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Arctic ice melts to an all-time low – half the size it was in 1980!

Sometimes, for really important news, I tip-toe outside California!

Sea ice in the Arctic shrank to an all-time low of 1.32 million square miles on Sunday, September 16, 2012 – 18% smaller than the previous record set in 2007 for the critical climate indicator, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder Colorado. The previous record in 2007 was 22% less ice than the former record in 2005. The SFGate.com article features an image that was made available by NASA showing the sea ice on that record day, with the 1979 to 2000 average extent for the day shown with a yellow line. SFGate.com says:

Man-made global warming has melted more sea ice and made it thinner over the last couple decades with it getting much more extreme this year, surprisingly so, said snow and ice data center director Mark Serreze.

“Recently the loss of summer ice has accelerated and the six lowest September ice extents have all been in the past six years,” Serreze said. “I think that’s quite remarkable.”

Except for one strong storm that contributed to the loss of arctic ice, this summer melt was more from the steady day-to-day effects of global warming. Polar regions are where the earth first sees the signs of climate change.

“Arctic sea ice is one of the most sensitive of nature’s thermometers,” said Jason Box, an Ohio State University polar researcher.

The ice in the Arctic “essentially acts like an air conditioner by keeping things cooler,” Meier said. And when sea ice melts more, it’s like the air conditioner isn’t running efficiently, he said.

Changes in the Arctic affect climate all over the world because sea ice reflects over 90% of the sun’s heat away from the earth, but open ocean, which is much darker, absorbs more than half of the sun’s heat into the water, according to Meier.

Scientists at the Snow and Ice Data Center say that computer models predict that the Arctic will be essentially FREE of ice in the summer by the year 2050, but current trends in measurements SHOW ICE MELTING FASTER THAN THE COMPUTER MODELS PREDICT.

(Sorry to “shout,” but people who favor burning a lot of fossil fuels and increasing greenhouse gases are “hard of hearing.” Maybe if we all work hard, we can screw this up within my lifetime! 😉 )

-Bill at

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