In his 2007 Noble Prize acceptance speech, former Vice President Al Gore warned that the “Arctic ice could be gone in as little as seven years.” Last week, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution reported:
“The North and South Poles are not melting.” In that report, oceanographer Ted Maksym noted that polar ice “is much more stable than climate scientists once predicted and could even be much thicker than previously thought.”
That Woods Hole study was confirmed by today’s NOAA Arctic radar map which shows the Arctic Ice Cap at more than 4,000,000 square miles, larger than on any December 28 in the past five years. Reaching the North Pole requires either a dog sled or a nuclear sub; Al Gore’s cruise ship will stay in the tropics. At the South Pole, Antarctic ice coverage is at the highest extent since radar measurement began 35 years ago.
NOAA’s Arctic Report Card; Update for 2014 provides similar data for the Earth’s other big ice sheet, Greenland. Data from the GRACE satellite and other sources has shown an annual average Greenland ice loss of more than 300 billion tons until 2013. That loss has now dropped sharply by 98% to 6 billion annual tons since mid 2013. A loss of 300 billion tons adds about one millimeter to sea level rise.