The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Main Topic: Heatwave Sets Off Record September Ice Melt in Greenland
Dear Diary. Dealing with Northern Hemisphere heatwaves this summer, it has been a while since our main topic of the day involved our cryosphere, or part of the planet covered by ice, which regulates our climate. Today we will hit both the subjects of heatwaves and the cryosphere simultaneously.
It has been estimated that if all of Greenland’s ice were to melt, seas would rise by about twenty feet, which of course would decimate all coastal areas round the globe. This week I’m learning that a September 2022 Greenland heatwave produced record ice melt in Greenland that month. This is one more sign that our climate is becoming increasingly out of whack…. especially since starting in most Septembers, melt begins to wain across Greenland as the heat from any Northern Hemisphere summer fades. Here are more details out of Gizmodo:
Heat Waves Set Off Record Ice Melt in Greenland Last Month
Greenland’s glaciers and snow reflect heat away from the planet, so rapid melt puts the planet on a path to faster warming.
A melting pond is seen inside an iceberg from the Greenland ice sheet in the Baffin Bay near Pituffik, Greenland on July 20, 2022. Photo: KEREM YUCEL/AFP (Getty Images)
September heat waves across Canada and the U.S. were so bad that the high temperatures melted ice all the way in Greenland. Strong winds from North America carried the hot air to the northeast, raising average temperatures there more than 8 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to past Septembers, according to Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth observation program.
Data from the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center’s (NSIDC) Summit Station recorded temperatures of 0 degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) at an elevation of more than 10,500 feet above sea level. This is the first time the Center recorded temperatures that high in that elevation since their records began. It wasn’t just the Center’s station that saw the effects of the record snowmelt event. Most of Greenland saw the highest average temperatures for September since records began in 1979, per Copernicus.
The unseasonably warm temperatures caused melting to occur across more than a third of the ice sheet, according to NSIDC. So much of the ice melted that more than 30 billion tons of surface water from Greenland flowed into the ocean.
The heatwaves in the U.S. throughout September were alarming. At the very beginning of last month, more than 50 million people were under heat warnings and advisories across multiple states including Utah, California, and Arizona.
Scientists and officials have worried about the rate of Greenland’s ice melt for some time. But this year’s melt events have been especially concerning. In July, temperatures in the usually cold country spiked to around 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius). That’s up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average for the month, CNN reported.
Scientists expect to see huge melt events in the middle of the summer, so though the scale of this past July’s melt is troubling, the timing isn’t a surprise. The melt season lasts from May to late September, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory. But the melt event recorded in September was the second-largest melt spike all year, and the largest in any September on record, NASA says. Researchers that study the Arctic worry this could become more common in the future.
“This event demonstrates how global warming does not only increase the intensity but also the length of the melting season,” Maurice van Tiggelen, a polar scientist from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, told the Washington Post in an email last month.
The Arctic is warming up faster than anywhere else on earth due to climate change. The ice that covers our poles naturally reflects sunlight away from the planet, so less ice and snow means that less sunlight is reflected away from the world. This can create a dangerous feedback loop, in which less ice means more heat is absorbed, which causes even faster melting. We can’t afford to lose more ice.
Here are some “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks:
Here is some more September 2022 climatology:
Here is more climate and weather news from Wednesday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
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Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”