17 September 2008

2008 Now Second Lowest for Arctic Ice

Posted by Dan Satterfield

I mentioned a few weeks back that we were very close to matching last year’s record low in Arctic ice. The ice usually reaches it’s greatest melt back the first week in September.

The data is in ,and we just barely missed breaking another record. 2006 is now the second lowest on record. More, and more of the ice researchers believe we have reached the tipping point. Once we pass it, the Arctic Summer ice may disappear quite rapidly.

This may very well be one the IPCC has gotten seriously wrong. See below.

Image Courtesy A. Sorteberg. University of Bergen in Norway.
As the ice melts it is replaced by dark Arctic ocean that absorbs the sunlight instead of reflecting it. This causes even more warming, which melts even more ice. This positive feedback loop is called the Ice-Albedo feedback. At some point the warming will kick in, and melt all of the ice. Let’s hope the IPCC models are right, and we still have 60-80 years before the ice goes.

You may be wondering what kind of planetary affect the lack of Summer sea ice will have. So is every other Climate scientist on the planet.