Researcher Jennifer Hynes recently gave a frightening presentation about the situation in the Arctic and the odds that things will rapidly spiral out of control, escalating into runaway global warming a few decades from now.
Why Sea Ice Matters
The above slide from the presentation warns about the danger of earthquakes causing methane hydrate destabilization (from: Smoke Blankets North America). As the map below shows, 77 M4+ earthquakes hit locations around Greenland in the year 2014 up until August 4.
“We’re seeing the ice just shrivel away now,” says Jennifer Hynes in the following video.
At least 70 percent of the heat in our planetary system is absorbed by the oceans and a substantial amount of this heat has gone into the melting of Arctic ice.
The Arctic Methane Monster’s Rapid Rise (Jennifer Hynes)
Published August 5, 2014
Standard YouTube Licence
The image below shows sea surface temperature anomalies in the Arctic at August 7, 2014.
Warm water is carried into the Arctic Ocean by the Gulf Stream, as illustrated by the image below.
The image shows how the Gulf Stream brings warm water to the edge of the sea ice. Waters close to Svalbard reached temperatures as high as 15.6°C (60.1°F) on August 8, 2014 (green circle). Note that what the image shows are sea surface temperatures only. At greater depths (say 300 m), warm water is pushed through the Greenland Sea by the Gulf Stream. Since the passage west of Svalbard is rather shallow, a lot of this warm water comes to the surface there. The high sea surface temperatures west of Svalbard thus indicate that the Gulf Stream is carrying very warm water (warmer than 15°C) at greater depths and is pushing this underneath the sea ice north of Svalbard.
The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as discussed at the Climate Plan blog and as illustrated by the image below.
This article was previously posted in Arctic News.