1979 Sea Ice Levels in 2008 – January 05, 2009
From the “Science” section of Daily Tech online, by Michael Asher, Jan. 1, 2009.
Data (not conjecture or theory) reported by the University of Illinois’s Arctic Climate Research Center, and derived from satellite observations of the Northern and Southern hemisphere polar regions:
Sea ice is floating and, unlike the massive ice sheets anchored to bedrock in Greenland and Antarctica, doesn’t affect ocean levels. However, due to its transient nature, sea ice responds much faster to changes in temperature or precipitation and is therefore a useful barometer of changing conditions.
Earlier this year, predictions were rife that the North Pole could melt entirely in 2008. Instead, the Arctic ice saw a substantial recovery. Bill Chapman, a researcher with the UIUC’s Arctic Center, tells DailyTech this was due in part to colder temperatures in the region. Chapman says wind patterns have also been weaker this year. Strong winds can slow ice formation as well as forcing ice into warmer waters where it will melt.
(The Arctic ice was affected by colder temps and weaker winds, not anything man did and in spite of anything man did.)
In May, concerns over disappearing sea ice led the U.S. to officially list the polar bear a threatened species, over objections from experts who claimed the animal’s numbers were increasing.
Why were predictions so wrong? Researchers had expected the newer sea ice, which is thinner, to be less resilient and melt easier. Instead, the thinner ice had less snow cover to insulate it from the bitterly cold air, and therefore grew much faster than expected, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
(Again, the effect was not caused by human activities or the lack thereof.)
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