Monday, April 13, 2009

Arctic Sea Ice Melt Accelerating

We hate ice and cold conditions around here, but in the Arctic, they're essential, which makes this Washington Post story so alarming.


Silent E said...

Wow.... The 5th lowest in 30 years. That would be very alarming if the planet was 35 years old.....

James Rowen said...

To Silent E:

Let's quote the relevant paragraphs in full for the rest of the readers:

"The satellite data released by NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center show that the maximum extent of the 2008-2009 winter sea ice cover was the fifth-lowest since researchers began collecting such information 30 years ago. The past six years have produced the six lowest maximums in that record, and the new data show that the percentage of older, thicker and more persistent ice shrank to its lowest level ever, at just 9.8 percent of the winter ice cover.

"We're seeing an ice cover that's younger and that's thinner as we head into summer," Walt Meier, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said in a telephone news conference. "It's been a pretty sharp decline."

"The new evidence -- including satellite data showing that the average multiyear wintertime sea ice cover in the Arctic in 2005 and 2006 was nine feet thick, a significant decline from the 1980s -- contradicts data cited in widely circulated reports by Washington Post columnist George F. Will that sea ice in the Arctic has not significantly declined since 1979."

Anonymous said...

This is the Geological Society of America's take on climate change.
These are the same people that study ice cores and look at time in a way that puts into perspective 4600 million years.

"The Earth's climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming. Many components of the climate system—including the temperatures of the atmosphere, land and ocean, the extent of sea ice and mountain glaciers, the sea level, the distribution of precipitation, and the length of seasons—are now changing at rates and in patterns that are not natural and are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century...The geologic record provides a direct measure of the frequency, range, and duration of significant global climate changes throughout Earth’s history. Natural phenomena and processes have caused significant alterations of Earth’s climate. Of significance to the issue of modern global climate change are the interpretations of the geologic record showing that the rate of change in atmospheric composition, especially with respect to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, is unprecedented in Earth’s recent history. Specifically, the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the past 650,000 years, and probably higher than at any time in the past 30 million years."

I think it's better to listen more to the experts than to Charlie Sykes or Mark Belling regarding climate change, or as they call it "liberal crapola". They'll use the "It's 0 degrees today, tell that to Al Gore!" Somehow these talk show hosts have the answers for everything from military strategy, to education, to energy policy, to climate change, etc., they just know it all. Yes, it's definitely time to listen to the experts and make a huge investment in developing a replacement for oil.