Loss of Arctic sea ice ‘70% man-made’
Study finds only 30% of radical loss of summer sea ice is due to natural variability in Atlantic – and it will probably get worse.
The radical decline in sea ice around the Arctic is at least 70% due to human-induced climate change, according to a new study, and may even be up to 95% down to humans – rather higher than scientists had previously thought.
The loss of ice around the Arctic has adverse effects on wildlife and also opens up new northern sea routes and opportunities to drill for oil and gas under the newly accessible sea bed.
The reduction has been accelerating since the 1990s and many scientists believe the Arctic may become ice-free in the summers later this century, possibly as early as the late 2020s.
"Since the 1970s, there’s been a 40% decrease in the summer sea ice extent," said Jonny Day, a climate scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading, who led the latest study.
[Photo credit: AlaskaStock/Corbis]
Shell themselves making a mockery of the Obama administration’s claims:
Shell Clarifies: It Can ‘Encounter’ 95 Percent Of An Arctic Oil Spill, Not Collect It
… How is it possible, according to the New York Times, that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar “said he believed the company’s claims that it could collect at least 90 percent of any oil spilled in the event of a well blowout.” These sorts of claims have raised eyebrows among advocates and scientists who study offshore oil drilling — they aren’t just unbelievable, they’re laughably, outrageously impossible. […]
While discussing the same issue with the Associated Press, Shell PR folks take another word out for a spin, and even try to blame “opposition groups” for this confusion:
Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith said opposition groups are purposely mischaracterizing Shell’s oil spill response plan. The plan does not claim Shell can clean up 90 percent of an oil spill, he said.
“We say in our plan we expect to ‘encounter’ 90 percent of any discharge on site — very close to the drilling rig,” he said. “We expect to encounter 5 percent near-shore between the drilling rig and the coast. And we expect to encounter another 5 percent on shore. We never make claims about the percent we could actually recover, because conditions vary, of course.”
Say what? Read more.
[Image credit: Chris Gaythen / Getty Images]
The Obama administration is plowing ahead with plans to grant Royal Dutch Shell permits to drill in the Arctic despite widespread opposition. The remote location and icy conditions would make containing spills even harder, and the ecosystem is already one on the brink. Let’s raise the alarm about this destructive project the world doesn’t need.
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This week’s issue of the Economist leads with a story on the melting of the Arctic! Not the cheeriest headline, but a very important one. Via theeconomist:
The worry that needs to be taken most seriously is climate change itself. The impact of the melting Arctic may have a calamitous effect on the planet. It is likely to disrupt oceanic circulation—the mixing of warm tropical and cold polar waters, of which the Gulf Stream is a part—and thawing permafrost will lead to the emission of masses of carbon dioxide and methane, and thus further warming. It is also raising sea levels. The Greenland ice sheet has recently shed around 200 gigatonnes of ice a year, a fourfold increase on a decade ago. If the warming continues, it could eventually disintegrate, raising the sea level by seven metres. Many of the world’s biggest cities would be inundated long before that happened.