Friday, September 16, 2011

Arctic Ice Reaches Summer Minimum

According the NSIDC (National Snow and Ice Data Center) the Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its lowest extent for the year. The minimum ice extent was the second lowest in the satellite record, after 2007, and continues the decadal trend of rapidly decreasing summer sea ice.

Conditions in context:
The last five years (2007 to 2011) have been the five lowest extents in the continuous satellite record, which extends back to 1979. While the record low year of 2007 was marked by a combination of weather conditions that favored ice loss (including clearer skies, favorable wind patterns, and warm temperatures), this year has shown more typical weather patterns but continued warmth over the Arctic. This supports the idea that the Arctic sea ice cover is continuing to thin. Models and remote sensing data also indicate this is the case.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Arctic Ice Loss in August

August 2011 compared to previous years.
Average Arctic sea ice extent for August 2011 was the second-lowest for August in the satellite data record. Including 2011 the linear trend for August now stands at –9.3% per decade.

The Northern Sea Route and NW Passage are simultaneously open. The door is open for commerce in the north and many countries are taking advantage of this. This new trend should be another sign and confirmation that climate change in rapidly changing the earth's environments.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Massive Change in Greenland Ice

By Ian Johnston 2011-09-01T14:43:21

New photographs taken of a vast glacier in northern Greenland have revealed the astonishing rate of the glacial breakup, with one scientist saying he was rendered "speechless."

"The break-off last year is bigger than anything seen for at least 150 years," glacial researcher Alun Hubbard said.

Taken nearly two years apart, the photos show the extent of the ice loss. The channel is about ten miles wide. Scientists returned in July this year and found the ice had been melting so quickly that some of their research masts stuck into the glacier were no longer in position. Hubbard, who has been working with Jason Box, of Ohio State University, and others, said in a statement issued by the Byrd Polar Research Center that scientists were still trying to work out how fast the glacier was moving and the effect on the ice sheet feeding the glacier.

"Although I knew what to expect in terms of ice loss from satellite imagery, I was still completely unprepared for the gob-smacking scale of the break-up, which rendered me speechless," he said in the statement. "I'm very familiar with the glacier. It's very hard to sort of envisage something so big not being there ... to come back and basically see an ice shelf has disappeared, which is 20 kilometers across (about 12 miles) ... I was speechless and started laughing because I couldn't sort of believe it," Hubbard added, speaking to

"This region (northern Greenland) is experiencing temperatures which are abnormally warm ... I think the far northwest of Greenland is seeing a kind of new regime of climate," he added.