Arctic carries on melting

Ice070911Compare this picture with the one accompanying my last post on this season’s record-breaking sea-ice melt in the Arctic Ocean. More ice has gone, and although the end of the melt season is fast approaching, this year’s low is already about one million square kilometres less than the previous minimum, set in 2005. The NSIDC’s most recent report (Sept 10) also demonstrates that an area of ocean about the size of California is ice-free for the first time since satellite observations began in 1979. As the ocean cools, it will give up heat to the atmosphere. This could delay the onset of the northern hemisphere winter – and perhaps mean a repeat of last year’s mild NH autumn and the late arrival of winter. In turn, this sets up the Arctic for another year of record low ice in 2008, leading to suggestions that the Arctic could be ice-free in summer long before the IPCC expected. From The Guardian [UK]:

Mark Serreze, an Arctic specialist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre at Colorado University in Denver which released the figures, said: “It’s amazing. It’s simply fallen off a cliff and we’re still losing ice.

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