What's New Archive
The Arctic region continued to break records in 2012 - among them, the loss of summer sea ice, late spring snow cover, and melting of the Greenland ice sheet - as the region settles into a new state. This was true even though air temperatures in the Arctic were unremarkable relative to the last decade.
Major findings include record lows in snow and Arctic sea ice extent, record setting glacier and Greenland ice sheet melt, and greening of the tundra, with varied impacts on marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
PMEL and Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s EcoFOCI program just deployed the M2 mooring in the southeastern Bering Sea for the 20th consecutive year. The mooring has been providing year-round measurements of temperature, salinity, nitrite, chlorophyll, and currents in this highly productive area since 1994. These measurements are used in annual report cards and stock assessments provided to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. Long-term time-series at this site are a critical tool for adapting to climate change and guiding sustainable management of living resources in the Bering Sea.
Visit the EcoFOCI website for more information on their work in the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska, and Arctic waters
PMEL’s Dr. James Overland explains why the eastern United States is experiencing frigid temperatures in early January 2014 on the Arctic web site's new Polar Vortex page. He describes how in the last five years we have seen the jet stream transform from its typical, nice oval pattern around the North Pole to more of a wavy formation, and this waviness is resulting in colder weather being carried into the eastern US and eastern Asia.
Visit the Arctic web site to read more about the polar vortex and how the connection between the Arctic warming trend and more severe weather in mid-latitudes is an active area of research.
NOAA Arctic Program Leads, including PMEL scientist and Arctic expert Dr. James Overland, collaborated on the development and recent publication of NOAA's Arctic Action Plan. The plan provides a roadmap to making shared progress in monitoring, understanding, and protecting the vulnerable Arctic region. PMEL is actively involved in Arctic climate dynamics research, conducting observations and evaluating models of Arctic sea ice to document and predict climate change impacts on Arctic marine ecosystems.
PMEL’s Dr. James Overland is one of three editors of the 2013 Arctic Report Card, released December 12 at the American Geophysical Union's fall meeting. Authored by 147 scientists from 14 countries, this year's report concluded that while long-term warming and environmental change trends persist in the Arctic, 2013 was not as extreme as 2012. PMEL’s Dr. Patricia Quinn and JISAO’s Dr. Muyin Wang also contributed to the 2013 report.
Please visit the Arctic Report Card website for more updates on Arctic conditions for the atmosphere, sea ice, ocean temperature and salinity, marine ecosystems, terrestrial ecosystems, and terrestrial cryosphere.
As the Arctic Ocean begins to freeze for the winter...
NOAA and University of Washington scientists gain insight from the air. Using the heavily-instrumented NOAA WP-3D Orion "Hurricane Hunter" research aircraft, scientists have completed the first intensive Arctic overflight experiments to make quantitative measurements of autumn sea ice freezeup in the Chukchi sea, a region of potential oil exploration.
The objective of the flights was met by successfully making measurements of the ocean, and of the atmosphere over open water, first year ice, and multi-year ice, under a variety of weather conditions, during the freezeup. Watch the YouTube video or visit the Arctic Climate Dynamics website to read more about this air/sea study during autumn sea ice freezeup.
The 2013 North Pole web cams were recovered on September 20, marking the end of another successful season monitoring Arctic conditions. The web cams are part of the North Pole Environmental Observatory, tracking snow cover, weather conditions, and formation/refreeze of melt ponds. The above YouTube video above is a time lapse of images for the period from April - September 2013.
For more information please visit the 2013 North Pole web cam website.
PMEL scientists Drs. Christopher Sabine and Gregory Johnson participated in the final government approval meeting for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group I Fifth Assessment Report's Summary for Policymakers (SPM) in Stockholm, Sweden during the week of September 23. Delegates and scientists from 110 countries agreed that warming of the climate system is unequivocal and that it is extremely likely (95% confidence) that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.
The final draft of the full Physical Science Basis report to which PMEL’s Drs. James Overland and Richard Feely also contributed will be out soon.