Monday, August 12, 2013

The Changing Arctic - A Video Collection of What We Know

Here are a few videos providing up to date information regarding our disappearing Arctic Sea Ice.  The evidence is becoming too convincing and we've wasted too much time already.  With every continued delay compounding the upheaval and pain our younger generations will be forced to live with.

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Disappearing Arctic Sea Ice - Melting Polar Ice Cap 

Bright Enlightenment  |  on Apr 3, 2013  |  2:25  
Disappearing Arctic Sea Ice - Melting Polar Ice Cap | Earth Science Footage Video

FROM NASA: "Arctic Sea Ice Max is 5th-Lowest on Record - This animation shows the seasonal change in the extent of the Arctic sea ice between March 1, 2012 and February 28, 2013. 

The annual cycle starts with the maximum extent reached on March 15, 2012. Every summer the Arctic ice cap melts down to its minimum extent before colder weather builds the ice cover back up. This new ice generated on an annual basis is called 'first-year' ice and is thinner than the older sea ice. The perennial ice is the portion of the ice cap that spans multiple years and represents its thickest component. 

On September 13, 2012, the sea ice minimum covered 3.439 million square kilometers, that is down by more than 3.571 million square kilometers from the high of 7.011 million square kilometers measured in 1980. The annual maximum extent for 2013 reached on February 28 reached an extent of 15.09 million square kilometers."

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Old Ice Becoming Rare in Arctic (1987-2011)

djxatlanta | Dec 8, 2011 | 0:44
The Arctic Ocean is virtually surrounded by land. The blanket of sea ice that forms there during the winter isn't completely free to drift away into warmer, southern waters. Because of that geography, it's common for sea ice to linger for many years at high latitudes, growing thicker and stronger, which makes it more likely to survive the summer melt. Or at least, it used to be common.

The animation above shows how dramatically the amount of multi-year ice (ice that has survived at least one summer melt season) in the Arctic has decreased over the past two decades. Based on satellite tracking of ice parcels over time, the maps show the estimated age of sea ice once a week from January 1987 through mid-summer 2011. Ice age increases from darkest blue (1 year old) to white (9 or more years old).

At the outermost edges of the ocean basin, the ice is seasonal: it forms every winter and melts every summer. Off the northeast coast of Greenland, a river of old ice continually flows out of the Arctic through the Fram Strait into warmer waters. Natural climate patterns accelerate the loss in some years and slow it down in others.

Historically, that ice river was the major route by which the Arctic lost its very old ice. The export was balanced by ocean currents and wind patterns on the other side of the Arctic. Young sea ice gets caught up in the giant loop current called the Beaufort Gyre. The ice could remain in the gyre for years, circling around and around the central Arctic through the Beaufort and Chuchki Seas, growing thicker. The Beaufort Gyre was an incubator for growing multi-year ice.

Since the late 1990s, however, the ice traveling through the southern part of the gyre rarely survives the summer melt. In other words, sea ice gets far less time in the incubator. In the mid-1980s, roughly 75 percent of the Arctic ice pack at the yearly maximum in March had survived at least one summer melt season; today only 45 percent has. Since the record low sea ice extent that occurred in summer 2007, no very old ice (9 or more years old) is left in the central Arctic basin. Only a thin ribbon remains tucked up against the islands of the Canadian Arctic.

The loss of the multi-year ice is both a result of climate change and, ultimately, an accelerator of it. The less old ice there is in the ice pack, the more easily the ice melts in the summer. The more ice that melts, the more of the ocean that's exposed to the 24-hour summer Sun. Bright white ice reflects incoming sunlight, but dark ocean water absorbs it, heating the ocean and accelerating warming.

credit: James Maslanik, Ned Gardiner, Hunter Allen, Richard Rivera, Rebecca Lindsey

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Melting Sea Ice in the Arctic

AGUvideos  |  Mar 25, 2013  |  40:00
Five Myths About Arctic Sea Ice

Changes in Arctic sea ice coverage are happening at unprecedented rates, with 2012 setting a new record low for sea ice extent. Our ability to predict changes of sea ice loss and understand the impacts on society, from commercial shipping to resource availability, will be driven by further scientific research in the region. Areas for discussion include: current data and what we understand about sea ice in the Arctic, how climate models contribute to future projections, and why we need to be prepared for a seasonal ice-free region.

Cecilia Bitz, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Atmospheric Sciences Department and Affiliate Physicist, Polar Science Center, University of Washington

Lt. Commander Kenneth J. Boda, Arctic Strategic Analyst, U.S. Coast Guard, and Prospective Executive Officer of USCG Cutter POLAR STAR

Brendan P. Kelly, Ph.D., Assistant Director for Polar Sciences, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President

John E. Walsh, Ph.D., Chief Scientist, International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks

For more information, please visit:

Video recorded and edited by AGU

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The Arctic's Record Breaking Ice Melt

NOAAVisualizations  |  Sep 17, 2012  |  0:33
The sea ice in the Arctic Ocean dropped below the previous all-time record set in 2007. This year also marks the first time that there has been less than 4 million square kilometers (1.54 million square miles) of sea ice since satellite observations began in 1979. This animation shows the 2012 time-series of ice extent using sea ice concentration data from the DMSP SSMI/S satellite sensor. 

The black area represents the daily average (median) sea ice extent over the 1979-2000 time period. Layered over top of that are the daily satellite measurements from January 1 -- September 14, 2012. A rapid melt begins in July, whereby the 2012 ice extents fall far below the historical average. The National Snow and Ice Data Center ( will confirm the final minimum ice extent data and area once the melt stabilizes, usually in mid-September.

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Climate Change and Extreme Weather: Prof. Jennifer Francis (2013)

ghostsofevolution   |   Feb 17, 2013  |  40:30

Superb educational video summarizing climate change evidence through 2012. Click on blue time codes to advance to these topics:

Note: The original 112-minute conference video of Jennifer Francis's presentation is the official product of StormCenter Communications Inc. It is posted on their StormCenterInc youtube channel at

Prof. Francis' talk was filmed at the 24th annual Glen Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit, held in Breckinridge (Colorado) January 2013. You can view all videos from that conference and download the ppt presentations at

ADVANCE TO TOPICS by clicking on the blue time codes below:

00:35 - Scientists and the public now link extreme weather events to CO2 rise.

07:19 - Overwhelming evidence that climate change is human-caused.

14:23 - "We have changed Mother Nature's deck of cards."

15:32 - Effects of increased CO2 levels on the Arctic: "Arctic Amplification."

23:49 - Understanding the jetstream. Note: A superb webpage (text) intro to the jet stream and how a warmer Arctic disrupts it is "A Rough Guide to the Jet Stream" at

24:44 - A warmer Arctic causes the jetstream to weaken and meander.

29:21 - The jetstream now "blocks" over Greenland in summer.

30:03 - Greenland ice melt is increasing.

30:55 - Examples of extreme weather events correlated with a weak, meandering jetstream.

34:53 - Superstorm Sandy's connection to a warming, melting Arctic.

37:18 - Summary and conclusions: "The public is listening now."

Note: This video is a composite of six excerpts drawn from the original, "Weather and Climate Summit - Day 3, Dr. Jennifer Francis" (published on Youtube 25 January 2013). Freelance youtuber Connie Barlow (aka "ghostsofevolution") produced this richly educational and illustrated video as a public service that is unaffiliated with the host organization (StormCenter Communications, Inc). Feel free to use or download this version for increasing public awareness of the fact and scale of ongoing climate change. Please credit "StormCenter Communications, Inc" as the original source of the full-length video, and reference their conference website:

Two still photos were added into this new video version that did not also appear in the original video:

0:55 - image of 2012 Colorado wildfire, credit:
1:03 - image of 2012 Phoenix dust storm credit: Associated Press

SUPPLEMENTAL VIDEO: Educators note that you can find an even more instructional video by Prof. Francis of the same material (and with even more charts, and of high resolution). She presented this 42-minute program as a webinar-skype on 30 Oct 2012 for an Arctic climate seminar at the University of Alaska (Fairbanks). Here is the webinar archive link:
Then scroll down by date to her title, "Wacky Weather and Disappearing Arctic Sea Ice: Are They Connected?" I recommend, however, that students first watch the "Climate Change and Extreme Weather" video that I posted, as only this video lets the viewer actually see Dr. Francis presenting. The "Wacky Weather" video is entirely a slide show, with a few embedded videos. You never get to see Jennifer Francis, and you have to concentrate a lot more to follow along. But it is superb resource for in-classroom or home-study for college-level students.

NEW RESEARCH by J. Francis (and colleagues) on effects of winter sea ice loss in Arctic: Published 12 March 2013: "Cold winter extremes in northern continents linked to Arctic sea ice loss":


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{This video strays into the situation on Greenland}

Climate Change 2013: 

Greenland Ice Sheet and Northern Polar Jet Stream

newculture  |  Jul 23, 2013  |  54:50 

New climate change science explained by Peter Sinclair, just back from a scientific expedition to the Greenland Ice Sheet. Sinclair explains the feedback effects of melting ice, and the impacts on the northern polar jet stream and mean sea level. 

Sinclair leads educators on climate science and created the Climate Denial Crock of the Week video series, which tackles myths about global warming, the greenhouse effect, and carbon dioxide pollution.

Sinclair proposes moving towards wind and solar as the key to jobs and future energy needs.

Recorded, edited, and published by Aaron Wissner of

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AGU 2012 Fall Meeting: 

'What's going on in the Arctic?'

AGUvideos | Dec 5, 2012 | 53:14
What's going on in the Arctic?

Despite unremarkable air temperatures this year, the Arctic still set records for loss of summer
sea ice, decline in spring snow extent, rising permafrost temperatures in northernmost Alaska,
and duration and extent of melting at the surface of the Greenland ice sheet. Large changes in
multiple indicators are affecting climate and ecosystems.

What's going on here? NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco and others will outline the changing conditions as part of the annual update of the Arctic Report Card, an international effort to assess the state of the Arctic
environmental system.

Jane Lubchenco, Undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, and administrator of
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, DC, USA;
Martin O. Jeffries, Program Officer & Arctic Science Advisor, Office of Naval Research,
Arlington, Virginia, USA;
Donald Perovich, Adjunct Professor at Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College;
Jason E. Box, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Byrd Polar Research Center,
The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.
Sesssions: C33F, C51E

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Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Volumes on Map of New York 1979-2012

Andy Lee Robinson  |  Jun 1, 2013  |  0:31

This is an animated visualization of the startling decline of Arctic Sea Ice, showing the minimum volume reached every September since 1979, set on a map of New York to give an idea of scale. It is clear that the Arctic will soon be ice-free for an increasing part of the year, with consequences for the climate.
(I also composed and played the piano music, "Ice Dreams")

A full HD 1080p version is available for broadcast, and can be customized.

The rate of ice loss in the Arctic is staggering. Since 1979, the volume of Summer Arctic sea ice has declined by more than 80% and accelerating faster than scientists believed it would, or even could melt.
The first ice-free summer in the Arctic Ocean is expected to happen between 2016 and 2022.

About the data: Sea Ice Volume is calculated using the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS, Zhang and Rothrock, 2003) developed at APL/PSC.
Source data for this graph is available from

More information:
The image first appeared in still form on Think Progress, and I decided to try to bring it to life over the following weeks:

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