Friday, September 21, 2012

Its Official Arctic Sea Ice is at its Lowest Level in Recorded History

Researchers at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center, said that Arctic sea ice is at its lowest level ever recorded. What happens to the Arctic sea ice is of great relevance to everyone everywhere on the planet. Sea ice is a key indicator of climate change, as part of complex feedback loops, ice loss is expected to exacerbate our warming climate.

Sea ice appears to have hit its lowest point on Sept. 16, when it covered 1.32 million square miles (3.42 million square km) of the Arctic Ocean, the smallest amount since satellite records began 33 years ago.

Some scientists have suggested we may see ice free summers in the Arctic in the coming years. The loss of sea ice will not only destroy the way of life for local hunters in the north it will devastate the indigenous biosystem. Perhaps most destructive is the fact that melting ice further accelerates global warming. The ice reflects light and heat back into space, without the ice that light and heat will be absorbed by the earth. This could also melt the permafrost which would release huge amounts of methane, the most destructive of all greenhouse gases.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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