Arctic Melt Hits New Record, Patch of Ice Larger than the US Is Gone

“Climate change is taking place before our eyes,” WMO says

By on November 29th, 2012 06:59 GMT

According to a new report made public by the World Meteorological Organization, the effects of climate change and global warming on the Arctic are ever more poignant.

Thus, researchers working with this institution now claim that the period between 2001 and 2011 is the hottest on record, and that this translates both into extreme weather manifestations, and into an unprecedented melt of the Arctic ice.

“The last eleven years (2001–2011) were among the top warmest years on record, and the first ten months of 2012 indicate that this year will not be an exception,” reads the World Meteorological Organization's provisional statement on the state of the global climate.

Raw numbers indicate that, when compared to the previous years, the temperatures recorded within said time frame are on average 0.45 degrees Celsius (0.81 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than those reported between the years 1961-1990.

9 News quotes Michel Jarraud, the chief of the World Meteorological Organization, who wished to make a case of how, “Climate change is taking place before our eyes and will continue to do so.”

“Notable extreme events were observed worldwide but some parts of the northern hemisphere were affected by multiple extremes,” he went on to add.

What he is referring to is the fact that, according to several estimates, this year's ice melt in the Arctic is the raw equivalent of more than the entire surface of the US.

More precisely, satellite images have shown that this year witnessed the sea ice cover in this part of the world shrinking to just 3.4 million square kilometers (1.31 million square miles), which is basically 16-18% less than the ice melt reported in 2007, and 40% less than the average ice melt recorded between 1979-2000.

“Some 11.83 million square kilometers (4.56 million square miles) of Arctic ice melted between March and September 2012,” the World Meteorological Organization explains.

Commenting on these figures, Michel Jarraud said that, “The extent of Arctic sea ice reached a new record low. The alarming rate of its melt this year highlighted the far-reaching changes taking place on Earth’s oceans and biosphere.”

As the World Meteorological Organization points out, these shifts in the global climate are bound to impact on public health, food security and the socio-economic development of nations worldwide.

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