Scientists Warned The Polar Ice Caps Were Melting … In 1952
Today climate scientists are warning that Arctic sea ice extent has been shrinking due to global warming, but would you believe that experts were warning about polar warming back in the 1950s?
On Feb. 18, 1952, the Barrier Miner, a paper published for decades in Australia, reported that University of Vermont Arctic expert Dr. W. S. Carlson said that the “glaciers of Norway and Alaska are only half the size they were 50 years ago”
“The temperature around Spitsbergen [the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago] has been so modified that the time the sea is free of ice has lengthened from three to eight months of the year,” Carlson told the Cleveland Medical Library Association in 1952.
Carlson told the audience that rising sea levels from melting ice caps threatened to “swamp” coastal cities. Carlson did note that it would take hundreds of years for melting glaciers to have much effect, but he added that the rate of melt “in the last half-century had been exceedingly rapid.”
Today, climate scientists making similar warnings to global leaders that if nothing is done to reduce carbon dioxide emissions the rapid warming of the poles will cause sea levels to drastically rise.
Scientists are now predicting that the Arctic could be free of ice in the summers within the next two decades — previous predictions of an ice free Arctic have not come to fruition. The latest Arctic sea ice trends show that ice extent for the end of winter could reach the lowest ever ever recorded if current trends keep up for the next couple of weeks.
“The Arctic is continuing to change to less and less ice cover, at the decadal scale, with lots of noise on a year-to-year basis, and this appears to be a global warming-anthropogenic climate-change signal,” Dr. Ted Scambos, a climate expert with the National Snow and Ice Data Center, told the UK Independent.
In February, Arctic sea ice extent reached its third lowest level on the satellite record — which goes back to 1979. Sea ice extent for February has been on a downward trend for decades, a decreasing trend of 2.9 percent per decade.
On the flip side, however, Greenland, the world’s second-largest ice sheet has defied dire predictions made by scientists. The ice sheet has more ice than it has in the previous four years, according to data, adding billions of tons of ice a day.
Down south, Antarctica has been growing rapidly, at a rate of 5 percent per decade during February since 1979. Sea ice extent in the south pole reached its fourth highest minimum on Feb. 20th — it’s summer time in the southern hemisphere, so sea ice should be at its lowest point for the year.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center notes that “the recent series of high-ice-extent minima is part of a remarkable recent uptick in extent year-round for Antarctica, dominated by extensive ice in both the Weddell Sea (south of Africa) and the Ross Sea (south of New Zealand).”
“Sea ice in the eastern Weddell Sea presently extends several hundred kilometers further north and east of its typical extent,” NSIDC adds, “while ice extent in the Ross Sea is presently near average.”
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