Global warming has always been made to look like the bogey man, forever being denounced yet not actually having any bite. Of course, the phenomenon itself has entailed the melting of polar ice caps and the rise of sea levels, but one could never really put their finger on a tangible effect with scientists on both sides of the argument presenting contrarily evidence. But now, according to NASA, it seems that the effects of global warming are now actually beginning to be felt with their latest report showing that Arctic sea ice has reached a record low.
According to the US space agency, Arctic sea ice has reached a critically low level, the lowest it has been in any years since the space agency started using satellites to monitor sea ice in 1979.
According to figures released by the agency, the extent of sea ice was 1.58m sq miles (4.1m sq km) compared with a previous low of 1.61m sq miles (4.17m sq km) on September 18 2007 and while during the summertime the ice thins and melts, data for this year has shown that over the past three decades there has been a 13 percent decline per decade in the summertime minimum.
In addition to this, NASA scientists also said that the thickness of the ice was also decreasing, but no exact figure was obtained.
Speaking about this, senior research scientist at Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center, Joey Comiso said, "Unlike 2007, temperatures were not unusually warm in the Arctic this summer. [But] we are losing the thick component of the ice cover. And if you lose [that], the ice in the summer becomes very vulnerable," with Walt Meier of the National Snow and Ice Data Center adding, "In the context of what's happened in the last several years and throughout the satellite record, it's an indication that the Arctic sea ice cover is fundamentally changing."
Scientists have said that the increased in global temperatures is sounding the death knell of Arctic sea ice and that while it may be believed that Arctic sea ice may vanish in possible decades, the truth of the matter is that it could happen within the next couple of years.
Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University said, "A number of scientists who have actually been working with sea ice measurement had predicted some years ago that the retreat would accelerate and that the summer Arctic would become ice-free by 2015 or 2016.”
The professor stated that Arctic sea ice has lost 40 percent of its thickness since the 1980s and that the present sea ice is 30 percent of what it was three decades ago, adding, “This means an inevitable death for the ice cover, because the summer retreat is now accelerated by the fact that the huge areas of open water already generated allow storms to generate big waves which break up the remaining ice and accelerate its melt.”