You know how big the country of Turkey is, right? I mean roughly. Well, take that size and consider this: That is exactly how much of the thick, “permanent” ice tin the Arctic shrank between 2004 and 2005. This ice, known as perennial ice because it doesn’t form and melt in a yearly cycle, has declined drastically and, in fact, the entire Arctic is warming up about twice as quickly as the places where you and I live. And I’ve got to tell you, where I live has been getting noticeably warmer in the last decade or so. I’m down here in the South where it never got particularly frigid in the first place, but at least we used to get a few weeks out of the year where it didn’t feel like summer.
Just how drastic is this shrinkage? Well, the average percentage of ice shrinkage in that area has been about 7% over a decade. In other words, in just one year the shrinkage in Arctic perennial ice was 18 times what it normally is. At the present time there is no definitive answer as to what caused this alarming jump. There is some evidence that changing wind patterns could be playing a role, but it’s still unclear how wind change could have caused such a massive shrinkage over such a short period of time.
Regardless of what is causing the ice shrinkage in the Arctic, there is one thing on which scientists agree. Less ice on planet Earth means fewer rays reflected back into space. Fewer reflected rays means a hotter earth. (It’s kind of like how a black car gets warmer than a white car.) And a hotter earth means…well, you know.