🔥🔥🔥 The Importance Of Ice Storms In Canada

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The Importance Of Ice Storms In Canada

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Due to the lack of major population centres in the Arctic, weather and climate observations from the region tend to be widely spaced and of short duration compared to the midlatitudes and tropics. Though the Vikings explored parts of the Arctic over a millennium ago, and small numbers of people have been living along the Arctic coast for much longer, scientific knowledge about the region was slow to develop; the large islands of Severnaya Zemlya , just north of the Taymyr Peninsula on the Russian mainland, were not discovered until , and not mapped until the early s [2].

Much of the historical exploration in the Arctic was motivated by the search for the Northwest and Northeast Passages. Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century expeditions were largely driven by traders in search of these shortcuts between the Atlantic and the Pacific. These forays into the Arctic did not venture far from the North American and Eurasian coasts, and were unsuccessful at finding a navigable route through either passage.

National and commercial expeditions continued to expand the detail on maps of the Arctic through the eighteenth century, but largely neglected other scientific observations. Expeditions from the s to the middle of the 19th century were also led astray by attempts to sail north because of the belief by many at the time that the ocean surrounding the North Pole was ice-free. These early explorations did provide a sense of the sea ice conditions in the Arctic and occasionally some other climate-related information. By the early 19th century some expeditions were making a point of collecting more detailed meteorological, oceanographic, and geomagnetic observations, but they remained sporadic.

Beginning in the s regular meteorological observations became more common in many countries, and the British navy implemented a system of detailed observation. Eleven nations provided support to establish twelve observing stations around the Arctic. The observations were not as widespread or long-lasting as would be needed to describe the climate in detail, but they provided the first cohesive look at the Arctic weather. In the wreckage of the Briya , a ship abandoned three years earlier off Russia's eastern Arctic coast, was found on the coast of Greenland.

This caused Fridtjof Nansen to realize that the sea ice was moving from the Siberian side of the Arctic to the Atlantic side. He decided to use this motion by freezing a specially designed ship, the Fram , into the sea ice and allowing it to be carried across the ocean. Meteorological observations were collected from the ship during its crossing from September to August This expedition also provided valuable insight into the circulation of the ice surface of the Arctic Ocean. In the early s the first significant meteorological studies were carried out on the interior of the Greenland ice sheet. These provided knowledge of perhaps the most extreme climate of the Arctic, and also the first suggestion that the ice sheet lies in a depression of the bedrock below now known to be caused by the weight of the ice itself.

This one was larger than the first, with 94 meteorological stations, but World War II delayed or prevented the publication of much of the data collected during it. This station, like the later ones, was established on a thick ice floe and drifted for almost a year, its crew observing the atmosphere and ocean along the way. Many of these stations also collected meteorological data. The Soviet Union was also interested in the Arctic and established a significant presence there by continuing the North-Pole drifting stations.

This program operated continuously, with 30 stations in the Arctic from to These stations collected data that are valuable to this day for understanding the climate of the Arctic Basin. This map shows the location of Arctic research facilities during the mids and the tracks of drifting stations between and Another benefit from the Cold War was the acquisition of observations from United States and Soviet naval voyages into the Arctic.

In an American nuclear submarine, the Nautilus was the first ship to reach the North Pole. In the decades that followed submarines regularly roamed under the Arctic sea ice, collecting sonar observations of the ice thickness and extent as they went. These data became available after the Cold War, and have provided evidence of thinning of the Arctic sea ice. The Soviet navy also operated in the Arctic, including a sailing of the nuclear-powered ice breaker Arktika to the North Pole in , the first time a surface ship reached the pole. Scientific expeditions to the Arctic also became more common during the Cold-War decades, sometimes benefiting logistically or financially from the military interest.

In the first deep ice core in Greenland was drilled at Camp Century, providing a glimpse of climate through the last ice age. This record was lengthened in the early s when two deeper cores were taken from near the center of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Beginning in the Arctic Ocean Buoy Program the International Arctic Buoy Program since has been collecting meteorological and ice-drift data across the Arctic Ocean with a network of 20 to 30 buoys. The end of the Soviet Union in led to a dramatic decrease in regular observations from the Arctic.

The Russian government ended the system of drifting North Pole stations, and closed many of the surface stations in the Russian Arctic. As a result, the most complete collection of surface observations from the Arctic is for the period to The extensive array of satellite-based remote-sensing instruments now in orbit has helped to replace some of the observations that were lost after the Cold War, and has provided coverage that was impossible without them. Routine satellite observations of the Arctic began in the early s, expanding and improving ever since.

A result of these observations is a thorough record of sea-ice extent in the Arctic since ; the decreasing extent seen in this record NASA , NSIDC , and its possible link to anthropogenic global warming, has helped increase interest in the Arctic in recent years. Today's satellite instruments provide routine views of not only cloud, snow, and sea-ice conditions in the Arctic, but also of other, perhaps less-expected, variables, including surface and atmospheric temperatures, atmospheric moisture content, winds, and ozone concentration.

Civilian scientific research on the ground has certainly continued in the Arctic, and it is getting a boost from to as nations around the world increase spending on polar research as part of the third International Polar Year. During these two years thousands of scientists from over 60 nations will co-operate to carry out over projects to learn about physical, biological, and social aspects of the Arctic and Antarctic IPY. Modern researchers in the Arctic also benefit from computer models. These pieces of software are sometimes relatively simple, but often become highly complex as scientists try to include more and more elements of the environment to make the results more realistic.

The models, though imperfect, often provide valuable insight into climate-related questions that cannot be tested in the real world. They are also used to try to predict future climate and the effect that changes to the atmosphere caused by humans may have on the Arctic and beyond. Another interesting use of models has been to use them, along with historical data, to produce a best estimate of the weather conditions over the entire globe during the last 50 years, filling in regions where no observations were made ECMWF. These reanalysis datasets help compensate for the lack of observations over the Arctic. Almost all of the energy available to the Earth's surface and atmosphere comes from the sun in the form of solar radiation light from the sun, including invisible ultraviolet and infrared light.

Variations in the amount of solar radiation reaching different parts of the Earth are a principal driver of global and regional climate. Latitude is the most important factor determining the yearly average amount of solar radiation reaching the top of the atmosphere; the incident solar radiation decreases smoothly from the Equator to the poles. Therefore, temperature tends to decrease with increasing latitude. In addition the length of each day, which is determined by the season , has a significant impact on the climate.

The hour days found near the poles in summer result in a large daily-average solar flux reaching the top of the atmosphere in these regions. The climate of the Arctic also depends on the amount of sunlight reaching the surface, and being absorbed by the surface. Variations in cloud cover can cause significant variations in the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface at locations with the same latitude. Differences in surface albedo due for example to presence or absence of snow and ice strongly affect the fraction of the solar radiation reaching the surface that is reflected rather than absorbed.

During the winter months of November through February, the sun remains very low in the sky in the Arctic or does not rise at all. Where it does rise, the days are short, and the sun's low position in the sky means that, even at noon, not much energy is reaching the surface. Furthermore, most of the small amount of solar radiation that reaches the surface is reflected away by the bright snow cover. These factors result in a negligible input of solar energy to the Arctic in winter; the only things keeping the Arctic from continuously cooling all winter are the transport of warmer air and ocean water into the Arctic from the south and the transfer of heat from the subsurface land and ocean both of which gain heat in summer and release it in winter to the surface and atmosphere.

Arctic days lengthen rapidly in March and April, and the sun rises higher in the sky, both bringing more solar radiation to the Arctic than in winter. During these early months of Northern Hemisphere spring most of the Arctic is still experiencing winter conditions, but with the addition of sunlight. The continued low temperatures, and the persisting white snow cover, mean that this additional energy reaching the Arctic from the sun is slow to have a significant impact because it is mostly reflected away without warming the surface. In most of the Arctic the significant snow melt begins in late May or sometime in June. As the snow disappears on land, the underlying surfaces absorb even more energy, and begin to warm rapidly.

At the North Pole on the June solstice, around 21 June, the sun circles at This marks noon in the Pole's year-long day ; from then until the September equinox, the sun will slowly approach nearer and nearer the horizon, offering less and less solar radiation to the Pole. This period of setting sun also roughly corresponds to summer in the Arctic. As the Arctic continues receiving energy from the sun during this time, the land, which is mostly free of snow by now, can warm up on clear days when the wind is not coming from the cold ocean.

Over the Arctic Ocean the snow cover on the sea ice disappears and ponds of melt water start to form on the sea ice, further reducing the amount of sunlight the ice reflects and helping more ice melt. Around the edges of the Arctic Ocean the ice will melt and break up, exposing the ocean water, which absorbs almost all of the solar radiation that reaches it, storing the energy in the water column. Where sea ice remains, in the central Arctic Basin and the straits between the islands in the Canadian Archipelago, the many melt ponds and lack of snow cause about half of the sun's energy to be absorbed, [2] but this mostly goes toward melting ice since the ice surface cannot warm above freezing.

Greenland: The interior of Greenland differs from the rest of the Arctic. Low spring and summer cloud frequency and the high elevation, which reduces the amount of solar radiation absorbed or scattered by the atmosphere, combine to give this region the most incoming solar radiation at the surface out of anywhere in the Arctic. However, the high elevation, and corresponding lower temperatures, help keep the bright snow from melting, limiting the warming effect of all this solar radiation.

In the summer, when the snow melts, Inuit live in tent-like huts made out of animal skins stretched over a frame. In September and October the days get rapidly shorter, and in northern areas the sun disappears from the sky entirely. As the amount of solar radiation available to the surface rapidly decreases, the temperatures follow suit. The sea ice begins to refreeze, and eventually gets a fresh snow cover, causing it to reflect even more of the dwindling amount of sunlight reaching it. Likewise, in the beginning of September both the northern and southern land areas receive their winter snow cover, which combined with the reduced solar radiation at the surface, ensures an end to the warm days those areas may experience in summer.

By November, winter is in full swing in most of the Arctic, and the small amount of solar radiation still reaching the region does not play a significant role in its climate. The Arctic is often perceived as a region stuck in a permanent deep freeze. The image below from the UK Met Office shows the entire global ocean circulation. It is also known as the Global Conveyor belt or the Thermohaline circulation.

As warm water flows northwards it cools and some evaporation occurs, which increases the amount of salt in the water. Low temperature and a high salt content make the water denser and heavier, so this dense water will sink deep into the ocean. The image below shows ocean surface salinity or the amount of salt in the water. Higher the number, the saltier the water. Above 35, we still have salty waters, so as the water cools, it sinks in the far North Atlantic. The cold, dense water slowly flows southwards, several kilometers below the ocean surface. The reason why this is important is that the AMOC is such an integral part of the weather and climate in the North Hemisphere.

It transports a lot of warmer waters and energy towards the north. In that famous movie, the AMOC has shut down, initiating a new ice age. Tho the reality is somewhat different, we will look at the state of the AMOC, which shows that this circulation is indeed weakening. The image below shows the North Atlantic ocean divided into two main areas. At the coast of the United States is the warm Gulf Stream area, and the blue area is where the Gulf Stream releases its heat and sinks down into the depths. The graphs on the left show temperature progression over time. The Gulf Stream area is warming, while the North Atlantic is actually cooling over time.

The relative difference between these two areas is considered as an estimate of the strength of the AMOC. We produced a graph, which shows the relative difference between these two areas. We can see that since at least the s, there was a slow but consistent downward trend. Especially in the past 40 years, we have seen a stronger negative difference in these two areas, indicating a likely further weakening of the AMOC. It is a combination of observations and reconstructions, taking all the available data and modern techniques, to reconstruct the sea surface temperatures back to Now, the next graphic is even more interesting, as it shows two images.

On the left, we have a computer model simulation, what would happen if the AMOC would weaken. And on the right, we have the actual analysis of the past century, which shows the exact same scenario. This strongly supports the idea that the AMOC is indeed loosing strength. There are also direct observations being made with instruments, which objectively confirmed that the North Atlantic circulation is indeed on the decline. We can also see the signature on the long term temperature trend of the world. Tho most areas are slowly warming, the North Atlantic remains an area that defies all warming, and is actually slowly cooling. Compared to the Gulf Stream area which is warming, this is a direct indication of the weakening ocean circulation.

The reason why AMOC is weakening is more than one. The most often mentioned or most probable is the induction of the freshwater into the North Atlantic from sea ice melt in Greenland and the Arctic. Freshwater reduces the salinity of the North Atlantic, which means that the water is not dense heavy enough to sink. That slows down the sinking of the surface waters, effectively slowing the ocean current, like a traffic jam. But about that ice age…. Many model simulations were made, to try and calculate what would happen if the AMOC would completely shut down.

Below is the end result, which shows the temperature difference to a world with an active AMOC. You can see the entire Northern Hemisphere is several degrees cooler. And not just that, climatic changes were to occur, with very different pressure patterns and less precipitation over Europe. Winters would become more severe in Europe and the United States. Bibcode : GeoRL.. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

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Views Read Edit View history. Help Learn to edit Community portal Recent changes Upload file. Download as PDF Printable version. Part of a series on. Temperate and polar seasons Winter Spring Summer Autumn. Tropical seasons Dry season Harmattan Wet season. Glossaries Meteorology Climate change Tornado terms Tropical cyclone terms. Weather portal. Area burned 23 square miles 60 km 2 ; the percentage of this area which was destroyed by conventional conflagration and that destroyed by firestorm is unspecified. Area destroyed by fire 4 square miles 10 km 2. Again the percentage of this which was done by firestorm remains unspecified.

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