Friday, January 15, 2016

The Evidence Keeps Piling Up

The same series of severe storms that killed 43 across the mid-continent United States warmed the Arctic by 50 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. On December 30th the North Pole experienced a high of around 35, a high temperature meterologists said was"unheard of". There is no permanent weather station at the pole, so scientists rely on weather forecast models to estimate conditions. Since regular Arctic weather records began in 1900, the air temperature above land are now 2 higher than average. NOAA's Arctic Report Card is now in its 10th year. It shows that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as other parts of the planet and fresh water discharges from rivers into the Arctic Ocean are 10% above the decade of 1980-89. The Mississippi River reached a crest that was the second highest ever recorded, five feet below the record set in 1993. In related Arctic news, a Russian tanker ran aground November 28th, 2015 on the southwest coast of Sakhalin Island off Russia's north Pacific Coast. Russian authorities reported the Nadezhda's hull and cargo tanks were damaged, spilling oil onto several kilometers of shoreline near a fishing port. The exact amount of oil spilled was not reported, but clean-up crews removed about 105 cubic meters of contaminated sand.