Friday, June 17, 2016

Greenland Heats Up Again, So Do Global Temperatures

Areas in red show where ice was
melting in Greenland on June 10.
That's an unusually big area
of Greenland to see ice melt,
especially so early in the summer.  
Seems like every time I turn around, there's more heat news to report from the Arctic.

This time, it's Greenland again. The community of Nuuk, on Greenland's southwest coast, reached 76 degrees last Friday, the hottest temperature on record for Greenland in June. That broke the previous record high of 75 set just the day before. 

True, the southwest coast of Greenland is normally the warmest part of the mostly ice-capped large island, but still, this was something.

Warmth extended well inland, so, ominously, the seasonal melting of the Greenland ice cap, which already got off to an early start, is more intense than usual, at least for now.

Greenland melting is worse than the ice melting in the Arctic ocean. Greenland's ice is on a land surface, so if more than the usual amount melts in the summer, that contributes to sea level rises.

If the ice is already floating in the ocean, by contrast, sea levels wouldn't really rise if that ice melts.

Still, melting sea ice is bad because it increases the amount of solar heat that goes into the Arctic Ocean, which in turn could help make Greenland warmer and encourage even more melting.

The increasing amounts of ice loss in the Arctic Ocean could also be influencing the arrangement of the jet stream, causing something known as the Arctic amplification.

This would also increase temperatures in Greenland, causing more melting, notes the Christian Science Monitor.

Says the Monitor:

"If loss of sea ice is driving changes in the jet stream, the jet stream is changing Greenland, and this, in turn, has an inpact on the Arctic systm as well as the climate. It's a system. It is strongly interconnected and we have to approach it as such," Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory professor and lead study author Marco Todesco said in a Columbia University release."

Meanwhile, yesterday, NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, their monthly global analysis, said May, 2016 was Earth's hottest May on record.

If that statement sounds like a broken record, it should. Incredibly, each of the past 13 months have now been record hottest.

The effects of the world-warming El Nino are fading, now that the periodic warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean is kaput.

May wasn't as far above normal temperature wise around the world as recent months, which might reflect a bit of a "cooling" trend because of El Nino's waning influence.

Still, 2016 looks to be a shoo-in for the hottest year on record for Earth, which would beat the previous record set in 2015. But 2017 will probably be a bit cooler, because El Nino is gone.

We shouldn't take much comfort in that. El Nino explains only part of the wildly warm 13 months we just had. Global warming explains the rest. And that's not going away. It will keep intensifying.

So 2017 will surely be warmer for the Earth than it has in the past, and it will probably be only a few years before the record for hottest year will be eclipsed yet again.

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