Thursday, April 05, 2007

Downward Spiral

I want to call your attention to an article in The Independent called "Arctic sea ice is shrinking in 'downward spiral'". Here's part of what it says:

Winter sea ice in the Arctic has failed to reform fully for the third year in a row. Scientists said yesterday that the area of ocean covered by Arctic ice at the end of the winter months was lower only in March 2006.
Researchers fear that the floating sea ice is now on a downward spiral of shrinkage that cannot recover fully even during winter because of warmer temperatures.
Scientists fear that the winter failure of the ice to recover fully will mean there is less ice to start with at the beginning of the summer melting period, leading to more rapid shrinkage with each subsequent year.

This is bad news for polar bears, which rely on floating sea ice to hunt for seals. With little ice, polar bears have to swim further in open water, burning much-needed body fat in the process.

One of the greatest concerns is that the melting sea ice will lead to greater areas of open, darker ocean being exposed to sunlight during the summer. Instead of 90 per cent of the heat of the sun being reflected by a cap of sea ice, the heat will be absorbed by the open water, which will exacerbate the trend towards regional warming.

Of course, we've heard these facts before; I've blogged them. But it is important for this news to be held constantly before the public so that those in power will realize how important it is that we take action.

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