Arctic Ocean

Arctic Sees Second Lowest November Sea Ice Extent on Record, Favoring another Cold Season of Extremes in Mid-Latitudes

The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports today (6 December 2010) that November Arctic sea ice extent was the second lowest on record. Exposed ocean waters that normally are ice-covered in parts of the Arctic are pumping heat into the region's atmosphere, altering atmospheric circulation, and contributing to extreme weather conditions that extend into mid-latitudes.

Citing Threat of Climate Change, U.S. Designates Nearly 187,000 Square Miles as "Critical Habitat" for Polar Bears

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today (24 November 2010) designated nearly 485,000 sq km (over 187,000 sq mi) as critical habitat for polar bears under the Endangered Species Act.  Noting that "the greatest threat to the polar bear is the melting of its sea ice habitat caused by human-induced climate change," Tom Strickland, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, said that "we will continue to work toward comprehensive strategies for the long-term survival of this iconic species."

UN Report Calls for "Immediate Global Response" to Save Coral Reefs from Rising Carbon Emissions

"Coral reefs are facing unprecedented impacts due to climate change, through a combination of threats including damage from increasingly severe tropical cyclones, more frequent temperature-induced coral bleaching events and diminished structural integrity due to ocean acidification," says a new report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Scientists Report that as Arctic Sea Ice Declines, Weather Impacts Spread into Northern Mid-Latitudes

In the annual "Arctic Report Card" issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today (21 October 2010), researchers report that the decline in Arctic Sea Ice appears to be favoring atmospheric conditions that paradoxically tend to bring colder weather to some areas well outside the Arctic.  The report links this emerging "Warm Arctic-Cold Continents" pattern to the cold air outbreaks and heavy snows experienced in parts of the U.S. and elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere in December 2009 and February 2010.

Videos: The Death of the Oceans?

In this new documentary broadcast by BBC Two as part of its Horizon series, Sir David Attenborough takes the audience around the world to meet scientists studying our impacts on the oceans, from climate change and ocean acidification to over-fishing.

Ocean Acidification Featured in New Video and Lesson Plan

Dr Heidi Cullen of Climate Central explains in this video featuring Otis Brown of Miami University that more than a quarter of the carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans.  That is making the oceans more acidic and less hospitablef or corals and many other important organisms.  A new lesson plan for Grades 5 through 8 explores the issue further.

Extinction: It's not just for Polar Bears anymore

"An accelerating rate of species extinction isn't just all part of mother nature's plan. It's an expected result of climate change," says Peter Sinclair in his latest video.  "With changes in the arctic happening faster than any other place on earth, polar species are among those most at risk. Case in point: The Pacific Walrus."

Reuters TV: Walrus feel the heat in Arctic

Reuters TV reports:  "The World Wildlife Fund is warning record high temperatures and the premature melting of Arctic sea ice are threatening the survival of the Pacific walrus. Rob Muir reports."

NBC News' TODAY show: Without sea ice, walruses struggle to adapt

This morning (20 September 2010), NBC News' TODAY show broadcast a segment on declining sea ice and its impacts on the Pacific Walruses.  "NBC’s Lee Cowan visits the Inuit village of Point Lay, Alaska, where, unusually, thousands of walruses have beached themselves, leaving scientists thinking that global warming may be to blame."

Video Footage Shows Huge Walrus Haul-Out Along Shoreline of Alaska's Point Lay

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has released stunning video footage filmed by Dan Zatz showing the epic scale of events unfolding in Alaska.  Many thousands of walruses -- mostly females and their young -- have been forced to haul-out at Point Lay on the Chukchi Sea as the sea ice they depend on has melted away.

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