Friday, September 16, 2011

Arctic Ice Reaches Summer Minimum

According the NSIDC (National Snow and Ice Data Center) the Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its lowest extent for the year. The minimum ice extent was the second lowest in the satellite record, after 2007, and continues the decadal trend of rapidly decreasing summer sea ice.

Conditions in context:
The last five years (2007 to 2011) have been the five lowest extents in the continuous satellite record, which extends back to 1979. While the record low year of 2007 was marked by a combination of weather conditions that favored ice loss (including clearer skies, favorable wind patterns, and warm temperatures), this year has shown more typical weather patterns but continued warmth over the Arctic. This supports the idea that the Arctic sea ice cover is continuing to thin. Models and remote sensing data also indicate this is the case.

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