Skating on Thin Ice

The NYT environmental blog “Green” posted a statement yesterday evening that conservative estimates have shown the “summer minimum extent for Arctic sea ice,” that is the amount that arctic ice retreats over the summer months, is predicted to have reached the third lowest point recorded in the modern era. The ice did not retreat as much as it did in 2007, but is part of a distinct downward trend in sea ice volume, as evident in the below graph (courtesy of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign):

As the NYT reports it, the process is self-perpetuating: “As the ice melts, it causes temperatures to rise even further, because dark water absorbs more sunlight than white ice.” Head over to http://exploreourpla.net/explorer/?map=Arc&sat=ter&lvl=7&lat=83.&lon=-92&yir=2010&dag=257 to see live pictures of cracks in the ice (like the one below) and to http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/17/tracking-sea-ice-in-the-arctic/ to read the full story.

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