Arctic is melting faster than forecast


This is perhaps the most serious and most worrying news of the beginning of the year as Canada reported last year the most important ice melting ever witnessed.

According to the WWF, summer sea ice in the arctic could disappear within six years, much faster than previously thought about.

Temperatures at the poles rise much faster than in any other point of the globe, and this at an exponential rate. So, is it too late to act ? Not necessarily.As the Canadian Ministry of Environment notes :

Canadians might remember 2007 as the year that climate change began biting deep and hard on the home front.

At the top of the world, the dramatic disappearance of Arctic sea ice – reported in September – was so shocking that it quickly became our number one weather story. Indeed, the United Nations declared the record loss of ice as one of the world’s biggest events.

The thinning and shrinking of the ice, largely a result of too many consecutive warm years, has had a profound impact on northern residents – people, plants and wildlife alike.

(…)

Winters at the beginning and end of the year provided stark contrasts and two more weather stories. The shocker of a green Christmas Day in 2006 in Quebec City, Timmins and Thunder Bay – where a white Christmas is all but guaranteed – turned out to be a one-year blip.

For snow and ice enthusiasts, the beginning of 2007 continued the quest for winter. When it did come, while persistent, it was too late. Nature tried to make amends at the end of 2007 with some pre-winter blasts of cold, freezing rain and lots of snow, making the first half of December 2007 a white one to remember.

In another press release, it was also reporting :

“on September 12, satellite images over Arctic waters revealed that sea ice in the area had shrunk to about 4 million square km – a minimum not seen for possibly more than a century.

The ice shrinkage stunned scientists, who found 23 per cent less sea ice than the previous record of 5.3 million square km in 2005. It was as if an ice chunk the size of Ontario had disappeared in one year.

The image at the top of the article was taken from the NASA, and most particularly the Goddard Space Flight Center. It illustrates perfectly the shrinkage of the summer sea ice. You can download a 3840 x 2160 image. (11 MB)

The Canadian current government was facing large criticism from its citizens as it is averse to too drastic action to mitigate climate change. According to the Climate Change Action blog :

A Harris-Decima poll released today shows that the governing Tory party in Canada, under the leadership of Prime Minister Harper is losing popularity quickly due in large part to their performance at the recent United Nation’s global warming conference held in Bali, Indonesia.

To the data I was mentioning in a previous article, the country is the seventh biggest greenhouse gases in the world, between Germany and the United Kingdom.

With nearly twice the population of Canada, France is only 13th. So one can see that Canada could decrease easily its CO2 emissions and thus help in solving this problem of summer sea ice melting.

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