The new Arctic Report Card, released Thursday, “tells a story of widespread, continued and even dramatic effects of a warming Arctic,” said Jackie Richter-Menge of the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility.
Highlighting the immediate consequences of the warming, researchers said last winter’s massive snowstorms that struck the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic U.S. states were tied to higher Arctic temperatures.
“Normally the cold air is bottled up in the Arctic,” said Jim Overland of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle. But last December and February, winds that normally blow west to east across the Arctic were instead bringing the colder air south to the mid-Atlantic, he said.
“As we lose more sea ice it’s a paradox that warming in the atmosphere can create more of these winter storms,” Overland said at a news briefing.
In other words, the Arctic Oscillation was very low last winter, so the cold air went south.
Winter snow accumulation on land in the Arctic was the lowest since records began in 1966.
In other words, the Arctic Oscillation was very low last winter, so the snow went south. North America had its snowiest winter on record.
Glaciers and ice caps in Arctic Canada are continuing to lose mass at a rate that has been increasing since 1987, reflecting a trend toward warmer summer air temperatures and longer melt seasons.
In other words, we released this report even though we should have known that the UT GRACE mass loss studies were flawed, and that sea level rise has slowed over the last five years.
Greenland in 2010 has had record-setting high air temperatures, ice loss through melting, and marine-terminating glacier area loss. The largest recorded glacier area loss observed in Greenland occurred this summer at Petermann Glacier, where a piece of ice several times larger than Manhattan Island broke away.
In other words, there was a blocking high pressure system over Greenland during the winter which kept temperatures at -20C instead of -25C. And we should have been familiar with Professor Muenchow’s statement about Petermann “Even a big piece like this over 50 years is not that significant. It’s just the normal rate”