Latest Science and Policy Developments

August 14, 2012 – A Summer Storm in the Arctic

(From National Snow and Ice Data Center:) Arctic sea ice extent during the first two weeks of August continued to track below 2007 record low daily ice extents. As of August 13, ice extent was already among the four lowest summer minimum extents in the satellite record, with about five weeks still remaining in the melt season. Sea ice extent dropped rapidly between August 4 and August 8. While this drop coincided with an intense storm over the central Arctic Ocean, it is unclear if the storm prompted the rapid ice loss. Overall, weather patterns in the Arctic Ocean through the summer of 2012 have been a mixed bag, with no consistent pattern.

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August 2, 2012 – Enduring Ozone

Ozone damages plants and reduces terrestrial productivity leading to increased anthropogenic carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is an equivalent emission and thus provides an indirect radiative forcing. Through this perturbation of the carbon cycle, anthropogenic increases in ozone affect the climate system on considerably longer timescales than the ozone atmospheric lifetime of only a few weeks. The indirect global warming impact may be irreversible depending upon the uncertain ability of the land carbon sink to reabsorb the carbon dioxide excess after removal of the ozone damage.

See Unger and Pan (2012), Atmospheric Environment 55:456-58