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: Some West Antarctica Ice Melt Is Inevitable…An Update
Dear Diary. By now most of my readers know that sea level rise will be greatly affected by increased ice melt coming from Antarctica as we move into the future. Western Antarctic ice is more unstable than that located on the shores of the eastern side of the frozen continent. Today the Washington Post has written a detailed summary on some of the latest science in association with what is happening with ice on the western side of Antarctica. The news is not good. Apparently, we have dithered too long with substantially limiting our carbon pollution to inhibit western Antarctic ice melt such that sea level rise is now a given that will eventually inundate current coastal areas worldwide.
The big “”doomsday” glacier Thwaites has been in the news a lot in recent years. Here is some of the latest information in association with this glacier from the Post:
West Antarctic ice sheet faces ‘unavoidable’ melting, a warning for sea level rise https://t.co/Ij3N26PKkb— Svein Tveitdal (@tveitdal) October 23, 2023
Accelerating ice losses are all but “unavoidable” this century in vulnerable West Antarctic ice shelves as waters warm around them, according to new research. And the…
West Antarctic ice sheet faces ‘unavoidable’ melting, a warning for sea level rise
October 23, 2023
In November 2013, a large iceberg separated from the front of Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier and began its journey across Pine Island Bay, a basin of the Amundsen Sea. (NASA/GSFC/LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response/Jeff Schmaltz)
Accelerating ice losses are all but “unavoidable” this century in vulnerable West Antarctic ice shelves as waters warm around them, according to new research. And the analysis could mean scientists were too conservative in predicting about 1 to 3 feet of sea level rise by 2100.
A study found that regardless of how aggressively humans act to reduce fossil fuel emissions — and thus limit how much the planet warms — waters around some of West Antarctica’s glaciers are forecast to warm at a pace three times faster than they have in the past.
That is forecast to cause “widespread increases in ice-shelf melting, including in regions crucial for ice-sheet stability,” according to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Monday. Unlike relatively thin and floating sea ice, the ice shelves are thicker and hold back massive glaciers that contain far more ice.
“It appears we may have lost control of the West Antarctic ice shelf melting over the 21st century,” Kaitlin Naughten, the study’s lead author and an ocean modeler with the British Antarctic Survey, told reporters in a media briefing. “That very likely means some amount of sea level rise that we cannot avoid.”
The research helps to solidify an understanding that humans have likely already pushed some polar ice systems past a tipping point and into escalating decline.
Arctic sea ice has been decreasing for decades, with data suggesting an “irreversible” thinning around the North Pole since 2007. And while Antarctic sea ice has been more stable, it now may be showing signs of dramatic declines, as well. Sea ice cover hit a record low around the South Pole in February and last month reached a winter maximum that was its smallest ever observed, by a wide margin.
As the Southern Ocean warms, thinning the floating sea ice, it is also increasingly threatening the ice shelves. The new research underscores what dozens of studies have suggested for three decades, said glaciology researcher Ted Scambos: The West Antarctic ice sheet appears to beheaded for an eventual “collapse.”
“It is the opposite of resilient,” Scambos, a senior research scientist at the Earth Science & Observation Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said in an email. “It takes an ice age to build it, but in a warm period, like now, it teeters on instability.”
The new research focused on the Amundsen Sea, an area of the Southern Ocean that surrounds some of Antarctica’s largest glaciers, which are buttressed by the thinning andretreating ice shelves. That includes Thwaites Glacier, which scientists have nicknamed the “doomsday” glacier because if it retreats far enough, it would essentially compromise the center of West Antarctica.
Scientists have estimated losses to Thwaites could eventually trigger as much as 10 feet of sea level rise, with recent research suggesting the glacier is already showing signs of disintegration.
In the study, simulations of future warming in the Amundsen show sea temperatures rising dramatically in any of a number of scenarios for future global warming. The researchers explored how the seas would warm in a world where global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) — the ambitious target global leaders agreed upon in Paris in 2015 — but also two scenarios that allow for more middle-range pathways for emissions and the resulting planetary warming.
In each of those scenarios, projections of how much the Amundsen would warm were “statistically indistinguishable,” Naughten said.
The researchers only noted significant changes in their projections of Amundsen warming under the most pessimistic scenario for global warming, one featuring massive fossil fuel use throughout the century and strong warming. In that case, Amundsen Sea temperatures would be expected to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) per century at some depths, close to twice as quickly as predicted in the other scenarios.
In a Nature column published alongside the study, one scientist called it “the most comprehensive set of future projections of warming in the Amundsen Sea so far.” Taimoor Sohail, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of New South Wales in Australia, wrote that the study highlights the urgency of not just reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but adapting communities for now-inevitable effects of climate change, including sea level rise.
Other scientists not involved in the research also called its approach sound. Scambos said the analysis is “about as good as the state of the art at present.” That the researchers described the melting as “unavoidable” in the title of their paper “means they’re pretty confident,” he added.
Implications for global sea level rise
Because the ice shelves are floating, their melting does not directly add to sea level rise. But their vulnerability raises questions about how much of the grounded ice cover across Antarctica, which is frequently over a mile thick, could eventually flow into the Southern Ocean.
The latest report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released in March, might give the impression that Antarctica will make a modest contribution to sea level rise by 2100.
The panel considers multiple emissions scenarios and gives a range of possible outcomes, including some severe ones. Yet its central predictions only show around a third of a foot of sea level rise by the end of this century because of ice losses from the enormous frozen continent. That’s despite a vast range in possible scenarios for human greenhouse gas emissions.
While there’s little doubt that the new research worsens this outlook, it isn’t clear by how much, because the loss of ice from West Antarctica will still take a long time to play out, and will undoubtedly be much more dramatic after 2100.
Naughten said the study’s findings are not yet incorporated into the IPCC’s sea level rise projections. Translating the expected warming in the Amundsen Sea into an estimate of sea level rise involves a complex research undertaking of its own, factoring in melting as well as snowfall and the flow of glaciers, she said.
Thwaites glacier is showing quickening ice losses but has thus far only contributed a few millimeters to sea level rise since the late 1970s, according to data shared by Eric Rignot, an expert on Antarctic glaciers at the University of California at Irvine. Scientists generally fear that this could get a lot worse, but also think it may take a few more decades to reach this dire point.
Rignot notes that scientists first detected Thwaites’ retreat inland along the seafloor in 1992. The glacier has since moved its moorings about 18 miles toward the center of Antarctica, he said. But it still has another 12 to 18 miles to go until it reaches “the very deep part when the retreat will go orders of magnitude faster,” Rignot says.
In other words, there’s a difference between saying that something can’t be stopped, and saying that it has already arrived. While coastal planners still have time for a lot preparation, the world contains an enormous amount of infrastructure and millions of people living in vulnerable, low lying areas.
What the study stresses is that much of the ice shelf losses are already locked in given how much the planet has warmed since humans began consuming fossil fuels — more than 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
“To stop or slow down the retreat, we have to go back to a cooler climate,” Rignot said in an email.
Naughten acknowledged the research would likely contribute to pessimistic views of global warming, but said it still demonstrates the importance of action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming. While the ice shelves near the Amundsen Sea could eventually contribute to sea level rise, the region accounts for just 10 percent of Antarctic ice, she said.
“Even if we can’t avoid melting this region, we could still avoid the melting of East Antarctica,” she said. “We could still avoid damage to coral reefs. We could still avoid heat waves.”
By Scott Dance Scott Dance is a reporter for The Washington Post covering extreme weather news and the intersections between weather, climate, society and the environment. He joined The Post in 2022 after more than a decade at the Baltimore Sun, where he most recently focused on climate change and the environment. Twitter
By Chris Mooney Chris Mooney is a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter covering climate change, energy, and the environment. He has reported from the 2015 Paris climate negotiations, the Northwest Passage, and the Greenland ice sheet, among other locations, and has written four books about science, politics and climate change. Twitter
New study on West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse (https://t.co/fQ81I7r7y0) is quite LITERALLY a text book example of @Revkin's "whiplash" phenomenon.— Prof Michael E. Mann (@MichaelEMann) October 23, 2023
From the intro of #OurFragileMoment (https://t.co/bkqz2LwHNu) pic.twitter.com/ZoJYvXaNp5
We’ve spent the last few years modelling the future of the Amundsen Sea in West Antarctica, and I regret to inform you that it’s not good news. https://t.co/h0i8ffIWN9— Dr Kaitlin Naughten (@kaitlinnaughten) October 23, 2023
A 1 in 7.5 million year event. Yeah that must be a natural cycle eh. Unprecedented low levels of ice around Antarctica with the summer yet to come. Albedo matters. Earth is losing its shine. https://t.co/IEngC9EpFV— Peter Dynes (@PGDynes) October 23, 2023
Instead of:— Doug Parr (@doug_parr) October 23, 2023
"West Antarctic ice shelf melt 'unavoidable' "
maybe it better for this headline to be:
"Don't buy or build anything close to sea level if you want it to be safe, or valuable later this century"
which would make its relevance clearerhttps://t.co/w0ICdTHiYi
We just don’t know the upper boundary for how fast [the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet] can happen,” scientist Richard Alley told me in 2017. “We are dealing with an event no human has ever witnessed before. We have no analogue for this.” https://t.co/UYRuTv3TjK— Jeff Goodell (@jeffgoodell) October 23, 2023
"How do you tell a bad news story? The conventional wisdom is that you’re supposed to give people hope."— Dr Kaitlin Naughten (@kaitlinnaughten) October 23, 2023
My @ConversationUK article on our new @NatureClimate paper about the future of West Antarctica. https://t.co/veOTBaDADK
New research confirms— GO GREEN (@ECOWARRIORSS) October 23, 2023
West Antarctica ice shelf melting beyond point of no return
"It looks like we've lost control of melting of West Antarctic Ice Sheet" says Dr Naughten
Hundreds of millions of people worldwide at risk of coastal flooding #climate https://t.co/USMZYscS18 pic.twitter.com/RRQNESQA6E
The ice shelves that hold back the West Antarctic ice sheet will be melted by warming seawater, even if we limit warming to 1.5°C, according to new projections. https://t.co/YveVGNovwE— New Scientist (@newscientist) October 23, 2023
Unavoidable future increase in West #Antarctic ice-shelf melting over the 21stC.— Laurie Garrett (@Laurie_Garrett) October 23, 2023
"Rapid ocean warming, at approx 3X the historical rate, is likely committed over the 21st century, w/widespread ^s in ice-shelf melting…mitigation of GHGs now has limited power to prevent ocean…
Here are some other “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks, as well as any extreme precipitation reports:
Big contrasts today in Europe:— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) October 22, 2023
New seasonal low with -23C Nattavaara in Sweden
Absurd heat in the East with 34C in Turkey and Cyprus and night minimums up to 25C in Greece
Anomalies are brutal near the Black Sea
33.3C Tiraspol MOLDOVA monthly record
30.8C Simferopol UKRAINE pic.twitter.com/gcF7v3Hgg7
Some other remarkable temperatures in Europe— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) October 23, 2023
34.1 Luleburgaz (European Turkey)
Today TMIN 26.1 Akinci Burnu
35.3 Kalavasos CYPRUS
33.1 Potamoi CRETE,GREECE
Next 2 days TUNISIA might touch 40C
The whole week will be hot in the area pic.twitter.com/JMLMrZj2t9
Final max. temperature of 34.4C on 21 October at Vulcanesti in MOLDOVA.— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) October 23, 2023
It's a brutal, unbelievable temperature for the third half of October and would be well above July average max.
NEW MOLDOVAN NATIONAL OCTOBER HEAT RECORD https://t.co/pv0b6lnZRo
Another record heat wave in SOUTH AMERICA— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) October 22, 2023
MIN 30.9C Prats Gill,PARAGUAY and Ingeniero Juarez ,ARGENTINA:Highest October TMIN on record in South America
45.2 Pozo Hondo 45.0 Prats Gill
BOLIVIA all time records
41.3 Santa Cruz Airport
More to come… pic.twitter.com/dJGGl8vMvP
EXTRAORDINARY heat in South America— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) October 23, 2023
Tonight the MIN. temperature at Sombrero Hovy in PARAGUAY was 32.4C. [31.6C in Nueva Asuncion]
This pulverizes again the South American record of October highest Tmin.
Dozens of records are falling: More updates later.
SOUTH AMERICA HEAT WAVE Update #3— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) October 23, 2023
45.2C Pozo Hondo PARAGUAY.
New National heat record for October
45.5C Ingeniero Juarez 45.0C Rivadavia 44.8C Las Lomitas
Tomorrow worse ! Nights >30C Days >45C https://t.co/TL3hDHwo4q
North Africa-Middle East Heat Wave:— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) October 23, 2023
Very hot day in the region with 41.0C in Algeria,40.0C at Zuara in Libya (Mediterranean coast).
Further East 39C in Israel.
The whole week will be unusually hot with temperatures locally exceeding 40C.
In the Sahel even 42/44C in Senegal. pic.twitter.com/xjxT7rVpId
Australia Heat Wave:— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) October 23, 2023
Records of highest Minimum Temperatures were broken again at Barrow Island with 27.3C and Varanus Island 26.9C today pic.twitter.com/A295MRDGBY
Latest 00z ECMWF is forecasting up to 1,000 mm (40 inches) of rain in Al Ghaydah, Yemen through Thursday as Tropical Cyclone Tej makes landfall and then stalls over the region. Serious flooding concerns if this verifies. This is usually one of the world’s most arid regions. pic.twitter.com/kvKEexi9XJ— Nahel Belgherze (@WxNB_) October 23, 2023
Autumn weather in half of the United States and still warm to hot weather in the South with widespread 90s today.— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) October 22, 2023
The Arizona heat wave is ending with the last 100s but all next week the Southern States will still be very warm before a change at the very end of the month. pic.twitter.com/TaqRrUQblZ
India's rainfall in August 2023 was the lowest for August since records began in 1901, by a wide margin. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/VyjWJ6jcTA— Robbie Andrew (@robbie_andrew) October 23, 2023
Here is More Climate and Weather News from Monday:
(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.)
Our 2023 Q3 State of the Climate is out over at @CarbonBrief:— Zeke Hausfather (@hausfath) October 23, 2023
⬆️ Record global temps since June
⬆️ Virtually certain to be hottest year on record
⬆️ Record-setting ocean heat content
⬆️ October on track for record warmth
⬇️ Record low Antarctic sea icehttps://t.co/hRkUKyf6VT pic.twitter.com/SjkTSJNFfZ
For the 'Paris curious' among us, here is a table that gives the monthly average anomaly from the 1850-1900 IPCC baseline for the year through Oct. 22. For the IPCC baseline, I used Berkeley Earth data. For the daily temperatures, I used this data:https://t.co/7fu63tpmj4 pic.twitter.com/k5PpZvcWs7— Prof. Eliot Jacobson (@EliotJacobson) October 23, 2023
With 20 days of October now available, its clear that this month will be the warmest October on record by a large margin. I dig into what this means for an already exceptionally hot 2023 over at The Climate Brink: https://t.co/Imsa7XBNiw pic.twitter.com/hYpf805xLy— Zeke Hausfather (@hausfath) October 23, 2023
Last month observed the largest temperature anomalies (by magnitude and latitude) in the #Antarctic…— Zack Labe (@ZLabe) October 23, 2023
[Plot shows zonal-mean surface air temperature anomalies (1951-1980 baseline), where latitude = x-axis (not scaled by distance). Data from GISTEMPv4] pic.twitter.com/nlkIWrR9L0
For 223 straight days, Earth's sea surface temperatures have been at all-time record warm levels.— Colin McCarthy (@US_Stormwatch) October 23, 2023
That's 7 months and 9 days straight.
An unprecedented amount of oceanic warmth never seen before in modern history. pic.twitter.com/tOlaol4821
Planetary Catastrophe at 1.4- 1.6°C of global warming: “The entire Caribbean right now is bleaching. If you picked a random spot on the map in the Caribbean and jumped in the water, you’re going to see bleached corals.” 🧵 https://t.co/bqFGLjkHhF— Ben See (@ClimateBen) October 23, 2023
Hot, dry & windy days are becoming more common across much of the country. After a year of wildfires driving the news i’ll explain the data and what we can do to reduce our risk for fires in a special report tonight during KOMU 8 News at 6. #mowx pic.twitter.com/ppSEE1psZO— Matt Beckwith (@KOMUMatt) October 23, 2023
“Using a multi-model approach; we find that changes in ocean temperature and oxygen drive a centuries-long irreversible loss in the habitable volume of the upper 1000 m of the world ocean.” https://t.co/51SiWpCaBN— David Wallace-Wells (@dwallacewells) October 23, 2023
The open water passage through the Arctic Ocean has closed again till next year.— Dr. Robert Rohde (@RARohde) October 23, 2023
This year the passage was open longer than in 2021 or 2022, but still far shorter the record set in 2020. pic.twitter.com/0TaOMTYXKz
Earth's species set to be "hit with a sledgehammer by the climate over the next year". https://t.co/ZAJsZ6uxrX— Ben See (@ClimateBen) October 23, 2023
Today’s News on Sustainable, Traditional Polluting Energy from Fossil Fuel, and the Green Revolution:
“French parking lots could soon generate as much electricity as 10 nuclear power plants” https://t.co/m6REQx5kYv— Mike Hudema (@MikeHudema) October 22, 2023
We have so many solutions. Stop the delays and implement them. #ActOnClimate #climate #energy #renewables #GreenNewDeal pic.twitter.com/5iTgLZGtHi
'Scotland’s largest offshore #wind farm operating at full capacity and can generate enough electricity to power 2/3 #Scotland’s households, will displace 2 million tonnes of CO2 each year.'#renewables #RenewableEnergy #ClimateActionNow https://t.co/Vk9jAEp9JN— Dr Paul Dorfman (@dorfman_p) October 23, 2023
With U.S. exports surging in recent years, Houston has become a key hub for global oil markets. “Houston is where it gets really interesting.” https://t.co/9THl09unom— OpenMarkets (@Open_Markets) August 21, 2023
More from the Weather Department:
Around 100 vehicles were involved in a massive pileup caused by "superfog" on I-55 outside of New Orleans on Monday.— AccuWeather (@accuweather) October 23, 2023
At least two people were killed and more than two dozen others were injured. pic.twitter.com/c1VVkVxxZp
Worst-case scenario with today's "Superfog" in #Louisiana. Devastating impacts in deadly car pile-up on I-55. Sending prayers for those impacted & families with lives lost.— Scot Pilié (@ScotPilie_Wx) October 23, 2023
Persistent marsh fire over Bayou Sauvage with light winds, helped combine smoke with dense fog. pic.twitter.com/W6dOGkIlKa
Terrifying scene on I-55 between Ruddock & Manchac, Louisiana.— Scot Pilié (@ScotPilie_Wx) October 23, 2023
Dense fog likely played a significant role in lowering visibility before this terrible car pileup.
Hoping all are ok. https://t.co/WtLfM8A7b0
Barely a day and a half after #Norma hit Cabo San Lucas, #Otis is getting ready to breeze up the west coast of #Mexico with heavy rainfall.#Tammy is still ambling over the open Atlantic and another depression could form/hit Nicaragua soon. https://t.co/b9Qva5hQlj— Matthew Cappucci (@MatthewCappucci) October 23, 2023
I hear time and time again how people are shocked by recent floods— GO GREEN (@ECOWARRIORSS) October 23, 2023
Why are they shocked – climate scientists and activists like myself having telling them every day year after year what was coming and we were dismissed as clowns and freaks
Well who are the clowns now? https://t.co/lpctmkzOyd
Tricky Tammy. Zig Zag. Stall. Close to Bermuda. Latest ensembles here on https://t.co/j6cXc9Fom0 showing some debate. Many show eventual weakening but interesting to track for sure. Nothing ever 100% in the tropics we see each and every year. https://t.co/Hk3pbO7x8H pic.twitter.com/UPhPhLBipw— Mike's Weather Page (@tropicalupdate) October 23, 2023
Tropical Cyclone #Tej is moving towards the coasts of #Oman and #Yemen with heavy rainfall, high seas and winds. It has weakened but still major risks of flooding in this normally arid region.#Satellite image via @defis_eu #EarlyWarningsForAll pic.twitter.com/wReeScVbOL— World Meteorological Organization (@WMO) October 23, 2023
October 23, 2015:— WX History (@weather_history) October 23, 2023
Hurricane Patricia peaked as a Category 5 with winds of 215 mph & an 872 mb pressure in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The storm was the most intense hurricane ever recorded both in the NHC's area of responsibility & the Western Hemisphere as a whole. #wxhistory pic.twitter.com/A9xO6aM07V
More on the Environment:
"The slow death of a desert giant – Climate change is pushing the Sonoran Desert to the brink, with saguaro cacti as a bellwether of the impending disaster" by Osha Davidson (aka @ThePhoenixSun) for #YaleClimateConnections (@CC_Yale): https://t.co/2kMUzrE93O— Prof Michael E. Mann (@MichaelEMann) October 23, 2023
‘Trees have no legal status’: calls rise for stronger protection in UK against felling— Brian McHugh 🌏🏳️🌈 (@BrianMcHugh2011) October 23, 2023
Great to see these calls to change the way we view our relationship with nature https://t.co/GKPsNCvw6w
Critical importance of Krill in Antarctica not just food for Antarctica marine life but also in storing carbon and slowing global warming but not much longer as China Russia Norway and others scoop up vast amounts of Krill https://t.co/eDm4qeTIZI pic.twitter.com/t37zBjtTVf— GO GREEN (@ECOWARRIORSS) October 22, 2023
More on Other Science and the Beauty of Earth and this Universe:
What a tough choice! 🤔 Which do you like more: a beautiful landscape of fall foliage 🍁 or a fresh blanket of snow 🌨 ? pic.twitter.com/13D3ZT6gDv— AccuWeather (@accuweather) October 22, 2023
Night Thoughts— Green is a mission (@Greenisamissio1) October 23, 2023
Plant a tree and you won't know who will rest in its shade. Remember, our ancestors also planted trees and did not know us then either. In this sense, think of our descendants, they will appreciate.💚☘️🌿🌱🌲🌳🍀💚 pic.twitter.com/6ZkK6gtG1V
Sometimes we just need a minute to pause and breathe.— Greenpeace International (@Greenpeace) October 23, 2023
Check out our nature serenity series, it’ll calm your mind and spirit today💙 https://t.co/1bU5baiR2f