Sea ice hits new record low at both poles

Adjust Comment Print

Worldwide, last year was the warmest on record for the third year in a row, despite government efforts to rein in man-made greenhouse gas emissions under a 2015 Paris Agreement that aims to phase out the use of fossil fuels this century.

This winter, the ice sheets covering the Arctic Ocean reached, when at their maximum surface area before the snowmelt, an all-time low.

Both of Earth's poles are looking at record low sea ice extent levels, according to NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

It was the lowest level in the 38-year history of satellite record-keeping. Much of the goal behind this slenderness and littler ice range was the reliable warmth all through the harvest time and winter. "Last year was stunningly different, with prominent sea ice decreases in the Antarctic".

The record low levels of ice are believed to have been caused by a general trend of warming temperatures across the planet.

"What we have now is what we call the lowest maximum on record", Serreze said.

But "while the Arctic maximum is not as important as the seasonal minimum, the long-term decline is a clear indicator of climate change", Walt Meier, a sea ice researcher at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a statement.

Ice ocean ice was likewise more slender this winter than in the previous four years, as indicated by information from the European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 satellite.

Daugaard calls for peace as Keystone XL pipeline gets green light
Environmental groups argue that pipelines are not safe because leaks are common and contribute to massive environmental damage. The much debated Keystone XL pipeline project is expected to be approved by the USA government today.

Besides shrinking in extent, the sea ice cap is also thinning and becoming more vulnerable to the action of ocean waters, winds and warmer temperatures, researchers said.

A record low has also been set in the southern hemisphere, now in the summer season, where Antarctic sea ice fell to it lowest extent on 3 March, at 2.1m sq km - the lowest in the satellite record.

The new paper, which focuses on the effects of large-scale swings in air circulation patterns, suggests that natural variability could account for 30-50 percent of the sea ice loss recorded since satellite tracking began in 1979.

Every year, sea ice in the Arctic grows and expands throughout the winter, but the region saw a record low wintertime maximum extent on March 7. Over the Arctic Ocean, temperatures amid this period were around 4.5°F (2.5°C) better than expected, with parts of the Chukchi and Barents oceans coming in at 9°F (5°C) better than expected. This winter, several factors affected the sea ice growth.

In Antarctica sea ice around the continent shrank to 815,000 square miles on March 3, the lowest on record, scientists said. The minimum extent has dropped even more - 13.5 percent per decade since 1979.

This article is reproduced with permission from Climate Central.

In this photo provided by Dirk Notz, taken in April of 2009, ice floats in the Arctic near Svalbard, Norway.