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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Could somebody please explain...

Obligatory disclaimer...

... how this is even possible?

An area of Arctic sea ice the size of Florida has melted away in just the last six days as melting at the top of the planet continues at a record rate.

If you follow the link to the article, you'll conveniently see a photo of a sheet of ice with a big, empty Florida shape Photoshopped out of it.

No where in the article does an actual temperature get mentioned, but it repeatedly talks about how quickly ice is melting in the Arctic.

When traveling through a certain route in Winnipeg, we frequently passed an area where the city dumps its snow. The result is a giant snow hill, and we could see heavy equipment, looking quite tiny in comparison, pushing more snow up the sides and over the top.

Months after winter ended, we'd drive by and the pile was still there. Greatly reduced, yes, but still there.

Temperatures in a Winnipeg summer can easily head towards the upper 20C range, yet it takes months to melt a pile of snow.

Compare this to the Arctic, where temperatures in the summer average -1.5C. The water temperature remains colder than the surface temperatures.

So if a hot, sunny prairie summer can't melt a pile of snow in months, how is it possible for ice the size of Florida to melt in 6 days? I mean, even ice bergs drift surprisingly far south before they melt away completely. The amount of heat needed to melt an Arctic ice sheet the size of Florida in 6 days would have to be incredible. I would go so far as to say impossible.

So what's really happening?

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