September 29, 2005

Record Arctic Ice Melt

For the fourth year in a row, sea ice in the Arctic has covered its lowest recorded area in a quarter century.

... Until recent years, the ice melted in summer then rebounded during the long, dark Arctic winter. But during the past four seasons, something has changed.

The refreezing of ice during the 2004-05 winter season produced the smallest recovery ever measured by satellites, with nine of the past 10 months setting new records for low ice cover, the scientists said.

... The results are consistent with predictions made last year by the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment and match what scientists would expect from more water soaking up ever more solar heat instead of white ice and snow reflecting it back, several Alaska researchers said.

"Basically, you're dimming down the Arctic," said ice researcher Hajo Eicken, an associate professor of geophysics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute. "If you remove that ice, then you start heating the water by as much as a factor of 10 or more. And, as a result, you expect that the ice doesn't fully recover and it just keeps inching back." ...

Clearly, we need more study of this highly ambiguous data.

Posted by natasha at September 29, 2005 07:47 AM | Environment | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

Nah, this can't be happening. Georgie told me it's not real.

Posted by: Scott at September 30, 2005 06:42 AM