Friday, September 21, 2007

Icecapades

Thanks to the miracles of modern technology,
the long-fabled Northwest Passage is now a reality

Mere weeks after it was reported that an area of arctic ice the size of Florida had melted in just six days, another bleak ice assessment is in the news. As reported by the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the smallest arctic ice coverage ever recorded was seen this year, measured now at what is nominally the annual maximum of ice melt. In typically Amero-centric fashion, the NY Times says that six "Californias" of ice, one million square miles, disappeared this summer.

The cap of floating sea ice on the Arctic Ocean, which retreats under summer’s warmth, this year shrank more than one million square miles — or six Californias — below the average minimum area reached in recent decades, scientists reported Thursday.

The minimum ice area for this year, 1.59 million square miles, appeared to be reached Sunday. The ice is now spreading again under the influence of the deep Arctic chill that settles in as the sun drops below the horizon at the North Pole for six months, starting Friday.

While satellite tracking of polar sea ice has been done only since 1979, several ice experts who have studied Russian and Alaskan records going back many decades said the ice retreat this year was probably unmatched in the 20th century, including during a warm period in the 1930s. “I do not think that there was anything like we observe today."
See the Arctic Sea Ice News page for more rather frightening imagery and data, including this time-lapse, quicktime movie of the ice cap from 1979 through 2006.

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