Latitudes of Melt

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The Disaster Scenario. It's not hard to imagine a disaster scenario surrounding permafrost. As the atmosphere warms, permafrost melts, which releases greenhouse gas, which further warms the atmosphere, which speeds up the permafrost melting, and so on. Currently, climate models do not incorporate the effects of methane released from melting permafrost, which means even the most extreme warming scenarios we've come up with might not be extreme enough.

A spike in atmospheric methane concentration could set off catastrophic global warming. David Shindell and Gavin Schmidt climate scientists of RealClimate suggest that a real-world disaster scenario would be an instantaneous release of about 10 gigatons carbon-equivalent gton C of methane into the atmosphere. Right now, it contains approximately 3. They don't see any way to get more than 1 gton C as methane into the air emitted at one time, fortunately, but the world has seen a massive release of methane in the past: the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum PETM.

Studies focusing on this time period estimate that several thousand gton C of methane were released into the atmosphere. But, although it's hard to accurately conclude how long it took for this to happen, current estimates are around a thousand years.

Chvrches at Latitude 2019

In other words, it wasn't immediate. But the warming that is occurring due to anthropogenic climate change is unprecedented in its rate—the world is warming ten times faster today that in did in the PETM. For this reason, it's hard to rule out any disaster global warming scenario.

Latitudes of Melt (by Joan Clark)

Permafrost is permanently frozen soil, and occurs mostly in high latitudes. As a result of climate change, permafrost is at risk of melting, releasing the stored carbon in the form of carbon dioxide and methane, which are powerful heat-trapping gases.


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In addition, permafrost is structurally important, and its melting has been known to cause erosion, disappearance of lakes, landslides, and ground subsidence. It will also cause changes in plant species composition at high latitudes. Figure 1. Locations where permafrost exists in the Arctic northern high latitudes. Click on the graphic for a larger image.

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Source: Philippe Rekacewicz, Figure 2. Expected changes in Arctic temperatures by the year Blue solid line is current permafrost boundary orange. Blue dashed line is projected permafrost boundary by Source: Hugo Ahlenius, Figure 3. Neither you, nor the coeditors you shared it with will be able to recover it again.

Jet stream reached northern latitudes never before recorded

Comments 0 Please log in to add your comment. Report abuse. Learning Team Activity One. Untitled Prezi.

Latitudes of Melt by Joan Clark. 9780676972917

Infogram Charts Infographics. Creating downloadable prezi, be patient. Delete comment or cancel. Cancel Reply 0 characters used from the allowed. Send link to edit together this prezi using Prezi Meeting learn more : Copy Email. Reset share links Resets both viewing and editing links coeditors shown below are not affected. Instead, a pattern of steep Arctic sea ice decline began in The AO likely triggered a phase of accelerated melt that continued into the next decade because of unusually warm Arctic air temperatures.

Many global climate models predict that the Arctic will be ice free for at least part of the year before the end of the 21st century.

Some models predict an ice-free Arctic by mid-century. Depending on how much Arctic sea ice continues to melt, the ice could become extremely vulnerable to natural variability in cycles such as the Arctic Oscillation.

Greenland's 2015 melt records consistent with 'Arctic amplification'

Arctic sea ice cover peaks each year in March, and reaches its minimum in September. In arctic ice reached the lowest extent ever recorded, well below the historical average blue dashed line. Declining sea ice will lead to a loss of habitat for seals and polar bears; it also should increase encounters between polar bears and humans.

Indigenous peoples in the Arctic have already described changes in the health and numbers of polar bears. As sea ice retreats from coastlines, wind-driven waves—combined with thawing permafrost—will likely lead to more rapid coastal erosion. Other potential impacts include changed weather patterns. This is an area of active research, as scientists try to tease out the possible links between sea ice loss and mid-latitude weather patterns.

The loss of sea ice exposes shorelines to the full force of wind and waves, resulting in rapid erosion. This cabin fell into the Beaufort Sea, a region where some coastlines retreated more than 24 meters 80 feet in Some researchers have hypothesized that melting sea ice could interfere with ocean circulation. In the Arctic, ocean circulation is driven by the sinking of dense, salty water. Fresh meltwater coming primarily from the Greenland Ice Sheet could interfere with ocean circulation at high latitudes, slowing it down. Changes in the location and timing of sea ice growth—where the dense salty waters are formed and then sink to the bottom—may also be an important factor.