ICE CODE

Northern Alaska is warming so fast, it’s faking out computers.

photo- David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Image

The loss of near-shore sea ice near Utqiaġvik (Barrow) has been so abrupt, it’stransformed the local climate.

Open water in the Arctic causes a compounding warming effect and rapidly elevates temperatures — water is darker than ice and absorbs heat quicker. The effect is particularly strong between October and December, the time of the year that used to have sea ice, but often doesn’t anymore. Octobers in Utqiaġvik are now nearly 8 degrees warmer than Octobers in the 1980s and ’90s.

Apparently, the computers tracking temperatures there have finally had enough. Deke Arndt, chief of NOAA’s Climate Monitoring Branch, explains:

In an ironic exclamation point to swift regional climate change in and near the Arctic, the average temperature observed at the weather station at Utqiaġvik has now changed so rapidly that it triggered an algorithm designed to detect artificial changes in a station’s instrumentation or environment and disqualified itself from the NOAA Alaskan temperature analysis, leaving northern Alaska analyzed a little cooler than it really was.

Basically, the computer thought the weather station had been moved. It hasn’t moved; Utqiaġvik is just a different place now.

Comments
No. 1-7
jean
jean

Editor

@ben tx! We will look into this further in the New Year! Happy Holidays!!

ben
ben

Oh no, we could arrange an interview :) We have a media team to help with the action, you can coordinate with @NickyBradford to help get something going, or here is the facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ClimateDirectAction/

jean
jean

Editor

@ben wow. I am in awe of your deep and committed passion and the risks you and your friend have taken and are enduring the consequences for at this point. You are both brave beyond belief, to risk all. I commend you both. If it were possible to interview you both and tell your story, we would do so. I am sure that legally that is not an option. Thank you both- you have inspired me , and I am sure all those around you and beyond. There are no words.... Praying all works out with the best possible results.

ben
ben

@jean, a good friend of mine, who is facing years in jail after shutting down a tar sands pipeline said this: "my friends know me to be an intelligent person, a person who acts rationally. And when they learn that I took such a large risk that seems so irrational on the surface, they re-evaluate the urgency of the crisis that we are in."

I myself am facing two felony charges and possibly years in jail for assisting in that same action. What do I have to lose? Everything - time with my three children, my amazing partner, my work, our home. But we just can't keep trying to live so-called normal lives anymore. Not when doing so causes as much harm to our world as it is.

jean
jean

Editor

@ben The question is: what will it take to motivate people? I have friends in my town who still do NOT believe in global warming!

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