baudrunner's space: Evidence that the Arctic polar ice cap is melting
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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Evidence that the Arctic polar ice cap is melting

For evidence that the annual effects of global warming on the Arctic ice cap are becoming increasingly greater on an almost logarithmic scale one need only refer to the graph of Arctic Sea Ice Extent for 2007 compared with the record setting year of 2005 and the average for the period 1997-2000. The effects are drastic. They far exceed all expectation or projections put forward by scientists who study global warming.

The thickness of the ice cap measured at its center during the summer peak this year was only three feet. This is about fifty percent of that measured six years ago. For the first time ever, during this summer the fabled Northwest Passage was accessible as a shortcut for seafarers between Europe and Asia. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (US) September 2007 sea ice extent is nearly 50% lower than during the nineteen-fifties and sixties: "..we are seeing a bold exclamation point on a trend of ice loss that has been ongoing for at least the past fifty years." The extent of minimum ice cover this year stood at 4.1 million sq km (Sept 16), compared with 5.3 sq km in 2005. As at today the Northwest Passage is still open but is starting to refreeze.

Experts say that the North Pole is undergoing rapid change not seen for at least 6,000 years and possibly for 125,000 years. In the near future we may see ice-free summers inside the Arctic Circle.

Contributing to the rapid reduction of the ice cap in recent years is the fact that the large area of open ocean under this summer's unusually clear skies have allowed for the storage of heat in the waters which will moderate the winter freeze, meaning that the winter ice cap will be thinner than normal. This will result in even more rapid melting and a greater recession of the ice cap next summer. Furthermore, less ice cools less air around it which might make next summer's mean temperatures higher than normal, compounding the process.

I've said before that this whole global warming thing couldn't come soon enough for me -- I hate the cold. But I have to sympathize with the people living closer to the equator than I do. I'm in Canada.

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