Low sea-ice cover in the Arctic

ScienceDaily | 9/13/2019 | Staff
Kaliela101 (Posted by) Level 3
Until mid-August, it looked as though a notable record would be reached: the area of the Arctic Ocean covered by ice (defined as the area with a sea-ice concentration of more than 15 percent) from late March to early August was the smallest measured by satellites since 1979. "Our satellite data show that between March and April 2019, there was an unusually large decrease in the ice extent, from which the Arctic sea ice was unable to recover," explain Professor Christian Haas, a geophysicist and head of the Sea Ice section at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and Dr Gunnar Spreen from the University of Bremen's Institute for Environmental Physics. Since the second half of August, however, the seasonal reduction has slowed down, overlaid by short-term fluctuations. The lowest value so far for 2019 was 3.82 million square kilometres, observed on 3 September. This means that this year, the September average could be below 4 million square kilometres for only the second time.

But in the coming weeks, the ice could retreat further: even though in early fall air temperatures in the Arctic have now fallen below freezing, the heat stored in the water can continue to melt the underside of the ice for a few more weeks. However, if it becomes extremely cold in the Arctic in the days ahead, the ice cover can already increase again. In October, the scientists will analyse the data for the whole of September, and will then be able to make a final assessment of the sea-ice minimum in 2019. It appears unlikely that this year we will see a new absolute record, below the sea-ice extent of 3.4 million square kilometres observed in 2012. "Record or not, this year confirms the continued long-term reduction of Arctic...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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