Climate 411

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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Money and Methane in a Melting Arctic

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

If you had any doubts that the globe is warming and the Arctic is melting, this month’s flag incident should put them to rest. A Russian submarine dove to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean to plant a flag in the seabed. Why? There’s oil and gas in the Arctic seabed, which is now becoming accessible due to global warming.

Russia is not the only country vying for Arctic rights. Canada and Denmark are arguing about rights to the Northwest Passage, and the U.S. is getting into the act as well. But unfortunately, more than just oil and gas will be exposed as the Arctic melts.

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