Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Arctic ice still melting despite cold winter

The thickest and oldest ice on North Pole is still melting despite cold winter. Though this winter was colder than average in many areas of the North Pole, decline of older sea ice still hasn't slow down its worrying rate. Thickness of the ice is long-term indicator of ice condition and this condition doesn't look good at this time.

This is consequence of ever-increasing climate change and unusually high temperatures caused by global warming. The only good news (if this can be called good news) is the fact that melting of Arctic ice doesn't increase sea level like melting of ice on Antarctica, but it does contribute to global warming since reflective white ice once melted is replaced by dark water that absorbs the sun's heat.

Walt Meier of the National Snow and Ice Data Center told that " some 965,300 square miles of perennial ice have been lost -- about one and a half times the area of Alaska -- a 50 percent decrease between February 2007 and February 2008 and the oldest "tough as nails" perennial ice has decreased by about 75 percent this year, losing 579,200 square miles (1.5 million sq km, or about twice the area of Texas".

And according to NASA-processed microwave data, whereas perennial ice used to cover 50-60 percent of the Arctic, this year it covers less than 30 percent. Very old ice that remains in the Arctic for at least six years comprised over 20 percent of the Arctic area in the mid to late 1980s, but this winter it decreased to just six percent.

Serious warning is there, but where is the appropriate action?

Arctic ice still melting at rapid level

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