Sunday, September 12, 2010

Heavy melting of Arctic ice continues

Arctic sea ice is still experiencing a heavy melting, in fact according to the latest report Arctic sea ice melted from a winter maximum of about 15 million square kilometers to a September coverage area of just five million square kilometers, which represents the third biggest melting since satellite monitoring began about 30 years ago. Not only that, this data also means that the four greatest ice melts since the satellite measurements began in the late 1970s have occurred in the past four years, a clear sign of climate change.

What this also means is that the recent claims that the Arctic sea ice is recovering and getting thicker again are far from the reality, and that heavy melting trend is still on.

It is well known fact that Arctic ice reaches its minimum in mid-September, and the 2007 was remembered as the year with the least ice cover in the recorded history, little more than four million square kilometers. Last few years continued this trend, and none of them was nowhere close the 30-year average minimum of about seven million square kilometers.

Even despite these alarming numbers world leaders still fail to agree on new climate deal, and global CO2 emissions are not decreasing, meaning that the melting trend will continue in years to come.

If current trend of ice melting continues in years to come (and there's 99% chance it will) Arctic will soon become ice free during the summer months. This is because old, thick ice is disappearing and is replaced by younger and thinner ice, which takes very little to melt during the summer months.

No ice in summer months would probably cause massive increase in ship traffic in Arctic area as once-frozen shipping lanes become unlocked. The increased ship traffic could cause tremendous damage to sensitive Arctic's ecosystems. Like climate change alone is not enough.

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