Oh! So Close: Arctic Sea Ice Summer Melt Fails to Set Record in 2008

photo: Cleaves

In the close but no cigar category, scientists are saying that the extent of summer melt-off of Arctic sea ice appears to have passed its minimum extent this year without setting a record. According to the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, Arctic sea ice covered 4.5 million square kilometers at its lowest point on September 12. Last year's record melting left 4.1 million square kilometers of ice still intact.

While you might be inclined to see this as good news, Dr Walt Meier of the NSIDC doesn't think so:We're Still on a Downward Trend

I think this summer has been more remarkable than last year, in fact, because last year we had really optimal conditions to melt a lot of ice. We had clear skies with the Sun blazing down, we had warm temperatures, and winds that pushed the ice edge northwards. We didn't have any of this this year, and yet we still came within 10% of the record; so people might be tempted to call it a recovery, but I don't think that's a good term, we're still on a downwards trend towards ice-free Arctic summers. (BBC News)

No One's Laughing Now
The BBC states clearly the rate at which scientific opinion is changing regarding the rate at which Arctic sea ice is melting:
A few years ago, most computer models of climate were projecting dates about 80 years hence. Then, as the melt rate accelerated around the turn of the millennium, the projected date advanced to about 2040. Now, some climate modelers expect to see nothing but open water within five years.

"To my mind that's a bit aggressive, but certainly not impossible," said Dr Meier.

"Five years ago that would have got someone laughed out of the room; but no-one's laughing now."

Come on, who still wants to deny that radical changes are occurring in the Arctic?

via :: BBC News
Arctic Climate Change
Arctic Climate Tipping Point Happening Now! Sea Ice in its "Death Spiral" Scientist Claims
Melting Arctic Ice Increases Permafrost Thaw Farther Inland Than Previously Thought
Permafrost Holds Twice as Much GHGs as Previously Thought: Over 1500 Billion Tons of CO2 and Methane

Related Content on Treehugger.com