Sunday, July 12, 2009

NASA Releases new Maps Showing Thinning Arctic Sea Ice

If we're going to mitigate the impacts of global warming, we have to reduce greenhouse gases. To reach meaningful reductions, we need to conserve energy, switch to alternative fuels, drive more efficient vehicles, and implement Smart Growth strategies.

In Connecticut, that means significantly changing where and how we develop by reducing our reliance on the property tax and the fiscal zoning it impels; encouraging cities and towns to collaborate on economic development, transportation and land use policies; modernizing zoning to allow mixed use, higher density development in town centers and near transit; and investing strategically in transit, transit oriented development, affordable housing, brownfield clean up and reuse, and preserving priority open space, farmland and historic properties. We have no time to waste. To find out how to help, visit 1000 Friends of Connecticut today. Recently, NASA reported the following.

PASADENA, Calif. - Arctic sea ice thinned dramatically between the winters of 2004 and 2008, with thin seasonal ice replacing thick older ice as the dominant type for the first time on record. The new results, based on data from a NASA Earth-orbiting spacecraft, provide further evidence for the rapid, ongoing transformation of the Arctic's ice cover.

Scientists from NASA and the University of Washington in Seattle conducted the most comprehensive survey to date using observations from NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite, known as ICESat, to make the first basin-wide estimate of the thickness and volume of the Arctic Ocean's ice cover. Ron Kwok of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., led the research team, which published its findings July 7 in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans.

The Arctic ice cap grows each winter as the sun sets for several months and intense cold ensues. In the summer, wind and ocean currents cause some of the ice naturally to flow out of the Arctic, while much of it melts in place. But not all of the Arctic ice melts each summer; the thicker, older ice is more likely to survive. Seasonal sea ice usually reaches about 2 meters (6 feet) in thickness, while multi-year ice averages 3 meters (9 feet).

See the graphics and read the full article here.

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