oldest arctic ice melting faster than the rest of the icecap

HOW MANY TIMES ARE WE GOING TO READ that cli­mate change is hap­pening “faster” than ex­pected be­fore we change our expectations—or, at least, our de­f­i­n­i­tion of fast? “Stretches of the Arctic’s oldest ice, and its thickest—the last refuge ice that should sur­vive even when the Arctic Ocean tech­ni­cally be­comes ice-free in sum­mers later this century—are now dis­ap­pearing twice as fast as the rest of the Arctic icecap.

Al­though the north polar ice is vul­ner­able to global heating, and has been thin­ning and re­treating at an ac­cel­er­ating rate for the last 40 sum­mers, re­searchers have al­ways ex­pected some winter ice to sur­vive: they de­fine an “ice-free Arctic Ocean” as one with less than 1 mil­lion square kilo­me­tres of sur­viving ice pack.

But this sup­pos­edly an­cient rem­nant of the polar win­ters, con­cen­trated north of Green­land and the Cana­dian polar arch­i­pelago, is showing signs of change.

Re­searchers do not ex­plic­itly finger cli­mate change driven by ever-greater human use of fossil fuels as the di­rect agent of this change: this is an area of polar ice dif­fi­cult to ob­serve and ex­plore, is little known, and may al­ways have been sub­ject to change.”


The para­graphs above were taken from “Arctic’s Oldest Ice Shows Signs of Change” by Tim Rad­ford for Cli­mate News Net­work (No­vember 21, 2019). To read the en­tire ar­ticle, click HERE.

Stretches of the Arctic’s oldest ice that should sur­vive even when the Arctic Ocean be­comes ice-free in sum­mers later this cen­tury are now dis­ap­pearing twice as fast as the rest of the icecap. Click To Tweet

GCC ArcticsOldestIce 1000

FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is of deep fjords in North­west Green­land, near where the oldest Arctic ice is melting fast. (Photo by NASA via Wiki­media Com­mons.)

 

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