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Flashback Arctic ice thickness 'plummets'

Ice bergs
© unknownThe data proves that overall volume of sea ice is decreasing, say researchers

The thickness of Arctic sea ice "plummeted" last winter, thinning by as much as one-fifth in some regions, satellite data has revealed.

A study by UK researchers showed that the ice thickness had been fairly constant for the previous five winters.

The team from University College London added that the results provided the first definitive proof that the overall volume of Arctic ice was decreasing.

The findings have been published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

"The ice thickness was fairly constant for the five winters before this, but it plummeted in the winter after the 2007 minimum," lead author Katharine Giles told BBC News.

Sea ice in the Arctic shrank to its smallest size on record in September 2007, when it extended across an area of just 4.13 million sq km (1.59 million sq miles), beating the previous record low of 5.32 million sq km, measured in 2005.

The team from the university's Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling - part of the UK's National Centre for Earth Observation - found that last winter the ice had thinned by an average of 10% (26cm/0.9ft) below the 2002-2008 winter average.

Dr Giles added that the data also showed the western Arctic experienced the greatest impact, where the ice thinned by up to 19% (49cm/1.6ft).


Flashback Propaganda: Arctic ice meltdown close to 'tipping point'

Polar Bear
© Reuters

Arctic ice is melting quicker than predicted and may now be close to a "tipping point" when the changes cannot be reversed, a conservation group has claimed.

Satellite monitoring suggests that the ice has shrunk by more than a third since the late 20th century, and the pace at which both Arctic sea ice and the Greenland ice sheet are melting has "severely accelerated".

This could bring about rapid and unstoppable change in natural systems across the world, according to the WWF.

Better Earth

Flashback Propaganda: Arctic Sea Ice Gone in Summer Within Five Years?

Iceberg off Ammassalik Island, Greenland, on July 19, 2007
© John McConnico / Associated Press

An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer - a sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point.

One scientist even speculated that summer sea ice could be gone in five years.

Greenland's ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer's end was half what it was just four years ago, according to new NASA satellite data obtained by the Associated Press.

"The Arctic is screaming," said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the government's snow and ice data center in Boulder, Colorado.

Bizarro Earth

Flashback Propaganda: Environment Summit -Arctic thaw may be at "tipping point"

Oslo - A record melt of Arctic summer sea ice this month may be a sign that global warming is reaching a critical trigger point that could accelerate the northern thaw, some scientists say.

"The reason so much (of the Arctic ice) went suddenly is that it is hitting a tipping point that we have been warning about for the past few years," James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told Reuters.

The Arctic summer sea ice shrank by more than 20 percent below the previous 2005 record low in mid-September to 4.13 million sq km (1.6 million sq miles), according to a 30-year satellite record. It has now frozen out to 4.2 million sq km.

The idea of climate tipping points -- like a see-saw that suddenly flips over when enough weight gets onto one side -- is controversial because it is little understood and dismissed by some as scaremongering about runaway effects.


Flashback Propaganda: Has the Arctic melt passed the point of no return?

Scientists have found the first unequivocal evidence that the Arctic region is warming at a faster rate than the rest of the world at least a decade before it was predicted to happen.

Climate-change researchers have found that air temperatures in the region are higher than would be normally expected during the autumn because the increased melting of the summer Arctic sea ice is accumulating heat in the ocean. The phenomenon, known as Arctic amplification, was not expected to be seen for at least another 10 or 15 years and the findings will further raise concerns that the Arctic has already passed the climatic tipping-point towards ice-free summers, beyond which it may not recover.

The Arctic is considered one of the most sensitive regions in terms of climate change and its transition to another climatic state will have a direct impact on other parts of the northern hemisphere, as well more indirect effects around the world.

Better Earth

Flashback Propaganda: Meltdown fear as Arctic ice cover falls to record winter low

Record amounts of the Arctic ocean failed to freeze during the recent winter, new figures show, spelling disaster for wildlife and strengthening concerns that the region is locked into a destructive cycle of irreversible climate change.

Satellite measurements show the area covered by Arctic winter sea ice reached an all-time low in March, down some 300,000 square kilometres on last year -an area bigger than the UK.

Scientists say the decline highlights an alarming new trend, with recovery of the ice in winter no longer sufficient to compensate for increased melting in the summer. If the cycle continues, the Arctic ocean could lose all of its ice much earlier than expected, possibly by 2030.

Walt Meier, a researcher at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado, which collected the figures, said: "It's a pretty stark drop. In the winter the ice tends to be pretty stable, so the last three years, with this steady decline, really stick out."


Flashback Propaganda: Arctic sea ice may be at 'tipping point'

Arctic ice melting may have accelerated to a "tipping point" that will produce a vicious cycle of melting and heating, U.S. scientists say.

Another record loss of sea ice in the Arctic this summer is expected by Arctic specialists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at Colorado University, who have been studying polar sea ice since 1978, the Independent reported Friday.

Scientists fear that the Arctic has now entered an irreversible phase of warming that will further accelerate the loss of the polar sea ice creating a rise in ocean levels.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 6.0 earthquake jolts northern Japan

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.0 jolted northern Japan on Sunday, a government agency said. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage and no tsunami warning was issued.

The focus of the tremor was 40 km below the surface of the earth, in Iwate prefecture, about 450 km north of Tokyo, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The earthquake measured a 4 on the Japanese intensity scale, which measures ground motion. A quake of that reading can cause ornaments or furniture to fall over.


Flashback CBS 'Global Warming Special' Host Likened Warming Skeptics to Holocaust Deniers

While most of the country was watching the Green Bay Packers play the New York Giants, CBS aired an hour-long, severely one-sided special about the threat of global warming.

The special was hosted by CBS's Scott Pelley. In January 2007, Pelley was asked why he refused to include global warming skeptics in his reporting. He responded, "If I do an interview with [Holocaust survivor] Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?"

The January 20 CBS special attacked the Bush White House for not being willing to sign the Kyoto Protocol after he was elected - furthering the common misconception that Bush has been alone in his opposition to it, as the Senate actually voted 95 to 0 to reject Kyoto earlier.

Pelley took a very conspiratorial tone.


World's Oldest Swan Found Dead In Denmark

© Mindaugas UrbonasMute swan.

What was probably the world's oldest mute swan has been found dead in Denmark. This unusual example of Denmark's national bird lived to just past the ripe old age of 40. The previous record for a mute swan was 28 years old.

The swan was found dead at Korsør Skovstrand on Christmas Day last year. It was ringed and its leg ring was sent to the Copenhagen Bird Ringing Centre at the Zoological Museum at The University of Copenhagen. The number on the ring was Helgoland 112851 and after checking their records, the centre realised that this was no ordinary dead swan. It turned out that the swan had been ringed on 21st February 1970 at Heikendorf near Kiel in northern Germany and that it was at least a year and a half old when it was ringed.