30 Aug 2012: Report

Arctic Tipping Point:
A North Pole Without Ice

Scientists say this year’s record declines in Arctic sea ice extent and volume are powerful evidence that the giant cap of ice at the top of the planet is on a trajectory to largely disappear in summer within a decade or two, with profound global consequences.

by fen montaigne

As the northern summer draws to a close, two milestones have been reached in the Arctic Ocean — record-low sea ice extent, and an even more dramatic new low in Arctic sea ice volume. This extreme melting offers dramatic evidence, many scientists say, that the region’s sea ice has passed a tipping point and that sometime in the next decade or two the North Pole will be largely ice-free in summer.

NASA and U.S. ice experts announced earlier this week that the extent of Arctic sea ice has dropped to 4.1 million square kilometers (1.58 million square miles) — breaking the previous record set in 2007 — and will likely continue to fall even farther until mid-September. As the summer melt season ends, the Arctic Ocean will be covered with 45 percent less ice than the average from 1979 to 2000.

Click to enlarge
Arctic Sea Ice Extent August 2012

On August 26, Arctic sea ice reached a new record-low summer extent.
Even more striking is the precipitous decline in the volume of ice in the Arctic Ocean. An analysis conducted by the University of Washington’s Pan Arctic Ice Ocean Model Assimilation System (PIOMAS) estimates that sea ice volumes fell in late August to roughly 3,500 cubic kilometers — a 72-percent drop from the 1979-2010 mean.

Peter Wadhams, who heads the Polar Ocean Physics Group at the University of Cambridge and who has been measuring Arctic Ocean ice thickness from British Navy submarines, says that earlier calculations about Arctic sea ice loss have grossly underestimated how rapidly the ice is disappearing. He believes that the Arctic is likely to become ice-free before 2020 and possibly as early as 2015 or 2016 — decades ahead of projections made just a few years ago.

Mark Drinkwater, mission scientist for the European Space Agency’s CryoSat satellite and the agency’s senior advisor on polar regions, said he and his colleagues have been taken aback by the swiftness of Arctic sea ice retreat in the last 5 years. “If this rate of melting [in 2012] is sustained in 2013, we are staring down the barrel and looking at a summer Arctic which is potentially free of sea ice within this decade,” Drinkwater said in an e-mail interview.

A small number of climate scientists say that natural variability may be playing a significant role in the rapid retreat of Arctic sea ice, intensifying human-caused climate change, and they caution against predicting the imminent demise of the region’s summer sea ice. But an
Extraordinarily low ice levels indicate the summer sea ice has passed a point of no return.
overwhelming majority of Arctic ice experts say that recent data offer powerful evidence that summer sea ice has passed a point of no return.

The dramatic ice loss is being driven by a several key factors, scientists say. Chief among them is that decades of warming have so extensively melted and thinned Arctic sea ice that rapidly expanding areas of dark, open water are absorbing ever-greater amounts of the sun’s radiation, further warming the region in a vicious cycle.

Second, swiftly warming air and ocean temperatures in the Arctic have, for now at least, altered atmospheric activity, with two consequences: Warmer air is being pulled into the Arctic, and increased storms and cyclones in summer are not only driving ice out of the Arctic basin, but also breaking up the ice pack and further exposing more dark water.

And finally there is the inescapable reality that steadily rising levels of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere by human activity are continuing to warm the Arctic and the rest of the globe, further hastening the loss of Arctic Ocean ice. Several experts say that the only thing that could slow this disappearance — and then only for a few years — would be a major volcanic eruption that reduces the amount of the sun’s energy striking the earth.

“It’s sobering to see the Arctic change so rapidly,” said Ted Scambos, senior research scientist at the National Snow & Ice Data Center in Colorado. “Simply staring at the satellite data that we’re seeing every day is awesome, but in a sad sort of way. It doesn’t look like the Arctic anymore. The summer ice used to look like a cap that nearly filled the Arctic basin. It now looks like a raft with room on every side. You can imagine what it’s going to
‘The summer ice used to look like a cap…. It now looks like a raft with room on every side.’
look like when the North Pole is open water, when there is only a tiny amount of ice left in August and September. The planet will look a lot different.”

The loss of the great white dome of ice at the top of the world in summer will have profound effects, scientists say. These include a reduction of the amount of solar radiation reflected back into space by the ice, significant changes to the jet stream and Northern Hemispheric weather patterns, and even-more rapid warming in the far north, speeding the melting of Greenland’s massive ice sheets and increasing global sea levels.

In addition to these impacts, said Drinkwater, “Increased storminess will generate ocean wave systems which, un-damped by the presence of sea ice, will pound the circumpolar north coastlines. Current rates of coastal permafrost degradation will be accelerated, leading to significant coastal erosion and reconfiguration of the high-latitude shoreline. Meanwhile, we have also recently heard about the potential for release of sub-sea methane deposits and thereby an acceleration of the current greenhouse effect.”

The record low sea ice extent in 2007 of 4.2 million square kilometers was due to some unusual circumstances, including a sunny summer in the Arctic and higher temperatures. Summer sea ice extent rebounded somewhat in the next several years, rising to 5.3 million square kilometers in 2009, giving some hope to mainstream scientists that Arctic sea ice was not in a “death spiral.”

But Scambos and other experts say that recent data on plummeting ice extent and volume show that the Arctic has entered a “new normal” in which ice decline seems irreversible. Because of thinning ice and swiftly expanding areas of open water, the Arctic Ocean will no longer be kept frigid in summer by the reflectivity of snow and ice — the so-called ice-albedo effect, in which ice and snow reflect a high percentage of the sun’s energy back into space.

Arctic Sea Ice NASA

Melting Arctic sea ice.
Thick sea ice that formed over many years is increasingly rare in the Arctic. In the 1960s, submarines routinely encountered 12-foot-thick ice around the North Pole and 20-foot-thick ice in some other areas; now those regions often contain ice that is only three to four feet thick. Many parts of the Arctic Ocean are now covered with thin, year-old ice that melts quickly in spring and summer.

This spring, noted Scambos, extensive late winter snow cover on land melted unusually rapidly, reaching record low levels by June. Sea ice across much of the Arctic began to melt 10 to 14 days earlier than in the preceding few decades. Relatively clear skies from late May through June further hastened the melting of sea ice, but even as cloudier weather prevailed in July and August, the record sea ice retreat continued.

“The sensitivity of the Arctic to a warm summer is much higher now than it was in the 1990s or early 2000s,” said Scambos. “What we’re seeing last year and this year is that 2007 wasn’t a fluke. As we’ve gone forward a few years, we’re seeing that many different patterns of weather lead to significant sea ice loss in the Arctic.”

Scambos does not foresee summer sea ice in the Arctic largely disappearing this decade, estimating that such an event could occur around 2030, “plus or minus a decade.” He said the “endgame” of Arctic summer sea ice will probably mean that around 1 million square kilometers — about 15 percent of what existed in the mid-20th century — will remain in the Canadian High Arctic and some other regions, leaving the North Pole generally ice-free in August and September.

Drinkwater said that changing weather patterns, related to more heat and moisture being released into the Arctic atmosphere, have played a significant role in accelerating sea ice loss. Sea ice retreat in the past decade has been accompanied by a trend toward lower atmospheric pressure and more storms and cyclonic activity, which in turn breaks up
Changing weather patterns have played a significant role in accelerating sea ice loss.
the pack ice and exposes more open water. A powerful Arctic storm earlier this month did just that, Drinkwater noted.

He said that Arctic sea ice could conceivably rebound for some period of time if atmospheric circulation changes and a pattern known as the Arctic Oscillation — currently in a positive phase — moves into a negative phase and ushers in a period of prolonged high atmospheric pressure and fewer storms. This, said Drinkwater, would enable sea ice to remain trapped in the Arctic basin and thicken.

“However,” added Drinkwater, “this seems like blind hope in a system whose feedbacks all appear geared to getting rid of sea ice.”

Judith Curry, a climatologist and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said that while global warming is “almost certainly” affecting Arctic sea ice, she cautioned that there is a great deal of annual and decadal variability in sea ice cover. She said that the next 5 to 10 years could see a shift in Arctic sea ice behavior, though exactly in which direction is difficult to predict.

“I don’t see [the] summer of 2012 portending some sort of near-term `spiral of death’ in the sea ice behavior,” Curry said in an e-mail interview. “I don’t think this apparent record sea ice minimum is of particular significance in our understanding of climate variability and change of Arctic sea ice.”


Linking Weird Weather to
Rapid Warming of the Arctic

Linking Weird Weather to
Rapid Warming of the Arctic
The loss of Arctic summer sea ice and the rapid warming of the Far North are altering the jet stream over North America, Europe, and Russia. As Jennifer Francis writes, scientists are now just beginning to understand how these profound shifts may be increasing the likelihood of more persistent and extreme weather.
Jay Zwally, chief cryospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and an observer of Arctic ice for 40 years, places little stock in the likelihood of a reversal of disappearing Arctic ice. New satellite technology has given scientists the ability to measure the height of sea ice above the water, and hence ice volume. Those measurements, he said, have vividly underscored that Arctic sea ice is in a swoon.

For example, a recent analysis of data from CryoSat and NASA’s ICESat satellite estimates that the volume of sea ice in a large area of the central Arctic Ocean has plummeted in late winter — February and March — by nearly half in just eight years, from an estimated 13,000 cubic kilometers in 2004 to 7,000 cubic kilometers in 2012.

“We’ve gone through a tipping point, and of all the things a tipping point applies to, sea ice is the most appropriate, because the idea is when it goes below a certain thickness it doesn’t go back under present conditions,” said Zwally. “People can get hung up on the specifics and lose track of the big picture, which is that it’s getting worse and it’s going to get [even] worse.”

POSTED ON 30 Aug 2012 IN Climate Policy & Politics Pollution & Health Science & Technology Antarctica and the Arctic North America 


Shell and industry see an opportunity.

Posted by Tami Kennedy on 30 Aug 2012

As a Canadia journalist who has spent enough time in the High Arctic to love it's stark grandeur, this article breaks my heart. I completely believe the findings. I have spoken with friends who live along the Arctic coast enough to know that it is not the Arctic of 490 years ago. Journalists who cover the environment were dismissed as idiots for reporting that something called Rapid Climate Change could happen...and that huge climate changes might happen in a couple of decades rather than centuries. Sadly, we were right.

Posted by Steve Krueger on 30 Aug 2012

Look at this link every day to see all the plots and data on sea ice in near real time an awesome web site...


Posted by Paul Beckwith on 31 Aug 2012

Are you trying to create some kind of false balance by interviewing Judith Curry who is anything but an expert on the Arctic?

How weird.

Posted by Tenney Naumer on 31 Aug 2012

Yes, it is tragic, as there is probably no way now to keep man-made global warming below 2C.

It shows what a great job of spreading misinformation and disinformation the climate change deniers have done.

At least Judith Curry is a climate scientist, although I thought she her views were controversial (?), but there is no indication of this in the article. Nor what the consensus among climate scientists is on this issue and its significance.

However some of the responses to an article:

"Don't give climate change heretics an easy ride
Climate change heretics rarely have a science background, but editors are still happy to air their views”

By Jay Griffiths guardian.co.uk, Friday 31 August 2012 18.10 BST

with Hbsauce’s victim rant on behalf of climate change deniers gaining 719 Recommends and Generian's distractions gaining 961 Recommends shows that the climate change deniers won the debate.

How sad.

All that remains now is to help prepare our children for the world they are about to inherit from us and for future litigation to try and gain damages for the victims.

Posted by Matthew Rosenbaum on 02 Sep 2012

Where I live, changes to the landscape, such as tree-cutting without a permit, can bring charges. In the North, we have a PM who basically denies action on climate change while welcoming a new arctic norm that will enhance navigation and resource exploration, with the potential release of catastrophic volumes of methane from melted permafrost. There ought to be a law.

Posted by Andrew McCammon on 02 Sep 2012

Time to develop floating white solar reflectors for the poles that can fold up in case of inclement weather.

Posted by LiveWire on 02 Sep 2012

Still no evidence that man-made CO2 is responsible. Describing things says nothing of causality.

This article just re-gurgitates the usual anti-human stance of the eco-movement:

It's too warm out - people are at fault. It's too cold out - people are at fault.

And where were the writers of this article last winter when it was one of the coldest on record in Alaska?

Selective alarmism at it's best.

Posted by Shoshin on 04 Sep 2012

For Shoshin, who is upset that this particular article doesn't provide the evidence that increased CO2 in the atmosphere due to human activity is the cause of global warming:

For anyone who wants to know why 97 percent of climate scientists think that global warming is currently being caused by human activity:

10 lines of evidence that humans are causing global warming / climate change by burning carbon

(taken from http://www.skepticalscience.com/10-Indicators-of-a-Human-Fingerprint-on-Climate-Change.html ) There you will find references to the scientific papers backing these claims, and where available, links to the papers themselves.

1. Humans are currently emitting around 30 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.

2. Oxygen levels are falling as if carbon is being burned to create carbon dioxide.

3. Fossil carbon is building up in the atmosphere. (We know this because the two types of carbon have different chemical properties.)

4. Corals show that fossil carbon has recently risen sharply.

5. Satellites measure less heat escaping to space at the precise wavelengths which CO2 absorbs.

6. Surface measurements find this heat is returning to Earth to warm the surface.

7. An increased greenhouse effect would make nights warm faster than days, and this is what has been observed.

8. If the warming is due to solar activity, then the upper atmosphere (the stratosphere) should warm along with the rest of the atmosphere. But if the warming is due to the greenhouse effect, the stratosphere should cool because of the heat being trapped in the lower atmosphere (the troposphere). Satellite measurements show that the stratosphere is cooling.

9. This combination of a warming troposphere and cooling stratosphere should cause the tropopause, which separates them, to rise. This has also been observed.

10.It was predicted that the ionosphere would shrink, and it is indeed shrinking.

Please visit http://skepticalscience.com/argument.php to see what is wrong with the arguments of those who think climate change (which includes global warming) is not real.

Posted by rwmsrobertw on 04 Sep 2012

"Still no evidence that man-made CO2 is responsible. Describing things says nothing of causality."

There's plenty of evidence, you just have to read it, instead of rejecting it out of hand.

"This article just re-gurgitates the usual anti-human stance of the eco-movement:"

There is nothing more "anti-human" than having a ruined ecosystem and a 2C temperature rise.

"It's too warm out - people are at fault. It's too cold out - people are at fault."

Where did you read that an evironmentalist said that people are to blame for it being too cold out?

"And where were the writers of this article last winter when it was one of the coldest on record in Alaska?"

And this is supposed to be your indisputable evidence against AGW?

"Selective alarmism at it's best."

If you would prefer to believe the fossil fuel industry shills, than millions of man-hours of scientific climate research then that's your problem.

Posted by mercdirkler on 04 Sep 2012

Those skeptics have nothing scientific to base their opinion of denial. This article is simply stating the facts. The facts are the earth is warming and the ice is melting and sea levels are rising. This is happening at a rate far beyond anything that is natural. Co2 levels have increased in the last 150 years from 280PPM to nearly 400ppm in the burning of fossil fuels more than they have in 600,000 years naturally. In fact most of that rise has occurred in the last 50 years. We can dispute how soon the summer polar ice will melt and how fast future warming will be but there is no dispute that the planet is warming and the ice is melting.

Posted by Chris on 04 Sep 2012

Would anyone on this site like to comment on the steadily increasing Antarctic ice? If decreasing Arctic ice over the last 20 years is an obvious proof of global warming, what is the increase in Antarctic ice indicate? According to the original theory of anthropogenic global warming due to increasing co2 production,were we not supposed to lose ice at BOTH poles? Can we blame it on the ozone hole? I dont think we can , as the ozone hole appears every spring, lasts approximately three months, then dissapears again, as it has done since it was first recorded by Gordon Dobson in 1956 / 1957. Who was producing vast amounts of cfcs in the 1950s? Do your own research, look em up. Learning how to learn is good for your brain.

Posted by ian hilliar on 04 Sep 2012

Skeptical Science has a good article on Arctic sea ice today.

"Record Arctic Sea Ice Melt to Levels Unseen in Millennia"

and the evidence is clear that human emissions are the cause of the ice loss.

See Figure 7 especially, which shows definitive correlation between sea ice extent and CO2, but no correlation for solar, Pacific Decadal Oscilation or Arctic Oscillation.

Posted by sailrick on 05 Sep 2012


"Still no evidence that man-made CO2 is responsible."

So are you questioning the greenhouse effect?
If so, you will have to disprove 150 years of science.

No evidence? The 2007 IPCC report was based on 10,000 research papers. There are thousands more since then.

10 independent lines of empirical evidence

Observed fingerprints of enhanced greenhouse effect warming, just as the science predicted.

polar amplification
nights warming more than days
winters warming more than nights
warming of the troposphere and cooling of the stratosphere

If the Sun was causing the warming, days would warm faster than nights. Summers would warm faster than winters. The tropics would warm more than the poles. And both layers of the atmosphere would be warming.

"And where were the writers of this article last winter when it was one of the coldest on record in Alaska"

Well maybe because the Bering Sea and adjoining area was an exception for the Arctic last winter, as far as sea ice, which it had in abundance. Meanwhile other parts of the Arctic were still ice free long past the time they normally freeze. Then there was a cold spell just before the end of the freezing season. But once the melt began, it happened much faster than normal. And now we have record sea ice extent, area and volume, with still a few weeks to go.

Posted by sailrick on 05 Sep 2012

Dr. Curry's statement that "the next 5 to 10 years could see a shift in Arctic sea ice behavior, though exactly in which direction is difficult to predict" is her opinion alone, and is not supported by scientific evidence.

Even the most conservative models make it blatantly clear which "direction" Actic sea ice is going in the next 5 to 10 years. And the most aggressive models (the ones that have been most accurately tracking reality) show that there will be very little ice left over in the Arctic summers 5 to 10 years from now.

I asked Dr. Curry for a reference to the scientific research that supports her statements
but so far she has not responded.

Posted by Rob Dekker on 05 Sep 2012

As a non-scientist but one trying to maintain a wide view of the issues, I've been following both sides of this debate, which as we know often becomes very heated. So I sometimes ask a simple question, which if answered seriously, indicates to me that the person responding is actually taking a measured approach to the question of whether we humans are causing a dangerous level of global warming (AGW).

The question is for proponents of both sides of the debate: "What credible information would you require, for you to change your present views about AGW?"

For example, would a "sceptic" have a change of mind if all the Arctic ice melted in the next five years? Or would a "proponent" change position should instead the Arctic freeze to supposedly record levels over the next five years? There might be additional observations that either side would reasonably require, such as changes in stratospheric and tropospheric temperatures.

I'm very interested to read answers from each side of the argument, as I'm sure those answers will pinpoint many of the factors that are critical to each side. Thank you.

Posted by Peter Kemmis on 05 Sep 2012

As the author of the article, I’d like to respond to Ian Hilliar’s question about why sea ice surrounding Antarctica is expanding while Arctic sea ice is in rapid retreat. For my book, Fraser’s Penguins, which is about Antarctica and climate change, I researched this issue. First, the sea ice around Antarctica is expanding in some areas and retreating in others. Overall, sea ice around Antarctica appears to have only marginally expanded in recent years, with many scientists saying the slight increase is within a statistical margin of error. Sea ice has grown in parts of the Ross Sea, while along the western Antarctic Peninsula — where mid-winter temperatures have risen by 11 degrees F in the past 60 years — the Southern Ocean is covered with sea ice three fewer months a year than in 1979.

Mr. Hilliar raises the issue of the ozone hole, and indeed scientists believe that the ozone hole has played a role in both the expanding ice around the Ross Sea and the contracting sea ice off the western Antarctic Peninsula. Ozone absorbs the sun’s ultraviolet radiation and thus warms the stratosphere. The destruction of Antarctica’s ozone layer means that the air high above Antarctica and the South Pole has cooled by more than 10 degrees F in recent decades. Scientists believe that this colder dome of air brought about by the loss of ozone has strengthened the polar jet stream that roars around Antarctica because it has intensified
the tropical-polar temperature gradient that drives climate. That intensified polar jet stream has drawn warm air down over the Antarctic Peninsula, shrinking sea ice, and has dragged colder air off the polar plateau and over the Ross Sea, expanding sea ice.

But these technical explanations lose sight of the overriding factor that explains the different ways that the Artic and Antarctic are responding to global warming. The Arctic — an ocean surrounded by continents — is a far warmer place than Antarctica because the landmasses surrounding the Arctic Ocean moderate the climate. The Antarctic is a continent surrounded by the Southern Ocean, which acts as a great insulating moat that generally keeps warmer air from more northerly climes from penetrating deeply into Antarctica. The rapid warming of the Antarctic Peninsula represents the first crack in this giant citadel of ice. Don’t forget that the Antarctic ice cap, which is three miles thick in places, contains more than 90 percent of the Earth’s freshwater. It will take Antarctica a good deal longer to warm than the Arctic, but when the Antarctic begins to heat up in earnest, the impacts, especially in terms of rising sea levels, will be enormous.

Posted by Fen Montaigne on 05 Sep 2012

Situation is serious. Arctic Methane Emergency Group has proposed some immediate solutions. On the long term, CO2 must go down below at least 350 ppm. This requires strong commitment by every possible subject, everywhere.


Posted by Troubadour on 07 Sep 2012

Well Troubadour, if CO2 goes down 350 ppm almost all plants will die. Any CO2 level below 100-150 ppm would be undesirable. It is possible to cool the planet if necessary by several means. If the planet heads towards an ice age it will not be possible to heat things back up. I would fear cooling more than warming.

Posted by Fred on 07 Sep 2012


Sure 100-150 ppm could be too much. Read carefully, and you realise that i was talking about below 350, perhaps somewhere between 200-350. Now we are at 390+.

Ice age is not exactly what I would worry about now. Even if that would be the threat, of course it would be possible to heat things up. Just do what has been done now. Geoengineer like hell with greenhouse gases, black carbon and destroying ghg sinks (forests). Proven to work.

Posted by Troubadour on 08 Sep 2012

I'm very much on the side of the "real" science here and am currently reading Mr. Hansen's "Storms" so really appreciate the back-and-forth. I also understand the focus of these discussions on the scientific but as a layperson (non-science) I don't see much discussion about the "risk" analysis. In otherwords the people that believe that this is "normal" cyclical climate don't have any "skin in the game" (except their grandchildren--as Hansen points out).

I believe the risks of being wrong are too great (loss of millions/billions of people and livable environment?) so why not have the science community focused on solutions?--because we're still debating the problem--sad.

Posted by Bill on 08 Sep 2012

What question I have about Fen’s article, is, hasn’t this loss of Arctic ice happened before, not so long ago? For historical and archaeological records tell us of human settlement on the slopes of Greenland, in areas well under ice today. Erik the Red spearheaded that settlement, during the tenth century (during the Medieval Warming period). I presume the Arctic ice must have melted substantially at this time in history.

I have another question about Fen’s interesting answer of 5 September, about Antarctic ice. Do we now have observations that support the statement “Scientists believe that this colder dome of air brought about by the loss of ozone has strengthened the polar jet stream that roars around Antarctica because it has intensified the tropical-polar temperature gradient that drives climate. That intensified polar jet stream has drawn warm air down over the Antarctic Peninsula, shrinking sea ice, and has dragged colder air off the polar plateau and over the Ross Sea, expanding sea ice.” I find observations to be much stronger than theses.

Posted by Peter Kemmis on 08 Sep 2012

"...hasn’t this loss of Arctic ice happened before, not so long ago?"

Nope. See http://blog.sme.sk/blog/1159/306419/kinnard.gif

The ancient human settlements in Greenland were on the fringe of rock that surrounds the GIS(not under ice), thousands of kilometers south of the Arctic sea(it's a big continent), and were there for a very short period of time.

"Do we now have observations that support the statement [about ozone loss effect on polar Antarctic jet stream, Antarctic peninsula, adn Ross Sea ice]"

Yep - see www.iac.ethz.ch/people/stefanbr/workshop2006/Langematz_Gwatt2006.pdf
"Antarctic: Consistent increase of vortex persistence implies impact of ozone depletion"

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.antarctic.png - increasing area

and http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WilkinsIceSheet/

"One of the most dramatically warmed areas appears at the former location of the Larsen B Ice Shelf, which shattered in 2002. Although some 300 kilometers (185 miles) farther south than the Larsen, the Wilkins Ice Shelf seems to have succumbed in the same fashion in early 2008. "
Note that the shelves that collapsed were hundreds of meters thick, as oppose to the 1-2 meter thick sea ice, which, although growing somewhat at peak extent, melts out every summer.

Posted by Brian Dodge on 14 Sep 2012

I am very interested in finding a projected sea level raise to coast line position map of the U.S. over the coming 6-10 years ....given the AVERAGE RISE over the last 5 years...has anyone done that yet?

Posted by rrobertsmith on 06 Feb 2013

@ Peter Kemmis

Just stop. Just study it out, just study it out, before you waste all of our time - including your kids'.
Study up some. I am sure you know the real sites to visit vs. the usual suspects in regards to REAL science versus pseudoscience and inane questions that have been answered a thousand times before. If you think you are "just asking" a new and innocent question, try to get some answers before asking mommy, ok? Thanks!

Study it out!

Posted by Anonymous on 19 Mar 2013

Comments have been closed on this feature.
fen montaigneABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fen Montaigne is senior editor of Yale Environment 360 and author of the book Fraser’s Penguins: A Journey to the Future in Antarctica. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, National Geographic, Outside, Smithsonian, and other magazines. He has written previously for Yale Environment 360 about the consequences of a warming Antarctica and about how receding sea ice will affect the polar marine food chain.



Republican Who Led EPA Urges
Confronting Trump on Climate

William K. Reilly, a Republican and one-time head of the EPA, is dismayed that a climate change skeptic has been named to lead his former agency. But in a Yale e360 interview, he insists environmental progress can be made despite resistance from the Trump administration.

The Legacy of the Man Who
Changed Our View of Nature

The 19th-century German scientist Alexander von Humboldt popularized the concept that the natural world is interconnected. In a Yale e360 interview, biographer Andrea Wulf explains how Humboldt’s vision helped create modern environmentalism.

A Drive to Save Saharan Oases
As Climate Change Takes a Toll

From Morocco to Libya, the desert oases of the Sahara's Maghreb region are disappearing as temperatures rise and rainfall decreases. Facing daunting odds, local residents are employing traditional water conservation techniques to try to save these ancient ecosystems.

From Obama’s Top Scientist,
Words of Caution on Climate

As President Obama’s chief science adviser, John Holdren has been instrumental in developing climate policy. In an interview with Yale e360, Holdren talks about the urgency of the climate challenge and why he hopes the next administration will not abandon efforts to address it.

An Unusually Warm Arctic Year:
Sign of Future Climate Turmoil?

This year will almost certainly go down as the warmest on record in the Arctic, with autumn temperatures soaring 36 degrees F above normal. In a Yale e360 interview, climatologist Jennifer Francis explains why a swiftly warming Arctic may have profound effects on global weather.


MORE IN Reports

As Chinese Luxury Market Grows,
An Upsurge in Tiger Killings in India

by sharon guynup
Poachers killed more tigers in the forests of India in 2016 than any year in the last 15. The spike is linked to demand for tiger parts in China, where the endangered animal’s bones and skins are regarded as exotic luxury items.

New Look at Rivers Reveals
The Toll of Human Activity

by jim robbins
A recent outbreak of a deadly fish parasite on the Yellowstone River may have seemed unremarkable. But a new wave of research shows the episode was likely linked to the cumulative impact of human activities that essentially weakened the Yellowstone’s "immune system."

On Slopes of Kilimanjaro, Shift
In Climate Hits Coffee Harvest

by daniel grossman
Rising temperatures and changing precipitation are taking a toll on coffee farms worldwide, including the plantations around Mount Kilimanjaro. If the world hopes to sustain its two billion cup-a-day habit, scientists say, new climate-resilient species of coffee must be developed.

Aimed at Refugees, Fences Are
Threatening European Wildlife

by jim o'donnell
A flood of migrants from the Middle East and Africa has prompted governments in the Balkans to erect hundreds of miles of border fences. Scientists say the expanding network of barriers poses a serious threat to wildlife, especially wide-ranging animals such as bears and wolves.

How Tracking Product Sources
May Help Save World’s Forests

by fred pearce
Global businesses are increasingly pledging to obtain key commodities only from sources that do not contribute to deforestation. Now, nonprofit groups are deploying data tools that help hold these companies to their promises by tracing the origins of everything from soy to timber to beef.

How Warming Is Threatening
The Genetic Diversity of Species

by jim robbins
Research on stoneflies in Glacier National Park indicates that global warming is reducing the genetic diversity of some species, compromising their ability to evolve as conditions change. These findings have major implications for how biodiversity will be affected by climate change.

Full Speed Ahead: Shipping
Plans Grow as Arctic Ice Fades

by ed struzik
Russia, China, and other nations are stepping up preparations for the day when large numbers of cargo ships will be traversing a once-icebound Arctic Ocean. But with vessels already plying these waters, experts say the time is now to prepare for the inevitable environmental fallout.

How Forensics Are Boosting
Battle Against Wildlife Trade

by heather millar
From rapid genetic analysis to spectrography, high-tech tools are being used to track down and prosecute perpetrators of the illegal wildlife trade. The new advances in forensics offer promise in stopping the trafficking in endangered species.

African Wetlands Project: A Win
For the Climate and the People?

by winifred bird
In Senegal and other developing countries, multinational companies are investing in programs to restore mangrove forests and other wetlands that sequester carbon. But critics say these initiatives should not focus on global climate goals at the expense of the local people’s livelihoods.

Ghost Forests: How Rising Seas
Are Killing Southern Woodlands

by roger real drouin
A steady increase in sea levels is pushing saltwater into U.S. wetlands, killing trees from Florida as far north as New Jersey. But with sea level projected to rise by as much as six feet this century, the destruction of coastal forests is expected to become a worsening problem worldwide.

e360 digest
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies


Donate to Yale Environment 360
Yale Environment 360 Newsletter



About e360
Submission Guidelines

E360 en Español

Universia partnership
Yale Environment 360 articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia, the online educational network.
Visit the site.


e360 Digest
Video Reports


Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology


Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Middle East
North America

e360 VIDEO

A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast.
Watch the video.


The latest
from Yale
Environment 360
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile.


An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S.
View the photos.

e360 VIDEO

An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging.
Learn more.

e360 VIDEO

Food waste
An e360 video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs.
Watch the video.

e360 VIDEO

Choco rainforest Cacao
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
Watch the video.

e360 VIDEO

Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land.
Watch the video.