Dwindling of Arctic's oldest ice since 1990

This is one of the most alarming videos about global warming I've seen.

From the YouTube description:

Time lapse of the age of sea ice in the Arctic from week to week since 1990, updated through the March 2016 winter maximum. The oldest ice (9 or more years old) is white. Seasonal ice is darkest blue. Old ice drifts out of the Arctic through the Fram Strait (east of Greenland), but in recent years, it has also been melting as it drifts into the southernmost waters of the Beaufort Sea (north of western Canada and Alaska).

From NOAA's website:

Sea ice grows throughout the winter and melts throughout the summer, reaching its maximum extent in late February or March, and its minimum extent in September. The ice that survives at least one summer melt season is typically thicker and more likely to survive future summers. Since the 1980s, the amount of this perennial ice (or multiyear) has declined dramatically.

This animation tracks the relative amount of ice of different ages each week from 1990 through early November 2015. The first age class on the scale (1, darkest blue) means "first-year ice,” which formed in the most recent winter. The oldest ice (9, white) is ice that is more than nine years old. Dark gray areas indicate open water or coastal regions where the spatial resolution of the data is coarser than the land map.

Arctic sea ice moves continually. East of Greenland, the Fram Strait is an exit ramp for ice drifting out of the Arctic Ocean.

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To imagine the ocean of the future: picture a writhing mass of unkillable tentacles, forever

In Global proliferation of cephalopods a paper in Current Biology, an esteemed group of marine biologists reports that the population of octopuses (and other cephalopods) is booming thanks to its ability to adapt quickly to ocean acidification and temperature change, which is killing off other types of marine life at alarming rates. Read the rest

Tar sands production in Canada pretty much shut down by Fort McMurray wildfire

Almost all of Canada's tar sands production has been shut down by a raging wildfire in Alberta's Fort McMurray region.

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Canada's Fort McMurray wildfire is so massive, you can see it from space

The massive wildfire that continues to burn in the Fort McMurray area of Alberta, Canada has been captured from space by NASA imaging satellites.

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Why is Congress so clueless about tech? Because they fired all their experts 20 years ago

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It's been 21 years since the Republican Congress zeroed out the $20M budget of the Office of Technology Assessment, a casualty of Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America" that deprived Congress of its principal source of technological expertise. Read the rest

Blizzard shuts down Denver International Airport, impacting air traffic across country

Officials shut down Denver International Airport on Wednesday, canceling over 1,000 flights after a mega snowstorm temporarily knocked out power and created conditions unsafe for plane takeoffs and landings unsafe.

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February was Earth's hottest month on record ever. Yes, you should freak out.

NASA, the Japan Meteorological Agency and other climate research groups report that February was the planet's warmest seasonally adjusted month on record. Last month was also the world's most unusually warm month since 1880, when instrument records began.

Gavin Schmidt at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who isn't one for getting too excited over things, had only one word for this significant and concerning data milestone: "Wow."

Mashable's listicle is right. The numbers are shocking. The February 2016 climate records are notable for the unusual heat more than any other recorded month in our history.

Here's a good related piece about the challenge of connecting the climate change dots to specific extreme weather events, like a major hurricane or drought.

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Undercover Greenpeace activists buy off corrupt academics in a climate science sting

The environmental activism group Greenpeace today disclosed that it led an undercover investigation to expose how easy it is for big oil, gas, or coal companies to pay academics at leading U.S. universities to write research that sheds doubt on climate science, and promotes the commercial interests of the fossil fuel industry.

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Which Presidential candidates are climate change deniers?

From Columbia University's Earth Institute:

Ben Carson (retired neurosurgeon) believes that climate change is happening in the sense that there’s “always going to be either cooling or warming going on” and has called the climate debate “irrelevant.” While he has no plans to combat climate change, he does believe it’s important to protect the environment. If elected, he would approve the Keystone XL pipeline and develop oil resources while also investing in renewable resources; however, he would not support any government subsidies because he feels they interfere with the free market.

Donald Trump (real estate developer) doesn’t believe in climate change and asserts that the changes we see are actually just weather, unaffected by human actions. He puts climate change low on the list of problems we need to address. In 2012, Trump said global warming was a hoax created by China to make U.S. manufacturing uncompetitive. He supports regulating air pollution.

Hillary Clinton (former U.S. senator from New York and secretary of state) believes climate change is real and manmade. She has called it “the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face as a nation and a world.” Clinton unveiled a plan that would install half a billion solar panels across the country by 2020 (a 700 percent increase in solar capacity); and expand renewable energy (including geothermal and hydro) sufficiently to produce 33 percent of U.S. electricity by 2027. Her Clean Energy Challenge, partnering with states, cities and communities, will include incentives, competitions, and investment in transmission and R&D.

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Bill Nye: "5 Things You Need to Know About Climate Change"

Learn it. Know it. Live it. (National Geographic)

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Scientists remove first seeds from ‘doomsday’ Arctic seed vault. Why? War in Syria.

The ongoing war in Syria has led researchers to make the first withdrawal of seeds from a "doomsday" vault in an Arctic mountainside, to protect global food supplies. Read the rest

Why you should be very concerned about Greenland's literal meltdown

“NASA-supported researchers have found that ice covering Greenland is melting faster than previously thought. The action is happening out of sight, below the surface.”

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Earth just got hotter.

“July was the planet's warmest month on record, smashing old marks, U.S. weather officials said. And it's almost a dead certain lock that this year will beat last year as the warmest year on record, they said.” Read the rest

Watch the arctic ice cap disappear in these National Geographic maps

"Yes, Mr. President," the headline says. "We Remade Our Atlas to Reflect Shrinking Ice"

In a speech about climate change, Barack Obama had noted that over the years, National Geographic maps of the arctic had changed. The 10th edition of its Atlas of the World, especially, shows a much-diminished ice cap—and even more is gone in the 2014 edition.

As the ocean heats up due to global warming, Arctic sea ice has been locked in a downward spiral. Since the late 1970s, the ice has retreated by 12 percent per decade, worsening after 2007, according to NASA. May 2014 represented the third lowest extent of sea ice during that month in the satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

Ice loss is accelerated in the Arctic because of a phenomenon known as the feedback loop: Thin ice is less reflective than thick ice, allowing more sunlight to be absorbed by the ocean, which in turn weakens the ice and warms the ocean even more, NASA says.

The most recent map shows the north pole barely fifty miles from the edge. [via Flowing Data] Read the rest

Watch: Clinton's amusing parody of GOP climate change deniers

Starring the lot of GOP 2016 contenders, Hillary adds a bit of entertainment to her campaign with this parody of climate change deniers in the form of a classic monster movie.

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What's causing climate change?

Is it orbital changes? No? Solar variation? Uh uh. Volcanoes? Ffft. What could it possibly be? [Bloomberg] Read the rest

US Navy: By 2050 Arctic Ocean ice will all melt in summers

Many troubling stats about climate change's effect in the North Pole region are tucked into Newsweek's article on the geopolitical gold rush taking place up there. Read the rest

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