Look at the photos and see for yourself. From 2006 to 2007, did sea ice at Barrow, Alaska, increase or decrease?
These photos appeared in The Guardian — did they appear in any U.S. papers? — with a story that said the photos had been withheld by the Bush administration, and were recently released by the Obama administration. (Bet these photos never show up on Anthony Watts’s blog.)*
Graphic images that reveal the devastating impact of global warming in the Arctic have been released by the US military. The photographs, taken by spy satellites over the past decade, confirm that in recent years vast areas in high latitudes have lost their ice cover in summer months.
The pictures, kept secret by Washington during the presidency of George W Bush, were declassified by the White House last week. President Barack Obama is currently trying to galvanise Congress and the American public to take action to halt catastrophic climate change caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
One particularly striking set of images – selected from the 1,000 photographs released – includes views of the Alaskan port of Barrow. One, taken in July 2006, shows sea ice still nestling close to the shore. A second image shows that by the following July the coastal waters were entirely ice-free.
The photographs demonstrate starkly how global warming is changing the Arctic. More than a million square kilometres of sea ice – a record loss – were missing in the summer of 2007 compared with the previous year.
Spin, from the presidency? Who knew?
Climate change skeptics (read: deniers) say that ice has come back in record amounts in 2008. According to the news article, that isn’t exactly the case.
Nor has this loss shown any sign of recovery. Ice cover for 2008 was almost as bad as for 2007, and this year levels look equally sparse.
Science News noted the declassification, but without the hint of skullduggery on the part of the Bush administration. The poster above comes from the USGS, which also included three more posters, one of the Beaufort Sea and two of glaciers — all of them showing declines in ice.
Stories that Arctic sea ice is expanding seem to be premature.
Update, 7-27-2009: A story going around the internet claims the poster at the top of this post is faked. The poster comes from the U.S. Geological Survey, so I doubt it’s faked — they have no dog in the fight to fake it. I think this goes to show that climate change “skeptics” have been sucked in by their own denial virus, and they will not even entertain information to the contrary of their beliefs.
* Happy update, 8-2-2009: I’m happy to report I erred. Actually, Anthony Watts reported on the release of the photos on July 15. He didn’t use the Barrow photos, and he certainly did not claim that they are hoax photos. He noted that the previously classified data have been released, and he seemed to think that there is no monkeying around with them. It’ll be interesting to see how he deals with the photos from here on in.