The arctic sea ice shrinks every spring and summer before regrowing back on the winter season. This year however, the ice melt has reached an alarming level, matching that of 2007 where it was recorded as the 2nd lowest ever. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA has released the data last Thursday.
NSIDC director Mark Serreze said “It was a stormy, cloudy and fairly cool summer”. He further said. “Historically such weather conditions slow down the summer ice loss. But we still got down to essentially a tie for second lowest on the satellite record.”
Last Sept 10, the sea ice was measured at an extent of 1.6 million square miles. That is 911,000 miles below the normal average. According to director Serreze, this year’s level is technically 10,000 sq. km less than the record of 2007. However, he said that since the “extent” is so close that they are virtually tied.
The Arctic ecosystem will be greatly affected by the alarming level of sea ice shrinkage. Dr Jan Lieser, with Australia’s Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center said that it is highly possible we would have no more sea ice within the next three generations. He said: “Sea ice has a great ability to reflect a lot of solar radiation back into space. We still have some sea ice (but) to say that it is where it used to be is saying you can serve a cup of tea in a broken cup”.
Global Warming as the Culprit
Senior scientist Kevin Trenberth from the National Center for Atmospheric Research stated in an email. “The trend is clear and ominous”. He further goes on to say. This is indeed why the polar bear is a poster child for human-induced climate change, but the effects are not just in the Arctic.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicated that the amount of arctic sea Ice has been at a steady decline. Man-made global warming is the cause of steady shrinking over the past few decades of the summer sea ice.