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Less Arctic ice than ever

Hannah Cleaver · 12 Sep 2011, 16:52

Published: 12 Sep 2011 16:52 GMT+02:00

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Georg Heygster from Bremen University on Monday said that his team was generating daily measurements by combining data from several satellites. The area covered by ice is smaller than ever previously measured in mid-September.

“The ice retreats every year during the summer, from around 15 million square kilometres to around five million,” he told The Local.

“There was a low around 2007 – 2008 and it is important to see that the minimum measurements since 2007 are lower than the minimums measured before then. The ice coverage is clearly down over these last few years. Politicians need to wake up and really do something to limit carbon dioxide emissions.”


He said the retreat of the summer sea ice was around 50 percent since 1972. The low of 2007 – at 4.267 million square kilometres – has now been surpassed, with the current area 27,000 square kilometres less than that.

He said algae and small animals which live on the underneath of polar ice were going to be badly affected by the reduced area of permanent ice.

“Although much of the ice that melts refreezes again in the winter, algae and small animals need a few months to colonise new ice and annual ice is not around for long enough for this to happen,” he said.

“The fact that we are also observing accelerated summer melting, with smaller areas of permanent ice will reduce the amount of this kind of life – which is the first link in the food chain. That food chain goes all the way up to seals and polar bears.”

He said the increase in carbon dioxide concentrations over the last century and a half has affected global temperatures, and that computer modelling has confirmed that no other factor could have had such an effect.

Story continues below…

The burning of fossil fuels is accepted by the vast majority of the scientific community as the main factor behind the increase in carbon dioxide concentrations, and thus global warming. “This is no longer controversial,” said Heygster.

Although the decrease in the Arctic ice cap does not contribute to rising sea levels, as the water concerned is all sea water anyhow, Heygster said the melting Arctic ice indicated that further melting of glaciers and other non-sea water ice masses should be expected – and this will increase sea levels.

Computer modelling conducted at the Polar Science Centre at the University of Washington in the United States, also presents an alarming picture. This suggests that the volume of Arctic ice was 5,000 cubic kilometres last month – 62 percent lower than the mean monthly averaged ice volume over the period 1979 to 2010.

Hannah Cleaver (hannah.cleaver@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:31 September 12, 2011 by berfel
Germany should immediately shut down all it's carbon-fuelled power stations or they will never be able to see the Arctic Sea Ice.

Except that ... somebody else tells a different story. NORSEX tells a different story as well... with more ice than in 2007 and 2008.

The 27,000 square km is how much less than the possible margin of error? Why else would others show more ice?

We've been measuring sea ice extent for how long? We're no good at it. Especially when we arbitrarily choose boundaries for "Arctic" and definitions of "sea ice".

Checked the Baltic lately?

And Sweden's maritime authority withdrawing the ice breaker Oden from Antarctic service because it's INCREASINGLY needed to keep Sweden's shipping lanes clear?
17:42 September 12, 2011 by neunElf
Ask the doomsayers how that ANTARCTIC ICE is doing...
17:57 September 12, 2011 by derExDeutsche
oh. no. another 'Hottest Year Ever'. looks like 'Solyndra' needs a bailout.
18:14 September 12, 2011 by TheCrownPrince
Yeah, let's buy one more SUV and install air-conditioning in the sauna. That will teach them, crazy environmentalists.
19:52 September 12, 2011 by DOZ
Within 2 years the Mean Temperatures on Earth's Northern Hemispheres will have risen another 2 Degrees C. This is when everything gets real funky. Have fun naysayers but run for the hills when the crowds of Rioters let loose.
19:59 September 12, 2011 by derExDeutsche

I have a feeling your ilk will be Rioting, hot cold, rain snow hail or shine.
20:05 September 12, 2011 by auniquecorn

those temperatures are´nt so mean any more, the german gov. had a talk with them and told them to straighten up and start playing nice or they will insist something about it.
20:22 September 12, 2011 by TheCrownPrince
Hmm, just talking to the warm temperatures might not suffice. Perhaps the US government should bomb them several times daily until they surrender and thus help the coldness to gain control over the Arctic again.
00:14 September 13, 2011 by wood artist
You can debate the evidence all you wish. Ultimately the problem is simple.

If you're wrong, and there actually IS climate change happening, when you finally change your mind it's too late to do ANYTHING about it.

Probably better to err on the side of caution, especially when we keep seeing evidence of it all the time.

01:11 September 13, 2011 by Larry Thrash
More propaganda.
04:31 September 13, 2011 by rfwilson
@ Larry Thrash

More propaganda indeed!

Approximately 80% of the CO2 produced each year comes from natural sources. A single, good volcanic eruption dwarfs mankind's CO2 output, for example. But that doesn't stop the Global Warming Industry from claiming it's all mankind's fault.

This is by no means the first time the arctic has been warm. During the Medieval Warm period (about 900AD to 1300AD), large parts of Greenland were (wait for it....) green. The fact is, global average temperatures have been slightly COOLING for the better part of 10 years.

But all the time the arctic has supposedly been warming, most of the Antarctic ice pack (with the exception of the Wadell Ice Shelf), has been getting thicker for decades now. Of course that is of no interest to the media.

The climate has been oscillating between cooling and warming cycles for as long as records have been kept. In fact, many of the same folks that have been "cherry picking" data to "prove" their claims of global warming, are the same folks that in the 1970s were stridently warning us about global COOLING!
08:23 September 13, 2011 by delvek
Well said rfwilson. I love the TRUE fact that one single major volcanic eruption exceeds the total CO2 output of the history of the auto.

The Global Warming industry and all its fruitcakes are killing jobs and peoples ability to provide for themselves.

I personally think its a bit pompous to think that little us can affect the shifting cycles of the globe. We are pimples on the earths arse, the cycles will occur with or without us.
08:55 September 13, 2011 by ChrisRea
Propaganda indeed. But not in the article itself, but in the comments that followed.

There was indeed a scientific controversy whether the global warming is real and whether it was induced by humans. However, the dispute was settled couple of years ago. Since 2007, no scientific body challenges the global warming caused by humans. The only ones still debating are journalists looking for sensational topics and people that basically do not care about future generations (like the infamous Bush). Some say, for example, that if humans add 25% CO2 emissions to what the natural causes produce, this is negligible. Laughable, isn't it?

A good collection of links to scientific positions on this matter can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change.
09:05 September 13, 2011 by delvek
"the infamous Bush" ... lol ... you sound like you are writing for a childrens cartoon or something.

The dispute was settled, are you serious? The only threat to mankind is uneducated careless facts and figures thrown around by the looney left in support of some global jihad.

LASTLY!!! OMG!!! a GOOD (really) reference is wikipedia, lol, we are really doomed if I am going to wikipedia to determine the fate of the world.
09:21 September 13, 2011 by LiberalGuy

So are you saying we shouldn't invest in green technologies because climate change is a hoax? That the status quo is acceptable?
09:56 September 13, 2011 by delvek
What I am saying is this ...

I never said it was a hoax, please get off the mainstream categories. If scientists say its real then who am I to question I dont have time to go compile my own scientific data, lol.

What I am saying is I personally do not believe that we have the power to affect the cycles that the earth follows.

I do think being "green" to improve our daily life is great but dont package it that we are saving the world. Go adopt a highway or plant some bushes, all for it, do it myself when my love drags me with her.

Dont cruise down the highway in some fugly Prius thinking the earth is smiling back at you, it can care less.

I also think that the economic drain that going green has created trickles down and hurts the working man and his household. What a shame.
10:20 September 13, 2011 by LiberalGuy

I'm not going to argue over the science of global warming, but if 'man made climate change' gets industry and governments to invest in green technology and helps clean up our world, then great. A lot of the technologies that would help clean up our world and save our environment already exist, mankind just needs a push to start implementing them into the mainstream. Whether we are saving the world or not, it doesn't matter, it matters that we are smarter with the world we have.
10:50 September 13, 2011 by raandy
Global warming, seems plausible. There is one certainty the ice and glaciers are melting and becoming smaller.

Polar Bears, oh well ,gotta take the good with the bad,a few less a lot less not a concern of mine.. that's the bad ,the good ,Greenland has more farmland (-:
10:56 September 13, 2011 by delvek
@ liberalguy

I agree with you on that, but package it as it is, improving the world we interact in but NOT affecting the cyclic change of the earth and universe. Pretty pompous to think we can.

The only caveat here is when these initiatives and technologies remove workers from the work place or become a burden to the taxpayer.

There is literally nothing you can do to justify the billions spent on the stupid light bulbs we have now. The ones we grew up with worked great! Now I can sit in my house and stare at the bulbs and think how much I am saving the earth. Have you seen the studies on these new bulbs, you should.
11:36 September 13, 2011 by LiberalGuy

I don't care about the packaging as long as it gets people to make a difference. I don't want to see the progress being put aside because people don't believe in the marketing. There's so much good, green technology being developed. It would be ashamed if it was discarded due to arguments over the science
12:45 September 13, 2011 by delvek
I agree but we must be careful to not make a green environment in which billions of people cannot be gainfuly employed.
13:25 September 13, 2011 by ChrisRea
@ delvek

Apparently you need help to understand the usage of "infamous". It is exactly decisions like not signing the Kyoto pact which created the bad reputation George W. Bush has (and deserves it). So the adjective we are talking about was used in order to hint to an idea which would otherwise need many words to be expressed. Is it clear now or will you stick to your children books?

"The dispute was settled, are you serious?" - How would you describe the situation when one party does not defend its position in a debate anymore? I gave you a clear piece of information: the no-global warming side did not come with any scientific argument to challenge the findings from the last 4 years. How did you respond? Not by coming with facts that contradict my statement, but starting to throw out insults.

Wikipedia is not a scientific source. However, it does provide a valuable collection to scientific reports. If you reread my post, you might notice that I suggested making use of the links on that page.

In a later post you admit that you accept the finding of scientist as you are unable to process scientific data. However, you do not follow your own reasoning when scientist prove that humans had a significant negative influence on the global warming process. How is it, this time you had the means to compile your own scientific data?

In your latest post you say that the incandescent light bulbs are working just great. I think it is pretty ignorant to say that, given the fact that 90% of the power consumed by these bulbs is emitted as heat and only the remaining 10% as light. Do you have any idea what is the efficiency in case of fluorescent lamp, high-intensity discharge lamps and LED lamps? Probably not, as you do not seem to be interested in understanding innovation. If it is more efficient, it means that probably makes some workplaces redundant and that is bad in your opinion. Just look at how industrialization made some people lose their jobs. Bad, isn't it? Oh, actually in the same time it also created new jobs, which produce more value. Damn this changes, they are too difficult to be grasped by somebody who reads cartoons for children.
13:27 September 13, 2011 by michael4096
It is true that nature turns over far more CO2 each year than people do but Mr Micawber comes to mind - constantly spending a penny more than we have will lead to tears. It doesn't matter what the annual turnover of the planet is, we shouldn't add to the surplus.

It is also true that the planet will shrug this off - the question is whether we will be around to see it. Climate change will have all sorts of unpredictable effects.
13:59 September 13, 2011 by narfmaster
I'm surprised there are so many people still saying, "No way, I don't believe it. Global warming is propaganda". Charts and graphs of temperature/CO2 measurements are simply not convincing enough for you. To all of you I say remember this: Every time you turn on a light, use your computer, watch TV, there is electricity flowing. That electricity is likely coming from a coal fire, one that is burning all day, every day, year after year, so that you can have that power whenever you want. Not only is there a fire for you, but there are several massive coal fires burning constantly in your country and in most other countries with electricity, all around the world. Besides that being a massive release of CO2 and other things that come from a fire, think of all of that heat. This heat and light which was stored in coal over millions of years is now being released at a much faster rate than it was put in storage. Where is the heat supposed to go? The same can be said for the gasoline burning in your car or the gas in your stove.

And before all of you pro-nuclear people start going "Yeah!, coal bad!", keep in mind that nuclear is a similar situation. To create electricity from nuclear power, we accelerate the release of energy stored in uranium, originally stored by the destruction of a star. That energy is released as heat, which is then pumped into some river, lake, or ocean. Even solar thermal works this way, collecting sunlight that might reflect back into space, heating something up, then turning that into energy by dumping the heat into a lake or the ocean.

All heat engines work by moving heat from some source to the earth, warming it. CO2 makes the situation worse by acting as a blanket. Charts and graphs are not required to understand this.
14:20 September 13, 2011 by delvek
@ Chrisrea

The reason why I can say these things is because I can understand the logic behind another persons opinion but disagree with it.

I understand all your points and I am certain you have all sorts of data and expert opinion on your stance. Can you not see that the other viewpoint feels the same way?

As far as the infamous, its a rather unusual choice of words. He wasnt my favorite president but he did some good things. I also couldnt imagine being in his shoes on 09/11.

I do believe history will be very kind to Bush and he will go down as a president who did a lot of good for the world as a community.

Scientific data, no, opinion, yes. Opinions are great, you are using your opinion too, surely you had brothers and sisters to teach you there are more then just your own?!?!

I am happen to like cartoons, I love spending time on Saturday mornings when its cold out on the couch with my 3 children while cartoons are playing.

Chill out man (no pun intended) it will all be okay.
15:38 September 13, 2011 by Shirazz
...uh...on the more serious side of this.....the picture to this article is pretty, look almost unreal.

The poor bears. If they run out of ice, they could come replace Kanut and be cuddled in the artificial cold, or start getting new skills and predict World Cup scores like Paul did.....
17:44 September 13, 2011 by Staticjumper
Ya gotta love the attached photo of the poor polar bears. They must be almost extinct by now, right? Well, maybe not. In fact, the population has been steadily increasing since the early 20th century. It's kind of like the Himalayan glaciers that will disappear by 2035 or the predicted 50 million climate refugees by 2010. The global warming alarmists may have started as environmentalists, but they quickly morphed into politicians and onto a fanatical religion.
18:09 September 13, 2011 by Wyatt
Incandescent light bulbs are working just fine compared to what is going to happen when we switch to CFL'S., just imagine how many will be broken or just plain wore out in one day, there is a elaborate clean up process to clean up a bulb that has busted in your home, (Go to www.epa.gov for complete details.) All these broken Bulbs with there Mercury will be throw in the trash to be taken to a land fill, the mercury will seep in to our rivers streams and contaminate the Earth worse than any other so called man made disaster.

So far the use of these Bulbs has caused plants that make Incandescent Bulbs to shut down in (VIRGINIA) creating 300 jobs lost, and CFLS will be made in China. Can any body say "Climate Gate" ? perhaps Al Gore should make another science fiction film !
20:14 September 13, 2011 by Wise Up!
Of course global warming is a HOAX! There is only politics behind it and not science. It is all about blaming western society for all the world's ills. A global transfer of wealth to the 3rd world!

If man created it, then man can reverse it. but you know that man cannot control the weather! We cannot even predict accurately if it's going to rain tomorrow, much less climate in 50 years.

All the global warmers have is computer models in England that try to predict climate on a linear basis. Weather is not linear!

You have to also measure the sun and moisture effect, which is difficult to do.

This is all about making us feel guilty for the high standard of living we have. And that all the poor in the world is our fault!
20:19 September 13, 2011 by Wyatt
I agree with you (WISE UP)
23:06 September 13, 2011 by wxman
I've been a meteorologist since 1976 and a climatologist since 1984 and I can assure you we have a long way to go in modeling the atmosphere to determine future weather and long term climate trends. Most of you lay persons are well aware that short-term modeling misses forecast events at an alarming rate, even in periods of only 24 or 48 hours! How do you suppose they do in the long-term? For example, did you know that the models currently being used were fed with the data from 20 years ago to see if the model could "predict" the present? It failed miserably predicting much warmer temperatures than we are experiencing. It can't even predict today's current climate! Did you also know that these models do not even take cloud cover into account? I can assure you that cloud development and areal cover are extremely important in determining the heat budget of the atmosphere. Also, did any of you know (or care to investigate) the fact that water vapor accounts for over 95% of all the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere? CO2 is about 2% and human activity accounts for only about 1/8th of that. Also, are any of you aware of the results of the European CERN study that just recently determined that most of the heat on the surface of the Earth (as with other planets) is determined by the fluctuations in the heat budget of the surface of the sun, and even cosmic rays? I suggest you take a look here to educate yourselves on what's really going on: http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html

BTW, over 25,000 "earth science" scientists (meteorologists, climatologists, chemists, and geologists) disagree with the findings of the anthropogenic warming crowd, which is primarily made up of political "scientists", medical doctors and lawyers and not REAL scientists? This is a scam of immense proportions designed to take control of more and more of the world economy, nothing less.
23:55 September 13, 2011 by ChrisRea
@ Wyatt #28

Do you have any idea what is the quantity of mercury in CFL? Not more than 4 milligrams per tube. Following your reasoning, LCD screens should also be banned, as they also contain mercury (which would come out when the screen is broken). Newsflash: both LCDs and CFL are already in use for many years and we are still alive and kicking. It seems that you did really your own reference (EPA).

@ Wise Up! #29

"If man created it, then man can reverse it." - Unfortunately, what we are talking about is that it is damn hard to reverse what man destroys. You need just to think about the extinct species due to humans (the Tasmanian Tiger, the Caribbean Monk Seal, the Bubal Hartebeest, the Javan Tiger - just to name a few recent cases).

"All the global warmers have is computer models in England that try to predict climate on a linear basis." - You are clearly not a mathematician. Most computer models used to predict climate are based on Navier-Stokes equations and they are nonlinear partial differential equations. Anyway, the worry comes from measurements of what already happened (even the source cited by wxman says that the global warming is happening).

@ wxman #31

If you would care to read carefully the data from the website you are citing, you would notice that humans contributed with about 20% of the increase brought by natural-generated greenhouse gases. If you don't think that 20% is a significant percentage, which can break the balance of a system, then I am not sure what needs to happen so that you see the trend.

Who are the 25,000 specialists you claim that disagree with the findings of the recognised scientist? Would you care to substantiate the statements from your last paragraph (if that's humanly possible, that is)?
00:30 September 14, 2011 by wxman
@ChrisRea, we all signed an on-line petition back in 1999. It's out there, and others have added their names, too since. Also, what you said about the 20% increase in human induced greenhouse gases is related SOLELY to the CO2 content in the atmosphere, since it's impossible for humans to create water vapor. Therefore, we are responsible for 20% of the CO2 which constitutes approximately .12% of the total greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, including H2O vapor, CO2, and other background gases.
08:56 September 14, 2011 by ChrisRea
wxman, with all due respect, you cannot be a meteorologist and climatologist if you say that it is impossible for humans to create water vapor. It is heat from other greenhouse gases that is causing more water to evaporate. What creates the other greenhouse gases (besides water vapor)? Partly the nature, partly humans. Now, that you explained your reasoning, I got a hint of the type of people who signed the mentioned petition.

Since 1999, many scientific facts and reports came to light. Actually since 2007 there was no real scientist that contested that global warming exist and that humans contributed significantly.
19:30 September 16, 2011 by me109k6
The fact that environmental extremists are so quick to proclaim this junk science as 'incontrovertible' - when no self respecting scientist uses this term lightly, even for things that are much better understood - proves that this has nothing to do with climate. It's all about politics, with the end goal being a massive transfer of money to 'developing' countries. Does that include China, which has more cash on hand than God right now? What rubbish this is, and shame on anyone with an IQ over 60 for being suckered into such nonsense. Don't believe me, fine - but check out what this Nobel Prize winning physicist has to say: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/09/14/nobel-prize-winning-physicist-resigns-from-top-physics-group-over-global/?test=latestnews

Not only that, even the inconvenient nutters know they have a flimsy argument when they have to appeal to your plush toy sensibilities with all this fabricated polar bear ice hopping drama - since they will never win on scientific merit.

Political Correctness = Intellectual Cowardice
02:50 September 17, 2011 by Zypldot
The key words are "than ever previously measured" Let's see... how long has the North Pole been there and just how long have we been measuring it? I think on the vast scale of time, this story breaks down to nothing but fear-mongering and lies. Nothing to see here, move along. (There is no man-made global warming.)
21:47 September 17, 2011 by Wyatt
Another Scientist resigns over Global Warming

19:27 September 18, 2011 by Doogle
This is a must read. A list of 50 former IPCC experts.

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