Declining Arctic ice

Most of you have seen this:

September sea ice
September Arctic sea ice is in decline, go here to see the animated version of how it changes from year to year.

The animation goes from 1979 to 2007, here are the end points of the show:
Arctic 1979 - 2007
Arctic 1979 – 2007

Minimum occurred September 16, 4 days later than the usual.

One factor that contributed to this fall’s extreme decline was that the ice was entering the melt season in an already weakened state. [National Snow and Ice Data Center] Research Scientist Julienne Stroeve said, “The spring of 2007 started out with less ice than normal, as well as thinner ice. Thinner ice takes less energy to melt than thicker ice, so the stage was set for low levels of sea ice this summer.”

Another factor that conspired to accelerate the ice loss this summer was an unusual atmospheric pattern, with persistent high atmospheric pressures over the central Arctic Ocean and lower pressures over Siberia. The scientists noted that skies were fairly clear under the high-pressure cell, promoting strong melt. At the same time, the pattern of winds pumped warm air into the region. While the warm winds fostered further melt, they also helped push ice away from the Siberian shore. NSIDC Research Scientist Walt Meier said, “While the decline of the ice started out fairly slowly in spring and early summer, it accelerated rapidly in July. By mid-August, we had already shattered all previous records for ice extent.”

A couple of years ago, the worry was that by 2100, the Arctic could be ice-free in the summer. Now people are wondering about 2040 or 2030.

Stranded polar bears
Stranded polar bears

5 Responses to “Declining Arctic ice”

  1. octavia says:

    I think that we are using too many souces releting the artic mealting I think that there well be no ice in the artic by 2020 by max people need to take the earth considerately we live her so do the animals that live on the ice in the atic we need to take action now !!! !!! !!!

  2. Allison Walton says:

    … Words escape me… I really wish SOMEONE would find a way to make this stop. We are doing all we can, but it’s just not going to be enough. I think that the ice is going to be gone in by 2013. That’s how long I give it.

  3. Jonathan says:

    With the melting of the ice, the sea levels will rise. If all the ice in the Arctic were to melt, the sea level would increase by 16 feet. Much of the land under sea level would be gone. The map of the world would have to be redrawn and 300 million people would be displaced. If Greenland were to melt in conjunction with the Arctic Ice, all land masses except the tallest mountains would be underwater. Talk about Waterworld! I fear nothing short of a catastrophe will make the United States act. Maybe humanity has to die so the planet can live?

  4. Karen Street says:

    Jonathan, when sea ice melts, sea level doesn’t rise. You can test it with a glass full of ice and water–there is no overflow as the ice melts.

    Greenland has enough ice to raise sea level about 23 feet, which would displace many due to salt water incursion of freshwater systems, in addition to the disappearance of land.

    I hope that we can find solutions that don’t included all of us dying, or even a large number. We are past the point of no one dying, with World Health Organization (pdf) estimating 170,000 deaths from climate change in 2000, and little prospect that this number will decrease.

    That’s the rational reaction. Emotional reaction: what will it take for us to respond? Will we wait for even more catastrophes? I too am anxious.

  5. Tina Sharma says:

    I`m really scared, as you all can see, the Arctic ice will be gone and most of the land will be underwater, I hope SOMEONE will find a way, and if someone does, that person can save over millions of lives and homes and lands from being destroyed. We need to take care of our Earth if we want to live!