Arctic ice melt slows down

2013-09-22 12:46


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Arctic sea ice melted less this summer and continued to cover a greater expanse than last year's record minimum, Nasa data shows.

Following unusually cold summer temperatures in the northernmost latitudes, the US space agency said on Friday that the sea ice extent shrunk to 5.10 million square kilometres.

The analysis was based on 13 September data by Nasa and the Nasa-supported National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

On 16 September 2012, Arctic sea ice shrunk to its smallest surface ever recorded by satellite at 1.32 million square miles, about half the size of the average minimum in the previous two decades.

Over the long term, Arctic sea ice surface has dropped 12% per decade since the end of the 1970s, a decline that accelerated after 2007, according to the NSIDC.

"I was expecting that this year would be higher than last year," said Walt Meier, a glaciologist at Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland.

"There is always a tendency to have an uptick after an extreme low; in our satellite data, the Arctic sea ice has never set record low minimums in consecutive years."

But the remaining Arctic sea ice cover is much thinner overall compared to the previous decades by as much as 50%. Scientists say thinner seasonal ice is replacing older, thicker ice as it melts away.

"Thinner ice melts completely at a faster rate than thicker ice does, so if the average thickness of Arctic sea ice goes down, it's more likely that the extent of the summer ice will go down as well," said Goddard senior scientist Joey Comiso.

"At the rate we're observing this decline, it's very likely that the Arctic's summer sea ice will completely disappear within this century."

Read more on:    nasa  |  climate change

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.