This year’s maximum Arctic sea ice is the lowest on record, US scientists have said. The figures have led to campaigners calling for “dramatic cuts” in greenhouse gas emissions.
The National Snow and Ice Data Centre at the University of Colorado, Boulder, has issued a statement saying Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its maximum extent for the year on February 25 at 14.54 million square kilometres, the lowest on record. There were below average ice conditions everywhere except in the Labrador Sea and Davis Strait.
This year’s figure is considerably below the 1981 to 2010 average of 15.64 million square kilometres. In addition, the maximum occurred 15 days earlier that the average date of March 12, although the date of the maximum and varied considerably over the years, occurring as early as February 24 in 1996 and as late as April 2 in 2010.
Bob Ward, of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and Environment at the London School of Economics, “This is further evidence that global warming and its impacts have not stopped despite the inaccurate and misleading claims of climate change ‘skeptics’.
“The gradual disappearance of ice is having profound consequences for people, animals and plants in the polar regions, as well as around the world, through sea level rise.”
Environmental group WWF said the “chilling news” should serve as a “wake-up call” that more action needs to be taken in order to tackle climate change.
“Climate change won’t stop at the Arctic Circle. Unless we make dramatic cuts in polluting gases, we will end up with a climate this is unrecognisable, unpredictable and damaging for natural systems and people,” commented Samantha Smith, leader of the WWF Global Climate and Energy Initiative.
Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre via Flickr