By Erik Quiroga
A study on the Thaw of the Arctic as a consequence of Global Warming and its relationship with the Gulf Stream and the Climate of the North Atlantic.
A study on the Thaw of the Arctic as a consequence of Global Warming and its relationship with the Gulf Stream and the Climate of the North Atlantic.
For the study and dissemination of the following phenomenon: "The Thaw of the Arctic as a consequence of Global Warming and its relationship with the Gulf Stream and the Climate of the North Atlantic", I have taken the initiative to identify the aforementioned phenomenon with the name of "EFFECT ARTIC "
The Thaw of the Arctic, as a consequence of Global Warming, can affect the Gulf Stream, altering the Climate of Western Europe and the Eastern Region of North America, which leads to cycles of very hot Summers that tend to extend into Autumn and intense winters. that can last until Spring, which could create Arctic Climatic conditions in regions of Northern Europe and North America.
The Climate Extremes in the Nineties, the warmest of the millennium, was marked by the year with the highest temperature since 1.860, the year 1.998, it is not casuistic that the year that preceded it (1.997) was the one with the highest concentration of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (360 parts per million) in 160,000 years (Keeling and Whorf, World Environment Outlook 2,000, United Nations Environment Program-UNEP). Carbon Dioxide emissions continue to increase: from 23.9 billion tons in 1996 to more than 24.5 billion in 2000.
According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in the 20th century, the temperature increased by more than 0.6 ° C, not on a regular basis since the highest growth occurred from 1976 when it rose at a rate three times higher than provided. Nine of the ten warmest years are after 90, including 99 and 2000.
Year 2001 was the second warmest year since 1860 and the 23rd in a row that the Earth's surface area exceeded normal values (OMM). In the last twelve months (2.000-2.001) the temperature of the earth's surface exceeded the average by 0.42 ° C, which is used taking the period 1961-90 as a reference by the WMO. October stands out as the hottest month in most European countries since Climatological Statistics have been carried out. In Great Britain it was the hottest in 343 years.
Global warming can accelerate with rising temperatures in the Arctic, the heat can melt permanently frozen soil (Permafrost) causing the emission of greenhouse gases. According to scientific calculations, 14% of the planet's Carbon Dioxide is found under these frozen lands. There is recent scientific evidence (from the year 2001) on the alarming increase in temperature of the Arctic Permafrost, according to the United Nations Environment Program ( UNEP).
Given this alarming situation, it is important to highlight below the most relevant aspects related to the current Global Warming published on 11/1999 in The UNESCO Courier (Overnight Climate Changes Robert Matthews, scientific correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph, London ):
Scientific investigations, carried out in the early 1980s by a European-North American scientific mission, working in Greenland, made a surprising discovery. They had taken an ice sample in the south of the island and measured the levels of isotopes in the gases trapped at different depths to estimate the temperature in the region over thousands of years.
When they plotted the various temperatures, the researchers discovered something puzzling: the sample indicated a temperature rise corresponding to the end of the last ice age, about 11,000 years ago, and it was shown that "warming had occurred in only forty years" . The result radically contradicted what scientists until then knew about climate change, which in the following years stimulated the extraction of new samples, which revealed an even more astonishing situation: a 5 ° C to 10 ° C increase in the temperature and a doubling of rainfall over Greenland in just twenty years.
Spurred on by the discoveries in Greenland, scientists from then on sought to locate sites where oceanic sediments accumulated quickly enough to record temperatures as accurately as ice samples. Sudden climatic changes were discovered, in places as distant as California and India.
The glacial periods admitted since 1920, based on an investigation by the Serbian scientist, Milutin Milankovitch, established a link between the glacial periods and certain variations in the Earth's orbit, caused by the attraction and repulsion of the other planets, which altered the concentration of solar radiation reaching the earth. In this way, the transformations were gradual, over thousands of years and in no way could climatic changes be sudden. The thermal inertia of the oceans, according to Milankovitch, would dampen any sudden change, at equal weight to heat the water, it takes ten times more energy than to heat solid iron.
The momentous conclusion of Wallace Broecker of Columbia University (New York State) contradicted Milankovitch's analysis: Ocean currents transport heat through the land like an immense transmission belt.
In the Atlantic for example, a warm current that starts from the Gulf of Mexico, moves northward and transmits heat to the air by evaporation. Its waters become progressively colder, saltier and denser until such time that near Iceland, they become so heavy that they sink and begin a long journey south across the ocean floor.
Broecker, realized that this complex and delicate process that he called "The Belt" could be the Achilles heel of the Earth's climate by allowing mild changes to turn into major disorders. Without having to alter the total mass of the Oceans, a minimal change in temperature could be enough to modify the behavior of "La Correa" and unleash rapid and radical climatic changes in an immense region.
For example, the gradual melting of the Arctic ice could dilute the salinity of "La Correa", to a density that would prevent it from submerging and starting its journey south to obtain more heat. Thus it would stand still, isolating the North Atlantic from increasingly warmer tropical waters. The result would be clearly paradoxical: a slight warming of the Arctic would cause the temperature of the North Atlantic countries to drop.
Today it is almost unanimously accepted that Broecker's explanation is the key to the abrupt climatic changes recorded in the past. The forecast that global warming will have exactly the same effect on the Arctic ice that threatens the existence of "La Correa" is cause for concern. Computer projections of the impact of pollution on global temperatures predict a flow of cold fresh water in the North Atlantic that could dilute "La Correa" enough to block it. If that happened, says Broecker, winter temperatures in the North Atlantic Region would drop by 10 ° C within ten years, giving a city like Dublin the climate of Spitzberg, a city located 400 km from the Arctic Circle. they would be disastrous, says Broecker.
Within the same appreciation, the climatologist Kendrick Taylor, of the Reno Desert Research Institute, continues in an article in American Scientist; The information provided by the ice samples makes the scenario posed by Broecker more plausible, says Taylor. Numerous samples indicate that about 8,000 years ago there was a sudden return to a "mini-glacial period" that lasted about 400 years.
The precipitation in the Atlantic of waters of melted ice from the lakes of Canada is, according to Taylor the most probable cause of the phenomenon: they interrupted the course of the Belt that carried heat. "Paradoxically, the warming of the planet could suddenly cool the East North America and Northern Europe. "
To end this reference it is important to bring up Taylor's reflection:
When will the Belt stop? The answer is: we don't know, what computer models have shown is that reducing polluting gas emissions saves time, by slowing the rate of global warming and making the climate change more smoothly - which it seems increase your stability against changes.
In the oceanic circulation the transport of water with different salinity and different temperatures takes place. Surface winds mobilize global surface ocean currents. These currents transfer latitudinal heat in a similar way to the atmosphere.
Warm waters move towards the poles and vice versa, transferring energy in the form of water vapor. The water that is vaporized from the oceanic surface, stores latent heat, which is released when the vapor condenses forming clouds and precipitation.
The salt contained in the marine waters when the ice forms at the poles increases the salinity of the ocean. When the salty and warm waters coming from the middle or low latitudes reach the higher latitudes, they cool down, acquiring the same temperature as the surrounding waters and with it a higher density, because of the same they sink carrying a large amount of energy.
The oceans have more energy than the atmosphere due to their heat capacity (4.2 times greater than the atmosphere) and their density, which is a thousand times greater. The seas and oceans generate 90% of the planet's oxygen. The vertical structure of the oceans is divided into two layers that differ in their scale of interaction with the atmosphere: The Lower Layer that includes cold and deep waters with 80% of the ocean volume. The Upper Layer, which is closely linked to the atmosphere, is the seasonal border, extending up to 100 meters. deep in the tropics, but it can reach several km in polar waters. In this way a change in heat content in the ocean will have an equivalent 30 times greater in the atmosphere. Therefore, small changes in the energy content of the oceans can have a considerable effect on Climate and Global Temperature (GCCIP, 97)
Energy exchange also occurs vertically between the boundary layer and deep waters.
To maintain the balance of the flow of water masses, there is a Global Thermohaline Circulation that plays an important role in the regulation of Global Climate (GCCCP, 97).
The Gulf Stream
The warm-water Gulf Stream originates in the Gulf of Mexico and flows with a high intensity current through the Straits of Florida and continues in a North-East direction along the United States, then a part continues towards the Atlantic where it receives Called the North Atlantic Current, it borders Western Europe until it reaches the Arctic Ocean, ending its journey beyond the Arctic Circle in Nueva Cénela (European Russia). The other part of the aforementioned current is diverted to the south passing through the latitudes of France and Spain, finally joining with the North Equatorial Current. The Gulf Stream has a decisive influence on the Climate of the North Atlantic Region, which includes North America and Europe.
The Cryosphere is the regions covered by snow or ice on land or sea, includes: Antarctica, the Arctic Ocean, Greenland, Northern Canada, Northern Siberia and most of the tops of the highest mountain ranges. The Cryosphere plays an important role in climate regulation. The percentage of reflected energy is called albedo.
The albedo ranges from a minimum for black surfaces to a maximum for white surfaces. Glaciers have an albedo of 90%, fresh snow 80%, sea ice 30-40%, sands 30%, cultivated soils 10-25%, and forests 18%.
On average, on the surface of the oceans, the albedo varies according to the position of the Sun with respect to the horizon. Also albedo is of great importance in disconnecting the atmosphere from the oceans, reducing moisture transfer and momentum, stabilizing energy transfers in the atmosphere. Their presence markedly affects the volume of the oceans.
Without the Cryosphere the albedo would be lower, more energy would be absorbed at the level of the earth's surface and as a consequence the atmospheric temperature would be higher.
The thaw in the Arctic
According to Wordwach Institute, in its report the State of the World 2001, among the most important scientific evidence, the disappearance of more than 40% of the Arctic Ice stands out.
A study carried out by Andrew Rothrock of the University of Washington, based on information provided by North American nuclear submarines, on 29 points located in the Arctic Ocean, concludes that the Arctic ice has been reduced by up to 40%, (which reaffirms the information of the Wordwatch Institute), decreasing its thickness from 3.11 to 1.80 cms. This study comprised the period 1957-1997, (the last measurements; 1993, 1996 and 1997). This information was endorsed by the American Geophysical Union.
The reduction of ice in the Arctic implies the connection in the atmosphere with a large part of the surface waters of the ocean, reducing the albedo of 90% of the glaciers and 40% of the sea ice to 4% of the oceans, which gives resulting in heat retention and a change in energy content, resulting in Extremely Hot Summers and Torrential Rains in Western Europe.
Canadian scientists have found that the retreat of the ice west of Hudson Bay has been advanced an average of three weeks.
According to NASA, Global Warming affects the western areas of the Arctic Ocean twice more than other regions of the planet.
The Mediterranean and the Arctic Effect
Climate Change in the Mediterranean Region:
As a consequence of the thermal imbalance of the waters in the North Atlantic, the Anticyclone of the Azores could be affected, altering the General Circulation System of West Winds, in which the Jet Stream is included, which are determinants in the climate of the Mediterranean region.
The Mediterranean Sea, its Currents:
In the Mediterranean Sea, solar radiation annually evaporates more water than the rivers in its basin and precipitation contribute. During the winter as a consequence of evaporation and cooling, the temperature and salinity become uniform.
Its communication route with the Atlantic Ocean is the Strait of Gibraltar, with a natural compensation mechanism, a surface current with normal salinity and a deep current with excessively salty water from the former. According to approximate calculations, the Atlantic contributes 38,000 km3 of sparse water every year and this returns 36,000 km3 much denser.
The surface currents of the Mediterranean are warm. The deep water of the Mediterranean has a high salinity (39%) and a temperature of approximately 13 ° C.
Very hot summers, together with the excessive pollution of the Mediterranean Sea, could increase the salinity of the waters of the deep current, making them more dense. The Mediterranean Currents contribute to the formation of the Gulf Stream, the increase in density could push the current to the West, which would contribute to a greater cooling of the North Atlantic.
The Gulf Stream and The Tambora Volcano Effect
The influence of the Gulf Stream on the Climate in Europe and part of North America was demonstrated with the eruption of the Tambora Volcano (Sumbawa Island, Indonesia). On April 5, 1815, the Tambora Volcano erupted, being the largest in history, the volcano of approximately 4,000 meters, lost 1,250 meters. high, leaving a crater 11 km in diameter and pouring 157 km3 of matter into the atmosphere. Volcanic ash and sulphurous gases cooled the temperature, as atmospheric reflection occurred, which resulted in low temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere that affected the warm surface waters of the Gulf Stream. In 1816, Western Europe and the Eastern Region of Canada and New England (the 6 most Northeast states of the United States) had what was known at the time "the year without a summer", that is, an exceptionally cold summer.
The relationship of the Gulf Stream with the Labrador Current was evidenced by affecting the Region in its area of influence (the Labrador Current flows from the East Coast of Canada to the New England Region).
I consider that the scientific evidence on Global Warming and Arctic Thaw and Climate Change in Europe and the Eastern North American region, observed from the year 1997, when atmospheric concentrations of Carbon Dioxide reached 360 (ppm), the highest high in 160,000 years, which preceded the year 98, the warmest since 1860, must be studied as the minimum conditions for the beginning of the "Arctic Effect", which can alert us to Climate Changes in that Area during the next ten years.-
* Erik quiroga Environmentalist Creator of the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, approved by the UN General Assembly, resolution 49/114 of 01/23/95 Celebrated on September 16. Telephone: 58-212- 671.79.28 e-mail :[email protected] and [email protected]