Reply To: Melting ice in Arctic and Antarctica


From the Guardian:

Arctic sea ice has melted to a level not recorded since satellite observations started in 1972 – and almost certainly not experienced for at least 8,000 years, say polar scientists.

Daily satellite sea-ice maps released by Bremen university physicists show that with a week's more melt expected this year, the floating ice in the Arctic covered an area of 4.24 million square kilometres on 8 September. The previous one-day minimum was 4.27m sq km on 17 September 2007.

Arctic temperatures have risen more than twice as fast as the global average over the past half century.

Separate, less reliable, research suggests that Arctic ice is in a downward spiral, declining in area but also thinning. Using records of air, wind and sea temperature, scientists from the Polar Science Centre of the University of Washington, Seattle, announced last week that the Arctic sea-ice volume reached its lowest ever level in 2010 and was on course to set more records this year.

Further evidence of dramatic change in the Arctic came last week from Alan Hubbard, a Welsh glaciologist at Aberystwyth University, who has been studying the Petermann glacier in northern Greenland for several years.

The glacier, which covers about 6% of the icecap, is 186 miles (300km) long and up to 3,280ft (1km) high. In August last year, a 100 square-mile (260 sq km) block of ice calved from the glacier. Photographs show that by July this year it had melted and disappeared.

"I was gobsmacked. It [was] like looking into the Grand Canyon full of ice and coming back two years later to find it full of water," said Hubbard.

Arctic sea ice is melting at its fastest pace in almost 40 years

The Northwest Passage was, again, free of ice this summer and the polar region could be unfrozen in just 30 years