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Eco-Economy Indicator -- ICE MELT

February 4, 2008

Eco-Economy Indicators are the twelve trends the Earth Policy Institute tracks to measure progress in building an eco-economy. Ice melting is one of the most visible indicators of climate change.

Frances C. Moore

With atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations at new record highs and global average temperature now some 0.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the frozen regions of the earth are showing us just how rapidly climate change can take effect. Recent years have seen ice melt accelerate and spread to new, previously unaffected regions. In many areas, the pace of melting has surprised even the scientists studying it most closely, providing a strong early indication that the consequences of climate change could come faster and be more severe than previously believed.

The most dramatic loss of ice in recent years has been the decline of summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. Between 1953 and 2006, the area covered by sea ice in September shrunk by 7.8 percent per decade, more than three times as fast as the average rate simulated by climate models. Researchers were further stunned in the summer of 2007 when Arctic sea ice extent plummeted to the lowest level ever measured, more than 20 percent below the 2005 record...

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For an index of Earth Policy Institute resources related to Ice Melt see

And for more information on the effects of rising temperature and how to stabilize climate, you may be interested in Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization by Lester R. Brown (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2008), posted at

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