The ice caps in the Arctic Ocean are one of the leading metrics of the effects of climate change. Although the debate on whether climate change exists is dwindling down in the scientific community, other questions about the phenomenon are unclear. No one knows exactly when the effects will reach a mass scale, how much damage it will do, or how quickly it will all happen. The internet is helping the science evolve much faster than in previous history, however, as a new breed of “armchair” scientist rises through the online space. While they may not have all the answers for climate change, some of these amateur data collectors are creating ways for people to stay informed.
A blogger known as Neven in Austria is one of those armchair scientists. He is now an expert on arctic ice levels, due to his collection and analysis of available weather data. Neven is a freelance writer by trade, and has not received a formal education on climate science or ecology. However, that has not stopped him from creating one of the leading resources on Arctic ice. Not only does he curate his blog, Arctic Sea Ice, but he also hosts the website Arctic Sea Ice Graphs, complete with discussion forum.
Neven was disturbed by the dramatic loss of sea ice in 2007 and has been following the data ever since. His predictions for 2013 is that melts may not be as dramatic as last year, but we are moving into a situation where, for the first time, nearly all the ice is only a year old. This means the ice sheets are thin and less compact than in previous years. The change in makeup may mean faster ice melts and a more delicate situation in the future. Neven believes that by 2020 the Arctic will have zero ice in September. The fear for sea levels and ecological upset is real, but interested amateur scientists now have a platform to help spread the cause.