As reported by Joe Romm, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reports that arctic sea ice is down to 4.76 million square kilometers. The record minimum of 4.28 million square kilometers was set in 2007.
NSIDC indicates that the minimum will probably occur in the next two weeks. If so, then data from the University of Bremen suggest the additional loss would reach about 4.5 million square kilometers. If sea ice loss extends into early October, however, 2010 could rival 2007 for the record minimum – but this time without the unusual weather pattern that drove ice out of the Arctic into warmer waters.
Whatever happens, the failure of the US Senate to even debate with climate and energy legislation has been punctuated by the unforgiving laws of nature.
Update: Some good (or less-bad-than-we-thought) news from the GRACE satellite research team, “The Greenland and West Antarctic ice caps are melting at half the speed previously predicted …”
Another update: Some actual good news; Zahn and von Storch report that “Polar Low” meteorological events, “responsible for small but powerful storms that develop during winters in the high-latitude ocean,” are likely to decrease in frequency due to global warming, “although no decrease was noted from 1948 to 2005.” If further research supports this finding, it would be “a rare case of global warming decreasing the occurrence of an extreme weather event.”
Final update: Here’s a good post on the ‘final’ arctic ice minimum. A late finish for a troubling indicator of how far we’ve come in changing our earth’s climate.
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