Arctic Sea Ice at Second Lowest Levels in 39-Years | Long-Term Retreat Concerning Scientists

WeatherBrains | | WeatherWeather
The polar bear’s habitat is under threat. Credit: AP Photo/Subhankar Banerjee

On March 23, NSIDC released a summary of the sea ice maximum, the second-lowest seasonal maximum in the 39-year satellite record, only slightly below the maximum extent for 2017, according to the NOAAArctic sea ice reached its likely 2018 maximum on March 17, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reported.

Credit: NOAA

The map above shows sea ice concentration on March 17 compared to the median extent between 1981-2010 (gold line). Land is gray, ocean is navy blue, and sea ice appears in shades of white (higher sea ice concentration) and blue (lower concentration). Ice cover was sparse at lower latitudes on both sides of the Arctic. Directly over the North Pole is a spot of missing data (black circle) that exists because the satellites’ orbits carry them just shy of the actual pole.

Credit: NOAA

The graph shows daily sea ice extent (ocean area with at least 15 percent sea ice concentration) for the four most recent years compared to the 1981–2010 median and the range of historical values (gray shading). The four smallest wintertime ice extents have all occurred in the last four years, and they are all well outside the range of historical values.

NSIDC scientists, who have followed sea ice trends since the 1990s, expressed concern over long-term retreat. NSIDC director Mark Serreze said, “The Arctic is being hit in both winter and summer—climate change is really taking hold now.”

Senior research scientist Ted Scambos added, “The pace of change in the Arctic is just amazing. Every five years we see more of the ice slip away, and those years become the new record-holders.”

Related Articles

Got an opinion? Let us know...