Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth News Science

Arctic Sea Ice Hits Record Low Extent 398

Posted by timothy
from the from-some-angles-at-least dept.
mdsolar writes "Arctic sea ice has hit a record low extent for the period of satellite observation. Further, this record has been set in August when the minimum annual sea ice extent (and the prior record) has always come in September. Further still, the ice is still retreating as rapidly as it was in June and July when normally the decrease of sea ice extent slows in August. It is thus possible the the final minimum sea ice extend for 2012 will be seen in October rather than September as has always occurred in the past. More than one monitoring effort agree on the existence of a new record."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Arctic Sea Ice Hits Record Low Extent

Comments Filter:
  • ...watching nature at work...

  • Cue the loonies (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bennomatic (691188) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @07:04PM (#41132325) Homepage
    I expect this post will be full of the normal vitriol from barely-informed people.
    • And loonies calling everybody else loonies.

    • You must be new here. Slashdot is hardly the bastion of the ill-informed global warming deniers. Slashdot is full of various types or nerds who by and large are smarter than most (exceptions do occur)

      • by Vintermann (400722) on Monday August 27, 2012 @03:07AM (#41134611) Homepage

        Slashdot is one of the oldest nerd/tech blogs in existence, before there even was a word for such a thing. For this reason, it's a bit peculiar:

        1. Unbelivable as it may seem, the net had a higher share of libertarians before than today. Libertarians often (not always) deny global warming because a) it gives the uncomfortable feeling that strong government action may be needed to address it, and b) they have no problem assuming they're smarter than climate scientists, because they assume they're smarter than everyone anyway.

        2. Since it is so old, many slashdot posters have actually had time to become quite rich from their geek skills. Well-off, established people don't want to believe the world is in trouble and that they need to change.

        3. There are today a number of tech/geek sites which are arguably more interesting than slashdot. Most have moved on to these. Those who remain are weighted towards the kind of people who don't approve of unnecessary change, i.e. conservatives, who also tend to deny climate science for cultural reasons. (Not inherent reasons, if you ask me climate change is a prime example of unnecessary change).

    • by multiben (1916126) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @07:24PM (#41132437)
      Hey screw you buddy! I went to the beach the other day and it was like totally freezing - more like global cooling I say. And what do scientists know anyway? They're always inside in labs and stuff. You can't test weather with a test tube - just look out your window, man! Anyway, I hope it does get warmer because then I can swim all year. The desert may be too hot, but I don't care because I don't live there.
    • by drooling-dog (189103) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @07:37PM (#41132505)

      I know several people who never took any interest in any scientific matter whatsoever, and yet are now passionate in their critique of climate science and the vast global conspiracy that all scientists and smart people are obviously parties to. If this is what it takes to finally get them interested in science, maybe it's a good thing?

  • Scary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 26, 2012 @07:05PM (#41132329)
    If climate change is real and man-made, the human race isn't mature enough to react to it in time. The number of people that have a wishy-washy position on it despite the evidence is downright scary. Until the price of food goes up by 10x there isn't going to be a significant reaction, and by then it may be too late.
    • Re:Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @07:14PM (#41132369)

      > the human race isn't mature enough to react to it in time

      This is exactly why I stopped worrying about it.

      • Re:Scary (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 26, 2012 @07:19PM (#41132403)

        > > the human race isn't mature enough to react to it in time

        > This is exactly why I stopped worrying about it.

        You're right, maybe Peril Sensitive Sunglasses are the way to go.

        • Re:Scary (Score:4, Insightful)

          by bmo (77928) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @08:56PM (#41132987)

          There are only so many things you can worry about.

          And global warming/climate change for the average person is *way way way way* down on the list. Other pressing things like job, family, housing, healthcare, etc., come first.

          And in this economy, climate change isn't even anywhere on the radar. It's a rich people's problem.

          --
          BMO

          • Re:Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

            by riverat1 (1048260) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @10:31PM (#41133445)

            You're probably right. What the hoi polloi don't realize is that in the long run global warming is probably going to make all those other things that much more difficult.

          • Re:Scary (Score:5, Interesting)

            by microbox (704317) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @10:46PM (#41133509)

            And in this economy, climate change isn't even anywhere on the radar. It's a rich people's problem.

            A revenue neutral carbon tax can be used to stimulate the economy, as it has done over the past 10 years in 1/5th of the US economy [wikipedia.org] (relative to the rest of the US economy), and in Germany, which sustained 3% p.a. growth during a global recession.

            AGW is /perceived/ as a rich people's problem; however, the shrill cries of economic Armageddon -- ironically by those who decry "alarmism" -- has confounded sane public discussion on the economic benefits of ploughing oil money directly back into pure market-based innovations that save energy.

            Energy bills have come down in North-Eastern USA for both industry and consumer. It is almost as if Adam's invisible hand can fall captive to tradition, and sometimes needs a little push.

          • Re:Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Monday August 27, 2012 @12:27AM (#41134053) Homepage Journal

            Poor people are going to be the hardest hit.

            Rich people can move to high ground and outbid poor people for food.

          • by necro81 (917438)

            And global warming/climate change for the average person is *way way way way* down on the list. Other pressing things like job, family, housing, healthcare, etc., come first. And in this economy, climate change isn't even anywhere on the radar. It's a rich people's problem.

            Except that a number of the ways to mitigate climate change can also mitigate the everyday problems that preoccupy people. Worried about the cost of gas? Get a more efficient vehicle (you don't have to buy new to buy efficient). Wor

      • by JOrgePeixoto (853808) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @09:22PM (#41133135) Journal

        Yes, AGW is a serious problem, and denying it makes it costlier. However, the world is not ending. Green(tm) energy is getting cheaper and cheaper. It is predicted that solar will reach residential grid parity as early as 2015*. Not to mention next-generation nuclear. And, in a few decades, nuclear fusion. And if reducing emissions is not enough, we can cool Earth by increasing solar reflection** or by sequestering carbon*** or through some other action.

        Also, how can people have such ridiculous short memories? The world was supposed to end in the 1970s though mass famines caused by overpopulation. Then the doomsayers changed their minds and predicted water wars. Then peak oil. Then the ozone layer hole (remember that?). Then acid rain. Then we very closely avoided Armageddon in 2000, due to the Y2K bug. Remember that? The mass societal disruptions, the nuclear wars that would be started because some digital nuclear weapon system misfired due to Y2K? Phew, that was close! But we survived.

        Recently, we survived the Apocalypse in 21 May 2011, then 21 October 2011.

        Now, of course, all the headlines are about climate change.

        Do you know what is the single greatest cause of climate-change denialism? You. Doomsayers. Because you predict the Apocalypse every 5 years, people stopped listening.

        Want to help the environment? Start talking straight.

        http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/08/ff_apocalypsenot/ [wired.com]
        * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grid_parity [wikipedia.org]
        ** http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/08/putting-the-breaks-on-climate-change-with-diamonds/ [arstechnica.com]
        *** http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/08/25/2359234/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic [slashdot.org]

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 26, 2012 @10:06PM (#41133337)

          The world was supposed to end in the 1970s though mass famines caused by overpopulation. Then the doomsayers changed their minds and predicted water wars. Then peak oil. Then the ozone layer hole (remember that?). Then acid rain. Then we very closely avoided Armageddon in 2000, due to the Y2K bug. Remember that? The mass societal disruptions, the nuclear wars that would be started because some digital nuclear weapon system misfired due to Y2K? Phew, that was close! But we survived.

          You're downplaying dangers that are or were legitimate.

          Y2K was mostly fixed due to a massive effort from the software industry. The ozone layer and acid rain have been significantly reduced by legislation.

          Famines may become reality as climate change makes historically arable lands unfarmable. I suspect instead of undergoing a global famine, we'll compensate in various ways, such as eating less meat and localizing hardship via market mechanisms. Water scarcity is not yet a serious issue, but it may become one since water consumption has not been reduced.

        • by riverat1 (1048260)

          I think you're doing what a lot of people do. You see the dire predictions but you don't pay that much attention to the time frame attached to them. After having been burned a few times myself I learned better. Yes, some of the predictions are hyperbolic but many of them are proceeding on schedule. The ozone layer, acid rain and Y2K are all things we took action on to mitigate the problem.

        • by jhol13 (1087781) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @10:45PM (#41133505)

          "Want to help the environment? Start talking straight."

          You know what is the far most biggest problem to the environment? It is not AGW, it is the exponential population growth. There are already several billion too many of us.

          So I'd rather say "start talking gay".

          • by JOrgePeixoto (853808) on Monday August 27, 2012 @08:45AM (#41135697) Journal

            You know what is the far most biggest problem to the environment? It is not AGW, it is the exponential population growth. There are already several billion too many of us.

            There is no global overpopulation. Some places (such as Japan) are already experiencing population aging and decline, which is bad in many ways. Other places (such as the USA and specially Europe) already have sub-replacement fertility rates, and their population only grows because of demographic lag and immigration. It is predicted the the European Union population (now at 503M) will reach zero natural population increase by 2015 and zero total population increase in 2035 (at 520M), then start declining.

            The USA will grow from 310M in 2010 to 403M in 2050. [1]
            Asia will increase from 4.2B in 2010 to 5.1B in 2050, then start declining. [2]

            The only region that is really growing is Africa. It will increase from 1B in 2010 to 2.2B in 2050. [2] Then its population density will be 73/km2. [3] Compare that to the current population density in Portugal (115/km2), in South Korea (487/km2) and in Taiwan (641/km2). [4]

            Global population is predicted to grow from 7B in 2011 to 9B in 2050 and 10B in 2100 [5] and start falling soon after [6].

            And according to [7], 40-50% of America-produced food is thrown away. According to [8], 1/3 of the world food is thrown away.
            And this does not take into account that people eat, just for pleasure, excessive quantities of resource-intensive food (such as meat). If Americans/Europeans want to help the poor, an easy way would be to decrease (say, by 30%) their diet of meat. This will immediately reduce food demand and, for double bonus, the saved money can be donated to charity. And much arable land is wasted on subsidized inefficient corn-based ethanol. You can lobby your government to stop that.

            Plus, there does not seem to be a negative correlation between population density and GDP per capita. [9]

            African hunger is not caused by overpopulation. It is caused by corrupt and authoritarian governments, and by guerrillas/terrorists motivated by Marxism, Islamism, ethnic hate or simply greed.

            Overpopulation fear-mongering is very old - at least as old as Malthus. One of its more recent incarnations was the 1968 book "The Population Bomb", which predicted mass starvation to occur in the 1970s.

            Anyway, for better or for worse, there is already strong action taken by individuals, foundations, and Western governments, to restrict fertility in Africa.

            1 : http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Analytical-Figures/htm/fig_11.htm [un.org]
            2 : http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Analytical-Figures/htm/fig_2.htm [un.org]
            3 : According to [2], Africa will have 2.2B people in 2050, and according to Google[10] and Wikipedia [11], the area of Africa is 30,221,532 km2
            4 : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_and_dependent_territories_by_population_density [wikipedia.org]
            5 : http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Analytical-Figures/htm/fig_1.htm [un.org]
            6 : http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Analytical-Figures/htm/fig_6.htm [un.org]
            7 : http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/news/ng.asp?id=56376-us-wastes-half [foodnavigator-usa.com]
            8 : http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/74192/icode/ [fao.org]
            9 : http://sanamagan.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/population-population-density-gdp-per-capita-ppp/ [wordpress.com]
            10 : https://www.google.co [google.com.br]

        • Thankyou for all the great links. I agree that AGW is a serious problem, and denying it could potentially be very dangerous (say, 10% chance of CAGW), and Green energy is about to show its hand big-time.

          There is something import that I'd like to add. You have decried all the Malthusians since the 70s, but they've been around forever. (e.g., Christianity was, and still is, an apocalyptic cult.) It is a phenotype -- related to our genetic make-up -- and short of a eugenics program, or some evolutionary-scal
        • by artor3 (1344997) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @11:23PM (#41133705)

          The hole in the ozone layer, acid rain, and Y2K were all real problems that were solved because we did something about them.

          The people saying the Apocalypse is coming on specific dates are loons who have NOTHING to do with the scientists predicting a man-made, dramatic shift in the climate.

          But you know all that. You're just using a cynical, insulting debating tactic to shift the blame to the people trying to prevent the problem, and away from those who are making it worse.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Some think we're already doing far too much!

      In thrall to the environmentalist lobby and its dogmas, the President and the regulatory bodies under his control have taken measures to limit energy exploration and restrict development in ways that sap economic performance, curtail growth, and kill jobs. ...

      As the Obama administration wages war against oil and coal, it has been spending billions of dollars on alternative energy forms and touting its creation of "green" jobs. But it seems to be operating more on

    • Why would the price of food go up? We will have that new Greenland orange crop...

      In all seriousness, I think the climate is much more resilient than most alarmists are saying. We have had both much hatter times and much cooler times, and nothing tipped over then. The farm belt may move a lot closer to the pools... And with Canada as the new farm belt, the US corn subsidies may be less of an economic drain. (The out of work framers near me are another story) In other words, the change will suck for a
      • OK, I was thinking "Heat? Go to the pool." But I meant to type "closer to the poles."
      • Re:Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

        by baileydau (1037622) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @11:02PM (#41133585)

        In all seriousness, I think the climate is much more resilient than most alarmists are saying. We have had both much hatter times and much cooler times, and nothing tipped over then.

        Of course the planet has. But that's got nothing to do with it. No one in their right mind is trying to say that the planet will end. The big thing is that it is going to create instability and conflict and cost a looooooooooooot of money.

        The farm belt may move a lot closer to the pools... And with Canada as the new farm belt, the US corn subsidies may be less of an economic drain. (The out of work framers near me are another story) In other words, the change will suck for a lot of people and be a boon for a lot of other people. Just like most major change.

        Just think about that for a bit. Those farms near you are now worthless. Who's going to pay for that? More banks go bust?? Who is going to employ the workers. How are you going to pay for the food you now have to import.

        What about creating the new infrastructure required to farm these new areas?

        What happens when various cities become uninhabitable / less inhabitable because of local climatic changes. How much does it cost to build a city including all of the associated infrastructure?

        What happens when your country can no longer feed itself, but the neighbours have new farmland? Conflict is the normal resolution to these issues.

        In general humanity gave up being nomads several millennia ago. We can't just follow the herds any more.

        Why would the price of food go up? We will have that new Greenland orange crop...

        All of the infrastructure changes that are required for that to happen will ensure that prices go up (massively). You may no longer even have access to the food source (eg: a blockade due to conflict)

        Our civilisation absolutely requires stability and trust for it to work. The changes you agree are likely to happen mean that we won't have either. This is our greatest risk.

        Just think about the grief and cost that the GFC has caused around the world in recent years. That was all because a handful of companies had some liquidity issues. Imagine what will happen if you multiply that by a million or more times.

        The end result of climate change is the planet will still be here. There will be a significant number of plant and animal extinctions. The majority of people will probably survive, but that will depend on the level of conflict that ensues. One thing for certain is that virtually everyone's standard of living will go down (massively).

        • Re:Scary (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Rockoon (1252108) on Monday August 27, 2012 @12:48AM (#41134137)

          Those farms near you are now worthless. Who's going to pay for that?

          The owners of the land, silly. That would mainly be Big Agriculture. Giant conglomerates that often also own the associated food processing industry.

          What about creating the new infrastructure required to farm these new areas?

          You mean like irrigation? Pave a road or two? We are constantly developing that sort of infrastructure already. No new expenses next year? Great.

          What happens when various cities become uninhabitable / less inhabitable because of local climatic changes.

          Like New York? Miami? The earth could burn up and dry out and still people would live in those places, because cities already are an artificial environment. Even rising oceans wont make cities go away. There might be some rough patches with some flooding, but even New Orleans is still on the coast, below sea level, and heavily populated. Cities just arent going anywhere.

          What happens when your country can no longer feed itself, but the neighbours have new farmland? Conflict is the normal resolution to these issues.

          Most of the world already can't feed itself, and yet you are here telling us that one of the dire consequences of climate change is that most of the world wont be able to feed itself? You are describing the present, not the future.

          In general humanity gave up being nomads several millennia ago. We can't just follow the herds any more.

          We "gave up" being nomads because we can produce artificial environments. The majority of the western world lives on a giant carpet of pavement, and brings in resources from as far away as the opposite side of the planet to make that happen. We gladly accepted the consequences of non-local resource needs a very long time ago.

          This is an already solved problem, and proof of that solution are all the metropolises that we have erected. We wont have to follow the herds because we don't have to follow the herds. If Americans can pay China to produce gadgets for them, then the "distance problem" obviously has become a trivial afterthought. Stop pretending that its a problem, OK? Its intellectually dishonest at best.. blatantly willful ignorance at worst.

          • Re:Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

            by baileydau (1037622) on Monday August 27, 2012 @05:20AM (#41135023)

            The owners of the land, silly. That would mainly be Big Agriculture. Giant conglomerates that often also own the associated food processing industry.

            ???
            Just because they are corporations doesn't mean it isn't real money. They've shelled out $$ for land that is now worthless, or at least worth a lot less than they paid for it. It doesn't matter at all who's money it is / was, it's still real money. Those costs are going to get passed on in some way, shape or form to the end users (us).

            You mean like irrigation? Pave a road or two? We are constantly developing that sort of infrastructure already. No new expenses next year? Great.

            I mean a LOT of infrastructure, not just a road or two and a bit of irrigation piping.
            I mean things like:

            Proper irrigation infrastructure, probably where none existed before. Dams, pipes / canals / pumps etc

            Proper access and distribution infrastructure.
                Roads
                Rail
                Ports

            Other infrastructure:
                Electricity
                Gas
                Communications

            Setting up the farms in the first place. Buildings, fields, fencing, etc etc etc

            Maybe you have to drain the land. Isn't half of Canada going to turn into one giant bog once all the permafrost melts?

            And it mean *lots* of it.

            That's a lot of $$$$. That's also lots of time required. It's highly likely we don't have that much time to work up the new infrastructure.

            Also, who said the "new land" will be any where near as productive as the old land, or that there will be enough of it.

            Like New York? Miami? The earth could burn up and dry out and still people would live in those places, because cities already are an artificial environment. Even rising oceans wont make cities go away. There might be some rough patches with some flooding, but even New Orleans is still on the coast, below sea level, and heavily populated. Cities just arent going anywhere.

            Those cities maybe, but others will have problems. Many cities already face serious infrastructure issues (like enough suitable potable water supplies)

            There's a hell of a lot of value / sunk costs in a city of any size. Hell in my city they are talking about building a new convention / entertainment centre. It will hold maybe 7,000 people. They're talking $100,000,000. That's just one dodgy building.

            I don't know what homes go for where you live, but around here you are talking $400,000 - $500,000 each.

            Don't forget the basic infrastructure to go with all that (water, roads, sanitation, electricity, gas, etc)

            Now multiply that out by an entire city, then a number of cities. And remember, you aren't going to be able to sell your old real estate for anything much. So this is all cash you have to find from somewhere.

            Most of the world already can't feed itself, and yet you are here telling us that one of the dire consequences of climate change is that most of the world wont be able to feed itself? You are describing the present, not the future.

            This is an already solved problem, and proof of that solution are all the metropolises that we have erected. We wont have to follow the herds because we don't have to follow the herds. If Americans can pay China to produce gadgets for them, then the "distance problem" obviously has become a trivial afterthought. Stop pretending that its a problem, OK? Its intellectually dishonest at best.. blatantly willful ignorance at worst.

            You're missing the point. The problem is about changing the current "haves" into the new "have nots". That's not going to go down too well.

            As I said before the real issues will be around the costs of moving / changing. They are going to be massive. Of course we can engineer solutions to individual issues. It's just going to cost us. The other even bigger thing is the resulting conflicts that will arise from the changes. That is going to be one of the "engineering solutions". Take if from whoever has it now.

    • by joelsanda (619660)

      If climate change is real and man-made, the human race isn't mature enough to react to it in time.

      I guess I can understand the need to identify a cause for global warming - if we can arrest anthropogenic sources of change then it follows we can perhaps slow or stop climate changes induced by people.

      If much of the change is related to us burning fossil fuels I think we're basically screwed. Fossil fuels accounts for about 85% of the United States's energy use (see EIA Renewable Energy [eia.gov]). With a number that high can anyone imagine a social policy change or technological advance that would reduce the amount

  • Start looking at northern land that can be purchased cheaply, soon it may be prime tropical real estate!
    • by riverat1 (1048260)

      Sure, after it thaws out, then dries out, and assuming it's far enough above the current sea level to remain dry on sea level stops rising. So maybe in a couple hundred years.

  • If arctic sea level is a quasi-monotonically decreasing function, then isn't every point in time (after a certain threshold, and when the level changes) a record low?
  • by jabberwock (10206) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @07:27PM (#41132455) Homepage
    ... that if climate change were legitimate, the Earth would "shut down" and prevent any bad consequences.
    • by riverat1 (1048260)

      Is that you Todd Akin?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Grayhand (2610049)

      ... that if climate change were legitimate, the Earth would "shut down" and prevent any bad consequences.

      It does this regularly. We call them Extinction Level Events. When things get too out of balance the Earth tends to get rid of the thing causing the imbalance. That's why we should take warning signs seriously.

    • Anyone with even half a clue knows that the bad-consequences ARE "the earth shutting-down".

      - Sux To Be Us
      - Life (for us) will become more harsh, more distressing, less convenient
      - Nature / The Earth , on the other hand, doesn't give a flying fart for Human Beings, and will continue on nonetheless

      I for one do not believe that things will be as bad as some scientists would claim. If nothing else give-or-take a few hundred million years and you'd never know that Human Beings Completely Screwed Up The Environ
  • by jurgen (14843) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @07:28PM (#41132465)

    What is really scary about this is that only a few years ago scientists were saying that the Arctic "could be ice free in summer before the end of the century" and the deniers were calling them alarmists THEN. Then in the last couple of years some of the most alarmist of these alarmists have been saying that the Arctic could be ice free in summer in the next couple of decades.

    Now I look at the slope of the line on that chart and I think the Arctic is going to be to be pretty close to ice free THIS summer.

    The Arctic sea ice is showing us how much more rapidly things can change than even the "worst alarmists" dare to predict when positive feedback loops kick in and tipping points are passed. What will be the ripple effects of this? Where is the next tipping point?

    • by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @07:52PM (#41132577) Homepage Journal
      Don't worry folks, as soon as the Climate Change Alarmists (NB not commenting on their correct-ness, just saying "them's whut 're ringing the alarm bells") are proved 100% RIGHT (in the Arctic becoming ice-free) the Wisdom Of The Deniers will suddenly perform an about-face and loudly proclaim "yeah well so what , now PROVE that this is absolutely and necessarily BAD".

      The joys of being a RELIGIOUS FANATIC is that you can keep moving the goalposts in an endless "blind faith means you're never having to admit you're wrong" litany.

      We're seeing EXACTLY this same behaviour here in Australia. The Glorious Leader of The Opposition INSISTED that The Carbon Tax would have an IMMEDIATE and DEVASTATING impact on the economy.

      Now that he's been proved CONCLUSIVELY wrong on that specific count, he's turned about and is loudly claiming "Yeah Well trust me, I'm right and you're wrong, it'll be devastating just in the long term".
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by MacDork (560499)
      Alarmists have been predicting an ice free arctic for at least half a century already. [wordpress.com] Even a stopped watch is right twice a day, eh?
    • by Kjella (173770)

      Well, note that the chart is of the "white lies, black lies and statistics" type. If you actually extend it down to 0 you'll see there's a pretty far way to go still. Then again, it's also like a smaller and smaller ice cube in a big glass of water...

    • by jc42 (318812) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @08:32PM (#41132861) Homepage Journal

      Now I look at the slope of the line on that chart and I think the Arctic is going to be to be pretty close to ice free THIS summer.

      Well, note that the graph is missing it's zero line. If you add that in, below the line of month names, you get a better picture of it all.

      What I see is that the top (light grey) curve, representing the 1980s' average, bottoms out somewhat below 8. This year, it looks like the minimum will be somewhat below 4. So over roughly 3 decades, we've lost roughly half the Arctic sea ice. This would imply a back-of-the-envelope, one-significant-digit estimate of an ice-free Arctic somewhere around 2040.

      Of course, if you look at the graphs too closely, you can sorta see an acceleration, with the 1990s curve somewhat closer to the 1980s curve than to the 2000s curve. Then there are the three lowest years' curves that don't show much of a pattern, and this year's curve way lower than any of the others. But this isn't very many data curves. Maybe it's all accelerating and the Arctic will be ice free by 2020; maybe not.

      One thing that is clear is that we're not going to do much about it. So we should just stock up on a good supply of popcorn, and watch the show. And not buy any ocean-front property, no matter how good a deal the seller makes it sound like (because it's not just sea ice that's melting).

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 26, 2012 @09:32PM (#41133195)

      I live in northern canada. 57th parallel. The winters have been getting warmer and warmer over the last 20 years. Rarely see -50C now, last winter coldest was -36C.
      The thing is, canada is a nation of lakes and rivers. The water is getting warmer. Coupled with all the large scale hydro electric projects, the temperature of the land is getting warmer over the course of the year. The tipping point you are referring to, is all the peat bog. Its burning in forest fires during the summer, but the big problem will be all the methane it is off gassing. Most of the north is frozen bog..... this will be an interesting experiment.

  • by oracleofbargth (16602) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @07:29PM (#41132477) Homepage

    Global warming is a Great thing!

    We can provide for endless new jobs over the coming centuries as we have to rebuild literally thousands of drowning cities! We will open up new sea shipping lanes, as previously impassable straits are expanded from rising ocean levels! Previously frozen tundra will become prime temperate real estate!

    Imagine the possibilities!

    /sarcasm

  • Solution (Score:2, Funny)

    by JustOK (667959)

    We should just turn our air conditioners around and turn them on full blast. That'll cool the outdoors down.

  • by catchblue22 (1004569) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @07:49PM (#41132549) Homepage

    If you read response #4 of this update [realclimate.org] from Real Climate, you will see that the National Snow and Ice Data Centre hasn't called the record low yet (as of 26 Aug 2012 at 12:04 PM), since they use 5-day moving averages on their graphs. The graph referred to by the realclimate.org update and I think in the OP is based on daily data. The response is from Walt Meier of the NSIDC. I'll quote it here:

    These are daily values, not the 5-day average, which is not quite at a record yet. Using a 5-day average removes some of the noise due to weather and other effects that cause small errors in the daily values. Thus the 5-day estimate is a more robust measure of sea ice changes. We will make an announcement on our web site when we have passed the current record: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ [nsidc.org]

    Walt Meier

    NSIDC

    I think however that there are other data series that do agree that the record has been broken, even with 5-day averages. Here is my favourite data compilation [google.com] for Arctic Sea Ice. It contains many different graphs from different sources. Taken together, the data paints a disturbing picture.

    • by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @08:17PM (#41132781) Homepage Journal
      The frustrating thing is that The Climate Change Deniers insist that the BEST plan for humanity is to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING until after The Catastrophe has struck.

      I, for one, fail to see the wisdom in that stance.

      Sure, I fully understand that behaviours less damaging to the environment will be expensive in terms of both money and politics.

      But seriously folks this is pretty much the same thing as Your Doctor telling you that you need to do a significant amount of exercise and change your diet if you want to NOT DIE OF A HEART-ATTACK in the next ten years.

      The Climate Change Deniers are sitting there in the consult room saying "but PROVE ABSOLUTELY AND CONCLUSIVELY that I will have a heart-attack, and be EXACT and SPECIFIC about when".
      • by Jaime2 (824950) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @09:58PM (#41133311)
        Actually the most frustrating thing Climate Change Deniers have done is to frame the discussion around whether it's happening and whether it's anthropomorphic. Of course it's happening and who cares if it's our fault. All that's important is: 1. How will it affect us. 2. What are our options?

        I've seen very little discussion framed as "It will cost us X trillions to execute plan A and if we don't, ignoring it will cost Y trillions." Instead, we get drivel like "We didn't take care of the planet and we ruined it, now we need to curb fossil fuel use." I've yet to see any specific plan that will both be likely to actually work and is likely to cost less than the cost of the disaster that it will avoid. Instead we get a bunch of people saying it will be the end of the world. The world won't end... hundreds of millions of people may die and previously valuable land may become worthless, but the remainder of humanity will get along just fine.
      • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Monday August 27, 2012 @12:46AM (#41134129) Homepage Journal

        "The hardening of my arteries is just a natural cycle".
        "What do doctors know? They can't even tell whether you'll be alive next week, so how can they forecast a decade ahead?"
        "What do doctors know? My Aunt Nellie's doctor was wrong about something fifteen years go."
        "Well, of course doctors want to push this 'heart disease' and 'save your life' idea. Look how much money there is in it!"
        "Well, I found a veterinarian who says just the opposite!"

        And so on.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hsthompson69 (1674722)

        If some Psychic Tarot reader tells me that catastrophe is going to strike me down unless I throw a big fat wad of 50s into her bowl, should I simply take the alarm at face value? Let's say she shows me something in a crystal ball, or in astrological charts, or in twenty decks of cards that all show me the Death card - should that make me more apt to believe her?

        Heck, while we're talking about diet and exercise, why the fuck should I listen to a doctor who insists that I need a low-fat/low-calorie/high-exer

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

Working...