Posted by: Michael Ritter PhD | December 17, 2007

Arctic Sea Ice Disappearing at a More Rapid Rate than Expected.

yearly_composite0730_web.pngArctic sea ice appears to be disappearing at a faster rate than previously expected. 2007 Arctic summer sea ice was at it’s lowest extent on record – 25 % below the previous record set in 2005. It’s no surprise the UK’s Hadley Centre and University of East Anglia announced that this year is the seventh warmest on record for the globe and second warmest for the Northern hemisphere. At the recent American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, renown climate scientist James Hansen suggested that the earth has already crossed several climate change “tipping points”. Hanson believes that today’s levels of greenhouse gases will cause additional large and rapid changes. Current levels of greenhouse gases is enough to cause Arctic sea ice and the Greenland ice cap to melt away.

At the same meeting Professor Wieslaw Maslowski suggested that previous projections had underestimated the processes that now drive sea ice loss. “The Arctic is screaming,” Mark Serreze, a senior scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (Boulder, Colorado) described of the change occurring in the Arctic. Professor Maslowski and his team estimate that the Arctic sea could be ice free by 2013. Enough melt occurred this year to open the fabled sea route The Northwest Passage – a short cut from Europe to Asia through the Canadian Arctic. Circumstances for the Arctic seem dire as as some think this “canary” in the proverbial “coal mine” is, or has died .

TPE Links: Climate Change: Global warming – Evidence from the Oceans; Natural Systems

Resources for this posting:
Global Warming “Tipping Points” Reached, Scientist Says. National Geographic News
‘The Arctic is Screaming’, expert says. Indianapolis Star
2007 data confirms warming trend. BBC News
Arctic Summer ice-free ‘by 2013’. BBC
Warming ‘opens Northwest Passage’. BBC

Image courtesy NASA (Source)

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