Friday, September 21, 2007

The North Pole Is Melting

clipped from
German expedition on the icebreaker Polarstern has revealed that existing Arctic sea ice in the center of the ice cap is only about three feet (one meter) thick, 50 percent thinner than it was just six years ago. As a result, more melt water is mixing with the salty seawater and pulses of warmer Atlantic seawater have intruded into the Arctic Ocean.

As a result of atmospheric patterns that both warmed the air and reduced cloud cover as well as increased residual heat in newly exposed ocean waters, such melting helped open the fabled Northwest Passage for the first time [see photo] this summer and presaged tough times for polar bears and other Arctic animals that rely on sea ice to survive, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Such precipitous loss of ice cover far outpaces anything climate models or scientists have predicted.
Space and Physics Image: 2007-map-Arctic-summer-sea-ice
"The sea ice cover this year has reached a new record low,"
"It's not just that we beat the old record, we annihilated it."
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