Climate 411

News from the Antarctic

James WangThis post is by James Wang, Ph.D., a climate scientist at Environmental Defense Fund.

This month, while Arctic sea ice hits its annual wintertime high (such as it is – see last week’s post), Antarctic sea ice reaches its summertime low.

We’ve already posted about the British Antarctic Survey’s report of a vast ice berg on the verge of breaking off the Wilkins Ice Shelf. Here’s more on what’s happening at the South Pole from NASA’s recent briefing on polar sea ice.

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Arctic Sea Ice a Thin "Façade"

James WangThis post is by James Wang, Ph.D., a climate scientist at Environmental Defense Fund.

Last summer we saw record-shattering shrinkage of Arctic sea ice caused, in part, by human-induced global warming. Last week I listened in on a NASA briefing on polar sea ice, and this year looks no better.

This winter was relatively cold due to a strong La Niña, so the Arctic saw a modest increase in overall sea ice (slightly above the record low of 2005-2006, but still below the long-term average). However, the older, thicker ice that lasts through the summer has declined sharply, and this is very worrying.

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Antarctic Ice Shelf Hanging by a Thread

Sheryl CanterThis post is by Sheryl Canter, an Online Writer and Editorial Manager at Environmental Defense Fund.

A huge Antarctic ice berg – seven times the size of Manhattan – is close to breaking off, supported only by a thin strip of ice hanging between two islands.

Part of the Wilkins Ice Shelf, the berg was captured in satellite and video images by British Antarctic Survey (BAS), which said, “It is another identifiable impact of climate change on the Antarctic environment.”

Wilkins Ice Shelf from Bas Twin Otter

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Antarctic Ice: Growing or Shrinking?

Lisa MooreThis post is by Lisa Moore, Ph.D., a scientist in the Climate and Air program at Environmental Defense.

On January 13, Nature Geoscience published an article that reports large increases in ice loss from West Antarctica over the past 10 years. It’s a sobering result that’s in line with earlier, independent studies.

But then why do some people say that Antarctic ice is growing?

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Arctic Ice Shrinking Unexpectedly Fast

The author of today’s post, Sheryl Canter, is an Online Writer and Editorial Manager at Environmental Defense.

Researchers have been expecting Arctic ice to melt and shrink, but not this fast! The National Snow and Ice Data Center, part of the University of Colorado at Boulder, reports that Arctic sea ice has shrunk to a 29-year low, significantly below the previous record low set in 2005.

August Ice Extent

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Grim Outlook for Polar Bears

The author of today’s post, Lisa Moore, Ph.D., is a scientist in the Climate and Air program.

What's a polar bear, Mommy?A frame from an Environmental Defense ad campaign about the danger of unchecked global warming.

Most Polar Bears Gone by 2050“. You may have seen that headline in the news this week. The study behind this depressing conclusion could land polar bears on the list of threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

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