Record Arctic Ice Melt Threatens Global Security

Rapidly warming planet biggest threat to all nations

Military budget more than enough to convert USA to 100% renewable energy

Analysis by Stephen Leahy

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Sep 15, 2011 (IPS)

All the analysis and commentary about safety and security on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 ignored by far the biggest ongoing threat to global security: climate change.

Just days before Sunday’s commemoration of the attacks, German scientists pointed to yet another smoking gun of climate change: the Arctic sea ice reached a new historic minimum ice extent.

The rapidity with which the planet is losing its northern ice cap continues to astonish experts. The defrosting northern pole is one of the prime drivers of Earth’s climate system and is changing global weather patterns in unpredictable ways.

The Arctic ice melt is also accelerating the rate of climate change beyond what humanity is doing with every barrel of oil, tonne of coal or cubic metre of gas burned.

On Sep. 8, researchers at the University of Bremen in Germany reported that the Arctic ice melt bettered the previous minimum of 2007. Other research centres using different satellite and analysis tools say the extraordinary decline of ice in 2007 has not yet been exceeded this year and 2011 remains a close second.

Sea Ice Extent 2003-2011

“We think it will end up a little bit short of the record – not that it really matters,” said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in the U.S. city of Boulder, Colorado.

“What is extraordinary this year is that there was no weird weather pattern that created the perfect conditions for the record melt in 2007,” Serreze told IPS.

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This year, the summer weather was normal and yet it the ice vanished in similar amounts to 2007.

“That tells us the sea ice is too thin now to hold up under normal weather conditions,” he said.

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