD. But researchers find that it is happening now more often and intensely than ever before, probably.

That said, oceanographers have noted that such pulses seem to be coming more often and penetrating further -- "exactly what one would expect from global warming," said Rainer Froese, an oceanographer at the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research who tracks fish global populations. Could this be the start of a switch in currents predicted by climate models? The most recent pulse began in the early 1980s, and has lasted more or less to the present. Even without that, the arctic ocean itself is warming rapidly; with progressive loss of summer sea ice over past decades, average surface temperature has gone up as much as 5 degrees centigrade (9 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1950 in some patches.
Source: Science Daily.

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