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Earth NASA Science

Sea Ice Extent Sinks To Record Lows At Both Poles (sciencedaily.com) 211

According to NASA, Arctic sea ice appears to have reached on March 7 a record low wintertime maximum extent. On the opposite side of the planet, Antartica ice hit its lowest extent ever recorded by satellites (since satellites began measuring sea ice in 1979) on March 3 at the end of summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Science Daily reports: Total polar sea ice covered 6.26 million square miles (16.21 million square kilometers), which is 790,000 square miles (2 million square kilometers) less than the average global minimum extent for 1981-2010 -- the equivalent of having lost a chunk of sea ice larger than Mexico. The ice floating on top of the Arctic Ocean and surrounding seas shrinks in a seasonal cycle from mid-March until mid-September. As the Arctic temperatures drop in the autumn and winter, the ice cover grows again until it reaches its yearly maximum extent, typically in March. The ring of sea ice around the Antarctic continent behaves in a similar manner, with the calendar flipped: it usually reaches its maximum in September and its minimum in February. This winter, a combination of warmer-than-average temperatures, winds unfavorable to ice expansion, and a series of storms halted sea ice growth in the Arctic. This year's maximum extent, reached on March 7 at 5.57 million square miles (14.42 million square kilometers), is 37,000 square miles (97,00 square kilometers) below the previous record low, which occurred in 2015, and 471,000 square miles (1.22 million square kilometers) smaller than the average maximum extent for 1981-2010.
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Sea Ice Extent Sinks To Record Lows At Both Poles

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  • According to NASA

    Didn't they already get told they weren't allowed to gather let alone publish this sort of data?

    Someone is getting sacked. I'm assuming there is going to be some kind of equivalent of the gulag soon for the people who persist in producing unapproved data.

    • According to NASA

      Didn't they already get told they weren't allowed to gather let alone publish this sort of data?

      Someone is getting sacked. I'm assuming there is going to be some kind of equivalent of the gulag soon for the people who persist in producing unapproved data.

      Seems to be a bit of a revolt going on. It's gonna get more interesting. Coming to my party? Popcorn and Tequila, I'll see if the little lady can whip up some of her tater salad.

  • Top four comments (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nightfire-unique ( 253895 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:31AM (#54102291)

    The top four comments as I write this are replies to those looking at the bright side, claiming disinterest, or arguing against the observation or its significance.

    This is on slashdot. This isn't some dopey AM radio comment forum.

    That's .. concerning. :(

    • Agreed. Though Slashdot's comment quality has been on a steady decline, so I'm not surprised.

    • What do you expect? For more than 20 years, we've been saturated with messages of impeding climate doom. Outrage is psychologically exhausting. And there's only so much people can take before they become numb to more bad news.
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Well the two main root drivers of emissions is population growth and increased standard of living. Really poor places don't have much emissions because they don't have cars and AC and 50" TVs. It's mostly sociology and not so much science. Against this near impossible to stop tide we try to act like "green" technology will save the day. Yes, not putting CFCs in refrigerators is probably a good idea. But it's doesn't really change that most of the world's 7.5 billion people will want one and even an A+++ rat

      • Man, you're completely wrong.

        The Earth doesn't have a population limit. 8 billion is no closer than 1 billion.

        We can all live comfortable, luxurious lives.

        The problems we're facing have nothing to do with resource exhaustion (aside from petroleum), but inefficiency and pollution.

        We can absolutely produce goods without air pollution. We have sources of essentially limitless energy. We can absolutely use nuclear reactors to ship goods - no need for bunker oil.

        It's a question of economics and political enga

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          Man, you're completely wrong. The Earth doesn't have a population limit. 8 billion is no closer than 1 billion. We can all live comfortable, luxurious lives. The problems we're facing have nothing to do with resource exhaustion (aside from petroleum), but inefficiency and pollution. We can absolutely produce goods without air pollution. We have sources of essentially limitless energy. We can absolutely use nuclear reactors to ship goods - no need for bunker oil. It's a question of economics and political engagement.

          Cool. Get back to me when you've convinced the world to put a potential nuclear meltdown in every town and every cargo ship and drive EVs so they can use it for charging. Back in the real world, CO2 levels keep going up, up and away [wikipedia.org] as countries like China [folk.uio.no] go modern. After that comes India, Brazil and the rest of the developing world. Even if the population boom has subsided we'll still hit 10 billion people, that's another 33% growth.

          The people who talk about reducing emissions are smoking crack, we're lik

    • Everyone is always so down on Global Warming. Why doesn't anyone ever look on the bright side of things? After all, once the icecaps and glaciers all melt, think of how much better the world will be: 1) Florida will be completely underwater. Not just Miami, but the "Florida Man" parts too. 2) So will large chunks of the Middle East (though admittedly they'll probably be a bit more worried about the heat than that). 3) Lots of currently undervalued inland property will become valuable beachfront areas. And
  • by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:47AM (#54102419)

    You know, a thought just occurred to me.

    If people can at least agree that climate change is happening (man-caused or otherwise), can we not also agree that some form of mitigation is necessary? It's not as if climate change is an unheard of thing on our planet. That's not even the issue.

    Humans are unique in that we can modify an environment to suit us, but that doesn't make us any less dependant on the other species on this planet, and so it is *still* in our best interests to keep things on as much an even keel as possible.

    Species evolve slowly over time. As conditions change, animals *will* evolve. But if conditions change too quickly, then there isn't enough time to adapt and species die. So we don't necessarily need to stop it... only slow it down as much as we can so that everything else can keep up and we don't risk getting ourselves taken out in the process.

    This of course presumes one a) understands evolution, b) understands that climate *will* change and c) gives a shit about things beside short-term financial gain.

  • We just ended a period of a global maximum, which, started in the early 1900's, ending in the 1990's. We have been sliding into another solar minimum. The last one, called the Dalton Minimum, started in the 1700's to early 1800's. The Maunder Minimum, caused the Hudson river to freeze, the Thames River to freeze...the period was known as the little ice age, couple volcanoes burst at the same period of low sun output, which didn't help either. Some called it "no summer" weather. Ice might be dissipating, b
    • Solar variation between normal sunspot cycle and a "minimum" is only 1 Watt/square meter, on a total of more than 1300 Watts/square meter. It's not significant, and easily overwhelmed by the increase in CO2.

      • 1 watt in 164 = meaningless
        200 parts co2 per million = end of the world

        Got it.

        (164 watts per square meter is the average across the earth's surface, which is far more meaningful here than the absolute peak magnitude. Also, the solar cycle theory has a lot more to do with cloud formation than with watts.)

        • 200 parts co2 per million = end of the world

          We currently have 35% more CO2 than a century or so ago, and there's no sign yet of it slowing down. That's quite a bit.

          164 watts per square meter is the average across the earth's surface, which is far more meaningful here than the absolute peak magnitude.

          The 1 Watt difference is also the peak. So, where still talking about a delta of less than 0.1% in solar output.

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