Arctic Melting Triple Threat: Less Winter Ice Means More Summer Melt, It's All Happening Faster Than Thought + It's Going to Cost Us...


photo: Ash via flickr.

Three less than encouraging reports about the state of climate change in the Arctic via Reuters: 1) The director of the National Snow & Ice Date Center says less winter ice this year may mean greater summer melting; 2) the end of the three year Canadian study says changes in the Arctic are happening faster than anyone expected; and, 3) melting in the Arctic is going to cost the world collectively some $24 trillion by 2050:Arctic Changes Already Cost at Least $67bn Annually
That high dollar figure is the conclusion of a study funded by the Pew Environment Group. Arctic Treasures: Global Assets Melting Away says that climate changes in the Arctic are already costing the world somewhere between $67 billion and $371 billion annually.

As permafrost melts it will release large amounts of stored greenhouse gases, contributing to greater warming as well as higher economic costs.

Read more: Arctic melt to contribute up to $24 trillion by 2050: report
Ice Free Summers in Arctic Maybe as Early as 2013
Meanwhile, a three-year study aboard a research vessel spending winters above the Arctic Circle, involving more than 370 scientists, and led by the University of Manitoba's David Barber has concluded. The result: Barber says climate change in the region "is happening much faster than our most pessimistic models expected."

Barber says that means we can plan on seeing an ice-free summer in the Arctic sometime between 2013 and 2030.

Read more: Arctic climate change faster than expected
January Ice Growth One-Third Slower Than in Past
Based on statements from the US' National Snow and Ice Data Center that ice-free summer may well be closer to the beginning of Barber's date predictions. NSIDC director Mark Serreze says that "We've grown back ice in the winter, but that ice tends to be thin and that's the problem. You set yourself up for a world of hurt in the summer. The ice that is there is also thinner than it was before and thinner ice simply takes less energy to melt our the next summer."

This January Arctic sea ice grew at one-third the pace of ice growth seen in the 1980s, and was below average for what has been observed since the year 2000.

Read more: Scant Arctic ice could mean summer double whammy
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Tags: Arctic | Global Climate Change | Global Warming Effects