Friday, March 2, 2018

Arctic air, ice and temps: a sea change?

Ice receding in the Arctic regions

Yesterday I wrote about sea levels rising faster than predicted. Today, I'm going to summarize the latest in climate change anomalies. Scientists have recorded a warm air intrusion through the central Arctic this winter. In the area north of 80 degrees latitude, average temperatures were 36 degrees above normal. Whereas there were only four such intrusions between 1980 and 2010, there have been four occurrences in the past five years.

Such intrusions may have become more frequent and more intense. The polar vortex appears to have split into two segments. It dropped cold weather down into Europe and Canada and allowed warm air to flow into the arctic. So the arctic has seen more days above freezing than ever recorded, alarming scientists around the world. If this is a permanent phenomenon and the polar vortex has deteriorated beyond ability to stabilize, then we are in for rapid climate decline.

The Great Lakes are frozen, GB and Ireland have just received more snow than the last 50 years or longer. We had blizzard conditions in Cork and the country is shut down. It was colder in Switzerland than in Greenland. People had a massive snowball fight in Rome. It was dealt with lightly in the media as the "beast from the east" but if it remains cyclical, it is very worrying. So what's causing the Arctic "heat wave"?

In a report by CNN, Robert Graham, climate scientist at the Norwegian Polar Institute said, "It's a combination of warm weather patterns coming into contact with retreating sea ice and rising and warmer sea levels." That sounds to me like a self-perpetuating cyclical phenomenon.

I have a feeling our sailing seasons and cruising grounds are about to shift dramatically. Oh woe is me. Just as I'd gotten to be pretty used to it as is. If anyone doubts that climate change is real, just open your eyes to this week's events. Or keep being skeptical and break some of that ice off those chunks for a cocktail. You're going to need it when it spirals out of control and we realize it's too late to do anything constructive to stop it.

Rare blue ice in the Mackinac Straight

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