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Arctic Sea Ice Decline

March 28, 2013

A rather detailed report on Arctic Sea Ice

Full Article at

Temperature in the Arctic has increased at twice the rate as the rest of the globe, and the region is expected to increase an additional 8°C (14°F) in the 21st century. Winter temperature has increased more than summer temperature, which is a trend that is expected to continue.


Satellite data show that since the late 1970s, September Arctic sea ice extent has decreased by about 12% per decade. What’s especially alarming is the decrease in multi-year ice. Sea ice is classified by age, usually as “new ice” or “multi-year” ice (meaning it survived many summer melting seasons). While new ice is very shallow, multi-year ice can grow to be quite thick, typically between 6 and 12 feet, and is very stable.


Arctic sea ice is an important component of the global climate system. The polar ice caps help to regulate global temperature by reflecting sunlight back into space. White snow and ice at the poles reflects sunlight, but dark ocean absorbs it. Replacing bright sea ice with dark ocean is a recipe for more and faster global warming. The Autumn air temperature over the Arctic has increased by 4 – 6°F in the past decade, and we could already be seeing the impacts of this warming in the mid-latitudes, by an increase in extreme weather events. Another non-trivial impact of the absence of sea ice is increased melting in Greenland. We already saw an unprecedented melting event in Greenland this year, and as warming continues, the likelihood of these events increase.

Full Article at

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