According to a new report issued by NASA scientists and the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the situation with rapidly retreating arctic ice is getting worse, not better. The facts are startling and should serve as a wake up call on addressing the serious consequences of global warming. According to the report issued August 28, "Arctic sea ice has hit record lows with weeks still to go in the melt season, an indication of accelerating global warming. Arctic sea ice has reached the lowest level ever observed in the three decades since polar cap observations began, according to scientists from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
'The Arctic is already warming at twice the global average, and the loss of sea ice and its ability to reflect heat back to space is now starting to melt the permafrost, which is releasing still more climate-warming gases,', said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development. 'This feedback loop is pushing us closer to one of the first tipping points that could cause irreversible climate damage.'
Zaelke added, 'Reducing black carbon soot and other short-lived climate pollutants can cut the rate of Arctic warming by two-thirds. We need a crash course that starts today with black carbon, which is responsible for half of the Arctic warming, or about 1.0C.' Other short-lived climate pollutants include methane, which is being released from the thawing permafrost, and hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs.
Scientists last year predicted that the Artic could be free of summer sea ice in the next 30 to 40 years and sea-levels could rise up to five feet by the end of the century with melting snow and ice in the Arctic making a significant contribution
Obviously, what threatens arctic ice threatens polar bears. The 2012 winner of the Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Dr. Steve Amstrup of Polar Bears International, is leading the fight to save polar bears from the threats caused by global warming, specifically the melting of the ice. Dr. Amstrup will be appearing at several lectures in early October, and we encourage everyone to attend and hear what he has to say about how we can still save the bears.
You can read more at the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development website.