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How do we face up to ice loss?

By Dave Armstrong - 21 Mar 2015 10:31:0 GMT
How do we face up to ice loss?

February 25th was such a low for ice that we have waited almost a month to see if this Arctic ice will build, but it didn’t!The orange line on the map shows 1981-2010 median extent for ice at this date; Credit: © NSIDCimage

With our annual updates from NOAA on the lack of summer ice, we can join in with the National Snow and Ice Data Center(amazingly based in Boulder, Colorado,US) reports, which are weekly, if you really want to know. The significance is that these results from February 25th show the greatest extent of winter ice. The trouble is that it is the lowest ever measured at 14.54 million km2. That is 5.61 million square miles of ice, with only Labrador (Eastern Canada) and the Davis Strait maintaining normal ice states. This is a lot of ice, but it is 7.6% down on the average! And 7.6% adds up to a huge 1.1million km2

Limited though the conversations about ice might be, we can’t ignore the feedback that will affect plant, animal and human activity. The max is normally reached 15 days later than this year’s date, which is why we have been waiting for mid-March. However, hoping for ice to grow is almost as bad as watching paint dry. The Bering Sea continued some growth while the Barents and Kara Seas didn’t.Just take a last look at the ice in the Baltic! The surprising record growth of ice last winter was not repeated, obviously, largely because of the jet stream over the Pacific Arctic. We have all been influenced by that darn jet stream. Some of us get warmer weather and many get it cold!

The eastern Arctic had a really warm spell at the beginning of March, which must influence more than just the melting ice. Temperatures of 8-10oC. above average warmed up the Barents Sea between Svalbad and Franz Josef Land. April will see whether there has been any alteration is these deeply warming trends. It is very likely that the Arctic will begin a series of falling dominoes, leading to unrecognisable climates, unpredictable storms and great damage to ecosystems and people. The domino effect is not obvious, but climatologists can help with models to predict some facets of this global warming. Now that we have all suffered climate change, distractors can’t delay our actions any longer. The sheer terror of giant storms, the lack of agricultural produce, the interminable droughts and the unexpected floods. Why did ignorant politicians persist in trying to divert us away from these problems?

Now is the time to watch these ice movements, measure the summer heat and retain more of our water supplies. Fighting ignorance is only one of the primary problems. Technology, and a lot of financial contribution is being applied. We need to be certain to correct these climatic variables as far as is (humanly) possible. NSIDC report here with their weekly and watery summaries.

A recent report on the 2012 summer ice minimum and the correlation with actual ice advance in Antarctica was given in Ice melts at both poles. NOAA’s report on the 2012 summer ice minimum was here in 2012. It should be interesting to compare the map in this story with the NSIDC map today.