2011-05-03 22:49:53Arctic conference in Copenhagen May 3de to 6th 2011


There is an ongoing conference in Copenhagen on the Arctic.

I expect there will be some interesting papers published here.

Read the abstracts (pdf) for more information.

From a press release (in swedish) yesterday (I copy/pasted the press release  from google translate as google translate refused to make a link):

New research report shows the wider impact of climate change in the Arctic than expected

Sharply reduced snow cover, shorter winter season and thawing tundra. The effects of climate change in the Arctic is already here. And change is occurring much faster than was previously thought. It shows a new research report on the Arctic presented in Copenhagen this week. Margareta Johansson, Lund University, is one of the researchers behind the report.
Together with Terry Callaghan, a researcher at the Royal Academy of Sciences, she is editor of the two chapters on snow and permafrost.
- The changes we are seeing is dramatic. And they are no coincidences. The trends are clear and different from the patterns when compared to the longer term, "she says.

The Arctic is one of the parts of our globe that is warming faster today. Measurements of air temperature show that the past five years has been the warmest since 1880, when surveys began. Other data, including from tree rings, show that summer temperatures in recent decades has been the highest in 2000 years. As a result, snow cover in May and June decreased by nearly 20 percent. The winter season has been nearly two weeks shorter - only a few decades. In addition, the temperature of the permafrost has increased by between half and two degrees.
- There is no evidence to suggest that the permafrost will not continue to thaw, "says Margaret Jackson.

The permafrost is a large amount of carbon stored.
- Our data show that there is much more than previously thought. There are about twice as much coal there as it is in the atmosphere today, "said Ms Jackson.
The coal comes from plant material as "deep-frozen" in the ground during the last ice age. As long as the ground is frozen carbon stays stable. But when permafrost thaws, there is a risk that carbon dioxide and methane, which is a more than 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, is released, which could enhance global warming.
- But it could also be that the vegetation that can grow when the ground thaws take up carbon dioxide. This, we still know very little about. With the knowledge we have today, we can not say for certain if the thawing tundra becomes a sink or a source of greenhouse gases in the future, "says Margaret Jackson.

This type of effect, so-called feedback effects, is of great importance for the extent of global warming will in the future. Margaret Jackson and her colleagues will present its report nine different feedback effects. One of the most important thing now is the reduction in Arctic albedo. The decrease in snow and ice surfaces means that less solar radiation reflected back into the atmosphere. Instead it is absorbed, with the result that it gets even hotter. Arctic has thus entered a stage where the Arctic itself exacerbate the climate change.

The future looks no brighter. Climate models indicate that temperatures will rise another 3-7 degrees. In Canada, the top m of the permafrost to thaw in about one-fifth of the area today have permafrost. The corresponding figure for Alaska is 57 percent. Snow season length and snow cover in the Arctic will continue to decline and its glaciers are likely to lose between 10 and 30 percent of its total mass. All this before the century is over and with major implications for ecosystems, existing infrastructure and living conditions.

New estimates show that sea level rise by 2100 will be between 0.9 and 1.6 meters, that is about twice as high as the UN climate panel predicted in its report in 2007. This is largely due to rapid Arctic melting ice. Between 2003 and 2008 were melting in the Arctic for 40 percent of the global sea level rise.
- It is clear that major changes ahead. It is in the Arctic everything happening right now. And what happens there affects us all, "says Margaret Jackson.

The report 'Impacts of Climate Change on snow, water, ice and permafrost in the Arctic "has been adopted by close to 200 polar scientists. It is the most comprehensive compilation of knowledge about the Arctic that have been presented over the past six years. The work has been organized by the Arctic Council Working Group on Environmental Monitoring (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program) and the report will serve as a basis for the IPCC's fifth report, which is scheduled for completion in 2014.

In addition to Ms Johansson has also Torben Christensen of Lund University participated in the work.


Adding some quotes from the abstracts as I read:

p. 16: Overall, we generally accept the temperature forecasts of these models as they and recent data show an Arctic wide temperature increase consistent with global warming rather than regional warming patterns, which would have been caused by natural variability.

p. 18: Epidemiological studies in several Arctic communities have shown much higher concentrations of pollutants in blood, hair, and umbilical cord blood and human milk compared to societies at lower altitude. These concentrations often exceed the regulatory standards used by international and national authorities.

p. 18: Sea ice is one of the most visible and rapidly changing aspects of the Arctic. Recent signifi cant changes in the physical state of sea ice include: (1) rapid decline in summer minimum extent, (2) loss of multiyear sea ice and (3) thinning of the ice cover. The rate of decline of sea ice has been faster than IPCC AR4 forecast and indicates the likelihood of summer ice-free conditions by mid-century, much earlier than expected just a few years ago.

p. 20: Arctic coastal seas underlain by subsea permafrost host an extremely large carbon pool: the Arctic continental shelf could contain around 1300 Gt of carbon, of which 800 Gt is CH4, some of which could be available for sudden release under the appropriate conditions.  A release of only 1% of this reservoir would more than triple the atmospheric mixing ratio of CH4, potentially triggering abrupt climate change.

p. 23: Projections of increased mass loss from the Arctic mountain glaciers, ice caps and the Greenland ice sheet are uncertain and can be summarized to be 1.0±0.5 m by the year AD

p. 27: Our results, along with those from a subset of atmospheric inversion models, suggest
that CO2 uptake by the region in previous decades may not be as strong as previously estimated. Our simulation experiments attribute the recent decline in sink strength as the combined result of 1) weakening sinks due to warming-induced increases in soil organic matter decomposition and 2) strengthening sources from pyrogenic CO2 emissions as a result of the substantial area of boreal forest burned in wildfires across the region in recent years.

p. 29: The results reveal drastic, systematic spatial changes in atmospheric circulation, characterized by the accelerated north-eastward shifts of the centers of action and finally formed Arctic Rapid change Pattern

p. 40: Greenland’s main outlet glaciers have more than doubled their contribution to global sea level rise over the last decade. Recent work has shown that Greenland’s mass loss is still increasing.

p. 70: Even in the absence of contributions from atmospheric deposition, the most remote lake ecosystems of the northern hemisphere have already deviated markedly from Late Holocene baseline conditions, and entered new states that are entirely consistent with the notion of Anthropocene.

p. 71: Our results stress that the derived ecological eff ects of climate change are dramatic even on a decadal scale, and, hence, take place at a high pace. The observed changes are likely to aff ect community functioning, and thus likely to aff ect adjacent trophic levels, ultimately aff ecting ecosystem functioning.

Arctic coastal seas underlain
by subsea permafrost host an extremely large carbon pool: the Arctic continental shelf
could contain around 1300 Gt of carbon, of which 800 Gt is CH4, some of which could be
available for sudden release under the appropriate conditions. A release of only 1% of this reservoir
would more than triple the atmospheric mixing ratio of CH4, potentially triggering abrupt
climate change.
2011-05-04 04:33:01


Funny. Watts find an article regarding some of the reports from the program, which says the sea level will rise faster than expected towards 2100. Watts checks the satelittes and conclude, nope, that can't be right.

What a complete a idiot!

Here is the article in the danish newspaper Politiken which the article AW uses for reference quotes, via Google translate.

2011-05-04 06:00:12
Dana Nuccitelli

Typical Watts idiocy.  Only look at 15 years, ignore the clear acceleration over the past century, and ignore the physical basis for future sea level rise projections.  In other words, apply the principles of global warming denial to sea level rise denial.