European scientists voiced shock as they showed pictures which showed Arctic ice cover had disappeared so much last month that a ship could sail unhindered from Europe’s most northerly outpost to the North Pole itself.
The satellite images were acquired from August 23 to 25 by instruments aboard Envisat and EOS Aqua, two satellites operated by the European Space Agency (ESA)
This is a troubling trend. I have a gut feeling that we are either on, or just past the tipping point. What is the tipping point? It’s when we can no longer fix the damage that we have done..
You see, there are several contributing factors here. The first is called the Albedo of a planet. It is usually expressed in a percentage (0 – 100%). Basically, it’s the percentage of light that is reflected back from a solar body. The big issue here is that ice is very reflective. When the polar Ice caps start to loose large areas, the earths albedo gets lower, we absorb more energy from the sun, and we heat up. This causes more ice to melt, and the albedo lowers again…
The other issue is there are green house gases trapped in the ice around the world. So, we have the ice melting, albedo lowering, more green house gases are released, and the global temperature goes up even faster.
Now, I do not think that humans are the sole cause of this, however, we have sure accelerated the changes. We are dumping so much carbon into the air that we simply cannot not be effecting the natural cycles.