[Vision2020] NOAA Confirms Dramatic Sea Ice Loss

Kai Eiselein, editor editor at lataheagle.com
Mon Sep 10 12:14:34 PDT 2007

And people thought I was nuts for buying all that desert land in AZ.
I guess I'll have to get busy with the condos and hotels. "If you build it, 
the sea will come"
Anybody want to pre-order a "Surf Yuma" t-shirt?
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mark Solomon" <msolomon at moscow.com>
To: "lfalen" <lfalen at turbonet.com>; "Ted Moffett" <starbliss at gmail.com>; 
"MoscowVision 2020" <vision2020 at moscow.com>
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2007 12:05 PM
Subject: Re: [Vision2020] NOAA Confirms Dramatic Sea Ice Loss

> Hard to look on the bright side when rising sea levels caused by
> melting ice threaten millions of people in low lying areas of Asia,
> Europe, the US and the rest of the world.
> m.
> At 10:52 AM -0700 9/10/07, lfalen wrote:
>>Look on the bright side.  A complete opening of the Northwest
>>Passage would cut 2500 miles off of the journey from Europe to Asia.
>>-----Original message-----
>>From: "Ted Moffett" starbliss at gmail.com
>>Date: Fri, 07 Sep 2007 13:03:41 -0700
>>To: "MoscowVision 2020" vision2020 at moscow.com
>>Subject: [Vision2020] NOAA Confirms Dramatic Sea Ice Loss
>>>  *NOAA researchers confirm predictions of dramatic sea ice loss *
>>>  Associated Press Writer
>>>  ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Computer predictions of a dramatic decline of 
>>> sea
>>>  ice in regions of the Arctic are confirmed by actual observations, 
>>> according
>>>  to scientists for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
>>>  The Seattle-based researchers reviewed 20 computer scenarios of the 
>>> affects
>>>  of warming on sea ice used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate 
>>> Change
>>>  in its assessment report released this year.
>>>  The researchers compared those models with sea ice observations from 
>>> 1979
>>>  through 1999, rejecting about half because they did not match what
>>>  satellites showed, said oceanographer James Overland.
>>>  But using the most reliable models, the NOAA scientists reached the 
>>> same
>>>  unhappy conclusion: by 2050, summer sea ice in the Beaufort Sea off 
>>> Alaska's
>>>  north coast likely will have diminished by 40 percent compared to the 
>>> 1980s.
>>>  The same is likely for the East Siberian-Chukchi Sea region off 
>>> northwest
>>>  Alaska and Russia. In contrast, Canada's Baffin Bay and Labrador showed
>>>  little predicted change.
>>>  There was less confidence for winter ice, but the models also predict a 
>>> sea
>>>  ice loss of more than 40 percent for the Bering Sea off Alaska's west 
>>> coast,
>>>  the Sea of Okhotsk east of Siberia and the Barents Sea north of Norway.
>>>  A 40 percent loss of summer sea ice off Alaska in the Beaufort Sea 
>>> could
>>>  have profound effects on marine mammals dependent on the sea ice such 
>>> as
>>>  polar bears, now under consideration by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
>>> Service
>>>  for "threatened" status under the Endangered Species Act because of 
>>> changes
>>>  in the animals' habitat from global warming.
>>>  Overland, an oceanographer at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental 
>>> Laboratory
>>>  in Seattle, and Muyin Wang, a meteorologist at NOAA's Joint Institute 
>>> for
>>>  the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington 
>>> in
>>>  Seattle, reviewed 20 computer models provided through the IPCC. Their
>>>  research paper will be published Saturday in Geophysical Research 
>>> Letters, a
>>>  publication of the American Geophysical Union.
>>>  In the 1980s, sea ice receded 30 to 50 miles each summer off the north 
>>> coast
>>>  of Alaska, Overland said.
>>>  "Now we're talking about 300 to 500 miles north of Alaska," he said of
>>>  projections for 2050.
>>>  That's far past the edge of the highly productive waters over the 
>>> relatively
>>>  shallow continental shelf off Alaska's north coast, considered 
>>> important
>>>  habitat for polar bears and their main prey, ringed seals, plus other
>>>  ice-dependent mammals such as walrus.
>>>  Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity, who wrote the 
>>> petition
>>>  seeking federal protection for polar bears, said NOAA's retrospective 
>>> of sea
>>>  ice projections does not even take into account sea ice figures for 
>>> this
>>>  summer recorded by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. As of 
>>> Tuesday, the
>>>  center's measurement of sea ice stood at 1.70 million square miles, far
>>>  below the previous record low for summer ice of 2.05 million square 
>>> miles
>>>  recorded Sept. 20, 2005.
>>>  The situation is dire for polar bears, Siegel said.
>>  >
>>>  "They're going to drown, they're going to starve, they're going to 
>>> resort to
>>>  cannibalism, they're going to become extinct," she said.
>>>  As ice recedes, many bears will get stuck on land in summer, where they 
>>> have
>>>  virtually no sustainable food source, Siegel said. Some will try and 
>>> fail to
>>>  swim to sea ice, she said. Bears that stay on sea ice will find water 
>>> beyond
>>>  the continental shelf to be less productive. Females trying to den on 
>>> land
>>>  in the fall will face a long swim.
>>>  "It's absolutely horrifying from the polar bear perspective," she said.
>>>  Less sea ice also will mean a changing ecosystem for commercial 
>>> fishermen
>>>  and marine mammals in the Bering Sea, Overland said.
>>>  With sea ice present, much of the nutrients produced in the ocean feed
>>>  simple plankton that bloom and sink to the ocean floor, providing rich
>>>  habitat for crabs, clams and the mammals that feed off them, including 
>>> gray
>>>  whales and walrus.
>>>  "If you don't have the ice around, the productivity stays up closer to 
>>> the
>>>  surface of the ocean," Overland said. "You actually have a change in 
>>> the
>>>  whole ecosystem from one that depends on the animals that live on the 
>>> bottom
>>>  to one that depends on the animals that live in the water column. So 
>>> you
>>>  have winners and losers."
>>>  That could mean short-term gains for salmon and pollock, he said. But 
>>> it
>>>  also could mean that fishermen will have to travel farther north to 
>>> fish in
>>>  Alaska's productive waters, and warm-water predators might move north.
>>>  Overland said sea ice computer models have performed well accounting 
>>> for how
>>>  ice melts from global warming and for the albedo effect - accelerated
>>>  warming due to the presence of dark water that absorbs most of the 
>>> sun's
>>>  radiation, warming the ocean and making it harder for water to freeze, 
>>> in
>>>  contrast to ice, which reflects most of the sun's radiation.
>>>  The models do not do as well accounting for wind and cloud patterns and
>>>  other factors that may have contributed to recent warming, Overland 
>>> said.
>>>  But the contribution to warming by greenhouse gas emissions likely are 
>>> set,
>>>  he said. Emissions stay in the atmosphere for 40 to 50 years before 
>>> being
>>>  absorbed by the ocean. The amount put out in the last 20 years and the
>>>  carbon dioxide put out in the next 20 will be around to influence the
>>>  half-century mark, Overland said.
>>>  "I'm afraid to say, a lot of the images we are going to see in the next 
>>> 30
>>>  to 40 years are pretty much already established," he said.
>>>  ------
>>>  Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett
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