Arctic sea ice shrinks to second-lowest extent this month since satellite observations started

Arctic sea ice shrinks to second-lowest extent this month since satellite observations started

The National Snow and Ice Data Center has announced that Arctic sea ice witnessed its second-lowest level this month since the time satellite observations have started. The center said that the area, which used to be covered by at least 15% of the sea surface with ice, has reduced to the year’s low point of 4.14 million square kilometers on Saturday.

For 2007, minimum extent was 4.15 million square kilometers. NSIDC Director Mark Serreze said that the result is considered to be a statistical tie. Serreze said that it is considered to be a big ice loss as Arctic weather conditions were cloudy and cool in the summer.

These weather conditions favor ice preservation and not what actually happened. Serreze was of the view that the result indicates of an important shift. If ice loss is taking place at a big level late in the melt season then it favors the idea that warmed-up ocean is an important factor in deciding the fate sea ice.

This year’s melt has taken place at a rapid pace. The researchers said that this year’s minimum was almost same as that was in 2007, but weather conditions made the significant difference. If the 2007 weather conditions would have repeated then melt would have been bigger this time.

As per the researchers, freeze-up has just started and it goes from mid-September to around mid-March. This time, melt season started out with the lowest winter maximum ever measured since satellite records started in 1979.

“The warmed Arctic atmosphere and ocean suppress winter sea ice growth, leading to an enhanced vulnerability of sea ice to melt in the following season”, affirmed Zhang.

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