There was a time, not too long ago, when I didn't know the Arctic existed. Sure, I knew there was a North Pole and that it was cold there, but somehow I always thought that the Arctic and the Antarctic were the same thing, that someone had forgotten to add the Ant-. And of course, polar bears were hunting penguins. Or vice versa. Whatever.
It was around 2006 when I started to get interested in global warming and the changes in climate it could cause, just before An Inconvenient Truth would shift the Climate PR war to higher gears. I vaguely noticed there is a place called 'the Arctic' - where the ocean is covered by a floating layer of ice of a few metres thick - when the perfect storm of 2007 annihilated the 2005 sea ice area and extent records. I remember reading about it on RealClimate and the comments there were the spark that would eventually fire my intention to start this blog.
In the meantime the 2012 melting season - not a perfect storm, even though it hosted a big one towards the end - annihilated all of the 2007 records. It's quite clear now that sea ice is melting much, much faster than anticipated, and the jaw-dropping sight of an ice-free Arctic that was projected to occur somewhere towards the end of this century, could be witnessed towards the end of this decade (if not earlier). The melting itself as well as potential consequences are getting more and more media attention, and lately I have been wondering how much of this news is actually seeping into the collective consciousness.