|Fast reduction of the Arctic ice cap|
2012 Climate | Written by Magdalena Tomasik | Monday, 13 August 2012
Scientists confirm that the Arctic sea ice extent, which has been continuously declining since June 2012, continues this pattern.
It was noted that on August 1st, the Arctic ice reached below levels recorded for the same date in 2007 which was, so far, the year with the minimum ice extent in September.
Low ice concentrations are mostly present over the area of the western Arctic Ocean and surrounding land masses.
The pattern of melting Arctic ice has been continuously repeating since June 2012. In July 2012, almost the entire Greenlandic ice sheet experienced the melt of its surface.
Arctic sea ice extent measured in July this year, reached average of 7.94 million square kilometers. Comparing to general average, calculated for the years 1979 to 2000, this year, the Arctic ice sheet decreased about 2.12 million square kilometers below this average.
During July, the Arctic Ocean, including the land masses, lost a total of 2.97 million square kilometers of frozen water.
Research stations from all over the world alarmed that if the pattern continues, the glob will experience dramatic raise of the ocean levels.
As throughout the summer, the low ice extent for the Arctic as a whole is primarily due to extensive open water on the Atlantic side of the Arctic (Kara, Laptev and East Siberian seas) and the Beaufort Sea.
Measurements show that by August 1, open water in the Laptev Sea, along the Siberian coast, had reached nearly 80oN latitude. Ice extent remains near average in the Chukchi Sea, and ice continues to block sections of the both the Northern Sea Route and the Northwest Passage.
The ice extent recorded for August 1 of 6.53 million square kilometers (2.52 million square kilometers) is the lowest in the satellite record. The previous record for the same date was set in 2007 at 6.64 million square kilometers (2.56 million square miles), when the current record low September ice extent was set.
The latest data, published by National Snow & Ice Data Center, working under the auspices of University of Colorado, inform that the Arctic ice cover is still decreasing.
Although it is important to acknowledge that such a process is natural and periodic and it has been occurring long before the possibility of satellite measurements were even invented, current changes are more serious and drastic that they have ever been before.
Arctic temperatures have risen more than twice as fast as the global average over the past half century.