News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Metro RTA

Lehmans

NOCHE


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Science and Technology




Exploradio: Arctic ice and global warming
A Kent State University researcher finds changing patterns in Arctic sea-ice drift is another sign of a warming world
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
Arctic ice is melting at an alarming rate. A Kent State Unversity scientist is part of a team that identified a 1,500 year weather cycle in the Arctic that helps explain long-term weather patterns. These patterns are being disrupted by human-caused global warming.
Courtesy of Darby, ODU
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

A Russian ship sailing from Siberia to Japan last month became the first commercial tanker to cross the Northeast Passage in WINTER.  Summer crossings of the formerly ice choked North Pole are now commonplace.

On this week’s Exploradio, WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair looks at melting ice, global warming, and the difference between natural and man-made climate change.

Exploradio: Arctic ice and global warming

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:51)


(Click image for larger view.)

The sands of frozen time

Dr. Joseph Ortiz selects a small glass vial from a wooden cabinet.  It’s full of sand he says came from the bottom of the ocean, just off the Alaskan coast.

It's part of a sediment core from the North Win Ridge.

Ortiz is a paleo-oceanographer at Kent State University.  He studies what oceans used to look like.  He says sand like this hitches across the Arctic on icebergs.  During the summer, when the ice melts, the sand particles fall, and over thousands of years form layers on the ocean floor.  Ortiz says like a passport, the sand has a chemical signature that tells exactly where it’s from. 

He says by looking at those trace elements using an electron microprobe, "we can fingerprint those and tie them from the source outcrop where they originally came from.”

Ortiz and colleagues from Old Dominion University and the University of Southern California travelled to Alaska last year and drilled deep into the muck to analyze the pattern of drifting Arctic ice based on sand grain deposits dating back 8,000 years.

A post-glacial climate clock

Ortiz says what his team found, "was a prominent 1,500 year cycle within the Arctic Oscillation, and this hadn’t been shown previously from earlier scientific results.”

The Arctic Oscillation is caused by wind and ocean currents that flow from Siberia to North America.  And it’s during those times of enhanced trans-polar drift that material from the Eurasian side makes its way over to the Alaskan coast.

Ortiz and his team found that this 15-hundred year cycle varies between two extremes.  One is the ice-forming positive Arctic oscillation that traps cold air in the north, and the second is the ice-melting negative oscillation that sucks warm air into the pole and pushes cold air south.

Here in the U.S. we feel the negative Arctic oscillation as the Alberta Clipper, these weather patterns that we get here that explain very cold conditions.

Ironically, melting polar ice and the negative Arctic Oscillation bring colder winters and more extreme weather to the eastern U.S. and Europe.

Millennial-old patterns gone awry

While science can’t pinpoint what drives these cycles, Ortiz says the eight-thousand year natural weather patterns recorded in the mud below the Arctic Ocean are now under assault by human activity.

He says what we’re seeing since the 1860’s or so is a long-term trend, "a drift if you will, and that drift is driven by the amount of CO2 that’s being put into the atmosphere.”  

While the cycle Ortiz revealed shows the Arctic should be building ice, the opposite is happening. 

Ortiz and other climate scientists can’t explain what’s driving the variability we’re seeing through natural causes alone.

Ortiz’s says weather models based on natural forces alone, such as Arctic ice drift, solar cycles, volcanoes, or ocean currents, don’t match what’s happening today UNLESS greenhouse gases are added to the equations.  THEN climate models reflect the data of a warming planet and the disrupted Arctic cycle.

The evidence for human caused climate change is overwhelming, according to Ortiz -  "If you look at the data from many different angles, from many different fields, it says pretty convincingly that humans have modified the climate system.  We need to be paying attention to that.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the international body of scientists tracking climate data since 1988, says the Arctic Ocean is thawing so quickly, it could be entirely ice free by mid century.

And with no ice at the North Pole, Santa won’t be the only one left out in the cold.

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook



Support for Exploradio
provided by:








Stories with Recent Comments

What the U.S. Supreme Court ruling means for early voting
r.gov trying to slow down voters to stop the people from voting out the r. govener

Cleveland Orchestra heads home from Europe
So proud to be a lifetime Clevelander! Yes, our Orchestra is the best ambassador a city could hope for! My wife and I happened to hear the European Festival T...

Northeast Ohio undocumented immigrants praying for a miracle
Stop it, just stop it. They are not undocumented but illegal aliens. I live in a 'sanctuary' city and it's not pretty. Dahlberg is a notorious trouble maker in ...

Ohio survey shows low-income people are choosing phones over food
Where is this study published? no sign of it on google scholar. is there a cite

The Akron Sound rocks the porches
fabulous group interview! you covered so much in so little time. wish i could be there for porch rockr.

Head of Ohio Dems says Kasich administration is lying about Suarez contacts
when Kasich's mouth is open , he's lying. Look what he did at Lehmans brothers and then lied about it all during the campaign. If a GOP didn't lie, he or she ...

Canton's Basilica of St. John absorbs news of the pope at morning Mass
Hello Chris,Marina,and Patrice, I just read this article and you all look great. I'm on facebook Jean Dutcher in blue and white stripped blouse. I"M so glad to ...

Exploradio: Avoiding the 'acting-white' trap
Growing-up black and being black should not determine that you will not speak well or will not be a high achiever in your goals in life.But society te nds to la...

Charter-school supporters to rally at Statehouse
I am on the bus now headed to the rally. Horizon is an excellent school. My son is is 7 th grade. The teachers and administrators are top notch and spend so m...

Former Nursing Home Land Added to Parks
In addition, LED technology also plays a very important role in advertising- LED placard is very, very useful for shop owners.

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University