Down the Arctic Sea Ice Escalator

Posted on September 8, 2012

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The Arctic sea ice minimum, the point of every year where Arctic sea ice reachest its greatest melt–before the sea begins freezing up again in the six month Arctic night–has been getting lower every decade.  In 2007, special conditions conspired to bring about a record melt, and that record has stood until this year, where the record was broken August 26th–without special conditions, and with a melt season which, now almost two weeks later, hasn’t ended yet.

The following graph, courtesy once again of  Skeptical Science, describes the way climate “skeptics” deal with the Arctic ice death spiral.  According to them, the sea ice is always “recovering”–except it never is.

And below another graph from Cryosphere Today showing what the death spiral looks like, as of today.

Note the figure of 2.298 million km2.  The previous record was 3.17 million km2.

How much more ice has melted this year than any previous year in the record?  An area about 88% the size of the province of British Columbia.

And that’s not how much has melted.  That’s how much more has melted.  So far this year.

Because of course the melt season continues …

(UPDATE:  The chart below updates itself, a feature I didn’t know about when I posted it.  In the last six days (to September 14) an additional 0.059 million km2 has melted.  This brings the total ADDITIONAL ice melted this year to 98% the size of British Columbia.  Given news reports that satellites have been over-estimating ice cover, I think my prediction–made August 26th–that we would break the record Arctic sea ice minimum by 1 million square km. has been fulfilled.  Which is not good.)

See Is there even less Arctic sea ice than the satellites show? – Guardian