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The Arctic ecosystem continues to degrade.

Arctic Report Card:

Fall temperatures in the Arctic are at record highs, the Arctic Ocean is warming and desalinating as sea ice melts, and reindeer herds appear to be declining, researchers reported yesterday..For example, fall air temperatures in the Arctic are at a record 5C above normal. The report noted 2007 was the warmest year on record in the Arctic, leading to a record loss of sea ice. This year’s sea ice melt was second only to 2007.

A plurality of Canadians are going to have to realize that the environment and the economy are linked – not adversarial, as Harper painted it this past election. Inaction on the environment as Harper has done has led to the situation as shown by this latest report on the Arctic, and it will only worsen. Canada cannot solve this problem alone, but the position we’re now taking that we won’t do anything until other countries do something first is foolish. We need to be leading on this by cutting our own emissions and setting a positive example for those other countries to follow, and demand that they do something to help stop the global warming effects that are causing the Arctic to literally melt.

Perhaps it will take a President Obama administration to follow through on it’s hints that it may not buy the tarsands oil from Canada without plausible GHG fighting programs in place for a plurality of Canadians to wake up and demand the Harper government – or if they aren’t willing, another party or parties – do something other then to give oil companies money to research if there’s oil up there under those melting glaciers.

H/T: Section 15

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11 comments to The Arctic ecosystem continues to degrade.

  • “First off, Climate models are not predictive.”

    Well, at least one of the articles you linked to was based upon an abstract that derived results from modeling.

    Furthermore, models produced years ago concerning glacial melting and buildup have been demonstrated to be accurate.

    Modeling can deal with so-called ‘chaotic’ system if they are both specific in what they model, and wide in what they account for.

    No one is in any position to make the broad conclusions you make, that modeling is not predictive.

    “I donít think that observational data will show that humans have a major effect on climate on global scales.”

    Well, the IPCC very much disagrees. So does common sense.

  • Dave

    “It is known and recognized, and even predicted in computer models, that some glaciers will grow under global warming.”

    First off, Climate models are not predictive. They are possible scenarios given specific input parameters, and corrections. So, sure some scenarios may show this, but most don’t. That’s the problem with models, they can’t predict chaotic systems and are therefore not very useful for trying to predict future climate.

    That’s not to say the humans can’t do better, but we need to focus on the areas that we can have a real impact on. I.e. air, water quality, urban planning, etc. We also need to recognize the local/regional climatic effects we cause due to land use change and urban development and try to decide what’s the best way to deal with it. That being said, I don’t think that observational data will show that humans have a major effect on climate on global scales.

  • Dave,

    Having read the links, and then read the abstracts, it is clear that they are attributing changes due to warming of the Arctic. Some research dealing with climate change doesn’t go out to prove the cause, but merely to report on climate change. That is neither a denial of human-induced climate change, nor an endorsement.

    To the people getting confused by all this, let me explain: Climate change caused by global warming does not result in steady climate change. In any given year, you can find a glacier getting thicker somewhere or less rain than normal temperatures somewhere else, or weaker hurricanes, or whatever. Some years are even cooler than previous years. You can even have — and we have had — a really hot year after which every year is colder. The point, global warming is not about every year being warmer than the previous, it’s about overall trends. Like what you in Grade 8 science class when you had to draw ‘best fit’ curves on plotted data. Trends matter far more than individual data points.

    Some years the Arctic will have more ice coverage in the Fall than the previous year. Some years, it will have less. The overall trend is for it to have less.

    It is known and recognized, and even predicted in computer models, that some glaciers will grow under global warming. If you think about it, this makes sense. Glaciers only grow if snowed upon. Cold air carries little moisture. Warm air, carries more. So as air gets warmer, it carries more moisture, dumping more snow on some glaciers. If the precipitation exceed the melt water rate, than the glacier grows, ironically due to global warming. In time, though, the increased precipitation will not be enough to feed the glacier, and it will shrink.

    Ninety-nine per cent of glaciers in Alaska are melting faster than they are fed.

    “BTW, 2007ís sea ice melt has been attributed to nature causes.”

    Read the abstracts behind that link, and you’ll see that they are not making that argument. They are only reporting on specific pieces of research which do not refute global warming.

    It is well accepted that earth has normal climatic variables which can temporarily increase the effect of global warming or hide it.

  • Dave

    @Scott Tribe – Actually there’s not much too read as it’s only a newspaper article. And the article is misleading when it talks about “Fall temperatures in the Arctic are at record highs, the Arctic Ocean is warming and desalinating as sea ice melts, and reindeer herds appear to be declining, researchers reported yesterday” because they are talking about last fall, not this fall.

    The report is really a snapshot of 2007, which means what for present day?…I point to previous article at Anthony Watts.

    Anyways, as I pointed out the data in this report card is long way where the Arctic is at this moment.

    You wrote…”We need to be leading on this by cutting our own emissions and setting a positive example for those other countries to follow, and demand that they do something to help stop the global warming effects that are causing the Arctic to literally melt”

    The fact is, this report doesn’t talk about emissions, or human influence at all. It doesn’t attribute cause as all, but merely shows a snapshot at a given time. BTW, 2007’s sea ice melt has been attributed to nature causes.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/10/03/winds-are-dominant-cause-of-greenland-and-west-antarctic-ice-sheet-losses/

  • Phillip Huggan

    It’s okay. Nanuvut voted Conservative and deserves whatever climate-change effects come. I have no sympathy for those Inuit; Yukon and NWT are still in my good books…

  • @Dave

    Actually Dave, I’ll take the word of 46 scientists and researchers from 10 different countries who issued this report. Maybe you should read the actual article.

  • billg

    Inaction on the environment as Harper has done has led to the situation as shown by this latest report on the Arctic, and it will only worsen….????
    Vote Liberal and we’ll stop the Arctic Ice from melting!! Calling Frank McKenna, Calling Frank McKenna…your needed to purge the Liberal party of its single minded failed ideology. Maybe the Arctic ice is melting…but on a political note…what the hell are the Liberals going to do about it?..or the NDP or the Greens? We just had an election that gave “go green pay more for no results” a serious smackdown…how about making the Liberal party stand for something that has real effects on Canadians…Doctors, Nurses, Hospitals, Clean Water, Infrastructure, Schools, University’s!! Quit asking Canadians to chase ghosts or become the party that wins in Toronto/Montreal and a few seats scattered around the country.

  • Dave

    Didn’t like my last comment? Let me try again.

    The article in question seems to contain data up to 2007. This year, 2008, arctic sea ice is on the rebound with certain oceanic and atmosphere oscillations switching to negative phases (ie PDO ). According to reports, arctic sea ice as of Oct 14 is 28.7% above what is was at the same point last year.

    src:http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/10/15/arctic-sea-ice-now-287-higher-than-this-date-last-year-still-climbing/

    Also: Alaskan glaciers on the rebound

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/10/14/alaska-glaciers-on-the-rebound/

    Take the info for what it is, additional information.

  • Dave

    I think you need to look at what’s really going on in the Arctic right now. As of Oct 14 2008, sea ice extent was 28.7% above the same time for 2007.

    See http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/10/15/arctic-sea-ice-now-287-higher-than-this-date-last-year-still-climbing/

    Arctic sea ice may be starting to recover.

  • Mound of Sound

    What’s most troubling in the Arctic results is that they’re plainly climate-change driven, not weather driven. North America experienced a pretty cool summer and that ought to have resulted in commensurate cooling in the Arctic. Didn’t happen. Since the expected weather effect wasn’t manifested in the Arctic and especially its sea ice, the default option is climate change.

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