Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Record Heat Record Flooding

You do not have to search very far this year to find the extremes in the weather patterns. We just experienced the all-time record rains and flooding in September here in the upper Midwest. 10 1/2 inches of rain in the autumn is unheard of and it is causing havoc and chaos with evacuations, road closures and extensive farm damage throughout the region.

But it is not just here. Check out what happened in Russia this summer for instance, or maybe the little flooding situation in Pakistan and one begins to see the picture. 14 countries around the world experienced all-time record temperatures for the year.

Closer to home again in the USA, Los Angeles finds itself in the middle of the hottest weather ever recorded. According to the LA Times, "The National Weather Service's thermometer for downtown Los Angeles headed into uncharted territory at 12:15 p.m. Monday, reaching 113 degrees for the first time since records began being kept in 1877."

Can anyone really doubt that the weather patterns are changing? Really skeptics out there, what say ye these days?

Not so fast!

According to the NSIDC the Arctic ice conditions starting degrading and melting again extending the melt season even further. Scientists are collecting data and making observations currently and will post their findings soon. Stay tuned for more....

Monday, September 20, 2010

Arctic Ice reaches maximum melt.

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) the pack ice in the Arctic Ocean has reached its maximum melt for the summer season and has now started refreezing. It is another record year and three out of the last four years have seen the most melting ever recorded.

"This is only the third time in the satellite record that ice extent has fallen below 5 million square kilometers (1.93 million square miles), and all those occurrences have been within the past four years. The minimum for 2009 was 5.10 million square kilometers (1.97 million square miles), fourth lowest in the satellite record.

Despite a late start to the melt season, the ice extent declined rapidly thereafter, with record daily average ice loss rates for the Arctic as a whole for May and June. Assuming that we have indeed reached the seasonal minimum extent, 2010 would have the shortest melt season in the satellite record, spanning 163 days between the seasonal maximum and minimum ice extents." NSIDC

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Circumnavigate the North Pole?

The Northwest and Northeast Passages around the North Pole including the entire Arctic Ocean are wide open for the first time and a couple vessels are trying to take advantage of the extensive melting to complete these passages.

End of summer approaches for Arctic sea ice - From the Nat. Snow and Ice Data Center

Arctic sea ice generally reaches its annual minimum extent in mid-September. This August, ice extent was the second lowest in the satellite record, after 2007. On September 3, ice extent dropped below the seasonal minimum for 2009 to become the third lowest in the satellite record.

The Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route are largely free of ice, allowing the potential for a circumnavigation of the Arctic Ocean. At least two expeditions are attempting this feat, the Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland and the Peter I yacht from Russia.