Russia has ordered an “urgent” evacuation of it’s drifting ice station known as North Pole-40 that sits on top Arctic sea ice, because of disintegrating sea ice that is posing dangerous conditions to reseachers.
The scientific research station was placed on the ice floe in October 2012 and was planned to stay there until September. Now the floe has already started to break apart and the crew has to be evacuated as soon as possible.
Russia’s Minister of Nature Resources and Ecology Sergey Donskoy has ordered that a plan for evacuation should be ready within three days, the Ministry’s web site reads.
Its kind of hard to study climate change if your research stations start to melt under you.
The reductions in April ice extent this year and over the satellite record are predominantly due to reduced ice cover in the Kara and Barents seas. In contrast, ice extent continues to remain slightly above normal in the Bering Sea.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, as of February 2013, methane levels in the atmosphere are measured at 1,874 ppb (parts per billion.) This level, in an historical context, is more than twice as high as any time since 400,000 years before the industrial revolution. In the past, methane has ranged between 300-400 ppb during glacial periods and 600-700 ppb during warm interglacial periodIn 2012, expeditionary teams in the Arctic were shocked, and dismayed, to find methane bubbling up from deep ocean sites. “Previous observations have pointed to large methane plumes being released from the seabed in the relatively shallow sea off the northern coast of Siberia, but the latest findings were made far away from land in the deep, open ocean where the surface is usually capped by ice.”1Approximately two hundred million years ago methane was involved in a mass extinction event, referred to as “The Great Dying.” The outcome was the extinction of over half of all life forms. Some studies suggests a volcanic eruption started the warming cycle, triggering positive feedback by causing underwater permafrost to melt and release methane gas to the atmosphere (similar to today, except humans are the trigger rather than a volcano) which further amplified warming even more, releasing more methane, and the feedback grew, and grew, until conditions became so inhospitable that mass extinction occurred.4We’ve lost about 40% of the phytoplankton in the oceans which is the basis of the food chain.Phytoplankton account for half of all photosynthetic activity on Earth. Thus phytoplankton are responsible for much of the oxygen present in the Earth’s atmosphere– half of the total amount produced by all plant life.