Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Antarctic Ice Melting Faster Than Expected
Arctic Decline Also at Record Levels

A report released today based on International Polar Year research in 2007-8 confirms that ice is declining in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Although it was previously assumed that Antarctic melting was confined to the Antarctic Peninsula, the part that extends northward toward South America, new data indicates that it "also extends all the way down to what is called west Antarctica." Colin Summerhayes, executive director of the Britain-based Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, told the Associated Press, "That's unusual and unexpected." ("Antarctic glaciers melting faster than thought") The Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica is moving toward the ocean 40% faster than in the 1970s, and the Smith Glacier is moving 83% faster than in 1992.

Image (click to enlarge): Excess number of melt days in Greenland during 2008 vs. 1979-2007 average. Red areas in the north indicate record-breaking melting in the range of 10-20 excess days. From Tedesco, M., X. Fettweis, M. Van Den Broeke, R. Van De Wal and P. Smeets, 2008: Extreme snowmelt in northern Greenland during summer 2008. Eos, 89(41): 391, 7 October 2008, via International Council for Science/World Meteorological Organization Joint Committee for the International Polar Year 2007–2008.

No comments:

Seasonal Outlook

Latest seasonal forecast: Click here.

Latest 3-month temperature outlook from Climate Prediction Center/NWS/NOAA.