Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Too much ice melting

The National Snow and Ice Data Center is reporting that Ice around the Arctic has achieved a near record meltdown this summer with a total of 1.58 million square miles lost to warmer temps. The previous low point was 1.61 million square miles in 2007. The Data Center says the figures are based on satellite records dating back to 1979.

They also say that ice is being lost by around 38,000 square miles a day (since June) or about the size of the State of Indiana.  

As you might expect, there is nothing more normal than for ice to melt during the hottest time of the year, but typically a sheet of ice will make it through until winter. This allows Mother Nature to rebuild the ice faster, but with this extra loss, it takes a longer time for the Arctic ice to grow back.
This is problematic for many reasons:
        * It could cause major headaches for  local animal species such as polar bears and walruses.
        * The lack of Arctic sea ice allows the atmosphere to warm faster, causing land ice to melt which can raise sea levels.
        * This rise in ocean water levels could impact coastal communities world wide.

But, this could allow:
        * Easier traffic lanes for shipping, where summers free of ice will allow passage through routes typically clogged with ice.
        * It could also make it easier for detection of oil deposits.

Proponents of Climate Change say:
National Snow and Ice Data Center scientist Ted Scambos ,suggests that the meltdown can be blamed mostly on global warming from man-made emissions of greenhouse gases. This sharp decline in ice could be a signal of long term climate change.

Other experts point out that if present trends continue, the Arctic will be largely ice-free in the summer in 20 or 30 years.

Proponents of  "No Climate Change" argue that an early August storm appears to have helped  break up some of the 2012 sea ice and helped it to melt more quickly.

Other scientists report that global warming doesn't fully explain what's been going on in the Arctic. A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, led by John Michael Wallace of the University of Washington, found that most of the recent reduction in sea ice is due to natural variability.

So no matter what side you are on, all of us will be impacted.


  1. Great reading Phil. A man made or natural event. I guess it does not matter because both will not change. Adapted or become extinct.
    How will this effect hurricane formation?
    I might have ocean front property here soon.
    Guy Gooch

  2. You know we all live in a fish bowl. We can try and keep the water clean by using filters, but if its a natural phenomenon... then like you said, we either adapt or become extinct.

  3. Good day! Do you happen to own any blogging skills or this is just a natural gift? Waiting forward to hear your answer.