mmell writes: Recognizing that this is a dreadfully old story (at least by Slashdot standards), current developments make this once more a current story. Scientists studying the Arctic environment are used to seeing broad variations in average temperature readings, but recent results have been so far beyond the normal range that they are only able to conclude that they are being caused by human activity. The temperature data (which includes a great many days with readings above 0C) is bolstered by measurements showing that the Arctic ice shelf is both thinner and less extensive than has ever been previously recorded. I wonder if the Arctic ice cap will reform in the winter, or if it’s possible that its absence will cause irreversible changes to the Earth’s ocean currents (and by extension, Earth’s climate)? “[A]fter studying the Arctic and its climate for three and a half decades, I have concluded that what has happened over the last year goes beyond even the extreme,” wrote Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, in an essay for Earth magazine. According to The Washington Post, the scientists’ simulations predict some places in the high Arctic will rise over 50 degrees above normal. One chart, embedded in the report and shared by several meteorologists online, shows a “jaw-dropping and emblematic display of the intensity and duration of the Arctic warmth. It illustrates the difference from normal in the number of ‘freezing degree days,’ a measure of the accumulated cold since September.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.