Posted by: JohnnyRook | August 7, 2008

Arctic Sea Ice Melt Heading South?

The experts over at the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported on August 1st that:

Sea ice extent continues to decline, but we have not yet seen last July’s period of accelerated decline. Part of the explanation is that temperatures were cooler in the last two weeks of July, especially north of Alaska.

Because we are past the summer solstice, the amount of potential solar energy reaching the surface is waning. The rate of decline should soon start to slow, reducing the likelihood of breaking last year’s record sea ice minimum.

Lest the denialists get too excited (although generally Arctic ice melt is a topic that they avoid because what is going on is so clear) it is worth noting that the NSIDC analysis went on to say:

Nevertheless, it is perhaps too soon to make a definitive pronouncement concerning this year’s probable extent at the summer minimum. The Arctic sea ice is in a condition we have not seen since satellites began taking measurements. As discussed in our April analysis, thin first-year ice dominated the Arctic early in the melt season. Thin ice is much more vulnerable to melting completely during the summer; it seems likely that we will see a faster-than-normal rate of decline through the rest of the summer

I’ve been checking the NSIDC’s daily update regularly since then and have been very interested to observe the following sharp downward trend:

NSIDC sea ice graph August 6, 2008

NSIDC sea ice graph August 6, 2008

Also compare today’s image of sea ice melt:

NSIDC daily sea ice image for August 6, 2008

NSIDC daily sea ice image for August 6, 2008

With this one from just a week ago:

NSIDC daily sea ice image July 31, 2008

NSIDC daily sea ice image July 31, 2008

The ice appears to be melting fast now. Anyone taking bets on whether we set another new record this year?

Crossposted at Daily Kos

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