A new report released just today has dire prediction for the arctic ocean. Greenland's ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer's end was half what it was just four years earlier, according to new NASA satellite data. Here are some highlights for the report...
2007 shattered records for Arctic melt in the following ways:
_ 552 billion tons of ice melted this summer from the Greenland ice sheet, according to preliminary satellite data to be released by NASA Wednesday. That's 15 percent more than the annual average summer melt, beating 2005's record.
_ A record amount of surface ice was lost over Greenland this year, 12 percent more than the previous worst year, 2005, according to data the University of Colorado released Monday. That's nearly quadruple the amount that melted just 15 years ago. It's an amount of water that could cover Washington, D.C., a half-mile deep, researchers calculated.
_ The surface area of summer sea ice floating in the Arctic Ocean this summer was nearly 23 percent below the previous record. The dwindling sea ice already has affected wildlife, with 6,000 walruses coming ashore in northwest Alaska in October for the first time in recorded history. Another first: the Northwest Passage was open to navigation.
_ Still to be released is NASA data showing the remaining Arctic sea ice to be unusually thin, another record. That makes it more likely to melt in future summers. Combining the shrinking area covered by sea ice with the new thinness of the remaining ice, scientists calculate that the overall volume of ice is half of 2004's total.
_ Alaska's frozen permafrost is warming, not quite thawing yet. But temperature measurements 66 feet deep in the frozen soil rose nearly four-tenths of a degree from 2006 to 2007, according to measurements from the University of Alaska. While that may not sound like much, "it's very significant," said University of Alaska professor Vladimir Romanovsky.
- Surface temperatures in the Arctic Ocean this summer were the highest in 77 years of record-keeping, with some places 8 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, according to research to be released Wednesday by University of Washington's Michael Steele.Could this be the tipping point? Are we at the point of no return? Well, none of that really matter now if we don't start to do something about it. How many reports like this have to come out before the American public demands some kind of action? Other countries are at least beginning to take steps to curb their emissions, but the United States is still sitting on their hands... powerless against the big energy companies that run this country.
Well at least there is hope and it is coming from a strange source to some. Google is planning and initiative through Google.org to develop energy that is cleaner and more efficient then coal. A bold act that Google says it can accomplish in years not decades. Now that is what I like to hear, action not just a bunch of politics! They have also put into place one of the largest solar developments in the entire world at the Googleplex.
So while this new report is very disheartening, it is good that more reports like this come out so the public can really begin to understand how severe this problem is and how action is needed now... not in the future when it will just be too late.
To view the full report click here!