Saturday, September 22, 2007

‘stunned’ Scientists

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Scientists ‘stunned’ as Arctic sea ice shrinks to 30-year low

21 Sep 07

Ice in the Arctic has melted to its lowest level since record keeping began nearly 30 years ago, reaching a minimum area on September 16 that was 1.2 million square kilometres below the previous mark from 2005.

Scientists from the University of Colorado at Boulder's National Snow and Ice DataCenter said sea ice extent appears to have reached its minimum with the chances of it reaching a lower level unlikely this year.

"The amount of ice loss this year absolutely stunned us, because it didn't just beat all previous records, it completely shattered them," said senior scientist Mark Serreze.

Earlier, Environment Canada reported that last summer was the seventh-warmest on record, with temperatures 0.9 C higher than average. Canada's all-time high was 1.8 C above normal in 1998.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

The North Pole Is Melting

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German expedition on the icebreaker Polarstern has revealed that existing Arctic sea ice in the center of the ice cap is only about three feet (one meter) thick, 50 percent thinner than it was just six years ago. As a result, more melt water is mixing with the salty seawater and pulses of warmer Atlantic seawater have intruded into the Arctic Ocean.

As a result of atmospheric patterns that both warmed the air and reduced cloud cover as well as increased residual heat in newly exposed ocean waters, such melting helped open the fabled Northwest Passage for the first time [see photo] this summer and presaged tough times for polar bears and other Arctic animals that rely on sea ice to survive, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Such precipitous loss of ice cover far outpaces anything climate models or scientists have predicted.
Space and Physics Image: 2007-map-Arctic-summer-sea-ice
"The sea ice cover this year has reached a new record low,"
"It's not just that we beat the old record, we annihilated it."
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Condensation trails (contrails) formed by aircrafts are sometimes visible from the ground for several
hours. Numerous contrails are formed in the vicinity of main air- traffic routes; due to additional
spreading effects contrails may contribute significantly to the total cloud cover. Continuous
observational methods are used to study the formation of contrails in the subarctic setting of
Fairbanks, Alaska. Since March of 2000 a contrail database has been established, which includes
contrail characteristics, Federal Aviation Administration flight data, and atmospheric measurements
derived from radiosonde ascents at Fairbanks International Airport. The contrail analysis is based on
all-sky digital camera imagery and direct observations of aircrafts.

Daily Overflights for Fairbanks, AK airspace.

Note: Page was updated for the last time by Martin Stuefer, 13.Apr.2006.
The flight data is no longer being updated. However, the flight archive is available.
On Oct 17th 2003, the United States Air Force conducted manuevers in the Fairbanks area that resulted in many
spectacular contrails. The formations of jets ranged in number from 3 to 7 and some examples of the resulting
contrails are shown below. Also shown is the output of the UAF Contrail Forecast based on atmospheric sounding
measurements at Fairbanks Airport showing the contrail layer for that day.

Click on the image for larger view.
Photos taken October 17, 2003 by Martin Stuefer

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Arctic Melting Leaves Countries Sparring

Canada, Russia, Greenland Debate Ownership of Northwest Passage, Oil Fields
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Arctic Ocean
Ice chunks float in the Arctic Ocean as the sun sets near Barrow, Alaska, Sept. 13, 2006. (Beth Ipsen/Arctic Sounder/AP Photo)

The reports from the world's scientists depict the Arctic sea ice cap now shrunk to its smallest size in history — the great melting uncovering vast stretches of the Arctic Ocean and opening up a northwest shipping lane mariners have been dreaming about since Christopher Columbus discovered America.
Watch a video of Bill Blakemore's tour of the ice wonders of Greenland here.

The melting has also left the fabled Northwest Passage — providing a whole new way for ships to travel between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans — fully open for the first time.

As the Northwest Passage melts open, an entire stretch of the western coast of Greenland becomes strategically much more important as the eastern entrance to the passage from Europe and the eastern United States.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

World Carfree Day

Also In this section:
* History
* 2007 Media
Advisory Template (.doc)
* General Media Relations
* 2nd Annual Street
Conversion Competition
* Resources
* Links
* Register an event
* Discussion forum

Every September 22, people from around the world get together in the streets, intersections, and neighbourhood blocks to remind the world that we don't have to accept our car-dominated society.

2007 should be no different.

But we do not want just one day of celebration and then a return to "normal" life. When people get out of their cars, they should stay out of their cars. It is up to us, it is up to our cities, and our governments to help create permanent change to benefit pedestrians, cyclists, and other people who do not drive cars.

Let World Carfree Day be a showcase for just how our cities might look like, feel like, and sound like without cars…365 days a year.

As the climate heats up, World Carfree Day is the perfect time to take the heat off the planet, and put it on city planners and politicians to give priority to cycling, walking and public transport, instead of to the automobile.

Street Conversion Design Contest
carfree street, parking space, or intersection
click here
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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Manitoba tornado was strongest ever

"The tornado prompted the Manitoba government to renew its call for a national severe weather warning system _ one that would send warnings to cellphones, pagers and other personal electronic devices.

The federal and provincial governments have been discussing the issue, although it remains to be seen how much money each level of government would have to provide."
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Sara Tkachyk took this picture of the Elie Tornado from her farm, five miles north of Culross, Manitoba.

Viewer Sara Tkachyk took this picture of the Elie Tornado from her farm, five miles north of Culross, Manitoba.


WINNIPEG -- It was so strong it sandblasted the bark off trees and tossed homes around as if they were toys.

The tornado that struck the tiny community of Elie, Man., this summer was deemed Tuesday to be the most powerful in Canadian history.

Environment Canada, after reviewing amateur videotape of the twister, determined the tornado packed winds of more than 400 km/h -- strong enough to qualify as Canada's first-ever F-5 tornado on the international Fujita scale.

The tornado touched down on June 22, cutting a swath 300 metres wide and 5.5 km long through the town just west of Winnipeg.

Amazingly, no one was seriously injured or killed, despite the fact that the tornado carried much stronger winds than the F-4 twister that roared through Edmonton in 1987 that claimed 27 lives.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

September's Science: Shutdown of airlines aided contrail studies

Week of May 11, 2002; Vol. 161, No. 19 , p. 291
"Immediately after four hijacked airliners slammed into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in southwestern Pennsylvania, the Federal Aviation Administration shut down all U.S. commercial air traffic for 3 days. The unprecedented grounding of airliners enabled airports to step up security measures. At the same time, scientists stepped up to a unique opportunity to study the influence of high-flying aircraft on Earth's climate."
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One way that aircraft may affect climate is through their cloud like contrails, which appear behind jets flying at high altitude. Contrails are made of ice crystals that form within seconds around the small particles present in aircraft exhaust
the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, and the Northeast�areas of the country typically blanketed with aircraft contrails in mid-September�showed the largest changes in diurnal temperature range, mostly from increased daytime high temperatures. This bolsters the argument that contrails can significantly affect climate
Sept. 12, individual cloud trails of high-flying military aircraft stand out clearly in a nearly cloud-free region west of Washington, D.C. In just a few hours, six contrails�each of which started out a few meters wide�spread to cover more than 20,000 square kilometers.
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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Abandoned Plane Wrecks of the North

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The Arctic North (northern parts of Canada and Alaska) is a cruel environment for men and machine; for planes it is no different. The weather creates all sorts of hazards, the terrain offers its own variety of opportinuties for disaster.
Men are prone to make mistakes and machines are bound to fail at some point. Here are some of the results. I hope we can establish the identities and the locations of these planes, help will be welcomed.

DC-3 at Reindeer Lake, July 2006
DC-3 crash
Lambair C-46 at Churchill
C-46 crashsite in Manitoba
C-GFFJ at Sioux Lookout
N103 at Venetie,AK
N103 Carvair
B-24 wreckage
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