Climate change skeptics are about to change their tune.
National Geographic have just released a set of atlas images that show exactly how much ice has actually melted in the Arctic since 1995, and the results are shocking.
President Barack Obama described the serious transformation as the “biggest change in its atlas since the Soviet Union broke apart.”
Over the course of 15 years, “one of the most striking changes in the publications history” has occurred, according to National Geographic’s Christine Dell’Amore.
Since the latest edition, released in September 2014, the ice has continued to melt, according to National Geographic Geographer Juan José Valdés.
“The end of Arctic summer is still several weeks away, and it’s still too early to say if another record will be broken. But one need only look at the maps derived from satellite imagery to see the impact of global warming,” he says.
Over the last four decades, the region has shown a retreat rate of 12% per decade, with an acceleration seen after 2007 which coincided with never-before-seen global emissions of greenhouse gases.
Whilst experts attest to the fact that natural processes have definitely played a role in the decline of Arctic Ice coverage, they are not conclusive enough to explain the drastic increase since 1999.
“Cycles of natural variability such as the Arctic Oscillation are known to play a role in Arctic sea ice extent, but the sharp decline be explained by natural variability alone,” according to NASA’s Earth Observatory. “Natural variability and rising global temperatures have worked together to melt greater amounts of Arctic sea ice. Some modelers have forecast an ice-free Arctic for at least part of the year before the end of the 21st century.”