In 30 years we've lost 75% of the Arctic sea ice

Posted by jamess — 10 February 2012 at 9:57am - Comments
In 30 years we've lost 75 percent of the Arctic sea ice
All rights reserved. Credit: Nick Cobbing / Greenpeace
In 30 years we've lost 75 percent of the Arctic sea ice

If there's one fact to remember which underlines the urgency in protecting the Arctic it's this: in 30 years we've lost 75 per cent of the Arctic sea ice.

That ice is not only a pristine environment supporting threatened species like the polar bear - it also supports us. By reflecting the sun's rays back into space, the Arctic ice acts as the world's air conditioner, cooling our planet down. This in turn underpins our agricultural systems which when shaken, push millions over into hunger and worse.

The Arctic ice is a life supporter, but we're destroying it. 

Our obsession with dirty energy has melted three quarters of that ice in a little over three decades.

Here's BBC Newsnight explaining the 75% figure:

Some people compare Arctic sea ice amount by looking at the surface area of the ice and calculating how much it contracts by. But if you want to know how much of the ice is actually left, you’ve got to look at the volume - which is both the area and the thickness of the ice. That’s when you get these jaw-dropping figures of how much we’ve already lost.

In 1979, at its lowest point, there were 16,855 cubic kilometres of Arctic sea ice. In 2011 that had dropped to 4,017 - a little over a quarter of that original figure.

But the real shocker is this: rather than sit up and slap ourselves into rapid action to protect the Arctic, the world is allowing oil companies to rush in and exploit the newly melted waters.

Companies like Shell and others are desperate to extract the "vast oil reserves" under that melting ice - even though all the oil in the Arctic will only fuel the world for three years. Three years.

It's an insanity that we have to stop and we will stop.

Let's make sure 2012 is remembered as the year we drew a line in the ice.

What do you think we should be doing to save the Arctic? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter with the hashtag #SaveTheArctic.

The recent loss of sea ice in the Arctic is greater than any natural variation in the past 1½ millennia, a Canadian study shows.
Everything is trending up – surface temperature, the atmosphere is warming, and it seems also that the ocean is warming and there is more warm and saline water that makes it into the Arctic, and so the sea ice is eroded from below and melting from the top. Scary...
Jerry from his blogs about hosting and registrazione domini.

My best birthday present this year was when the oil company -Cairn pulled out from Greenland's shores from not finding any oil!

Wonderful :D

i was hoping that there could be some sort of floatation platform that the polar bears could rest on while they were hunting for food because the ice is melting more and they have to swim further and often die of exhaustion

Insanity? Yes it is insane to make a bonfire out of the planet. but it is also insane to be unaware of the reality of our situation. I want to stop this, but I can only see one way in which it will be stopped. Gradually we have become aware of what we are and it is not what we had hoped. It's the most taboo subject in history. With my fellow humans I can talk freely about almost any controversial social issues, intimate private affairs, all kinds of things that at one point were forbidden, without insult or injury, but if I mention one thing....I am angrily silenced, dismissed, ignored, feared and loathed. The one thing that dare not be mentioned is the lie. If you stumble too close to accidentaly mentioning this lie in pleasant conversation you soon remember it's presence and swiftly avoid it. The lie is that which we tell ourselves, to avoid the unknown, to maintain the storyline of our lives. It is a safe, but empty salute to a tyrant. It's saving up for "the best christmas ever". It's reading the paper and then remembering none of it 10 minutes later and pretending that it's somehow ok. It's skipping through oxfam commercials with the sky plus remote. The silence from those who don't lie is the most destructive force in the world. If you know what I am talking about then find it within you to end your silence, but do it right and do it for all. You are not alone. You are all loved.

@Sue, good idea, but not very practical now.

If and when Big Oil moves in, then I hope it will be mandatory for them to provide "articial icebergs" for them to rest.

Perhaps ships could be fitted with stern platforms that could rescue tired polar bears.

It may be that we will need to make artificial islands to increase summer albedo and reduce insolation, but geoengineering several million square km of reflectors is an unimaginable feat to substitute something that is currently provided for free.


If the Nuclear powerstations stopped pouring hot water into the sea, we would see a slightly cooler development.

.."All energy generators, including coal- and gas-fired plants, make major demands on water resources. But nuclear power requires even more. Light-water reactors (LWRs) like those in Japan and the United States, which use water as their main coolant, produce most of the world’s nuclear power. The huge quantities of local water that LWRs use for their operations become hot-water outflows, which are pumped back into rivers, lakes and oceans."

Stay cool,

Anonymous Green


Follow Greenpeace UK