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crisis interventions

Code Red In The Arctic — Restoring Arctic Ice

What are Interventions?These are brief undertakings where Kyrios endeavours to avert or lessen the severity of a natural disaster in a bid to reduce loss of lives, destruction, and impacts of climate change.

Overview

Outcome

Intervention is underway since August 2021 and will last till March 2022 ...

Crisis Situation

  • 14-16 August 2021, Greenland experienced unprecedented rainfall
  • Temperatures were 18°C above average where they should be below freezing
  • In July, about 8 billion tons of ice melted away every day for a week
  • If all of Greenland's glaciers melt, sea levels will rise by 6 metres

Timeline of Events

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(Note: Intervention In Progress – Till March 2022)


Imagine what would happen if the world’s second largest ice sheet, Greenland, melted into the ocean – scientists estimate that sea level would rise about 6 metres (20 feet).

From 1971 to 2019, the Arctic’s near-surface air temperature increased by 3.1℃, which is three times the global average. In the past 30 years, sea ice extent has declined 43% and snow volume on sea ice in the western Arctic declined by a third. Precipitation in the Arctic has increased by 9% since the 1970s, but that is all in the form of rain. Some scientists even estimate that the Arctic could be ice-free in summer as early as 2030.

On 14 Aug 2021, a code-red event happened 3,216 metres above sea level – rain fell, instead of snow, on the glacial peaks of Greenland. Temperatures were 18°C above average and remained above freezing for 3 days. 7 billion tons of rain fell, resulting in widespread surface melting across an area about 4 times the size of the UK, and high runoff volumes to the ocean. This came in the wake of a large-scale melting episode in July that saw an average of 8 billion tons of ice being shed daily over the course of a week.

Kyrios was immediately concerned upon receiving the news and explained that if the drastic melting of the Arctic’s polar ice caps continues unchecked, the rapidly rising sea levels will threaten coastal regions worldwide. The influx of meltwater will further intensify the catastrophic typhoon seasons, leading to storms and rainfall that will cause sudden and frequent floods, landslides, and mudslides across the world. Many will lose their homes and livelihoods, even perish, as these disasters devastate cities, townships, and farmlands.

On 23 August 2021, Kyrios began intervention to boost ice volumes across the Arctic, with an immediate focus to remedy the situation in Greenland. This endeavour will continue until March 2022.

Please stay tuned for further updates as we track the progress of Kyrios’ ongoing intervention here.

TIMELINE

14 August 2021 - Sat

Rain falls on Greenland for the first time

For the first time in recorded history, rain has fallen on the peak of Greenland ice cap. It is an extremely urgent and ominous warning of climate change. At this altitude of 3216 metres, temperatures are normally well below freezing. Scientists were surprised by the rainfall as such an event had no precedent on record.

17 August 2021 - Tue

Widespread rain and melt for 3 days

Temperatures were 18°C higher than average in Greenland over the past 3 days and an estimated 7 billion tonnes of rain has fallen across the Greenland ice sheet. As a result, widespread surface melting – across an area about 4 times the size of the UK – and high runoff volumes to the ocean occurred.

Greenland also had a large-scale melting episode in July. The rain and melt on 14-16 August made the situation even more dire for 2021.

In May, researchers had already warned that a significant part of the Greenland ice sheet was nearing a tipping point, after which accelerated melting would become inevitable even if global heating was halted.

21 August 2021 - Sat

Kyrios hears about the news

Alarmed at the news of rain falling on Greenland's peak, Kyrios quickly surveys the conditions in Greenland to examine the extent of melting. Kyrios comments that rain at Greenland will lead to very serious consequences for the region, hence immediate intervention is necessary.

23 August 2021 - Mon

⭐️ Kyrios begins restoring ice in the Arctic

Kyrios sets out to create favourable climatic conditions for increasing ice volumes in the Arctic region. Immediate attention was on Greenland given its urgent situation. The geographical region of Kyrios' intervention also includes countries in and around the Arctic Circle, such as Alaska, Canada, northern United States, Siberia, and even northern China. This intervention will continue until March 2022.

Kyrios says that the northern hemisphere will experience colder winters this year due to the intervention.

31 August 2021 - Tue

Rate of loss in Arctic sea ice volume slows down

The downward trend of the average Arctic Sea Ice volume as the years go by is a powerful evidence of rising global temperatures. Data from the Danish Meteorological Institute shows that ice volume in the Arctic Sea in 2021 started off as being the lowest in recent years and throughout the first half of 2021. It was highly possible that Arctic Sea Ice volume could remain being the lowest in 2021 and set another year of record low.

Remarkably, after Kyrios' intervention on 23 Aug, the graph shows that the rate of loss in sea ice volume has begun to slow down, as illustrated by the gentler downward curve towards the end of Aug. The 2021 line has also started to pull away from 2019 and 2020, signifying that a change in the year-on-year downward trend is underway.

12 September 2021 - Sun

A rare hurricane specially delivers snow to Greenland

3 weeks after Kyrios began intervention, an unusual hurricane, named Larry, brought a significant amount of snowfall to Greenland. It first developed off the west coast of Africa on 31 Aug and trekked far across the Atlantic ocean. The hurricane made a landfall in Newfoundland on 11 Aug before heading for its final destination – Greenland. It is very rare that a hurricane sustains so far north in the Atlantic and pushes high tropical moisture towards the Arctic region.

Hurricane Larry morphed from a warm-core tropical hurricane to a cold-core extratropical storm, which enhanced precipitation, as it approached Greenland. Its moisture eventually fell as snow over Greenland, prompting people to call it a "Snowicane". This is only the 5th time in recorded history that a hurricane ended up unleashing snow.

Gary Partyka, a senior scientist at NASA, said that hurricanes cannot propel themselves, "they need to be steered by larger-scale pressure patterns in the atmosphere. These steering currents were oriented more north-south than usual", leading to Larry moving northwards towards the Arctic. Larry's steering pattern, along with the higher-than-usual sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic, allowed it to survive longer as a warm-core hurricane and retain tropical moisture.

13 September 2021 - Mon

Larry replenished melt losses from summer

The snowfall brought in by Hurricane Larry has been so abundant that it is estimated that Larry could potentially balance out losses from melting during the summer, which included three notable melting events—two in July and one in August.

Danish research institutions suggest that Larry may have dropped 10 gigatons of snow on Greenland on Sunday while computer models estimate that parts of Greenland saw approximately two to three feet of snow.

Lauren Andrews, a glaciologist with NASA said, "It is a dramatic end to a season of extreme events across the Greenland ice sheet," noting also that it is unusual to see such a high rate of snowfall so soon after the end of the summer melt season, which occurs each year from around May to early September.

Kyrios explains about the Larry phenomenon

Back in early July 2021, Kyrios had predicted that two hurricanes would form in the Atlantic Ocean between September to October, and one of them would hit the east coast of the U.S. A year ago in 2020, Kyrios had also envisioned that a white Cathedral near the coast would be destroyed by a storm surge.

Hence, in a fortuitous moment in August, as Hurricane Larry was establishing in the Atlantic Ocean, Kyrios saw not only an opportunity to leverage Larry to replenish ice in Greenland, but also to steer the hurricane away from the U.S. East Coast.

Kyrios explains that it is not easy to maintain the favourable conditions that allowed the hurricane to sustain its strength and capture even more moisture along the way to Greenland.

Finally, as the hurricane approached Greenland, Kyrios then acted to convert the moisture into snow, by "pushing" the hurricane high up into the atmosphere, where it would interact with cold currents to form atmospheric ice, which would then fall as snow.

16 September 2021 - Thu

Sea ice reaches minimum extent - highest since 2014

Sea ice reached its minimum extent on this day, which is the 12th lowest on record, but highest since 2014.

Scientists with the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) said that, as summer was ending in the Northern Hemisphere, Arctic sea ice had shrunk less in 2021 than in other recent years.

Mark Serreze, Director of NSIDC also commented that, “We had a reprieve this year — a cool and stormy summer with less ice melt.” This is great news, because it means that Kyrios' intervention is impactful, and showing real improvements to ice conditions in the Arctic. In addition to restoring ice, Kyrios also wanted to retain as much ice during the summer season, so this was an important milestone. This would also mean that Kyrios' efforts to raise ice extent during winter would produce greater results.

However, NSIDC cautioned that the Arctic Sea ice extent figures were preliminary, that the trend may reverse as continued melting could still push the ice minimum extent lower before the early winter freeze begins. Kyrios will continue to monitor the situation and intervene if necessary.

30 September 2021 - Thu

September sea ice extent increased 25% year-on-year!

At the end of September, one and a half months after Kyrios started intervention, sea ice extent reached 4.9 million sq km compared with only 3.9 million sq km in 2020.

Sea ice volume reached normal range

The graph above shows that sea ice volume began to increase earlier in Sep 2021 compared to recent years. The sea ice volume has also reached within the 2004-2013 interdecile range for the first time this year.

17 October 2021 - Sun

Beijing, China, ushers in a "quick-freeze" weather. Temperatures in many parts of Beijing, China, fell below the freezing point, more than half a month earlier than normal, the lowest value recorded in 52 years.

A cold wave chilled eastern and central China, possibly foretelling a colder-than-average winter. An expert said that the cold wave was caused by the westerly, which brings cold and dry air from Siberia to China. The pattern repeats every year but came earlier this year amid atmospheric circulation anomalies.

19 October 2021 - Tue

South Korea witness its first snow of the season on Seorak Mountain, which was 16 days earlier than in previous years.

28 October 2021 - Thu

California ski resorts open early compared to previous years due to early snowfall.

31 October 2021 - Sun

October sea ice extent increased 30% year-on-year!

Ice extent is 6.8 million sq km in 2021 compared with 5.3 million in 2020.

Sea ice extent has grown at such an incredible pace throughout October that large parts of the remote Arctic waters along the Russian coast have become covered with sea ice, complicating shipping conditions.

Sea ice volume continues to stay near interdecile range

Arctic sea ice volume continues to grow steadily and stayed near the 2004-2013 interdecile range throughout October 2021, contrasting the situation seen in the past 2 years.

1 November 2021 - Mon

In Canada, snowfall usually occurs between December to March, but in 2021, some areas have experienced snowfall in November, and some even as early as September.

2 November 2021 - Tue

The ice map above shows that major parts of the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea are covered by sea-ice that is more than 15 cm thick (coloured pink). In the eastern parts of the East Siberian Sea are areas with up to 70 cm thick one-year ice, as well as 2 m thick multi-year ice (coloured green).

8 November 2021 - Mon

According to Roshydromet, the Russian meteorological service, temperature maps show that major parts of the Russian Arctic coast were between 2-4°C warmer than normal in October. Yet, despite the extraordinarily warm weather, there have been strong winds in the region. Storms with gusts up to 30 m/s raged across the area in the first week of November.

9 November 2021 - Tue

33 stations in Northeastern China recorded snowfalls that broke historical records for the same period. Several stations in Liaoning, Inner Mongolia, and western Jilin recorded the deepest snow accumulation since meteorological records were available. In some places, the historical records of snow depth are even doubled.

10 November 2021 - Wed

Seoul's first snow of the year arrived 30 days earlier than last year.

20 November 2021 - Wed

Kyrios' Antarctic intervention begins!

As an expansion of Kyrios' ongoing endeavour to save our Earth's polar ice and curb rising sea levels, Kyrios announces that efforts to restore ice in the Antarctic had begun and will continue till November 2022.

This will be Kyrios' most difficult and challenging climate crisis intervention to date!! Stay updated about the Antarctic intervention here.

30 November 2021 - Tue

November sea ice extent increased 10% year-on-year

Sea ice extent is at 9.8 million sq km, compared to 9.0 million sq km in 2020. The ice froze at a faster than average pace through November.

Unforeseen early freeze of the Northern Sea Route

Ships transiting along the Northern Sea route were unexpectedly stuck as ice conditions in late October and early November over the past years have allowed extensive shipping along the vast Russian Arctic coast. As many as 24 ships became frozen in and had to await icebreakers to break through the 30 cm thick ice to make way for escape.

Russian officials had earlier forecasted and announced that the route would remain open for the entire month of November. Therefore, much to their surprise — and dismay -– the shipping route had already frozen up by October this year and the route had to be closed early. Officials said that it was the first time in the last 7 years that the sea ice had already frozen so much by this time — ice had formed two weeks earlier than seen in the previous 7 years. Alexei Likhachyov, the director general of Rosatom, a company that runs a fleet of nuclear-powered icebreaker ships, said that "weather forecasts were inaccurate."

This further corroborates that Kyrios' intervention has indeed altered this year's Arctic weather.

Strange phenomenon observed by Russian meteorologists

What's even more interesting and noteworthy is that the early freeze happened despite the extraordinarily warm weather of October. While temperature maps from the Russian meteorological service showed that major parts of the Russian Arctic coast were 2-4°C warmer than normal in October, strong winds were also detected in the region. In the first week of November, storms with gusts up to 30 m/s raged across the area. The strong winds may have helped ice to form despite the higher temperature.

Sea ice volume continues to stay near interdecile range

The steep upward growth trajectory of Arctic sea ice volume continues through November and although it is still at the lower end of the 2004-2013 interdecile range, we must not forget that it is already a phenomenal feat that Kyrios has actually reversed the downward year-on-year trend of sea ice volume that is set by the past 2 years of 2019 and 2020.

6 December 2021 - Mon

St. Petersburg broke the 1893 severe winter record. Temperatures fell to -20.9°C, breaking a daily record set 128 years ago.

31 December 2021 - Fri

Year-End Review - 2021 Arctic sea ice extent the fastest-growing and highest in recent years!

Almost 5 months into Kyrios' intervention, against the backdrop of a warming Arctic region, Kyrios' efforts to restore ice in the Arctic continues to progress with encouraging results.

According to a detailed year-end review by Severe Weather Europe, Arctic sea ice extent at the end of December 2021 is at 12.95 million sq km – the highest in 7 years and the 2nd highest in 18 years. Ice extent also grew faster than in recent years. The ice extent has reached the 1981-2010 interdecile range in December, which means it is within the normal sea-ice inter-annual variability, a situation that's not been seen since 2014.

Sea ice reportedly grew "unusually" fast in December in the Greenland Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the Hudson Bay, and is much higher than average in the Greenland Sea and in the Sea of Okhotsk.

As shown in the image below, sea ice extent in 2021 remained consistently above the 2011-2020 average since August – when Kyrios began to intervene.

The review also pointed out that after the rapid melting from late May to early July, Arctic Sea Ice Anomalies has been in a positive phase as anomalies were reduced through August and over the last 5 months.

Colder-than-normal weather phenomenon had triggered fast and earlier freezing

In 2021, sea ice reached its minimum extent on September 16th, which was the 12th lowest on record, but highest since 2014. The main reason given was that "colder than average weather in the western Arctic Ocean slowed down sea ice from melting in the Canadian and Alaskan regions".

The article described that "a northern hemisphere's strong negative height anomaly in the geopotential in late summer kept the western Arctic cooler and reduced the ice from melting". Not only was air temperature colder than normal, but sea temperature as well – a "favourable trigger" contributing to fast and earlier freezing in this Arctic sector when the fall season started.

2021 sea ice extent growth contradicts what is happening globally and in the Antarctic

Finally, the article also noted that the Sea Ice Extent in the Arctic this year is in contrast with what is happening globally, and in particular because the Antarctic sea ice is in sharp decline. Although stable above the long-term average from March to the end of August, Antarctic Sea Ice started its rapid decline in September.

Hopefully, Kyrios' endeavour to bolster up the Antarctic glaciers will bear fruit in 2022.

December sea ice volume moves higher within interdecile range

Since Kyrios began intervention, the Arctic ice has been seeing positive news. December sea ice volume has risen even higher within the 2004-2013 interdecile range. For the past 2 years, during the second half of the year, Arctic sea ice volume has been low and outside of the interdecile range, while 2021 has mostly maintained within range.

Implications for global climate

Sea ice extent in the Arctic has important implications for global climate and weather, especially in North America and Europe. By now, the Arctic has been increasing its sea ice extent at a steady pace, and if this trend continues in the coming months, there may be important repercussions for next spring's synoptic and meteorological conditions. For example, a study has found that sea ice in the Arctic has a strong impact on precipitation in northern Europe.

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