The climate of Alaska has changed substantially over the last 100 years for which direct observations are available. For the last 50 years reliable data are available, while before this time calibration of the instrumentation was spotty, and major breaks in the observations have occurred. During the last 50 years the temperature in Alaska increased by some 3°F, which is about 6 times the worldwide rate of about 1°F per century. This increase varied both in place and time, and seasonally, winter showed the largest increase followed by spring. The temperature increase was not steady over the 50 years; in the mid-seventies a strong temperature increase was observed. Since then the temperature has not increased, with the exception of the North Slope. This strong, sudden temperature increase indicates that it is due to a circulation change, and at least not directly caused by increased greenhouse gases.
Sea ice has decreased in the Southern Beaufort Sea and a good correlation between sea ice concentration and mean annual temperatures of coastal station was observed. This decrease in the sea ice leads to more open water, and during stormy periods, more erosion of the coastline occurs due to more wave action resulting from a longer fetch. There are further some indications that storminess has increased. The increased erosion rate is of great importance for villages at the North and west coast of Alaska, Shishmaref being the most prominent one, but for sure not the only one. We plan to investigate the relationship between temperature, sea ice, storminess and erosion. The surface energy budget for different ice concentration and ice types are proposed to be studied during a cruise in the Arctic Ocean jointly with our Russian colleagues.
Climate Change UAF
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Friday, 22 December 2006 07:42
Energy Balance of the Russian Arctic OceanWritten by Administrator
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