Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Disintegration in slow motion

The combination of satellite images and the internet is providing a fascinating coverage of what appears to be the break up of the Wilkins Ice Sheet on the Antarctic Peninsula. Everyday sees images posted from the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) on the Envisat satellite showing new rifts in the narrow strip of ice that connects the Wilkins Ice shelf to Charcot Island. 

Not that all the news from the Antarctic is bad. The National Snow and Ice Data Center information shows that the total extent of sea ice in the southern hemispher continues to trend upwards in the long term from the average of the years 1979 to 2000.
As for this year, the 2009 daily average, while below the level reached in the same period of 2008, continues to be above the long term average.

At the other pole the evidence remains gloomy. The long term trend continues down.

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