Satellite Video Shows Polar Ice Melting at Historic Rate
A new visualization from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that ice is melting in the Arctic at an all time high. There is now less than 4 million square kilometers (1.54 million square miles) of sea ice, the lowest since satellite observations began in 1979.
In the video description NOAA states “the black area represents the daily (median) average sea ice extent over the 1979-2000 time period. Layered over the top of that are the daily satellite measurements from January 1 — September 14, 2012.”
Scientists across the globe are startled at the amount of ice loss in the Arctic. Cambridge University sea ice researcher Nick Toberg said in response to the record, “‘This is staggering. It’s disturbing, scary that we have physically changed the face of the planet. We have about 4m sq km of sea ice. If that goes in the summer months that’s about the same as adding 20 years of CO2 at current [human-caused] rates into the atmosphere. That’s how vital the arctic sea ice is.’’
Ice loss is occurring at a faster rate than what most scientific models have predicted, causing huge concern within the environmental community since polar ice cap levels have a direct impact on the world’s climate.