Forecasting Change: Here’s where the planet is warming the fastest
This week on Forecasting Change I want to show you the part of the planet that is warming the fastest. Unbelievably, it is not Florida! We have focused on our warmer days, hot fall weather, and droughts that are part of the “new normal” in climate change, but it is the Arctic that is changing fast and where the evidence of our changing climate can be seen.
Cold diggers? UN finds a record low in Greenland ice in 1991
GENEVA – For all the recent talk of global warming, climate historians hunting for past temperature extremes have unearthed what the U.N. weather agency calls a new record low in the Northern Hemisphere — nearly -70 degrees Celsius (-93 F) was recorded almost three decades ago in Greenland. The World Meteorological Organizations publicly confirmed Wednesday the all-time cold reading for the hemisphere: -69.6 Celsius recorded on Dec. 22, 1991 at an automatic weather station in a remote site called Klinck, not far from the highest point on the Greenland Ice Sheet. “In the era of climate change, much attention focuses on new heat records," said WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas in a statement. The new low was confirmed by so-called “climate detectives” working with the WMO's Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes in Geneva. The coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth was the -89.2 Celsius (-128.6 F) recorded in 1983 at the high-altitude Vostok weather station in Antarctica, WMO said.
Warming shrinks Arctic Ocean ice to 2nd lowest on record
Ice in the Arctic Ocean melted to its second lowest level on record this summer, triggered by global warming along with natural forces, U.S. scientists reported Monday. The extent of ice-covered ocean at the North Pole and extending further south to Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Russia reached its summertime low of 1.4 million square miles (3.7 million square kilometers) last week before starting to grow again. Arctic sea ice reaches its low point in September and its high in March after the winter. This year's melt is second only to 2012, when the ice shrank to 1.3 million square miles (3.4 million square kilometers), according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, which has been keeping satellite records since 1979. In the 1980s, the ice cover was about 1 million square miles (2.7 million square kilometers) bigger than current summer levels.
Record melt: Greenland lost 586 billion tons of ice in 2019
After two years when summer ice melt had been minimal, last summer shattered all records with 586 billion tons (532 billion metric tons) of ice melting, according to satellite measurements reported in a study Thursday. Thats far more than the yearly average loss of 259 billion tons (235 billion metric tons) since 2003 and easily surpasses the old record of 511 billion tons (464 billion metric tons) in 2012, said a study in Nature Communications Earth & Environment. Last years Greenland melt added 0.06 inches (1.5 millimeters) to global sea level rise. While general ice melt records in Greenland go back to 1948, scientists since 2003 have had precise records on how much ice melts because NASA satellites measure the gravity of the ice sheets. As massive as the melt was last year, the two years before were only on average about 108 billion tons (98 billion metric tons).
Scientists on Arctic mission make unplanned detour to pole
BERLIN A German icebreaker carrying scientists on a year-long international expedition in the high Arctic has reached the North Pole, after making an unplanned detour there due to lighter-than-usual sea ice conditions. Expedition leader Markus Rex said Wednesday the RV Polarstern was able to reach the geographic North Pole because of large openings in sea ice above Greenland, where shipping would normally be too difficult. The mushy ice conditions the Polarstern encountered this year provide further evidence of the warming that scientists say is taking place in the Arctic. The MOSAiC expedition involves scientists from 17 nations, including the United States, France, Russia and China. The coronavirus pandemic almost caused the mission to be cut short, as travel restrictions made resupply and crew rotations difficult.
Pompeo meeting Danish leaders, likely to discuss pipeline
COPENHAGEN U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Denmark on Wednesday for meetings with the country's leaders that are likely to address the construction of a disputed gas pipeline which Washington opposes. He also is set to participate in a meeting with political leaders from Greenland and the Faeroe Islands, which are semi-autonomous Danish territories. The European Union warned the U.S. to hold off threatening trade sanctions against EU companies involved in the completion of the new German-Russian natural gas pipeline and instead discuss differences as allies. Denmark gave permission in October for the German-Russian underwater gas pipeline to be laid to through its territory. The U.S. has been an outspoken opponent of the pipeline, which will transport natural gas about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles).
Greenland: Police arrest suspects in statue vandalism case
The statue in Nuuks old district was vandalized early Sunday as Greenland was marking its National Day. Statues and monuments of people associated with racism or colonialism have been targeted in light of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month. Egede, who was born in Norway that was part of Denmark at the time, is considered to be the person who colonized Greenland and founded the capital, Nuuk. Greenland was a Danish colony until 1953 when it became a formal part of the Danish Realm. In 2009, Greenland became a self-governing entity.