...and now back to your regularly scheduled environmental catastrophe
Can't wait for all those after-Earth Day bargains!
New Arctic sea ice is now so perilously thin on average that it melts under the sunshine of clear summer skies it once could survive, American researchers conclude in a study published today.
"When we had similar weather patterns in the past, they didn't appear to have as strong an effect on sea ice," said Jennifer Kay, an atmospheric scientist who led the U.S. research team.
"Now because the ice is thinner you can have a chain reaction of runaway melting with a reduction in cloud cover," she said.
Research has linked the thinning of Arctic ice to warmer average temperatures caused by rising levels of greenhouse gases from human activities. Readings from U.S. submarines indicate a widespread reduction in sea ice thickness of 40 per cent since 1960.
The melting is also increased because the darker surface of open water absorbs the sun's rays as heat rather than reflecting them back into space like ice and snow.
There's still time, though, to shop and save the planet.