Thursday, August 23, 2012

Arctic Sea Ice Is at Record Low

Satellite data analyzed by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, has shown that the extent of Arctic sea-ice is looking to reach a record minimum this Summer. The latest data suggests that Arctic Summer Sea-Ice is already 483,000 sq km below the previous record low (set in 2007).   The ice is expected to continue to melt until mid September.

So what is Sea Ice Extent?
Sea Ice extent is defined as the area of the Arctic sea that contains some Sea Ice. Areas with less than 15% Sea Ice are defined as marking the edge of the ice.

So why is the melt this year so high?
Some sea-ice melts every Summer, as part of a natural process. This year several large storms increased the rate of melting to double over a few days. However the general trend over the last few years has been increased melting of Arctic Sea Ice. Aside from isolated events such as the storms increasing the rate of melt, there are several theories as to why the melt amount is increasing each year. Anthropogenic emissions speeding global Climate change is one such theory, and Natural Cycles are another.

Why is the Arctic Sea Ice Important?
The Arctic Sea Ice helps to control global Environment. The colour of the ice surface relfects around 80% of sunlight reaching the Northern Pole area back into space , and the more the Sea Ice Melts, the more energy from the Sun is absorbed into the Arctic Ocean, driving chemical changes which are harmful to the ecology of the Ocean (which in turn can have global repercussions).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.