Climate Science News

1 - 16 December 2018 weeks

AVISO Climate Change News - Tue, 2018-12-18 06:33
Snow over Antarctica buffered sea level rise during last century (Science Daily, 13/12/2018) Drones help map sea level rise (Phys.org, 12/12/2018) The Arctic Ocean has lost 95 percent of its oldest ice — a startling sign of what’s to come (Washington Post, 11/12/2018) Argo finds ocean stores 90% of the Earth's heat and water is getting saltier (Daily Mail, 10/12/2018) Another El Niño on the horizon? (Esa, 07/12/2018) Ice loss in Greenland is Accelerating (Universe Today, 06/12/2018) Portrait of a planet on the verge of climate catastrophe (The Guardian, 02/12/2018) Climat : la COP24 adopte les règles d’application de l’accord de Paris (Le Monde, 15/12/2018) COP24 : des capteurs bon marché pour surveiller les océans (Sciences & Avenir, 11/12/2018) COP24 : la France fera partie des 20 pays les plus touchés par le changement climatique (Sciences & Avenir, 07/12/2018) Augmentation de la variance des événements El Niño de l’est du Pacifique liée au réchauffement global (INSU, 07/12/2018) Surfaces enneigées records en Amérique du nord (Meteo France, 05/12/2018) La grande barrière de corail de Nouvelle-Calédonie est en danger (France Inter, 04/12/2018) On line availability of articles depends on the Newspaper/magazine. We can't thus certify that above articles will be freely and permanently available.
Categories: Climate Science News

CFOSAT: the end of the Commissioning Phase

AVISO Climate Change News - Wed, 2018-12-05 01:05
The French-Chinese satellite CFOSAT was successfully launched on October 29th (see our dedicated news). Throughout this last month, the Commissioning Phase took place with initial calibration and validation aimed at assessing the good functionality of the instruments, the final orbit and the first steps of the ground segment: reception and processing of satellite telemetry from the stations network.  The first period of the Commissioning Phase started just after launch with the switch on of the instruments. Only a few days after the launch, the SWIM status was nominal with great results for the first wave products evidencing SWIM perfect behaviour. On the Chinese side, the SCAT scatterometer dedicated to the ocean surface wind measurements was also operational and works properly (see our dedicated news). The operational orbit was quickly reached three days after the launch. Periodic station keeping maneuvers will take place to maintain the orbit close to its reference orbit and nominal tracks. The reception and processing of satellite telemetry data from Chinese and French sides have also been successfully tested and validated. The Commissioning Phase ended with these promising results, the Calibration/Validation phase is starting now where the data are available for scientific experts (represented in France by LATMOS, Ifremer/LOPS and marine forecasters and oceanographers at Météo-France).

Schema of the different development phases from the CFOSAT launch and up to the routine phase in Summer 2019. Credits CNES.

Further information:
  • Missions : CFOSAT
Categories: Climate Science News

Autumn freeze-up amps up

NSIDC Artic Sea Ice News - Tue, 2018-12-04 13:05

The Arctic freeze-up season is well underway, with ice extent increasing faster than average for most regions in November. Exceptions were in the Chukchi and Barents Seas, where the ice has been slow to form. November snow cover over North America was the most extensive since 1966.

Overview of conditions  National Snow and Ice Data Center|High-resolution image

Figure 1. Arctic sea ice extent for November 2018 was 9.80 million square kilometers (3.78 million square miles). The magenta line shows the 1981 to 2010 average extent for that month. Sea Ice Index data. About the data

Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image

Arctic sea ice extent for November averaged 9.80 million square kilometers (3.78 million square miles). This was the ninth lowest November in the 1979 to 2018 satellite record, falling 900,000 square kilometers (347,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average, yet 1.14 million square kilometers (440,000 square miles) above the record November low in 2016.

Sea ice extent increased quite rapidly during the early part of the month, bringing the extent within the interdecile range of the 1981 to 2010 climatology during the latter half of the month. This was due in part to the Laptev Sea finally freezing up after having extensive open water through the end of October, as discussed in our previous post. There was also considerable ice growth in Hudson Bay, Baffin Bay, the Chukchi Sea, and the Kara Sea. This rapid growth is not particularly surprising. As the sun has set in the Arctic, the atmosphere has strongly cooled. As soon as the remaining open ocean water loses its heat to the atmosphere, ice growth occurs. Further, the increased area of open water in summer had led to increased frequency of rapid ice growth events in mid to late autumn, in which more than 1 million square kilometers (386,000 square miles) of ice can form within a 7-day period (see Stroeve and Notz, 2018).

Despite relatively fast ice growth during November, at the end of the month substantial open water still remained in the Chukchi and Barents Seas. The Chukchi Sea was in general completely ice covered by the end of November in the 1980s through to the early 2000s. However, low ice extent in the Chukchi Sea into late autumn has become quite common in recent years and this year’s extent is comparable to the new normal for this time of year in the region. Similarly, in the Barents Sea, low autumn extent has become common in recent years as warm Atlantic water is preventing ice growth farther north—a process called “Atlantification.”

Conditions in context  National Snow and Ice Data Center|High-resolution image

Figure 2. The graph above shows Arctic sea ice extent as of December 03, 2018, along with daily ice extent data for four previous years and the record low year. 2018 is shown in blue, 2017 in green, 2016 in orange, 2015 in brown, 2014 in purple, and 2012 in dotted brown. The 1981 to 2010 median is in dark gray. The gray areas around the median line show the interquartile and interdecile ranges of the data. Sea Ice Index data.

Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image

 NSIDC courtesy NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory Physical Sciences Division| High-resolution image

Figure 2b. This plot shows the departure from average air temperature in the Arctic at the 925 hPa level, in degrees Celsius, for November 2018. Yellows and reds indicate higher than average temperatures; blues and purples indicate lower than average temperatures.

Credit: NSIDC courtesy NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory Physical Sciences Division
High-resolution image

Air temperatures at the 925 mb level (about 2,500 feet above the surface) were modestly above average in November across most of the Arctic Ocean (up 2 degrees Celsius or 4 degrees Fahrenheit), the main exception being slightly cooler than average conditions in the Laptev Sea (Figure 2b). Average low sea level pressure centered over the Siberian coast of the Kara Sea, a pattern tending to draw in cold continental air from Siberia over the Laptev Sea. By contrast, temperatures were up to 4 degrees Celsius (7 degrees Fahrenheit) above average over the East Greenland Sea and extending east over Scandinavia. It was also quite warm, up to 6 degrees Celsius (11 degrees Fahrenheit), over the interior of Alaska

November 2018 compared to previous years  National Snow and Ice Data Center| High-resolution image

Figure 3. Monthly November ice extent for 1978 to 2018 shows a decline of 5.o percent per decade.

Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image

Overall, sea ice extent during November 2018 increased 3.08 million square kilometers (1.19 million square miles). This is 994,000 square kilometers (384,000 square miles) greater than the 1981 to 2010 average November extent increase. The linear rate of sea ice decline for November is 53,500 square kilometers (21,000 square miles) per year, or 5.0 percent per decade relative to the 1981 to 2010 average.

The “Atlantification” of the Barents Sea  A. Barrett, National Snow and Ice Data Center

Figure 4. This figure shows departures from average sea ice extent in the Barents Sea sector of the Arctic Ocean by year and month. Above average extent is shown by red and orange colors, while below average extent is shown in blue colors.

Credit: A. Barrett, National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image

 Barton et al., 2018, Journal of Physical Oceanography

Figure 4b. This graph shows average Sea Surface Temperature (SST) across the Barents Sea with a 12-month running mean (blue line). The linear trend for the periods 1985 to 2004 and December 2004 to 2016 are shown (green lines). Credit: Barton et al., 2018, Journal of Physical Oceanography
High-resolution image

As noted above, the Barents Sea continues to be largely ice free. This is part of a broader pattern emerging over the last decade of greatly reduced ice extent in this area in all seasons, especially from autumn through spring (Figure 4). These reductions in ice extent appear to be heavily influenced by the inflow of Atlantic water into the region. While increased temperatures and inflow of Atlantic water have been observed over the last two decades, this warm and salty water usually lies below the colder, less dense Arctic surface waters. This largely keeps the ocean heat from influencing the sea cover. New research by Benjamin Barton and colleagues (Barton et al., 2018) suggests that the sea surface temperatures in the Barents Sea have increased in recent years (Figure 4b) as this warm Atlantic water has started to mix with the surface. A key factor driving this mixing appears to be the decline in sea ice itself and corresponding less freshwater at the surface when that ice melts in summer. This leads to a weaker ocean density stratification, making it easier to mix warm, salty Atlantic waters upwards. This can be viewed as a feedback mechanism—less ice means less summer melt and a weaker ocean stratification, helping to mix the Atlantic heat upwards, which in turn means less ice. Scientists have referred to this change as “Atlantification” of the Barents Sea. The warm water from the Atlantic prevents ice formation and is the main reason why the winter ice edge in the Barents is farther north than in other parts of the Arctic.

An early start to the snow season for much of North America Figure 5.

Figure 5. This graph shows snow cover extent anomalies in the Northern Hemisphere for November from 1966 to 2018. The anomaly, or departure from average, is relative to the 1981 to 2010 average.

Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center, courtesy Rutgers University Global Snow Lab
High-resolution image

As many US travelers noticed over the Thanksgiving weekend, the snow season has arrived early over parts of North America. While parts of Alaska had their latest first snowfall, based on data at the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, North America as a whole had the highest November snow extent in the 1966 to 2018 record (Figure 5). Above average snow cover was particularly notable over central and eastern Canada. Over Eurasia, snow cover was slightly above average for this time of year. The extensive snow cover over eastern Canada was related to low pressure over the North Atlantic that brought cold air from the Arctic into the region.

Antarctic note

Antarctic sea ice extent declined much more slowly than average in November, but large areas in the northern Weddell Sea and the ocean north of Dronning Maud Land have open, low-concentration pack ice. Several polynyas have appeared near the Antarctic coast, in the Ross Sea, Thwaites Glacier region, Prydz Bay west of the Amery Ice Shelf, and in the Weddell Sea. The Weddell Sea polynyas are completely offshore near the region of the Maud Rise bathymetric feature, and may be an indication of a return of the Maud Rise Polynya feature (see 2016 to 2017 ASINA posts). Higher-than-average temperatures prevailed in the Ross Sea and Weddell Sea, up 1 to 3 degrees Celsius (2 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit) from the 1981 to 2010 average. Meanwhile, cool conditions were present near Thwaites Glacier and the Amery Ice Shelf region, with temperatures 1.5 degrees Celsius (3 degrees Fahrenheit) below average.

Reference

Barton, B. I., Y. Lenn, and C. Lique. 2018. Observed Atlantification of the Barents Sea causes the polar front to limit the expansion of winter sea ice. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 48, 1849–1866, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-18-0003.1.

Stroeve, J. C. and D. Notz. 2018. Changing state of Arctic sea ice across all seasons. Environmental Research Letters. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aade56.

Categories: Climate Science News

December 2018: Retrieving hidden water contribution to river from space

AVISO Climate Change News - Mon, 2018-12-03 01:53
The minimum flow a river can have can be estimated using the overall discharge. This is one of Swot...
Categories: Climate Science News

12 - 24 November 2018 weeks

AVISO Climate Change News - Tue, 2018-11-27 09:43
How the Antarctic Circumpolar Current Helps Keep Antarctica Frozen (The Marine Executive, 24/11/2018) Beneath Antarctica’s Ice Is a Graveyard of Dead Continents (The New York Times, 23/11/2018) What a sinking island can tell us about sea-level change and earthquakes (Phys.org, 21/11/2018) How rare are November hurricanes? (EarthSky, 20/11/2018) The Earth Is Eating Its Own Oceans (Live science, 14/11/2018) Why Is the Gulf of Maine Warming Faster Than 99% of the Ocean? (EOS, 12/11/2018) Le réchauffement climatique menace l'humanité de... 467 façons ! (Sciences et Avenir, 22/11/2018) Les niveaux de gaz à effet de serre atteignent un nouveau record dans l'atmosphère (France Info, 22/11/2018) Un cachalot retrouvé mort avec 6 kg de plastique dans le ventre en Indonésie (Ouest France, 21/11/2018) Deux projets fous contre la montée des eaux (Science & Vie, 21/11/2018) Afrique : au Sahel, pas de retour à la normale après la "grande sécheresse" (L'Obs, 13/11/2018) Climat : à quoi servent les COP ? (Geo, 12/11/2018) On line availability of articles depends on the Newspaper/magazine. We can't thus certify that above articles will be freely and permanently available.
Categories: Climate Science News

29 October - 12 November 2018 weeks

AVISO Climate Change News - Mon, 2018-11-12 08:32
Hurricane Season Is Almost Over - So Why Are Meteorologists Watching The Caribbean? (Forbes, 11/11/2018) NASA IceBridge Flight Spots Massive Antarctic Iceberg B-46 (SciTechDaily, 11/11/2018) Still waiting on El Niño for winter 2018 (Surfline, 10/11/2018) An ice age lasting 115,000 years in two minutes (Phys.org, 06/11/2018) GRACE-FO resumes data collection (Space Daily, 05/11/2018) Deep Floats Reveal Complex Ocean Circulation Patterns (EOS, 05/11/2018) Sea level rise forcing Bangladeshis to migrate (SciDevNet, 30/10/2018) How the Greenland ice sheet fared in 2018 (Phys.org, 29/10/2018) La subida del nivel del mar se está acelerando (Tiempo.com, 12/11/2018) Réchauffement climatique dans les Pyrénées : +1,2 degré en 50 ans ! Alerte rouge pour le massif (, 12/11/2018) Des images satellite révèlent des vestiges anciens sous les glaces antarctiques (Sputnik, 10/11/2018) Une île a mystérieusement disparu au Japon (Paris Match, 02/11/2018) Méditerranée : la quasi-totalité des sites Unesco menacés par le réchauffement climatique (Futura Sciences, 29/10/2018) On line availability of articles depends on the Newspaper/magazine. We can't thus certify that above articles will be freely and permanently available.
Categories: Climate Science News

CFOSAT: first results

AVISO Climate Change News - Fri, 2018-11-09 09:56
The French-Chinese satellite CFOSAT was successfully launched on October 29th (see our dedicated news). On November 1st, the French SWIM instrument has been switched on, its rotating antenna system has been released and activated. The SWIM status is nominal with great results for the first products evidencing SWIM perfect behaviour.  The CNES processing chain in near-real time is enable to generate product levels-1 & 2. A comparison between the Significant Wave Height from SWIM instrument and ECMWF forecast shows good fitting on oceanic structures.

 

The commissioning phase is starting with these promising results. In the coming weeks, calibration works will be perform at instrument level, before the data are made available for scientific experts during the Calibration/Validation phase.

On the Chinese side, the rotating fan beam scatterometer SCAT dedicated to the ocean surface wind measurements is also operational and works properly.

Further information:
  • Missions: CFOSAT
  • CNES presentation : SWIM first days results in science modes - 03/11/2018
Categories: Climate Science News

Unusual warmth continues

NSIDC Artic Sea Ice News - Tue, 2018-11-06 08:30

Over the Pacific side of the Arctic, a pattern of unusual warmth noted in last month’s post continued. While sea ice extent in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas remains below average, extent remains especially low on the Atlantic side of the Arctic in the Barents and Laptev Seas. October sea ice extent in the Arctic was the third lowest in the satellite record.

Overview of conditions  National Snow and Ice Data Center|High-resolution image

Figure 1a. Arctic sea ice extent for October, 2018 was 6.06 million square kilometers (2.34 million square miles). The orange line shows the 1981 to 2010 average extent for that day. Sea Ice Index data. About the data

Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image

Figure 1b. This maps shows the difference between sea ice extent on October 1 and October 31, 2018.

Figure 1b. This maps shows the difference between sea ice extent on October 1 and October 31, 2018.

Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image

Arctic sea ice extent for October 2018 averaged 6.06 million square kilometers (2.34 million square miles), the third lowest October extent in the 1979 to 2018 satellite record. This was 2.29 million square kilometers (884,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average, and 170,000 square kilometers (66,000 square miles) above the record low recorded for October 2012.

Sea ice gain during the first half of the month was quite slow. By the third week of October, extent was still tracking below all years except 2016. However, toward the end of the month, the pace of ice growth increased.

Ice growth through the month was strong in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, but extent remained below average in these areas at the end of the month. A large area of open water remained in the Laptev Sea, which is unprecedented in the satellite record at the end of October. Especially prominent was the lack of ice growth on the Atlantic side of the Arctic in the Barents Sea, and in some regions, a slight contraction of the ice edge further north (Figure 1b). As a result, extent is presently far below average in this area, and is the primary reason why October extent for the Arctic as a whole is third lowest on record.

Conditions in context

Figure 2a. The graph above shows Arctic sea ice extent as of November 5, 2018, along with daily ice extent data for four previous years and 2012, the record low year. 2018 is shown in blue, 2017 in green, 2016 in orange, 2015 in brown, 2014 in purple, and 2012 in dotted brown. The 1981 to 2010 median is in dark gray. The gray areas around the median line show the interquartile and interdecile ranges of the data. Sea Ice Index data.

Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image

Figure 2. This plot shows departure from average air temperature in the Arctic at the 925 hPa level, in degrees Celsius, for June 2018. Yellows and reds indicate higher than average temperature; blues and purples indicate lower than average temperature.

Figure 2b. This plot shows departure from average air temperature in the Arctic at the 925 hPa level, in degrees Celsius, for October 2018. Yellows and reds indicate higher than average temperature; blues and purples indicate lower than average temperature.

Credit: NSIDC courtesy NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory Physical Sciences Division
High-resolution image

October air temperatures at the 925 hPa level (about 2,500 feet above the surface) were above average across nearly all of the Arctic Ocean, but especially high temperatures—5 to 7 degrees Celsius (9 to 13 degrees Fahrenheit) above average—were found over the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and extending poleward. The most extreme warmth was located over central Alaska, where temperatures were up to 7 degrees Celsius (13 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than average (Figure 2b).

A high-pressure ridge at 500 hPa over Alaska persisted through the month, extending onto the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. This temperature pattern is broadly similar to that recorded for September. Below average sea ice extent over the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas is consistent with this unusual warmth. While the temperature pattern appears to be largely driven by the atmospheric circulation pattern, heat loss from the upper ocean to the lower atmosphere during ice formation likely contributed.

Why extent remains so low in the Barents Sea is not immediately clear from patterns of atmospheric circulation and temperature. October air temperatures at the 925 hPa level were only 1 to 3 degrees Celsius (2 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit) above average, associated with a trough of low pressure at sea level extending from Iceland into the region. While further investigation is warranted, this lack of ice growth may relate to the observed “Atlantification” of the Barents Sea, in which the cold, low density surface layer of the Arctic Ocean has weakened, allowing the heat from the warm Atlantic waters to more readily inhibit ice formation. It will be instructive to monitor ice growth rates in this area through the coming winter.

October 2018 compared to previous years Figure 3. Monthly October ice extent for 1979 to 2018 shows a decline of 9.5 percent per decade.

Figure 3. Monthly October ice extent for 1979 to 2018 shows a decline of 9.5 percent per decade.

Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image

Sea ice extent for October 2018 fell below the long-term linear trend line. The linear rate of sea ice decline for October is 79,000 square kilometers (31,000 square miles) per year, or 9.5 percent per decade relative to the 1981 to 2010 average.

Laptev lacking ice

Figure 4. This graph shows sea ice extent in the Laptev Sea from September 1 to October 31. The black line depicts the 1979 to 2017 median; the light grey lines represent the minimum and maximum sea ice extents; and the blue line shows the 2018 sea ice extent.

Credit: W. Meier, NSIDC
High-resolution image

Another notable feature in the Arctic ice pack at the end of October was the significant amount of open water in the Laptev Sea. Even in 2007 and 2012, the previous record low minimum extent years, the Laptev had nearly completely frozen over by the end of October. As late as October 29, the Laptev sea ice extent was less than 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 square miles). The 1981 to 2010 average extent on that date is 870,000 square kilometers (336,000 square miles)—essentially the entirety of the defined Laptev Sea region. By mid-October, the long-term average sea ice extent exceeds 800,000 square kilometers (309,000 square miles). This year, the mid-October sea ice extent within the Laptev Sea was barely above 100,000 square kilometers (39,000 square miles), about 13 percent of average.

The cause of this lack of ice is multifaceted. Ocean heat gained during the summer is likely delaying freeze-up. As noted above, air temperatures were above average over the region. This may in part be a result of the ocean heat, though low pressure centered over the Barents and Kara Seas also brought in warm air and winds from the south, keeping the ice edge from advancing.

Antarctic sea ice  NSIDC courtesy NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory Physical Sciences Division| High-resolution image

Figure 5. This plot shows the departure from average air temperature in Antarctica at the 925 hPa level, in degrees Celsius, for October 2018. Yellows and reds indicate higher than average temperatures; blues and purples indicate lower than average temperatures.

Credit: NSIDC courtesy NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory Physical Sciences Division
High-resolution image

As noted in the previous post, Antarctica’s annual maximum sea ice extent of 18.15 million square kilometers (7.01 million square miles) was reached on October 2, the fourth lowest maximum in the satellite record.

Antarctic sea ice extent for October 2018 averaged 17.66 million square kilometers (6.82 million square miles), also the fourth lowest in the satellite record. Sea ice extent was particularly low in the sector south of Australia, south of Africa, and in the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Seas. Locations and sizes of these regional features varied through the course of the month as storms and strong winds shifted. Air temperatures at 925 hPa were 3 to 6 degrees Celsius (5 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 1981 to 2010 average in West Antarctica and the southern Antarctic Peninsula, and 2 to 3 degrees Celsius (4 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit) above average over a wide part of the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Seas. However, temperatures in the Weddell Sea region were 2 to 6 degrees (4 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit) below average.

Categories: Climate Science News
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