Quantcast
Connect with us

Arctic sea ice shrinks to lowest level on record

Published

on

WASHINGTON — Arctic sea ice has shrunk to its smallest surface area since record-keeping began, taking the world into “uncharted territory” as climate change intensifies, US scientists warned Wednesday.

Satellite images show the ice cap had melted to 1.32 million square miles (3.4 million square kilometers) as of September 16, the predicted lowest point for the year.

ADVERTISEMENT

That’s the smallest Arctic ice cover since record-keeping began in 1979, the National Snow and Ice Data Center said.

“We are now in uncharted territory,” the center’s director, Mark Serreze, said, in a statement.

“While we’ve long known that as the planet warms up, changes would be seen first and be most pronounced in the Arctic, few of us were prepared for how rapidly the changes would actually occur,” he added.

Arctic sea ice expands and contracts seasonally, with the lowest extent usually occurring in September.

ADVERTISEMENT

This year’s minimum followed a season already full of records for shrinking ice, with lowest ever extents recorded on August 26 and again on September 4.

And in the last two weeks, the ice cover melted by more than 200,000 square miles (518,000 square kilometers), quite a large margin for the end of the summer, the NSIDC said.

“The strong late season decline is indicative of how thin the ice cover is,” said NSIDC scientist Walt Meier.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Ice has to be quite thin to continue melting away as the sun goes down and fall approaches.”

Scientists use Arctic sea ice extent as an indicator of what’s happening with the overall climate. Despite year-to-year fluctuations from natural weather variations, the ice cap has shown a clear trend towards shrinking over the last 30 years, the NSIDC center said.

“This year’s minimum will be nearly 50% lower than the 1979 to 2000 average,” the statement noted.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Colorado-based center said the Arctic is shifting in composition. Whereas previously most of the ice stayed frozen through several summers, now much of it melts and refreezes each season.

“Twenty years from now in August you might be able to take a ship right across the Arctic Ocean,” once blocked year-round by ice, said NSIDC scientist Julienne Stroeve.

Climate models predict “ice free conditions” before 2050, she added, but said the decline appears to be happening faster than predicted.

ADVERTISEMENT

The NSIDC warned that increased heat and moisture from the melting Arctic ice cover could have global climate implications.

“This will gradually affect climate in the areas where we live,” he said. “We have a less polar pole — and so there will be more variations and extremes.”

Environmental activist group Greenpeace lamented the announcement.

“In just over 30 years we have altered the way our planet looks from space, and soon the North Pole may be completely ice free in summer,” Greenpeace chief Kumi Naidoo, said in a statement.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I hope that future generations will mark this day as a turning point, when a new spirit of global cooperation emerged to tackle the huge challenges we face,” he added.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Why you should sell your house now — and not wait for the climate to change

Published

on

Cities across the United States are already seeing the impacts of climate change. Sea levels are on the rise in Miami, Florida, where ocean waters creep into the streets, even when it isn't raining. Massive wildfires have taken out whole neighborhoods in California and in Alaska, about 2.5 million acres have burned since July 3. Wildfires there are getting worse, according to experts.

The problem of climate change has reached a dangerous level for some homeowners in areas that are no longer insurable. In Miami, for example, the "street-level" is now considered the basement and insurers are dropping coverage for basements. According to the Daily Beast, at least 340,000 California homeowners lost their property insurance coverage between 2015 and 2018 because the wildfires are getting worse and companies don't want to pay out when homes are destroyed.

Continue Reading

Facebook

‘Please give me the audacity of a mediocre white man’: Editor unleashes on Justice Brett Kavanaugh

Published

on

Managing Editor Tiffany Cross, who co-founded The Beat DC, unleashed on the most recent Supreme Court Justice to be outed for sexual misconduct.

Max Stier, a classmate of Justice Brett Kavanaugh came out with another story of the justice forcing his naked penis into the hand of a woman. The FBI was supposed to do a full investigation into Kavanaugh, and Stier gave them the information. Somehow, however, the investigation either wasn't completed, wasn't revealed or was ignored, because none of the information revealed was released.

Cross said that there are some who normally would have said, "man if only we knew about these allegations during the confirmation hearing." The problem, of course, is that it was known, Cross explained. It was simply ignored by Republicans in the majority. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is an excellent example of a pro-choice, pro-woman senator who claimed she trusted Kavanaugh. She's suffered the consequences from her home-state in wake of the vote. In the past four years, she has dropped from being the most favored senator in the country to among the least.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Benjamin Netanyahu ditches campaign rally after new data shows him losing — now he’s turning to Trump

Published

on

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the fight for his political career after failing to form a coalition government in his previous reelection.

An MSNBC report revealed that Netanyahu was a no-show at a campaign rally after his team got a new poll that showed him losing on Tuesday.

Five months ago, the election was inconclusive, so Netanyahu declared himself the victor. The law dictates he must choose his coalition government by May, which automatically resets and requires another election. Ironically, it's one of the ways that Netanyahu was able to rise to power in his first election.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image