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Arctic Sees Massive Gain in Ice Coverage
Increase twice the size of Germany: "colder weather" to blame.
Michael Asher - September 3, 2008 2:44 PM dailytech.com
Data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has indicated a dramatic increase in sea ice extent in the Arctic regions. The growth over the past year covers an area of 700,000 square kilometers: an amount twice the size the nation of Germany.
With the Arctic melting season over for 2008, ice cover will continue to increase until melting begins anew next spring.
The data is for August 2008 and indicates a total sea ice area of six million square kilometers. Ice extent for the same month in 2007 covered 5.3 million square kilometers, a historic low. Earlier this year, media accounts were rife with predictions that this year would again see a new record. Instead, the Arctic has seen a gain of about thirteen percent.
William Chapman, a researcher with the Arctic Climate Research Center at the University of Illinois, tells DailyTech that this year the Arctic was "definitely colder" than 2007. Chapman also says part of the reason for the large ice loss in 2007 was strong winds from Siberia, which affect both ice formation and drift, forcing ice into warmer waters where it melts.
Earlier predictions were also wrong because researchers thought thinner ice would melt faster in subsequent years. Instead, according to the NSIDC, the new ice had less snow coverage to insulate it from the bitterly cold air, resulting in a faster rate of ice growth.
Most concern has focused on the Arctic regions, rather than Antarctica. Recent research has indicated Antarctica is on a long-term cooling trend, for reasons which remain unclear.
Earlier this year, concerns over global warming led the US to officially list the polar bear a threatened species, over objections from experts who claimed the animal's numbers were increasing.
Good news! Despite the recent global warming alarmism in the media that Arctic ice might melt away completely from the North Pole this summer, the latest scientific observations show that Arctic ice has actually increased by nearly a half million square miles over this time last year. This is in stark contrast to the Chicken Little hysteria that was being promoted less than a month ago on the CBS Early Show as reported by Kyle Drennen on June 27
The problem is that this graph does not appear to be correct.* [See Editor's note, below] Other data sources show Arctic ice having made a nice recovery this summer. NASA Marshall Space Flight Center data shows 2008 ice nearly identical to 2002, 2005 and 2006. Maps of Arctic ice extent are readily available from several sources, including the University of Illinois, which keeps a daily archive for the last 30 years. A comparison of these maps (derived from NSIDC data) below shows that Arctic ice extent was 30 per cent greater on August 11, 2008 than it was on the August 12, 2007. (2008 is a leap year, so the dates are offset by one.)