Arctic sea ice shrinks to record low

29 August 2012

Arctic sea ice has shrunk to lowest ever extent.

Scientists have this week recorded sea ice shrinking to its lowest extent ever. This is yet another strong signal of long term global warming, confounding climate sceptics who earlier this year claimed that “arctic sea ice is recovering”. The satellite records span over 30 years and show the lowest six ice extents occurring in the last six years (2007-2012). Sea Ice levels could shrink even further as this year’s record faces a further two to three weeks of melting. The retreating ice marks a rise in temperature that entails consequences such as flooding, out-of-season hurricanes and food crises.

A recent study by the National Snow and Ice Data Center has concluded that human induced climate change is indeed the primary factor responsible for the retreat. These latest figures bolster Green Party calls to accept human responsibility for environmental changes. Cllr James Abbott, Green Party Science and Technology spokesman said: “The observed trends in temperature and arctic sea ice, as well as other observations continue to support the scientific basis for human induced climate change. The climate sceptic /denial community circulates so called facts around the internet and blogosphere such that they can sometimes attain some credibility merely by being repeated so much, including the misplaced claim that "arctic sea ice is recovering" earlier this year. That’s why it is really important for the political decisions on climate change to rely on evidence from scientists rather than commentators.”

The Green Party stress the wider implications of such change. Whilst the UK has endured a very mixed summer, the northern hemisphere as a whole has seen periods of record warmth, particularly in the USA and parts of the arctic including Greenland. It was the warmest July on record for the Northern Hemisphere and the fourth month in a row that the region has set a new monthly land temperature record. The news comes as prices for staples such as corn and wheat have risen nearly 50% on international markets since June, triggered by severe droughts in the US and Russia. The Greens continue to emphasise the impact this has on ordinary families, with Mr Abbott concluding that it was “both selfish and irresponsible to argue that our generation should not act urgently to curb fossil fuels emissions.”


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