Since I read the draft of Climate Code Red by David Spratt and Philip Sutton just under two years go I’m now setting up an annual routine of looking up the Arctic summer ice thickness in mid September, when the ice extent is at a minimum.
Climate Code Red alerted me and many other Australians to the rapid loss of Arctic Ice, with the Arctic compared to the “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to global warming. I wrote an article which I posted on Squidoo about this towards the end of 2007, which summarised my understanding of Climate Code Red. Now in September 2009 the need to rapidly cut greenhouse gas emissions is no less urgent. And if anything – as indicated locally by the bushfires in Victoria in February and the record breaking weather of August – climate change is happening quicker than we thought.
Now for an update on the Arctic. Science Daily recently reported on research which has correlated satellite data with submarine records. This shows that in the winter of 1980 Arctic ice averaged 3.64 meters in thickness. By the end of 2007 the average was 1.89 meters. Over 27 years the depth of Arctic ice halved.
Over the same time the extent of the summer sea ice has greatly reduced. The summer of 2007 had the lowest extent of summer sea ice. In September 2009, as reported by the Examiner, the ice extent is somewhat more than in September 2007, but still well below the 1979 to 2000 average.
The canary in the coal mine is still alive, but its future isn’t looking good. We need to keep on cutting carbon emissions.