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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #34

Posted on 22 August 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Aug 16, 2020 through Sat, Aug 22, 2020

Editor's Choice

Expedition shares scary photos from the North Pole

Loose and weak ice with lots of melt ponds, partly open water, and no signs of multiyear ice. The powerful photos from the MOSAiC expedition reaching the North Pole on August 19 show the dramatic impact of climate changes.

Arctic Sea Ice MOSAiC Expedition Icebreaker Aug 2020

The sea ice is surprisingly weak, has lots of melt ponds, and the expedition ship Polarstern was able to easily break through. Photo: Steffen Graupnerice / MOSAiC

Few photos are better proof of the climate crisis than those taken by the members of the MOSAiC expedition over the last few days. The Barents Observer has obtained permission to repost some of them, showing the current ice-cap on the top of the world.

The photos clearly underline how several recent climate studies, predicting ice-free Arctic summers by 2035, is not a theoretical scenario but rather an unavoidable fact.

The expedition ship Polarstern sailed from the northern Fram Strait between Greenland and Svalbard to the North Pole this week.

“I’m very surprised to see how soft and easy to traverse the ice up to 88° North is this year, having thawed to the point of being thin and porous,” said Captain Thomas Wunderlich.

“Even after passing 88° North we mostly maintained a speed of 5-7 knots; I’ve never seen that so far north,” the Polarstern captain said.

He added: “The current situation is historic.”

Expedition shares scary photos from the North Pole by Thomas Nilsen, The Barents Observer, Aug 20, 2020

Articles Linked to on Facebook

Sun, Aug 16, 2020

Mon, Aug 17, 2020

Tue, Aug 18, 2020

Wed, Aug 19, 2020

Thu, Aug 20, 2020

Fri, Aug 21, 2020

Sat, Aug 22, 2020

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Comments 1 to 2:

  1. Worst possible report: open water and melt ponds at the North Pole- the polar ice cap is going to disappear sooner than even the earliest predicted date. We're not going to cook the planet (and our survivability), we are already doing it. We are way past the time for preventative measures, we can only hope to ameliorate the destuctive consequences of global warming.

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  2. slcochran @1,

    While there have been many statements made about the timing of the first ice-free summer up in the Arctic Ocean, the prediction of 2040 +/-10 years remains (although the IPO has been cited as a reason for it being earlier rather than later within that range).

    Dramatic stuff is happening to the sea ice which is in terminal decline but it is worth considering the full set of data before getting carried away and proclaiming it "is going to disappear sooner than even the earliest predicted date."  Open water & melt ponds at the North Pole have been observed for some years now (eg here from 10 years ago).

    Consider this year's melt season which followed on from a freeze-up which was a little stronger than the previous few years - the 2020 melt season has been pretty dramatic with the Sea Ice Extent showing record breaking values through July yet the low SIE was not matched by such dramatic Sea Ice Area data which has only fleetingly managed record-breaking status. And the PIOMAS models of Sea Ice Volume show nothing record-breaking so far. Latest comparative PIOMAS values (for mid-Auguat) run:-

    2012 ... 4.75M cu km 

    2019 ... 4.88M cu km

    2020 ... 5.14M cu km

    2017 ... 5.31M cu km

    Of course, this is all dramatic stuff (the average 1979-2001 was three-times greater at 15M cu km) but the progress towards an ice-free summer Arctic Ocean is slow and still years away from being delivered. And even if it is now inevitable (as the Barants Observer says it is), that is no reason to slacken our efforts pushing for some rapid & long-overdue AGW mitigation measures. We certainly need something dramatic mitigation-wise to match the dramatic AGW we are already responsible for.

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