Daily Express

‘ Melt­down’ as Arc­tic’s ice goes at record rate

- By John Ingham En­vi­ron­ment Ed­i­tor Weather · Ecology · Climate Change · Arctic · Arctic · United States of America · Montana · Centre · Greenpeace · Sunrise · United Kingdom · Alaska · Siberia, California · Blockley

ARC­TIC sea ice shrank to a near­record miminum this sum­mer af­ter un­prece­dented heat­waves, US ex­perts re­vealed yes­ter­day.

An area the size of three of Amer­ica’s big­gest states com­bined was lost com­pared to the av­er­age of just a few decades ago.

Sci­en­tists warned the Arc­tic re­ally is “in melt­down”, pos­ing doom to peo­ple who live there and wildlife such as po­lar bears and wal­rus.

But the dis­ap­pear­ing ice also holds far wider im­pli­ca­tions for the planet as a whole in terms of ris­ing sea lev­els and global warm­ing.

The area of ice shrank to 1.44 mil­lion square miles, the low­est since 2012.

It is only the sec­ond time since satel­lite record­ings be­gan in 1979 that the sea ice area at the end of the sum­mer has been be­low 1.54 mil­lion square miles.

De­cline

The lost area was nearly a mil­lion square miles less than the av­er­age be­tween the years 1981 and 2010, equal to Alaska, Texas and Mon­tana all put to­gether.

The fig­ures, re­leased by Amer­ica’s Na­tional Snow and Ice Data Cen­tre, come as the Arc­tic warms up twice as fast as the rest of the world.

The de­cline in sea ice, which re­builds over au­tumn and win­ter, is likely to fuel the cli­mate change thought to be caus­ing it.

Snow and ice re­flect so­lar ra­di­a­tion back out into the at­mos­phere. When they melt away the heat is in­stead ab­sorbed by the sea, lead­ing to fur­ther melt­ing.

The ice melted par­tic­u­larly rapidly be­tween Au­gust 31 and Septem­ber 5 be­cause of pulses of warm air from a Siberian heat­wave at­trib­uted to man- made causes.

This year tem­per­a­tures hit 100F in the Arc­tic for the first time.

Mark Ser­reze, direc­tor of NSIDC, said: “It’s been a crazy year up north with sea ice at a near- record low, 100F heat­waves in Siberia and mas­sive for­est fires.

“We are headed to­wards a sea­son­ally ice- free Arc­tic Ocean and this is another nail in the cof­fin.”

The scale of the loss of ice was seen first- hand from the Green­peace ship Arc­tic Sun­rise by en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist Mya- Rose Craig, also known as “Bird­girl”.

Mya- Rose, 18, said: “I looked out at the sea ice edge and saw the sec­ond low­est recorded. This wakeup call is be­com­ing deaf­en­ing.”

US sci­en­tist Dr Twila Moon added: “It’s dev­as­tat­ing to see yet another Arc­tic sum­mer end with so lit­tle sea ice. The Arc­tic is a changed place.”

Ed Block­ley of Bri­tain’s Met Of­fice said: “The Arc­tic is one of the most vul­ner­a­ble re­gions on Earth to cli­mate change and warm­ing here will have con­se­quences both for the re­gion and the planet as a whole.”

 ??  ?? Po­lar bears face a threat to sur­vival
Po­lar bears face a threat to sur­vival

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