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October 07, 2011

Arctic Iceless

The latest installment of "Climate Denial Crock of the Week" -- Peter Sinclair's YouTube series -- takes direct aim at climate zombies who say and write dumb things on a regular basis. The facts are hard to swallow, but they're there. New navigational shipping routes in the Arctic are widening while the melting is outpacing scientific predictions.

Earlier this week the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) confirmed that last month was the second worst for Arctic ice since record keeping began. The worst was in 2007. But these days sea ice not only is losing ground, it's losing thickness. "The youngest, thinnest ice, which has survived only one or two melt season, now makes up 80 percent of the ice cover," the NSIDC said in its statement.

At the three-minute mark of the video, NSIDC scientist Dr. Julienne Stroeve explains that predictive models formerly showed that Arctic ice would disappear somewhere between 2050 and 2100. But now the trend says 10 to 20 years. Either way, all climate models spell doom for Arctic ice.

"If you were to run these climate models and you don't put in the observed records of greenhouse gases, none of those models show the ice going away," Stroeve says. After September 2007, which was the lowest of the lows, levels came in a bit higher -- but not enough to relieve scientists. "Being the second lowest versus the lowest is not really a recovery."

At the video's eight-minute mark, NASA scientist James Hansen explains what all this means for species and the planet.

-- Brian Foley

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