Friday, 3 July 2015

The Arctic Ice melt

Tankers entered the Northern sea route in record early time

The nuclear icebreaker Taimyr. (RIA Novosti/Igor Mikhalev)

This year, the melting of the ice in the Arctic is faster than in the entire history of observations. From Murmansk already came in the first on two tankers on the Northern delivery plan.

Tankers of enhanced ice class "Indiga and Varzuga" will deliver diesel fuel to Chukotka (ports plentywood and Providence) to the end of the summer.

Experts note that over the last five years this is one of the earliest summer navigation on the Northern sea route. To ensure safe navigation in this area will be two atomic icebreaker: "Yamal", which came out from Murmansk last week, and "Vaigach".

Currently the amount of ice in the Arctic is slightly less than in the same period of 2010, when was recorded the previous record low. In the National data center for snow and ice USA to daily monitor the size of the Arctic ice cover from satellite technology.

Last week's average five days in the area of ice cover were 31 thousand square miles less than the same indicator a year ago.

Танкеры вышли на трассу Северного морского пути в рекордно ранний срок

В текущем году таяние льдов в Арктике происходит быстрее, чем за всю историю наблюдений. Из Мурманска уже вышли в первый рейс два танкера по плану северного завоза.

Танкеры усиленного ледового класса «Индига» и «Варзуга» будут доставлять зимнее дизельное топливо на Чукотку (порты Певек и Провидение) до конца лета.

Специалисты отмечают, что за последние пять лет это одна из самых ранних летних навигаций на трассах Северного морского пути. Обеспечивать безопасное судоходство в этом районе будут два атомных ледокола: «Ямал», который вышел из Мурманска на прошлой неделе, и «Вайгач».

В настоящее время количество льда в Арктике чуть меньше, чем в аналогичный период 2010 года, когда был зафиксирован предыдущий рекордный минимум. В Национальном центре данных по снегу и льду США ежедневно отслеживают размеры арктического ледового покрова с применением спутниковой техники.

На минувшей неделе средняя за пять дней площадь ледового покрова оказалась на 31 тыс. кв. км меньше аналогичного показателя годичной давности.

The el-Nino

Strong Westerlies Push El Nino Toward Extreme Event

3 July, 2015

For the past two weeks, winds have been blowing in an anomalous west-to-east pattern across the Western Pacific. It’s the third such pattern since El Nino conditions began to become more prevalent during March of this year. And forecast model response to the most recent westerly wind burst is an overall shift toward predicting a record event. Models are starting to settle on at least a strong El Nino come fall (1.5 degree Celsius anomaly or greater for Nino 3.4) with many ensembles predicting something even more intense than the super El Nino of 1998.

This third, El Nino heightening, westerly wind burst (WWB) coincided with a strong, wet variation of the Madden Julian Oscillation pumping up thunderstorm activity throughout the region. Last week, a consistent 20-35 mph westerly wind pattern had become very well established. Over the past four days, multiple cyclones became embedded within the pattern, which now stretches over 3,000 miles in length, pushing locally stronger winds and reinforcing the already significant wind field.

By today four cyclonic systems, including Typhoon Chan-Hom, had further heightened westerly wind intensity:

(The current strong westerly wind burst is looking more and more like the extreme event of early March of this year. It’s the third such event — one that is increasing the likelihood that the 2015 El Nino will be one more for the record books. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

It’s a pattern that in today’s map looks very similar to the record event which occurred this Spring. And it’s the third significant WWB to initiate since March of this year.

WWBs push warm surface water in the Western Pacific downward and across the ocean (read more about how WWBs affect El Nino severity here). These warm water pulses traverse thousands of miles, finally resurfacing in the Eastern Pacific off South America. The resultant warming of surface waters there and through the mid ocean region tends to set in place ocean temperature and atmospheric patterns that reinforce El Nino — driving more westerly winds and still more warm water displacement eastward.

Three westerly wind bursts firing off since March of 2015 have pushed increasingly strong El Nino conditions. A warming of the Equatorial Pacific that, in combination with a massive and rapidly growing greenhouse gas overburden from human fossil fuel burning, is forcing  global temperature readings to hit new record high after new record high.

Nino 3.4 CSV2
(CFSv2 Model runs are pointing toward a very powerful anomaly come Fall. Image source: Climate Prediction Center.)

This third strong westerly wind burst appears to have again pushed model forecasts into very extreme ranges for Fall of this year. NOAA’s CFSv2 ensembles now predicts a peak sea surface temperature anomaly in the range of 2.5 degrees Celsius above average to 3.1 degrees Celsius above average. An El Nino of this strength would be significantly stronger than the monster event of 1998. One that would occur in a global context that includes an approximate 45 parts per million CO2e worth of heat trapping gas accumulation since that time. One that is now in the range of 1 C warming above 1880s averages (or 1/4th the difference between now and the last ice age, but on the side of hot).

Since we are now well past the spring predictability barrier, these new model runs have a higher potential accuracy. That said, we are still four months out and a number of additional factors would have to come into play to lock in such a powerful event. However, the trend is still for a strong to extraordinarily powerful El Nino. And since such an event is occurring in a record warm atmosphere and ocean environment (due to human-caused climate change), the continued potential for related additional anomalous weather events (drought, flood, wildfires, extreme tropical cyclones in the Pacific, etc) is also high enough to remain a serious concern.


NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center
Earth Nullschool
Strong Influence of Westerly Wind Bursts on El Nino Diversity

Investigating the weather in eastern Siberia

I was asked about the source of the high 37C temperature in Siberia, so I decided to do some digging of my own and to consult information from Russian weather stations.

What I found is there are some very high temperatures in some parts of eastern Siberia, but this is not entirely unknown, seemingly.

The temperatures quoted by Sam Carana on the Arctic News blog are based on satellite data.

(Extremely!) warm weather in Chukhotka and Yakutia (Sakia) areas of Siberia

Average temperature for Anadyr (which is 800 km from Anyuysk) are listed as 5.4C and 10.6C in June and July respectively. Temperature vary,at present between 11 and 17C – so obviously there are large local variations

Anadyr, Chukotka

The average temperature in July for Anyuysk is listed as approximately 14C

Anyuysk, Chukhotka

The maximum temperature for Nyurba today is 24C, 

However temperatures are forecast to reach between 29 and 32C later in the week.

This comes with a temperature warning.

"Caution - Fatigue is possible with prolonged exposure and activity. Prolonged activity could result in heat cramps"

The statistics tell me that the average high temperature for July is 20.3C, but high temperatures are not totally unknown - with an all-time record of 35C

[hide]Climate data for Nyurba
Record high °C (°F)−2.2
Average high °C (°F)−31.2
Daily mean °C (°F)−35.1
Average low °C (°F)−40.2
Record low °C (°F)−61.0
Average precipitation mm (inches)25.3
Avg. precipitation days19.615.412.810.89.411.49.211.512.720.321.218.0172.3
Source: [9]

In addition to the high temperatures within the Arctic circle there was this diagram which shows “rain over a large area close to the North Pole. Rain over sea ice will create melt ponds with associated loss in albedo (reflectivity), making that light that was previously reflected back into space by the sea ice will instead be absorbed by the water, further speeding up the demise of the sea ice”.

Finally, temperature anomalies for the region -

A question of democracy: Towards the referendumin Greece

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ message

Greek citizens,

 We are at a critical juncture regarding the future of this country.

Sunday’s referendum is not about whether our country will stay in the Eurozone.
This is a given and no one should question this.

On Sunday we will choose whether to accept the institutions’ agreement or whether, with the strength of the people’s verdict, we will seek a viable solution.

In any case, I want to reassure the Greek people of government’s firm intention to reach an agreement with its partners, with conditions that are sustainable and will provide for the long-term.

Since we announced our decision to hold a referendum, better proposals have been offered concerning the debt and its necessary restructuring than those that were on the table on Friday.

We did not ignore them. We immediately submitted our counterproposals asking for a viable solution, and for this reason an extraordinary Eurogroup meeting was convened yesterday, which will continue this afternoon.

Should there be a positive outcome, we will respond immediately. In any case, the Greek government remains willing to negotiate and will do so until an agreement is reached. The government will be at the negotiating table on Monday as well, immediately after the referendum, seeking better terms for the Greek people.

A popular verdict is always so much stronger than the will of a government alone. And I would like to reiterate that democratic choice is a core European tradition. During very important moments in European history, the people have made important decisions through referenda.

This happened in France, and in many other countries, concerning the referendum on the European constitution. This happened in Ireland, where the referendum temporarily voided the Treaty of Lisbon and led to a renegotiation, that resulted in better terms for Ireland. Unfortunately, in Greece’s case, we’ve been subjected to different standards.

Personally, I would have never expected that democratic Europe would not understand the need to give some space and time to a people to sovereignly make a choice about their future.

The prevalence of extreme conservative forces led to the decision to asphyxiate our country’s banks–with the obvious aim of blackmailing not just the government, but each each citizen individually.

It is unacceptable in a Europe of solidarity and mutual respect to have these disgraceful images:

For the banks to be closed, exactly because the government decided to give the people the opportunity to express their will;

And for thousands of elderly people to be deeply inconvenienced. However, the Greek government, despite the financial asphyxiation, took the appropriate measures and made sure that pensions were paid and deposited into the accounts.

We owe an explanation to these people who have been so inconvenienced:

We have been fighting all these months in order to protect your pensions.

To protect your right to a decent pension and not a miserly “tip”.

The proposals that they tried to blackmail us in order to accept demanded huge pension reductions.

And we refused to go along with this.

And this is why they are retaliating today.

The Greek government was given an ultimatum to implement exactly the same austerity measures, and all the outstanding aspects of the memorandum that had not been implemented.

And, in fact, without any provisions on the debt and financing.

This ultimatum was not accepted.

The self-evident alternative was to reach out to the people.

And this is what we have done.

I am well aware that during this period the sirens of destruction have been blaring.

They are trying to blackmail you as well, and ask that you vote YES on all the measures requested by the institutions, without any prospect of exiting the crisis.

They want you to side with those in Parliament who have repeatedly said YES to all the measures that have burdened the country.

To become one with them.

Complicit in perpetuating the memoranda.

It is important to understand, NO is not just a slogan.

NO is a decisive step towards a better deal that we aim to be signed immediately after Sunday’s result.

It constitutes the clear choice of the people concerning how their lives will be going forward.

NO does not mean breaking with Europe, but rather, returning to a Europe of values.

NO means: strong pressure for an economically viable agreement that will solve the debt issue, that will not increase the debt so that it continuously undermines our efforts to rebuild the Greek economy and society.

A socially just agreement that will allocate the burdens to those that can shoulder them, and not the workers and the pensioners.

An agreement that will allow the country, in a short period of time, to access the international financial markets, and thus end the supervision and guardianship.

An agreement containing reforms that will punish, once and for all, those who enable corruption and that have been fueling the political system all these years.

And at the same time, it will address the humanitarian crisis, create a comprehensive safety net for those who are marginalized–precisely because of the policies that have been implemented in our country for so many years.
Greek citizens,

I am fully aware of the difficulties.

I personally pledge that I will do everything possible so that these difficulties are temporary.

Some insist on linking the referendum’s result to the country staying in the euro.

They claim that I have a hidden agenda, if the NO vote prevails, to remove the country from the EU.

They are knowingly lying.

These are same people who used to say the very same thing in the past.
And they do a great disservice to the people and to Europe.

As you are aware, a year ago during the European elections, I was a candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission.

I stood before the Europeans then, just as now, and I argued that austerity policies must stop, that the memoranda will not lead to an end to the crisis.
That the program implemented in Greece failed.

That Europe must stop behaving in an undemocratic manner.

A few months later, in January 2015, the Greek people confirmed these sentiments.

Unfortunately, certain people in Europe refuse to understand this, refuse to admit this.

Those who want a Europe of authoritarianism that fails to respect democracy, those who wish for Europe to be a superficial union with the IMF being the “glue” that binds, are not visionaries for Europe.

They are timid politicians, unable to think as Europeans.

They stand side by side with those in our domestic political system, who are responsible for leading our country to bankruptcy, and that now have the gall to attempt to dump the burden on us–even as we’ve been trying to put an end to the country’s course of destruction.

They dream, indeed, of being restored to power.

This is what they’ve been hoping for—and still hope for, irrespective of whether we accepted the ultimatum–as they have blatantly sought an unelected Prime Minister who would implement it– or whether we gave our people the opportunity to express their will.

They talk of a coup. But democracy is not a coup. Unelected governments intent on manipulating circumstances—that is a coup.

Greek citizens,

I want to wholeheartedly thank you for the calmness and composure you’ve shown during every hour of this difficult week.

I want to assure you that this situation will not drag on.

It will be temporary.

Salaries and pensions will not be lost.

The deposits of citizens who did not withdraw their money or place it abroad will not be sacrificed on the altar of expediency and extortion.

I personally assume responsibility for reaching a solution immediately after the democratic process.

I urge you to strengthen this negotiating effort with your support, I invite you to say NO to the memorandum measures that are destroying Europe.

I invite you to respond positively to the prospect of a viable solution.

To turn a page, that calls for upholding democracy.

With the certain hope that we will reach a better deal.

We owe this to our parents, our children, ourselves.

It is our duty. We owe this to history.

Thank you.

The following is an English translation of the referendum question circulating on Twitter

The ballot paper of the question upon which the Greek people are called to vote on. (Translated)