At the end of August 2012, scientists from the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center confirmed that Arctic sea ice extent reached a record low, beating the previous mid-September low in 2007. Ice loss is driven by emissions of long-lived gases like carbon dioxide and short-lived climate pollutants like methane and black carbon, or soot. Arctic sea ice cools the planet, while providing refuge for much of the region's iconic wildlife. When ice melts it reveals darker Arctic Ocean water, which in turn absorbs more heat from the sun, further heating the region.
Earthjustice and Clean Air Task Force held an online press conference on September 20, 2012, to take a closer examination of Arctic sea ice and Greenland ice sheet melting, and examine impacts of sea level rise on low-lying islands and multi-national efforts to curb short-lived climate pollutants. Watch a recording of the conference:
2012 Teleconference Presenters:
- Walt Meier, Research Scientist, National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder, CO on the Arctic sea ice minimum;
- Marco Tedesco, Associate Professor, City College of New York and world-renowned specialist in the Greenland ice sheet;
- Erika Rosenthal, Attorney, International Program, Earthjustice, on implications of Arctic warming for sea level rise and its effects on low-lying islands and communities, and the urgency of reducing short-lived climate pollutants;
- Ellen Baum, Senior Scientist, Clean Air Task Force, on multi-national efforts to curb short-lived climate pollutants in the Arctic;
- Rafe Pomerance, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Environment and Development, on sea level rise.
Previous Ice Melt Teleconferences:
In 2011, scientists confirmed that the Arctic had lost the second highest amount of ice since monitoring began. Earthjustice hosted a telepress conference that year with three of the leading research scientists on climate change, who spoke about the massive ice melt record, climate change, weather patterns and rising sea levels. Listen to the 2011 teleconference on Arctic ice melt.