Arctic Sea Ice Levels Set Record Low And Continues To Melt
The latest news cycle in the eco-spere this past week has brought attention to a headline that’s hard not to miss. USA Today’s headline was “Scientists: Arctic sea ice at lowest level on record” and Reuters titling their report “Arctic sea ice at record low, expected to keep on melting” and The New York Times reporting “Satellites Show Sea Ice in Arctic Is at a Record Low“. According to the US National Snow & Ice Data Center, all those statements are true and it is an alarm bell that we should pay attention to. Looking at the main picture above and the line graphs below show the comparison to the historical normal versus the snapshot of today.
Thanks to modern day satellite technology, we can get accurate readings on the status of the ice caps. Thanks to the U.S. National Snow & Ice Data center we can clearly see the results of this year’s Arctic Warming – a new record low for the daily extent of the Arctic sea ice. The worst part about this situation is that there is still two to three weeks of solid melting into September before the re-freezing occurs.
Nerd Alert: Here Are Some Crazy Facts:
- On Aug. 26, 2012 the Arctic sea ice (extent) dropped to 4.10 million sq. km (70,000 sq. kms lower than last record in 2007.)
- The last six years have had the six lowest ice extents from 2007 to 2012 according to satellite records.
- The Arctic sea ice continues to melt at a rate of 45,000km loss per day compared to normal rates of around 40,000 km.
While melting ice caps and drowning polar bears sound alarming as it is, the good news is that last year, energy related carbon dioxide emissions have gone down. Even though one of the major reasons for the drop in C02 emissions are because of cheap natural gas and a fracking frenzy, some people say that switching from dirty coal to natural gas is a good transition fuel until renewables can catch up.
It’s important to remember that melting sea ice will not contribute to sea level rise because the ice is already displacing water by its weight. Although the warmer the arctic region gets, the more it will melt land ice like on Greenland which could raise sea levels.
Scientists have predicted that at one point of time the summer sea ice in the arctic region will be completely gone. Some of those estimates are by mid century but others say it will be gone in three years from now.
Kumi Naidoo, executive director for Greenpeace International is often quoted saying that global awareness is needed for this global issue.
How else are we suppose to stop climate change besides changing our everyday habits and demanding that government enact policies to help save the planet? The important thing to remember is that YOU can help change this planet for the better.
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