More evidence of global warming!
Arctic sea ice, which melts partly during each polar summer, has shrunk more this year than in any on record except for 2007, the National Snow and Ice Data Center has found.
Scientists said the data provided more ominous indications that a global warming “tipping point” in the Arctic seems to be happening before their eyes: Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is now at its second lowest level in about 30 years.
With several weeks left of the melting season, the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported yesterday that sea ice in the Arctic now covers about 2.03 million square miles. The lowest point since satellite measurements began in 1979 was 1.65 million square miles, measured on Sept. 16, 2007.
Declining ice as a result of warmer temperatures in the air and ocean threatens to amplify global warming because the sea is darker than ice and absorbs more sunlight. Last year, for the first time during the melt season, ships were able to travel in the Northwest Passage, a stretch of water connecting the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans through Canada.
“The strong negative trend in summertime ice extent characterizing the past decade continues,” the report from the Boulder, Colo.-based center said. “Will 2008 also break the standing record low, set in 2007? We will know in the next several weeks, when the melt season comes to a close.”
The measurement taken yesterday replaces the previous record for the second-smallest annual level, set at the end of the melting season in 2005, the center said.
Arctic sea ice typically thaws until mid-September before the water freezes again with the onset of winter.
“We could very well be in that quick slide downward in terms of passing a tipping point,” said senior scientist Mark Serreze at the data center in Boulder. “It’s tipping now. We’re seeing it happen now.” Within “five to less than 10 years,” the Arctic could be free of sea ice in the summer, said NASA ice scientist Jay Zwally.
“It also means that climate warming is also coming larger and faster than the models are predicting and nobody’s really taken into account that change yet,” he said.
Five climate scientists, four of them specialists on the Arctic, said it is fair to call what is happening in the Arctic a “tipping point.” NASA scientist James Hansen, who before Congress warned of global warming 20 years ago, said the sea ice melt “is the best current example” of that.
We need to focus on trying to reverse this effect else wwe will not have a tomorrow!