Arctic summer sea ice now 54% less than it was in 1980

The Guardian reports, 6th August 2013:
“The Arctic lost record amounts of sea ice last year and is changing at an unprecedented pace due to climate change Last year was among the 10 warmest years on record — ranking eighth or ninth depending on the data set, according to a report led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa). The year 2012 also saw record greenhouse gas emissions, with concentrations of carbon dioxide and other warming gasses reaching a global average of 392.7 parts per million for the year.

Arctic sea ice

By September 2012, sea-ice cover in the Arctic had fallen to its lowest level since the beginning of satellite records.
Photo: Steven J Kazlowski/Alamy

The biggest changes in the climate in 2012 were in the Arctic and in Greenland, said the report, which is an annual exercise by a team of American and British scientists. The Arctic warmed at about twice the rate of lower latitudes, the report found. By June 2012, snow cover had fallen to its lowest levels since the record began. By September 2012, sea-ice cover had retreated to its lowest levels since the beginning of satellite records, falling to 1.32 million square miles.

That was, the report noted, a whopping 18% lower than the previous low, set in 2007, and a staggering 54% lower than the mark for 1980.

The changes were widespread on land as well, with record warm permafrost temperatures in Alaska and in the Canadian Arctic, the report’s authors noted. On 11th July last year, Greenland experienced surface melting on 97% of the ice sheet. The record-breaking events indicate an era of “new normal” for the climate, the researchers said.

Source: The Guardian, 6th August 2013. For the full text, see http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/06/noaa-report-arctic-ice-climate-change

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