Arctic Climate Emergency



Arctic methane workshop, Chiswick, 15-16 October




Sep. 25, 2013 Alfred Wegener Institute The Deep Greenland Sea Is Warming Faster Than the World Ocean


August 2013 Xiaojuan Feng PNAS

Climate change-induced mobilization of old permafrost carbon is well underway in the Arctic


Aug. 8, 2013 —Three-Decade Decline in Reflectivity of Arctic Sea Ice.  The average albedo in the northern area of the Arctic Ocean, including open water and sea ice, is declining in all summer months (May-August). The rate of decline in albedo in the sea ice zone during August was approximately 3% per decade.


Offshore permafrost decay and massive seabed methane escape in water depths >20 m at the South Kara Sea shelf†

Alexey Portnov AGU 2013

Since the Last Glacial Maximum (~19 ka), coastal inundation from sea-level rise has been thawing thick subsea permafrost across the Arctic.  Gas flares are widespread over an area of at least 7,500 km2 in water depths >20 m. We propose that continuous subsea permafrost extends to water depths of ~20 m offshore and creates a seal through which gas cannot migrate.

This Arctic shelf region where seafloor gas release is widespread suggests that permafrost has degraded more significantly than previously thought.


2013 Russian Arctic Workshop "Subsea Permafrost, gas seeps and gas hydrates in the Arctic: available data and prospective projects 20.01.2013


29 July 2013 Ice-Free Arctic Winters Could  Explain Amplified Warming During Pliocene.

Year-round ice-free conditions across the surface of the Arctic Ocean could explain why Earth was substantially warmer during the Pliocene Epoch than it is today, despite similar concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, according to new research carried out at the University of Colorado Boulder. Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations recently reached 400 parts per million for the first time since the Pilocene Epoch, three million years ago. During this era, Arctic surface temperatures were 15-20 degrees Celsius warmer than today's surface temperatures.  This suggests that atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations of 400 ppm may be sufficient to greatly reduce the spatial extent and seasonal persistence of Arctic sea ice. The authors also found that surface temperatures in the Arctic are more sensitive to the amount of sea ice than to the amount of land-based ice. They show that once sea ice is removed, heat lost from the ocean recirculates in the atmosphere and warms the interior land.


23 July 2013 Climate Change Responsible for the Increased Rate of Wildfires in Alaska’s Boreal Forests

In recent decades there has been a dramatic increase in both frequency and severity of wildfires near the Arctic Circle and in  Alaska's Yukon region the wildfire activity is higher when compared to the past 10,000 years, researchers report.


Artic far more sensitive to warming

Siberian Times May 2013 Global warming sensation: Arctic land masses were warm, forested and North Pole had no ice cover, At about today's atmospheric CO2 the Arctic was 8C warmer.


Feb 2013  A Vaks Science.  500,000-Year History of Siberian Permafrost climates only slightly warmer than today are sufficient to thaw significant regions of permafrost. Permafrost thaw-down tipping point is 1.5C.


2012 Atmos Chem & Physics Renewed methane increase for five years (2007–2011) This is either the longest and largest positive trend anomaly since the beginning of systematic observations more than 25 years ago or the onset of a new period of strongly increasing CH4 levels in the atmosphere.

Note: The renewed atmospheric methane increase is sustained tothe  present time (2013) and the science opinion is that it is feedback methane emissions from warming planetary wetland peat.  


August 2012 Arctic collapse dramatically increases global warming. Coastal Siberia permafrost is collapsing and emitting CO2.


June 2012 Increasing Levels of Carbon Dioxide in Arctic Coastal Seas    The results suggest that the Laptev Sea has changed from being a sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide to become a source of carbon dioxide during the late summer. This will probably be reinforced by a higher air temperature, particularly if parts of the large reservoir of stored organic matter in the Arctic tundra thaw and are carried to the sea. This will further increase the rate of temperature rise of Earth.


March 2012 Ocean J  Venting methane to the atmosphere from the East Siberian Arctic shelf is a risk for planetary catastrophe

The Arctic is the fastest changing (deteriorating) region on Earth. The research is coming so thick and fast that it needs  a separate page before editing it into the website sections.


In 2015 a collection of papers was published from the Synthesis Of Arctic Research (SOAR) a multidisciplinary program of Arctic scientists in marine research covering the Pacific Arctic


A 2014 paper  Climate trends in the Arctic as observed from space by J. Comiso documents the rapidly deteriorating state of the Arctic with most grave implications for our future.


Four Arctic research papers published since 2011 serve to prove that the Arctic is indeed a planetary time bomb and the fuse is lit. These serve as proof  that the world is a dire planetary emergency- because of the Arctic.


1.  The Arctic warming ​​is unprecedented in the last 40,000 years at least. Unprecedented recent summer warmth in Arctic Canada Oct 2013.


​​2. Subsea methane hydrate (most vulnerable in the Arctic) is at risk of disintegration from a 2C warming (Tipping point risk analysis 2011)

3. Research deep in Siberian caves ​finds "global climates only slightly warmer than today are sufficient to thaw significant regions of permafrost"  A Vaks et al Science 2013


4. A 2012 review of East Siberian Arctic shelf methane concludes​ that "The emission of methane in several areas of the ESS is massive to the extent that growth in the methane concentrations in the atmosphere to values capable of causing a considerable and  even catastrophic warning on the Earth is possible."


What effects will the loss of Far North snow and Arctic snow and sea ice have on the weather and climate of the Northern hemisphere?  

NAP 2014 Lnkages Between Arctic Warming and Mid-Latitude Weather  Patterns: Summary of a Workshop 2013L


Latest Research


March 2014 Methane producing microbes bloom in thawing permafrost - an amplifying global warming feedback.  

March 2014 J Stroeve Arctic melt season  is increasing. This means that even a small change in the extent of sea ice in spring leads to vastly more heat being absorbed over the summer, leading to substantially later onset of ice in the autumn. There is also a second effect, in that multi-year ice (which survives through the summer without melting) has a higher albedo than single-year ice that only covers the sea in winter. Since the 1980s, the proportion of the Arctic winter ice that is made up of multi-year ice has dropped from around 70% to about 20% today, so the changes are substantial


March 2014 NASA: Warm rivers boost Arctic sea ice melt The heat from warm river waters draining into the Arctic Ocean is contributing to the melting of Arctic sea ice each summer, a new NASA study finds.

Feb 2014  Arctic thaw significantly worsens global warming

Jan 2014 Arctic warmth unprecedented in 44,000 years, reveals ancient moss

Jan 2014 Umea University Arctic Inland Waters Emit Large Amounts of Carbon- not included in Arctic carbon budget

Dec 2013 Francis Tang Extreme summer weather in northern mid-latitudes linked to a vanishing cryosphere


24 Nov 2013 Ebullition and storm-induced methane release from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf.  Twice as much methane is being vented as the research team estimated in their 2010 paper.