Nick Sundt's blog

In Alaska's Chukchi Sea: Shell Resumes Offshore Drilling as Nearby Walruses are Forced Onshore

The story of this year's Arctic sea ice decline did not end on 16 September when the sea ice reached its official minimum extent for the Arctic overall. The decline has continued in the Chukchi Sea -- with momentous consequences. While the National Ice Center indicated that a large "marginal ice zone" was present north of Alaska on 16 September, that zone continued to decline and on 24 September the marginal ice zone had been entirely replaced by open water.

With Record Low Sea Ice Extent, Polar Bears Persevere on Marginal Ice -- or on Land

On Saturday, 15 September -- the day before the Arctic sea ice extent reached its record low -- a scientist aboard the USGS Healy spotted a polar bear struggling across thin ice.  Her photos capture a situation facing growing numbers of polar bears as sea ice extent declines, and the ice grows thinner, in response to warming conditions. The bears must persevere on marginal ice or swim in search of suitable sea ice -- both far from preferred coastal waters; or they must abandon the ice altogether and swim to land.

"An Unprecedented Planetary Distress Signal": Arctic Sea Ice Extent Bottoms Out at a Record Low

The U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center today (19 Sept 2012) announced that the extent of Arctic sea ice reached an annual minimum of 1.32 million square miles, the lowest sea ice extent on record (since 1979 when satellites started to regularly monitor the ice). The extraordinary sea ice decline has enormous implications in the region, and has consequences that extend well south of the Arctic. “In a year of record-breaking extremes, shocking has become the new normal," says Lou Leonard, Managing Director for Climate Change at WWF-US. "But what’s happened in the Arctic this summer should be on the front page of every newspaper. This is an unprecedented planetary distress signal.”

Video: Tucson (Arizona) Citizens Talk about Climate Change and their "Power to Prepare Tucson" Summit

In this video, the citizens of Tucson, Arizona, talk about the challenges climate change poses for the city and about the "Power to Prepare Tucson" summit the city held earlier this year (2012) to address those challenges. The event, was a central part of Tucson's participation in WWF's Earth Hour City Challenge, a competition among U.S. cities to prepare for climate change and reduce carbon footprints.  

Video introduction to WWF's Earth Hour City Challenge

A short video introduction to WWF's Earth Hour City Challenge, a competition among U.S. cities to prepare for climate change and to shift away from fossil fuels.

BBC: More Evidence that Declining Arctic Sea Ice and Warming North Atlantic Disrupt Weather in Mid-Latitudes (video)

In this video from the BBC, Alan Thorpe of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) explains how declining Arctic sea ice and warming north Atlantic sea surface temperatures are contributing to shifts in the atmosphere that are disrupting summer weather in the U.K.  

Science Museum's Climate Change Photo Challenge

Do you have a good photo illustrating some action your community is taking to prepare for changing weather patterns, rising sea levels or other emerging impacts of climate change?  How about a photo showing ways in which your community is helping to reduce its carbon footprint?  If so, consider submitting it (by August 15, by 2 p.m. EDT!) to the Climate Change Photo Challenge of the Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences.

To Politicians Napping on the Fireline: Wake Up, Smell the Smoke and Act on Climate Change

Extraordinary wildfire conditions are among the indications that climate change is well underway in the Southwestern U.S.  Cities and towns in the region are responding, showing leadership where the federal government does not.  Alas, many of our elected representatives in Washington are napping on the fireline. They need to wake up, smell the smoke and take climate change seriously.

Colorado Congressman Wants Federal Support for Fossil Fuels -- and for Coping with their Climate Impacts

Congressman Cory Gardner, a freshman Republican representing a large part of northern and eastern Colorado, is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Gardner along with the majority of committee members, supports expanded U.S. production of fossil fuels. Pollutants released by those fuels are accumulating in the atmosphere and making his state and the rest of the Southwest hotter and drier. Gardner and many of his colleagues deny that fossil fuel use seriously threatens climate, and oppose regulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act. While they promote policies that undermine Federal efforts to address the threat of climate change, their home states and districts are experiencing weather extremes -- and impacts -- that foreshadow the ultimate consequences of such policies.  The High Park Fire in Gardner's district has torched 87,284 acres, burned 257 houses and has cost $33.5 million to suppress. To the south, in Colorado Springs, the Waldo Canyon Fire destroyed 346 homes this week, and threatens over 20,000 more homes.

National Public Radio: Researchers Observe Climate Change, First-Hand

National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" features a discussion of some of the changes scientists are witnessing and studying in the field as climate rapidly changes.  Guests include Craig Allen, research ecologist, United States Geological Survey; and George Divoky, director, Friends of Cooper Island (Alaska). 

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