Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Polar ice shrinking fast

From ABC News:

This season has ushered in the warmest Arctic summer in 400 years. A NASA report to be released this week finds the polar ice pack has shrunk by nearly 30 percent since 1978, and new satellite photos show the melting is speeding up.

Scientists say the Arctic may be caught in a vicious cycle of global warming. As ice melts, there's less white matter to reflect the sun's heat back into space. The dark ocean absorbs more of the sun's heat and that, in turn, melts more of the ice pack.
There's additional material later on in this article about the disturbing effects being seen in Alaska from climate change, including the melting of permafrost. So it's worth reading on.

You might recall that a recent report in the New Scientist noted with some alarm the same trend in Siberia.

Update: Here's a related story from the BBC.