Transcripts of Arctic sea ice liveshot Tom Wagner canned interview

>>Interviewer: As we enter the dog days of summer in the United States, things are heating up even more farther north with melting Arctic sea ice, and here to join us from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland is Dr. Tom Wagner. Thank you for joining us. >>Tom: Hey, thank you for having me. >>Interviewer: So the Arctic is losing sea ice at a faster rate in recent years. How are things looking this year, and what are we seeing in the long-term trend? >>Tom: Well the good news is we aren't set to see another record low as we have been in the last few years. But the bad news is we're still set to see one of the lowest sea ice extents on record, and the ice is about as thin as it's been. If you go back to the 1980s when the satellite record really starts, we've lost almost two thirds of the volume of sea ice that used to be there. And that's important because it's a really important part of the Earth's system. >>Interviewer: Why are we seeing these changes in the Arctic? >>Tom: The simple answer is this - the planet is warming up, but the Arctic because of various reasons warms about twice as fast as the rest of the globe. The heat gets concentrated up there. And that's causing us to lose sea ice and also lose ice from all the glaciers around the Arctic. One of the most important changes is that as the ice recedes, water is a darker color so it absorbs more of that incoming sunlight. One of the ways I like to think about it, the Arctic sea ice is kind of like a mirrored hat on the top of the planet and we're taking that hat off. >>Interviewer: What is NASA doing to understand these changes? >>Tom: So NASA does a couple of different things. You know the first thing is we study the Arctic with satellites, and you need satellites to do it, because the scales we're talking about are continent-level. And we use satellites like ICESat, which has lasers that go down and bounce off the surface and tell us how high or how thick the ice is. We use satellites like Terra and Aqua, which take really precise pictures of the Arctic, and also things that tell us about the temperature change in the Arctic. And we have this whole myriad of other satellites that tell us about the composition of the atmosphere and the characteristics of the clouds. But on top of that, NASA's kind of a leading agency for aircraft studies of the Earth. And we have some major missions like IceBridge and ARISE which is going out this fall. We take aircraft that are literally festooned with instruments to study the Arctic. >>Interviewer: How will these changes affect the United States? >>Tom: So the changes in the Arctic are probably already affecting the US, but that's kind of a cutting edge of the research. Some people say that storm tracks, like Hurricane Sandy, may have been altered because of Arctic change. But we also know that general precipitation patterns of things are probably changed as things like the jet stream changes along with Arctic, and also larger-scale fluctuations in the Earth's atmosphere and the climate. >>Interviewer: Where can we learn more? >>Tom: One of the easiest places to go to is >>Interviewer: Dr. Tom Wagner, thank you very much for joining us. >>Tom: Thank you for having me. [beep beep... beep beep... beep beep...] [beep beep... beep beep...]