Scientists get it wrong again on climate change
So much for the talking point that scientists are chicken-littles.
The sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has melted to its smallest point ever in a milestone that may show that worst-case forecasts on climate change are coming true, US scientists said.
The extent of ice observed on Sunday broke a record set in 2007 and will likely melt further with several weeks of summer still to come, according to data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center and the NASA space agency.
The government-backed ice center, based at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said in a statement that the decline in summer Arctic sea ice “is considered a strong signal of long-term climate warming.”
The sea ice fell to 4.10 million square kilometers (1.58 million square miles), some 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) less than the earlier record charted on September 18, 2007, the center said.
Scientists said the record was all the more striking as 2007 had near perfect climate patterns for melting ice, but that the weather this year was unremarkable other than a storm in early August.
Michael E. Mann, a lead author of a major UN report in 2001 on climate change, said the latest data reflected that scientists who were criticized as alarmists may have shown “perhaps too great a degree of reticence.”
“I think, unfortunately, this is an example that points more to the worst-case scenario side of things,” said Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University.
“There are a number of areas where in fact climate change seems to be proceeding faster and with a greater magnitude than what the models predicted,” Mann told AFP.
“The sea ice decline is perhaps the most profound of those cautionary tales because the models have basically predicted that we shouldn’t see what we’re seeing now for several decades,” he added.