National Snow and Ice Data Center says findings reinforce trend that Arctic sea ice disappearing much faster than expected.
Arctic sea ice remained on its death spiral on recently, with the amount of winter ice cover falling to its fifth lowest on the satellite record, scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center said.
The scientists said Arctic sea ice extent for March averaged 14.80m sq km. That’s 730,000 sq km below the 1981-2010 satellite average.
The latest findings reinforce a trend that could see the Arctic losing all of its ice cover in the summer months within decades.
The world’s leading scientists this week admitted that Arctic sea ice was disappearing much faster than expected.
“The decline of Arctic sea ice in summer is occurring at a rate that exceeds most model projections,” the United Nations’ intergovernment panel on climate change said in releasing its first report since 2007.
The report said the loss of sea ice and the melting of permafrost on land were already having knock-on effects in the form of severe storms.
Arctic sea ice typically expands to its great extent for the winter on 9 March. But this year’s maximum extent was not reached until 21 March.
The scientists said strong winds in mid-March finally helped push the ice out across the Barents and Bering seas. They also noted that the Arctic had had an unusually warm temperatures in March.
More of the Arctic was under ice this winter than the all-time low in 2006, but scientists said there was a clear downward trend, despite slight variations from one season to the next.
The Arctic was losing ice cover, and the ice that remained was thinner and more susceptible to melting in the summer months.
Source | http://www.theguardian.com