It’s well known that rising temperatures are causing ice caps to melt at an accelerated rate. But just how much warmer has the arctic region become?
According to the Huffington Post, new research shows that average summer temperatures in the Canadian Arctic over the last century are the highest in the last 44,000 years, and perhaps the highest in 120,000 years.
“The key piece here is just how unprecedented the warming of Arctic Canada is,” Gifford Miller, a researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said in a joint statement from the school and the publisher of the journal Geophysical Researcher Letters.
“This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”
The Arctic has been heating up for about a century, but the most significant warming didn’t start until the 1970s, Miller said in the statement. “And it is really in the past 20 years that the warming signal from that region has been just stunning,” he added. “All of Baffin Island is melting, and we expect all of the ice caps to eventually disappear, even if there is no additional warming.” Continue reading
The Arctic is global warming’s canary in the coalmine. It is a highly sensitive region and is being profoundly impacted by climate change – warming at a rate of almost twice the global average. Most scientists see what is happening now in the Arctic as a sign of things to come across the globe.
Last September, the Arctic sea ice dropped to its lowest level ever recorded. Researchers warn that a completely ice-free Arctic summer could become a reality in just 40 years.
The loss of the Arctic sea ice is significant for many reasons. Many climatologists fear it could trigger further global warming. For example, the loss of ice means more heat is absorbed into the oceans. Sea ice reflects around 85% of sunlight, while darker open water reflects around just 7%. As the ice melts, more open water is revealed and more heat is absorbed, speeding up the rate of warming.
By regulating polar heat, sea ice also affects weather around the world. Continue reading
Birthday Canyon, Greenland ice sheet
This year’s EMA Award winner for Best Documentary Film, Chasing Ice, may be more timely than ever. After Sandy devastated the East Coast, many are questioning what caused such a powerful storm to begin with. Many cite climate change as an obvious factor. One theory is that the storm was caused by this year’s record ice melt in the Arctic.
Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, photographer James Balog conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.
As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Balog finds himself at the end of his tether. Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, he comes face to face with his own mortality. It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.
Watch the captivating trailer for Chasing Ice below. Continue reading