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136 Back With a Vengeance

07 . 09 . 2021


Watch this on video | Buy us a coffee: Chris / Henry / Mario

POLAR NEWSREEL The time of discoveries in the polar regions has not ended yet. A team that was aiming to land at Oodaaq island, the northernost dry land in the world north of Greenland, actually landed on new emerged bank slightly northwest of it and thus serendipitously discovered the, so far, northernmost emerged land in the world. The discoverers have suggested the name “Qeqertaq Avannarleq”, which means “the northernmost island” in Greenlandic. Algae are the basis of all life in the oceans. This project from UNIS in Svalbard studied how the rapid temperature rise in the Arctic affects the sea ice algae and the phytoplankton. The results are to be used for modeling the impact of Arctic warming on the ecosystem. Penguins have inspired the shape of one of the newest additions to the instruments to study oceans: the Quadroin, a 25kg and €80,000 wireless AUV that can sample data autonomously down to 150m in environments where other vehicles are unable to go, for example, under sea ice or in shallow water. For the first time in recorded history rain fell at the normally snowy summit of Greenland. Over a weekend in mid August temperatures at the Greenland summit rose above freezing for the third time in less than a decade. The rain dumped 7 billion tons of water on the ice sheet, the heaviest rainfall on the ice sheet since record keeping began in 1950. Our currently most favourite iceberg out in the ocean, the well documented A-74 that's nearly the size of Greater London, reportedly touched the western tip of Brunt Ice Shelf due to strong easterly winds. The bump, however, has not been strong enough to effect Brunt Ice Shelf and nearby Halley research station of British Antarctic Survey which has been in hibernation since the begin of the pandemic.

BACK WITH A VENGEANCE After a two months break we are back with an alarming topic. The IPCC has recently released the first part of their Sixth Assessment Report focusing on "The Physical Science Basis" of climate change. Two more parts are due for completion next year, "Mitigation of Climate Change", and "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability" as well as eventually the "Sixth Assessment Report Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2022". The good news on this report is: There is nothing new. There's no big news, nothing that we didn't already know. We're seeing the effects of climate change already. And this report just confirms what our research and experience has told us is happening. "The Physical Science Basis" states that unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach. What’s surprising is that the IPCC uses in this report a very strong, definitive language, like the use of words like unequivocal in a way that leaves no doubt. It takes away all the conspiracy arguments of the so-called sceptics. In its press release the IPCC summarises the report very clear: "Climate change is bringing multiple different changes in different regions – which will all increase with further warming. These include changes to wetness and dryness, to winds, snow and ice, coastal areas and oceans."

This is an episode of the Curiously Polar podcast

with Chris Marquardt Henry Páll Wulff: Mario Acquarone

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