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Unprecedented Greenland Ice Melt Stuns NASA Scientists


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#1 Sharpshooter

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:06 AM

Greenland Ice Melt, Measured By NASA Satellites, Reaches Unprecedented Level in 96 hours!


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Unprecedented melting of Greenland's ice sheet this month has stunned NASA scientists and has highlighted broader concerns that the region is losing a remarkable amount of ice overall.


According to a NASA press release, about half of Greenland's surface ice sheet naturally melts during an average summer. But the data from three independent satellites this July, analyzed by NASA and university scientists, showed that in less than a week, the amount of thawed ice sheet surface skyrocketed from 40 percent to 97 percent.


In over 30 years of observations, satellites have never measured this amount of melting, which reaches nearly all of Greenland's surface ice cover.


When Son Nghiem of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory observed the recent melting phenomenon, he said in the NASA press release, "This was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: Was this real or was it due to a data error?"


Scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, University of Georgia-Athens and City University of New York all confirmed the remarkable ice melt.


NASA's cryosphere program manager, Tom Wagner, credited the power of satellites for observing the melt and explained to The Huffington Post that, although this specific event may be part of a natural variation, "We have abundant evidence that Greenland is losing ice, probably because of global warming, and it's significantly contributing to sea level rise."


Wagner said that ice is clearly thinning around the periphery, changing Greenland's overall ice mass, and he believes this is primarily due to warming ocean waters "eating away at the ice." He cautiously added, "It seems likely that's correlated with anthropogenic warming."


This specific extreme melt occurred in large part due to an unusual weather pattern over Greenland this year, what the NASA press release describes as a series of "heat domes," or an "unusually strong ridge of warm air."


Notable melting occurred in specific regions of Greenland, such as the area aroundSummit Station, located two miles above sea level. Not since 1889 has this kind of melting occurred, according to ice core analysis described in NASA's press release.


Goddard glaciologist Lora Koenig said that similar melting events occur about every 150 years, and this event is consistent with that schedule, citing the previous 1889 melt. But, she added, "if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome."


"One of the big questions is 'What's happening in the Arctic in general?'" Wagner said to HuffPost.


Just last week, another unusual event occurred in the region: the calving of an iceberg twice the size of Manhattan from Greenland's Petermann Glacier.


Over the past few months, separate studies have emerged that suggest humans are playing a "dominant role" in ocean warming, and that specific regions of the world, such as the U.S. East Coast, are increasingly vulnerable to sea level rise.


Wagner explained that in recent years, studies have observed thinning sea ice and "dramatic" overall changes. He was clear, "We don’t want to lose sight of the fact that Greenland is losing a tremendous amount of ice overall."



http://www.nasa.gov/...nland-melt.html







Edited by Sharpshooter, 25 July 2012 - 01:26 AM.

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#2 The Sedin's 6th Sense

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:14 AM

Is it melting or is that the potential for it to melt?
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#3 Sharpshooter

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:17 AM

Is it melting or is that the potential for it to melt?


Actually melted

According to a NASA press release, about half of Greenland's surface ice sheet naturally melts during an average summer. But the data from three independent satellites this July, analyzed by NASA and university scientists, showed that in less than a week, the amount of thawed ice sheet surface skyrocketed from 40 percent to 97 percent




Edited by Sharpshooter, 25 July 2012 - 12:18 AM.

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#4 Slaytanic Wehrmacht

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:17 AM

^^ If you actually read the article it states it already HAS melted and IS melting.
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#5 The Sedin's 6th Sense

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:40 AM

^^ If you actually read the article it states it already HAS melted and IS melting.


Woah, sorry.




Actually melted


Thanks.

Edited by The Sedin's 6th Sense, 25 July 2012 - 12:41 AM.

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#6 Armada

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:50 AM

^^ If you actually read the article it states it already HAS melted and IS melting.


Chill out...

Anyways.. Pretty crazy stuff, isn't going to make me drive a hybrid though, its just climate change and it'll go back to normal one day again, nothing to worry about.
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#7 Sharpshooter

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:56 AM

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Chill out...

Anyways.. Pretty crazy stuff, isn't going to make me drive a hybrid though, its just climate change and it'll go back to normal one day again, nothing to worry about.


Easily one of the dumbest things i've ever read on CDC.....easily.
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#8 Denguin

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:59 AM

Easily one of the dumbest things i've ever read on CDC.....easily.

Maybe he's saying there will be another ice age :P.
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#9 Slaytanic Wehrmacht

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:59 AM

I'll second that, Sharp. And incidentally...just how much brain power does it take to read an article that says in the opening line "unprecedented melting" etc..and then to ask...duhhhh is it melting or is that the potential to melt? :picard:
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#10 Satan's Evil Twin

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 01:03 AM

Come on, this forum has more than its fair share of blinding stupidity, but you guys are getting mad at a 13 year old.
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#11 Slaytanic Wehrmacht

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 01:04 AM

Come on, this forum has more than its fair share of blinding stupidity, but you guys are getting mad at a 13 year old.


Are you threatening me, Cornholio? :P
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#12 Satan's Evil Twin

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 01:05 AM

Maybe he's saying there will be another ice age :P.


Ice Age 5?
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#13 Armada

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 01:05 AM

Easily one of the dumbest things i've ever read on CDC.....easily.


Elaborate "wise" one. :mellow:
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#14 Satan's Evil Twin

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 01:07 AM

Are you threatening me, Cornholio? :P


You do not want to face the wrath of my bunghole. ::D
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#15 Buddhas Hand

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 01:12 AM

Antarctic ice melting from warm water below

AP | 26th April, 2012

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A man stands near drilling apparatus at the Vostock research camp in Antarctica. — Photo by Reuters
WASHINGTON: Antarctica’s massive ice shelves are shrinking because they are being eaten away from below by warm water, a new study finds.
That suggests that future sea levels could rise faster than many scientists have been predicting.
The western chunk of Antarctica is losing 23 feet of its floating ice sheet each year. Until now, scientists were not exactly sure how it was happening and whether or how man-made global warming might be a factor.
The answer, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, is that climate change plays an indirect role but one that has larger repercussions than if Antarctic ice merely were melting from warmer air.
Hamish Pritchard, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey, said research using an ice-gazing Nasa satellite showed that warmer air alone could not explain what was happening to Antarctica.
A more detailed examination found a chain of events that explained the shrinking ice shelves.
Twenty ice shelves showed signs that they were melting from warm water below.
Changes in wind currents pushed that relatively warmer water closer to and beneath the floating ice shelves. The wind change probably is caused by a combination of factors, including natural weather variation, the ozone hole and man-made greenhouse gases, Pritchard said in a phone interview.
As the floating ice shelves melt and thin, that in turn triggers snow and ice on land glaciers to slide down to the floating shelves and eventually into the sea, causing sea level rise, Pritchard said. Thicker floating ice shelves usually keep much of the land snow and ice from shedding to sea, but that is not happening now.
That whole process causes larger and faster sea level rise than simply warmer air melting snow on land-locked glaciers, Pritchard said.
”It means the ice sheets are highly sensitive to relatively subtle changes in climate through the effects of the wind,” he said.
What’s happening in Antarctica ”may have already triggered a period of unstable glacier retreat,” the study concludes.
If the entire Western Antarctic Ice Sheet were to melt, which would take many decades if not centuries, scientists have estimated it would lift global sea levels by about 16 feet.
Nasa chief scientist Waleed Abdalati, an expert in Earth’s ice systems who was not involved in the research, said Pritchard’s study ”makes an important advance” and provides crucial information about how Antarctica will contribute to global sea level rise.
Another outside expert, Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said the paper will change the way scientists think about melt in Antarctica. Seeing more warm water encircling the continent, he worries that with ”a further push from the wind” newer areas could start shrinking
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#16 Slaytanic Wehrmacht

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 01:12 AM

Elaborate "wise" one. :mellow:


Maybe you should familiarize yourself with the term Precession, and more specifically axial precession, and even MORE specifically, EARTH'S axial precession. Earth goes through one of these every 26,000 years. So unless you were making a tongue in cheek prediction of another Ice Age, your statement is entirely without merit.
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#17 Armada

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 01:20 AM

Maybe you should familiarize yourself with the term Precession, and more specifically axial precession, and even MORE specifically, EARTH'S axial precession. Earth goes through one of these every 26,000 years. So unless you were making a tongue in cheek prediction of another Ice Age, your statement is entirely without merit.


Jumped to conclusion way to fast.

Never said anything about an Ice Age, I just said "we'll be fine".

Also in reply too the article on Antarctica above^

I know this is 2 years old but I remember at a point where Antarctica wasn't melting as fast as the Arctic or in fact melting at all.

Antarctica is warming, but not melting anything like as much as expected. In fact, during the continent's summer this time last year, there was less melting than at any time in the 30 years that we have had reliable satellite measurements of the region


http://www.newscient...-much--yet.html
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#18 Slaytanic Wehrmacht

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 01:26 AM

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Jumped to conclusion way to fast.

Never said anything about an Ice Age, I just said "we'll be fine".

Also in reply too the article on Antarctica above^

I know this is 2 years old but I remember at a point where Antarctica wasn't melting as fast as the Arctic or in fact melting at all.



http://www.newscient...-much--yet.html


"We'll be fine" is the kind of complacent attitude employed by the clueless fools in the 1980's who were warned about what they were doing to the Ozone Layer, which is now nearly gone. We're NOT fine. Humans are contributing to their own extinction, and you misread the post entirely. I said UNLESS you were making a tongue-in-cheek prediction of an Ice Age, your statement was entirely without merit. I never said you were saying anything directly about said Ice Age. Consequentially, since your main gist was "We'll be fine"..your statement IS completely without merit.
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#19 Sharpshooter

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 01:44 AM

Jumped to conclusion way to fast.

Never said anything about an Ice Age, I just said "we'll be fine".

Also in reply too the article on Antarctica above^

I know this is 2 years old but I remember at a point where Antarctica wasn't melting as fast as the Arctic or in fact melting at all.



http://www.newscient...-much--yet.html


It's because of the differences between the sizes of the ozone holes in each location.

whereas some Arctic ozone losses are evident and are well documented in some years, the data make it clear that the massive depletion of ozone associated with the Antarctic ozone hole has not been mirrored in the Arctic.

http://www.pnas.org/.../104/2/445.full


The effect of stratospheric ozone depletion on increases in ambient levels of solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation in high-latitude regions1 has raised concerns about the response of northern ecosystems to environmental change.


http://www.nature.co...s/404484a0.html


Edited by Sharpshooter, 25 July 2012 - 01:45 AM.

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#20 Buddhas Hand

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 01:53 AM

Jumped to conclusion way to fast.

Never said anything about an Ice Age, I just said "we'll be fine".

Also in reply too the article on Antarctica above^

I know this is 2 years old but I remember at a point where Antarctica wasn't melting as fast as the Arctic or in fact melting at all.



http://www.newscient...-much--yet.html


Heat rises over record sea ice melt in Arctic

Date July 2, 2012
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Shrinking ... the Arctic ice. Photo: Nick Cobbing
SEA ice in the Arctic was melting at a record pace last month, according to the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre.
Measurements taken on June 18 showed the area containing sea ice had shrunk to 10.62 million square kilometres, about 31,000 square kilometres lower than the previous record for that day, set in in 2010.
The rate of melt slowed slightly later in the month, so it is not yet clear whether this year's melt will challenge 2007, the year in which sea ice reached its lowest extent since instrumental records began.
''Early melt onset, and clear skies near the solstice are favourable conditions for more rapid melting, and warming of the ocean in open water areas,'' the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre said in its report.

''The persistence of this type of pressure pattern throughout summer 2007 was a major factor towards causing the record low September extent that year,'' continued the report.
An update issued at the weekend showed the ice extent tracking below the 2007 figure, but the agency cautioned that it was much too early to say if this year would break the record for melting ice.
''While the extent is at a record low for the date, it is still early in the melt season,'' it said. ''Changing weather patterns throughout the summer will affect the exact trajectory of the sea ice extent through the rest of the melt season.''
The driving force behind the current fast melt was regional weather conditions, the agency said, including warm winds sweeping north from east Asia.
Separate observations at the University of Washington supported the agency's assessment that ice had been melting at a faster rate this year.
The Arctic is a key site for climate science, because the impact of warmer air and water temperatures can be directly measured. The speed and scale of the annual melt is scrutinised by scientists each year for signs of change.
The trend towards a shrinking polar ice cap has been evident, and has been growing more pronounced, for at least four decades as global temperatures have risen.
The loss of Arctic ice presents a massive problem for attempts to contain dangerous climate change at safer levels, because the white ice reflects light and heat away from the Earth's surface. The smaller the ice cap, the less heat is reflected away, and the warmer the water, leading to further loss of ice.
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#21 Ghostsof1915

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 02:18 AM

That's ok...when we're under 10 meters of water the frenzy of lack of losing so much land near water, the over stressed supply of our food supplies, and the depletion of food resources. That should wipe out 90% of our population through food riots, civil collapse, and the massive loss of our population should solve the problem quite nicely.

Provided you're the survivors.

We're on a path to self-destruction and no one seems to care.
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#22 Slaytanic Wehrmacht

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 02:22 AM

That's ok...when we're under 10 meters of water the frenzy of lack of losing so much land near water, the over stressed supply of our food supplies, and the depletion of food resources. That should wipe out 90% of our population through food riots, civil collapse, and the massive loss of our population should solve the problem quite nicely.

Provided you're the survivors.

We're on a path to self-destruction and no one seems to care.


And unfortunately those of us who do care are being shouted down by nit-wit politicians and other dignitaries clasping their hands over their ears going "lalalalalala I can't hear you". Boggles the mind really how clueless some people are on this issue.
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#23 MadMonk

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 03:27 AM

It's because of the differences between the sizes of the ozone holes in each location.


The primary reason for the asymmetry between the poles is mainly due ice-albedo feedback.

The idea is that in the Arctics it is generally warmer, and a large portion of the ice melts each year during the northern summer. During the melt, the dark ocean underneath is exposed to the sun and absorbs a lot more energy than ice would. As the earth gets warmer, more ocean stays ice free, and even more energy is absorbed, thus amplifying the warming.

In contrast the Antarctic is covered by ice year round (due to the fact that it is much colder there to start with), so there is no such amplification due the increase in heat absorption during the southern summers.
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#24 Hobble

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 06:02 AM

When are NASA scientists NOT stunned?!?

And Greenland might actually be green soon!

Did the Vikings predict the future?!? 2012? :o
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#25 Mr.Habitat

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 06:11 AM

The earth has cycles.
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#26 Heretic

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 06:32 AM

Gee....I wonder what caused the melting back in 1889?

Also, why is NASA calling it "global warming" again?

Speaking of which, it was only 10 degrees riding in this morning out here in Calgary...
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#27 nucklehead

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 06:33 AM

Pretty crazy stuff, isn't going to make me drive a hybrid though, its just climate change and it'll go back to normal one day again, nothing to worry about.


Easily one of the dumbest things i've ever read on CDC.....easily.


He's right actually, you just can't accept it. Save the planet??? You got to be freakin kidding me.



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#28 Sharpshooter

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 10:29 AM

The primary reason for the asymmetry between the poles is mainly due ice-albedo feedback.

The idea is that in the Arctics it is generally warmer, and a large portion of the ice melts each year during the northern summer. During the melt, the dark ocean underneath is exposed to the sun and absorbs a lot more energy than ice would. As the earth gets warmer, more ocean stays ice free, and even more energy is absorbed, thus amplifying the warming.

In contrast the Antarctic is covered by ice year round (due to the fact that it is much colder there to start with), so there is no such amplification due the increase in heat absorption during the southern summers.



I'm sure heat absorption does play a part as well, but there are other primary external forces such as contrasting ozone depletion and anthropogenic influences that appear to be behind just how much ultraviolet radiation is being allowed to penetrate at different concentrations, at the different poles, which then fits very well with the radiation absorption from the increased surface area of sea water versus sea ice.



The Arctic and Antarctic: Two Faces of Climate Change

While formal attribution of ongoing changes in the Arctic is difficult because natural variability is large, evidence of an anthropogenic influence is emerging. Model simulations provided to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) show that the inclusion of increasing greenhouse gases is essential to realistically representing observed Arctic temperature increases during recent decades.

This anthropogenic influence contrasts with the causes of the warm period during the 1930s, which Wang
et al. [2007] argue was due to internal climate variability. Other evidence of climate change in the Arctic is a consilience of indicators including increased temperatures, diminished sea ice, degraded permafrost, enlarged melt area on Greenland, increased water vapor, decreased snow extent, increased river discharge, and resulting ecosystem impacts.

In the Antarctic, the attribution story is different. A poleward contraction and increase in circumpolar westerly winds, corresponding to a positive trend in the climate pattern known as the Southern Annular
Mode (SAM), is consistent with the simulated response to external forcing from stratospheric ozone depletion and greenhouse gas increases.

Marshall et al. [2004] demonstrated that the upward trend in the summer SAM index during recent decades is inconsistent with simulated internal variability in the Hadley Centre general circulation model, suggesting an external cause.

The positive phase of the SAM is associated with strong westerly winds over the Southern Ocean, weakened descent and colder temperatures over most of Antarctica, and increased coastal
sea ice production. Along the Antarctic Peninsula and through the Drake Passage, however, a positive SAM promotes warming, due primarily to enhanced temperature advection from the stronger westerly winds. Ozone depletion has cooled the upper atmosphere and strengthened the Antarctic polar vortex during austral spring, and models show a maximum surface response during summer [Keeley et al., 2007].

The future, no doubt, holds more surprises in polar climate research. The states of the Arctic and Antarctic climates are the result of complex interactions between external forcing, large-scale nonlinear climate dynamics, and regional feedbacks.

However, given the recent dramatic loss of multiyear sea ice in the north and the projections of continued global warming, it seems nearly impossible for summer Arctic sea ice to return to the climatological
extent that existed prior to 1980.

In the south, future recovery of stratospheric ozone concentrations will weaken or perhaps reverse the positive trend in the SAM index and provide less of a mask to direct greenhouse gas impacts on temperatures and sea ice loss. Scientists at the Seattle workshop speculated that without ozone reductions, Antarctic warming would likely have been more extensive.

Thus, the recent and potential future changes at both poles, while different, are consistent with known impacts from shifts in atmospheric circulation and from thermodynamic processes that are, in turn, a
consequence of anthropogenic influences on the climate system.

http://www.noaanews....08_Overland.pdf



I agree with you that there is more UV radiation being absorbed at the arctic than the antarctic, however, that has to do with how much sea ice there in relation to the two regions to create those conditions, which seem to be based on how much ozone protection is available for sea ice formation. In fact, according to other reports, the problem in the Antarctic is that it's gaining sea ice, but losing land ice. Quite the paradox. However, what isn't in question any longer, is whether or not, anthropogenic influences are speeding up the changes we're seeing in the ice loss in both areas, and the rapidity of natural change in our planet's climate or its cycles.

Edited by Sharpshooter, 25 July 2012 - 10:30 AM.

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#29 Sharpshooter

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 10:31 AM

The earth has cycles.


And humans are having an impact on those cycles.
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#30 gurn

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 10:33 AM

As the ice melts it will most likely dilute the amount of salinity in the world's oceans.This will mean oil tankers and frieghters will be unable to carry as much product due to reduced bouyancy.
Get ready for higher prices for goods transported by water.
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