Hear no evil; or is that hear no climate change?
A new angle on the famous ‘hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil’ saying!
That new angle being ‘hear no climate change, see no climate change, speak no climate change!‘
So what has prompted this outburst from me? It started with me seeing a truly scary graph that was on Peter Sinclair’s Climate Crock blogsite on the 20th September. That was the graph that was published yesterday on Learning from Dogs under the post title of It’s not rocket science! If you didn’t see that graph yesterday, don’t read further on until you have looked at it.
Thus while today’s post could easily be interpreted as yet another blogpost from yet another writer about climate change, that is not the case. What I am doing is taking a quick trip across a few recently published items that really do make it utterly clear what is happening to the Earth’s biosphere, all in support of a very simple question to two gentlemen who are currently in the news; stay with me for all to become clear!
First, back to the blogsite Climate Crocks. Under the title of Climate Denial Crock of the Week was a recent post by Peter Sinclair about a video from Dr. Jennifer Francis of Rutger’s Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences. (Go to that link to watch the video.)
However, this is what caught my eye, (an interview between Dr. Francis and Peter Sinclair).
What she told me in a recent interview was that the sea ice record is not something that we just pay attention to in September – there will, in fact, be reverberations that will make fall and winter “very interesting” around the globe.
Then it was easy to come across this piece on The Weather Channel website,
On Wednesday, the National Snow and Ice Data Center concluded Arctic sea ice is at its lowest late-August level since records began, and the area covered by ice has continued to shrink in September. Since 1979, the 1.54 million square miles of ice is the smallest coverage on record at the North Pole, the report states.
With so many questions surrounding these latest findings, perhaps one of the most immediate is whether this melting of sea ice will affect the upcoming winter across the United States and Northern Hemisphere. Is it possible that a lack of Arctic sea ice could change weather patterns across the globe?
Four meteorologists spoke about these possibilities, and while they didn’t say dramatic weather shifts are imminent in the short-term, they did give some thoughts on what could happen.
One of the meteorologists was Dr. Jeff Masters, Director of Meteorology, Weather Underground. He wrote,
In my December 2011 blog post, I discuss research by Dr. Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University, who found that Arctic sea ice loss may significantly affect the upper-level atmospheric circulation, slowing its winds and increasing its tendency to make contorted high-amplitude loops. High-amplitude loops in the upper level wind pattern (and associated jet stream) increases the probability of persistent weather patterns in the Northern Hemisphere, potentially leading to extreme weather due to longer-duration cold spells, snow events, heat waves, flooding events, and drought conditions.
Several studies published in 2012 have linked Arctic sea ice loss to an increase in probability of severe winter weather in Western Europe, Eastern North America and Eastern Asia.
Then if one goes to that December 2011 blog post, one reads this,
“The question is not whether sea ice loss is affecting the large-scale atmospheric circulation…it’s how can it not?” That was the take-home message from Dr. Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University, in her talk “Does Arctic Amplification Fuel Extreme Weather in Mid-Latitudes?“, presented at last week’s American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. Dr. Francis presented new research in review for publication, which shows that Arctic sea ice loss may significantly affect the upper-level atmospheric circulation, slowing its winds and increasing its tendency to make contorted high-amplitude loops. High-amplitude loops in the upper level wind pattern (and associated jet stream) increases the probability of persistent weather patterns in the Northern Hemisphere, potentially leading to extreme weather due to longer-duration cold spells, snow events, heat waves, flooding events, and drought conditions.
Further on in that blog post, one reads,
Arctic sea ice loss can slow down jet stream winds
Dr. Francis looked at surface and upper level data from 1948 – 2010, and discovered that the extra heat in the Arctic in fall and winter over the past decade had caused the Arctic atmosphere between the surface and 500 mb (about 18,000 feet or 5,600 meters) to expand. As a result, the difference in temperature between the Arctic (60 – 80°N) and the mid-latitudes (30 – 50°N) fell significantly. It is this difference in temperature that drives the powerful jet stream winds that control much of our weather. The speed of fall and winter west-to-east upper-level winds at 500 mb circling the North Pole decreased by 20% over the past decade, compared to the period 1948 – 2000, in response to the extra warmth in the Arctic. This slow-down of the upper-level winds circling the pole has been linked to a Hot Arctic-Cold Continents pattern that brought cold, snowy winters to the Eastern U.S. and Western Europe during 2009 – 2010 and 2010 – 2011.
OK, nearly finished! Stay with me for one last item. Did you note in that blog post (the first section quoted) this, “Dr. Francis presented new research in review for publication …“? Here’s the Abstract from that publication, from which one reads,
Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudesKey Points
- Enhanced Arctic warming reduces poleward temperature gradient
- Weaker gradient affects waves in upper-level flow in two observable ways
- Both effects slow weather patterns, favoring extreme weather
Jennifer A. Francis, Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
Stephen J. Vavrus, Center for Climatic Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
So to the point of both yesterday’s Post and the information above.
Will someone tell me why Messrs Barack Obama and Willard Mitt Romney so fervently adopt the stance of ’hear no climate change, see no climate change, speak no climate change!‘
It’s not as though it’s unimportant!!