Sensational headline by The Guardian newspaper? The Obama administration has unclassified over a thousand images of Arctic sea ice to aid scientists in the study of global warming and the impacts of climate change. The images are striking – see this comparison in Alaska between 2006 – 2007. The release of such images is great news – i’m not entirely sure whether these images were ‘kept secret’ by the Bush administration as claimed, but in the growing field of remote sensing, support from the US military satellite data is crucial to understanding local scale changes in the Arctic ice. Click here to see the images in full.
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.
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. (Read More)