Cold times.–and extent of ice.

national_geographic_sept_2012Over the next to the last weekend in September, new temperature records were set in places like North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa – record low temperatures, with some places dropping into the 20s.  Some parts of northern Minnesota even saw some white stuff – snow – with amounts approaching an inch.

There’s been a lot of press over the Arctic sea ice extent reaching a record low, many say due to global warming.  In virtually none of those stories do they mention:

    1. The record is the for lowest that the sea ice has been during the era of satellite monitoring of the planet – satellite monitoring of sea ice began in 1979.
    2. The Antarctic sea ice achieved a maximum extent record at about the same time.DMISIE1
    3. While ice extend was trending low during June and July, close to that of 2007, an unusually intense Arctic summer storm churned the sea  for several days in early August, likely exacerbated the decline in Arctic sea ice extent.  During the storm, The Arctic Sea Ice Blog recorded on August 7 that “The trend line on the DMI sea ice extent chart keeps plummeting.”

It’d be interesting to know what the extent was during the hot period of the 1930s or during the medieval climate optimum when the Norse settled Greenland (abt. 980 A.D.), finding a land with considerable birch woods with trees up to 4 to 6 meters high and hills that were covered grass and willow brushes. It’s highly unlikely that this is the first time ever that sea ice extent has been this low.

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