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Complete Loss of Multi-Year Arctic Ice Portends Faster Arrival at Ice-Free Arctic

Posted May 27 2009 10:14pm

In July of 2008, I warned of the arrival in just a few years of an ice-free Arctic due to continued acceleration of greenhouse gas production in the United States and around the world. This past winter, we saw many regions of the Northern Hemisphere experience unseasonably cold temperatures which led some global warming skeptics to doubt the phenomenon with greater passion.

Fortunately, science won the argument yet again with NASA’s explanation of the global warming hole. So, where does the science of global warming lie today? Well, NASA’s explanation of the global warming hole was helpful but many skeptics were unswayed by NASA’s scientific conclusions. In fact, the inability of some skeptics to understand how abnormally cold temperatures in a single region can be unrelated to the larger, global move toward a warmer future has stymied some environmentalists. Hence, science must intensify its message yet again.

In recent days, European scientists from INSU-CNRS completed a broad, comprehensive study of Arctic sea ice in an attempt to lay to rest once and for all the debate about the melting of polar ice during years when the Northern hemisphere experiences particularly frigid winters. They conducted literally thousands of examinations of core samples of Arctic sea ice. Sadly, their persuasive conclusions point toward a very bleak future:

• Transpolar drift has accelerated greatly (10% per decade) over the past century, indicating a loss of depth and stability of the permanent ice shelf.

• The mean deformation rate of polar ice has increased by half in recent years, both summer ice and winter ice.

• Summer ice no longer remains solid for 3 years. In other words, all of the ancient sea ice in the Arctic has melted. Everything which we see there is new. This is arguably the most damning statistic of all because it concludes that the abnormally cold winter of 2009 was inadequate to save ice from as recently as 3 years ago.

In conclusion, the number of convincing arguments against the causes and effects of global warming continues to dwindle right along with the thickness and lifespan of Arctic sea ice. We now can witness with our own eyes just how quickly the Arctic will be ice-free in the summer. Perhaps most frightening of all is the possibility that it will occur this year. For all our sakes, not to mention the fate of the polar bear, I hope that it does not happen.

Fomenting the Triple Bottom Line

Corbett Kroehler

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