Arctic Ice Decline Much Worse Than Expected

As the extent of Arctic sea ice declines to levels unrecorded since satellite monitoring began, the National Snow and Ice Data Center has released a new analysis that shows the situation to be worse by far than even the most pessimistic models predicted.

It's a perverse endorsement of one of the most popular denier memes - that you can't rely on climate models because the world is too complicated to be reduced to a compilation of computer data. But, thanks to the expertise (and conservative nature) of the scientists behind this work, the models have shown the direction with perfect accuracy: it's the terrifying extent that they have failed to anticipate.

In addition to the catastrophic conditions currently prevailing in the Arctic, the NSIDC has also drawn attention to the dramatic melting occurring this year in Greenland. And all this is supported and reinforced by the Polar Science Center's ongoing calculation of Arctic ice volume.

The trends are all down. Or as James Hansen put it in the Washington Post last week, “Climate change is here - and it's worse than we thought.”


are regularly posted on the Arctic Sea Ice Blog, run by one Neven Acropolis.

While Neven is not a scientist himself, he is level-headed and puts out some of the most up-to-date and relevant information on Arctic sea ice.

This year looks to be headed for record area and volume minimums, with sea ice potentially retreating to > 80 degrees North.

A major chunk of ice pack, connecting the Berents sea to Siberia, has broken loose of the main ice cap, leaving an awful lot of open ocean. It leaves me to wonder how this may affect ocean currents between the Arctic and the Pacific as well as Northern Hemisphere weather patterns. The breakup of ice last summer led to the weird weather that Europe has experienced this past year (and arguably, to the blocking highs that have driven this summer’s North American heat wave and drought).

(The “insert link” feature might work some day in the future, but alas, not yet.)