Sept. 20 News: Arctic Sea Ice Reaches Yearly Low Point, Shattering Previous Melt Record

The drastic melting of Arctic sea ice has finally ended for the year, scientists announced Wednesday, but not before demolishing the previous record — and setting off new warnings about the rapid pace of change in the region. [New York Times]

“The Arctic is the earth’s air-conditioner,” said Walt Meier, a research scientist at the snow and ice center, an agency sponsored by the government. “We’re losing that. It’s not just that polar bears might go extinct, or that native communities might have to adapt, which we’re already seeing — there are larger climate effects.”

Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) off the East Coast from North Carolina to the Gulf of Maine were the hottest ever recorded for the first six months of 2012, according to NOAA’s latest Ecosystem Advisory. Above-average temperatures were found everywhere: from the sea surface to the ocean bottom and out beyond the Gulf Stream. [Mother Jones]

This summer’s historic drought and record feed grain prices prompted cattle feedlots to cut August purchases to the lowest since 2008 and forced hog producers to rush animals to slaughter swelling pork supplies. [Reuters]

Crews scrambled to make repairs Wednesday near the busiest Mississippi River lock shut down because of damage blamed partly on the summer drought, snarling hundreds of barges and tugboats in a backlog that was growing worse by the hour. [Washington Post]

Smoke from forest fires burning in Central Washington is creating hazardous air-quality conditions and sepulchral skies over much of the Wenatchee Valley. [Seattle Times]

Lawmakers, notably Democrats, are “running away from the issue” of climate change, consumer advocate and former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader said Tuesday. [The Hill]

Mitt Romney’s campaign is airing two ads in eastern Ohio that include footage of the coal miners who lost pay because he campaigned at their mine. [Columbus Dispatch]

It’s admittedly not on a par with the direct threats posed by rising seas or melting icecaps or extreme weather, but with autumn now upon us, it’s worth noting that climate change could also affect the brilliant foliage that paints forests from the Ozarks to the Appalachians with vibrant color every fall. [Climate Central]

A new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences tries to figure out what, exactly, will happen as countries become increasingly urbanized between now and 2030. [Wonk Blog]

8 Responses to Sept. 20 News: Arctic Sea Ice Reaches Yearly Low Point, Shattering Previous Melt Record

  1. Paul Klinkman says:

    “The polar bears are going extinct” is shorthand for the majority of earth’s species going extinct. The polar bears will survive in zoos, and are also quite good at being giant rats eating garbage at dumps.

  2. Nick B says:

    The crisis in the Arctic requires urgent action to prevent a total collapse that is going to release the methane hydrates. The UK Government release this report yesterday on ‘Protecting The Arctic’. It call for a halt on all drilling in the Arctic and highlights concerns held by many environmentalists. It needs to be discussed worldwide and a mandate for further action agreed to move forward:

  3. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Increasing urbanization assumes population growth which assumes adequate food supply – a lot of assumptions, ME

  4. David B. Benson says:

    For Pacific Northwest air quality, watch
    It is quite noticably poor here right now, with smoke from 6 or 7 nearby fires being wafted in by the inconsistent breezes.

  5. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Too late to worry about that. The methane is already on the move. The next solar maximum and El Nino will make that abundantly plain. Then the real shit-fight will commence. If we were led by the morally sane we might have a small hope, but ruled by the intellectual and spiritual detritus thrown up be neo-liberal capitalism, we are doomed.

  6. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The answer is neighbourhood food gardens-with armed guards, of course.