The polar ice melting is so significant it could actually be observed from the moon! Since about 1970 when we were first able to record images from space to the present day we can now see  just how much of the polar ice has melted. The reason this is important to us is that seen from above it is obvious where there is ocean and where there is ice. The ice is white, the ocean is dark blue. As the light from the sun hits the white ice, over 80% of it is reflected back out into space but the oceans being dark absorb 80% of this energy, causing the ice to melt even faster.

Specifically if we look at the Antarctic summer ice pack and its dramatic decline, and the fact that now the arctic ocean will be absorbing more energy from the sun than before, instead of reflecting it back. Now we are seeing the thicker, multi year ice is disappearing as well. It was observed that the thicker multi year ice has been replaced by much thinner one year ice as is observed from satellite and NASA photographs. This ice is much more inclined to melt from increased energy from the sun.

What is really worrying is the rate of ice volume that is melting over this huge area. This is more difficult to measure, for instance, micro waves get absorbed and distorted by the salt in sea ice but there is no doubt that there has been a very dramatic reduction in the volume of ice as well as area which may be more important in the long run. Arctic ice has also been observed to have reduced far in excess of earlier expectations and predictions and the question is, has the "tipping point" that the environmental lobbyists were warning us of 20 years ago already been well and truly reached and how is this going to affect our climate?

Some of the popular models suggest that we may indeed have already reached this point and that as the current perennial sea ice is turning into seasonally ice free, wintertime ice becoming merely seasonal ice that is likely to melt as well if the warming continues. Whichever way you look at it, climate change is being amplified in the polar regions of the world. The IPCC (Intergovernmental panel on climate change) projections from 2007 have now been seen to vastly underestimate the Arctic summer sea ice declines due to melting.

This situation with such vast quantities of sea ice melting might prompt you to expect the sea levels will be rising and the fact is it does not, directly anyway. What actually happens is that through indirect and whats called feedback effects it will. the glaciers and ice sheets are miles thick but the summer sea ice floes are only a few meters thick in comparison. When the ice has melted initially the sea levels stay the same but due to increased absorption of heat from the sun, causing global warming / climate change as we know… One of the effects of this is that the oceans will actually expand which is going to cause changes in tectonic plate movement, which potentially could result in volcanoes, earthquakes, Tsunamis and so on. As it is in the UK it has been noticed that the northern parts ie Scotland have risen and the southern parts of England have been sinking!

Already over the last century we have seen over a 20cm rise in sea levels, probably due to the melting of land ice over Greenland Antarctica and mountain glaciers which will have contributed to this oceanic expansion as well as the thermal expansion effect previously described.. The land masses that were originally weighted down with ice are now lighter so they will have risen up, stressing the continental tectonic plates even further.