Here is the latest report coming from the Guardianhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/aug/11/arctic-sea-ice-vanishing?newsfeed=true
Rate of arctic summer sea ice loss is 50% higher than predicted
New satellite images show polar ice coverage dwindling in extent and thickness
"Preliminary analysis of our data indicates that the rate of loss of sea ice volume in summer in the Arctic may be far larger than we had previously suspected," said Dr Seymour Laxon, of the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at University College London (UCL), where CryoSat-2 data is being analysed. "Very soon we may experience the iconic moment when, one day in the summer, we look at satellite images and see no sea ice coverage in the Arctic, just open water."
The consequences of losing the Arctic's ice coverage, even for only part of the year, could be profound. Without the cap's white brilliance to reflect sunlight back into space, the region will heat up even more than at present. As a result, ocean temperatures will rise and methane deposits on the ocean floor could melt, evaporate and bubble into the atmosphere. Scientists have recently reported evidence that methane plumes are now appearing in many areas. Methane is a particularly powerful greenhouse gas and rising levels of it in the atmosphere are only likely to accelerate global warming. And with the disappearance of sea ice around the shores of Greenland, its glaciers could melt faster and raise sea levels even more rapidly than at present.
Professor Chris Rapley of UCL said: "With the temperature gradient between the Arctic and equator dropping, as is happening now, it is also possible that the jet stream in the upper atmosphere could become more unstable. That could mean increasing volatility in weather in lower latitudes, similar to that experienced this year."
I think the Northwest Passage opened this year
and a Artic Cyclone has past for 5 days last week thinning the ice even more
We live in interesting timeshttp://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2012/08/asi-2012-update-9-stormy-weather.html
What we got, was a huge cyclone in the 963 hPa range. If you've missed this mega-storm despite all the news stories in the mainstream media (yes, I'm being sarcastic), you can check out the Arctic storms category and see the day-to-day reports here on the ASI blog. Flash melting usually takes place from one sea ice concentration map to the next. This time it's days in a row and it still isn't over yet.
This highly unusual summer storm has massacred all that weak ice on the Pacific side and even caused a large swathe of ice floes to detach itself from the main ice pack. The Stronghold I wrote about a month ago is no more. Trend lines have dropped precipitously on every single sea ice extent and area graph out there.
the Artic Cyclone promotes even faster melting